Obviously the player can control whether the rooms are in Brief or Verbose.

I noticed the new inform 7 build defaults to verbose, where the old defaulted to brief.

What’s the consensus here? Which is better in general?

Personally, I prefer verbose- but I’m not a big fan of the room description automatically re-printing when I get off a chair or out of a bath tub. What do other people think? Which is a better default position for a game?

What about having the room description print in a seperate window, as in Beyond Zork?

If you’re looking for anecdata, I’ll say that I always switch on verbose as soon as it becomes apparent that a game is in a different mode, and it is only very rarely that I switch to a non-verbose mode later. For that reason, I’ve used the verbose-on option in all of the Inform 6/7 code that I’ve written, and it seems natural to me that it is now the default. However, I’m always playing on a full laptop screen, and not using a screenreader – I could certainly see wanting to use a more brief mode if that were not the case.

Room description in a separate window sounds good to me (assuming screenreader integration and such), since it minimizes scrolling back to check out the description or wasting turns by looking again. Maybe it could be just another mode? (Superbrief, Brief, Verbose, Split-Pane?)

Verbose. Absolutely. And I still end up typing “look” a lot.

I tried the description-in-a-box thing for my latest work, and was unimpressed. It kept dragging my attention away from the main window; I felt like I lost the thread of what was going on. I much prefer stuff that I’ll be reading to be in a single main window, possibly with a few references in the status bar.

Another vote for “verbose,” and I type “look” a lot too. Even though I can usually scroll back for the room description. In related news, I suck at timed puzzles.

The decision to switch Inform’s default to VERBOSE was based on a lot of player/author response that suggested that was the widespread preference. (I myself have been setting my games to default to verbose for a long time.)

Besides the obvious points about form – BRIEF mode comes from a time when output was expensive and might even be happening on printer paper – there’s also been a lot of shift in the craft of description. It’s now much more common to have room descriptions that change over the course of the game, in subtle or dramatic ways, and you want the player to be able to see and notice those changes.

Yeah good point. And to match what’s been added to IF stylistically in favour of ‘verbose’, something has been removed that argued for ‘brief’. There is a lot less traipsing around these days back and forth through extensive mazes or expansive geography just to move a couple of keys 20-30 rooms away to their locked doors. Puzzles tend to be more contained and room layouts more economically fit to the story, so the design style in which verbose descriptions were the most annoying seems pretty much dead. I vote ‘verbose’ as well.


Interesting, because that was the reason I always preferred verbose in the first place- because I was wandering around a bunch of rooms and I might get West of Chasm confused with South of Chasm, etc.

I suppose I prefer verbose too, I’m just not a fan of the auto-printing room description while exiting a container in the room.

As far as the split pane, it was useful in beyond zork, when your actions would change the room descriptions. It was nice because it would become an inventory and status window for you as well. (And there was a nice on-screen map which made the room descripions easier). I like that one also.

This is something I wanted to do with my game from the beginning, but didn’t know what the general consensus was. Cool. I’m making the change right now.

I’m also in agreement with most everyone else here, including not liking the auto-look after exiting a container. (Not really sure why, other than “it’s jarring”. Er, no pun intended.)

But I’m not real fond of status bars, extra windows, and other such gadgets that compete with the prose for my attention.

That makes sense; I can see how that would come in handy in that circumstance. I was talking about the situation where well after you know the geography fairly well, puzzles are still sending you from one end to the other of large geographic spaces or labyrinths. So in that case the room descriptions aren’t of interest to me – I just want to travel as efficiently as possible. But that hardly ever happens anymore.

BTW I’ll also log a vote against split panes. I do like the room title in the status bar. But I dislike double-width status bars and prefer the text window clean and uncompromised. What happens outside the text window, however, is another matter. 87

Kind of the same way that I don’t like network bugs and news crawls crowding in the picture on my TV, but I’m perfectly willing to thumb through a magazine while I watch…


The subject of split panes came up in Emily’s blog recently, as someone noted that they’re rough on screen readers.

I’m now thinking that any game that puts important information outside the main story window should (if possible) offer an “accessible” mode, which goes single-window.

That leads back to the question of whether there’s too much repeated text in the story window. When I play, I’m always in “verbose”; I’ll happily skip long room descriptions by eye. But a screen reader has to chew through it all. I’m way out of my depth at judging how much is too much, though.

I’m also happy with the new default verbose, and also not a fan of printing room descriptions when exiting containers.

I’ve seen some other situations in I7 where I wished I could turn off the automatic look. Moving the player was one of them (is there an option to do this silently that I’m forgetting?), and changing the player to another person is another. Both of these can be frustrating because they don’t do the same thing 100% of the time - they depend on the previous location of the player. At least that’s how I remember it.

“move the player to the Antechamber, without printing a room description”?

More generally, replace the standard getting off rule with one that does that.

Yeah, that’s it.

For some reason I thought “move the player” was deprecated.