Listening requires a touchable noun

Really, it does. So does smelling. Try it!

[code]Test is room.

Every turn:
showme whether or not the action requires a touchable noun.

Test me with “listen/smell/taste me/x me/search me”[/code]

I think this qualifies as a bug, seeing as listening and smelling both default to an untouchable noun.

But I also hope that if anyone writes a Standard Rules Lite, they will do away with touchability requirements for most actions. Even a “no touching required” extension would be nice.

I didn’t notice anything in the Index that would say what verbs require a touchable noun/second noun. Is there any way to get a list?

I suppose it’s a case where you can’t have a solution that would work every time – you shouldn’t be able to smell anything that’s inside a glass cabinet or listen to a sea shell when you’re looking at it through a security camera. A good compromise might be that you usually need to be close enough to touch something to be able to smell it (things don’t usually smell that strong) but you shouldn’t be required to touch something to listen to them (things that make a sound are usually loud enough that you don’t have to put them to your ear to hear them).

I agree with Juhana – touchability makes more sense as a requirement for smelling than for listening, at least as a default rule.

Robert Rothman

Perhaps smelling should require a touchable noun, but the fact remains that “smell” translates to smelling the location. The location is not touchable. Perhaps it’s not a problem, because at the time of the translation, the accessibility rules have been bypassed, but it still bothers me. Maybe the location should be considered touchable, seeing as you’re standing on it? You could get fancy and say it’s not touchable when you’re in an enterable supporter or container, but I don’t think that should stop you from smelling it. Smells really carry!

A sight/tactile bias is one of the flaws of INFORM’s world model. It attempts to shoehorn the other senses into that simplified construct even when doing so is ridiculous.

Take for instance, an air freshener. You sure don’t need to be within arm’s reach in order to smell it. And listening has nothing to do with touchability, in the real world. I can hear that oncoming semi WAY before I can touch it.

I’ve cobbled together stuff to get around this problem in I6, but those were just bandaids and duct tape. A through re-imagining and redesign of the world model should be done. Smellability and hearability would operate in a different way than touchability.

The problem with setting up a different set of default rules for when various types of barriers (whether they be room borders, containers, or whatever) are impervious to odors or sounds is that it becomes so object-specific that no set of default rules is likely to make more sense than any other. Yes, you may be able to hear the oncoming semi from the next “room” where that room represents 100 feet down the road, but not where the next room is a mile away. And if its not a semi but a bicycle, you probably couldn’t hear it even in the former case. What if its a bicycle with a playing card between the spokes? Or what if the “room” you’re in consists of a soundproofed recording studio?

One approach would be to require that an author actually specify smellability/hearability rules for every object with a smell or an odor (i.e., eliminate defaults altogether) but now you’ve made it unnecessarily complicated. Maybe the answer is to have a set of default rules which work basically the way the current rules do (if nothing else, making smellability/hearability work the same way as touchabilty has the advantage of simplicity in those cases where the context does not require anything more complicated) but to make it easier to override the default rules.

Robert Rothman

Perhaps we could use an extension that let authors easily create nicely behaving instances of smell and sound kinds to be put in scope even when the object smelling or sounding isn’t.

(Phenomenologically, I think smells (and tastes) are mostly, and sound at least sometimes, experienced as objects distinct from the things that emit the smell, taste, or sound, in a way that looks and feels are not experienced as distinct from the things that we look or feel at.)