How many verbs are perfect?

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I hate those adventures where you can´t choose a sentence but only a style. You´re as surprised as the person you´re talking to by what exactly your character says. I don´t like that because often I don´t agree with the content at all and I would have liked to have known that beforehand.

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That’s what I meant: You hand the control of the discussion over to the game. It would work, if the game tells you the sentences that it would use at the corresponding mood. :slight_smile:


But 30 inventory objects are overwhelming! Especially when you don’t have a fullscreen-inventory.

Btw. those were fixed a long time ago!

I did play Broken Age but otherwise I haven’t played a lot of such games. I don’t remember any specific bad puzzle implementations.

In the end there is no real difference if you use a spell like in Loom, or you use/read a magic scroll from your inventory or even use a master key from your inventory to open something.

Bad puzzle example btw.: Such bottle can be opened with ANYTHING, like an eye socket :slight_smile:

But it’s also natural to learn new skills and abilities, aka verbs. It’s mostly used in RPGs but also sometimes in adventure games.

Of course but you don’t need to learn how to drink anymore. It’s primary about getting the idea that you can use a certain verb in context with an object, so, basically, it’s about getting the idea.

Due to a good design and limited resources you should focus on what’s important to an adventure instead of making it a Jake-Of-All-Trades. I think having a sweet spot (which might be a context sensitive selection) of possibilities is better than having a sandbox of options which won’t work. Otherwise you’ll hear the statement(s) for trying out combinations, which won’t work, quite often.

Really? I need to play the game again. However. There are still other red herrings like the clock in the bank or the real red herring. Have a look in this thread:

The spells represents abstract concepts/verbs. The graphical representation or the position in the UI isn’t important. Even if I put them in the inventory, there is still a difference between verbs/actions and objects:

The master key is a key (= an object). If I see him in the inventory I know instantly that I can open a door with it. That isn’t the case if I see a spell named “hngl” or a sequence of notes in my inventory.

You do that regularly? :wink:

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout” did that: You can combine every object with every other object and each time you get a different comment. But I don’t want to be forced to implement that scheme in a game with 80 objects and up … :wink:

I would rather write a softly randomized statement generator than doing this. But yes, that’s hopefully not the strongest aspect of a game.

To sum up: the original question asked if it’s possible to have “scumm without use”. I now think it’s possible: (yesterday I didn’t :))

(note: binary verbs are not present. You just combine two objects for that)

I probably wouldn’t prefer the sandbox way but having one or a couple of verbs can both be OK. Both can work and there are great game out there as example.

Still you could add the possibility in adventure games to learn verbs, e.g. swim or climb. They would basically unlock new areas. Well, my preferred way is to unlearn verbs anyway, like in Zak McKracken :slight_smile:

You should!

I actually don’t know why Ron wouldn’t do something like backer items again (except because of the additional work). I don’t see anything wrong from the player’s perspective. Some red herrings are OK and most backer items were even fun to use.

I don’t see a real difference between using an object on a object or using a verb on a object to achieve the some thing like ‘open’.

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Whoo-hoo folks! I leave you alone for 3 hours, and I get 60 messages to read!?

Turn off

“That doesn’t seem to work.”



Yeah, the right mix.

But you don’t need a verb for unlocking an area. There is a location hidden in the mountains. First you need to know about it. Secondly you fail going there because you need some climbing equipment. Thirdly you need some training. So, you need to train (this is where you can make fun of the character) and get the stuff (the money to rent it or someone else’s climbing equipment). Then the area is unlocked and there is some climbing action/fun too (involving a balloon stunt, the Ransome Step). Same for the skydiver route (or use one a red herring/easier but more expensive).

Guess you can blame @seguso for being back in full force! :slight_smile:


When I was reading this topic I was thinking, “where is Seguso? Why is he not taking part in this?” :smiley: Then it happened, the rest is history

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Ok, suppose you don’t accept this way of playing. You want to encourage the player to first find the solution in her mind. (I agree)

But still you accept that, after she found the solution, she scans the list of objects to find the object she knows she needs.

You accept that she has to scan the inventory to find the bottle opener, after she has understood she needs the bottle opener.

But you don’t accept that she scans the inventory to find the “open” verb? This makes no sense to me.

How can you accept that she has to scan a long list to find the bottle opener, but not accept that she has to scan a long list to find the concept of “opening”. I see no difference, no matter how I look at it.

Funny… Not only I never did this, but I can’t even conceive to do this. (anyway, this has no bearing on the main point)

Say what you will, but you need me in this group. There was too much harmony without me.

I see your point, but still I don’t feel like it’s the same.

Verbs are basically a set of skills. Unless it’s something specific you have to learn, you suppose that your character is a fully functional being.

So maybe you know you have to “blow” something. Does it make sense that I, as a player, have to think “hey, let’s scroll the verb list to see if it includes blow”? To me, it breaks the immersion. What I’m saying is basically “hey, let’s see if the game allows me to do what I’m thinking”.

With objects, it’s different. You don’t start with 40 objects in your inventory (if you do, your game is flawed). You gather them from time to time. So what you’re checking is a set of objects you got to “learn” from time to time, and you might know beforehand if you have it or not.

So, even if I’m still scrolling through 40 elements, I’m actually checking if I have a “physical” object I need. That’s completely different, in my opinion. For example, let’s consider what happens if something I want to do isn’t there. If it’s an object, I might think “maybe I’ll find some alternative later”. If the verb isn’t there, I just think “the game doesn’t provide such interaction”.

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True, basically we were all like:



hmm… you are imagining a player that does not know what verbs he has, but knows what objects he has.

This seems to me kind of like a double standard. If we assume he knows what objects he has, we must also assume he knows what verbs (or skills) he has. Or neither.

But somehow you are putting the finger on a difference, on the rest of the post…

basically you are saying: for verbs, it can happen that you scan the list just to see if you have the verb you think you need. But with objects, this can’t happen, because you already know what objects you have, because you acquired them gradually. For verbs, you did not acquire them gradually, but you started with 12 verbs already in the inventory. So when you start you don’t know what verbs you have.

Fair enough. But this will only happen the first few times you scan the list. Then you’ll learn what verbs you have. How long will it take? half an hour?

For comparison, suppose your game starts with 12 objects in the inventory. You say it’s a flaw. But is it a big flaw? It does not seem to me to be.

Then you make a different point:

If you want to drink and don’t find the “drink” verb, you’ll think “the game does not provide this interaction”. Ok. But where’s the problem? Maybe the game does not provide that interaction.