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DVD Players and Text Adventures

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Anonymous
October 19, 2004 8:12:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Does anyone know if it would be possible to program a DVD player to
play text adventures such as from Infocom, Tads, or Inform? A DVD
player must have a little bit of Ram memory, since games such as
trivia have been made for them, and the Disney movies all have small
games on them. You could use the remote as a keyboard, and you could
use large fonts since the tv would be the display.

If it were possible, you would have the world's Cheapest computer at
$30 dollars or less.

Ryan
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 11:37:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

jetrocket24@yahoo.com (Jake Ryan) wrote:

>Does anyone know if it would be possible to program
>a DVD player to play text adventures such as from
>Infocom, Tads, or Inform? A DVD player must have
>a little bit of Ram memory, since games such as
>trivia have been made for them, and the Disney
>movies all have small games on them. You
>could use the remote as a keyboard, and you could
>use large fonts since the tv would be the display.
>
>If it were possible, you would have the world's
>Cheapest computer at $30 dollars or less.

That's interesting... I've taken a different route for playing IF
on my TV. My C64 is now hooked up to my TV for this reason - I
can play Infocom/Inform games as well as most of the Scott Adams
games. The 40-column mode is perfectly readable from the couch.

Alternatively, some older CGA, EGA and VGA cards have a video out
that can be used to connect to a TV. I see old PCs at yard sales
and things for next to nothing (often for nothing depending on
the age!). So long as you don't take the monitor (which is often
hard to dispose of if it turns out you don't need it), it may be
an even cheaper alternative. Old machines are not very desirable
for most modern software (which is why they are dumped cheaply)
but can still run most text-based IF games perfectly fine. I
still have my original QUANTUS XT up and running (IBM XT
knock-off clone running at 4.77MHz with a very powerful NEC V20
chip) with DOS TADS runtime, DOS FROTZ (for Z-Code games) and a
Scott Adams interpreter. It's a little slow (especially for
larger .Z8 games), but the feel of playing text adventures on the
old clickity keyboard with an original CGA tank-like monitor is
somewhat nostalgic.

But back to the original question... I would think it would be
possible to program a DVD player to do this but I have no
experience with it. I had thought about writing some Dreamcast
code to implement a Z-Machine interpreter. Dreamcast consoles
are cheap used (was $14 at Gamestop not long ago) and do support
a keyboard interface and there is a reasonable amount of
information on programming the machine these days.

--
Dave Bernazzani
Join the Commodore 32 Inform minigame contest:
http://www.gis.net/~daveber/minform/c32.htm
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 1:08:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

apparently all the major DVD burning people use different scripting
languages (which are then compiled to some sort of standard DVD
scripting interface that I can't find out anything about) so maybe
check with your authoring software?

Here are some demos for Apple's DVD studio pro, although it looks like
most of the commercial authoring stuff (and maybe the scripting format
itself) may restrict the size of scripts or the number of local
variables; it's kinda unclear.
http://www.wwug.com/cgi-bin/viewarticle.cgi?id=28520
Related resources
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 9:01:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Dave Bernazzani <daveber@gis.net> wrote:

> But back to the original question... I would think it would be
> possible to program a DVD player to do this but I have no
> experience with it. I had thought about writing some Dreamcast
> code to implement a Z-Machine interpreter. Dreamcast consoles
> are cheap used (was $14 at Gamestop not long ago) and do support
> a keyboard interface and there is a reasonable amount of
> information on programming the machine these days.

Do some googling and you'll find the Dreamcast port of Frotz.

--
David Griffith
dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 3:35:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu wrote in message news:<Aimdd.35$Lw3.11668@okeanos.csu.net>...
> Dave Bernazzani <daveber@gis.net> wrote:
>
> > But back to the original question... I would think it would be
> > possible to program a DVD player to do this but I have no
> > experience with it. I had thought about writing some Dreamcast
> > code to implement a Z-Machine interpreter. Dreamcast consoles
> > are cheap used (was $14 at Gamestop not long ago) and do support
> > a keyboard interface and there is a reasonable amount of
> > information on programming the machine these days.
>
> Do some googling and you'll find the Dreamcast port of Frotz.

Google some more and you'll find the Hugo terp for Dreamcast too,
but apparently it has no save feature.

/Fredrik
Anonymous
October 21, 2004 8:25:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"daniel_mcl@hotmail.com" <daniel_mcl@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<1098245283.018381.108220@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>...
> apparently all the major DVD burning people use different scripting
> languages (which are then compiled to some sort of standard DVD
> scripting interface that I can't find out anything about) so maybe
> check with your authoring software?
>
> Here are some demos for Apple's DVD studio pro, although it looks like
> most of the commercial authoring stuff (and maybe the scripting format
> itself) may restrict the size of scripts or the number of local
> variables; it's kinda unclear.
> http://www.wwug.com/cgi-bin/viewarticle.cgi?id=28520


Well, I found a tiny bit of information on DVD programming, it looks
like it won't be possible to make a zmachine for dvd players, they
only have 16 bytes of ram. It's a shame, there sure would have been a
potentially huge audience if it was doable.

http://www.adventuregamers.com/article/id,126

This guy created a very good game for DVD players called Sherlock
Holmes Consulting Detective, it's gotten good praise from reviews.

Ryan
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 6:37:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

jetrocket24@yahoo.com (Jake Ryan) wrote in message news:<cb512582.0410191512.10cbab29@posting.google.com>...
> Does anyone know if it would be possible to program a DVD player to
> play text adventures such as from Infocom, Tads, or Inform? A DVD
> player must have a little bit of Ram memory, since games such as
> trivia have been made for them, and the Disney movies all have small
> games on them. You could use the remote as a keyboard, and you could
> use large fonts since the tv would be the display.
>
> If it were possible, you would have the world's Cheapest computer at
> $30 dollars or less.
>
> Ryan

Basically all DVD interactivity is done by displaying a series of
(possibly different) static pictures.

That one is even able to play noughts and crosses on a DVD player is
mind boggling given this fact. The DVD has a separate picture (of the
entire screen) for each different state the board can be in (times 9
assuming that there is a cursor that you can move around) and a huge
table that tells the DVD player which picture to draw next.

DVD Scripting languages basically cover up this fact (by producing
enormous numbers of pictures).

A normal text adventure would be right out. The number of different
possible screens that can be produced by even 3 lines of text is too
large.

Not that I've played it but something Myst-like might be more
feasible.


David Jones
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 7:41:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

On 25 Oct 2004 02:37:55 -0700, drj@pobox.com (David Jones) wrote:


>
>Basically all DVD interactivity is done by displaying a series of
>(possibly different) static pictures.
>
>That one is even able to play noughts and crosses on a DVD player is
>mind boggling given this fact. The DVD has a separate picture (of the
>entire screen) for each different state the board can be in (times 9
>assuming that there is a cursor that you can move around) and a huge
>table that tells the DVD player which picture to draw next.

Being able to play noughts and crosses doesn't seem that mind-boggling.

From what I remember (possibly from a Martin Gardner book, possible from
Hofstadter's Godel, Esher and Bach), it's fairly feasible to build a
LEARNING 0-X playing machine from a couple of hundred matchboxes (243 comes
to mind), where each one represents a possible game-state (ignoring
rotations and reflections etc.).

If you prune the game-states to eliminate inevitable losses, and force
selection of guaranteed wins, then (from a quick google), the number of
states needed appears to be about 60-odd. Adding back in the extra
pictures for rotations and reflections still shouldn't need more than a
couple of hundred still images (although that's only a guess).

>DVD Scripting languages basically cover up this fact (by producing
>enormous numbers of pictures).
>
>A normal text adventure would be right out. The number of different
>possible screens that can be produced by even 3 lines of text is too
>large.

If by this you mean 3 lines x 80 chars x 26 letters then yes the numbers
get mind-bogglingly large, but one wouldn't even attempt do it this way (I
hope).

What I know of a DVD's internals, it would be well suited to CYOA type
games: this is the current situation, these are the tasks you can choose
between, these are the outcomes.

However, given the large capacity of a DVD, you should be able to create
something that appears much less like a CYOA game than a typical
paper-based or web-based version. For instance, you can model carrying (or
not) an item by having two parallel streams of choices. Of course you CAN
do this with web- or paper-based CYOA, but you should have more room to
play with on a DVD (although you would still have to watch out for
combinatorial explosion).

Ideally, you'd want some nifty computer-based tools that auto-generated the
parallel story strands -- you'd write the descriptions and logic in a (much
simplified) Inform-like language, and the compiler would auto-generate all
the streams (room1-empty, room1-with-obj1, room1-with-obj2,
room1-with-obj1-and-obj2 etc.) You probably need to ensure there were
several "pinch" points in the game, beyond which given objects can no
longer be taken (and tell the auto-generator about these) so that the
number of scenes doesn't explode).

>
>Not that I've played it but something Myst-like might be more
>feasible.
>

>
>David Jones


Regards,
Graham Holden (g-holden AT dircon DOT co DOT uk)
--
There are 10 types of people in the world;
those that understand binary and those that don't.
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 10:32:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <s9vpn09sfnuf6o0uf7oiejbmudjnlc2btu@4ax.com>,
Graham Holden <look@bottom.of.post> wrote:
>On 25 Oct 2004 02:37:55 -0700, drj@pobox.com (David Jones) wrote:
>
>
>>
>>Basically all DVD interactivity is done by displaying a series of
>>(possibly different) static pictures.
>>
>>That one is even able to play noughts and crosses on a DVD player is
>>mind boggling given this fact. The DVD has a separate picture (of the
>>entire screen) for each different state the board can be in (times 9
>>assuming that there is a cursor that you can move around) and a huge
>>table that tells the DVD player which picture to draw next.
>
>Being able to play noughts and crosses doesn't seem that mind-boggling.

It isn't - the game just has such a small set of states that you can
write down the entire game tree by hand (if you have a lot of patience);
alternatively, you can just have a table that tells you which move
to make from each position (which I suppose is what you are referring
to above).

What is mind-boggling, though, is the hen in Las Vegas that plays
tic-tac-toe against humans for money. From what I've heard, you pay
something like ten bucks to play, and if you win, you get $10k.
If you lose or it's a draw the hen's owner gets the money.

And it's a real, live, hen, not a computer simulation.

--
Magnus Olsson (mol@df.lth.se)
PGP Public Key available at http://www.df.lth.se/~mol
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 10:32:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <2u4v61F25atqoU1@uni-berlin.de>,
Magnus Olsson <mol@df.lth.se> wrote:
>
>What is mind-boggling, though, is the hen in Las Vegas that plays
>tic-tac-toe against humans for money. From what I've heard, you pay
>something like ten bucks to play, and if you win, you get $10k.
>If you lose or it's a draw the hen's owner gets the money.
>
>And it's a real, live, hen, not a computer simulation.

Not so hard if someone's prompting the hen.
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 10:57:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

David Jones <drj@pobox.com> wrote:

> A normal text adventure would be right out. The number of different
> possible screens that can be produced by even 3 lines of text is too
> large.

> Not that I've played it but something Myst-like might be more
> feasible.

"Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace" have been produced as a DVD. That is, pop
it into a regular DVD player and use the remote to control the game.
Given that, things like "Myst" and "7th Guest" should be doable.


--
David Griffith
dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 11:01:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Magnus Olsson <mol@df.lth.se> wrote:

> What is mind-boggling, though, is the hen in Las Vegas that plays
> tic-tac-toe against humans for money. From what I've heard, you pay
> something like ten bucks to play, and if you win, you get $10k.
> If you lose or it's a draw the hen's owner gets the money.

> And it's a real, live, hen, not a computer simulation.

I think the gimmick is that the hen is trained to peck at the correct
spots when they light up (or food pops up there). The hen doesn't
actually play, but is prompted by a computer.


--
David Griffith
dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu <-- Switch the 'b' and 'u'
Anonymous
October 25, 2004 11:49:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Here, dgriffi@cs.csbuak.edu wrote:
> David Jones <drj@pobox.com> wrote:
>
> > A normal text adventure would be right out. The number of different
> > possible screens that can be produced by even 3 lines of text is too
> > large.
>
> > Not that I've played it but something Myst-like might be more
> > feasible.
>
> "Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace" have been produced as a DVD. That is, pop
> it into a regular DVD player and use the remote to control the game.
> Given that, things like "Myst" and "7th Guest" should be doable.

Someone said 16 bytes of state was available? Myst has more than that,
though I think under 100 bytes. I haven't tried to count it up
carefully, but there are a lot of switches. Consider the fireplace
grid puzzle -- that's six bytes right there. Oh, and several objects
with rotation settings -- you could simplify those down to 4 bits
each, but I wouldn't go farther.

Dragon's Lair was specifically designed to have *one* byte of state --
your location -- plus a few bits of temporary storage (not saved from
room to room).

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
* Make your vote count. Get your vote counted.
Anonymous
October 26, 2004 1:14:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <-fCdncClVftZzeDcRVn-2A@speakeasy.net>,
Matthew Russotto <russotto@grace.speakeasy.net> wrote:
>In article <2u4v61F25atqoU1@uni-berlin.de>,
>Magnus Olsson <mol@df.lth.se> wrote:
>>
>>What is mind-boggling, though, is the hen in Las Vegas that plays
>>tic-tac-toe against humans for money. From what I've heard, you pay
>>something like ten bucks to play, and if you win, you get $10k.
>>If you lose or it's a draw the hen's owner gets the money.
>>
>>And it's a real, live, hen, not a computer simulation.
>
>Not so hard if someone's prompting the hen.

You heartless cynic, you! Please leave my illusions alone and let my
mind boggle in peace. :-)


--
Magnus Olsson (mol@df.lth.se)
PGP Public Key available at http://www.df.lth.se/~mol
Anonymous
October 26, 2004 3:28:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

David Jones wrote:
....
> A normal text adventure would be right out. The number of different
> possible screens that can be produced by even 3 lines of text is too
> large.
>
> Not that I've played it but something Myst-like might be more
> feasible.
>

It's not quite the same, but there used to be a graphic adventure game of sorts called Point Of View. It was more of an interactive movie that would play a scene and then ask the viewer a series of questions. Then the movie would proceed along a branch based on your answers. You could also examine several objects that appeared in the last scene and interview the characters. It was a pretty intriguing story with multiple paths. Some adult content however (a flashback rape scene, among other things).

I think it is still available from here:
http://www.aftermathmedia.com/pov/index2.html

There's also an interactive streaming demo of scene one at
http://www.insinc.com/pov/

Check it out.
Anonymous
October 27, 2004 8:17:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <cljlbf$qki$1@reader1.panix.com>,
Andrew Plotkin <erkyrath@eblong.com> wrote:
>Someone said 16 bytes of state was available? Myst has more than that,
>though I think under 100 bytes.

"Myst: Atari 2600 Edition"

I see a Great Need.

>Dragon's Lair was specifically designed to have *one* byte of state --
>your location -- plus a few bits of temporary storage (not saved from
>room to room).

There must have been some sort of bitmap tracking which rooms you'd
visited and whether you'd done the left-right reflection, though. You
wouldn't get to the eponymous lair until you'd been through all of the
rooms correctly, which was a source of great frustration to me since I
always had trouble with the timing of the horizontally-rotating
clubs-on-poles bit.

Adam
Anonymous
October 27, 2004 9:52:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

adam@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote in message news:<clohm1$n2r$2@news.fsf.net>...

> >Dragon's Lair was specifically designed to have *one* byte of state --
>
> There must have been some sort of bitmap tracking which rooms you'd
> visited and whether you'd done the left-right reflection, though.

Not necessarily. All you need is a number of scripts, each one of
which lists a different order in which to play the scenes. At each
opportunity for a button press, you either jump to the death scene for
that point or keep going. If you hit the end of the scene, jump to the
beginning of the next scene in the script. Repeat until done.

With, say, 30 scripts, I doubt you'd notice the difference between
that and truly random scene order.

--Josh
Anonymous
October 28, 2004 7:07:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

In article <76ea587b.0410271652.442f450d@posting.google.com>,
Josh Larios <jdlarios@gmail.com> wrote:
>Not necessarily. All you need is a number of scripts, each one of
>which lists a different order in which to play the scenes. At each
>opportunity for a button press, you either jump to the death scene for
>that point or keep going. If you hit the end of the scene, jump to the
>beginning of the next scene in the script. Repeat until done.
>
>With, say, 30 scripts, I doubt you'd notice the difference between
>that and truly random scene order.

You still need a mechanism to say "room 8 hasn't been done right yet" so
you can force the player to do it before you give him the end game.

Adam
Anonymous
October 28, 2004 4:12:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

adam@fsf.net (Adam Thornton) wrote in message news:<clpnq7$h5e$1@news.fsf.net>...

> You still need a mechanism to say "room 8 hasn't been done right yet" so
> you can force the player to do it before you give him the end game.

Ah, you're right. I'd forgotten that you couldn't get to the final
scene without replaying all the earlier scenes you died on.

<Emily_Litella> Never mind.

--Josh
!