Because we've said that connection is a reciprocal, one-to-one relationship, Inform will do the rest of the bookkeeping: if (for instance) we telephone someone else, the first connection will be broken automatically.
To avoid annoyance, we should also let the player use CALL #### as well as CALL #### ON TELEPHONE. A rule from the chapter on Activities comes in handy here:
Things might be a little more complicated if we had cell phones that could be moved around, but for right now the player can only touch a maximum of one phone at a time.
Suppose we further want to allow the player to call people up by name, but only if they've already been encountered or are familiar to the player for some reason.
And finally we want to make sure that calling random other numbers produces a sensible result:
A note about this scope addition: the player can refer to the other party whenever he has the other person on the phone. He can't, however, see or refer to anything that person might be holding or wearing, thanks to the "but not its contents" option.
Furthermore, the player can't actually do anything to that person that requires touching. That's because of the reaching inside rules, which govern whether the player can reach through intervening barriers such as rooms. (See the Advanced Actions chapter for more about changing reachability.) There are two things we might want to be careful about, though.
First, we should specifically disallow the player from looking at the person on the other end of the line. Since sight doesn't require touching, the reaching inside rules will not be consulted about a command such as EXAMINE BOSS or LOOK UNDER BOSS. We can, however, intervene in such cases using the visibility rules, which are consulted for any actions that "require light" (including EXAMINE and LOOK UNDER). Here again we borrow some options from the Advanced Actions chapter:
Second, though the existing reaching inside rules are adequate to stop us from touching the person on the other end of the line, the response that's currently printed is a bit generic: it just says "You can't reach into [the room containing the person]." Let's add our own custom reply, instead:
This portion supplies a simple method of conversation; but we could substitute some completely different conversation system if appropriate. The effect of the telephones is that we are allowed to talk to characters in distant locations under certain circumstances, after which the usual conversation rules apply.
In a game where the player could walk around, we would of course want to add a before rule so that he automatically hung up any phone he was using before leaving the room.
|"love/passion/tonight/night" or "night of passion"||"'...Sorry, what?' she asks. 'I wasn't listening.' Oh. Maybe she'd go for some pizza, though."|
|"pizza"||"'I'd love some. No pepperoni, though,' she says, sounding dreamy. Yes, this is definitely time for a call to your old friend, the pizza boy."|
|"imminent ninja attack"||"'Don't worry about it,' says the boss crisply. 'I have everything under control.'"|
|"pizza"||"'Pepperoni special tonight!' he says proudly."|
|"pepperoni"||"'Pepperoni is included free on ALL our pizzas,' he says proudly."|
|"no pepperoni"||"'Well, I don't see why you'd want that,' replies the boy sniffily. 'It's free!'"|
|"jalapeno"||"'Sorry, we're out of jalapenos this evening. There was a run on them.'"|
|"sausage"||"'Sausage, sure, we can do you sausage.'"|
|"canadian bacon"||"'There's currently an embargo on Canadian pig products.'"|
|"cheese"||"'We use four kinds,' says the boy, then lowers his voice confidentially. 'Actually, two of them are the same. Nobody ever counts. The stringy one, the one that comes in dollops and the orangey one. You know.'"|
|"pineapple"||"'We could put pineapple on there, sure,' says the delivery boy, in a tone that lets you know his opinion of people who order fruit-based pizzas."|
|"pineapple and garlic"||"'What kind of crazy combination is that?' demands the delivery boy, finally losing all self-control."|
|"delivery"||"'Well, I don't know,' says the boy in a worried voice. 'Last time I came there were attack dogs. And ninjas.'"|
|"massive gratuity"||"'There's no use in a big tip you don't live to spend,' says the delivery boy quite firmly."|
|"imminent attack"||"'Yes, still on for tonight,' confirms the voice at the other end of the line."|
|"pizza delivery boy"||"The voice, in tones of velvet, indicates that it cannot guarantee the safety of any delivery persons whomsoever."|
Test me with "call 2802 / examine boss / ask boss about night of passion / ask boss about pizza / listen to telephone / call delivery boy on telephone / ask boy about cheese / tell boy about no pepperoni / ask boy about delivery / tell boy about massive gratuity / attack boy".
Here you spend all your nights. Bullet-proof windows offer a panoramic view of serene cliffs, palm trees, and a moonlit ocean. Occasionally someone is foolish enough to try a cliff ascent or even an attack by helicopter, but lately things have been pretty quiet.
The mansion is up the hill behind you, security lights ablaze.
Before you is a grey telephone. In black marker someone has written on it: MAIN OFFICE 2802.
> call 2802
(on the grey telephone)
"Yes?" asks the boss. Her voice is especially husky this evening. Maybe that night of passion isn't so far off after all.
> examine boss
You're not on a video phone, so you can only hear.
> ask boss about night of passion
"...Sorry, what?" she asks. "I wasn't listening." Oh. Maybe she'd go for some pizza, though.
> ask boss about pizza
"I'd love some. No pepperoni, though," she says, sounding dreamy. Yes, this is definitely time for a call to your old friend, the pizza boy.
> listen to telephone
You can hear the boss breathing.
> call delivery boy on telephone
(first ending your conversation with the boss)
"Hello?" says the pizza delivery boy.
> ask boy about cheese
"We use four kinds," says the boy, then lowers his voice confidentially. "Actually, two of them are the same. Nobody ever counts. The stringy one, the one that comes in dollops and the orangey one. You know."
> tell boy about no pepperoni
"Well, I don't see why you'd want that," replies the boy sniffily. "It's free!"
> ask boy about delivery
"Well, I don't know," says the boy in a worried voice. "Last time I came there were attack dogs. And ninjas."
> tell boy about massive gratuity
"There's no use in a big tip you don't live to spend," says the delivery boy quite firmly.
> attack boy
Though you're on the line with the pizza delivery boy, you can't physically reach to Potter's Pizza.
…and it more or less writes itself from there.