Intelligent Hinting

version 5 by Aaron Reed

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  • Section: The Apropos-List

    As mentioned earlier, some puzzles can be "not sequential", meaning they can be solved in any order, as is common in parts of many treasure-hunting games like Zork and Adventure. When asked to recommend an action while in the midst of a puzzle that's not sequential, Intelligent Hinting will automatically make a good guess as to which potential task the player is currently most involved with, by comparing recent input and visited locations to every noun and venue mentioned in the various tasks required by the current puzzle.

    If necessary, we can assist the extension by adding to a task a list of objects called the "apropos-list". These can be either rooms or things. If the player has recently been located in or interacted with any of these, tasks involving them will be more likely to be selected when determining the next move to suggest. Here's an example from Adventure, the first task of Giant-Area-Treasures, itself a member of Finding-Most-Treasures, which is not sequential:

        Getting-Water is a task with venue In_Pit. Requirements for Getting-Water: do the action of the person asked filling bottle. The apropos-list is {the stream, At_West_End_Of_Twopit_Room, plant, beanstalk_top, hole-above-pit}.

    The bottle and the location In_Pit are automatic indicators that the player may be stuck on this puzzle. In addition, we add the stream (since it's just an inferred part of the "filling" action) and a list of other props and locations that a player stuck on this puzzle might be interacting with, making the extension very likely to select the correct puzzle if asked for a hint.