donjons et dragons
Dungeons and Dragons
[ accès général ]


cotton, Bob; oliver, Richard


"The idea of interactive movies stems from the text-based interactive fiction That appeared on computers for the first time in the mid-1970s. Interactive fiction and fantasy grew out of role-playing games, and the first interactive computer fiction, 'Adventure', was based on the game 'Dungeons and Dragons'. The 'reader' was faced with a series of branching options, which if correctly negotiated led to the treasure trove. The interface was simple: a text statement and a range of options. This kind of branching narrative contains thousands of options and permutations. Indeed, 'Adventure' was modified and extended by many of the programmers and computer hackers who played it. Because digital text requires very little storage space (one byte per letter), and minimal display technology, text-based interactive fiction is no problem for the current generation of CD-ROM-based home entertainment systems (the storage capacity of a CD-ROM is around 10 million words).
Imagine the same branching structure applied to movies, however, where each frame of the movie requires at least 100,000 bytes. If we devised a movie with a very simple branching structure, offering the user a choice of two options after watching each one-minute segment of the film story, after just five choices we will have nearly reached the capacity of the CD-ROM, and generated over 60 one-minute film sequences. There may be over a thousand ways of viewing our interactive movie, but each unique viewing would be only five minutes long. The more choices, the shorter the movie.
The shape of interactive movies will ultimately be determined by two factors the nature of the distribution media, and the power of the hardware system. The main option for distribution media is currently the CD-ROM. These are due to double in capacity (double- and even quad-density CD-ROMs are under development ), while fibre-optic networks will soon be able to deliver linear or interactive movies straight to a consumer 'teleputer'. Such systems will store software in large-capacity memory, and decompress the motion video data in realtime when required. Equipped with powerful processors, teleputers will create the conditions for a new type of interactive movie, a 'hyper-movie' that would combine virtual reality, expert systems and realtime computer graphics.
Employing software techniques developed for movies such as Lawnmower Man and Jurassic Park, special effects programmers are already developing ideas for the creation of 'soft actors' digital reincarnations of famous film and TV stars of the past, or of hybrids of these stars. It may not be long before soft actors appear in feature films, and very soon home-based technology could support the realtime generation of soft actors (albeit of low resolution) or indeed of the entire movie mise-en-scène. Furthermore, expert system techniques could be used to generate complex 'story arenas' through which the user may wander at will, meeting with soft actors that have distinct characters, and intentions, of their own."


"RPGs involve the (human) players controlling a set of (fictional) characters within an adventure story or quest (generally a treasure hunt). The abilities of each character within the game are represented numerically, with points for intelligence, strength, magical powers, weapons, healing and so on. The referee or 'Dungeon Master' (DM) often spends a considerable amount of time preparing the game 'campaign', drawing maps and diagrams of the series of situations, in which the characters' skills will be more or less balanced with the range of difficulties they will face. The DM considers this to be part of the fun of RPGs, and many will spend several days preparing a game scenario for their players. For the players, the fascination of roleplaying games lies partly in solving the problems set by the Dungeon Master, partly in nurturing the growth and development of their assumed characters or roles, and partly in the social interaction that takes place during play."


"The first computer games originated in North American universities in the 1960s and 1970s. 'Spacewar' was developed in 1961 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by a student, Steve Russell, working at MIT's Project MAC; and 'Adventure' was invented by two students at Stanford University in the early 1970s. Spacewar was based on E E 'Doc' Smith's 'Lensman' series of science fiction novels, while 'Adventure' was a text-based 'interactive fiction', featuring a dungeon-like environment, where the player wandered through a series of caves in pursuit of treasure, encountering traps, monsters and puzzles. These mainframe computer games inspired Nolan Bushnell, who was a graduate student a MIT, to develop games that would run on smaller, standalone machine, designed for installation in games arcades.
Bushnell's success with 'Pong' (the table-tennis game) in 1972, his subsequent creation of the computer/games company Atari, and the proliferation of arcade games that followed, primed the market for videogames, computer games written for then newly available micro- or 'personal' computers, and the specialized or 'dedicated' games consoles that followed. By far the most successful games system the 'Walkman' of videogames is the Nintendo Gameboy. Within two years of its launch in 1989, the Gameboy was the market leader in hand-held consoles.
Videogames can be classified into several groups: adventure games, puzzle games, featuring animated graphical and logical puzzles; role-playing games (based on board- and map-structured games); racing games (mainly car races); shoot-'em-ups (videogames following the style of arcade games like 'Space Invaders'); strategy games (wargame-type scenarios using extensive graphic maps and isometric scrolling landscapes); sports simulations (covering a wide range of sports from snooker and golf to kick-boxing and sumo wrestling); 'beat-'em-ups; and machine simulations (flight, tank or submarine simulators). In addition, a large number of games are hybrids of these categories, such as Maxis' 'Sim City', or develop hypertext/hypermedia ideas of linked and branching narratives, such as Activision's 'Cosmic Osmo'."

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