§3.23. Parts of things

Everything has one and only one kind. This is both good and bad: good for clarity, bad if something needs to behave in two different ways at once. How might we simulate a car with an ignition key, given that no single thing can be both a "vehicle" and a "device" at the same time?

The Inform world model takes the view that such a car is too complicated to be simulated with a single thing. Instead it should be simulated as a vehicle (the car) which has a device (the ignition) attached. This is done using a third kind of containment to those seen so far ("in..." and "on..."): "part of".

"Buttons"

The Confectionary Workshop is a room. The Chocolate Machine is here. "The Chocolate Machine has pride of place. A lever and two buttons, one white, the other brown, seem to be the only controls. On top is a hopper."

A container called the hopper is part of the Chocolate Machine. The lever, the white button and the brown button are parts of the Chocolate Machine.

The Chocolatier's desk is here. "The Chocolatier evidently works at the imposing green-leather topped desk facing the Machine. It has three drawers with brass handles."

The upper drawer, the middle drawer and the lower drawer are parts of the desk. The upper drawer, the middle drawer and the lower drawer are openable closed containers. In the middle drawer is a sugared almond. In the lower drawer is a Battenburg cake. On the desk is a liquorice twist.

The cake, the twist and the almond are edible.

The machine and the desk each have several "parts" representing subsidiary pieces of themselves. The desk is a "supporter" (it needs to be, for the liquorice twist to be on top) but also has three "containers" attached, each of which can be opened or closed independently.

In the interests of realism, the standard rules of play protect these composite things. Thus if the desk were to be moved elsewhere (rolling on sugar casters perhaps) then its parts would move with it, and the player is not allowed to detach parts of things: the drawers can be opened or closed, but not pulled out altogether.

Note that rooms and regions are not allowed to have parts. (Rooms are already parts of regions, and to divide up rooms, we can either make several rooms or place containers or other obstacles in a single one.)


arrow-up.pngStart of Chapter 3: Things
arrow-left.pngBack to §3.22. Food
arrow-right.pngOnward to §3.24. Concealment

***ExampleFallout Enclosure
Adding an enclosure kind that includes both containers and supporters in order to simplify text that would apply to both.

***ExampleBrown
A red sticky label which can be attached to anything in the game, or removed again.

****ExampleDisenchantment Bay 12
A final trip to Disenchantment Bay: the scenario turned into a somewhat fuller scene, with various features that have not yet been explained.