Undum 2 documentation

HTML API

All of Undum's output is HTML. This allows you to style your content in any way you choose. It also allows you to include rich media into your output, such as images, video or audio.

Display Content

All HTML output should be in a format we call "Display Content" - this has particular rules:

  • Display Content must always start and end with a HTML tag. It may consist of more than one tag internally, however. So we can have the structure: <p>...</p><img>, for example, but not some text...<img>.

  • It must be a complete snippet of HTML in its own right. So any tags that represent a range of content must have their closing tags present. So we can do <p><em>...</em></p>, but not <p><em>...</p>.

CSS Styles

Undum also uses some of HTML's capabilities to control its own behavior. In particular, it uses a series of CSS classes to control how content behaves.

class="transient"

The CSS class transient can be used to mark HTML content that should be removed when the user changes their situation. When a situation changes, Undum will go back and remove any links from the text (leaving the text that was in the link). Any HTML content that has the CSS class transient will be completely removed at this time. Undum uses a fading animation to show the user this is happening, to avoid the user seeing an abrupt disappearance but being unable to work out what was removed.

Any HTML tag can be marked as transient. It is most commonly used on a paragraph of text that gives the user a set of options. Undum is designed to allow game developers to produce beautiful narratives - you don't want that narrative littered by "You could do X, or you could do Y." statements. Mark this content as transient, and it will not form part of the permanent record.

class="sticky"

When you change situations, links in previous situations will be removed. This prevents the user backtracking and picking options that no longer apply. Sometimes you want links to be available for a longer time, however. In this case mark them with the CSS class sticky. Sticky only applies to links, so should only be added to <a> tags.

class="raw"

Links can also have the raw CSS class. This class prevents Undum from interpreting the link as an instruction to the game. If you want to add a link to an external resource, you can add this class to it. Note that raw links are still removed when you change situations, so if you want a raw link permanently available, you should also make it sticky.

For some URLs, Undum can guess that the link is supposed to be an external link, and will automatically add the raw class for you. This isn't perfect, however, and you are better off not relying on it. If you have a link that you don't want Undum to capture, always use the raw class.

class="once"

Although links will be removed when the situation changes, often you want to remove them before that, as a result of an action within the current situation. There is an API tool available to do that in your code.

For convenience, there is also the once CSS class. Adding this to a link means that the link will be removed as soon as it is clicked. This is mostly useful for action links, because a link that changes the situation will automatically cause previous links to disappear.

Note that once is smart about this removal. It removes all links to the same action, not just the link that was clicked. So if you have the same action available in two links in your content, both will be removed.

class="options"

The options class only works on an unordered list. The default CSS also styles this differently. The list items will be presented as options within a table of choices. On devices with a mouse or pointer, the rows will change color when they are hovered over. The player can click anywhere on the row and the first link that it contains will be executed.

This class is intended for smarter presentation of standard option blocks, if you don't want your choices to be embedded into the hypertext.

Note that if you use this style, the unordered list will automatically disappear after being clicked, regardless of whether it is marked as "transient".

Headings

In the default CSS for Undum, the only heading level expected in the text is <h1>. You can use other headings, but you'll have to create your own CSS styles. One level of heading is almost always enough (if not too much) for narrative works.

Undum captures the links you put into your display content, and uses them to control the flow of the game. There are three formats of link that Undum understands, plus raw links, which it ignores.

Situation links are of the form situation-id. They must have no additional punctuation. As we'll see below, situation identifiers consist of lower case Latin letters, hyphens and the digits 0-9 only.

Clicking a situation link changes the current situation.

Action links are of the form ./action-id. As for situations, action identifiers consist of lower case Latin letters, the digits 0-9 and hyphens only.

Clicking an action link carries out the specified action in the current situation.

Combined links are of the form situation-id/action-id. They combine both the previous steps: they change to the given situation, and then they carry out the given action once there. They are rarely used.

It is possible to use the combined form to refer to an action in the current situation. Undum is smart enough to understand that it doesn't need to change situation in that case, so it is entirely equivalent to the action link. It is rarely used (because it is so much more verbose), but can be useful. For example, we might want a sticky link to always take the character into their study and drink a potion, having this sticky link point to bedroom/drink-potion, achieves this. If they are already in the bedroom, then Undum notices this and doesn't try to make them enter it again.

As described above, you can add any other links to external content in your display content, as long as you mark it with the raw CSS class. It is also highly recommended that you mark all such links as opening in a new window or tab (add the target="_blank" attribute to the <a> tag). If you link the player to another page, and it replaces the Undum page, then for most browsers, all progress will be lost. Chrome appears to keep the progress, so that if you hit the back button you will be where you left off. Other browsers reset the game to the last saved location, or back to the beginning if the game hasn't been saved.

This section describes a feature that is planned, or in development. It may not be functional in the current version of the code.

Undum links are allowed to add query data, e.g. ./action-id?foo=1&bar=2. This extra data is URL-encoded content which will be parsed and passed back to your code. For situation links the data will be passed into the old situation's exit handler, and the new situation's enter handler. For action links, the data will be passed into the situation's act handler. For combined links the data will be passed into both sets of handlers.

Raw links, as usual, do not have any processing performed. If they contain query data, it will be passed on to their target as it would for any link in any HTML document.