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5fivefifteen15 @ 08:47 pm: mapping in zork
Does anyone understand how to map in zork? The compass directions just make absolutely no sense. You go east. Then you go west. You should be back where you started, but you're not. You go in the same direction twice and you end up where you started. Sometimes.

The online maps I've viewed look fairly reasonable, but I can't figure out how to navigate from them, since if I try to go south in the game there's only about a 50/50 chance that I will end up going south on the map. Really all it's good for is giving me a general idea of what's around me.

Honestly, I feel like I'm constantly in the room in which my compass stops working. I wish I could just drop my compass to lighten my load. It's not like it does me any good at all.

/rant.

P.S. I've started a new community, bankofzork -- for all you zork fans, join at bankofzork. I'm pretty sure this is the only community dedicated solely to zork, although I could be wrong...

Current Location: university of chicago dorm
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: the lion sleeps tonight -- beach boys

Comments

[User Picture]
From:elementalamber
Date:February 28th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
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Hmmm. I wish I could help you on that. I seem to recall that only a few of the online maps were reliable though. I think I've lost all of my saved information on my computer since the last time I played through, but I'll check and see.

And I opened an account at the Bank. :)
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, I was just using an online map of the maze, and it was just so inaccurate that I've begun to doubt the usefulness of any of the other maps on this website (http://www.lafn.org/webconnect/mentor/zork/zorkText.htm).

And thanks for opening an account! J. Pierpont Flathead appreciates your business.
[User Picture]
From:remix79
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
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*cha-ching* New account at BoZ.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
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J. Pierpont Flathead thanks you for choosing Bank of Zork. We hope you will enjoy your time as a valued customer. Special offer: credit cards now available with only 50% interest APR.
[User Picture]
From:staticengine
Date:February 28th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
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I think Zork was one of those games where you were supposed to play it a 1000 times and figure everything out in a methodical way. The maze in particular is next to impossible. Only by dropping an object and then hoping to find it again before the theif picked it up could you have any luck of navigting that area.

Of course, the lesson learned here is to not confuse the player with weird mazes any more. There are much more solid ways to achieve good games.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:February 28th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
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I love the game, but I have to agree with you about the maze and what not. Challenge is good, but making it such that the player can only succeed through luck is just bullshit.
[User Picture]
From:staticengine
Date:February 28th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
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Not luck so much as extraordinary persistance and meticulous note taking. The game was designed at MIT, of course, so consider the intended audience.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:February 28th, 2007 05:51 am (UTC)
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But the compass directions make no sense. How can you take notes on that, meticulous or otherwise?

Is there something I'm missing here? I always thought that going north and then going south again was supposed to get you back to your original location, but not in Zork-verse.
[User Picture]
From:staticengine
Date:February 28th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
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It's clever, see, in that insidious geek way. "Ohh... a normal person knows to go north then south, but us... we're smarter than that! Lots of one way passages we'll have! Things only we can figure out!"

I went to an engineering college, and I'm a software developer by trade. I'm well versed in people who hold this mentality.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:February 28th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
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Yeah, guess so. This whole one-way passage thing just frustrates me because I'm somewhat spatially challenged as it is (like, I can't visualize -- can't see pictures in my had *at all*), so this added monkey wrench makes things damned near impossible. The whole one-way passage thing didn't even really occur to me, and honestly, I still don't get how exactly a one way passage works, except that it doesn't work like anything I've ever encountered IRL.
From:reluctance
Date:February 28th, 2007 09:24 am (UTC)

I still don't get how exactly a one way passage works

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My general understanding is that it may take a few twists and turns along its route before depositing you at the other end -- go north into a corridor that veers slightly to the right and you end up entering the next room from the west.

I don't think Zork rooms have been modeled according to that rationale, but it did inform one-way exit layouts of many of the early "cave games".
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:March 1st, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)

Re: I still don't get how exactly a one way passage works

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Makes sense...but gah, so confusing...
[User Picture]
From:beeporama
Date:February 28th, 2007 11:42 am (UTC)
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If you're able to get your hands on the old Invisiclues maps (included as PDFs with, at least, the Masterpieces Of Infocom collection), they're great.

Good luck!
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:March 1st, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
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Thanks, I'll go look for those. :)
[User Picture]
From:bronxelf_ag001
Date:February 28th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
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Not all the passages work in two way directions in the zork maze. Just do it the old fashioned way. Get some graph paper, and learn to save often. I have a map around somewhere...

But in particular, whether one-way passages work logicially, they absolutely exist in the game. The way to map it is generally a combination of reading very carefully, dropping and retrieving items of inventory, saving often and the use of some graph paper and a pencil.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:March 1st, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
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Thanks. I've been doing the graph paper and saving often things, but thusfar I've been to freaked out to do the dropping and retrieving thing (what if I need it later?!?) -- but I guess that's what saving often is for, right?
From:legolad
Date:February 28th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
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One of the best references I found to the Infocom games was A Shortcut Through Adventure Land Volume II - Infocom. It has a meticulous and accurate map of the maze in Zork I. It's a very difficult book to find nowadays, as it was published back in 1984. I have a copy, but I'm not parting with it. You might luck out in finding one on Amazon or ebay, though.

As for the whole issue of going north then not being able to get back to where you were by going south, I tend to look at it this way: You've gone north from one room, and the path curves off to the right, for example. That would mean that when you enter the next room, to go back, you'd have to go west instead of south, following the same curve of the path. I find it gives the games a more "real world" feel, as not everything is connected by laser-straight passageways.

Heck, the passageway could ascend into another area, too, and the only way out of it might be down instead of south. Though, in that case, unless you've gone straight up a ladder or a set of spiral stairs, it should be possible to move in a compass direction, as normal stairs or a slope would point off in a particular direction.
[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:March 1st, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
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I can't believe I didn't think of it that way before. I'm such a spatial idiot, I embarass myself.

> I find it gives the games a more "real world" feel, as not everything is connected by laser-straight passageways.

Agreed. But the real world is damned annoying sometimes...

[User Picture]
From:5fivefifteen15
Date:March 2nd, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
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I wish you had written the code. Would've saved me a lot of confusion. :P
[User Picture]
From:warriormouse
Date:March 2nd, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
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Ideally it would always explain the twists:

Shattered Stalagmites
The rough and uneven floor is litteed with stalagmite fragments.
A tiny crawlway leading north looks as though it was carved out 
of the rock with a chisel, one tiny chip of rock at a time.

>NORTH
The rough passage bends slightly to your right as you ascend.

Marble Oubliette
The walls, floor and ceiling of this room are flat slabs of
white marble with thin pale grey veins.  The slabs are cracked
in the southwest corner of the room, where a rough-hewn passage 
leads slightly downward.

> SW
As you descend, the rough-hewn passage turns to the south.

Shattered Stalagmites
>
[User Picture]
From:immortalsofar
Date:December 28th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
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I was around and learning programming when mazes were de-rigeur in adventure games. I think we excused it with the assumption "You're in a maze - you're lost. You think you're going North but you aren't really."

Of course, things have kind of moved on these days.
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