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    Computer Adventures, The Secret Art

    Game Design and Theory

    Myopic Rhino
    (Editor's Note - this article requires additional formatting work and is incomplete)
    [font="Courier New"]
    This files constitutes the text of "Computer Adventures, The
    Secret Art".[nbsp][nbsp]Following Bruce Sterling's example with "The
    Hacker Crackdown", and cribbing some of his ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY,
    I am now releasing the text of the book as "literary freeware".

    Amazon Systems, who originally published the book, have approved
    the electronic distribution of its text in this form, and, indeed,
    expect to make a number of sales of the actual book on the back of it!


    The documents on this disk are not commodities.[nbsp][nbsp]They're not for sale.
    You didn't have to pay any money to get them.[nbsp][nbsp]If you did pay anything
    to see this stuff, you've been ripped off.

    You can copy them.[nbsp][nbsp] You have my permission to do that.
    You can upload them onto boards or discussion groups.
    Please do!

    You can print them out.

    You can photocopy the printouts and hand them around as long as you don't
    take any money for it.

    But they're not public domain.[nbsp][nbsp]You can't copyright them as I've
    already done that.[nbsp][nbsp]Attempts to pirate this stuff and make money from
    it may involve you in a serious litigative snarl; believe me, for the
    pittance you might wring out of such an action, it's really not worth it.

    And don't alter the text, either; that would be pointless.

    It's a couple of years since I wrote the book, so I've added
    notes between *** *** where my opinion or where facts have changed.

    Mail me and give me your opinions, if you like.


    If you'd like a copy of this book in its original paperback form,
    signed by the author, typeset!!, very much easier to consult than
    a pile of printouts, with full colour cover art and full of super
    illustrations from Andrew Hill, telephone, email or write to:

    Amazon Systems,
    Lodge Hill Road,
    UK GU10 3RD.

    tel (+44) 252-716669

    Cost UK pounds 3.00
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] US dollars 4.50
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] UK post free
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Overseas Post UK pounds 1[nbsp][nbsp] US dollars 1.50

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] VISA / Mastercard accepted for telephone/postal orders.

    Gil Williamson[nbsp][nbsp]August 1994.

    gil@cix UK

    Compuserve 100271,761

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Chapter 1

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Introduction to the Secret Art

    There is no doubt that the writing of adventure games is an art, in
    the same way that writing a book or play is. It is also a secret art
    in that a only a handful of game writers seem to be able to produce
    a gripping game.

    I have carefully analysed the features of successful games, and present
    them here in the form of a Do-It-Yourself manual. This book reveals
    the secrets of how to plan, how to write and how to sell computer
    adventure games, also called `interactive fiction'. Irrespective of
    whether your game is a pure text adventure - for some the only `real'
    adventure - or a real-time graphic adventure, or even a text adventure
    with graphic illustrations, the principles of design are very similar.

    Is there any point in trying to break into this difficult marketplace?
    Most certainly. There is a shortage of games with the essentials of
    a good adventure, which are plot, atmosphere, challenge and a sense
    of winnability. Advances in technology are much less important to
    the adventure game enthusiast.

    Although the book assumes that you have played one or
    two computer adventure games, and that you therefore understand their
    general structure, it does not assume any programming knowledge. Some
    basic definitions are given in the table overleaf, and the chapter
    on Architecture describes and defines the various elements of an adventure
    in more detail.

    [nbsp][nbsp]Terms used in this book:

    A `Game' takes place in:

    `Locations' (or Scenes or Rooms).

    `Characters' (People, Monsters etc.) populate the Locations.

    An important Character is the Player
    Character who represents the game player.

    `Items' (or Objects or Nouns) are contained in these Locations or
    may be in `Limbo' - a sort of storehouse for Items whose location
    has not yet been decided - or may be within another Item, or may be
    carried by a Character.

    It is also possible for a Character to be contained in an Item.

    The player interacts with the game by means of `Commands' input by
    keyboard or other input device.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]A Sexist Note:

    In this book, for simplicity, I have used the terms `he' and `him'
    in reference to the player. I do, of course, realise that many ladies
    of the feminine gender are also players, so please accept `he' as
    `he/she' and `him' as `him/her' throughout.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Chapter 2

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] How to Present
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] your Game
    - Text or Graphics?

    Most of the comments made in this book are relevant to all types of
    adventure, however presented, but there are always pros and cons.
    This chapter outlines some of the choices and consequences of[nbsp][nbsp]adventure
    graphics and sound.


    Often, the game-writing system you use will have as much influence
    on the format of your game as anything else. There are some notes
    about game-writing systems in Chapter 6, and in Appendix A. Ensure
    that the medium you choose is adequate to the adventure you plan.

    In most adventure games, even those with considerable graphic and
    audio illustration, text is also very important. When you play a text
    adventure game, you probably find that the scenes you create for yourself
    in the mind's eye are just as vivid as any screen image could be.

    A new genre of `arcade' adventure games is now becoming available,
    but for the few game writers lucky enough to belong to companies prepared
    to invest in these products, there are still many size and portability
    restrictions that are not experienced by text game writers. Writers
    of arcade adventures would do well to heed the tenets of good design.
    Razzamatazz may sell an individual game, but it will not sell a series.

    Think carefully before deciding your game needs graphics. After all,
    though it is possible to print lavishly illustrated books much more
    cheaply nowadays, publishers seldom, if ever, think of illustrating
    a detective novel or book of short stories. In the computer world,
    though word processors and spreadsheets are presented in ever more
    elaborate guises, the properties of late 1970s Electric Pencil and
    Visicalc are still the important elements of these products.

    Any game written for a particular piece of hardware will transfer
    most easily to other hardware if it is text-only. The cost and difficulty
    of transfer from machine to machine increases in direct proportion
    to the sophistication of the graphics and audio effects delivered.

    Again, many computers in common use, such as IBM PCs or VAXes have
    little or no graphics or sound capability when compared with Atari
    and Commodore games-oriented hardware, and text adventures have become
    a favourite with users of such machines.


    The technology of screen images, together with the restrictions of
    RAM, backing store and development time, lead to three main types
    of graphic associated with an adventure that can be played on a personal

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Hand-drawn still scenes of greater or less quality,
    sometimes with the facility to include characters and items that the
    player character can see;

    Digitised still images (sometimes grouped so that a cyclic movie-
    like effect can be delivered);

    Arcade-style playfields, sometimes drawn with perspective but operated
    in a 2-dimensional `Platform' format, where the player character,
    other characters and items actually appear, and move appropriately.
    The player character can manipulate the screen environment.

    Adventures with still or almost still images often allow the user
    to switch off the pictures, so that the user is reduced to a text
    adventure, with a better response time and more space on the screen
    for informative text.

    In the `playfield' style arcade adventure games, or those which depend
    on the use of icons and mice and menus, the total number of locations
    in the game is often restricted, as is the richness of the game.

    Some graphic games, I feel, are rather spoiled by having all possible
    verbs on pull-down menus, leaving little or no scope for imagination
    on the part of the player, and there comes a point where real-time
    events are happening on the screen and the game is verging on an arcade-style
    game, or a wargame.

    My own personal opinion is that text is the most suitable medium for
    adventure games, but that optional illustrations, well-designed, can
    enhance enjoyment in the same way that good illustrations in a book
    do. Having said that, the shareware game-writing product AGT, which
    I favour, is text only.

    In any event, the aspiring adventure writer will find that most game-writing
    systems currently available concentrate on delivering a text adventure
    (with optional still graphics).

    *** One or two systems for graphic adventures are now beginning to
    emerge ***

    Before leaving the subject of image, it is worth mentioning a useful
    advance on the old scrolling screen technique used in the early adventures.
    This is the `windowing' technique which allows the screen to be broken
    into various sectors such as:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] - Text from the game
    - Graphic
    - Inventory
    - Command
    - Exit directions
    - Map
    - Player status.

    Some of these windows may be multi-use - the graphics and map window
    often being the same one.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Sound Effects and Noises Off:

    Though sound may sometimes be used to enhance a game, it is a mistake
    to make proper play dependent on sound. This is not because some players
    are deaf, or want to play while wearing their personal stereos, but
    because adventurers may not wish to disturb those around them with
    synthesised dalek voices, beeps and[nbsp][nbsp]laser[nbsp][nbsp]blasts. In[nbsp][nbsp]my[nbsp][nbsp]opinion,
    sound[nbsp][nbsp]should[nbsp][nbsp]always[nbsp][nbsp]be capable of being switched off without spoiling
    the game.

    *** The advent of sound boards is allowing sound to become more useful
    and usable ***

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Chapter 3

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] How to get your Ideas

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]The Style of your Adventure:

    There are a number of clear forms in which an adventure can be placed.
    The first, and most common, is the one devised for the original Colossal
    Cave adventure. Each scene and its contents are described or drawn,
    and the player is free to attempt to move around, pick up and drop
    items and take action.

    In the second form, a simpler one, the scene and contents are described
    or drawn, but the player has a very few alternative actions he can
    take. These alternatives are made clear to the player, and he simply
    selects alternative 1, 2, 3, or 4 etc. The consequences of each alternative
    tend to be more far-reaching than those of the other style of adventure.
    Such adventures resemble those children's interactive books which
    have a page for each situation, and where the reader is invited to
    turn to different pages to see the results of the various actions
    he can take.

    A third main stream of adventures is the `role-playing' analogue,
    where there is emphasis on companions working as a team, and attributes
    such as strength, dexterity, stamina, and intelligence are given to
    each character. Magic spells and random combat play a strong part
    in such games, and it is sometimes possible for the player or players
    to act on behalf of more than one character in a single playing session.

    These three basic styles often merge and mingle with each
    other, but it is important to decide the style of your adventure before
    embarking on writing it and maintain the style throughout.


    It is important to start with a new and different game concept every

    As you plot the game, it will keep trying to resemble other games,
    but you must resist the temptation to go along with these diversions.
    The 1988 AGT Game Contest featured a game based on a Wagner Opera,
    and another based on an SF short story. Both were original concepts
    for an adventure game, and made you want to play them in a way that
    a clone of Zork would not.

    On the other hand, there is always room for a well-written satire,
    though PORK has probably spelled the end for Zork satires. It is so
    important that your player's enjoyment is not dependent on him having
    played a certain game.

    I have plot outlines for dozens of games, ranging from the ascent
    of mountains to underwater treasure hunting, from a journey on the
    London Underground system to a quest in classical Greece, from a round
    of golf to an E E Smith-style Space opera. I keep them in a spiral
    backed notebook, and keep adding ideas as they occur, until one becomes
    unrefusable and it spills out into implementation. There! I've given
    you six ideas in one breath, none of which closely resemble any game
    I've played.

    Very few adventures even remotely approach realism, which is why it's
    a good idea to base them in an artificial, or at least very constricted,
    world. Use consistency in creation to communicate the atmosphere.

    An idea should appeal before you consider it for game status. Whenever
    I enjoy a book or movie I consider how well it would translate to
    a game. Occasionally, something will just hit the spot, and it becomes
    a feature of one of your games in the pipeline. The London Underground
    concept grew out of a idea to optimise tube travel in London, not
    a game at all. The quest in classical Greece came from a Sprague de
    Camp book called `An Elephant for Aristotle'. As an ardent, but inexpert,
    golfer, I find that the situations one finds oneself in on a typical
    round more closely resemble `Lurking Horror' than they do `Leaderboard'!

    One subject which can be rather delicate is Pornography. In particular,
    Leather Goddesses has a mildly pornographic theme, handled, I think,
    quite tastefully and amusingly. Leather Goddesses takes care to allow
    female players, and delivers alternate text and characters for them.
    Other games which go into much more detail on the mechanics of sex
    are much less appealing, and often insulting to female audiences.
    The buyers of such games would not be the mainstream of adventurers,
    and the games lack subtlety, even when compared to `girly' magazines.

    Once an idea has come to you, you must nourish it for
    a while to give it full value. What you do is to add all the extra
    features the game will support in the form of a `bull session'. In
    this manual, Chapters 4 and 5 are a huge mine of ideas on which to
    base plot elements. I work best by myself, with the Hi Fi turned up
    loud and a pencil and paper in my hand. Drawing a map will often suggest
    other features and plot elements. Reading the book that sparked the
    original inspiration may feed more ideas, and reading books on a similar
    theme should also help. Working with a like- minded friend is also
    a good technique.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]More Theme Ideas:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The Happy Return:[nbsp][nbsp]
    Instead of starting the adventure at a point before the quest begins,
    try starting it where the precious item has been recovered, and the
    player has to fight his way back to civilisation. This technique is
    useful for putting the player into the thick of the action early in
    the game.

    A similar idea is to start the game with the player imprisoned in
    some way, and he must escape.

    Penetrate the enemy defences, and free the prisoners - the Teheran/Entebbe

    Make your player find his way around the ruins of Knossos, examining
    wall paintings and artefacts.

    Expert System:
    Most adventure-writing systems can be used to develop complex diagnostic
    programs for simple situations.

    Try setting the scene of the game as a relatively unimportant incident
    in a huge Worldwide (to hell with the expense - make that inter-Galactic)
    campaign. This is a super lead-in to a series!

    First Contact:
    Explore unexplored territory, excavate archaeological remains, meet
    strange alien peoples and try to avoid shooting them. Have the adventurer
    find some peaceful contact mechanism.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Basing your Adventure on an Existing Work:

    Whereas in the USA, a copyright owner has to register his copyright
    formally and announce it on the work, in the UK and Europe generally,
    copyright infringement can take place even on unpublished work.

    Copyright is not given to ideas, plots or themes, however original.

    In the UK, copyright is infringed by the reproduction of any substantial
    part of a copyright work without permission. `Substantial' is hard
    to define. Even a very small quote can qualify if it is important
    to the work as a whole.

    In the USA, copyright is infringed by quoting sections of a copyright
    work except for the purposes of non-commercial scholarship, comment
    and news reporting.

    Therefore, although it is tempting to use an existing work as your
    basis, you must be extremely careful not to infringe copyright. It
    is a shame to devote lots of work to a game that can never be published.
    It is, perhaps, safer to write an adventure `..in the style of...'.
    Excellent examples of this genre exist.

    Another pitfall is provided by Trade Marks. You will find that the
    inspiring name or phrase you might like to use in your game title,
    such as `Batman', `Star Wars', `Dungeons and Dragons', `Popeye' or
    `Lord of the Rings' is someone's registered trade mark, so steer clear
    of[nbsp][nbsp]these, too.

    Apart from Copyright or trade mark infringement, there are a number
    of problems with using an existing work as your basis. If a player
    has read the book, or seen the movie, he will expect a resemblance
    between your plot and its plot. If you reproduce the plot of the work,
    then it becomes easy to solve. If you don't, the player is disappointed.
    Again, no adventure game, text or graphic, will exactly reproduce
    a book or movie. What the adventure game specialises in is the interaction
    of the game with the player.

    I can well remember having a lot of `wheelspin' at the start with
    The Hobbit and other Tolkienesque adventure games, just because the
    plot didn't turn out the way I expected. Another disadvantage is that
    the solution to a problem in a book or film is often based on a character
    having a bright idea out of the blue. This is difficult to suggest
    to the player without broadcasting the solution or is boring to re-enact
    in the adventure.

    Probably the best middle course is to borrow the atmosphere and technology
    from your chosen work, but to build your own totally new plot into

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Chapter 4

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The Plot Thickens

    Adventure games offer a feeling of involvement and interaction which
    can surpass even the most exciting book or movie, and it seems a pity
    not to make the most of them. This chapter contains over thirty main
    categories of feature, each of which can spawn hundreds of plot elements.

    I advise you to work out a plot before you start writing the adventure.
    I say A plot, not THE plot, as you may contract, extend or modify
    the plot as development continues.

    If you sit down to write an adventure from beginning to end, it will
    be a very thin and insubstantial piece of work. You need time to develop
    the theme and plot.

    I carry around a spiral-backed reporter's notebook - the poor man's
    laptop - which goes in my briefcase to work, sits beside me as I earn
    my living, and sleeps on the bedside table at night. Every time I
    have one of my brilliant inspirations, I note it down before the damned
    thing escapes again. In fact, a sharp pencil with an eraser on the
    end and a trusty notebook are better than a laptop for this purpose
    - I've tried both systems!

    Into this notebook go the maps, the characters, the clues, the traps
    and the problems for the next adventure.

    I find the maps to be the most fruitful source of inspiration. Very
    often, a map or the plan of a building can suggest a plot element
    that no amount of abstract thought could generate.

    It is also handy to jot down character attributes so that you can
    keep the personalities consistent.

    A good adventure does not just fall into your hand like a primed hand-grenade.
    It requires a lot of preparation, thought and creativity.

    If you finish writing the adventure with the same set of plot elements
    as you started with, then you have every right to be surprised. Given
    a good basic theme, the very act of developing the details of the
    adventure should suggest other plot elements, which will gradually
    displace some of the original ones. There is nothing wrong with this,
    provided that you retain the basic theme. If that goes, then you either
    have an unstructured monster on your hands or the theme for another

    It is no longer sufficient, these days, for a player merely to survive
    all the elaborate threats to his life. There must also be a story
    which is very nearly interesting enough to enjoy for its own sake.
    Atmosphere is also very important and there must be a build-up of
    excitement during game play.

    Inject a minor dose of suspense early in the game, and up to three
    or four more important forebodings or anticipations before the end
    of the game. For correct dramatic effect, the last such event should
    be the biggest and best.

    More will be said later about clarity and consistency in developing
    adventures, but much can be done to help development by keeping the
    plot well-balanced and paced.

    Make sure there's enough territory around which the adventurer can
    roam to keep him interested at any given time. An adventure that starts
    in a cell and stays there until the player figures out how to escape
    will bore the average player quickly.

    Similarly, leave lots of items for him to play with, and
    don't make the adventure too lethal. It is very boring for a player
    to be killed off every time he makes a false move.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Plot Elements:

    To get you started, I've listed the following features to help you
    build your plots.

    Try to introduce as much variety as possible to every adventure. Many
    of the ideas in this section are tried and tested, and some are totally
    new. Combine these ideas with your own and try to dress them up in
    a new guise.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Possession of equipment:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] One of the most typical requirements for problem
    solution is that the player be in possession of certain equipment.
    For example, plimsolls in Scott Adams' Pirate Adventure prevent the
    player falling off the window-sill. I remember this one because I
    discarded the plimsolls at an early stage and still managed to complete
    the adventure by SAVEing just before every trip to the sill.

    Sometimes, simple possession of equipment is enough to make the game
    work. Sometimes the player must use the equipment in a certain way
    before it becomes effective.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Collect and Assemble:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In many adventures, the player must collect and assemble
    pieces of equipment to make a new item. Again, in the Pirate Adventure,
    he has to collect all the parts for a galleon, and assemble them.
    This is the case where the combination of a set of items makes it
    possible to produce another item which the player needs.

    Another neat feature is to require the player to keep the parts list
    with him in order for the item to be assembled.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In one of my adventures, one of the parts was omitted
    from the list. This part was necessary and should have been obvious
    to the player, but, just in case he hadn't realised, I allowed him
    to retrieve the missing item without too much further difficulty.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another typical game feature is to remove a part
    from one item for use on another - for example, taking a battery from
    a torch to make a radio work.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Transformation:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A favourite idea is to non-magically transform an
    item from one state into another by washing, cleaning or rubbing it,
    painting it, oiling it, winding it up, putting fuel in it, connecting
    it to the electricity supply, or switching it on or off.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Very often the game-writing system will favour the
    switching of a non-working item with a working one, so that, although
    the player is theoretically unaware of it, the object is actually
    two items. The item in its first state is visible in the location,
    the other is kept in limbo. When the transformation occurs, the items
    are switched.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Such transformations are not limited to items. Characters,
    including the player character, can be transformed into a new character
    in analogous fashion to Clark Kent & Superman, Popeye & Popeye with
    Spinach, Jekyll & Hyde, mild-mannered chemist & Incredible Hulk.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Discovery:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Often, an object which is available from a location
    is not visible when the player enters the location. The object must
    be discovered.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] For example, a game may require the player to dig
    in the ground or to move, say, a pile of leaves or a carpet, whereupon
    a new item is discovered.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another favourite site for discovery is where a container
    clearly contains one item. Once that item is removed, another item
    is discovered lurking in the bottom of the container. You can hide
    items in unlit locations so that they cannot be discovered until a
    light is introduced.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Again, from the game-writer's point of view, an item
    may be kept in limbo until the player carries out the action which
    results in discovery.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Weapons:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] There are two basic types of weapons. A general purpose
    weapon, such as a loaded automatic, will be effective against most
    foes. A specific weapon, such as a wooden stake (anti-vampire) or
    a silver bullet (anti-werewolf), may be uniquely required to kill
    a certain class of enemy. Often, it will also be effective against
    other opposition, though the well-known vampire repellents - sunlight
    and garlic - seem specific to the undead.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] It is unfair to have a specific weapon in a game
    unless its effectiveness is widely known or there is some clue about
    it in the game itself.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another aspect of weapons is the number of rounds
    of ammunition they carry. This concept ranges from the six bullets
    in a magazine, through the number of arrows in a quiver and the charge
    (shots left) in an atomic blaster, to the potency of the magic remaining
    in an Elven Sabre.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Apparel:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A distinction is often made between items that are
    carried and items that are worn. The VERBs used might be WEAR and
    REMOVE. Clothes can be important for warmth, decency or as a mark
    of rank.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Some items which are worn have even more special
    significance - for example Cloak of Invisibility, Space Suit, Gun
    Belt or Rucksack.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Puzzles:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A puzzle with a logical solution is a delight to
    solve. Examples abound in adventure games and represent a major source
    of pleasure in playing.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Suppose you have a game in which there is a radio
    without a battery, and a torch with a battery but a broken bulb. There
    is a clear invitation to make the radio work with the torch battery.
    This `collect and assemble' feature also represents a puzzle with
    a solution that makes sense.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Conversely, illogical solutions to puzzles detract
    from enjoyment.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another point to remember is that instead of trying
    to make an item work, you may want the player to stop an item working
    because it is interfering with his objective.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Many of the features of adventure games present themselves
    as puzzles. The main thing to remember is to keep them fair. There
    is a class of puzzle so illogical that there is little satisfaction
    even in solving it.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Bribery:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In this case, the player must find an item and give
    it to a character or monster in order to secure his/her/its co-operation.
    A favourite plot device is to allow several different items to be
    used to bribe a single adversary. Only one of these can, however,
    be spared. If one of the others is used, it makes the adventure harder
    or impossible to complete.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another feature of bribery is the need to carry an
    item so that a companion will stay with the player. For example, the
    player in Pirate Adventure soon discovers that the parrot will stick
    close to him as long as he carries the biscuits.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Purchase is a special case of bribery. Some games
    allow a pool of money to be accumulated, usually by discovery of treasure,
    and expended in exchange for goods and services in furtherance of
    the quest. In this case, the pot of gold coins is depleted according
    to the value of the commodities purchased and increased by addition
    of treasure trove, plunder and swag.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Mazes:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] An adventure has considerable potential for the use
    of mazes but guard against making the maze boring. In some cases,
    the maze is a geographical one, in others it is logical. I shall explain
    the differences:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Geographical Mazes:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In a geographical maze, if the maze is drawn on a
    piece of paper, the locations in the maze correspond correctly to
    the direction travelled to reach them. That puts them on a par with
    the kinds of maze you see in children's puzzle books. The way the
    game writer sometimes makes it difficult is to give each location
    the same or similar description.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] To solve these, the player simply maps the maze.
    Extra complications can be introduced by having hidden passages which
    do not appear in the description.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In Hollywood Hijinks, the author has a large geographical
    maze in which, when the player moves in a given direction, the game
    tells him how many paces he has taken before the next junction or
    dead end. A map is printed out as underlines and `I's, but it is in
    two layers - all the underlines, and all the `I's, and the two printouts
    must be overlaid before the whole maze is revealed. Nevertheless,
    because it is a geographical maze, it was possible to solve with only
    one layer of the map (as I laboriously proved), and would probably
    have been possible to solve with no map at all. Ah, what a feeling
    of satisfaction that accomplishment would have provided!


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Logical Mazes:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] In a logical maze, the locations in the maze are
    connected together in a bizarre fashion so that a geographical map
    is not all that helpful. Typically, East from location A leads to
    location B, but West from location B does not lead to location A.
    Again, the locations may be similarly or confusingly named. Here is
    a diagram of such a maze:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 2[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 3
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]^[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] ^
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]|[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] |
    Entrance <- [Cave 1] -> Cave 2[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 1 <- [Cave 2] -> Cave 3
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]|[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] |
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]v[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] v
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 3[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Cave 1

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 2[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Cave 1
    [nbsp][nbsp]Cave 4 <- [Cave 3] -> Cave 2[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Exit[nbsp][nbsp] <- [Cave 4] -> Cave 2
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Cave 1[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]Cave 3

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The quickest way from ENTRANCE to EXIT would be[nbsp][nbsp]E
    to CAVE 1,[nbsp][nbsp]S to CAVE 3,[nbsp][nbsp] W to CAVE 4 and W to EXIT. Note that if
    the player goes N from CAVE 2, he gets to CAVE 3, then N again returns
    to CAVE 2. Similarly, going E from CAVE 2 always takes the player
    to CAVE 3, and E again takes him back. If the descriptions of the
    four caves were similar, this would appear like an endless series
    of caves.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The adventure writer's usual convention for these
    apparently illogical mazes is to call them `twisty' in the location

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Added variety can be provided by having the structure
    of the maze vary with time, or vary according to the player's activities,
    or at random.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Variable Geography:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Two or three examples of variable geography come
    to mind. In Wishbringer, for example, Festerton changes in a sinister
    fashion, part-way through the adventure. A totally new set of locations
    and items appears, each one a sinister version of the ones in the
    original Festerton.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] One-way and Restricted Exits:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] It is frequently useful to allow the player to pass
    from one location to another without being able to return the same
    way. Examples of this are some teleport devices (see transportation),[nbsp][nbsp]such
    as chutes, climbing down ropes, falling into pits or rivers and entering

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Similarly, some adventures feature a narrow exit
    which can be negotiated by the player only if he is unladen or lightly

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Too many such exits can prove burdensome to the player.
    Use the facility sparingly and logically. It is a useful feature for
    forcing the player to solve additional puzzles. In Sir Ramic, for
    example, the player enters a set of caverns by one route, but must
    leave by another if he wants to take the large item he has assembled
    in there.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Secret Exits:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Although a location description usually describes
    all the exits from the location there is no compulsion to do so. Therefore,
    an exit can remain secret by virtue of not being described, until
    the player invokes a SHOW EXITS command or tries a direction. A natural
    convention is to say in the location description `There are exits
    in many directions' so that the player knows he may have to try several.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A useful `secret' exit is provided in a pond or pool
    if the swimmer dives. Then he can take an underwater passage.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another idea is not to have a conventional exit at
    all in the secret direction, but to `teleport' the player to the next
    location when he performs a certain action, such as moving a book
    in the bookcase or saying a magic word. Secret exits are therefore
    often one-way exits.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Sometimes, a hint can be left that a secret exit
    exists, such as a rectangular hairline crack in the wall, or a character
    disappearing from the location unaccountably.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Knowledge:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] An important plot feature is giving the player knowledge
    which he can use to deal with an obstacle. For example, in Leather
    Goddesses of Phobos, there is a simple way of dealing with one of
    the monsters. To stumble upon that method would be very difficult,
    but deciphering a coded note gives you the information you need.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] To maintain `fairness', some adventures with this
    kind of knowledge-based problem solution will not allow the knowledge
    to be applied unless the player has previously, in this particular
    instance of the game, encountered the item that offers the clue.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A rather over-used ploy is to use a number written
    on some document as a telephone number or lock combination. See also

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another knowledge-based ploy involves the player
    researching in reference books, or in the handbook supplied with the
    game. This method forms one of the principal features of instructional


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Curtains and Carpets:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] If you are concealing a scene or exit behind a curtain
    or wall hangings, then if the player moves the fabric, it must be
    replaced with another item which describes the scene or exit.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A carpet frequently conceals a trapdoor, leaves cover
    cave entrances, and so on. The same sorts of description rules apply
    to these, and the simplest mechanism for the game writer to use is
    Transformation, described above.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Elaborate Patterns of Behaviour:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Often, and this is most entertaining for the player,
    he must build up, by trial and error, an elaborate behaviour pattern
    to circumvent a single obstacle. A great example of this is the method
    of obtaining a Babel Fish in Hitchhiker, where the player must forestall
    several different accidents, and divert a robot before he can get
    hold of the fish. The messages from the game are humourous, and it
    is a pleasure to solve. In another commercial adventure, some elaborate
    behaviour is spelled out in a printed enclosure - acting as a sort
    of copy-protect mechanism.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Richness of Methods:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another entertaining feature is to provide different
    methods of achieving the same objective. In Paul Daniels' Magic Adventure,
    there were three ways of getting from the Airport to the Hotel - bus,
    taxi and hire car. All three methods worked, but each had different
    problems to surmount, and players were amused to hear about the routes
    they hadn't used. Another device to enrich a game is provided by giving
    the player a variety of roles to adopt, so that the story develops
    differently because of the different powers of the role taken.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Door Openers:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] There are lots of door-opening methods, ranging from
    the trivial KNOCK or RING to such elaborate solutions as a coin in
    the slot or solving a numeric combination. The classic ones are requiring
    a key to unlock the door or needing to say a magic word, like `OPEN
    SESAME', or having to show a pass.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Another complete set of solutions involves a door
    being locked until certain other doors are closed (as in an air-lock)
    or unlocked only for a certain period after another event.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A door may be inscribed with runes or code of some
    kind which reveal the way to open it. The solution to the code might
    be a feature of copy protection.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Riddles:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Riddles are a favourite technique. Make sure, though,
    that the solution you favour is truly unique and self-evident once
    guessed. There are two really annoying mistakes some game-writers
    make with riddles. The first is a riddle so obscure that it cannot
    be solved. The other is one to which you know one or more possible
    answers but cannot think of the words the game-writer expected you
    to use.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] An example of a `fair' riddle (Gollum in The Hobbit):

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Q. Alive without breath,
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] As cold as death;
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Never thirsty, ever drinking;
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] All in mail, never clinking.

    A. Fish.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] An example of an obscure riddle:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Q. What's green, hangs in a tree and
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] whistles?

    A. A herring. (see Polish folklore for the
    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] explanation of this)

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] An example of a riddle with too many or complicated

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Q. What's white and dangerous?

    A1. Polar Bear;
    A2. Blizzard / Avalanche / Iceberg;
    A3. Seagull with a hand grenade...etc.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Transportation:[nbsp][nbsp]

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] There are wonderful varieties of vehicles in adventures,
    from magic carpet to teleportation device. If they are to be used
    repeatedly, though, make sure that they are easy to operate. For example,
    if you are only using a vehicle once, to make an essential bridge
    from one location to another, then it is fair practice to make it
    hard to operate. If, on the other hand, you are using it a lot, then
    it is boring to the player to have to, for example:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] PUT KEY IN IGNITION

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] .... and so on.

    Peter Cartwright, in his new Lady in the Swamp adventure, accumulates
    a list of destinations for his car. Once the player has solved the
    clue for another possible destination, that destination is added to
    a numbered list with which he is presented when he suggests driving
    the car.

    A number of anomalies occur with transportation. If the player character
    actually enters the vehicle, then commands like East, West and so
    on may really apply to the directions inside the vehicle. This is
    fine if the vehicle is large, like a spaceship, but not if it is a
    car, for example, when these commands might be appropriate for the
    whole vehicle and contents. When you are in the vehicle at some location
    or other, do you describe the location, or do you describe the interior
    of the vehicle?


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] There are two or three ways of dealing with this,
    as follows:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] If the vehicle is a horse or other vehicle which
    is not enclosed, then you can move it to the new location with the
    player in response to a direction command. In this method, the player
    has to be `on' the horse or `on' the motorbike. This you can ensure
    by forcing him to use a `mount' command, then setting a flag to ensure
    that he dismounts before he does anything other than travel from location
    to location.

    If the vehicle is like a car, in that it is enclosed, but the outside
    world can be seen from it, it can be handled by having several locations
    such as `At the Town Hall in the car', `Outside your home in the car',
    `At the Beach in your car'.

    You move from `At the Beach' to `At the beach in your car' and vice-versa
    by ENTER and EXIT. Travel is effected by moving the player from one
    `... in the car' location to another. Elevators are also dealt with
    in this fashion.

    If the inside of the vehicle is actually a set of locations like this,
    each with a different view from the window, then be sure when you
    `move' it to the Town Hall that you also move any items the player
    has dropped in it when he was parked at the beach, as well as reproducing
    any controls inside the car.

    Also, ensure that the player can only travel between these locations
    by car, otherwise he will find on walking back to the Town Hall that
    the car he left at the beach has mysteriously driven itself to join

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Alternatively, you can implement vehicle operations
    by moving the exits around while the player is inside the vehicle.
    The vehicle is one location (or even a group of locations if it is
    a ship or spacecraft). This is handy if you are prepared to describe
    the journey rather than the destination. Some of the adventure game-writing
    systems will not allow this type of solution, as exits cannot be altered.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Teleportation is a very handy system. Often what
    seems to be transport is actually teleport. The player is removed
    from location X to location Y. If the locations are not `in the vehicle'[nbsp][nbsp]then
    the vehicle must also be teleported. It is also used to deal with
    secret exits and resurrection, and is even a major feature of some
    games, such as Star Portal.

    One commercial game has an ingenious `black hole' teleportation device.
    Entering any of the black holes takes you to a predictable destination.
    There is even one hole which the player must make for himself, another
    which is cleverly concealed inside something else and another whose
    destination moves in a predictable manner.


    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Death and Resurrection:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] As cautioned elsewhere, try not to kill the player
    too readily. However unsuccessful his ploys, it is unfair to make
    them a capital offence.

    Resurrection is a fairly frequent device to prevent the player from
    having to restart the game. For a serious player, however, it is unsatisfactory
    to win a game as a result of a resurrection and he would reload a
    saved game in these circumstances. If you do provide a resurrection
    facility, make sure that the game is re-set in a playable form. Sometimes,
    the game-writer maroons the player without access to the items needed
    to complete the adventure, which makes the exercise pointless. It
    is quite in order to make the game harder by scattering the items
    the player character carried in his inventory around the accessible
    locations at random.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] There are special cases where apparent suicide on
    the part of the player character or a companion is beneficial in the
    way that sacrificing a piece in Chess can be.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Push, Pull, Turn and Play:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Most adventurers, after EXAMINEing an item, will
    PUSH, PULL, TURN or PLAY it, depending on its description. Very often,
    this is exactly what the player was intended to do. However, it is
    always advisable to have some relevant responses to these attempts,
    even if they do not advance the game.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Containers:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The use of containers can be extremely helpful, particularly
    when the contents are nested. In some adventures, there is a limit
    to carrying capacity which can be over-ridden by the use of a container
    to carry the smaller items.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Again, the difficulty of opening successive levels
    of container can provide a pleasurable experience to the player. It
    is also possible to perform cartoon-like incongruities in which a
    small item contains a very large one.

    The usual mechanisms for container manipulation are OPEN and CLOSE,
    but UNLOCK and LOCK may also be relevant. Most game-writing systems
    do not allow transparent containers, so that any contained objects
    are not visible when the container is closed.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Invisibility:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Invisibility is a very useful attribute for a player
    character. In this state, the player can usually avert monster attack
    and can eavesdrop with impunity.

    Invisibility offers a great deal of scope for the author's imagination.
    The effect can be of short or unpredictable duration, may have adverse
    physical effects, and may prevent the invisible character from carrying
    or even touching items.

    The invisibility can be invoked in a number of ways. For example,

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] magic spell
    wearing a ring or cloak
    consuming a potion.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Remember to deliver handy clues regarding the invisible
    player's state and limitations, otherwise the benefit of invisibility
    may become almost totally incomprehensible to the game player.



    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Codes & Ciphers:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The easiest method of introducing codes and ciphers
    to a game is via a discovered note. Another method of making codes
    seem natural is the translation of alien languages or character sets,
    including runes.
    Most adventurers are quite capable of interpreting a message simply
    anagrammed, coded or ciphered. A typical trick for short messages
    is to take the message and transpose all letters in the following
    regular fashion:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] A-D; B-E; C-F; .... W-Z; X-A; Y-B; Z-C

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] so that HELP becomes KHOS.

    To make it harder, we could reverse or otherwise anagram the message,
    and/or break the message into regular groups. The purpose of this
    is to hide the identity of common words such as `a', `of', `to' and
    `the', so that translation cannot be based on recognising word length.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] HELP I AM TRAPPED INSIDE A COMPUTER

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] might become:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] HELPI[nbsp][nbsp] AMTRA[nbsp][nbsp] PPEDI[nbsp][nbsp] NSIDE[nbsp][nbsp] ACOMP[nbsp][nbsp] UTER

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] before being transposed to:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] KHOSL[nbsp][nbsp] DPWUD[nbsp][nbsp] SSHGL[nbsp][nbsp] QVLGH[nbsp][nbsp] DFRPS[nbsp][nbsp] XWHU.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] However, there is a limit to the patience of your
    audience. The method usually employed to decode transposed messages
    is to count the letters, and then assume that the most frequent will
    be E, the next T, then A, O, I, N, S, H, R, D, L, U and so on, which
    tends to work fine for English with the regular frequency of `the'
    `a' and so on.
    If it is a regular transposition, the player assumes the most frequent
    letter is E, then T, then A and so on, until the message springs to

    Let us analyse the message above:

    letter no of occurrences
    E 4
    A 3
    I 3
    P 3
    T 2
    R 2
    D 2
    and all the rest 1.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Your player would have a reasonable chance of decoding
    that message if you used a regular transposition.

    On the other hand, if the message is a long one, you can afford to
    have an irregular transposition such as:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]matching to:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] XFJQZKESVDNPIUWHARTYOBCGMP

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] for example.

    You could even make the message very short and the transposition immensely
    complex if you overtly or secretly include the key in your game instructions,
    as I did in the Paul Daniels Magic Adventure or in a codewheel or
    other device in the game pack. (See also the section on Copy Protection.)



    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Following:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Many discoveries can be made only if the player follows
    a non-player character or monster to find out what he/she/it is doing.

    It is especially useful to allow the player to eavesdrop on other
    characters in order to determine the magic words that open doors or
    quell demons.

    Sometimes following will permit directions and paths which are not
    available to the player moving independently. In at least one adventure,
    following an animal is a good way to get out of mazes.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] The Senses:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Smell and hearing can be useful adjuncts to an adventure.
    At least one adventure was issued with a `scratch and sniff' card,
    and Hitchhiker has a situation where the player must use senses other
    than sight to continue play.

    Characters with heightened senses may be able to detect danger at
    a greater distance than usual.

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Proxy Actions:

    [nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] Actions which might be undertaken by a player may[nbsp][nbsp]be
    delegated to a non-player character, usually a companion to the player.
    This delegation may be made explicit by command of the player, or
    implicit by virtue of the presence of the character.

    For example, Trent/Tiffany in Leather Goddesses always performs spontaneously
    to protect the player character if he/she is present.

    There is more discussion of this under the subject of Characters and

      Report Article
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