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Chapter 10: Scenes

§10.1. Introduction to scenes; §10.2. Creating a scene; §10.3. Using the Scene index; §10.4. During scenes; §10.5. Linking scenes together; §10.6. More general linkages; §10.7. Multiple beginnings and repeats; §10.8. Multiple endings; §10.9. Why are scenes designed this way?

arrow-up-left.png Contents of Writing with Inform
arrow-left.png Chapter 9: Time
arrow-right.png Chapter 11: Phrases
arrow-down-right.png Indexes of the examples

§10.1. Introduction to scenes

As we have seen, Inform divides up space into individual places called "rooms", and allows us to group rooms together into "regions" if we find that convenient. And Inform also divides time up, into individual turns. These too we can group together: the equivalent of a region is a "scene".

To put this another way, if we think of the interactive fiction as a stage play, then up to now it has simply contained endless dialogue and stage directions - there has been no convenient way to divide up its running time into dramatic episodes, in the same way that a playwright might make Act II take place in the same drawing-room as Act I, but (let us say) six months later, after many things have changed. The script contains cues for one scene to end and another to begin: when those cues are reached, the stage hands rearrange props, actors reposition themselves and so on.

Inform also allows us to create scenes, with cues for them to start and end, and some stage machinery (so to speak) making it easy to move the action on. But interactive fiction is interactive, so the metaphor of the theatre only goes so far. We can have several different scenes going on at once - perhaps with the relevant events taking place in different rooms, which the player is free to walk between. And the player may make a choice which changes the story-line, causing scenes to happen which otherwise would not have happened, and so on. Scenes can even be "recurring", that is, can repeat themselves.

So organising the story-line into scenes is not simply a matter of making a list (Scene 1, then Scene 2, then Scene 3, finis). It is more like a chart in which one scene can lead in several possible ways to others - a sort of map of time, which as we shall see Inform displays in its "Scenes" index.

arrow-up.png Start of Chapter 10: Scenes
arrow-left.png Back to Chapter 9: Time: §9.15. How many turns?
arrow-right.png Onward to §10.2. Creating a scene