Volume 6 - Cosmetics
Use the serial comma and American dialect.
Rule for deciding whether all includes scenery: it does not. Rule for deciding whether all includes a fixed in place thing while taking: it does not.
Use full-length room descriptions.
Include Basic Screen Effects by Emily Short. Include Menus by Emily Short.
Understand "menu" or "credits" as asking for help. Understand "help" or "hint" or "hints" or "about" or "info" as asking for help.
Asking for help is an action out of world.
Carry out asking for help (this is the help request rule):
change the current menu to the Table of Basic Help Options;
carry out the displaying activity;
clear the screen;
Table of Basic Help Options
|"Introduction to [story title]"||a table-name||"[bold type][story title][roman type][paragraph break][story description]"||a rule|
|"Instructions for Playing IF in General"||Table of Instruction Options||--||--|
Table of Instruction Options
|"About Interactive Fiction"||a table-name||"The game you are playing is a work of Interactive Fiction. In interactive fiction you play the main character of a story. You type commands which determine the actions of the character and the flow of the plot. Some IF games include graphics, but most do not: the imagery is provided courtesy of your imagination. On the other hand, there's a wide range of action available: whereas in other games you may be restricted to shooting, movement, or searching items you can click on with a mouse, IF allows you a wide range of verbs."||a rule|
|"What to do with [command prompt]"||a table-name||"The [command prompt] sign is where the game says, 'Okay, what do you want to do now?' You may respond by typing an instruction -- usually an imperative verb, possibly followed by prepositions and objects. So, for instance, LOOK, LOOK AT FISH, TAKE FISH."||a rule|
|"Getting Started"||--||"The first thing you want to do when starting a game is acquaint yourself with your surroundings and get a sense of your goal. To this end, you should read the introductory text carefully. Sometimes it contains clues. You will also want to look at the room you are in. Notice where the exits from the room are, and what objects are described here. If any of these seem interesting, you may want to EXAMINE them. [paragraph break]You might also want to examine yourself (EXAMINE ME) to see whether the author has left you any clues about your character. TAKE INVENTORY will tell you what you're carrying, as well.[paragraph break]Once you've gotten your bearings, you may want to explore. Move from room to room, and check out every location available."||--|
|"Rooms and Travel"||--||"At any given time, you are in a specific location, or room. When you go into a room, the game will print a description of what you can see there. This description will contain two vital kinds of information: things in the room you can interact with or take, and a list of exits, or ways out. If you want to see the description again, you may just type LOOK. [paragraph break]When you want to leave a location and go to another one, you may communicate this to the game using compass directions: eg, GO NORTH. For simplicity's sake, you are allowed to omit the word GO, and to abbreviate the compass directions. So you may use NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST, NORTHEAST, SOUTHEAST, NORTHWEST, SOUTHWEST, UP, and DOWN, or in short form N, S, E, W, NE, SE, NW, SW, U, and D.[paragraph break]In some locations, IN and OUT will also be useful."||--|
|"Objects"||--||"Throughout the game there will be assorted objects that you can do things with. Most importantly, you may TAKE or GET items, and (when you are tired of them) DROP them again. INVENTORY (abbreviated I) will list the items you are currently holding. [paragraph break]There are usually assorted things you may do with these objects. OPEN, CLOSE, WEAR, EAT, LOCK, and UNLOCK are especially common.[paragraph break]Occasionally, you will find that the game does not recognize the name of an object even though it has been described as being in the room with you. If this is the case, the object is just there for scenery, and you may assume that you do not need to interact with it."||--|
|"Controlling the Game"||--||"There are a few simple commands for controlling the game itself. These are: [paragraph break]SAVE saves a snapshot of the game as it is now. [line break]RESTORE puts the game back to a previous saved state. You may keep as many saved games as you like. [line break]RESTART puts the game back to the way it was at the beginning. [line break]QUIT ends the game."||--|
|"How the World is Assembled"||Table of IF Elements||--||--|
|"If You Get Stuck"||Table of Stuckness Advice||--||--|
Table of Stuckness Advice
|"Explore"||--||"Examine every object and look at everything in your inventory. Open all the doors you can find, and go through them. Look inside all closed containers. Make sure you've exhausted all the options in your environment. [paragraph break]Try out all your senses. If the game mentions texture, odor, or sound, try touching, smelling, listening to, or tasting objects.[paragraph break]Be thorough. If you still can't figure out what to do, try opening windows, looking under beds, etc. Sometimes objects are well-hidden."|
|"Read carefully"||--||"Reread. Look back at things you've already looked at. Sometimes this will trigger an idea you hadn't thought of. [paragraph break]Take hints from the prose of the game. Things that are described in great detail are probably more important than things that are given one-liners. Play with those objects. If a machine is described as having component parts, look at the parts, and try manipulating them. Likewise, notice the verbs that the game itself uses. Try using those yourself. Games often include special verbs -- the names of magic spells, or other special commands. There's no harm in attempting something if the game mentions it.[paragraph break]Check the whole screen. Are there extra windows besides the main window? What's going on in those? Check out the status bar, if there is one -- it may contain the name of the room you're in, your score, the time of day, your character's state of health, or some other important information. If there's something up there, it's worth paying attention to that, too. When and where does it change? Why is it significant? If the bar is describing your character's health, you can bet there is probably a point at which that will be important."|
|"Be creative"||--||"Rephrase. If there's something you want to do, but the game doesn't seem to understand you, try alternative wordings. [paragraph break]Try variations. Sometimes an action doesn't work, but does produce some kind of unusual result. These are often indications that you're on the right track, even if you haven't figured out quite the right approach yet. Pressing the red button alone may only cause a grinding noise from inside the wall, so perhaps pressing the blue and then the red will open the secret door.[paragraph break]Consider the genre of the game. Mysteries, romances, and thrillers all have their own types of action and motivation. What are you trying to do, and how do conventional characters go about doing that? What's the right sort of behavior for a detective/romance heroine/spy?"|
|"Cooperate"||--||"Play with someone else. Two heads are often better than one. If that doesn't work, try emailing the author or (better yet) posting a request for hints on the newsgroup rec.games.int-fiction. For best results, put the name of the game you want help with in the subject line; then leave a page or so of blank spoiler space (so that no one will read about where you got to in the game unless they've already played it), and describe your problem as clearly as possible. Someone will probably be able to tell you how to get around it."||--|
Table of IF Elements
|"Space"||--||"Most IF games are set in a world made up of rooms without internal division. Movement between rooms is possible; movement within a room does not always amount to anything. >WALK OVER TO THE DESK is rarely a useful sort of command. On the other hand, if something is described as being high or out of reach, it is sometimes relevant to stand on an object to increase your height. This kind of activity tends to be important only if prompted by the game text."||--|
|"Containment"||--||"One thing that IF does tend to model thoroughly is containment. Is something in or on something else? The game keeps track of this, and many puzzles have to do with where things are -- in the player's possession, lying on the floor of the room, on a table, in a box, etc."||--|
|"Types of Action"||--||"Most of the actions you can perform in the world of IF are brief and specific. >WALK WEST or >OPEN DOOR are likely to be provided. >TAKE A JOURNEY or >BUILD A TABLE are not. Things like >GO TO THE HOTEL are on the borderline: some games allow them, but most do not. In general, abstract, multi-stage behavior usually has to be broken down in order for the game to understand it. "||--|
|"Other Characters"||--||"Other characters in IF games are sometimes rather limited. On the other hand, there are also games in which character interaction is the main point of the game. You should be able to get a feel early on for the characters -- if they seem to respond to a lot of questions, remember what they're told, move around on their own, etc., then they may be fairly important. If they have a lot of stock responses and don't seem to have been the game designer's main concern, then they are most likely present either as local color or to provide the solution to a specific puzzle or set of puzzles. Characters in very puzzle-oriented games often have to be bribed, threatened, or cajoled into doing something that the player cannot do -- giving up a piece of information or an object, reaching something high, allowing the player into a restricted area, and so on."||--|
Table of Basic Help Options (continued)
|"Special Commands In [story title]"||--||"[story title] has a few special commands not found in every game. These are associated with your character's magical abilities, which he calls the Art.LINK something TO something causes the two items to be functionally related, so that what happens to one happens to the other. They must resemble one another to some degree before this command will work.REVERSE LINK something TO something causes two VERY similar items to become even more alike, and in particular makes them both impervious if either item is able to resist damage. A fireproof thing reverse-linked to a not-fireproof thing will make both items invulnerable to flame, for instance.ENSLAVE something TO something means that whatever happens to the second item (the 'master') will be passed along to the 'slave', without happening to the master item.You can discover what remains dangerous to you at any time by THINKing[if the old letter is unexamined]. If you aren't quite clear on what your abilities are, and you haven't played any other work in this series, you may want to start by reading the old letter[end if]. And if you forget who's who, typing WHO will list the characters you've thought about recently."||--|
|"Some General Advice"||--||"Your goal here is to avoid being caught with evidence of your magical abilities: you're logically in line for power but pragmatically not in a position to seize it, and anything that makes you more of a threat to Tiberius (like demonstrated skill in the imperial Art) will simply get you killed.||You're also on the clock, so try not to dawdle too much. Thinking, reading or looking at things, taking inventory, etc., are instant actions which cost you nothing; linking and most physical activities are work, though, and will consume a turn each."||--|
|"About the Real Agrippa Postumus"||--||"Of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa Postumus, the [italic type]Oxford Classical Dictionary[roman type] has this to say:||[italic type]Third son of M. Vipsanius Agrippa and Iulia, born in 12 BC after his father's death, was adopted by Augustus with Tiberius in AD 4, becoming Agrippa Iulius Caesar. He is agreed to have had a fine physique but, perhaps because he fell foul of Augustus, reports of his personality were unfavorable: ferocia is alleged ('intractability' is the mildest translation). In AD 6 Augustus 'abdicated' him, removing him from the Julian family, took over his property, and relegated him to Surrentum; in AD 7 the senate exiled him to Planasia...||Attempts to rescue him and put him at the head of a military insurrection are alleged. The story of Augustus visiting him on Planasia is generally rejected. He was killed immediately after the death of Augustus in AD 14, it is not clear on whose instructions. A slave called Clemens impersonated him in 16 and was executed. [roman type]Germanicus was, in fact, the author of a Latin translation of the [Phaenomena] of Aratus, along with two comedies in Greek and an assortment of epigrams -- but he, too, died young, and under mysterious circumstances. Calling him Germanicus at this date is a bit premature, and is an authorial concession to the fact that he is easier to distinguish from his relatives under that epithet."||--|
|"Credits"||--||"Inform 7 is the work of Graham Nelson, and [story title] was compiled using Andrew Hunter's compiler for Mac OS X.Annette Edelman, Admiral Jota, Carl Muckenhoupt, and J. Robinson Wheeler beta-tested. Admiral Jota and Jake Eakle reported flaws in release 3 that were fixed for release 4; Dan Shiovitz and Jeremy Douglass those fixed in release 5."||--|
|"Contacting the Author"||--||"If you have any difficulties with [story title], feel free to contact me at email@example.com."||--|