I have absolutely no experience in programming, but have always wanted to try writing an IF game, and after playing around, I’ve decided to go use I7 as my authoring system. Testing the waters with it, a couple of questions/problems have come up.
Firstly, say I have a room with levers A, B and C in it. I want to include these in the description of the room (say “A small room with three levers”), and not have them pop up again after that in the line “You can see Lever A, Lever B and Lever C here” since it just repeats itself.
This raises another problem however: if I DO manage to remove this, will it cause problems with the description of the room if I pick up one of those (portable) levers, or can I write it in such a way that it recognizes the removed object and prints the description with only two levers.
Secondly, if I put a torch in this room, the above line will further read “… and a lit torch (providing light)”. Is there a way to remove “(providing light)” from that?
Is this just overcomplicating things for me? It seems to me like it somehow breaks atmosphere or flow when it suddenly switches to the technical “You see objects here”. Do all authors stick with this?
Thirdly, if these levers are alligned from left to right - I wanted to name them Left Lever, Middle Lever and Right Lever, but I also want them to show up in the description (the one that I want to fully take out, but I guess it’s still good to know) as “the Left, Middle and Right Levers” not “Left Lever, Middle Lever, Right Lever”. And while we’re on this subject, when I enter ‘pull lever’ I get asked “which one, Left Lever, Middle Lever or Right Lever?” How can I add a definite article to them, or maybe even turn it into “the Left, Middle or Right one?”
My fourth question has to do with the Welcome text, Release and build notes at the start of the game. Can I remove those too? If I use the “when play begins: say…” rule, the cited text appears BEFORE the build notes, and the rest (starting room) after. Or can I move it all the way to the top so it doesn’t go in between them?
My last questions are less technical:
What is the best way to go about writing the game? I have it outlined in my head from start to finish, but I found that when putting it to paper, I tend to stray away from sticking to I7’s norms and go towards flowing prose, and when I need to apply it, I have to chop up parts of text, even rephrase much of it, and so on.
Working part by part on it seems a better way.
Regarding reading the manual: I’ve read about 7 chapters, but it’s tiresome when all I have to go on is just an explanation and a given example, and much of the information doesn’t stick to me, so I’ve found it easier to just start experimenting and learn from that (while still applying the manual’s instructions). This however is very nonlinear so I jump back and forth through chapters a lot. Is there a better way to learn and get used to I7?
Thanks a lot. I’m looking forward to discussing authoring further. Cheers