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Chapter 11: Out Of World Actions and Effects

§11.1. Start-Up Features; §11.2. Saving and Undoing; §11.3. Helping and Hinting; §11.4. Scoring; §11.5. Settings and Status Checks During Play; §11.6. Ending The Story

arrow-up-left.png Contents of The Inform Recipe Book
arrow-left.png Chapter 10: Physics: Substances, Ropes, Energy and Weight
arrow-right.png Chapter 12: Typography, Layout, and Multimedia Effects
arrow-down-right.png Indexes of the examples

§11.1. Start-Up Features

When the story file starts up, it often prints a short introductory passage of text (the "overture") and then a heading describing itself, together with some version numbering (the "banner"). It is traditional that the banner must appear eventually (and one of the few requirements of the Inform licence is that the author acknowledge Inform somewhere, for which the banner is sufficient) but some designs call for a multi-turn prologue before the banner finally appears, and marks the start of play in earnest. Bikini Atoll demonstrates this.

If a story file represents the latest in a sequence of story files representing chapters in some larger narrative, it will need some way to pick up where its predecessor left off. This can be done with the aid of external files (in the Glulx format, at least). Alien Invasion Part 23 shows how.

Another task we might want to perform a the beginning of play is to arrange any randomized features that are supposed to change from one playing to the next. We can add such instructions with "When play begins" rule, as in:

When play begins:
    now the priceless treasure is in a random room.

Since we may want to do something a bit more complicated than this, Hatless demonstrates effective and ineffective methods of distributing multiple objects (in this case, one randomly-selected hat per person).

* See Map for a way to generate a randomized maze at the start of play

* See Food for a way to choose a random piece of candy to be poisonous

* See Getting Acquainted for a way to choose a murderer from among the characters at the start of each story

arrow-up.png Start of Chapter 11: Out Of World Actions and Effects
arrow-left.png Back to Chapter 10: Physics: Substances, Ropes, Energy and Weight: §10.11. Mathematics
arrow-right.png Onward to §11.2. Saving and Undoing

*ExampleBikini Atoll
Delaying the banner for later.

*ExampleAlien Invasion Part 23
Keeping a preference file that could be loaded by any game in a series.

It's tempting to use "now..." to distribute items randomly at the start of play, but we need to be a little cautious about how we do that.