In the last few months there has been a renewed focus on making IF accessible to players who are entirely or partly unfamiliar with the form. While a lot of discussion has revolved around high-level changes (‘can we live without the parser’, that sort of thing), I’ve also run across many, many suggestions for smaller, less earth-shaking changes that wouldn’t affect experienced players much, but could make a good deal of difference for novices.
There are problems with this: there have been so many ideas of this kind that I can’t remember them all. And all these good ideas don’t help the novice much if they only appear scattered across a handful of games, each of which only use a few of those ideas. And some of the ideas, while simple, are such a pain in the arse to actually code that the grunt work should only ever have to be done once. (I mention this because, in the light of Sarah Morayati’s eminently sensible post on default parser messages, I was going through Custom Library Messages to make sure that everything out-of-world was consistently bracketed. And good weasels in a basket but it’s an unpleasant chore.)
So I’m wondering about the utility of collating a big grab-basket of novice-friendly, low-impact tweaks into a single bloated extension. This would be a fairly big-tent approach, written with the understanding that authors can strip out individual features that don’t agree with them. In general, though, these should be features that will work just fine without the author doing anything further to them.
Here are some things that might make sense: I’m mostly feeling out how this might work at this point.
- Use David Fisher’s Custom Library Messages to bracket (or otherwise consistently distinguish) all out-of-world text.
- Gank or integrate a quite embarrassing number of Aaron Reed extensions: Keyword Interface, Remembering, Extended Grammar, Small Kindnesses, Smarter Parser, and Poor Man’s Mistype look like candidates.
- Use Juhana Leinonen’s Reversed Persuasion Correction.
- No-input commands (when the player just hits ENTER) default to… something. WAIT or HELP?
Thoughts very much appreciated; this is extremely speculative at the moment.