§9.11. Future events

We often want to arrange for something to happen at some point in the future. Here is yet another timepiece:

An egg-timer is in the Chamber. "A plastic egg timer in the shape of a chicken can be pressed to set it going."

say "It begins to mark time.";
the egg-timer clucks in four turns from now.

At the time when the egg-timer clucks:
say "Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! says the egg-timer."

The event here is called "the egg-timer clucks". It only happens if we instruct so, using one of the following phrases:

(rule) in (time) from now

This phrase causes the given rule to be run at a given time offset from the current time of day. Example:

the egg-timer clucks in 18 minutes from now;

(rule) in (number) turn/turns from now

This phrase causes the given rule to be run at a given number of turns after the current one. Example:

the egg-timer clucks in four turns from now;

(rule) at (time)

This phrase causes the given rule to be run at a given time of day. Example:

the egg-timer clucks at 11:35 AM;

If we know in advance what time we want something to happen, we can more simply write:

At 4 PM: say "The great bells of the clock tower chime four."

(Note that in either case such rules begin with the word "at": they are the only rules allowed to begin with the word "at".)

A small warning: timed events like these only have a chance to occur during the turn sequence, that is, once every turn. In most stories, one turn takes one minute, so there will in due course be a turn happening at exactly (say) 11:35 AM. But if the clock is being advanced faster than this, it's possible that there are turns at (say) 11:32 AM and then not until 11:37 AM. But an event set for 11:35 AM will nevertheless happen -- it will run at the first available turn after that time, which will be 11:37 AM. Events can thus happen up to half an hour late, though Inform cancels them if the elapsed time is greater than that.

The Scenes panel of the Index can be a useful way to see what events have been set.

 Start of Chapter 9: Time Back to §9.10. Calculating times Onward to §9.12. Actions as conditions

 ExampleMRE Hunger that eventually kills the player, and foodstuffs that can delay the inevitable by different amounts of time.

 ExampleTotality To schedule an eclipse of the sun, which involves a number of related events.

 ExampleEmpire A train which follows a schedule, stopping at a number of different locations.

 ExampleHour of the Wren Allowing the player to make an appointment, which is then kept.