Discussions about interactive fiction

Archive for April, 2012

Orgc 2008 – On November

To all authors, I announce that www.avventuretestuali.com will launch in
the next days the One Room Game Competition 2008: as usual
(http://www.avventuretestuali.com/orgc/orgc-2007-eng), deadline to
submit games will be around the end of november.
Good Luck!

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Completing IntroComp games

Very few IntroComp games seem to have been completed in the past …

I was wondering if there is anything that would encourage you guys?

Maybe there’s some dynamic about releasing a partially finished game (or just announcing an upcoming game) that makes it take longer to complete …

Or maybe it’s just that a new idea comes along that seems more interesting, which is OK. I was just wondering if there was any other reason.

No guilt intended for those who have entered IntroComp in past years …

David Fisher

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Collective nouns in I7


I’m new to IF and Inform 7.

I have created a stack of magazines.  I would like to make the game refer to the magazines as "magazines" when describing a room, instead of cataloging the title of each magazine.  How can I accomplish this?

Here is my sample story:

The Waiting Room is a room.

A magazine is a kind of thing. Understand "magazine" as a magazine.  

A supporter called a small table is here.
On the small table is a magazine called Magazine 1.
On the small table is a magazine called Magazine 2.
On the small table is a magazine called Magazine 3.

When you start the game, the description is

Waiting Room
You can see a small table (on which are Magazine 1, Magazine 2 and Magazine 3) here.

I would like it to instead say

Waiting Room
You can see a small table (on which are some magazines) here.


Waiting Room
You can see a small table (on which are a stack of magazines) here.

Thank you!

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I7: Can reciprocal directions be turned off?

I’m creating a rather large world where many of the routes betweem
locations are not reciprocal, and I am findin it a real pain to have
to keep specifying that the opposite direction from the destination
leads "nowhere" (and keep forgetting!).

Is there a way to turn this feature off so that I can explicityly set
the directions I want, safe in the knowledge that the ones I don’t
specify don’t exist?


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I7: Direction shortcuts – possible now, or perhaps one for future inclusion?

I have many situations in my game where there is more than one route
from one location to another in one specific direction.

e.g.  I have a jetty sticking out from a beach to the east into the
sea to the west.  From the jetty, the sea (all one location) is n, nw,
w, sw, s and the beach is ne, e, se.

To do this, I have to code a phrase for every compass point to make
the connections in the way I want.

It would be great to have a ‘shortcut’ which allowed all three compass
directions in a particular direction to be given at the same time,
e.g. (using the above example) specifying "the beach is easterly of
the jetty" would make connections from the jetty for ne, e and se lead
to the beach.  Similarly, specifying "the sea is westerly of the
jetty" would created connections nw, w and sw leading to the sea,
leaving just the north and south to be coded.

This could be expanded to include the diagonal directions too:
northwesterly, meaning n, nw and w; southeasterly meaning s, se and e.

Is this already possible (there seems to be so much that I7 can do
without me being able to find it in the documentation)?  If not, could
it be looked at as a possible feature for future inclusion?


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Interactive Fiction Survey results

Thank you to everyone who filled out the IF survey!

(If you missed it, it’s still here:

Here are the results … some of them are slightly different to the ones
displayed at
http://www.kwiksurveys.com/results-overview.php?surveyID=6213&mode=4, since
these percentages are relative to the number of people, not the number of
answers (eg. that page says 11% for "Adventure" in question 1, but 57% of
people actually ticked it).

Total number of responses: 94

1. "Which of the following genres of IF do you most enjoy playing?"

50-60% Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy
40-50% Humorous, Mystery
30-40% Drama, Historical, Horror, Serious, Surreal
20-30% Espionage
10-20% Romance, Superhero, Wordplay
5-10% Western, AIF

30% of people ticked all three of "Adventure", "Science Fiction" and
19% ticked none of these three.

Other genres included Slice of Life, Experimental, Science-Fantasy, Satire
and Folkloric/Fairytale.

2. "What do you most enjoy about IF? Rate the following in order of
importance (1-7, 1 being least important and 7 being most)"

Average ranking:

5.9 Seeing the plot unfold
5.2 Exploring the environment
4.5 Overcoming challenges
4.4 Interacting with other characters
4.2 Experimenting with a system and discovering its rules
3.5 Being in someone else’s shoes for a while
3.2 Learning about a historical setting

All seven were given all possible ratings, except that "Learning about a
historical setting" was never ranked first and "Seeing the plot unfold" was
never last.

3. "Do you prefer "puzzle" or "story" IF?"

63% Lean more towards "story"
21% Lean more towards "puzzle"
7% No preference
6% Prefer puzzleless IF
2% Prefer pure puzzle games

4. "What is your ideal game length?"

33% Finishable in an afternoon
31% Finishable in a few days
19% Finishable in a week or so
9% Epic
5% Finishable in a month
3% Very short

5. "What is your most memorable moment from a work of IF?"

Lots of interesting, spoilery answers …

General themes:

* Initial encounters with IF.
* Plot twists.
* Realising what is really going on in a story.
* Solving a difficult puzzle.
* Emotionally impacting moments, particularly endings.
* Establishment of mood / connecting with the PC.
* Vivid descriptions.
* Humorous moments.
* Memorable characters.
* Thorough implementation / responses to unusual actions.
* "Cool" things (robots!)
* Setting the monitor on fire while playing IF.

6. "Have you written any IF?"

40% Yes, and released it publicly
38% I’m learning, but haven’t finished anything yet
14% Yes, but haven’t released it publicly
4% No, prefer just playing IF
1% No, the programming seems too tricky
2% No, put off by the writing aspect

(Not sure if this means it was mostly RAIF who answered this survey, or just
that most people who play IF like the idea of writing it as well).

Of those who answered "learning, but haven’t finished anything yet":

54% ticked Inform 7 in the next question
19% ticked TADS 3
17% ticked Inform 6
10% ticked Adrift, Hugo or TADS 2.

7. "Which authoring system(s) do you use?"

46% Inform 7
25% Inform 6
12% TADS 3
8% TADS 2
5% Adrift
3% Hugo
1% Alan
1% Quest
1% RAIF pool (I know who you are!)

26% ticked both Inform 7 and Inform 6
10% ticked both Inform 7 and TADS 3
5% ticked both Inform 6 and TADS 3.

45% ticked a single language
10% did not tick any.

8. "What are you most seeking to produce in people who play your works of

57% Pure enjoyment / having fun
44% "Aha!" moments when they discover something
38% Emotional impact
27% A sense of wonder
21% Reflection on the issues of life

Other answers included immersion, originality, good writing/story, good
gameplay, exploring and understanding a system, and "Woah, that’s cool".

David Fisher

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I7: Before going through a closed door problem.

I have a location (a crypt) which has doors leading off in most
directions.  Each door leads to a single room (a tomb). The doors all
start closed and can only be opened once their particular puzzle has
been solved.

Some of the doors close on the player once they are inside their
repsective tomb as the puzzle in these cases has to be solved from the

Anyway, I want to give them a couple of customised messages should the
player try to go through them while they are closed:
if the player is trying to get in, I want it to say "You can[']t get
into the [name of the room on the other side] until it has opened"
if the player is trying to get out, I want it to say "You can[']t get
out, [the name of the door] is closed".

In order to do this, I have made a kind of door and tried putting a
rule together which does all this:

A tombroom is a kind of room. …

The crypt is a room.
The north tomb is a tombroom.
The west tomb is a tombroom.

A tombdoor is a kind of door with printed name "tomb door".
It is scenery.

The tomb1 is a tombdoor.
Understand "north" and "tomb" and "door" as tomb1.
tomb1 is north of the crypt and south of the north tomb.
tomb1 is outside of the north tomb.

The tomb2 is a tombdoor.
Understand "west" and "tomb" and "door" as tomb2.
tomb2 is west of the crypt and east of the west tomb.
tomb2 is outside of the west tomb.

Before going through a closed tombdoor:
        if the player is in a tombroom:
                say "You can[']t get out, [the noun] is closed." instead;
                say "You can[']t get into [the other side of the noun] until it has
opened." instead.

Going in, this doesn’t work if the player simply types "n" (the noun
is a direction), but does if they type "enter north tomb".
Going out, it doesn’t work at all as the noun is always a direction.

I’ve tried a number of different phrases to try and determine the name
of the door if the noun is a direction, but I can’t get anything to

Can someone help with this please?

Many thanks,

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There is a room called West of House.

Inform 7 (build 5T18) doesn’t understand the syntax I used in the
title of this post.
The simplest workaround I found was "A room called West of House is a
room", which is less than elegant.

What’s the philosophy behind I7′s natural language support? If it’s
like beta-testing a game, Graham should be adding support for all the
reasonable things people type in that it doesn’t understand.

BTW I’m not intending to reimplement Zork :)
I was just playing with I7 to see what it could do. As a programmer
I’m not enjoying playing Guess the Syntax. When you’re playing a game
and it just won’t do what you’re attempting, you can say to yourself
"oh well, that’s probably not what I’m supposed to do to progress in
the game" and try something else. It’s a bit different if you’re
programming however…

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Inform 7 – Making conversation require an action to have taken place.

Having a bit of difficulty here. The concept of the room is that the
smell is so unbearable that to speak would invite nausea and thus a
clothes peg must be worn on the players nose.

I thought I set out the new action, but have run into problems.

pegging is an action applying to one thing. Understand "peg
[something]" as pegging.
        A check pegging rule: if the clothes peg is not carried then say "Peg
with what?" instead.

I assumed this would mean the action couldn’t be carried out without
the item but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Secondly, and most importantly, I wanted the conversation to be
impossible without the peg on your nose, but it just isn’t happening.

I am using the extension ‘simple chat’ by Mark Tilford to try and
simulate the choice of answers given in a game like Photopia, although
if anyone has a better workaround without the extension or with a
different one then I’d gladly try it.

chello, cgoodbye, cnice, cnasty, cgreat are chat nodes.

instead of giving text for chello: say "’There’s a little something on
that shelf that may help you considerably’ says a smarmy Coine.".
instead of giving text for cgreat: say "’It is tough being right all
the time y[']know.’".
instead of finding responses to cgreat: link to cnice; link to cnasty;
forbid exiting on zero.
instead of giving link to cnice: say "Though gritting your teeth, you
enquire ‘How’s things then Coine?’".
instead of giving text for cnice: say "’I'm great. Forever great. You
won’t catch me complaining.’".
Instead of finding responses to cnice: link to cgoodbye; forbid
exiting on zero.
instead of giving link to cnasty: say "Your voice rises. ‘So, Coine..
Why are you such an antagonising arse?’".
instead of giving text for cnasty: say "’Uhh.. Uhh..’ Coine stutters."
Instead of finding responses to cnasty: link to cgoodbye; forbid
exiting on zero.
Instead of giving link to cgoodbye: say "’ Goodbye.’".
Instead of giving text for cgoodbye: say "Coine is silent as you turn

Instead of talking to coine: run a conversation from cgreat.

Basically, I’m struggling to figure out where to put rules within the
conversation. It should run that if the peg is on your nose run
conversation from ‘cgreat’ and if not, run from ‘chello’.

I’ve tried making the ending line <Instead of talking to coine: if
pegging your nose, run a conversation from cgreat; otherwise, run a
conversation from chello.> But it throws up errors over otherwise, and
I can’t see another way to do it.

This is just a little tutorial for me, so don’t laugh at the hollow
conversation options!
Thanks in advance guys.

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Updated Windows Frotz and Windows Glulxe

I’ve uploaded Windows Frotz 1.13 to the IF-Archive:

Also uploaded is Windows Glulxe 0.43.134:

The only change for these new versions is improved handling of Unicode
output. If a game tries to output a Unicode character, the interpreters will
now be able to print it if it exists in any installed font, not just the
fonts selected in the interpreter settings.

To get the best effect from this, you should have installed a font that
defines lots of the Unicode glyphs in it, such as "MS Arial Unicode" (which
comes with Microsoft Office) or "Code 2000" (which is shareware). You don’t
need to do anything other than install the font: there’s no need to select
it in the interpreters.

With the "MS Arial Unicode" font installed, the interpreters can show all
the characters printed by the Inform 7 example "The Uber-Complete Clavier",
except the Braille symbols. (I’ve not been able to find a font that defines
these, but if one exists, it should work.)

Source code for the above, along with updated builds of Windows Glk, Git and
Scare are also in the IF-Archive.


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