Edit - Marshal has kindly furnished us with a map of the game-in-progress, which you can view at the bottom of this post.
–Please read (or at least skim) before posting on this thread!–
Had an idea for an experiment kicking around in the cobwebbed recesses of my mind for a while. Hopefully, dear reader, you’ll agree that this should be fun.
The concept - A piece of Inform 7 interactive fiction written by the entire community, where anyone can jump in and add a bit of code, whether it be a new room, a thing, a description, a verb, a ruleset, etc, etc. Open to absolutely everyone, regardless of ability, literacy etc, and you can put as much or as little of your time as you wish into the experiment.
***The rules - The only strict rule is that every single post on this thread (besides mine) must include some code for the game, written so Inform 7 will understand it.*** I think it will be most interesting if each post’s code is limited to, at most, one new room or item (or a set of items) or a person etc, along with any verbs and rules you want to define for the item / room / person, just so we get a nice mishmash of input from everyone. If you want to make something without a description, go ahead and let someone else describe it. If you want to make something that makes sense in the context (like a barstool in someone’s bar), go for it. If you want to make something ‘random’ (like a Fleetwood Mac vinyl on top of someone’s snowy mountaintop), that’s fine too. If you make a room description, don’t make and describe all the items in it as well, let someone else have a go! And of course you can post as many times as you want, without double posting. Most suggested amendments to existing code will be made automatically, and can then be contested as contributors see fit. Any alterations to existing code should be labelled as such above the code to help me when compiling. Oh, and let’s avoid anything destructive, like ending the game when play begins!
My part - I will be responsible for putting the code together, and I will regularly update the complete source in this post and the Parchment over at playfic.com (link below) so everyone can play / tinker / troubleshoot as they wish to. I will probably not create any part of the game myself (unless participation is low, or I can’t resist), besides the first room (which someone else will make a description for). I will also act in an editorial capacity, correcting spelling, moving items and rooms around etc. I will detail any changes I make in the thread as we go along and anything I do (including the guidelines in this post), will be contestable, we can even put decisions to a vote if necessary. You should be aware that I only have a rough working knowledge of Inform 7, so I’ll be learning as we go along and relying on more experienced contributors as and when problems arise.
Many of you will be thinking “That’s all very well, but all we’re going to create here is a huge mess.” Perhaps you are right, but at the very least it should be an interesting mess, and I struggle to think of any other type of game where this project would be feasible. Perhaps there will be a section of the game where odd stuff that doesn’t quite work will be shoved out of the way to be corrected or forgotten as appropriate. Will puzzles arise, or will it be more of an exploratory venture? That, dear reader, is up to you!
Here’s the source code (in a spoiler for tidyness purposes)
[spoiler]“Exquisite Corpse (Working Title)” by Various Authors
[Rules and stuff]
Include Conversation Responses by Eric Eve.
To decide whether action implies physical contact:
if the current action is listening to something, no;
if the current action is memscribing something, no;
if the current action is summoning something, no;
if the action requires a touchable noun, yes;
if the action requires a touchable second noun, yes;
section listing exits and enterables
To say enterable list:
if an enterable container (called playerbox) encloses the player:
say “You could try exiting from [the playerbox].”;
let L be the list of enterable things in the location of the player;
if L is not empty:
say "You could try entering [L with definite articles]. ";
To say exit list:
say “Obvious exits from [the location]: [line break]”;
repeat with way running through directions:
let place be the room way from the location;
if place is a visited room:
say “[way] to [the place][line break]”;
otherwise if place is a room:
say “[way][line break]”;
listing enterables is an action applying to nothing.
Understand “enterables” as listing enterables.
carry out listing enterables: say enterable list.
listing exits is an action applying to nothing.
Understand “exits” as listing exits.
carry out listing exits: say “[exit list][enterable list]”;
Rule for choosing notable locale objects (this is the tweaked locale priority rule):
repeat with item running through things in location:
if the item is fixed in place, set the locale priority of the item to 4;
else set the locale priority of the item to 5.
Overture is a scene. Overture begins when play begins.
Memscribing is an action applying to one thing. Understand “memscribe [something]” as memscribing.
Definition: something is susceptible: if it is a person, yes.
Instead of memscribing the child, say “Far too dangerous to consider with any infant, let alone your own blood.”
Instead of memscribing yourself, say “Memscribing yourself? You wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
Instead of memscribing something not susceptible, say “[The noun] can’t be affected by memscription.”
A person can be neutral, friendly or angry. A person is usually neutral.
Understand “jump off” as jumping.
Instead of singing: say “When all this is over, you’ll sing, sing like a bird that is no longer caged. But not yet.”
The player is female.
Instead of examining the player: say “You are twenty-four, obviously pregnant, and marked by a weird[if the brand is lit and the location is naturally dark], glowing[end if] brand on your left shoulder.”
The child is part of the player. Understand “girl/baby/daughter/foetus/fetus/kid” as the child. The description of the child is “It’s a girl, according to the doctor who discussed the 20-week echo with you. When he heard that, Jack tried to force you to have an abortion. That will never happen.[paragraph break]You rub your belly and imagine a newborn cradled in your arms. She would be perfect, of course. Beautiful and intelligent.”
The child is a woman.
Instead of summoning the child, say “Its time has not come yet.”
Instead of attacking the child, say “Never.”
Instead of dismissing the child, say “Never.”
Instead of pushing or pulling or taking when the noun is the child, try touching the child.
After touching the child: say “You lay a hand on your belly[if a random chance of 1 in 6 succeeds].[paragraph break]A kick! You’re sure you felt [one of]her[or]another[stopping] kick just now[end if].” Understand “belly/stomach/tummy” as the child while the child is part of the player.
A shoulder is part of the player. The description is “On your right shoulder is an incomplete brand[if the brand is lit and the location is naturally dark], which blazes with a weird light[end if].”
An incomplete brand is part of the player. The description is “Craning your neck, you look down to see the edges of the brand, bleeding but flawed, mercifully incomplete[if the brand is lit and the location is naturally dark]. You wouldn’t see it well, except for the dull, flickering light that smolders deep within the wound[end if].” Understand “weird” as the brand.
The player carries a short blade. The description of the short blade is “It’s one of the few things your momma ever gave you.”
Instead of eating the short blade: say “Only the men in Jack’s gang were expected to practice sword swallowing.”
Understand “sword/weapon/knife” as the blade.
Section - Summoning
[ A character can be summoned with SUMMON Sgt Duffy ]
[ Additional logic could be added to deal with other NPCs, or give them other tasks. ]
[ Note: visible means “in scope”, not necessarily in the same room ]
Summoning is an action applying to one visible thing. Understand “summon [any thing]” as summoning.
First check summoning the player: instead say “You’re already here.”
Instead of summoning or dropping the child, say “Its time has not come yet.”
Carry out summoning a person:
if noun is not visible:
move noun to location.
Check summoning when the noun is not a person:
if the noun is visible begin;
say “You can’t summon a thing, only a person.”;
say “That’s not something you can see now.”;
[ Add some further logic to summon other characters if necessary ]
Check summoning when the noun is a person:
if noun is Sgt Duffy:
if noun is not visible:
move noun to location;
[ other code for other NPCs might go here ]
say “There’s no response.”
After summoning Sgt Duffy:
if Sgt Duffy was not visible, say “[noun] steps into the room. [one of]‘You called?’[or]‘What can I do ya for?’[or]‘Here I am.’[or]'All yours.[or]‘Yes, sir.’[then at random]”;
otherwise say “‘Dollar, I’m right here.’”;
Jack is a man. Instead of summoning jack: say “That’s the last thing you’d do right now!”
Report summoning a person:
if the person is not visible, say “[The noun] is suddenly present with you, looking around confusedly.”;
otherwise say “There’s no response from [the noun].”
A person can be imaginary. A person is usually not imaginary.
Dismissing is an action applying to one thing. Understand “dismiss [somebody]” as dismissing.
check dismissing something:
if the noun is the player:
say “Sometimes you wish you could just disappear, but it doesn’t work like that.”;
stop the action;
if the noun is not an imaginary person:
say “[The noun] does not respond to your dismissal.”;
stop the action;
carry out dismissing:
say “[The noun] nods a goodbye, walks off, and is gone.”;
now the noun is off-stage;
The beacon is a backdrop. The description is “Far to the west, sunset gilds the metal spine of the pharos.” It is in the Perilous Perch and the Rocky Ledge. Understand “tower/pharos/lighthouse” or “great tower/pharos/lighthouse” as the beacon.
Instead of doing anything other than examining with the beacon, say “The beacon is miles distant, and you don’t think it can see you. Not yet.”
The harbor is a backdrop. The description of the harbor is “Piers and warehouses and dormitories without number, all smeared together by the soot belching from the smokestacks. Low-slung watercraft – ferries and sleds mostly – flit like ants between the piers and the far-off reef moorings, out where the deepwater haulers wait. Landward, the curtain wall rises tall, its short stubby turrets menacing the sky. The great tower of the pharos overlooks them all.” It is in the Perilous Perch and the Rocky Ledge. Understand “harbour” or “city” as the harbor.
Instead of doing anything other than examining with the harbor, say “You can barely even make out details at this distance.”
The wind is a backdrop. The wind is in the Perilous Perch and the Rocky Ledge. The description of the wind is “This wind is unnatural: fast, but not overwhelmingly so; perceivable with every sense, yet repulsive to the same.”
Instead of listening to the wind: say “The wind wails painfully over a deep minor melody.”
Instead of listening to a room when the wind is in the location: try listening to the wind.
Section - Rocky Ledge
Rocky Ledge is a room. “Wind whips about your ears here on this rocky ledge. The ledge winds upwards to the northeast and down to the southwest. You feel you shouldn’t tarry too long here.” The player is in Rocky Ledge.
Instead of jumping in Rocky Ledge or jumping in Perilous Perch, say “While death [italic type]may[roman type] be preferable to what Jack and his gang will do to you if they catch you, you have not yet lost all hope of escape.”
Instead of going up while in Rocky Ledge:
try going northeast.
Instead of going southwest in Rocky Ledge, say “Back to Jack and his gang? No.”
Instead of going down while in Rocky Ledge:
try going southwest.
Section - Perilous Perch
Perilous Perch is northeast of Rocky Ledge. “From here, you can see the entire harbor, but the wind is so treacherous that your concentration is mainly spent on staying afoot. The [if the passage is open]only path[otherwise]path you came by[end if] leads down to the southwest but [if the passage is open]now a tunnel yawns[otherwise]a small crack can be seen[end if] in the rock face behind you.”
The shorebirds are scenery in the perilous perch. Understand “bird/birds/gull/gulls/cries/whooping/cawing/sound/sounds”, “piercing cries” and “shore bird/birds” as the shorebirds.
Before doing anything other than listening to the shorebirds:
say “You can’t see the birds at the moment, but you can hear their piercing cries from the harbour.” instead.
Before listening to the shorebirds:
say “[one of]You’ve never liked those gulls, always whooping and cawing at a their own jokes[or]You recoil from the sound of the shorebirds enjoying their freedom[stopping].” instead.
Every turn while in Perilous Perch, say “[one of]The wind screams in your ears for a moment, then dies down.[or]The sounds of shorebirds can be heard from the harbor.[or]You think you hear voices, but you hope you are mistaken.[or]The wind whistles ominously around the cliffs.[or]You hear the sound of a solitary gull.[or]You think you hear movement down toward the rocky ledge.[purely at random]”
The kataphraktos is a person. The description is “Squat and sightless, the kataphraktos does not move beyond the slow, rippling clicks of its scales. You still feel its attention on you, passionless and focused.” The kataphraktos carries a glaive and a mandate. Understand “cataphract” or “guard” as the kataphraktos.
Instead of going down while in Perilous Perch:
try going southwest.
Instead of entering the passage: try going east.
Instead of going inside in Perilous Perch: try going east.
The hidden passage is a scenery door. It is unopenable and closed. The printed name of the passage is “[if the passage is open]passage[otherwise]crack[end if]”.
The description of the hidden passage is “[if the passage is closed]The crack is narrow in the otherwise dust-covered rock[otherwise]The darkness in this passage is compact[end if].”
The hidden passage is east of the Perilous Perch and west of the Cave Entrance. Understand “crack/crevice/opening/hole” as the passage when the passage is closed. Understand “tunnel” as the passage.
Instead of trying inserting something into a closed passage, say “The crack is too narrow to accommodate it.”
Instead of trying inserting the blade into a closed passage:
say “With a shower of dirt you work your mother’s blade into the crack. The crack’s edges seem more yielding than rock should be, and the blade suddenly slips into open space. Could it be?[paragraph break]Within a couple of minutes you have cleared away the vines and dirt surrounding the crack to reveal a narrow dark passage to the east.”;
now the passage is open.
Instead trying opening a closed passage: say “You press yourself against the crack, but it is far too small for you to enter.”
Instead of unlocking the closed passage with something, try inserting the second noun into the noun.
This is the silenced can’t go through undescribed doors rule:
if the door gone through is the passage and the passage is closed begin;
silently try the actor opening the passage;
stop the action;
abide by the can’t go through undescribed doors rule;
The silenced can’t go through undescribed doors rule is listed instead of the can’t go through undescribed doors rule in the check going rules.
Section - Cave Entrance
The Cave Entrance is a room. “Through the narrow opening to the west, choked by fallen masonry and choking vines, you can glimpse the sky. The remnants of a wagon wheel rises from the dirt; the wood is dark with rot. To the northeast, where the cliff wall breaks surface, is a dark slash of an opening into the rock.”
Instead of going northeast from the Cave Entrance when the brand is not lit, say “Much too dark in there for you to grope about without a torch or lumin or something.”
The smock is scenery in the Cave Entrance. Understand “tatters” as the smock.
The fallen masonry is scenery in Cave Entrance. The description of the fallen masonry is “Chunks of granite, strewn about.”
Understand “rubble/chunks/granite” or “chunks of granite” as the fallen masonry.
The dessicated skeleton is in the Cave Entrance. It is fixed in place. The initial appearance is “Half-buried by rubble you see the broken remains of a body.” The description is “It looks to have been dead for a long time. Under the tatters of its smock, little but bones and sinew remains. Whoever it was must have died in this unfortunate position, head thrown back, fangs bared, hands cradling one another against the chest.” Understand “corpse/body/remains/remnants/bones/carcass/sinew/bone/sinews” as the skeleton.
Instead of doing something to the skeleton when the action implies physical contact:
say “The skeleton is firmly wedged under a mountain of masonry, and will not budge.”
instead of searching the skeleton:
say “You carefully inspect the remains but find nothing more of interest.”;
instead of searching the skeleton when the hands are closed:
say “The body is little but dry bones, and can hardly hide anything. Except… is there something in the hands?”;
Instead of doing something to the hands when the action implies physical contact for the first time:
say “You pry the fingers apart with a noise like that of cracking walnuts. Something slips from its grasp and falls to the ground.”;
now the hands are open;
now the obsidian cat is in the Cave Entrance.
Some fangs are part of the skeleton. The fangs are plural-named and scenery. The description is “The dead skull almost seems to be smiling, with two inch-long fangs extending from the upper jaw. They tell you two things: that the body once was a man – and that he was of your kind. Women don’t have fangs, nor do human men (like Jack).”. Understand “fang/jaw” as the fangs.
Some withered hands are part of the skeleton. The hands are plural-named and scenery. The hands can be open or closed. The hands are closed. The description is “[if the hands are closed]They are pressed tight over the body’s breast bone[otherwise]Broken, the hands are fixed in impotent supplication[end if].” Understand “fingers/hand/grip/grasp” as the hands.
Some vines are scenery, here.
Instead of cutting the vines, say “There is already a narrow opening through the vines. It would not be wise to make the passage more obvious.”
The wagon wheel is scenery in Cave Entrance. The description of the wagon wheel is “The wood is dark with rot.” Understand “wood” as the wagon wheel.
The Obsidian Cat is a thing. “A small item lies in the dust.” The description is “[if the cat is handled]Standing about four inches tall, this small statue in the image of a cat carved in obsidian has eyes made from polished garnet. A small symbol is engraved in the base; you feel like you’ve seen it somewhere before.[otherwise]The dust is so thick over it that you can hardly see[end if].” Understand “small” or “item/thing” as the obsidian cat when the cat is not handled. Understand “statue/figurine/garnet” as the cat.
Instead of rubbing the obsidian cat when the obsidian cat is not handled, try taking the obsidian cat.
After taking the obsidian cat:
now the brand is lit;
say “[one of]You carefully lift the thing and brush it off. It’s a small statue, intricately carved in vitreous stone.[paragraph break]You feel your shoulder beginning to itch[or]You pick up the statue again. Once more, there’s the itching[or]You take the statue, feeling the expected itch[stopping].”
After dropping or inserting when the noun is the obsidian cat (this is the letting go of the cat figurine rule):
say “The instant the figurine leaves your touch, the itching stops.”;
now the brand is not lit.
After looking when the brand is lit and the location is naturally dark:
say “Your brand seems to be giving off an eerie sort of light.”
Section - Lightless Shaft
A room can be naturally dark.
The Lightless Shaft is northeast of the Cave Entrance. It is naturally dark. The description of Lightless Shaft is “Heavy timbers hold up the earth that surrounds you in this claustrophobic tunnel. There is some writing on the wall here. Passages lead southwest, south, and southeast.”
The graffiti is scenery in the lightless shaft. The description of the graffiti is “Painted into the wall is a short sentence; written in haste by the look of it: [italic type]cuidado la maldicion![roman type]”.
Understand “writing” as the graffiti.
Instead of going southwest from the Lightless Shaft when the brand is not lit, say “You made it this far with its inanimate assistance, so why not continue your travels for a while with the Obsidian Cat in your retinue?”.
Every turn while in Lightless Shaft: say “[one of]The sound of dripping water echoes around you.[or]You think you hear voices from the southwest.[or]It is eerily quiet for a moment.[purely at random]”.
Forgotten Cache is south of Lightless Shaft. The Forgotten Cache is naturally dark. “The tunnel swells into a tall, unhospitable-looking chamber. Here, foam-stone bracings and metal reinforcements have replaced the improvised look of the other tunnels. The floor is a perfectly smooth, dull grey. From here, you can go north back to the tunnel shaft.”
Some abandoned crates are here. “A pile of old crates are stacked in one corner, looking pitifully few compared to what the room probably held once.” They are fixed in place. They are plural-named. The description is “Water has abraded the old pre-upheaval pictograms on their side, but it’s definitely something produced for the military[first time]. Which is no wonder, really, given the old stories about sapper regiments making their defiant stand in this region[only].”
Understand “pile” or “crate” or “pile of crates” or “pile of abandoned crates” as the abandoned crates.
The abandoned crates are an openable, closed, locked container.
Check opening the abandoned crates (this is the can’t open the locked abandoned crates rule):
if the abandoned crates are locked, say “[one of]They don’t seem to open easily[or]You can’t find any place to get a good grip[or]Even after all this time, the crates are still sealed tightly[at random].” instead.
Report opening the abandoned crates (this is the report opening the abandoned crates rule):
say “The side of a crate grudgingly yields to your efforts and comes off with a loud squeal.” instead.
Stone Steps are southeast of Lightless Shaft. It is naturally dark. “This is a tunnel carved into stone. The tunnel slopes sharply downwards to the southeast, but crude stone steps have been carved to assist with footing.”
The rock staircase is scenery in Stone Steps. The description is “Cut into the solid rock of the cave with some rough tool.” Understand “stone/carved/rough/crude” and “stairs/staircase/steps/step” as the staircase.
The dark niche is a fixed in place container in Stone Steps. “A small niche has been cut into the wall at this point.” Understand “small” as the niche.
Section - Sgt Duffy NPC
[ Is it ok to add a character? This is not fully fleshed out, but rather as a starting point so that others might add more interaction with the character, ask/tell etc. Note that the character starts out off-stage. I hope others will add to this. ]
Sgt Duffy is a man. Sgt Duffy has description “Sgt Duffy looks like a cop whose mission in life is to avoid trouble. He’s a couple of pounds over his uniform size and his skin glistens faintly from the humidity. Or maybe he’s just nervous.” Sgt Duffy is imaginary.
Greeting response for Sgt Duffy:
say “‘Hello, Sergeant’, you say.[line break]‘Oh, hello luv.’”
response for Sgt Duffy when asked-or-told about Sgt Duffy:
say “Sgt Duffy is not inclined to talk about himself.”;
Understand “Duff/duf/dufy/diffy/duggy/sargent/seargent/sarge/sergeant/cop/police/policeman”, “the seargent”, “the sergeant”, “Seargent Duffy”, “Seargeant Duffy” as Sgt Duffy.
Instead of pushing Sgt Duffy:
say “Sgt Duffy easily blocks your move. [one of]‘What in blazes has gotten into you?’[or]‘If you try that again, I’m gonna get angry.’[or]He glares at you coldly.[stopping]”;
now Sgt Duffy is Angry.
Instead of attacking Sgt Duffy, try pushing Sgt Duffy.
Section - test - Not for release
test cave with “ne / x crack / i / put blade in crack / look / enter tunnel / x body / x hands / open hands / look / take item / x shoulder / x brand / ne / x brand” in the rocky ledge.
test walkthru with “test cave”.[/spoiler]
(A note - I believe that I have posted this in the most appropriate forum. The ‘Looking for Collaborators’ forum is more for people looking for long-term assistance on their own project, quite different to the dive-in approach I’m proposing here. The development forum should also give us a nice balance of experts and less experienced authors.)
So, to get the ball rolling:
Rocky Ledge is a room. The player is in Rocky Ledge.
Of course, Rocky Ledge be more interesting with a description…
Fly, my pretties!
Edit - To play the game online, head over to http://playfic.com/games/Mostly_Useless/everybody-if. Apologies it says it’s by me, this seems to be a limitation of playfic.com. If anyone knows how I can change the author name or edit my profile over there, please let me know!