Me, Maneesh and Retro
Mon, 31 May 1999 20:27:31 +0500

I it is true that Retro have missing specifications.
GC is not choosed yet, and inter-'process' communication really
needs to be define. But Retro is concrete, and it is/was supposed
to be a prototype, that is a totally incomplete thing that should
help clarify needs, determine feasibility, and get missing
knowledge when the domain is not well explored.

I don't know how many amongs you have actually play with a
persistent system, I guess very few. I personnaly wanted that from
the day I learned this concept on Tunes pages, but never found a
small enough system that was fitting on my machine. Retro is near
that point. I like to take my sister as a reference of a 'naive'
user. I like the way she seems to think that every program should
be able to communicate one with an other. And when I talk to her
about persistence, she really don't like the idea of bugus state
that return even after you reboot the computer. I can hardly tell
that she is wrong because I never really play with a persistent
system. So just making people able to play with a persistent system
is already something that make it worth to be done according to me.

I hardly believe in the capacity of a project to be 'designed' on
the net by many people. I almost never saw that. It seems that it
is generally a person alone or a very small team working physically
together that design a new system, program it, and only
after that other people on the net begin to change it or add new
features for themselves. Maybe Unios is one of the rare exception
to that. That said I'd really like to see a project that is really
able to gather people to work on the design phase. But most people
seems to hate doing paper design so I can understand how hard it is
to get people do that for free on the net where feedback is often

I find funny the way Tunes seems to have become 'nonetheless'
rather than 'not' expedient. Retro is really 'nonetheless'
expedient. :-)

Did you ever wonder why games are fun? My answer to this question
is that it is because people that get bored and go explore the
territory to find something new are more likely to find something
that will make them likely to have children before getting dead.
On the other hand if they are too curious, they are likely to get
dead by lack of a shelter before having found the thing that will
make them able to get children (or these children get dead
themselves by not having a shelter to protect them).

Well, this evolutionary explanation need some refinements for
today world, but the principle is the same. People that like to
explore new ideas are more likely to get the knowledge that will
make them able to do a job that will make them able to have a
shelter and lot of money. If girls think that the intelligence is
combined with enough ressourcefulness to actually get money for
abilities acquired through curiosity, they are attracted because
they unconsciously know that this means that the guy will have
enough money to buy the house that will protect her progeniture.
The problem with me is that I am not enough ressourcefulness. :)

So naturally people are curious and want to learn things. But the
more people there is on the planet, the more specialization
become profitable because that's make it more likely to find
someone that want special things. So come a point where society
force people to get to school to learn special things because
there is a great demand only for people that knows weird stuff
like let's say, computer science.

The problem is that by forcing people to go to school they have
to learn so much that they exceed there natural level of
curiosity and they soon associate tiredness with curiosity. But
hopefully they are bright enough to consciously know that to get
sex they need cash that can only be acquired by learning so that
the natural curiosity is not mandatory anymore.

So good games are not games where you learn things, but rather
got us in our old fun to explore territory (in the hope to find
someone of the opposite sex). If the game would let you go
whereever you want, you would fastly have seen all the game and
there would not have any hope of finding 'something fun'. So
good games don't let you get to the next level until you have
done the 'quest' of the level.

The problem with doing Retro, Clementine, etc, is that we are
going to see the things before having done the quest that is
suppose to be done before programming: design.

Game designers have to balance the difficulty of levels. If they
are too easy, players will go through the game too fastly and
that will be the end of hope to find 'the thing'. If a level is
too hard, they will also lose the hope. I say that Tunes design
is of this later kind of level. So people cheats and do easier

There is an other way to cheat, that is playing lots and lots of
very easy games. That's means learning new programming languages
and change as soon you begin to know it. That's my usual way to
cheat. I think Fare do the same. Oh, rather than learn
programming languages you can read papers, and go to

So we are all players that was all playing on the same level. We
all know that what's make this level look impossible is not all
the level but one of it's sub-goal, namely reflection.

Some players still believe that this sub-goal is possible, like
Maneesh. Some are actively applying there own plan to solve that
puzzle, mainly Brice with he's arrow idea, and Tril with he's
typesystem idea. But most of us are cheating to go explore
elsewhere, either by doing projects that solve incompletely the
great puzzle of the level, or by learning new stuff that most
likely have no relation with the big puzzle of the level, but is
far more easier.

Maybe the designer of the level (us I suppose) could decide to
make the puzzle of the level simpler, but then the players that
still have the hope to find an issue to the current one would
not be please.