Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fallthru: 400,000 Squares and Counting

Fallthru consists of vast distances with little to discover in between.

About 6 hours into Fallthru, I'm not sure I understand its point. Some commenters have praised it extensively, but I confess I don't quite see the charm. The game seems to delight in needling me with constant logistical considerations while blocking any kind of progress I try to make on the plot.

After the last post, I was determined to figure out the scope of the game world. I had made enough ralls from combat and selling one ikon (as for the two others, see below) that I could afford plenty of food. I decided to go west as far as I could and see if I could find the western border.

500 steps later, I arrived exhausted in the city of Oshan on the western sea. The city turned out to have nothing of note, so I pretty much just turned around and headed back. The trip was valuable for the journey itself. From all of the warriors I fought and defeated on the way, I rose to Level 22, and from all of the peasants to whom I had generously donated food, water, and ralls, I received several gifts in return, including a silver amulet (which warns when danger is near), two rubies, and a "wherstone" that, when you LOOK AT it, gives your present coordinates on the map from a southwest origin point.

Oshan turned out to be at 0, 625. Or'gn, the opening city, is at 500, 625. Later, I walked to the cliff that makes up the northern border, and found it at 750. However, this might not be the actual northern border because the game says that I can see a desert at the bottom of the cliff and some of my bits of lore refer to settlements in the desert. I can't get to the eastern border yet, for reasons I'll recount below. I'm still insisting on mapping, in a giant Excel workbook with the coordinates frozen in the first row and columns. It's so big that it doesn't fit on a single screen even at the lowest zoom level.

The parts I've mapped. The road heading west goes for about three more screens before it ends at Oshan.

With so much space--at least 412,500 squares so far--it would be a waste of time to aimlessly wander the wilderness, hoping to find dungeons or special encounters. Lore and signs point you to places you need to go, and almost everything of value is found on a road. I've been mapping farms, forest, and plains when I have to leave the road for a particular reason, but mostly I've been concentrating on the street network.

Despite the value of the journey, long trips are tedious for several reasons. First, if a warrior or commoner is going to appear in a square, it takes a couple of seconds for this to happen after you arrive. If you're rapidly typing W-ENTER-W-ENTER-W-ENTER, you'll blow past them and never have any encounters.

Second, food, water, and stamina steadily deplete during the trek, and every so often you have to eat, drink, and rest. Although you can carry some food and water with you, this generally means finding a farm or inn where you can buy food and get free water. About every 10 minutes of game time, you've got to find a stopping point next to a well or spring and enter some series of commands like this:

MOVE FROM BACKPACK TO HAND 5 FOOD
EAT
DRINK
REST
REST
DRINK
REST
EAT
REST
EAT
EAT
DRINK
DRINK
REST
REST

You've got to keep switching between them because if you do nothing but rest for 5 rounds, you'll end up really hungry and thirsty. You might even die of hunger while you sleep. And apparently eating and drinking brings on the fatigue. It's a bit of an effort to get all the values to their max score of 8 at the same time.

I feel like Tuco Ramirez.

This was an interesting logistical challenge early in the game, but now that I have enough money and storage for plenty of food and water, and have mapped most of the water locations in the area, it seems a little unnecessary. It would have been nice if the game had just decided, after a while, "All right; I'm going to assume that you're all set on food and drink now." It doesn't even really make sense for these things to deplete at the same rate.

Transferring items also continues to be a pain in the neck. By the time I got back to Or'gn from Oshan, I had enough money for a burro, which the game named "Pecos." I haven't reached his max carrying capacity yet, so it's nice to have something that can carry a lot of food and water. It's just annoying to have to keep moving stuff from hand to backpack to burro. Late in the last session, when I had enough money for a "Flyr"--a device that allows rapid traveling--I hauled my backpack full of ralls into the store to buy it for $300. I don't see any reason I couldn't have just typed BUY FLYR and had it automatically deduct from my backpack. But it insisted that I drop them on the counter first. Unfortunately, owing to the other stuff I was carrying, I could only handle about 100 ralls at a time. Thus, BUY FLYR became:

MOVE FROM BACKPACK TO HAND 100 RALLS
DROP 100 RALLS
MOVE FROM BACKPACK TO HAND 100 RALLS
DROP 100 RALLS
MOVE FROM BACKPACK TO HAND 100 RALLS
DROP 100 RALLS
BUY FLYR

Yes, there are shortcuts for the commands (like "MV" for MOVE) and some of the objects ("P01" is the first backpack), but they don't save that much time.

On to content. The primary thing I've managed to accomplish since the last session is defeat a bunch of warriors and get my own warrior level up to 32. Such combats are lucrative enough that I've also managed to buy a sword and armor. It took me a while, but I've figured out the logistics of the system. Basically, any two warriors at the same level are evenly matched as long as their equipment is the same. So if I'm Level 20, wearing no armor, and carrying an axe, and I meet ALI-FU, who I know is also Level 20 and is carrying an axe, my odds of defeating him are about 50/50. The odds seem to increase by around 10% for every variance in levels, so if I meet a Level 15 warrior with the same equipment, my victory is essentially inevitable.

But the equipment makes a big difference. Every weapon upgrade (knife to mace, mace to axe, axe to sword) is worth around 2 levels, with scimitars worth an extra 2 or 3. Armor is worth about 5 levels.

Thus, if I'm Level 20 and armed with an axe and no armor, and I meet a Level 15 warrior armed with a sword and wearing armor, his functional level is more like 15+2+5=23, and he's going to win about 80% of the time. 

I know from past experience that ASOECOEVI is Level 30. But his knife vs. my sword means that I can subtract about 6 levels.

When you encounter a warrior, you have three options: accept his challenge and FIGHT, say HELLO and get his level and some lore, or just walk away. If you use the HELLO option, he leaves immediately afterwards, so you can't fight him until you encounter him again. But NPC warriors never increase in levels, and their equipment changes all the time. So if I previously met AYUANA'GO and I couldn't defeat him because he was 5 levels higher and carrying good equipment, I might run into him an hour later and find that thanks to my own level improvements and lesser equipment on his part, I can easily beat him. I mostly decide to attack when my odds are higher than 70%. If my opponent wounds me to less than half my hit points, I'll YIELD and pay a few coins. Occasionally, I die, but death doesn't have major consequences.

Victory! Rewards for successful combat vary between 1 and around 30 ralls. I think it has to do with the level variance between you and your opponent.

The game does scale the level of encounters with warriors. Now that I'm above Level 30, I never encounter warriors at Levels 0-20 anymore. Rarely, I'll meet one who's 25. Mostly, I run into 30-45. Again, since warriors never increase in levels, the game keeps up by just generating new names. Weird names. Some examples: EZE, BA, ECA'NOASE, AZOEGU'WU, ACO, AHOAQO'PU, VE, EYEEJEAJU.

On the plot side of things, I'm having trouble making much progress. A few things I've tried to do:

  • My attempts to explore the fringes of the map--including finding the eastern terminus--have been hampered by "renegade" warriors who attack immediately upon encountering them. This is a problem because most of them are higher levels than me, and I don't like having to FLEE, which doesn't always work. These renegades are responsible for most of my deaths. I've  never encountered them towards the center of the map.

Bastard.

  • As we discussed last time, I explored a small dungeon beneath Slavhos and found a treasure room with rubies and several ikons. I was able to carry the bronze ikon back to Or'gn for sale, but even if I'm not carrying anything else, the game insists I'm not strong enough to pick up the gold ikon or any of the stone ikons.
  • Beneath Forod, there's something called a "stone maze." I haven't explored all of it because I keep stumbling upon silver ikons and--you guessed it--I can't pick them up.
  • The silver amulet opened up the door to Black Water Cavern, which I found beneath a grassy mound northeast of Odetn. The dungeon dumps me into a watery maze full of leeches who quickly sap my health. I can find my way to a valve, but if I try to TURN it, the game says, again, that I'm not strong enough.

Being nibbled to death by leeches while I try to get through this area.

Clearly, "strength" is a thing in the game, although there isn't any kind of visible strength statistic. I wondered if it somehow was affected by combat level. To run a test, I found a farm, where you can gather all the rocks you want. I dropped everything and picked up rocks until I couldn't carry any more. Then, I started a new game with a Level 0 character and did the same thing. Both carried a maximum of 45 rocks. So either strength has nothing to do with combat level or carrying capacity has nothing to do with strength.

Lore tells me that "opal scimitars" increase a warrior's strength. I also know from lore that opal scimitars are the only things that can cut through the "lithian chains" on the vault in Or'gn, and that I can find one in Eyry, which is "west of the cleft, outside the gate of Hole-in-the-Wall." This is somewhere along the cliff that marks the northern border, so perhaps this is my next trip.

A useful bit of lore.

A few other quick notes:

  • More creatures! I had already encountered squal (quail) and rabir (rabbits); to this, we can add squir (squirrels), hyens (hyenas), and davi (deer). I encountered most of these critters in the "Glu'me" woods. As an anonymous commenter pointed out, creativity in naming wasn't Mr. Deal's strength. Davi can be hunted, though apparently not with knives, so I need to buy a spear. If it turns out I need the food and money, I'll do that.

I don't particularly want to kill squirrels, but I'm hungry.

  • In a game obsessed with logistical issues, you thankfully don't have to feed and water the burro. Moreover, he appears "in hand," as if you're carrying him. You have to DROP him to go up a tree or down in a dungeon.
  • The game keeps track of lives, adding one to your count every time you restore. I was worrying about this, thinking I might run out or it might subtract from my combat effectiveness, but I just noticed that it resets the count every time you restart the game.
  • The Flyr allows you to move up to 20 times normal speed, which is really handy if you're traveling a route that you've already taken. It's not handy if you're trying to map all of the paths, or if you want to encounter warriors or NPCs along the way.
 
I still have lots of roads and pathways to explore, but I wouldn't mind if the game started offering a little more in terms of content and plot betwixt these vast distances of featureless farms, forests, and roads.


63 comments:

  1. Game seems to have more of a simulation then an RPG approach to game play.

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  2. Ah, you're just doing things in the most obtuse way... MV FR P01 TO HERE 300 RALLS

    You aren't strong enough to carry things around in your hands. Cram it in a pack.

    Have you tried adding missile weapons to the mix during combat? They're not just good for pestering wildlife.

    I never thought about what poor Pecos was eating. Perhaps, like Superman, he is able to draw strength from the sun of Faland. After all, since he's a burro and not a b'ro, he must be from Home and not a native Falander.

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    1. I missed HERE as an option when moving things.

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    2. Since you say you love the game so much, I assume you've gotten further into it than I have. Can you tell me the answer to my "strength" conundrum, or is it too much of a spoiler? Any other light hints on some kind of main quest would be welcome, too. I feel like I'm just wasting time walking on roadways.

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    3. For the main quest, you've probably noticed there are sets of related items mentioned in lore. I'm not sure exactly how many you have, but you've definitely been to the place that gets you the item you need to get to the first place on the main quest, and you've mentioned seeing some of the lore about that place.

      As far as I know, there's no way to increase your carrying capacity other than using equipment and burros. You should be able to move ikons around by putting them in your pack (MV FR HERE TO P01 BRONZE IKON) and hauling them on your back instead of in your hands.

      As mentioned below, "strength" is synonymous with "level". I've forgotten whether you need high level to use the valve in blackwater cave, but it seems plausible. I know there are other level tests, and blackwater cave is on the main quest path, and obviously further than you "should" be, since you haven't found the beginning.

      One weakness of the game is that it's pretty easy to fight your way part-way into some place that is both deadly and useless to you because you're not prepared for it. There's not much to be done except to gather as much lore as possible and hope you see the one that would dissuade you from trying something suicidal.

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    4. HERE fixed the ikon issue, too. Thanks. I thought everything had to pass through hands on the way to and from other containers.

      The best guess I can come up with from your hints has to do with the bronze ring and Thun. I just found the ringmaker in Triod who will trade a ruby for a bronze ring. The problem is I don't have a clue where Thun is. I'll keep exploring.

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    5. Hrm. Spoiler: have you found anything else bronze under Slavhos? (not ikons)

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    6. Yes, a key. Is Hole-in-the-Wall my next stop?

      Since I posted this, I've gotten up to Level 76 (which seems to be the max) and I still can't turn the damned valve.

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    7. "Thun", "Or'gn".. Orgoreyn

      Sounds like Mr. Deal is fond of Ursula LeGuin as well as Frank Herbert.

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    8. Again, I've forgotten the solution to this puzzle, so this is just a guess: Are you at INJURY: 8 when you try to turn the valve? Perhaps you are too weak due to injury. That would give a nice puzzle synergy with the leeches.

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    9. More CRPGs ought to enable adventurers to equip pantyhose underneath their leg armor (without encumbrance penalty, of course). Why would anyone want to do that? Because pantyhose are leech-proof in real life. Navy SEALs wore them in Vietnam. So any wandering fantasy adventurer should keep a couple of pairs in his pack of holding.

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    10. I wore em on a 3 day horse trek to protect from saddle rash. As a bonus, it made my tentmate uncomfortable to see me in them ;)

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  3. (Same anon here who cited "Snowball" and complained about the names from the start.)

    Okay, it would've been a lot better if Mr. Deal had done what the unknown author of "Swords of Glass" did -- just put all the names into a foreign language, preferably an obscure one (to Anglophones). It wouldn't have to be a language that the author knew; he could just use an English-[Foreign] dictionary. Just as simple, but it doesn't insult the player's intelligence.

    The random naming is a mildly interesting touch, but apparently he used a horrible algorithm, probably of his own design. Here's a *really* quick and dirty one that works a bit better: just generate a random integer between three and six, which will be the number of syllables in the name; then, for each syllable, generate a random consonant followed by a random vowel, but don't use Q or vocalic Y or the dreaded "fantasy apostrophe". Bam, you're done, and you've got better-looking results than those seen here. On the other hand, some of these names look suspiciously NON-random -- "'Ey, you wanna go?"

    Anyway, if the fantasy world is (apparently) full of regular humans, then why is the wildlife "different"? If the author wants to suggest, "This is absolutely, positively, not Earth, really!", there are better ways to do it than slapping new names on perfectly ordinary animals. That's even lower than making up dubious stuff like "snake-bats" or "Betelgeusian slime devils".

    And how does the PC *know* that this obviously squirrel-looking thing is a "squir", not a squirrel? Doesn't everyone in Faland conveniently speak English? And you know that nobody took the trouble to give the player a wildlife guide that said, "This unexceptional critter is called a 'squir' in our world." I dislike it when a character is wandering around in a gameworld, sees a monster or whatever for the very first time, and says, "Oh noes, it's a Baatezu!" Well, how would he know that?

    I feel slightly guilty about slagging off someone who took the trouble to write his own game, but that's the price you pay for putting your work out there. I'm increasingly suspicious that the game was originally intended for elementary-school-age children, but PC-SIG should've demanded a thorough rewrite.

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    1. For god's sake, just pick a name for yourself. Use the "Name/URL" option when posting, and just don't enter a URL.

      Anyway, you're a lot more critical than I am. Suspensions of disbelief about language and similarities to Earth are necessary in many fantasy games; this one is just a little more obvious about it by offering the same creatures as Earth but calling them slightly different things.

      George R. R. Martin has "aurochs" and "llizard-lions," which are manifestly just cattle and alligators.

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    2. Okay, here it is. (I would've said "RPG ... ", but it was taken.) The imitative similarity should be taken as flattery. After all, you've given thousands of people (including me) thousands of hours of free entertainment and education. I've been lurking here for two years, during which I've found out about a bunch of games that I hadn't known about, and I've learned a lot about game design, too; and I really appreciate all of it. Thanks for the games, Chet.

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    3. I hope that the caustic comments about fantasy names weren't too long-winded. I know that these are common failings in fantasy games; but then again, so are broken economies, and yet that doesn't mean that we have to like them. It would just be better and more honest to call a deer a deer; it's not a sign of laziness. If you really want to make your gameworld suitably alien, just fill it up with evil cultists or something like that.

      Speaking of Martin, he can think up interesting life-forms when he wants to (see "Sandkings"), but the ASoIaF series isn't really about biology (or linguistics or planetology) so much as human nature. That covers a multitude of sins, so you can pardon the less original or less plausible aspects. But FallThru doesn't look like it'll follow through with anything of similar redeeming value, which makes it "hack" fantasy.

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    4. Aurochs are actually a prehistoric ancestor of modern cattle, so it's possible that Martin means those instead. Or he could just be using a more "fantasy" sounding word for cattle. Who knows.

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    5. @Anonymous: You're not exercising your head-canon hard enough. We already know that humans "fall through" into Faland. Why couldn't that be the origin of all humans? A lot of the language is spelled a little weirdly because it's based on English as remembered by later generations out of contact with Home. The animal that is almost exactly but not entirely like a squirrel got called squir by the first humans, etc. Gamewise, I think it's a clever way to convey that something is similar but different using only text. And remember that in addition to squir, hyen and berven, there are also total novelties like felven and pharg.

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    6. @X: Not having played this game (it's on my computer, but now I'm determined but to play it), I'm just guessing and riffing here, based on what you and Chet say.

      Okay, let's entertain the idea that Earth-humans have fallen into a parallel Earth with an identical biome. Furthermore, they were all Anglophones to begin with, at some indefinite point in the past. Likely ramifications include:

      1) Due to a small and sparsely-settled population, language is unlikely to quickly drift from its original state -- antiquated English. They should sound like Appalachians or Yorkshiremen or Shakespeare or Chaucer or something.
      2) If anything were to evolve over time in the language, mid-syllable vowels would be more likely than consonants or syllabic vowels, which rarely drop off. "Squirrel" would become "squarl", not "squir". OTOH, Anglophones from Ye Olden Daies wouldn't have any word for hyenas at all, unless they made up something like "chuckledogs".
      3) Likewise, no etymology could exist for "Pharg"; they'd call it after a superficially similar animal they knew, the way that koalas and pandas were inaccurately called "bears".
      4) Names are more than averagely resistant to malformation over time, and yet we see names like "Ayuana'go" with no explanation.

      Need I go on subjecting the FallThru universe to severe xenolinguistic scrutiny?

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    7. Well, you certainly picked the right handle. Tell me, are you capable of enjoying Spiderman or do you stand up in the theater shouting that genetic code can't be transferred through a bite, and it doesn't work that way anyway?

      It's FANTASY. Things only have to be remotely plausible.

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    8. As long as it serves a purpose beyond world-building, I agree. In Spider-Man's case, unless you invent some way for him to get his superman powers, there's no comic/show/movie at all -- which is no loss if it sucks, but not if it has some merit. As long as my suspension of disbelief is rewarded, it's livable.

      Film Crit Hulk Smash talked about the "there's no movie" problem, but sometimes you have to ask if the movie deserves to exist. There was a fake TV show once on The Simpsons called "Hail to the Chimp", about a chimpanzee president. You can say that there's no show if you grouse about the Constitution, but so what? Should there be? Same with a lot of MST3K's targets.

      If a heartbreaking work of staggering genius has some picayune errors, whatever, it's no big deal. But if the thing is just rubbish, there's no reason not to pan it.

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    9. "But if the thing is just rubbish, there's no reason not to pan it." Fair enough. I'm just not at the point that I think Fallthru is "rubbish." I feel like there's something here that I'm just not getting.

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    10. Well, I'm of two minds about this: obviously Fallthru's author is no Tolkien. But also: if you can't head-canon your way through something so simple, it reflects badly on your imagination moreso than the original author.

      We know (spoiler?) demons also exist in Faland. Pharg could be from their native tongue. Warrior honorifics could come from anything. Maybe you're born under a certain star to get your first syllable and the warrior you first defeat is your second syllable. Who knows? Use your imagination!

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    11. (This is the TRPG Curmudgeon again, but I've changed my handle. The other one sounded more hostile than I liked.)

      X, I'm going to ignore the plausibility issues with your suggested fixes, because nobody's interested in all that nitpicking.

      Anyway, it looks like you and I just have different approaches to these things. In general, I'm too curmudgeonly to "just go with it" in other people's settings; my sense of game immersion gets easily broken when something doesn't smell right to me. It's not a failure of imagination so much as an intolerance for silliness. When I'm looking at a phoned-in, paint-by-numbers universe, I feel insulted and cheated. You're probably a lot happier not having that attitude.

      What it really boils down to is whether someone is willing to try to handwave his way through this universe. I don't have any emotional investment in the milieu, so I won't bother. I figure that you played it as a kid, so you're willing to overlook a lot of problematic stuff. To each his own.

      Ironically, in other contexts, I'm one of those guys who resents captious nitpicking. It's easy to dissect Babylon 5 or Game of Thrones or whatever on various grounds, but that would completely miss the overarching point of the series. The lower criticism doesn't matter if the higher criticism is terrific. If I think that an author's actually going to reward my trust in him, fine; but if not, forget it. That's why I clocked out of Lost during the first season; the show-runners were obviously screwing around without a plan, so there was no reason to get my hopes up without a pay-off at the end.

      Chet seems to think that this game has hidden potential, and some of you guys seem to be fond of it. I'll be surprised but pleased if FallThru actually turns out to have a great ending. We'll see.

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    12. Well, at least we have common ground on Lost; I responded to it exactly the same way you did. The difference IMHO is that your problems with Fallthru all concern surface stuff: this object has a funny label. Unlike Lost, Fallthru doesn't have deep structural problems. There are no polar berven wandering around Or'gn without satisfactory explanation.

      If it would make you happier to go through the code and replace "berven" with "bear" throughout, I think the game would still work okay. I wonder though if you would then spend your time wondering why bears are so afraid of fire and only come out at night, because berven are actually similar to but not quite the same as bears.

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    13. Sort of late to the game here, but I read curmudgeon's suggestion for a name generator and thought, "No way that'd be all that good." So I coded it up to see. I had to laugh when my first entry came out as "Vito," which is a normal-enough name. Many others after that were less normal, possibly with a little bit of what seemed like vaguely African flavor. They're not great, but not terrible. Nothing could be as terrible as the generator here that's got apostrophes and dashes in it.

      If you want to try it yourself, I've got it running here:
      http://quirkz.com/name-generator.php

      Then I said, surely I could do it better. For one, some names should start with vowels, maybe even a third, and many should end with consonants, perhaps half. Add some consonant blends, allow for some multi-vowel appearances, and try to adjust frequency a bit so that it's still mostly singles, and mostly the more common consonants, and I came up with this "improved" generator, available here:
      http://quirkz.com/name-generator2.php

      Despite the improved logic, the names themselves are mostly kind of bad. While in theory the improved generator could come up with a lot of realistic-sounding names, in practice it doesn't do so well. There's obviously a lot more to the science of linguistics.

      Best result so far: once I got "Pee" as a name. Not that bad, but a reminder that an auto-generator might need a profanity filter. Also, all this is *pure* random, whereas Fallthru's system obviously had something tying the name with a fixed level.

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  4. Strength = Level I think. It's not actually referring to a physical atribute

    Your screenshot says "Ki reveals his strength as level 40"

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-g1uathaCLY0/U7R_sjYMVCI/AAAAAAAAYjY/LffgVzSuonw/s1600/fallthru_093.png

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    1. Good call. I missed that. But in the context of the two puzzles, it would make more sense if it referred to a physical attribute.

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    2. "I vanquished another foe. I am so good! I will celebrate that by now calling myself Ki"

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    3. There must be a lot of dudes who call themselves "Glass Joe". He ought to feel honored.

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    4. Oddly enough, in Fallish syllables are VCV and ' counts as a vowel, so 'KI only has a one-syllable name. In my imagination, ' is a sound made by making a little cough at the back of your throat.

      What? No, I haven't spent way too much time thinking about this game, voice in my head! This amount of time is perfectly normal.

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    5. Huh, a barely semivocalic glottal stop as the initial in a consonant cluster. Difficult to say, but not impossible, given enough practice.

      It took me more than twenty years to realize that Htron, the northern town in Knights of Legend, is "North" backwards. All that time, I just thought it seemed like a good pseudo-Anglo-Saxon name, so I practiced saying it. It worked for me.

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  5. The whole thing with the eating and drinking reminds me of years ago when I cracked a joke to my now ex husband about adventure games. "i'm surprised that you don't have to repeatedly type to breathe," I said.

    He answered, "Yeah, imagine trying to figure out the command for that. 'Breathe in' 'I don't know what 'in' means' or 'Breathe in what?' 'Air' 'I don't know what air is' and while you're trying to breathe you end up suffocating to death.'

    We never found one quite that sadistic, thankfully!

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    1. I've heard that Thomas M. Disch's Amnesia comes close. (Never played it, myself.)

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  6. First, if a warrior or commoner is going to appear in a square, it takes a couple of seconds for this to happen after you arrive. If you're rapidly typing W-ENTER-W-ENTER-W-ENTER, you'll blow past them and never have any encounters.

    Man, this is just a single-player MUD. This is exactly how they play.

    Like all MUDs, this game would benefit from a macro program. I know DOSbox has a keymapper (CTRL-F1), but that won't pause between commands, it just spews all the keystrokes out at once.

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    1. More to the point, I'd be missing out on the actual game experience if I just wrote macros to execute multiple commands in succession.

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    2. Eh, I think automating parts of the game that are nothing but tedious typing is no crime. Besides, back in the day there were MUD clients like tinyfugue and tintin that were written specifically to do not only command macros, but things like triggering a command when text passes across the screen. Having a command history is nice, too, because this game is basically a CLI. These clients are from the same time period as this game, 1990.

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    3. Check out sikuli.org. It's pretty easy to use, and can automate almost anything. I wouldn't suggest using it for major gameplay elements, but it could handle the resting sequence pretty easily and prevent you from giving up on the game due to carpal tunnel...

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    4. If you own a logitech mouse, keyboard, gamepad, anything like that, you can set up macros quite easily. They'll just spam out, but it is great for if you have a sequence you do every time, like eating and drinking.

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  7. Echoing what Harland said, this game really sounds like a MUD someone converted to a single-player game instead of a game designed to present a satisfying single-player experience.

    Remember what everyone was saying about MMO games? MUDs are the proto-MMO and I'll be surprised if Fallthru gets three more posts.

    Instead of Tuco Ramirez, wouldn't you feel like Blondie? Tuco only got the crap beaten out of him by Angel Eyes, it was Blondie who nearly died for lack of water, but that was because of Tuco to begin with.

    Man I love that movie.

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    1. I was referring to the scene earlier in the film, after Tuco has been abandoned by Blondie in the desert, and Tuco stumbles into a town and heads desperately for the well.

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    2. I agree that the creator was probably inspired by MUDs, but even so the world is too large. Imagine that the max population of a MUD back in 1990 was less than 1,000 simultaneous players (and I am being generous; recall that this was when most internet was university students and modems, going into what amounted to an overgrown BBS ecosystem; "the web" was still a few months from being invented) and I believe that 10,000-20,000 rooms would have been considered quite a large one. This world seems far too diffuse to support multiple players because they were rarely find each other except on the roads.

      Whatever the origin, this is crazy-ambitious. I am not playing it myself, but this game seems so unlike any that I've read about on here. It's practically a separate genre. Shame that it does not reward the player frequently enough with measurable advancement.

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    3. Argh, I forgot that scene...which only means that it is time to watch the movie again!

      I suspect this game was meant to be something of a dynastic effort, maybe one you would play over an entire year or more. There is a Civilization II play-through that someone has been doing for over ten years now, so I suppose the same could be possible for FallThru

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    4. what's that movie, i didn't get the reference?

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    5. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Dear lord, man--stop reading my blog and go watch it immediately.

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    6. There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: those who have seen the film, and those who need to see the film.

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    7. I'm already hearing the Ecstasy of Gold.

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    8. OK thanks, I've seen bits of it, only remember the part where they are digging some graves. I'll see if I can find it somewhere.

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    9. "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."

      -- Clint Eastwood, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

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    10. "There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend. Those who suck, and those who dig. Can you dig it, sucka?"

      -- Cyrus, "The Warriors"

      Okay, maybe not. But still...

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  8. Uh, sorry for the double-post; I blame Blogspot. Please delete one.

    By the way, I meant "determined NOT to play it" at the top.

    Anyway, I know that it looks like I'm atrociously overthinking the linguistics, but my point here is only, let's just admit that the author was thoughtlessly screwing around, without trying to handwave or retcon things into a semblance of respectability.

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  9. If this game smartens up and rewards your efforts in the end, we'll all be very pleased.

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  10. On the bright side, you should be able to balance out the prolonged Fallthru posts with relatively quick ones for Dark Designs II, QfG2, and Hercules. I am very much looking forward to seeing if DD2 builds on its predecessor or just tries to be more of the same.

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    1. More of the same. I have to go away for business next week, so I already have posts on Dark Designs II and The Return of Heracles written and scheduled. You are correct that they were brief games.

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  11. Linguistics is a real "hobby horven" of mine, that's why I pick on it. But if the FallThru universe isn't greatly flawed in stuff that matters more, okay.

    Still, it does seem lazy to me to have unearthly ursiform animals get called "berven", and laziness is usually a sign that you've got other problems in store. If they're not true bears, it's better to just call them "nightbears" or "Faland bears", or use the name that the aboriginal inhabitants use ("Oh no, it's a *nesti*!"), assuming that the Earthman has the opportunity to learn that name from the natives.

    By the way, aren't real bears terrified of fires, like most animals are? (Never mind Terry Bisson's science fiction short story "Bears Discover Fire".) They don't even like loud noises, and fire's much more dangerous in a forest -- just ask Smokey.

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  12. This is pretty OT to this post, but more related to the blog in general.

    Addict, you've inspired quite a few people to start their own blogs, I was wondering if you would ever write a post about your workflow for the blog. Your coverage for posts can cover 10s of hours of gameplay, are you writing while you play, just taking loose notes, or do you do notes/writing after your gaming session? I think you've said on numerous occasions that you use a laptop for your gaming, and run the emulator in one window and excel in another for mapping do you find that the windows are too small? Do you have other windows open at the same time? How far ahead are you of the current timeline as far as posts go (there was a time I was thought I was going to get like a week ahead that never happened)? Part of the reason I really like your blog is your writing, it's humorous and informative, and relatively free of typos. Do you proof read your articles or let them sit for a day, anything like that? For a while you were recording snippets from games and posting them, is there a reason you stopped doing that? Was no one watching them, did you find them a pain?

    If you're not interested in letting people see behind the curtain I understand, but as you can tell I'm one of those people who loves seeing how sausage is made. I listen to the commentaries and all the interviews on stuff I enjoy.

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    1. Also, sorry for wall-o-text. It's difficult to see that things are almost unreadable in the tiny comment window.

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    2. I appreciate the idea. If you'd really be interested in this, I'll either offer a post or add it to my FAQ. It'll be a good project for a day when I don't have time to play but want to get a post out.

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    3. I know I'd be interested in it, and I think some other readers would be as well. At least that's the impression I get by lurking around the comments.

      I really appreciate the blog and that you've been to keep it tight and focused (I also really enjoyed the Skyrim posts even though they were outside the "scope" of the blog). Keep up the good work!!

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    4. I'm interested in any information about your process, because I'm getting a similar blog off the ground, inspired by this one. http://thisbardstales.blogspot.com/2014/04/here-we-go.html.

      I'm playing through RPG series, starting with Forgotten World, a functional remake of oNWN, and Final Fantasy X. The draw, hopefully, is I'm interjecting anecdotes much like Chet did with his initial Pool of Radiance posts. I'm also doing some analysis, like the origin of monster names and what not.

      Please let us know if you add any additional information to the FAQ!

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    5. Also, I have to say, Chet, keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to many.

      If not for this blog, I'd still be dumping tons of time into games, but not putting something productive out there from it like I am now.

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    6. I like the title of your blog. It's good that you found a fresh approach, too.

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  13. If the author wants to suggest, "This is absolutely, positively, not Earth, really!", there are better ways to do it than slapping new names on perfectly ordinary animals. That's even lower than making up dubious stuff like "snake-bats" or "Betelgeusian slime devils".Thanks .Let me know.

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