Neutral Library Messages

version 3/120107 by Aaron Reed

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  • Section: You can't see...

    The message "You can't see any such thing." is traditionally printed in several circumstances, which NLM splits into distinct messages. The most controversial split is that the extension explicitly tells the player if a word they typed is not in the story's dictionary. The classic argument against this, that sneaky players can use it to figure out the existence of yet-unseen objects, seems less relevant today than it did when puzzles comprised most IF content (not to mention having something of a nanny-state quality, like a novelist hovering around ensuring readers don't flip ahead and see IMPORTANT NOUNS they aren't supposed to know about yet). Perhaps a more relevant objection is that messages of this sort can make the parser seem primitive ("I don't know the word 'love.'")

    I believe the benefit to players of knowing that a command didn't work because a certain word isn't important (rather than wondering if it's just not in scope, or they misspelled it, or they typed it in the wrong spot in the grammar line) outweighs these concerns, and I've attempted to make the message prescriptive rather than expository: "You don't need to use the word 'love' in that way." However, if you'd like to restore the traditional behavior, you can do so with:

        Use traditional can't see any such thing.