Pluralizing a kind of the form "box of stuff"

The documentation says that

  1. I can define the plural form of a kind thus:
A brother in law is a kind of man. The plural of brother in law is brothers in law. 
  1. “Once we have made a kind, we may create multiple objects of this type without giving them individual names.”

However, when I try creating a kind called “box of stuff”, “can of stuff”, or anything of anything, an attempt at creating multiple unnamed instances of it is interpreted as the creation of a single thing called, e.g., a “six boxes of stuff”.

A box of stuff is a kind of thing. The plural of a box of stuff is boxes of stuff. In Test Room are six boxes of stuff.

>x box of stuff just returns “You can’t see any such thing”.

I assume it’s something about the “of” that’s confusing things, since I tried various other nonstandard pluralizations and they turned out fine. How can I work around this? The “called” workaround for named items doesn’t work, presumably because I’m working with kinds. I can’t use a name-printing rule, because I’m trying to eventually create multiple instances of them without giving them individual names. (I tried that one out anyway; it didn’t work.)

I would do this:

A stuff-box is a kind of thing.
Understand "box", "boxes", "box of", "boxes of", "stuff" as a stuff-box.

Rule for printing the name of a stuff-box: say "box of stuff".
Rule for printing the plural name of a stuff-box: say "boxes of stuff".

In Test Room are six stuff-boxes.

Does that cover it?

Oh, that works. My rules-fu was weak. Thank you!

“Printing the name” and “printing the plural name” are separate activities. They’re both listed in the activities chapter.

In case you’re curious, I avoid writing “Understand ‘box’, ‘of’, ‘stuff’ as…”. It leads to unexpected effects if the player types “get of”.

Huh, I figured that Understand “box of” was a shorter way of saying Understand “box of stuff”, since it understands some kinds of truncation by default; is this not the case? What would be the reason for wanting “of” separately listed as something to understand?

If an Understand line includes an exact phrase, that exact phrase needs to be typed by the player to match it. If you ‘Understand “black box” as the cube’, then that won’t match “black”, or “box”, only “black box”.

If the object is actually called “the black box” in the source text, on the other hand, the grammar that Inform generates is something more like ‘Understand “black” or “box” as the black box’, which allows any combination of those words to match it.

I had no issue with your original code.

An Interactive Fiction
Release 1 / Serial number 150212 / Inform 7 build 6L38 (I6/v6.33 lib 6/12N) SD

Test Room
You can see six boxes of stuff here.

x box
You see nothing special about the box of stuff.

x box of stuff
You see nothing special about the box of stuff.

x boxes
You can’t use multiple objects with that verb.

get box

You are carrying:
a box of stuff

Test Room
You can see five boxes of stuff here.

Got it.

I tested pretty thoroughly, so this is very puzzling. Is this attributable to my outdated copy of Inform? Is it important to upgrade rather than hang onto familiar versions of software as I usually do?

I didn’t test your original code, and I apologize – I should have. namekuseijin is right, it works in 6L38.

If you’re starting a new game, you should upgrade to the latest version. 6G60 has a lot of bugs which are fixed in later versions. Also, people tend to answer forum questions with reference to the latest version. (Unless you specify otherwise.)

If you have an existing project which is built on 6G60, it might be worth upgrading, but there’s some effort involved.

I’m about 2000 words in, still very bare-bones and beginning-stage. Lack-of-bugs is always a good thing, of course; I’ll try and see how well this mess o’ mine plays with shiny new 6L38.

edit: It seems to have mostly come through unscathed, but previously, I was relying on a pluralization extension by Emily Short (which used syntax like “the it-them of the noun”). This seems to have been replaced by [regarding the noun][those]. Are these forms, like the player-oriented adaptive [we], always plural?

The plural is used by default in the code because it distinguishes between more forms than the singular, but in the actual game text it will adapt itself depending on the object.