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Inventory Limits

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Inventory Limits

Postby Lazzah » Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:42 am

Hi all,

I would like to ask my fellow Drifters, both players and authors, what their opinions are about whether or not the PC in an adventure game should be limited to carrying a certain number of objects.

My opinion is that an unlimited inventory is extremely unrealistic and doesn't make the player think about how s/he needs to play the adventure. Even if you limit the PC to carrying, say, 8 or 10 objects, this is still somewhat unrealistic as you are letting the PC carry all those objects and still allow them to perform actions which, in real life, they would have to drop everything they are carrying to perform. Have you ever tried to unlock a door when it is pouring with rain and you are carrying only an umbrella and a heavy shopping bag? You still have to put the shopping bag down to be able to unlock the door, you only have two hands.

Back in the late 1980's and early '90's, during which period I played 100's of adventure games, if I played a game that had an inventory limit, I would just get on with it and work around the limit. If I found I couldn't carry an object, I would just leave it somewhere (making a note on my map where I had left it - yes we DREW maps on paper in those days!) and go back and collect it when I discovered that I needed it or if I came to a point-of-no-return. I didn't go whining to the author of the game "Why can't I carry EVERY object ALL of the time?!".

Your thoughts and opinions would be appreciated.
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Re: Inventory Limits

Postby Duncan_B » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:41 am

I think for me the inventory limit is less important than the purposefulness of object implementation. The copper spoon in Wolves at the Door or the paper clip in Crazy Old Bag Lady were clever jabs at this sort of problem, where the player ends up carrying objects of no identifiable purpose.

I don't mind having to drop an item or manage an inventory, but I should at least have an idea of why I would want to be carrying objects that I can carry. Carrying around an armful of red herrings is just bothersome, but I don't mind carrying objects if they have a purpose.
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Re: Inventory Limits

Postby saabie » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:26 pm

Have you ever tried to unlock a door when it is pouring with rain and you are carrying only an umbrella and a heavy shopping bag? You still have to put the shopping bag down to be able to unlock the door, you only have two hands.

Umbrella in the left hand, shopping bag handle over the left elbow and your right hand free to open the door. No problem. You still have a right elbow to hang something from, 4 pockets in your jeans, another 2 on your shirt, a belt to clip things on, and you can even hold your penlight torch in your mouth to illuminate the lock.
Not to mention all the stuff in the shopping bag.

If you really need to carry a lot then just give the player a backpack. I've seen school kids carrying around more than their bodyweight on their backs.

If you do want to stop the player from carrying around certain objects all the time, (ie. because knowing when to take it with you is part of a puzzle) then just make those objects a lot bigger and heavier than the objects that you do want them to be able to carry around all of the time.
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Re: Inventory Limits

Postby ralphmerridew » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:01 pm

The game "Degeneracy" had an interesting inventory limit: Objects were small, medium, or large. Large objects took both hands; medium objects took one; any number of small objects could fit into one hand.

In other words, the player could hold:
- One large object
- Two medium objects
- One medium object and any number of small objects
- Any number of small objects.
(You could get this effect under most systems by:
- Defining small objects as having size of 1
- Defining medium objects as having size of 100 (any value > number of small objects)
- Defining large objects as having a size of 200 (twice the size of a medium object)
- Giving the player a capacity of 200 (same as large object)
though I think Degeneracy also mentioned hands explicitly.)

The game was small enough that inventory limits didn't matter that much.

(Inform provides the concept of SACK_OBJECT (I6) or holdall (I7); if the player tries to take an object but is carrying too much, he'll try to move something into the SACK_OBJECT / holdall to make room.)
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Re: Inventory Limits

Postby David Whyld » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:29 pm

I say let people carry whatever they want and forget about realism. It's not realistic that all the items found within a game can be used to solve all the puzzles found within the game, but it happens.
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Re: Inventory Limits

Postby Samkid882 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:11 pm

In my opinion, it depends upon the type of game. If it is the traditional text-based adventure game, then I think an unlimited inventory is necessary, on the other hand, other RPG text-based games such as roguelikes, an inventory system isn't unlimited, but can be increased as a result of leveling up.
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