Proper Naming of Similar Rooms

Hello! I’m fairly new to Inform and have an idea that involves a forest path. I want to allow the player to have options in where to go (after all, “go north” 17 times gets boring), but I’m not sure what the best way is to distinguish where they are on the path without having a lot of locations. A few of the ideas I’ve had;

  • Forest Path 1E, 2E, 3E, Forest Path 1NW, 2NW, 3NW, etc [Each is labelled Forest Path [number][letter(s)] and the letter(s) refer to directions]
  • Forest Path 1, 2, 3, 4, etc (Just use numbers as distinguishers)
  • “Forest Path [N, E, NE, E, E]” (Each is labelled with the directions to get there as such)
  • Just make a bunch of locations that are close enough to each other to solve the issue of similar names (possibly similar structure to the roguelike map of the first stage of Inscryption, but in an IF format)

I can find problems with all of these, but I am happy to listen to suggestions on good ways to format this for the player’s view.

Would some kind of trail markers fit the theme?

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In this particular case, not really, unfortunately. The sort of idea is that a malicious entity created the path, rather than people so it’s meant to be a bit chaotic and hard to navigate. There’ll probably be markers of the entity’s exact path, but idk if that’ll help much. That and there’s the issue of having 25 different rooms called Forest Path.

Do you want the player to be able to tell the difference between one area and another, or just be lost until they solve some kind of puzzle?

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A technique from Cursed Pickle of Shireton - I used one location as “forest path” and kept track of the player’s progress along an east/west path with a variable. A sign on the path calculated how many “miles” the player was from any location based on how many times they had moved. If the variable was 0, they were at the easternmost town. If it was 6 they were at the westernmost town. If they were at 3 they were at a small midpoint village. Moving west incremented the variable, moving east decremented it.

This location was the same with some random text variations so it wouldn’t seem exactly the same, there was a random encounter chance as in RPGs every time the player moved, and when the variable indicated they were in the middle or either end of the path, the player was given a route to enter whichever of the three towns they were adjacent to based on calculated distance.

CP was a choice narrative, so I wasn’t so much concerned with navigation as simulating that the journey took some time, and making travel slightly dangerous since the player could encounter combat as they traversed the “space”. The key was the sign that told how far the player was from any town, and they moved toward one or the other which updated the distances.

You are already aware that creating empty rooms “just for scale” can get boring really fast which is why you don’t make your desert just 17 empty locations in a row that are ‘go north’. There are better game-like solutions to simulating map scale - a message cutscene-ing “After hours of thirsty walking in the desert” or preventing the player from moving if they have insufficient provisions to travel, or creating a navigation puzzle that hopefully is something interesting that’s not just “twisty passages all alike” or a plain maze the player has to step through and draw a map.


The idea is to try to follow a path of clues. There’s a creature that made the path that isn’t human, so some of the rooms will have specific clues that they’re heading in the right direction. But I want the player to be able to explore some and find the clues and maybe some items along the way. Sort of like the cave in Candy Box 2

Depending on what you’re trying to do, you don’t have to show the unique names to the player: you can do something like The printed name of Forest 84 is "Forest".

So they could be distinguished only by the room descriptions, exit directions, etc.


It seems like you want the player to be navigating a “maze”, and you’re going to have a bunch of different rooms anyways. What if you had a few “regions” (not Inform regions—your entire forest could be one region—but just areas of the forest): clearing, deep forest, etc. with a few rooms in each (e.g. Clearing, North End or Northern Clearing) so that the player knows where they are relative to the rest of the forest, while still being vague and ambiguous about where to go? It would also make it easier to have specific hints (“I think it went towards the clearing”).

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Yes, definitely. Thank you for the ideas!

That’s a really good idea, thank you. I ended up defining a forest path this way, so that each room just shows up to the player as “Forest Path”, though different clues and items will be present in each.

That is also really useful, thank you!