§7.3. Reactive Characters

As we observe characters, so they observe us. Those who seem to have no awareness of what the player is doing often come across more like waxworks than like people. Zodiac demonstrates a scenario where the watchful presence of a dangerous criminal keeps the player from doing what he otherwise might, while Police State expands on this idea with a policeman who reacts to entire types of behavior in his presence, regardless of whether the culprit is the player or a third party. Noisemaking has a crow who will fly away in response to any loud noises the player makes.

And, of course, we definitely want to have characters react to being looked at or otherwise interfered with. Search and Seizure implements a smuggler who reacts when we try to confiscate his possessions. Pine 1 gives us a sleeping princess who can be woken by a variety of methods.

We wrap up this section with two complete puzzle scenarios that demonstrate what can be achieved by giving characters reactions to the player's behavior. A Day For Fresh Sushi has a fish who watches the player's actions and comments on them, while the live furnishings in Revenge of the Fussy Table instead comment every turn on the current state of the world, until the player has successfully sorted out all their complaints.

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Several variations on "doing something other than...", demonstrating different degrees of restriction.

*ExamplePine 1
Pine: Using a scene to watch for the solution of a puzzle, however arrived-at by the player.

*ExamplePolice State
Several friends who obey you; a policeman who doesn't (but who takes a dim view of certain kinds of antics).

***ExampleSearch and Seizure
A smuggler who has items, some of which are hidden.

Creating a stage after the report stage of an action, during which other characters may observe and react.

****ExampleRevenge of the Fussy Table
A small game about resentful furniture and inconvenient objects.

****ExampleA Day For Fresh Sushi
A complete story by Emily Short, called "A Day for Fresh Sushi", rewritten using Inform 7. Noteworthy is the snarky commenter who remarks on everything the player does, but only the first time each action is performed.