Characters are animate beings with whom the player interacts in the course of the game. For example, the player might talk to a character, give something to a character or take something from a character. Characters can either help or impede the player, depending on how you design the game.
To add or edit a character, begin by choosing Characters from the main tabs. This will display a list of existing characters or items. To the right of this list, there are links for properties, events and map. When you select one of these links, the sub-tab corresponding to your selection will be opened.
When you add or edit an object, you will be asked to provide the following information.
You can also define commands for the object. You will see a green plus sign on the properties sub tab, which you can use to add, edit and delete commands.
A brief, unique name. This is visible to the player in many places and serves to identify the character or item.
An optional brief description. This is visible in lists (such as “you see” or “inventory”) as well as on the detail screen for the character or item. Always provide a description.
An optional picture. This appears on the detail screen for the character or item. This is where the player interacts with the character or item.
Media objects can contain other media files than pictures (for example a sound file) but these have currently no effect with characters. If you associate a sound media with a character in the hope that the sound will play every time you display the character this will not (yet?) work.
An optional icon. This is a small symbol that represents the character or item in lists. If you do not provide an icon, the builder provides a dull, boring default.
At any given time, a character or item may or may not be visible to the player. Visibility is determined by a combination of two factors.
Both characters and items usually have a location. This is expressed as latitude and longitude (with optional altitude). Typically, the position is within a zone. When you create a character or item in the builder, you can assign an initial location within any zone. During game play, you can move the character or item to a different zone.
Characters and items can be contained by zones, the player, or other characters or items. A given character or item can only be directly contained by one thing at a time.
Initially, the builder allows you to optionally contain a character or item within a zone. This also implies that the object is located within the zone. During game play, you can move an object to a zone, to the player, to a character or to an item.(You can also move an object to “nowhere”, meaning that is not contained by any other object.) Note that an object which is contained by the player, a character or an item moves with the containing object. For example, if an envelope contains a letter and you move the envelope to a different zone, the letter moves with it. Similarly, anything in the player's inventory moves with the player.
In script, you can check to see what contains a particular item. This test refers to the immediate container. For example, suppose that an envelope contains a letter and the envelope has been moved to a particular zone. A test to see if the letter is in the envelope will be true. A test to see if the envelope is in the zone will also be true. However, a test to see if the letter is in the zone will be false. The letter's location is within the zone, but it is directly contained by the envelope, not the zone.
Characters have a few additional properties. Each property has a value, which you can set and test during game play. In addition, the builder allows you to give these properties initial values.
Characters and items can have associated commands. Commands provide a way for the player to interact with the virtual world. For example, you might have a command to talk to a character. Or a command to open a box or an envelope. Or a command to have a character ride a bicycle or a horse. You can also attach script to a command. When the player chooses to perform the command, the script executes. This gives you the opportunity to make changes as a result of the command. For example, if the player chooses to “take” a coin, you can move the coin to the player's inventory. Or if the player chooses to have a character ride the bicycle, you can move the character and bike to a different zone.