§19.15. Two rulebooks used internally

Rulebooks handle almost all of the important tasks which an Inform work of IF must carry out in order to keep play going. We have seen them used in clarifying the player's command, supplying missing ingredients, processing the action to see what should happen, responding, and so on: by this point in the documentation, it must look as if Inform uses rulebooks for everything.

This is nearly true. There is not actually a super-rulebook controlling everything. (Such a super-rulebook would need to repeat itself and never finish, something a rulebook is not allowed to do.) Instead, what happens during play looks like so:

1. Following the "when play begins" rulebook.
2. Repeating:
    2(a). Reading and parsing a command into an action;
    2(b). Following the "action processing" rulebook;
    2(c). Following the "turn sequence" rulebook.
until the game has finished.
3. Following the "when play ends" rulebook.

The command parser occasionally calls on the services of activity rulebooks to help it, but otherwise gets on with its job in ways that we do not "see" as Inform 7 users. The rest of what happens involves rulebooks, and in particular two important beneath-the-surface rulebooks: action processing and the turn sequence.

The action processing rules are used whenever an action must be tried, by whoever tries it. This usually happens in response to player commands, but not always: it might happen because of a "try...", and it can certainly interrupt an existing action.

The turn sequence rules are used at the end of each turn, and include housekeeping as well as timekeeping. They consult the "every turn" rulebook, and advance the time of day, among other useful tasks.

In general, we should only modify the operation of these two crucial rulebooks as a last resort. Play can evidently fall to pieces if they cease to work normally.


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arrow-right.pngOnward to §19.16. The Laws for Sorting Rulebooks

*ExampleElectrified
Adding a rule before the basic accessibility rule that will prevent the player from touching electrified objects under the wrong circumstances.

*ExampleTimeless
A set of actions which do not take any game time at all.

**ExampleEndurance
Giving different actions a range of durations using a time allotment rulebook.

**ExampleEscape from the Seraglio
Replacing the usual response to TAKE ALL so that instead of output such as "grapes: Taken. orange: Taken.", Inform produces variable responses in place of "grapes:".