Navigating to objects?


Couldn't think of a more apt title, but I'd be interested to know what people consider the standard method for interacting with objects in traditional TA.

What I mean by this, is that if I describe a room and its contents (let's say I mention a set of drawers at the far end of the room) would you expect, as a player, that you could simply type open drawers, or would you expect to have to navigate to them beforehand with something like go to drawers.

I think this stems from a niggle I have with TA in which the developer forces the player to take an object before they can x it. In other words the player is told there's a loaf of bread on the table, but instead of typing eat bread he must first say take bread. It seems petty to me. The bread is there on the table. I want to eat it, so eat bread should allow for it being taken. If I want to take the bread and save it for later, then I just take bread as normal.

Anyway I'm drifting, but for similar reasons I think open drawers should allow for the player navigating to them (providing they're in the same room), but am I alone in thinking this and would such a style confuse players?


Um, I've seen players used to graphical adventures trying to GO TO TABLE and being confused when it didn't work, but in text adventures the convention has always been that everything in the same room is considered to be within reach, unless the player is sitting/standing on a piece of furniture. So actually requiring GO TO TABLE would confuse the heck out of anyone used to playing interactive fiction.

That said, there have been some experiments with fine-grained partitioning of a single room, but that was back in the Inform 6 era, and I don't have the links. Maybe search for "spatial navigation" in the old archives? The IFWiki might have some relevant pointers.

P.S. The other issue, whether you need to first hold an object before being allowed to eat it, or put it into a container, is another story. I agree with you that it's needlessly fiddly, but the major authoring systems do require it, presumably for the sake of simulation. So again, seasoned players may be expecting it.


Well it's good to hear you say it's generally understood that any objects included in the description are immediately reachable, because that's how I've been doing things in my current game.

As for take vs eat, it actually requires less work leaving it as default, so I'm happy going down that route.

Thanks for the reply.


100% eliminate any 'go to ___' option. If it's in the room, I should be able to eat it, x it, open it, etc. I'm not so much a stickler for eat it because, I guess , it is less common, but if I had to go to chair or go to drawers before interacting with it, I would quit the game before I really even started.


Good. I'm doing okay then :)

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