Key & Compass presents:Room count report
Report author: David Welbourn
Report date: 6-Feb-2014
I haven't done much recording of this stat yet (obviously), but it's always been of some interest to know which games have lots and lots of rooms.
Unfortunately, it's usually a lot easier to count the number of rooms in smaller games. And, of course, one can't really count up
all the rooms in a game until one has finished it. And even then, one had better have good notes and have been as thorough as possible.
An obvious question in collecting room counts is "what counts as a room?" Well, I can only go by my best judgment here, but here goes...
- The Darkness pseudo-location in Inform 5 and Inform 6 games doesn't count.
- Endless roads and endless vistas will not be counted as an infinite number of rooms, but as however many rooms that I think (in my educated opinion) that the programmer needed to declare to get it to work.
I would guess that most endless roads only count as two rooms; endless vistas might count as three or four rooms.
- Some one-right-path mazes are a special case of endless road, and probably count as three rooms.
- Non-physical rooms that the player-character isn't in and can't be in, since it isn't a place, but where the game has kinda gone meta for a moment
to take care of bookkeeping issues (like asking what type of weapon the player wants to equip) or is pausing for a story break (eg: to show a title card for Chapter Three).
Such non-rooms do not count as rooms, even if they're really truly coded like rooms in the source code.
- Unvisitable implied rooms -- that is, rooms that are said to exist but the player-character can never actually visit -- don't count.
- Visitable implied rooms -- that is, rooms that the player does visit (and may even get something in their inventory as a result) but can't actually
stand in for even one turn, because they immediately return to their original location or advance to a third location. I will count these separately.
So, I'd count Rematch as "1+8", for 1 normal room plus 8 visitable implied rooms.
- Multi-rooms count as either one room or several depending on what seems the best fit, considering the presentation and scoping.
- Long segmented hallways (eg: North End of Hallway, Middle of Hallway, South End of Hallway) are usually presented as distinct locations and therefore counted as such.
- Quartered rooms and three-by-three nine-part rooms are, by default, treated as four rooms and nine rooms respectively —
unless it's clear that most items in the multi-room are essentially present in each sub-room, and movement between sub-rooms is automatic as the PC interacts with the items,
in which case I'd count the multi-room as only one room.
- Transforming rooms are rooms that change during the course of the game. They can get new names, new descriptions, new exits, etc.
Again, I have to fall back on my best judgment whether the changes are drastic enough when deciding if a transforming room is more than one room.
- A was dark, now lit room counts as only one room.
- A same place, coded twice room (or Darren Stevens room) counts as only one room. For example, in The Surprising Case of Brian Timmons,
it seems clear to me that the sanitorium locations were coded one way in an earlier chapter, then coded all over again for the final chapter.
But this is probably not obvious to most players, who would think they are revisiting old territory. I'm inclined to count a Darren Stevens room as just one room,
ignoring that Dick Sargent has replaced Dick York in the code.
- A same place, different time period room counts as only one room.
- Booths, chairs, beds, etc. that the player can enter don't count as rooms. Perhaps you think that's obvious...
until you encounter a zippered duffle bag with a full bachelor apartment inside and then what? In the latter case, I think the bachelor apartment
is a new room, and the duffle bag is just an unusual portal to get there.
- Orphaned rooms are rooms that were coded but can never be visited in the game and only discovered by reading the source code or disassembling the game.
Orphaned rooms don't count.
- Choice games don't have rooms at all; they have nodes instead. I am not currently interested in counting the nodes in choice games,
but if I were to become interested in that, I'd keep it a separate stat and create a separate report. Although rooms and nodes are comparible in a programming sense,
I don't think they're all that comparible in a story or geographic sense.
Oh, and when different versions of a game have different room counts, I'll try to report on the larger room-count version for which I have info.
What's that? "Will I ever list the room names as well?" Um, maybe later? Let's see if I can manage the simpler task first, okay?
▶ See also section 7 of "Towards a Theory of Interactive Fiction" by Nick Montfort for his take on counting rooms. It begins on page 42 of the IF Theory Reader.
List of games, from most rooms to least