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These came to me via Ranma and ultimately originated with Puma I believe. I'm just dumping it here with a little markup for now. -- FantoM - 02 Apr 2003

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Room description guidelines

A typical description:

You walk further along the street. There are shadows everywhere, but nothing for light to shine off. You hear laughter echoing from the walls of the buildings. It almost seems as if you are being mocked by them. The alley continues to the south.

Now whats wrong with this...? Lets look at the rules of design.

RULE OF DESCRIPTIONS 1 - YOU

Never ever use the word YOU or any derative of that.

Doing this will only lead to frustration, cause the quality checking wizard will force you to change it. This rule derives its reason of existance out of rule 2.

RULE OF DESCRIPTIONS 2 - ACTIONS/FEELINGS

Describe the thing in question, NOT the players actions and feelings.

Example Action: You walk further along the street.

The description is displayed each time they type 'look'. Thus will 'You walk...' each time you have a look around be a false statement, because you are not walking.

You can also not know whether the player is limping, flying, riding.

Another Example action: You hear laughter echoing from the walls of the buildings.

There is no exactly good reason this is not logical use of 'you', except for there being better ways of doing it.

Replacement 1: Laughter echoes from the walls of the buildings.

Replacement 2: Make the room 'talk' the message every now and then. (Right now this might not be possible for builders to do but we shall make it so.)

Example feeling: It almost seems as if you are being mocked by them.

Forcing feelings onto a player will not make him feel that way, rather, it will make him feel that the creator has been dumb for trying to force feelings on to him instead of letting him make his own decision. You can also think that two different characters will feel different to the same situation. It is better to carefully describe the situation instead of the players feelings.

By not using the word 'you', you will hopefully not come into situations where you describe the players actions or feelings.

RULE OF DESCRIPTIONS 3 - ITEMS

Things you can look/smell/listen to/read but not pick up are what we call 'items' as opposed to 'objects' which can be taken or interacted with.

All things (identified by nouns) mentioned in the description are items and thus it must be possible to look/smell/listen/read them as applicable.

One Exception: if the description has a sentence like 'There is no TheNoun here.' then the noun TheNoun exists but is not an item.

Example: The cries of peddlers and merchants selling their wares can be heard all around. Crowds fill the square, moving about the shops and looking for the best deals. The flow of people browsing the stalls is interrupted here by groups of adventurers entering and leaving a large stone building to the south. A sign hangs above its door. A road leaves the market to the east and to the northwest.

From this we derive the following: Items (things you can look at): peddlers, merchants,wares, crowds, square, shops, deals, flow, people, stalls, groups, building, sign, door, road, market.

Listens: cries, peddlers, merchants, crowds, people

Smells: none,

Reads: sign

You should also consider supporting listen and smell for items which could be listened to or smelt such as peddlers, merchants, crowds, people, wares, shops, stalls but it is not completely necessary.

Tip: To derive items, read through the description picking out each and every noun. When you have written the items, look for new nouns in the item descriptions.

Tip: To save yourself from having this become an infinite loop of new items, reuse old nouns. Read the help ingame to discover how to do this.

SUB-RULE 3-1 - ITEM PLURALS

If there is a plural item, we also add the singular form.

This adds to the list

Items: peddler, merchant, ware, crowd, shop, deal, stall, group

Listens: cry

Tip: This might seem like becoming a lot of extra, but with clever item descriptions you can have the same description for singular and plural.

Tip: If you feel like being lazy then all the item descriptions for "crowd/crowds/group/groups/people/exotic people/group of people/groups of people/group of exotic people/groups of exotic people" can all point to: "Groups of exotic people wander through the large square"

RULE OF DESCRIPTIONS 4 - ADJECTIVES/EXPANSION

Sometimes you have described everything in the room, and still have a description much too short. There are ways of expanding on that which you have though. Use of adjectives is the key to this.

Eg: This is an intersection. The smell of garlic is intense. To the west there is a church with silver crosses everywhere. To the north and south are alleys.

... to be continued ...

Tips

Phrases frowned upon (add these to continuation)

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