Tell her about (adv3Lite)

This looks like another subtle library bug. I’ll blur it, because it’s a spoiler. I’ve turned on debug actions.

>x her
[Executing Examine : Betsy ]
Betsy is pale, thin, and nervous. She twitches constantly, and her fingernails are gnawed to ragged nubs. She’s tapping her foot nervously. 

>tell her about marlboros
Betsy doesn’t appear to have any about marlboros.

>tell betsy about marlboros
[Executing TellAbout : Betsy : marlboros ]

“I thought I saw a pack of cigarettes in the coat closet in the salon,” you say.

“Oh, really?” Betsy tries to look nonchalant, but the way she’s licking her lips and tugging at her hair is a giveaway. “Well, maybe I’ll just.... Back in a jiffy!” She sprints away.

The essential point is this: ‘her’ is clearly recognized by the parser as referring to the NPC when the action is Examine. But when the action is TellAbout, the parser doesn’t know who ‘her’ is. The NPC must be mentioned by name in order for the game to produce the desired behavior. This is clearly a bad outcome!

Can anyone suggest how to steer the parser toward an understanding of ‘her’ in the command ‘tell her about X’?

curious, because a very similar mishandling HER problem was seen in Inform 6 standard library, and debated here, some months ago…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

I’ve modified the grammar for implicit TellAbout in an attempt to fix this problem for the upcoming version 1.6 release.


It’s great that you’re working on the 1.6 release, Eric – and I hope you’ll accept my apologies for posting messages that are grouchy to the point of being rude!

A couple of months ago, I was thinking I might do a series of quick tutorial videos on getting started with TADS. Now that my game is finished (and in the Comp), I might want to do that to coincide with your library update. I seem to have the bandwidth at the moment, since I’m not working on anything much.

No worries. I’ve just been working on taming implicit SAY commands with at least some success, but then ran into a problem with implicit QUERY commands triggered by the spelling corrector being over-zealous. I think I may have come up with some sort of solution to that too (disabling the spelling corrector in conversational contexts - which is easy for game authors to override if they prefer some other behaviour). Otherwise, I’m now at a point where I need to document the various changes I’ve made today as a result of trawling through previous posts in this section and then seeing if anyone else comes up with any bugs or suggestions they’d like me to look into.