I’m currently working on improving the UI of Text Fiction. One cool feature it will have in the next version is the ability to highlight “important” words in the story. The idea here is to make identifying exists easier. The user will be able to toggle highlights simply by long touching a word, but I also want to have a preset list of words that are highlighted by default. Currently these words are:
north,northeast,east,… , door
Does anyone have a suggestion for other commonly used words in games that would be worth highlighting by default?
Just for exits, or in general?
In general. Mind: I cannot include a very large list without considerably slowing down the interpreter, so I’m only interested in object names that you virtually come across (and interact with) in every game (e.g. “door”).
Pick 'n choose
bed, desk, table, cabinet, drawer, chest, pot, box, bin
common portal objects:
door, window, hole, hatch, trapdoor, ladder
common room fixtures:
mirror, planter, plant, photo, picture, frame
Are these words highlighted purely to draw attention to them, or does something happen when you click on them?
I’d stick to directions. Just because a word is interactable in one game doesn’t mean it will be in another, and if your interpreter tricks someone into thinking something is interactable in a game where it isn’t that won’t be good. (“My god! There isn’t a door!”)
Even with exits you might run into trouble with “in” “out” “up” and “down.” And other things; check out this room description from Losing Your Grip:
Your interpreter would highlight “Northeast,” “east,” and “southwest,” but in fact the exits are west, southwest, down (= southwest), and south. (You’re in the northeast corner of the building and can go south along the east wall or west along the north wall.)
So I’m not sure the interpreter should be making the choice about what to highlight here.
EDIT: Mind you I wound up having to hit the walkthrough because I didn’t realize you could go south from there.
Both XD! Any word you touch in the story is copied to the command prompt to save you from having to type it manually. Highlighting is meant to draw your attention to those words you use often to stitch together commands. It doesn’t make the highlighted word behave any different from a non highlighted word.
Ideally, the interpreter would highlight the words that are relevant in the current context. Unfortunately there is no reasonable way to pull that infomation out of the Z-Machine. Having occasionally marked a word that does not form a command in the current context is ok. The player should understand highlighting as the digital equivalent of a trained monkey operating a marker pen.
I don’t like when IMPORTANT words in the text are HIGHLIGHTED because then it trains me that the ONLY thing I need to pay attention to is the HIGHLIGHTS.
I thought text fiction was great in that you can repurpose any word in the text for your command line entry. Aaron Reed has an extension for context highlighting similar to the game BLUE LACUNA. It requires the author to specify the highlights in the source code.
Good point. I’ll include an option that will allow you to start with an empty list.