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§8.10. Removing things from play

Some things will occasionally be in a limbo state called being "off-stage": like actors or props not needed in Act II, but perhaps to be brought back on-stage later, they wait on the sidelines. Anything created with no apparent location will start the story off-stage, as in the case of the lamp here:

Aladdin's Cave is a room. The genie's lamp is a container.

(Such things are easy to see in the World index because they are listed after all of the rooms and their contents, not belonging inside any room.) If we wanted to make this clearer to a human reader, we could add:

The lamp is nowhere.

to emphasise the point. In this context, "nowhere" means "in no room". Moving the lamp onto the stage-set, so to speak, is easy:

now the lamp is in the Cave;

or perhaps:

now the player is carrying the lamp;

and we can whisk it away again like so:

now the lamp is nowhere;

(We can't say "now the lamp is somewhere" because that's too vague about exactly where it is.) In older builds of Inform, the usual thing was to write "remove the lamp from play", but that's now a deprecated phrase: better to use "nowhere" instead.

remove (object) from play

Removes the given object from play, so that it is not present in any room. We are not permitted to remove rooms, or doors, or the player, from play; but we are permitted to remove backdrops, making them disappear from all ro ms in which they are present. Example:

remove the gold coin from play;

We can test whether something is on-stage or off-stage with:

if the gold coin is somewhere, ...
if the gold coin is nowhere, ...

Inform also understands two adjectives for this:

if the gold coin is on-stage, ...
if the gold coin is off-stage, ...

Because these are adjectives, they can be used in a few ways which "nowhere" and "somewhere" can't, such as:

say "Ah, so many absent friends. Who now remembers [list of off-stage people]?"

Note that "on-stage" and "off-stage" apply only to things. Rooms, directions and regions are the stage itself: so it makes no sense to ask the question of whether they are "on-" or "off-". Doors are always on-stage; a backdrop, say "the sky", is always on-stage unless it has been taken off by writing something like "now the sky is nowhere".

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*ExampleBeverage Service
A potion that the player can drink.

*ExampleSpring Cleaning
A character who sulks over objects that the player has broken (and which are now off-stage).

**ExampleExtra Supplies
A supply of red pens from which the player can take another pen only if he doesn't already have one somewhere in the game world.