Are static objects REALLY that important

You seem to have conflated wheat and corn.

More relevant, you can define new verbs for shorthand ways to refer to properties:

[code]The verb to be seen implies the description property.

There is room.

A banana is here, seen “A beautiful ripe banana.”

Test me with “x”.[/code]

Not in English English, in which a wheatfield is a cornfield (the corn laws were not about maize!).

That’s an interesting suggestion!
Do you have an idea how to implement this?

Could the description of the cover art be added to the game description in the iFiction file?
Or ingame in an about text?

The above description would cause me to consider ragequitting the game.
Let’s see if I can transform this to a better description:

Yes, this is more like something a ten year old would write, but you’re still there, aren’t you? You can still picture the same scenario, if not even more vividly, thanks to the power of imagination. You can also spot something odd: Why is the main road going from the mountains to the lake? There is obviously a city of mountain dwelling people in those mountains, who come down to the lake every mourning to get their water. See how less is actually more? The more you describe the types of boring freaking trees there are, the more the player also feels obliged to try to chop them down or climb them, because they follow the novella rule that if it’s mentioned, it’s important to the story. …so just don’t describe anything more than

Now you only need to handle the keys and the (scenery supporter) table.

Maybe every game should come with a tl;dr option. So instead of a wonderfully long and evocative description of everything the player can see, you could have:

Yes, much better.

What I’m trying to say, is that there are no “evocative descriptions”. Descriptions only serve to lock the imagination in place. Yes, your no doubt sarcastic example would be much better. See, It’s not the lack of descriptions that’s the problem in your game example. It’s the emptiness of the world. You could describe granite rocks and dense spruces and chirping birds, but those descriptions are just going to be padding to fill out an eventless journey. Why not remove the “outside a cave” location completely, for instance? Caves are interesting, and rivers are interesting, but being outside a cave isn’t.

For example, here’s an example to explain my point:

You’re currently high on LSD. That’s how a kitchen looks to someone high on LSD.

Actually, I agree with Andreas here, and I think I said so earlier in this thread - the original description seems, to me, to be a bit much, and given that the poster was asking “Is it really necessary to implement all these nouns?”, then that description is asking for trouble.

I don’t think, though, that we should lose that original description entirely. Personally, I would show it differently after the first time. Hmm, something like:

Or, an alternative: Pick up everything I deleted from my edit and do this:

The way you describe the scene can set mood, but also describe what the player character is interested in. The sentence “you wish you could hire a maid to do them for you” says a lot about the protagonist. Is he lazy? Poor? Too busy to do the dishes? This creates a lot of questions, just as describing the scenery will.

Describing the scenery and sunshine says other things – the protagonist is taking his time, taking in the scenery, for whatever reason. It all depends on what story you’re trying to tell. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it. Having a detailed background that is simply scenery is not uncommon, and is used in every visual medium to set the tone. The matte paintings in ‘Blade Runner’, for example, set a tone, and are intricately detailed. In a story, these details are crafted in words, not pictures, but serve the same purpose. If the tone to your story is utilitarian and purely functional, without any flavor at all, I would assume that the protagonist is either in a constant hurry, or an android.

Yes, I agree, and the dishes were indeed a clue to a life in disarray, but isn’t the protagonist always in a hurry? As a player, you want to get somewhere. You play games when you’re bored and you want excitement or entertainment. In an IF, you could be in Australia fighting crime, just seven location leaps from the protagonists uneventful flat in England. The player is a sort of action hero by nature, out looking for progress defined by causing something to happen. Nobody (though I mean that in a loose sense) wants to just relax in a kitchen, taking in the materials of the furniture and considering the dishes, unless they’re high.
I’m right now playing the old game Titan Quest, and it’s a very odd game, because it sure takes its sweet time establishing scenery. It’s awesome, but halfway through, you’re honestly pretty sick if leafs swaying and birds chirping. You can run for ten seconds just to establish that a swamp is transitioning into a forest. The contrast of slaughtering monsters and enjoying a nature stroll, is weird.

The “always in a hurry” bit is true in general, but not always. Curses springs to mind as a counterexample, at least at the beginning. Same with Trinity.


A simple text description for cover art on IFDB could be implemented, I think, if the graphic were given a description in its HTML tag. Screen readers read out these tags for graphics. For descriptions of art in games, I think a designer could print a description whenever the cover art is shown, or implement a command like “describe cover” and tell the player that a description of the cover is available by typing the command. Making a description part of the cover itself won’t help, because screen readers can’t read text that is part of a graphic.


This seems to be the second time that you just suddenly want to derail the topic into being about screen readers, instead of creating a seperate topic. It’s the other post button you’re looking for, so stop it.

Andreas, Neil is visually impaired. I doubt he’s doing it on purpose.

I would have thought it was fairly obvious Neil just made a mistake somewhere. The “post subject” on this post is a bit of a giveaway.

EDIT - And what mostly_useful said.

Hi Neil,

Ignore the previous three posts. A new thread was created here to discuss descriptions of graphics for screen readers, and the older posts about that moved over there. :slight_smile:

Oh. … Sorry. :blush:

This one’s for you, Andreas. I figure if I’m going to waste my breath, I might as well do it with a zen attitude:

“When we hear the sound of the pine trees, on a windy day, perhaps the wind is just blowing, or the pine trees just standing in the wind. That is all that they are doing. But to the people that listen to the wind in the tree, they will write a poem, or will feel something unusual. That is, I think, the way everything is.”
-Shunryu Suzuki

Yes, but compare this to something soothing being played by Mozart while you chop a goatman’s head off - something even more contrasting than this scene:

…but yes, while you typically want to get things done when you wish to play an IF, it’s possible that you could seek to relax with it as well. I may not get it, but somebody could.

Back on topic - I think description length, and the number of nouns implemented, is almost a pacing issue. It’s one thing to build a fast-paced, puzzly sort of game where you want the player to zip through large environments and focus on what’s important; it’s quite another to write a mood piece, or a game like Robin and Orchid that’s about exploring side content more so than solving the puzzle at hand.