[MUD-Dev] Re: Prepositions and parsing

clawrenc at cup.hp.com clawrenc at cup.hp.com
Thu May 15 10:23:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


In <9705141459.804u at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA>, on 05/14/97 
   at 08:25 PM, cg at ami-cg.GraySage.Edmonton.AB.CA (Chris Gray) said:

>[Chris L:]
>:It seems more friendly and not terribly more expensive to me to have
>:the parse try and resolve *both* sides of the ambiguity, and to then
>:pick as to which is supportable in the current context.

>Doing that requires more smarts in the parser than I want to put into
>it. I don't want the "parser" to understand the concepts of 'under',
>'behind', etc., but to just know that they are acceptable for use
>with 'put'.

I believe I want the parser to be able to handle thing like that --
tho not because I necessarily expect players to be entering such
convoluted commands, but because I suspect they will be unavoidable
if/when I go graphical (user interface or world-presentation).  I
don't see a clean recourse but to have the graphical data entries
translate to a pre-parsed (or unparsed) equivalent to a textual
command (or some process resulting in same).  As such I *must* have an
internal awareness of placement.

>:Bingo.  And here it gets really messy.  You end up with a really
>:glorious hodge-podge between a global parser and a a per-object
>:parser.  Consider the case of:
>:
>:  shoot the paper under the book on the table
>:
>:Does that mean to shoot the paper which is located under a book which
>:is located on the table, or to shoot a free paper such that it moves
>:to be under the book which is located on the table, or to shoot the
>:paper such that it moves from under the book to being on the table?

>How unhappy would a typical player be if told that the above is
>ambiguous? 

Probably not very.  However, lets say the player has a rubber-band gun
and explicitly wants to shoot the paper so that it moves under the
book.  Do you really want him to have to enter:

  > shoot the paper so that the paper moves under the book

??

>It's likely such a rare case those most would wave
>it off. 

Agreed.  But I'm trying to allow for a very complex environment here. 
I could specifically see cases where say, a player hiding in a clost
suddenly spies that he left a key paper out in the open, and now
wishes to scoot it out of sight without exposing himself.

>In English we disambuate such things by a slight rephrasing:
>    shoot the paper which is under the book on the table
>    shoot the paper under the book which is on the table

Both of these are still ambiguous.  The first could mean to shoot the
paper which is located under the book, so that it moves onto the
table, or to shoot the paper which is located under the book which is
located on the table.  Simiarly for the second one.

  shoot the paper which is under the book onto the table 

Works a bit better, as does 

  shoot the paper under the book which is on top of the table

or

  shoot the paper under the book which is atop the table

for the other side.

>Perhaps handling syntax something like that is a way to go?

<kof>

Given the average state of western education and general language
articulacy, I'm not keen on requiring a gramatically unambiguous
parse.

--
J C Lawrence                           Internet: claw at null.net
(Contractor)                           Internet: coder at ibm.net
---------------(*)               Internet: clawrenc at cup.hp.com
...Honorary Member Clan McFUD -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...




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