I’m texturing the environment of my game, which includes a bathroom. I think it’d be a slightly cruel but funny trick if the player could flush any of their possessions down the drain, including materials needed to win. Why not? Anyways, I’m stuck on how I might implement this. I have the toilet included in the game as a container and the verb ‘flush’ as an action applying to one thing. Any quick suggestion for an instead statement that might do the trick? (Inform 7)
To spiral is a verb. [this just lets us conjugate a message properly--when we get to the "list of things" it might just be one thing, or more than one, and we want to conjugate "spiral" accordingly] Instead of flushing the toilet: if something is in the toilet: say "[The list of things in the toilet] [spirals] down the toilet, never to be seen again. Hope you didn't need that!"; now everything in the toilet is nowhere; otherwise: say "You flush the toilet."
The key line is probably “now everything in the toilet is nowhere.”
HOWEVER as a matter of design it’s probably a bad idea to do this. If the player discovers they can put something in the toilet, the will probably try. If they discover they can put something in the toilet and then flush it, it’s the sort of thing they will try when they’re stuck. (I can think of at least two fairly recent games in which flushing things down a toilet was essential.) When they later discover that flushing things down the toilet is useless, was included simply as a cruel trick on them, and has made their game unwinnable, they will not find it funny. Modern IF design has increasingly moved away from dead ends like this!
(What I might find funny is if, when I flushed things down the toilet, two turns later they all inexplicably fell on my head. But that might just be me.)
A general thing is, if you’ve got the kind of game where people might get stuck, your players will wind up trying anything they can try, so you want to be careful about implementing useless things for them to do. Though OTOH I do like atmosphere and nonessential interactive things and wouldn’t want to discourage them–it’s a fine line to walk between creating an atmosphere and misleading the player. Having a fairly elaborately implemented thing that’s a trap is probably on the wrong side of the line, though.
Agreed with Matt on this. It depends on the tone of your game—in some games, making things unwinnable like this is entirely reasonable, in others it’s not.
My immediate thought is, make some way to recover the objects later. Make a pipe they can unscrew in the basement to recover anything they’ve flushed away. Maybe even turn it into a puzzle: you can get an object past an obstacle of some sort that way.
Or let them flush one thing, adventure brain clues “O THIS MAY BE A SOLUTION!” so when they flush something else, the drain backs up and floods the bathroom with their previously-flushed possessions.
Or flushing one thing takes things away, flushing more than one brings them all back.
Possibilities = endless unless you want to anger the player. It’s fun to do easter eggs, but it’s always a good idea to make good and sure the player knows what they are in for by trying something stupid, or make sure they have a way to recover.
Down floats the toilet fairy “LEAVE ME A QUARTER UNDER YOUR PILLOW TONIGHT AND YOUR ITEMS MAY BE RETURNED, QUESTIONING WAYFAIRER!”
My personal issue is I love these jokey-easter egg reactions and love putting them in, but often the entire mechanic will end up taking over the game. In Fair the original joke was that the science fair exhibits in the finals were all pretty bad, but someone had thrown away a working time-machine. I figured it had to work at least once - two days later, the entire game is now about time travel and it nearly wrecked everything up to that point.