Meta-command

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A command that controls the game session (such as restart, restore, quit) or is otherwise "outside the game world".

The Inform library (version 6.30) defines the following verbs as meta-commands:

  • Verbose, brief & superbrief control the information that is displayed upon entering a room.
  • Score, fullscore & notify relate to score display.
  • Pronouns displays the objects currently associated with "him", "her", "it", etc.
  • Objects lists the objects handled and places lists the places visited in the game so far.
  • Recording & replay allow commands to be stored are re-executed at a later time.
  • Script & noscript control saving of the game transcript.
  • Verify checks the integrity of a game file.
  • Version displays version information for the game and the interpreter.
  • Save & restore allow a game to be re-started at an earlier stage.
  • Restart starts the game again from the beginning.
  • Quit terminates the current game session.

The undo command is also classified as a meta-command (along with again and oops). Some other potential meta-commands include:

  • Exits — list the available exits from the current location.
  • What is an X — display information about an object or topic.
  • Diagnose — check the PC's health.
  • Footnote — display a footnote referred to in the game.
  • Hint — a request for help when the player is stuck.
  • Help / about — expanded game information.

Meta-commands take up no time in the game world when they are executed. They should not be confused with free actions, which take no time but are not "meta" in the sense of being separate from the game world.

For a discussion of this issue on the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup, see the thread What is a meta-command ?

See also discussions about Meta-commands on the RAIF newsgroup.