Manual is unclear on "guesses"

A pet peeve of mine is when a manual mentions something that is clearly nuanced but doesn’t bother explaining why. In 3.3 it says:

"The Attic is above the Parlour.
The Attic is a dark room above the Parlour.

Inform makes guesses about the first sentence, and makes a two-way connection; but it accepts the second sentence more precisely, with just a one-way connection."

So why does the second sentence not keep the two-way connection and simply make the attic dark?

On that very same page, it says “There are relatively few situations where Inform has to make educated guesses, but when it does, it tries always to follow Occam’s Razor by constructing the simplest model world consistent with the information in the Source text.”

It would seem the “simplest model” above would be to simply keep the two way connection since the only qualifier added is that one of the rooms is dark.

The reason I’m even curious is because it would be good to understand better how and when Inform makes “guesses” and when it does not.

It looks to me as though this is the explanation (from the same page):

So it looks like “Room1 is way from Room2” should be pretty much the only formulation that will automatically create the two-way connection, though I haven’t tested it out.


[code]The Parlor is a room.

The Attic is a room above the Parlor.[/code]

seems to create a one-way connection from the Attic up to the Parlor, which surely isn’t right.

ETA: And “The Attic is a room west of the Parlor” fails to compile, while “The Attic is a room, west of[/above] the Parlor” creates a two-way map connection. I think that’s because sentences with commas like that are functionally equivalent to “The Attic is a room. The Attic is west of the Parlor,” but the moral is really that I shouldn’t try to explain the compiler. Still, a day with a bug found is a good day.

Yeah, but that doesn’t define what “simple sentences” and “something complicated” are. I’m not sure why the one sentence is considered simple and other complicated, unless the idea is that calling something a dark room makes it more complicated of a sentence?

I’ve found that the manual seems to be a bit elliptical in some of its phrasing in many places, which may be ironic considering it’s describing a system that requires quite precise natural language. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure where in the manual this is, but I remember it saying somewhere that a “complicated sentence” is one which explicitly sets multiple properties at once (in this case, dark + map connection).

Okay, that could make sense and would be in line with what the manual seems to be saying here. The page in the manual I quoted would have been a great place to state exactly what you just said. I keep finding bits of information scattered throughout the manual that, taken as a whole, actually do build up a picture. It feels like a lot more work than it needs to be --but a maze of twisty little passages is perhaps appropriate! :slight_smile:

Well, “The Attic is a dark room above the Parlor” is bugged in exactly the same way as “The Attic is a room above the Parlor” – it creates a one-way connection up from the (dark) Attic to the Parlor – so it’s not just that saying “dark” is making a difference. Though I’d figure that “The Attic is a room above the Parlor” counts as explicitly setting two properties at once, room + map connection, even though they’re the same that’d be set by “The Attic is above the Parlor” (where “room” is set implicitly).

That’s precisely it. Graham explicated his reasoning here:

I’m not sure if that bug “explicates” the reasoning. All it does is repeat the parts of the manual, which he says in the comment. Unless I’m missing something, how does the bug help explain the explanation? :slight_smile:

To be fair, it’s the manual that’s repeating the comment on the bug; the bug was filed for a previous version of Inform.