I typically do a paragraph break, “(Press any key to continue)”, then clear the screen, maybe with a bold heading if it seems narratively appropriate. Don’t think I’ve heard complaints about that making folks miss stuff, though I’m not sure I would if it had now that I think about it!
(EDIT: I should say that’s been for a narrative-focused game and one with pretty self-contained puzzles, so breaking up the scroll buffer probably wasn’t too big a deal. Might feel different if the player was likely to cross-reference information from different sections)
I routinely clear screen, put up titles, pause, clear screen again and then cut to new scene. But then, I’m using Adventuron which doesn’t use scroll back anyway.
In Inform, I’d still prefer to have a clear screen (or at least a press any key pause) before a change of scene because I very frequently miss things that happen right before a location change - I tend to skip to the bold location text and miss an unheralded transition or event reported immediately before. But that’s just me having never got fully used to scrolling text.
That would work for me, I think - a definite visual clue that a transition is occurring. I’d still prefer a press any key after the asterisks though: a bit of a curtain reveal of whatever comes after (rather than just ploughing straight on).
Something that would be do-able in plain text and reasonably striking would be a combination of whitespace, horizontal rules (via underline characters) and bold face (basically just a twist on your Absence of Law method)
__________________ You are now Alice. __________________
I don’t mind the screen clearing as long as I have easy access to the information I need. What about something like this:
You go through the portal, the screen clears, and there’s some centered text about how it feels, like maybe some flashback memories of that person: “You’re eating ice cream in pigtails… You’re graduating from high school… you’re taking a new job…”. These memories would give a sense of character (one of your other recent questions) and would lead us up to the point at which you become that person. Then clear the screen again and we know we’ve switched personalities, we know something about that person, and we have a transition.
I like some of the suggestions above–some combination of waiting for any key, a visual divider (with lines or similar) and possibly also clearing the screen if you’re not worried about scrollback.
In addition to that, you could use the status line to give the character name or the dimension name or whatever. Or even display the character name as part of the room name when the room description is printed.
Isn’t there a command (maybe it’s in Basic Screen Effects?) that does the “three asterisk” book transition in inform?
Oh dude…finally the boxed quotation is called for.
I personally am very fond of Kubrickian title cards that include a music smash. Most likely it’s because of theatrical tendency. I love during a play when there’s a short scene change and the audience all discuss what’s happening in hushed tones before the lights come back up.
The Shining is my favorite horror movie that has no jump scares except that one freaking “TUESDAY” title smash.
It isn’t possible to superimpose a window on top of another window, but it’s totally possible to clear the screen, switch from a text buffer to a grid, then display a centered boxed quotation, wait for the user to press a key, and clear the screen and switch back to a text buffer.
Perhaps incorrectly, I have had the impression that those who make Inform games prefer not to use text colors, similar to a book where the norm has become black text on white paper.
However, I personally find the use of text color to improve games if it is done right. I mainly prefer a darker background when using different text colors compared to a white background which isn’t very good for different text colors.
So suddenly using different colors and/or different fonts makes for a good clear transition.
There are a lot of cool effects you can do with a web browser only game, but one reason I like doing blorb versions of the game is because they run on so many platforms so easily and can be ported to new platforms whenever someone makes a new interpreter for all glulx games, while web only games run the risk of changing web standards over time (like flash). I did make major changes to colors with Absence of Law and add music to each part of the world using quixe hacks, but none of that carried over to the downloadable game.
Is there a way to change colors in glulx that will work on gargoyle, lecteote and frotz?