Paul O'Brian writes about Watchmen, trivia, albums, interactive fiction, and more.


Inform 7 speedbump

I learned about Inform 7 a couple of days ago, but I’ve only just now gotten the chance to spend much time looking into it. The more I looked, the more astonished I became. My breathing got all short and gaspy. I began to curse a lot, as I sometimes do under the influence of intense amazement.

I downloaded. I installed. I started a project, spontaneously titled “Earth And Sky’s Day Off.” I wrote a room description. I… encountered a bug. With literally the first sentence of the first description I wrote. My code begins:

Living Room is a room. "Your parents' living room is nothing if not tasteful.

Unfortunately, I7’s interpreter engine renders this as:

Living Room
Your parents" living room is nothing if not tasteful.

Bah. I tried a couple of methods of escaping characters (\’ and ”) but no dice. I searched the documentation for the word “apostrophe” and found this:

Apostrophes used to contracted speech at the end of words are wrongly converted to double-quotes: thus “Lucy snaps, ‘What’s the matter? You don’t trust my cookin’ mister?'” has the apostrophe in “cookin'” wrongly converted. For now, best avoid such contractions.

Hrm. But… but… Hrm. Perhaps I should take the word “Beta” more seriously.

(Please note: I am not not NOT intending to slag off everybody’s years of hard and brilliant work with a two-second dismissal. I still have a huge crush on Inform 7 and will continue exploring it. It’s just that encountering a lacuna so quickly was a bit… deflating, is all.)


Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Two


United 93


  1. Actually, it’s been pointed out by someone ingenious that you can force a unicode apostrophe in that case. Which is a *bit* inelegant, but does give you the functionality, at least. [unicode 39] should do it. If you want, you can write a shortcut for this:

    To say ‘:
    say “[unicode 39]”.

    and then the text could read “Your parents[‘] living…”

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