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§10.6. Ropes

Ropes, chains and similar long, thin, bendable items present three problems: they are like a liquid in that (unless unbreakable) they can be divided arbitrarily into smaller and smaller portions of themselves, they can be in two or more places at once (even in two or more rooms at once), and they can be tied down at either or both ends, allowing them to occupy an uneasy state in between being "portable" and "fixed in place". Even when all this is simulated, they allow us to pull on one end and so to exert force at the other - allowing action-at-a-distance which Inform's realism rules would ordinarily forbid. Ropes are hard. And it is very difficult to imagine everything a player might try when given a fully practical rope with which to solve puzzles.

Snip solves the divisibility question, allowing string to be cut or retied into lengths of any size, with all the consequences for describing and understanding that this entails.

Otranto provides a lengthy but straightforward approach to the other rope-related issues, subject to the simplifying assumptions that a rope is indivisible, has about the length of the distance between two adjacent rooms, and cannot be tied to another rope.

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A kind of rope which can be tied to objects and used to anchor the player or drag items from room to room.

A string which can be cut into arbitrary lengths, and then tied back together.