Saturday, January 15th, 2005
Let’s say we have a problem in front of us. It’s a simple problem. We’re standing before two closed doors, both mysteries.
This situation is, of course, bunk. It doesn’t “contain” a few requirements. Context, intent, and memory. Let’s adjust the problem.
You’re standing before two doors, both of which are open. One opens into a room hot with fire. Through the other is a room with a still pond in the floor, reflecting the moon, and a table. On the table are greentea cups, bamboo place mats, and chop sticks.
Most people confronted with these two options would choose the latter. The first isn’t all that inviting because we know that it would surely kill or maim. It would hurt; it would blind; it would seer the lungs and boil the eyeballs. The second, however, invites with its mooncalm and its impression of conversation, relaxation, and pause. If the reader can see these two options then the description works. Memory comes rushing in to help solve the problem. I know fire and I know calm. The situation here rounds out with experience.
But I must have come to this fork with some intention, some reason for ebeing here. This question may be resolved by “how” I got to the fork and what lies beyond the fork, some goal, perhaps, or an escape.
The scenario lacks one thing that I may have brought with me (although this is in many ways a programming issue): an orientation. In order to pass into either room I follow a direction, following some orientation. In IF the standard is cardinal orientation: north, northwest, and so forth. In the typical IF environment, I may type nw at the cursor and pass into flame or moonlight, but am I really moving northwest? In IF I move with a dual orientation: nw and through the door, but which one orients the traveler with more coherence or context?
You are in the moon lit room.
What room do you wish to enter?
Is nw good enough? This is a rhetorical question because I’m not just moving into the moonlit room, I’m supposed to be entering that room for a reason. But what is the reason? Perhaps in this IF the right room to pass into the hot one?