Inform 7 Home Page / Documentation

§19.13. Rulebooks producing values

We have now seen two ways to write the outcome of a rule: as simple success or failure, with more or less explicit phrases like:

rule succeeds;
rule fails;
continue the action;
stop the action;

and by using a named outcome for the current rulebook as if it were a phrase, as in:

low background noise;

There is still a third way: we can stop a rule and at the same time produce a value. This isn't needed very often - none of the built-in rulebooks in the Standard Rules produces a value.

As we've seen, every rulebook has one kind of value as its basis, and it also has another kind of value for it to produce. If we call these K and L, then we have altogether four ways to write down the kind of a rulebook:

K based rulebook
rulebook producing L
K based rulebook producing L

If we don't mention K, Inform assumes the rulebook is action based. If we don't mention L, Inform assumes L is "nothing", that is, Inform assumes no value is ever produced. Thus

Drum summons rules is a rulebook.

is equivalent to

Drum summons rules is an action based rulebook producing nothing.

But let's now look at a rulebook which does produce something.

The cat behavior rules is a rulebook producing an object.

This rulebook works out which thing the cat will destroy next. We might have rules like this one:

Cat behavior when Austin can see the ball of wool:
    rule succeeds with result the ball of wool.

The value is produced only when a rule succeeds, using this phrase:

rule succeeds with result (value)

This phrase can only be used in a rule which produces a value, and the value given must be of the right kind. It causes the current rule to finish immediately, to succeed, and to produce the value given.

How are we to use the cat behavior rulebook? If we write:

follow cat behavior

then the rulebook runs just as any other rulebook would, but the value produced is lost at the end, which defeats the point. Instead, we might write:

Every turn:
    let the destroyed object be the object produced by the cat behavior rules;
    if the destroyed object is not nothing:
        say "Austin pounces on [the destroyed object] in a flurry.";
        now the destroyed object is nowhere.

The key phrase here is

object produced by the cat behavior rules

which accesses the value this rulebook produces. In general, we write:

(name of kind) produced by (rule producing values) ... value

This phrase is used to follow the named rule, and to collect the resulting value.

(name of kind) produced by (values based rule producing values) for (value) ... value

This phrase is used to follow the named rule based on the value given, and to collect the resulting value.

arrow-up.png Start of Chapter 19: Rulebooks
arrow-left.png Back to §19.12. Named outcomes
arrow-right.png Onward to §19.14. Abide by

*ExampleFeline Behavior
A cat which reacts to whatever items it has handy, returning the result of a rulebook for further processing.

***ExampleTilt 2
A deck of cards with fully implemented individual cards; when the player has a full poker hand, the inventory listing describes the resulting hand accordingly.