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§9.11. Clocks and Scientific Instruments
The simplest form of clock is a wrist watch. Here is a choice of analogue or digital:
The player wears a wrist watch. The description of the wrist watch is "It is [the time of day in words]."
The player wears a digital watch. The description of the digital watch is "It is [the time of day]."
Better clocks would allow us also to set the time, and to stop and start them: see Tom's Midnight Garden.
Scientific instruments provide sharper versions of our own senses. In the case of vision, they allow us to see closer up, or further away. It's a convention of IF that people can normally see only the current location, that is, they cannot see from one location into another. The boundary of the current room is like a horizon, even out of doors (though it's true that there are ways to disguise that with a continuous outdoor landscape). Ginger Beer provides a telescope able to see into other rooms.
Witnessed 2 provides a meter which measures how close a ghost is to the player.
See Continuous Spaces and The Outdoors for more on seeing into adjacent locations
See Heat for infrared goggles
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The player carries a device called a Trifield Natural EMF Meter. The description of the Meter is "This cost a pretty penny off the internet, but it's worth it: according to the website it has been programmed by PhD physicists to ignore manmade sources of fields and to respond only to paranormal EMF changes.
It also features an optional Tone Alarm, which can be turned on to indicate when readings spike. If the alarm is off, the meter just reads out the magnetic and electric field levels on a scale from 0-100 microteslas, or 0-1000 V/m.
Since both fields are important, you keep the meter set to SUM mode. The meter has its own optional backlighting, so that you can see the reading even if your flashlight is off. Currently it is reading at [meter setting]." A Tone Alarm is part of the Meter. It is a device. The description of the Tone Alarm is "The Tone Alarm will make a noise, if the EMF picks up a spike."
Thirtieth Street Station is a room. "A huge, high, rectangular room with coffered ceilings, which looks grand but mostly makes you feel lonely and small. There are long benches in rows down the middle of the room, and an information desk with the train times, and a series of ticket windows, none of which matters very much at the moment."
The benches are an enterable supporter. They are scenery in the Station. The information desk is scenery in the Station. Some ticket windows are scenery in the Station. Instead of examining scenery in the Station: say "You're fairly sure that whatever is going on here has nothing to do with [the noun]." Understand "window" as ticket windows.
The mural is fixed in place in Thirtieth Street. "At the north side of the station is a particularly pointless and empty annex to the main room. It is dominated by a huge relief of sorts, and this is what you remember." Understand "metal" or "relief" or "huge" as the mural. The description of the mural is "It is both stylized and confusing, but you think it might be supposed to represent the various tasks and occupations of Philadelphia's population. The portions closer to the ground look as though they have recently been subjected to a light dusting of talcum powder. No unusual prints are evident."
The wind chimes are fixed in place in Thirtieth Street. "Carefully attached to the wall with a piece of duct tape and a hook is a light-weight set of wind chimes. Someone else has been here before you, it seems." The description is "Several of your friends use wind chimes as a sort of ghost alarm, since ghosts sometimes cause very localized movements of air when there is no natural breeze."
Tom's Midnight Garden
Time can also be understood as a token, and the time parsed will be recorded as "the time understood". So therefore, if we wish for clocks which may be set:
A clock is a kind of device. A clock has a time called the current time. A clock can be analog or digital. The current time of a clock is usually 9:01 AM. The description of a clock is "It shows the time to be [if analog]about [the current time to the nearest five minutes in words][otherwise][the current time][end if]."
The Hall is a room. The grandfather clock is a fixed in place analog clock in the Hall. The travel clock is a switched on digital clock in the Hall. When play begins: now the right hand status line is "[time of day]".
Suppose we want to have a pair of linked lenses so that the player can look into one of them and see things which occur in room containing the other lense.
We begin simply with a bit of environment for the player to wander around:
The label is part of the box. The description is "BURDOCK: the root beaten with a little salt and laid on the place suddenly easeth the pain thereof, and helpeth those that are bit by a mad dog:... the seed being drunk in wine 40 days together doth wonderfully help the sciatica: the leaves bruised with the white of an egg and applied to any place burnt with fire, taketh out the fire, gives sudden ease and heals it up afterwards.... The root may be preserved with sugar for consumption, stone and the lax."
Some bottles are in the Storeroom. They are scenery. The description is "They are smaller than the average bottle, because more potent." Instead of taking the bottles, say "Take one away and the whole lineup will cascade to the floor."
Now for the lenses themselves:
The large end of the telescope is a lense in the Ginger Beer Factory. "There is a large glass lense propped against the wall, in which are reflected all the contents of the room." Understand "glass" or "lense" as the large end.
The small end of the telescope is a lense in the Storeroom. "There is a small glass lense sitting on the floor. Due to some curious effect of the optics, it appears to be giving a view of somewhere else entirely." Understand "glass" or "lense" as the small end. The description is "A gleaming lense about the size of a pound coin."
Here is the critical bit, which needs to be somewhat flexible, since the large end of the telescope could in theory be left anywhere in the game (and should still work).
We also want to make sure that the player who looks through the small lense does not see the large lense listed among the contents of the other location:
Instead of searching the small end:
let the far side be the holder of the large end of the telescope;
say "You peer into the little lense and through it see, in [the far side], [the list of recognizable things in the far side]."
And we're done.