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§10.10. Magic (Breaking the Laws of Physics)

Every previous section of this chapter has been about adding further realism constraints to Inform, to give it a more advanced understanding of physics (and chemistry). But Inform has plenty of physical laws built into it already, even if they are more mundane: inanimate objects do not spontaneously move or change, one solid object cannot pass through another, there are opaque barriers through which light cannot pass, and so on. These rules stop many attempted actions. (GO EAST - "The oak door is closed." GET EMERALD - "You can't, since the glass display case is in the way.")

In the real world, physics is not negotiable. ("Gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.") But in stories, magic can sometimes happen, and in these examples some of the rules built into Inform are waived in special circumstances, which in effect cancel certain physical laws. Very many other magical tricks could be achieved: if you want to make a given command work despite realism constraints, try typing ACTIONS - a testing command which reveals what is happening behind the scenes - and then typing the command you want. This should reveal which named rule is stopping it: you can then try suspending that rule, and seeing if the effect now works.

* See Magic Words for ways to create new single-word spell commands

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*ExampleMagneto's Revenge
Kitty Pryde of the X-Men is able to reach through solid objects, so we might implement her with special powers that the player does not have...

A wand which, when waved, reveals the concealed items carried by people the player can see.

A machine that turns objects into other, similar objects.

*ExampleAccess All Areas
The Pointy Hat of Liminal Transgression allows its wearer to walk clean through closed doors.