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  1. (Syntax) Allow lengthy kind of value names to be abbreviated

    Names of kinds of values can grow to arbitrary length, and it can become tiresome to type them out over and over when working with code that makes heavy use of some particular complex KOV. Therefore, being able to introduce shorter aliases would be useful. It could look something like this:

    A sequence transform denotes a phrase list of numbers -> list of numbers.
    A number grid denotes a list of lists of numbers.

    That's a fairly simple macro system. Slightly more useful would be if we could make generic aliases:

    A sequence denotes a list of numbers.
    A K…

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    • (Rules/Programming) Allow rules to act on multiple, typed parameters

      Expansion of the rules model to allow rules to act on multiple,
      typed parameters, as in:

      Reaction rule for a powder (called reagent A) with a powder (called
      reagent B): ...

      To combine (reagent A - a powder) with (reagent B - a powder):
      consider the reaction rules with reagent A as the first component
      and reagent B as the second component.

      (The original proposal is laid out in more detail at
      http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/msg/964587315d0702b4).
      It is undeniable that the main "decision mechanisms" provided by Inform -
      phrases, properties, rulebooks, actions - nearly meet at the edges, and
      that as their…

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        1 comment  ·  Admin →

        We don’t regard overlaps as necessarily a bad idea. Without going entirely
        in the Perl direction of “there are many ways to do something”, we can
        still benefit from providing what seem natural facilities to the user. It
        might seem cleaner – better, in traditional computer science aesthetics -
        to have just one construct (the rulebook, probably) and build all else from
        that – actions, phrases, properties, even variables – but that would be a
        burden to the user, taking us away from natural language, and would also be
        less efficient to run.

        We think a simpler and less disruptive approach might be to allow the user
        to say that the definition of any phrase is a rulebook. For instance, the
        following prototype:

        To react (reagent A – a powder) with (reagent B – a powder) – this is the
        reaction rulebook.

        would create a rulebook, which would be initially…

      • (Parsing) [room] without [any room]

        Support for [room] as a grammar token matching rooms that are in
        scope. At the moment we have to use [any room] - potentially qualified
        with an adjective, be it built-in or supplied by a definition - [any
        adjacent room] or [any oniony room] for example. Seeing as we can add
        rooms to scope explicitly, [room] is currently an omission.

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          planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
        • Ability to define the IFID

          Currently the IFID is autogenerated and the author can't change it manually. It would be important to be able to do so, given the rise of collaborative authorship and increased use of version control for IF projects. Autogenerated IFIDs also mean that if a game is distributed in source code form, each time it's compiled on a different computer it receives a new IFID.

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          • (Parsing) Understand "shards" as a broken vase

            The ability to use objects and kinds with qualifications, E.G:

            A vase is a kind of thing. A vase can be broken.
            Understand "shards" as a broken vase

            This is already possible, since one can rephrase it as:

            Understand "shards" as a vase when the item described is broken.

            ...but it would be better if Inform could do this automatically.

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            • (Parsing) Understanding properties as things needs to be more flexible

              More flexibility in how the parser copes with object names given
              the instruction to "Understand the foo property as describing a bar", where
              foo contains an enumerated kind of value. At present this only allows the
              property to be given at the beginning of the object name, like an English
              adjective. This is fine for colours and temperatures, but fails in some
              other cases, for example a "can of cola" or "glass of lemonade" where cola
              and lemonade are elements of a "flavour" kind of value.

              One approach is to make flavor a kind of thing instead, and use a…

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              • (Multimedia) Allow figure-names to be forced to refer to resource number 0

                This can be done now using a decide phrase and a drop into I6, e.g.:

                To decide which figure-name is no-picture: (- 0 -).

                But this cannot be used in all situations (e.g., initially definition of a property name). A special purpose constant (e.g., "nothing") that would refer to resource 0 might be one way to go about this.

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                • (Documentation) Clarify the RB and WI buttons

                  It's not totally obvious what the RB and WI buttons mean on examples. Perhaps it would be useful to change to buttons that actually spell those out, or at least have a tooltip that explains if you hover.

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                    1 comment  ·  Admin →
                  • (Parsing) "all" vs "all [thing]"

                    A way to handle "all" and "all [xxx]" differently, so that
                    "deciding whether all includes" would work differently depending on whether
                    the player had typed TAKE ALL or TAKE ALL BOOKS.

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                      We are not opposed in
                      principle, but would need more specific suggestions about what authors want
                      to be able to do, and in what syntax.

                    • (Parsing/Documentation) Document the way parsing lists are made

                      A general observation: it seems that parsing involves a lot of list
                      building & modification. There's a list of items in scope, a list of
                      player-selected items that need disambiguating between, and the
                      multiple-object list containing all items selected by the player.
                      That's at least three lists, and ideally each of them may need
                      authorial tinkering: adding an item here, removing an item there,
                      printing the contents for debugging, fiddling with the results of an
                      ALL, etc. And then Jon has apparently found about three subspecies
                      of disambiguation, creating a dedicated rulebook for each in his
                      extension; I still can't…

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                        This suggestion makes some assumptions that are not completely right: for instance, scoping is not managed as a single list but rather addressed recursively. That said, we appreciate that the current system is insufficiently clear and consistent. Reviewing Disambiguation Control seems like a useful step.

                      • (Parsing) Add ways to affect whether [things] is accepted

                        I wanted
                        to remove all of the grammar lines using the "[things]" token; this
                        required having to completely remove a number of commands and re-
                        introduce all of the grammar lines which didn't use "[things]".

                        A bit more ambitious solution to that specific problem would be to be
                        able to declare actions as being able to accept multiple nouns (i.e.,
                        move this from the grammar to the actions themselves). This would also
                        give more flexibility to allowing "[things]" to be qualified with
                        properties (as mentioned elsewhere in the proposal), but I suspect it
                        would be tricky to make this work…

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                        • (Parsing) Ability to refer to the list of things which is currently being disambiguated

                          This might involve canceling disambiguation entirely because
                          items should be considered equivalent; removing specific items from the
                          disambiguation list, while continuing to consider others; and the ability
                          to add or subtract from the "likeliness score" of an item, rather than
                          having one Does the player mean rule control its likeliness completely.

                          Rule for disambiguating when every object under consideration is
                          destroyed: say "It no longer matters which is which.".

                          Rule for disambiguating when an object under consideration (called
                          candidate) is inactive: remove candidate from disambiguation list.

                          In a modified way, we might take this on. We propose to add a…

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                            We think that it might be useful to have a look at Jon Ingold’s
                            “Disambiguation Questions” extension, which does some of these things, and see whether some or all of its
                            features should be adapted for the main language.

                          • (Parsing) Ability to create commands that resolve to an action + specific object

                            To
                            quote the suggester:

                            Often a situation arises where I want to understand a form of player
                            input that doesn't match an existing grammar line, but I don't want to
                            have to define a whole new verb just to recognize that one command.
                            You can kludge around this like so:

                            Understand "turn stereo down" as a mistake ("[trystereoadjusting]").

                            To say trystereoadjusting: try setting the stereo to 2.

                            ...but what's really needed is a companion to "Understand as a
                            mistake," that allows for understanding commands which actually do
                            produce actions in the game world.

                            Understand "turn stereo down" as a command…

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                              1 comment  ·  Admin →
                            • (Actions/Problems) Give problem message for non-functional "for two turns" with out of world action

                              With the syntax:

                              Check requesting the pronoun meanings for 2 turns: say "Bad memory?"

                              The issue:

                              Rule never fires (nor should it.) A problem message should point out that out of world actions require zero turns, or, ask the author if she instead meant 'for the second time'.

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                              • Allow phrases to be defined to automatically cast values

                                It would be useful to allow phrases to be defined which would cast between values, for example:

                                To decide what indexed text is (file - an external file): ...

                                Such a phrase wouldn't have any non-variant text. Alternatively, and to make clear that it is a special phrase, it could be worded like this:

                                To cast an external file to indexed text: ...

                                To prevent headaches the compiler should not use more than one conversion at a time. That may not be enough to prevent headaches... perhaps the compiler should also complain if reciprocal casting phrases are defined? I don't…

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                                • (Bibliography/Babel Treaty) Default Story Creation Year to compile year

                                  The variable 'story creation year' is automatically available in I7 but defaults to 0 if the author does not set it. Is it possible to have this default to compile year?

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                                  • Add phrases for writing and appending indexed text to a file

                                    The current phrases accept only text, so to output indexed text one must store the value in a global and use a substitution or else drop down to I6.

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                                    • (Parsing) Allow OOPS to be turned off

                                      The option to remove OOPS mistake-handling from the parser's
                                      behavior, with a line such as

                                      Use no oops command.

                                      (And/or one might want to be able to assign a different word this function,
                                      for ease of foreign language translation.)

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                                        planned  ·  0 comments  ·  Admin →
                                      • (Parsing) A way to restart the command sequence

                                        That is, a way to abandon the current action(s) and begin command
                                        processing all over again with a new input. The activity "after reading a
                                        player's command" is already capable of modifying the command text, but
                                        that happens before the command is converted into an action, and well
                                        before action processing starts. So at present, something like this is
                                        impossible:

                                        Instead of taking a candle, reparse the player's command as "get lamp".

                                        For instance, in an extension to deal with new player input, you might have
                                        determined that a player has used a recognized noun and a recognized verb,
                                        but…

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                                          This is always likely to be tricky, and the user of such a feature would
                                          need to keep in mind that earlier rules might already have changed the
                                          model world, or printed text; so the current action would not be magically
                                          undone, but only abandoned part-way. However, we agree to explore this
                                          suggestion; it might further be possible to give the player multiple commands
                                          to perform, using a full stop between commands (but not a slash as found in
                                          test commands).

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                                            We try, but there are some things that are surprisingly hard problems linguistically. Where there are specific examples of misbehavior, we are willing to look at them.

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