The "correct" way to hide things

I have a key I want to hide in a room. I could make a drawer a container that is closed and opaque. I could also put the key off-stage and then when someone searches the room make the key visible and print a dialog.

There are likely many others, but is there a it right way, all things considered?

If you’re happy with the simplicity of it, having the key in an openable drawer is probably your easiest route.

In this case the key is only hidden in as much as it is in a drawer.

I’ve made so many desks with drawers in Inform 7 that they call me the IF-IKEA.

No one actually calls me that. Nonetheless…

the Swedish desk is scenery in Living Room. it is a supporter.

the wide drawer is part of the Swedish desk. it is a closed openable container.

the description of the Swedish desk is "This desk was bought from a disreputable furniture cartel. It has a wide drawer which is [if wide drawer is open]open[otherwise]closed[end if]."

Then just put the key in the drawer.

Be aware that SEARCH is a very specific action in I7. It is not necessarily a synonym for EXAMINE. Also, many modern IF players don’t automatically think to use SEARCH unless the game makes clear that searching is a productive activity.

Searching something (requires light) ( past tense searched)

Searching looks at the contents of an open or transparent container, or at the items on top of a supporter. These are often mentioned in room descriptions already, and then the action is unnecessary, but that wouldn’t be true for something like a kitchen cupboard which is scenery - mentioned in passing in a room description, but not made a fuss of. Searching such a cupboard would then, by listing its contents, give the player more information than the ordinary room description shows.

The usual check rules restrict searching to containers and supporters: so the Standard Rules do not allow the searching of people, for instance. But it is easy to add instead rules (‘Instead of searching Dr Watson: …’) or even a new carry out rule (‘Check searching someone (called the suspect): …’) to extend the way searching normally works.

Typed commands leading to this action

“look/l inside/in/into/through [something]”

“search [something]”

Essentially, it describes the contents of a container or supporter. You can trigger effects based on the SEARCH action that are not supporters or containers with rules like instead of searching the map, but this is not generally an immediately intuitive action for players.

Using the ACTIONS command in the IDE shows a bit of how it works, and you will want to use this while experimentally playtesting to make sure the correct effects occur.

search tree

[searching the cherry tree]

You find nothing of interest.

[searching the cherry tree - failed the can’t search unless container or supporter rule]

search room

You can’t see any such thing.

1 Like