In the IF world, elevators exist because stairs would make life too easy. They are a popular coding exercise, and (as a temporarily confined room) present puzzle opportunities in their own right.
- SELECT / CHOOSE
- UP / DOWN
- Call button. On the outside of lift doors, this summons the lift (sometimes after a wait) and usually opens it.
- Many modern lifts are controlled by outside computer systems. A player with access to these could be able to do as he pleases with lifts - using them to herd NPCs or just as a glorified call button.
- Some IF elevators are functionally just stairs: you go into the elevator room, then go UP or DOWN.
- The usual procedure is a series of named or numbered buttons, one for each floor. Pressing one of these will usually result in the doors closing, perhaps a few turns elapsing, and then the doors opening again on another floor.
- Alternatively, there may be a numeric keypad into which you have to TYPE your floor number.
- There may be a lift attendant, to whom you give orders (ASK ATTENDANT FOR/ABOUT BASEMENT; ATTENDANT, UP; SAY 'BASEMENT' TO ATTENDANT; TALK TO ATTENDANT then pick menu options).
- There may be open and close buttons for the doors, although many lifts will handle this automatically; others will require you to close the doors before you select a floor.
- Stop switches. These may be for normal, practical purposes (keeping the doors open and stopping the elevator from moving when, e.g., moving large objects into it) or for emergency use (in which case they may also trigger an alarm). They may be used to trap NPCs in a confined space, or confuse pursuers (e.g. by stopping the elevator and then lift-surfing). This control may require a special key.
- Alarm button or telephone. This may just trigger an alarm, or it may also open a communications channel to the outside world.
Malfunctions may be accidents, caused by a malign NPC, or caused by the player to acheive some end.
- Jammed; the lift is stuck between floors, or the doors won't open. The player may need to escape from the lift at this point, either through the doors or the hatch; they may need to contact outside help; or they may welcome the opportunity to confuse pursuit or confront trapped NPCs.
- Plummeting; the lift's cables, brakes, and other safety features have failed and it's falling down the shaft. It is unlikely that anyone inside the lift will be able to do much about this. The lift may stop of its own accord, leading to a Jammed scenario; or it may plummet to destruction, leading to a timed puzzle in which the player has to escape the elevator car before it crashes.
The popular consciousness of elevators almost invariably includes an access hatch in the roof, giving access from the interior of the elevator to the roof and elevator shaft - or vice versa. Common features of this include:
- Cables. These might be CLIMBED (with some difficulty), but more often they're there so that you or your enemies can cut them. Modern elevators won't fall if you destroy the cables (including the safety cable), but this is no guarantee that they won't do so in IF.
- Ladders. Regardless of how frequently these are to be found in real-life lift shafts, they're convenient in their IF counterparts.
- Crossbeams. A lot more realistic than ladders, and you can at least hang onto them.
- Exterior lift doors. This may give you access to a floor that the lift doesn't normally go to, or provide escape from a malfunctioning elevator. Generally they will be difficult to open if the lift isn't there; something to PRY the doors with may be required.
- Top-of-shaft hatches, giving access to the roof. These will often be locked.
A dumbwaiter is a small service elevator, powered by a pulley or a small motor and typically used for the delivery of meals between floors. In an IF context it has various uses:
- Secret passage. A player could squeeze into the dumbwaiter and thus reach an otherwise inaccessible area.
- Smuggling. If items cannot otherwise be taken between areas for some reason, a player might put items in a dumbwaiter and retrieve them later from the other end. Similarly, they could be used to supply NPCs at a distance.
- Attack. A timebomb or something of the kind could be delivered by dumbwaiter.
More information than you will ever need about elevators: Wikipedia.