Parser or Point and Click?

Talk about anything you want here
Post Reply
User avatar
stuntology
Sierra Obsessed
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:07 am
Location: Canada
Gender: Male

Parser or Point and Click?

Post by stuntology » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:48 pm

I was wondering what interface people preferred, and what they like/dislike about either of them for adventure games.

On the whole, I definitely prefer the point-and click Sierra adventures. You don't need to fish around for the right synonym to complete a puzzle, it's much easier to 'look' and get a description of anything in a room, and any 'illogical' puzzles can be solved with less trial and error than would be the case with a parser interface (Imagine the yeti puzzle with a parser!).

My exception is the Quest for Glory series. Even though 4 is my favourite, I prefer the style of the first 2. I think there are three reasons for my preference.
1: The series seems to have less 'illogical, random item use' puzzles than the other Sierra games. Most of the solutions to puzzles were easy enough to articulate with a parser, or were based on your skills.
2: I think that dialogue was made much too easy with point and click. The trees give you all possible conversations, while the parser system leaves conversation topics up to you. This gives you way more freedom into how in-depth you want to explore the world rather than simply clicking on all options to see where they lead.
3: Hotkeys and F4 repeats made the games so much faster to control. The point and click games make you sift through menus to cast the same spell over and over, which takes a very long time.

So, what's everyone else's thoughts on this?

User avatar
gumby
Oldbie
Posts: 937
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:55 pm
Gender: M
Location: The Great Underground Empire

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by gumby » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:55 pm

Huge fan of the parser. But it's implementation needs to be fully vetted out for it to be a success (test, test, test!). Playing 'guess the word the developer was thinking of' is never fun. However, I was extremely sad to see it disappear from Sierra's and others games.

I always found that point & click made things too easy. It removes the need for using imagination to an extent.

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:12 pm

gumby wrote:it's implementation needs to be fully vetted out for it to be a success (test, test, test!). Playing 'guess the word the developer was thinking of' is never fun.
I have been going through the AGI fan games for the AGI Wiki and this is ever more apparent than the SCI fan games. This may be because Peter Kelly did not build the AGI template game vocab list (WORDS.TOC) as thoroughly as Brian did for the SCI template game.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
BBP
Village Elder
Posts: 4643
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:07 am
Gender: Not Specified
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by BBP » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:57 am

I'd be a fan of parsers if it wasn't for the fact that most Sierra parsers just aren't well implemented enough to use for non-native speakers. LSL1 is really the only parser game I've yet played where the parser is really cooperative, thanks to the betatesting. When I discovered even texts like "look wall" could yield a funny response, man, that rocked.
When I first played KQ3 I had ample warning about the cookie, but LB1, good heavens... Besides from having to type a lot (would've been nice if they'd implemented shortcuts for the character names as well) its vocabulary is too limited. The game broke for me when I couldn't get Laura to look at the sign in the playhouse. It looked like a sign, but the game didn't recognize that word and I didn't know what else to call it. GoldRush is a parser game I played as a kid. Use the word "played" loosely: as a ten-year-old I basically imitated everything I saw my father do ingame, which is frustrating with all the random deaths. Watching my father play it again, seeing how much trouble he had with the parser and verb guessing... At least you could use shortcuts like l for look and t for talk. In the KQs 1, 2 and 4 I eventually stumble into parser trouble. In these days, it just takes too much effort to guess verbs, and too little effort to look up a walkthrough on the WWW. I just don't want to play a game by shutting it down and waiting with playing until I can come up with a better word.
There's a new script around: PHANTASMAGORIA! Check the Script Party topic in the Bard's Forum!
Skip to new scripts

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:23 am

For many of the SCI0 games you can right click on an object to "look" at it. Often just typing "look" or "look room" will describe objects in that room. Otherwise, the "guess what word I am thinking of now" game with the developer is an exercise in frustration.

I just had a thought. The vocabulary for existing SCI0 games could be added to, even without the source, using SCI Companion.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
gumby
Oldbie
Posts: 937
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:55 pm
Gender: M
Location: The Great Underground Empire

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by gumby » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:56 pm

Collector wrote:I just had a thought. The vocabulary for existing SCI0 games could be added to, even without the source, using SCI Companion.
Correct, we can do that. For example, if a game referred to a 'sword', you could edit the vocab, find the 'sword' word & add a synonym to it (let's say 'knife'). Then you could use 'knife' as a substitute for any input that involved 'sword'.

What we can't do is add additional logic (i.e. new sentence structures) for the parsing. If the game is looking for 'take hat' we wanted to have it also recognize 'put on hat', we are out of luck.

What should be possible is to take a SCI0 game that was only made in one language and translate it to a different language by adding synonyms to the vocab. This would work as long as the sentence structure followed the source language. If it didn't (think Romantic vs Germanic) you'd have to make changes to some of the parser resources to make it work. Sounds like a pretty fun project to me.

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:41 pm

I realize what would be possible to do, but it just had never occurred to me to try to expand a Sierra game's vocabulary to ease the problem of one that is too limited.

I not familiar with what some like NRS or Endroz have done to make script patches, but perhaps just changing the values of variables within the scripts with a hexeditor. I am not sure how possible it might be to add a reference to an additional script into an existing script. That additional script could be written and compiled in Companion, if so.

As to a translation of an SCI game, you would also need to translate the TEXT resource, otherwise it would not make much sense to add foreign words to the VOCAB resource.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
gumby
Oldbie
Posts: 937
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:55 pm
Gender: M
Location: The Great Underground Empire

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by gumby » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:01 pm

Collector wrote:I realize what would be possible to do, but it just had never occurred to me to try to expand a Sierra game's vocabulary to ease the problem of one that is too limited.
Agreed, I hadn't had that thought about doing that until Tawmis' post here in this thread (and my response): http://www.sierrahelp.com/forums/viewto ... cab#p48624
Collector wrote: As to a translation of an SCI game, you would also need to translate the TEXT resource, otherwise it would not make much sense to add foreign words to the VOCAB resource.
That's a good point, I completely overlooked that. Plus there could be embedded strings in scripts that would have to be translated.

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:32 pm

I remember the thread, but had somehow missed that you had added to SQ3's vocab. Looks like you could also use AGI Studio' WORDS.TOC to add to an AGI game's vocabulary.
gumby wrote:Plus there could be embedded strings in scripts that would have to be translated.
That should not be too hard to do with a hexeditor.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
Tawmis
Grand Poobah's Servant
Posts: 13717
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:19 am
Gender: Not Specified
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Tawmis » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:42 am

I will always favor text over point and click when it comes to computer games (this does not apply to console games, because typing on a console is a nightmare if you're doing it with a joystick!)

As already previously stated Gumby; I think point and click made the game way to easy. You essentially go into a new screen, click frantically everywhere, and see if you pick up a new item. Yes, guessing what the programmer was thinking WAS a pain; but it also made you appreciate the game (well, it did for me) more, when you did figure it out. Granted, being able to - for example, edit the VOCAB thing for old Sierra games is quite nice. It would have been cool to have the ability (or know about it) early on, so users could "customize" the "dictionary" the same way folks can in WORD by adding words to the "dictionary" it uses. If Sierra games were free to release to the public, I would actually STRONGLY consider editing the VOCAB for these games and releasing them with Collector's installers so more people could enjoy them. It'd take a long time to get a WIDE assortment of words in there; but I'd do it.

On the flip side, like BBP said; most of these games were released only in English; making non English folks struggle with some of the verbage used in these games. So I can understand why point and click is easier in that regard.

But I remember (I think I have mentioned this several times on this forum) - the first time I saw that Sierra switched to point and click - was the first time I ever took the time to write any company a negative letter about their product.

Without a doubt, Sierra games had a very strong influence on my ability to learn to type as quickly as I do.

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:57 am

You don't need to wait for public domain release. They could be done as external VOCAB resource patches that could be included in an installer. They could also be simply dropped into the folder of a GOG release to work. The only games that this would not work for would be the very first SCI0 games, which would be the rare first release of KQ4 and the very first LSL2. For these a binary patch would have to be made.

This is really not that different from the subtitle patches that have been made by fans, so fire up Companion and get cracking. If you need help getting started, just ask. I'm sure Gumby would be happy to answer any questions, too.
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
Tawmis
Grand Poobah's Servant
Posts: 13717
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 1:19 am
Gender: Not Specified
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Tawmis » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:38 pm

Collector wrote:You don't need to wait for public domain release. They could be done as external VOCAB resource patches that could be included in an installer. They could also be simply dropped into the folder of a GOG release to work. The only games that this would not work for would be the very first SCI0 games, which would be the rare first release of KQ4 and the very first LSL2. For these a binary patch would have to be made.

This is really not that different from the subtitle patches that have been made by fans, so fire up Companion and get cracking. If you need help getting started, just ask. I'm sure Gumby would be happy to answer any questions, too.
I may just do that in Jan. (This month I am doing that National Writing a Novel In A Month madness and December has Christmas). So in Jan, I may just start doing that!

User avatar
audiodane
A Member Of Cap'n Tawmis' Scurvy Crew
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:14 am
Location: ..strange but true..
Gender: Confident

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by audiodane » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:08 pm

So it's been over a year since I've logged on (sorry), but this sounds awesome! I have been wanting to get back (AGAIN) to these old games with my kids and an expanded vocabulary would be great! Rather than a single person taking on this effort, I wonder if these pages could somehow capture a living document of vocab to add to various games; a team would be able to come up with many more vocab fixes than any single person..

..dane

User avatar
Collector
Grand Poobah
Posts: 11561
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:57 am
Location: Sierraland
Contact:

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by Collector » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:11 pm

Welcome back. Somewhere is a happy birthday thread for you from around the time of your birthday
01000010 01111001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100001

Image

User avatar
audiodane
A Member Of Cap'n Tawmis' Scurvy Crew
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:14 am
Location: ..strange but true..
Gender: Confident

Re: Parser or Point and Click?

Post by audiodane » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:29 pm

Already found it! :)

Post Reply