Chunky Blues — 9 of 59

Scott Hammack and Jessamin Yu

Release 2

Chapter 3 - Options Menu

Table of Options

"Quick Instructions"--"In this game, in addition to the standard inventory (accessible with the command INVENTORY or I), you have a mental inventory, which lists facts and ideas in your memory. Short-term memory can only store a certain number of ideas at one time, but compatible ideas can be combined (through a process called 'chunking') into hypotheses. This process can be used to free up space in short-term memory and may also lead you to discover useful new information (though it could also lead to dead ends).[paragraph break]To chunk two ideas, use the command CHUNK idea1 WITH idea2.[line break]Use the command MEMVENTORY (or M) for an overview of the ideas currently in your memory.[line break]Use the command PONDER to review what you know about an idea.[line break]Use the command UNCHUNK hypothesis if you've determined your hypothesis was incorrect or you want to recover its component ideas.[paragraph break]All conversation in this game is menu-based and initiated via the TALK TO verb. Conversational options change based on the knowledge and experience you've accumulated.[paragraph break]It should not be possible to get completely stuck; if you do, you've probably found a bug and I'd appreciate it if you let me know."
"Unnecessarily Long Instructions"--"In the psychological mechanism known as chunking, multiple ideas are combined into a single unit of memory, allowing a person to remember more information. This game is based around a very loose interpretation of that concept.[paragraph break]In addition to the traditional inventory system, as you encounter things over the course of the game, you will automatically make mental notes of ideas that may or may not be important later. These ideas are stored in your short-term memory and can be combined into new knowledge or hypotheses, which may affect the courses of action available to you, until you are able to piece it all together into the ultimate solution.[paragraph break]Note, however, that the number of ideas you can store in your short-term memory is limited. If you reach that limit, you will become confused and unable to add new memories until you clear up some of the clutter in your head. This can be done by chunking two related ideas together, which creates a hypothesis about how they're related. Be careful, though, because it is possible to form a hypothesis that is plausible but nonetheless false, and that can get you into trouble later on. If you have reason to believe a hypothesis is false, you can unchunk it to remove it from your memory and recover its component ideas.[paragraph break]When you've confirmed or become reasonably certain about a hypothesis, it will become a theory and be promoted into long-term memory. Ideas in long-term memory can be used just like any other ideas, but do not count against your memory limit.[paragraph break]The main non-standard commands you need to know are as follows:[line break]- [italic type]CHUNK idea WITH idea[roman type] to combine two ideas that you think are related (whether they're complementary or contradictory).[line break]- [italic type]UNCHUNK idea[roman type] - This will cause you to forget the specified hypothesis and restore its component parts to short-term memory.[line break]- [italic type]PONDER something[roman type]: This is more or less the mental equivalent of examining something. Pondering will describe your thoughts on the idea and may lead you to conclude something new. You can ponder anything in your memory regardless of whether it's physically present. It may be useful to ponder the same idea more than once if new information that relates to it has come to light.[line break]- [italic type]MEMVENTORY[roman type] (or MEMORIES or MEM or M) will list the contents of your short-term and long-term memory."a rule
"Author's Notes"--"Thanks for playing this IntroComp 2011 edition of [story title]. The reception to this will likely determine whether we actually finish the game, so I'd really like to hear what you like or hate about it. You can reach me at[paragraph break]A few things to keep in mind, if you're interested: My approach to coding this was basically to throw a lot of ideas at the wall and see what sticks. Consequently, there are systems built into this game (time of day, commerce, books, conversation) that are way overengineered for the purposes we're actually using them for, but they're intended to be extensible in case I want to make them more important later on. I put more time into implementing those systems than on designing complicated puzzles using them, but now that IntroComp is over, I hope to balance that out in the full version.[paragraph break]Over the course of writing this game, a lot of tumultuous stuff happened in real life for both myself and my writing partner Jessamin, and she ended up unable to have much input into the later parts of the intro. Without her guiding hand, I may have gone a bit overboard in adding silly easter eggs and things. That may not be to everyone's tastes, but the idea was to make it fun to experiment and play around in this world even if you don't care about the story, and to give the player things to do beyond just getting through the plot. You can review how many of these things you've found by using the SCORE or FULL commands.[paragraph break]In the full game, you can expect a much bigger city to explore, more unsavory characters, more ridiculous things to do, more meaningless pop culture references, and more unnecessarily complicated systems. What you should probably not expect is a work of great literary merit or a setting that is historically accurate and free of anachronisms, as this game is intended to be, first and foremost, a source of amusement.[paragraph break]Enjoy!"
"Credits/Acknowledgments"--"This game was written by Scott Hammack and Jessamin Yu. It uses the following extensions: Basic Screen Effects, Glulx Text Effects, and Menus by Emily Short; Epistemology by Eric Eve; and Simple Chat by Mark Tilford. Cover art by Scott Hammack. Thanks go out to Rob Dubbin, Alex Dudley, Casey Kolderup, Adam Parrish, Pablo Peña, Sean Walters, and Ben Ward for testing and moral support. Thanks also to the members of the forum for miscellaneous coding help, and of course thanks to Graham Nelson and the other authors of Inform, and to the participants of the 2011 Demo Fair in Boston.[paragraph break]I acknowledge the influence of the following other creative works of various types for inspiration: Deadly Premonition, the Ace Attorney games, Earl Grey, A Scurvy of Wonders, Anchorhead, Fallout, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Back to the Future (the Telltale Games adaptation), The Simpsons, Far Cry 2."
"Settings"Table of Setting Options----
"Release Notes"--"Warning: May contain spoilers. As of this writing, the most recent version of this game can be found at[paragraph break][ChangeLog]"
"Licensing"--"Chunky Blues by Scott Hammack and Jessamin Yu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. For more information, see"
["About the Author"--"[story author] is too reclusive to wish to disseminate any information. Sorry."--]
["Hints"Table of Hints----]

Table of Setting Options

"[if notify mode is on]Score notification on[otherwise]Score notification off[end if]"----switch notification status rule
"[if help text is true]Help text on[otherwise]Help text off[end if]"----switch help text rule

To decide whether notify mode is on:

(- notify_mode -);

This is the switch notification status rule:

if notify mode is on, try switching score notification off;

otherwise try switching score notification on.

This is the switch help text rule:

if help text is true, now help text is false;

else now help text is true.

[After each activation of the toggle rule, the menu redraws itself, so the player will see "score notification on" change to "score notification off" (and vice versa).]

[Menus also provides for the case where we would like to display hints and give the player the option of revealing more and more detailed instructions. To this end, there is a special form for tables that lead to hints and tables which contain the hints themselves. The table leading to hints should look like this:]

[Table of Hints

title subtable description toggle

"How do I reach the mastodon's jawbone?" Table of Mastodon Hints "" hint toggle rule

"How can I make Leaky leave me alone?" Table of Leaky Hints "" hint toggle rule

[where the toggle is always "hint toggle rule", and the subtable is always a table containing the hints themselves. A table of hints consists of just two columns, and one of those is for internal bookkeepping and should be initialized to contain a number. So:]

Table of Mastodon Hints

hint used

"Have you tried Dr. Seaton's Patent Arm-Lengthening Medication?" a number

"It's in the pantry."

"Under some cloths."

Table of Leaky Hints

hint used

"Perhaps it would help if you knew something about Leaky's personality."

"Have you read the phrenology text in the library?"

"Have you found Dr. Seaton's plaster phrenology head?"

"Now you just need a way to compare this to Leaky's skull."

"Too bad he won't sit still."

"But he has been wearing a hat. Perhaps you could do something with that."

"You'll need to get it off his head first."

"Have you found the fishing pole?"

"And the wire?"

"Wait on the balcony until Leaky passes by underneath on his way to the Greenhouse."


"Now you'll have to find out what the hat tells you."

"Putting it on the phrenology head might allow you to compare."

"Of course, if you do that, you'll reshape the felt. Hope you saved a game!"

"You need a way to preserve the stiffness of the hat."

"Have you found the plaster of paris?"

"And the water?"

"And the kettle?"

[...etc. (Hints 19-135 omitted for brevity.)]

[Because the toggle rule is always consulted when the player selects an option and before any other default behavior occurs, we can use this rule to override normal menu behavior more or less however we like. The hint toggle rule is just one example.]

[Finally, if we wanted to create a HELP command that would summon our menu, we would then add this:]]