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Lesson 3: Both Tracks Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 3   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries   ::   Both Tracks Summaries

Montfort, N., Toward a theory of interaction fiction

Reading summary/quotes:

This article contains important IF game vocabulary. Montfort outlines the different types of players: the user, the player character, the narrator, and the voice of the system. Along with this is an explanation of world and rooms which makes useful distinctions and the point that in a game there can be multiple worlds. There is also a good discussion of the place of puzzles in IF.

A puzzle has to have a goal (a solution) and has to be non-trivial.

The goal of IF is winning, and a traversal that ends in such a reply is a successful traversal. Similarly, reaching a final reply that indicates failure is losing, which concludes an unsuccessful traversal.

“A work of interactive fiction is, among other things, a computer program that accepts text input from a user and produces text output in reply (p. 3).”

“...a simulated world, the IF world, is essential to interactive fiction (p. 3).”

“ IF work is also necessarily a generator of narratives (p. 3).”

IF is not always a game (p. 3-4).

“A session is what happen during the execution of an IF program (p. 4).”

“An interaction describes a series of continuous exchanges of texts between the program and the interactor (p. 4).”

“A traversal is what happens in one or more session, and or more interactions, when the interactor “completes a work of IF by going from the beginning until not more can be narrated (p. 5).”

“Although IF works are always called games, and almost all of them are games, their nature as game has hardly been explored at all (p. 13).”

“The discovery of the rules, through trial and error, is one of the principal attractions of the game. The mark of a well-designed game if this type is that the rules reveal a consistent style, and are not merely arbitrary (p. 13).”

Related articles/class discussions:

Discussion points/questions:

  • Discuss the main elements or components that make up the design of an IF game.

Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 3: Both Tracks Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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