On a practical note, I’m looking at the way score is implemented currently. [rant]Allow me to pause for a moment to rant about the state of documentation. In what part of Writing with Inform will I learn the name of the variable that represents the total score? Hmm…
I look in Chapter 2 - The Source Text because it’s the first meaty chapter - don’t see any useful subheadings.
I look in Chapter 8 - Change, because the score is something that changes - looks like a dead end.
I do a search for “score” in the search bar. It looks like there IS something in Chapter 2 - but alas, it just tells me about “use no scoring.” Hmm, if that were the default, it wouldn’t even need to be in Chapter 2. But it’s just an example of a use option, so it’s not what we’re expected to be looking for here anyway.
Next hit comes up in Chapter 4 - Kinds, under Values that vary. Sounds promising. Nope, sorry, it’s an example of a new variable called “the target score.” This text search thing isn’t turning out to be very useful.
Skimming around, I see in Chapter 8, the score is mentioned under “Now…” Lets see… no that was more irrelevant examples.
Well, I think increasing the score is done using a phrase. Let’s see if I can find something listing phrases in I7. Chapter 11 is all about phrases. Conditions and questions maybe? Well, it happens to mention the score, but it’s just another example.
I’m running out of ideas. Maybe I need to search for “increase the score”… Well, 8.12 does tell me how to do that, but still nothing about the total score.
At this point I give up and decide that the source of the Standard Rules is a better form of documentation than the manual. Here we go…
Hmm… searches for “obituary” and “final score” don’t turn up anything useful. Requesting the score? Handled in I6. Finally I think of “the score.” Now we get a list of variables. Here we go! The maximum score, that’s it!
Out of curiosity, let’s search for “maximum score” in the documentation. Awarding Points is section 9.2 in the chapter on “Time.” Well, I guess since we’re talking about progress, running time, and playing time, that kind of makes sense, but it’s a stretch if you ask me.
Okay, now I can get to the point.[/rant] Why not behave as though there is no score if the maximum score is zero? A use option could override that, but in almost all cases with or without scoring, the author wouldn’t have to think about it at all. This might have to be done at runtime in case the maximum score is added up when play begins, but that doesn’t sound too expensive.