The can't put onto something being carried rule

I’m wondering about the rationale for the can’t put onto something being carried rule. Consider:

[code]The Test Lab is a room.

The player carries the antique silver serving tray. A boiled egg is on the tray.

Test me with “take egg / put egg on tray”.[/code]
The results are silly. So … can someone suggest a circumstance in which this rule does make sense, in terms of creating a realistic simulation? Or should I suggest that it be scrapped?

Slightly more amusing: If you drop the tray and then try to pick it up again, you’ll learn that it’s fixed in place. Seems to me a supporter that is initially carried should be marked by the compiler as not fixed in place. Should I suggest that?

Your second suggestion sounds like a no-brainer. In the first case, I think you’re probably right, but I don’t have enough brains to be sure there’s no counter-example.

Here’s an arguable case:

Lab is a room. The mini table is a supporter in Lab. It is portable. The player carries a placard. Test me with "put placard on table/take placard/take table/put placard on table."

Don’t know how often it comes up, and if I can’t put the placard on the table while I’m carrying it then arguably I shouldn’t be able to pick the table up while it has the placard on it. But I’m guessing that the idea is that even portable supporters are usually pretty big, so that you can’t put something on one while you’re carrying it.

This isn’t to say that the rule shouldn’t be scrapped, tho’ it’s easier to delist a rule than to rewrite it. But on the third hand, that requires knowing that the rule’s there.

Oops. Can’t make any suggestions tonight. The link on the I7 site to the suggestions forum reports, “Server unavailable.”

I’ve assumed it’s because you normally carry things in your pockets or in a (implied) bag or something like that instead of in your hands (which would severely limit what you can carry). Then it wouldn’t make sense to put things on other things. But since the inventory is a kind of abstraction anyway I wouldn’t really notice anything if the game let you put things on other things while carrying them both.

But if you put a supporter in your pocket, whatever is on it would fall off. So that theory doesn’t quite explain why Graham felt this bottleneck modeled the real world.

Supporters are assumed to be big things that you cannot move around. Given that assumption, the rules in the standard world model make perfect sense.

I suspect the assumption is made because if you do not make it, and allow supporters of all sizes, you suddenly need to do a lot of work to avoid absurdities: e.g., carrying a wheelbarrow on a saucer, or a person on a silver tray. (> Tracy, sit on tray. > take tray.) So Inform comes with a limit idea of what supporters can be, just because it is a lot simpler. If you want a more extensive concept of supporter, you will need to do the work yourself (and remove some of the standard rules).

Well, no. That assumption implies a “can’t take supporters” rule, not a “can’t put onto something being carried” rule.

But the rule doesn’t block those cases! You can put any (takeable) supporter on any other supporter, and you can pick up a (takeable) supporter no matter what it supports.

See, this is why it’s vaguely confusing. Most games don’t have a takeable supporter, but if there is one, this doesn’t make it any more convincing.

If supporters cannot be carried, then logically, anything that is carried cannot be a supporter. So it makes sense to have a “can’t put onto something being carried” rule.

But I do agree that this logic collapses as soon as you make any supporter portable or carried, which the standard rules allow you to do. The combination of the rules with that allowance is indeed a recipe for weirdness. I’m not sure you could solve the problem by dropping the “can’t put onto something being carried” rule, though. (Because the rest of the rules still don’t work well with portable supporters.)

Can you give an example? I’m drawing a blank. What “rest of the rules” are you referring to?

The way I look at it (and feel free to offer contrary examples), the only time it would be difficult, in the real world, to put something on a supporter while carrying the supporter would be if you need both hands to carry the supporter – if it’s a table, for instance. But that problem is better dealt with using some sort of “large objects require both hands” rule, which it’s up to the author to implement. If I have somehow managed to carry both a table and something else (perhaps by holding the little gold key in my teeth?), then ‘put key on table’ still makes sense.

Man, not for me. I would have to put that table down to have any hope of spitting the key onto it and getting it to stay there.

I’m pretty clumsy, though; when I ran your initial code, and trying to put the egg on a tray I was carrying produced the response “That is beyond your dexterity,” my reaction was “That’s pretty plausible.” I’m pretty sure I’d find it easier to pick up a tray with something already on it than to put something on a tray I was already holding – perhaps depending on how balancy the other thing was, with an egg being pretty far to one extreme. But this is idiosyncratic enough that it may not be a good idea to put it in the default model world.

And, on post-“submit” thought, I can’t think of hardly any circumstances in which making the player put down the supporter before putting something on it wouldn’t just add extra annoyance. Maybe in something like the grocery sequence in “Common Ground,” where annoyance is the point, or maybe in something where you’re trying for a slapstick effect.