Ropes have a reputation for being one of the three hardest inanimate objects to implement, along with liquids and fire. The biggest problem, to me, seems to be what happens if it’s long enough to stretch between rooms. In a standard grid of rooms, what happens if you anchor your rope, then go S. E. N. W. W. N. E. S and look?
If this problem is solved, though (making ropes exactly one room connection long seems the obvious choice, if a bit limiting), what else would you want a perfect rope to be able to do? So far I have tying things together such that one moves the other, dragging things from room to room, manipulating objects from a distance, creating fuses, and binding something or someone in place. But I’m sure there are things I’m overlooking.
The difficult problems are the second-order problems. Say you have a point in the game where an NPC takes an item from you and leaves. You have to add a clause dealing with the case of the item being tied, and perhaps another dealing with the NPC being tied. Or if chapter 2 starts with the player in a given room, you have to worry about the player holding a tied rope at the end of chapter 1.
Potentially any line of code that manipulates world state has to do a rope check. This is what makes the implementation difficult – not just the rope per se.
One should also ask yourself how complex does this rope really have to be? Granted, if the player needs the rope for a variety of rope-tasks, then you’ve got your work cut out for ya. But if you’re just untying an NPC, let’s say, then you really just have to have the rope be a scenery item that serves its single purpose and then is discarded.
Depth of implementation should be just enough to get through the story and no further. Unless you deliberately want it to be a toy or red herring for the player, where he can mess around with the rope and do complicated things that are unneeded to get through the story.
Do you think the problem of inserting rope checks everywhere can be solved with (In I7; I’m sure other systems have equivalents) an every turn ‘rope sanity check rule’?