By default, the description of a room is printed every time the player enters a room.
On a device with very limited screen space, however, we might wish to supplant that behavior with "brief" descriptions. In Brief mode, Inform prints room descriptions only when the player enters that room for the first time. Afterwards, the text is skipped, for brevity, though the player can see it again at any time by typing LOOK.
As we saw in the previous chapter, we can set "use options" to control certain aspects of the player's experience. One of the use options is the option to
which changes the defaults so that the description of a room is printed only the first time the player enters.
Test me with "west / east".
The research wing was built onto the science building in 1967, when the college's finances were good but its aesthetic standards at a local minimum. A dull brown corridor recedes both north and south; drab olive doors open onto the laboratories of individual faculty members. The twitchy fluorescent lighting makes the whole thing flicker, as though it might wink out of existence at any moment.
The Men's Restroom is immediately west of this point.
Well, yes, you really shouldn't be in here. But the nearest women's room is on the other side of the building, and at this hour you have the labs mostly to yourself. All the same, you try not to read any of the things scrawled over the urinals which might have been intended in confidence.
Wilkie Memorial Research Wing
If we type "test me" during play, these commands will be carried out automatically, and we can see that when we return to the Research Wing, the description is not given a second time.
Some notes: the player can also turn full-length descriptions on or off with the commands "verbose" and "brief", or set a minimal-description setting with the command "superbrief". This power still belongs to the player even if we have set the use option to show brief room descriptions by default.
Moreover, we can ourselves check what the state of the descriptions is, with
Finally, it is possible to exercise more precise control over what the player sees on his first and subsequent visits to a room; see the next example for details.