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§3.4. Regions and the index map
Rooms represent individual places to which one can go, but we tend to think of the world around us in larger pieces: we think of a house and a garden, rather than each of the single rooms of the house and all corners of its garden. To Inform a collection of rooms is called a "region", and we can create one like so:
The Arboretum is east of the Botanical Gardens. Northwest of the Gardens is the Tropical Greenhouse.
The Public Area is a region. The Arboretum and Gardens are in the Public Area.
The real usefulness of creating regions like "Public Area" will only appear later, when we begin defining rules of play which apply in some areas but not others, but in the mean time we can see the effect by turning to the World tab of the Index. In the World Index, Inform draws a map - or at least a stylised attempt at a diagram of the rooms and their connections: this will not always correspond to how we imagine things, but with any luck it should mostly be right.
Rooms are represented by coloured squares, and the colour-coding is done by region. In the above example, the two "Public Area" rooms are coloured green (as it happens); the Greenhouse, since it belongs to no region, is a neutral grey.
Regions can be put inside each other:
The University Parks is a region. The Public Area is in the University Parks.
but they are not allowed to overlap other than by one being entirely inside the other.
See Improving the index map for ways to adjust the way the index map is drawn or exported for publication
Port Royal 3
We should go ahead and do all our room definitions first...
Fort James is a room. "The enclosure of Fort James is a large, roughly hexagonal court walled with heavy stone. The walls face the entrance to Port Royal Harbour, and the battery of guns is prepared to destroy any enemy ship arriving."
Thames Street End is south of Fort James. "The ill-named Thames Street runs from here -- at the point of the peninsula -- all the way east among houses and shops, through the Fish Market, edging by the round front of Fort Carlisle, to the point where the town stops and there is only sandy spit beyond. Most of that stretch is full of people at all hours. Imported goods are moved off of ships and taken to distributors; exported goods are brought to be loaded; and there is one public house and brothel for every ten inhabitants.
Lime Street is south of Thames Street End. West of Thames Street End is north of Fisher's Row. The description of Fisher's Row is "A waterfront street that runs south towards Chocolata Hole, where the small craft are harboured. It also continues north around the tip of the peninsula from here, turning into the east-west Thames Street."
Water Lane runs south toward Queen Street, and facing onto it is the New Prison -- which, in the way of these things, is neither. It did serve in that capacity for a time, and in a measure of the villainy which has been usual in Port Royal from its earliest days, it is nearly the largest building in the town."
East of Water Lane is a room called Thames Street at the Wherry Bridge. Thames Street at the Wherry Bridge has the description "To the southwest is the fishmarket; directly across the street is the entrance to a private alley through a brick archway."
The Private Alley is south of Thames Street at the Wherry Bridge. "You're just outside the tavern the Feathers. To the north, under a pretty little archway, is the active mayhem of Thames Street, but the alley narrows down to a dead end a little distance to the south."
The Feathers is inside from the Private Alley. "Newly built with brick, replacing the older Feathers tavern that used to stand here. It sells wines in quantity, as well as serving them directly, and the goods are always of the best quality. There's a room upstairs for those wanting to stay the night." The Feathers Bedroom is above the Feathers.
Thames Street by the King's House is east of Thames Street at the Wherry Bridge. "The King's House is reserved for the use of the Governor, but he does not live in it, and it is frequently being rented out to some merchant so that the government will at least derive some value from it. It is nearly the least interesting establishment on Thames Street, and the crowd -- which, to the west, is extremely dense -- here thins out a bit."
Thames Street before Fort Carlisle is east of Thames Street by the King's House. "Here Thames Street, formerly a respectable width, narrows to a footpath in order to edge around the front of Fort Carlisle, underneath the mouths of the cannon.
There are no buildings on the harbour side of Thames Street at this point, which means that you have an unusually good view of the ships at dock, water beyond, and the Blue Mountains rising on the other side of the harbour."
South of Thames Street before Fort Carlisle is a room called Fort Carlisle. The description of Fort Carlisle is "Handsomely arrayed with cannons which you could fire at any moment -- though of course there are ships at dock which might be in the way."
Now, if we like, we can create regions to distinguish the coast from the portions of town that aren't on the water:
Waterfront is a region. Thames Street before Fort Carlisle, Thames Street by the King's House, Thames Street at the Wherry Bridge, Water Lane, Fishmarket, Fisher's Row, and Thames Street End are in Waterfront.
There's no rule that regions must be contiguous, so we could if we like make a region consisting just of the two forts:
And we might make the Feathers Tavern part of the Inland area, but within its own subcategory:
Now the index map will be colored to reflect our regions, and later in the game development we would be able to make rules that affect just one region at a time.