Computational Approaches to Narratives – Inform 7

I created a scene about Rachel Carson, the marine biologist, author, and conservationist. She wrote Silent Spring, a book from 1962 that served as a major milestone for the environmental movement. This is a great recent article about her in The New Yorker.

My scene takes place in the study of Rachel Carson’s Maine cottage which she called “Silverledges”.

I may include Rachel Carson in another project of mine that is virtual reality-based. This assignment helped me imagine her as a character in a scene, rather than a biographical figure.

My source code is below. My online playable version is here (it’s working now).

One note: I attempted to create rules where you can put the sea shell in your pocket on the tray of curiosities, look out the picture windows to see outside, and choose to go with Roger down to the shore. (Roger is her 4-year-old nephew who she adopted.)  I couldn’t successfully do this, but got a sense of how they work from the Inform 7 documentation.


Source code

“Silverledges, Rachel Carson’s Cottage in Maine” by Elizabeth J Ferguson

Study is a room. “This is your study, inside your cottage in Maine which you call Silverledges. You are Rachel Carson.”

The picture windows are east of the study. “To the east, you can look out the picture windows.”

Roger is in the study. “Roger comes up to you asking to go down to the shore again.” The description of Roger is “Roger has sand on his shirt.”

a writing desk is in the study. The writing desk is fixed in place.

a manuscript is on the writing desk. The description is “‘… What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence?'”

a shelf is in the study. On the shelf is a tray of curiosities.

picture windows looking out to the sea are in the study.

[The player carries a sea shell. A sea shell can be examined or unexamined.

After taking sea shell unexamined:
say “You are looking at a pale green sea shell”;
try examining the sea shell.

Carry out examining sea shell:
Now the sea shell is examined.]

[Before taking the tray:
if the player has a sea glass:
now the piece of sea glass is on the tray;
say “Rachel puts down her latest piece of sea glass on the tray.”]