Duh-scription

From IFWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

A duh-scription is a questionable choice of text, a description of an object that fails to give any new information about that object that the object's name didn't already provide.

To be more blunt, a duh-scription is a description so unimaginative and uninformative, the player's reaction after reading it is "duh, I already knew that from the name!"

Examples

Some illustrative examples:

>x orange button
It's orange.

>x lamp
It's a lamp.

>x jewel-encrusted egg
The jewel-encrusted egg is encrusted with many jewels.

Rooms can also have duh-scriptions:

East-West Passageway
You are standing in a passageway. The exits are east and west.

City Park (Southwest Corner)
This is the southwest corner of the city park. You can go north, northeast, and east from here.

Remedies

Remedy 1: Use a more descriptive description

If the item isn't commonplace, the author really should provide a properly descriptive description for an object so it can be more properly visualized. Players will try to examine unusual objects. For example:

>x jewel-encrusted egg
It's the size and shape of a goose egg, expertly crafted from silver and covered with many tiny emeralds and diamonds. The pattern and colors are evokative of the Barfoonia flag.

Even commonplace objects that are used to solve a puzzle should get something in the way of a description:

>x orange button
It's just a round metal button painted orange and set flush with the surface of the control panel.

All rooms should also get at least a minimal proper description:

East-West Passageway
This underground passageway is uncomfortably narrow and short. You keep ducking your head to avoid scraping it against the ceiling. The exits are east and west.

City Park (Southwest Corner)
This corner of the park is an open grassy field, off to one side of the main path. In the past, you've seen people exercise their dogs out here, but right now it's empty and kinda boring. You can go north, northeast, and east from here.

Remedy 2: Use the default response

If the item is commonplace and the item is unimportant to either the story or any puzzle, then the author might opt to not give the item a description at all, and let the default response be printed:

>x student desks
You see nothing special about the student desks.

This approach might seem to be little improvement, since no new information about the desks themselves is given; however, the default response at least informs the player that the student desks are truly unimportant as far as the game is concerned, and may be henceforth ignored.

Remedy 3: Eliminate the object

If, as an author, you can't be bothered to describe an object, consider removing it from the game altogether. Items and rooms that don't serve any purpose in the game, not even to provide atmosphere or backstory, are cruft and should be minimized or eliminated. This helps the player focus on the important stuff. A lamp in a room could easily be removed and never missed.

In particular, don't feel you have to put a bathroom into a game set in a house because all houses should have bathrooms. If a bathroom's not important to the game, you don't have to include one.