Procedural Enthymeme with Inform7

Pretty awesome, focused use of Inform 7. (I’m generally content just to let my students explore, trusting through experience that they will learn from testing each other’s games and asking me specific questions realated to the stories they are creating, such as, “So how do I make it so you can’t enter the TARDIS without the key?”)

A procedural enthymeme describes a set of rules that, in constraining an interactor’s actions, makes an implicit claim. The user must reason out what this claim is in order to correctly manipulate the system. Procedural enthymemes are conscipicuous in video games. (Example: An avatar can only enter a house through the door, and not through the window, implying that a person does not enter a stranger’s house through the window, unless they are a ne’er-do-well). It may be helpful to teach language-based enthymemes before moving on to the more complex idea of procedural reasoning: “We’d better knock, in case someone’s home. We don’t want them calling the cops.”

In Inform, students author procedural enthymemes every time they create an object’s capacities for interaction. Excluding certain capacities requires the user to reason:

Input: Go to car. Output: The car looks shiny and new. Input: Enter car. Ouput: The car is not yours. Input: Break window. Output: There are people nearby.

The final part of this assignment has students articulate the implied reasoning in the procedural affordances they’ve created.–Procedural Enthymeme with Inform7 | DWRL Lesson Plans.

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