Okay, so normally my whole thing is I think of really weird stuff, show it to a bunch of people when it’s done, then people go “huh…that’s weird”, I nod with satisfaction, crawl back into my hole, and repeat.
But I have another thing I would like to publicly workshop.
Dark rooms. The player character in my game will spend quite a bit of time in dark rooms, because those are easier to de-stress in. I’m currently watching the Get Lamp documentary (as recommended by @rovarsson), and a scene came up where a blind player said that when a room in IF becomes dark, and the description is “It’s dark; you can’t see anything”, then the immediate reaction is “Okay; I don’t care”.
And it got me thinking about how many times I have lived in completely dark spaces to avoid sensory overload, and how I just get used to operating around darkness. For example, I will make a little click sound when crossing a dark room, because I’m listening for an upcoming wall to get close (which changes the sound profile of the click), as whatever I’m looking for is easier to find, if I can use that wall as a positional reference.
I would like to poll some of the experiences y’all have with dark rooms in IF, because I’m trying to think of a way for a character to still work in a dark room. I’m using adv3Lite right now, so it might take a lot of gutting a re-coding, but I would like the player character to be able to still perform tasks, even in darkness.
I don’t think I want to simply say the room is dark and have all the mechanics treat the room as lit, and call it a day, though. There should be some minor changes to the mechanics.
One idea I had would be that darkness in a room doesn’t change the mechanic of something being “visible” (which would be described as “remembered” instead), but it will completely change if something is reachable.
I’m using adv3Lite, so my idea is to change how the GOTO command works, if you’re in a dark room, and your destination is in the room. The player “darkness position” would be set to that destination object, which is now considered “in reach”. If any other objects are contained by this object then they would also be “in reach”. I might also implement a list of other objects that can be added to reachable scope, when in darkness near some subject object.
APARTMENT (IN DARKNESS) The apartment is currently dark. You remember a bed, a bookshelf, a light switch, a bathroom door to the east, and an exit door to the south. You also remember a pair of goggles, a book, and a cup on a bedside table. You currently stand by the light switch. > GOTO TABLE You currently stand by the bedside table, and are in reach of a pair of goggles, a book, and a cup. > X BOOK It's too dark to read it, but the book feels like a mass-produced pulp book, with a thin cover. > X BOOKSHELF It's too dark to examine that; you should get closer.
However, I feel like there’s a better system somewhere, and I’m open to your thoughts and opinions.
Something else I’m realizing is that this is fundamentally no different than making everything visible with an extra step for the player to navigate. So an alternative that I’d like some feedback on is that darkness does not affect the visibility check of an item, but it would change the description, and might also disable some actions (like reading, for example).
I’m not sure. I feel like darkness in IF has always been kind of a weird topic.