Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quick update - fishing

Fishing has turned out to be a load of fun to research, in no small part thanks to the New York Public Library's archive of awesome. Did you know hammerhead sharks used to be called balancefish?

In terms of coding, I am way behind. There are a lot of really boring bits to do, like specifying how the game should put together a fishing pole. Because of the way Inform's set up, verbs with two nouns require a lot of repetitive disambiguation and referencing commands. "Doing something with a fishing pole" only counts for one of the nouns in putting it on, so you also have to write a whole series of commands about putting things on fishing poles. Which, you know, gets really old. I totally understand why this is here, but on the other hand: putting something on a fishing pole *is* doing something with it.

I have, finally, got fishing poles to assemble properly, although not automatically, which is the goal. My original idea was just that the character would rummage up some appropriate items for a crude rod, line, and hook. "But then," I thought cleverly, "what if they want to upgrade to a better rod, or I want to break the line? Those had better be separate parts." Then I looked at it and realized the player might actually try to manipulate those parts - untie a line, or specify which hook to use. And players might use verbs like "tie X to Y" to do so, and "tie" wasn't really equivalent to "put on", and from there was madness.

Now I get to buckle down to the real nuts and bolts of the thing, which I have enjoyed envisioning, but am not so much looking forward to implementing.

(Interesting note: Scientific names have changed a *lot* over the past 300 years. Very few fish have the same genus and species names as they used to. Lots of fish are findable under their common names, though - something they don't mention in biology much. Hopefully that period of reclassification is over, but I'm not holding my breath.)


  1. I have trouble tracking this down in the docs, but I think "Doing something involving the fishing pole" does what you want -- it should catch anything where the pole is the first noun, second noun, or actor.

    ...discussed a little at

  2. Crumb. Well, I'm sure that tidbet will be helpful somewhere down the line.

  3. Awww. I was hoping I had said something in time to save you some work.