Neutral Library Messages

version 3/120107 by Aaron Reed

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  • Section: Rationale

    The main complaints levied against the standard library messages are:

        They sometimes imply a certain tone of wry amusement which descends from the Infocom/text adventure era, and which is not always appropriate to modern works of IF.
        
        There is not a clear distinction between messages narrating story world events and those giving parser refusals, leading to a muddying of the difference between the author's voice and the default system messages.
        
        Error messages often do not contain information instructing players how to better restate their command.
        
        They can sometimes contradict the story world, as in the assumption "That's plainly inedible," or mislead the player about a course of action, as in "This dangerous act would achieve little."
        
        Inconsistencies in style, such as whether command examples are given in CAPS or 'quotes', or which messages are wrapped in square brackets and what that signifies.

    The extension attempts to address all of these concerns as much as possible. Jokes or insults have been replaced by more neutral messages. Out-of-world messages are given a unique visual style (in a way compatible with the Keyword Interface extension, which allows players to adjust this style). Many error messages have been rephrased to more clearly state what confused the parser or instruct the player towards a better command to try. Messages that make assumptions about the player's intentions or the world model have been softened so as not to appear incongruous with the story. And all command examples are now given in 'quote' format, with all parser messages wrapped in brackets (by default).