Thursday, November 4, 2010

My IF/Inform 7 thoughts

Interaction fiction, was definitely something different, at some points i didn’t know if i really got the whole concept of it, and didn’t know if I really enjoyed it that much. During the process of learning what interactive fiction was however, I started to get the hang of it through readings, discussions in class, and getting to play and make my own. I learned that interaction fiction was just like a game. You have to be able to play and interact with the story as a game. There are obstacles that the reader must overcome to reach their goal, as well as you getting to be the character in the story, there is so much i felt like i had to learn about interaction fiction, before i could even make one on my own.
There were many different secondary readings that helped me along the way first off in “What is interaction fiction?” It made me realize what I was going to be doing the next weeks ahead of me, and gave me the overall gist of it. It talked about how (IF) or interaction fiction was a computer- mediated narrative, where you can “Choose your own story” to me that was a true fact, because in some of the interaction fiction we did, it either ended with different endings for a lot of people, along with knowing not everyone was going to play it the same exact way as everyone else. Also while reading this you find out that the computer displays a few lines or paragraphs of text, after that the interactor types a command (which would be you, the person playing the game against the computer) and then the computer describes what happens next, and gives you hints on what to do, then finally waits for additional input.

One other secondary reading that really helped me was “Twisty Little Passages”. The main reason being because it gave me all the terms for interaction fiction that i needed to know what to look for in interaction fiction, but also how to understand it better and get to know each and every important term out there that you should for this kind of literature, some of the terms being prologue, output, diegetic initial situation, and player character. It also gave a perspective of the interactive fiction and explains how the interaction will result in a text that can describe something that the IF world, and certain events will help to move a main character past different obstacles, making it seem like it could be an “arc of the plot”. It also talks about you as an interactor that can win a game just by solving the puzzle pieces to the story on what you have to do to win the game. As it it explains there is also times where you can give commands to the computer to do something for example saying “look at the stone” or “pick up the guidebook”  then they will answer to what you have told them to do. 

You are also able to tell the player character to save what you have done so far, as well as telling them to quit when you thin you are finished and do not want to go on any longer. You are able to tell the player character what direction to go, such as, north, south, east, or west, as well as making direct commands such as “kill the troll” then they might ask you to be more specific and you could say, “kill the troll with the knife” or they might just as you kill the troll with what? and you could just say “knife”.

To me this whole IF is very complicated and confusing to take in all at once, but as time goes by you will find out more about it, making it a lot easier then you had expected it to be from the beginning. You might realize it is like a mystery( as I see it) because you never know what is going to happen next and what clues are going to come up next, making it a puzzle and having to put each piece together. It is really important to pay attention to the clues that they give you, some of the clues you would have never though about which i will explain later. To me these IF’s are a huge adventure and your goal is to find the treasure at the end of the quest.
One piece of interactive fiction, that i found the most exciting out of all the other IF’s i tried was “All Roads”. This was a game that lead you through Rome, and it made me think that you can’t get away from fate no matter what you do or where you are. It had many chapters to it, and it brought you through a story type game. One part of the game that i can remember was when the whole you have to pay attention carefully scene game into play. The intro when they told what was going on in that chapter they mentioned a wine bottle, and how a man was tied to a chair with his hands behind his back with rope. The first obstacle I had to over come was getting him out of the chair and the rope untied so he could escape from the cell. I tried for about an hour just trying to get him out of the chair thinking of anything i could do to get him undone, then at the end i realized there was a pile of dust there for a reason. I then thought about what i could do with dust and realized i could blow it.

 After blowing it they said there was a wine bottle under it. So i had him smash it on the ground and cut the rope so that he could be free and then kill the guard, as you can see some clues aren’t very easy, forcing you to work extra hard and pay extra close attention to what is going on in the story. This story was very eye catching when i did it, compared to any of the other IF’s we did for class. This was the only story that made me not want to stop and actually see what happens next. It was a puzzle to me and i love being stumped to the point where I have to keep going till I get it. It made you use different directions throughout the game, as well as you having to use commands to get the player to do anything. Such as in the first part of “All Roads” you can command them to escape from the hanging, when i did it, most of the time i just kept saying “escape” 

and i would get a new response each time telling me what was going on and what people were saying in the background, till i finally reached the reached the next level. I will tell you that I never got the chance to finish the whole game, because i forgot to save it. However, it did seem to get a little tricker each and every level, even though the huge stumper to me was the dust and wine bottle. This literary fiction reminded me of James Bond and all the obstacles he had to overcome without getting himself killed. “All Roads”, has everything that I have learned that a IF should have, including all of the terms to make a IF. The game elements worked really well together, besides being stumped a few times, but in that case times does not pass unless the player “waits” or “acts” getting stuck and unstuck. If getting stuck you can always type help for getting some help on what to do next and continue on your journey to complete the game.
The last step we learned about IF, was creating our own games for IF on inform. However, before starting inform you learn that having a map is the key to making your own, along with having a synopsis, so you know what your place is going to look like as you take your player through many different rooms and tasks.

 While it is important to have a synopsis, so you know what your story s going to be based on, so that you can follow that theme as you  complete your game. When writing my IF, i realized it was a little complicated at first, but it made me able to explore so many possibilities and open them up on having my own IF experiences. It allowed me to see how some things would work in the story and how some just wouldn’t fit, Inform letting you know that as you wrote it. I enjoyed being able to stump myself and work around the issues i was having as i wrote my IF.  In my opinion, I found playing IF more expressive then if i was just reading a book,because it made me want to keep going to see what was going to happen next. But I would have to say i think i would have enjoyed expressing my pages in a book, because some of tasks you had to do, over and over and over again, made you so annoyed and overwhelmed. It also had to be perfect, so you always had to be fixing tasks and finding out what to put to make it work. I can say maybe if I had a little more experience with IF then i maybe would have liked expressing myself more on IF. I know while writing it I had my idea going in the right direction, until the next class a bunch of my work got deleted and i started getting stuck on what i had said before that incident making me start writing in a whole different path, which was very overwhelming. Overall, I think that IF is a fun type of electronic literature for some people, but not for others. For me it was i liked playing them, but i didn’t like writing them. Therefore, this has experience has influenced me in a way that I know a different kind of electronic literature now, and when i’m bored and have some spare time, i’d love to fool around with it, but on the other side of the experience, I don’t think i would like doing it so much anymore, that part didn’t suit me as much as the playing part did.

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