Getting Started with AGS - Part 5

Managing Inventory

Each character in the game can carry their own set of inventory items. Inventory items are totally separate from room objects, and you must explicitly set up every item which the player can carry at some point in the game.

Go to the "Inventory items" node in the Project Tree. We visited this briefly in part 4, but it's time to go into a bit more detail.

The inventory editor, another look

Every inventory item that the player can carry at some point during the game is listed in the Project Tree. All the items there also have a number beside them - this is the Inventory Item ID, which is largely for backwards compatibility with older versions of AGS.

To edit an inventory item, double-click it in the Project Tree, and a new window will open up with the item's properties in the Properties Grid. If you want the player character to start off carrying the selected item, set the "PlayerStartsWithItem" option to True. Remember, if you want to change which image is used for the item, select the "Image" property and click the "..." button. There is also a representation of the inventory item as a cursor, as in Sierra-style games. You will read more about that below in the section Inventory item hotspots.

Now, you may have noticed that once the player had picked up the key in our game, they could see it in their inventory window but not actually do anything to it - clicking "Look" or "Use" on the item did nothing.

In order to give the inventory item some interactivity, we once again need to call on the Events List. Click the "Events" (lightning) button to bring it up:

The events list... this time for inventory

Now, the important point to note here is that if you are using the built-in inventory window (which we are), the only events which can occur are "Look at inventory item" and "Use inventory on this item". This is because the default inventory window only has Look and Select options. The other modes are all available if you design your own inventory GUI (but that's quite complex so we'll leave it for later).

So, select the "Look at inventory item" event, and click the "..." button. You'll be taken to the script editor once more, but this time you'll notice that there's already some existing script as well as our new method:

Script for looking at the key

We are now editing the global script. This has all the script for handling events on game-wide things like inventory items and characters. Previously we were working with hotspots and objects, so they were confined to their own room script.

Anyway, for now I've just added a simple Display command to show the player a message when they look at the key. Feel free to do something similar.

Inventory item hotspots

By default, when the player selects an inventory item as their mouse cursor and clicks on the screen with it, the center of the item will be used to decide what to activate. However, with some items you may well not want this behavior - for example, we might want the end of our key to be the activation spot.

Back on the selected inventory item tab, To set the cursor hotspot, either click within the "Mouse cursor image" section, or by identifying the "Hotspot X" and "Hotspot Y" within the Properties Grid. (LucasArts-style games rarely used inventory items as cursors.)

Mouse Cursor on Inventory Item

Within the games' "General Settings", under "Inventory", there are choices related to using these inventory items as a cursor (usually in Sierra-style games):

  1. Inventory item cursor hotspot marker - AGS can automatically add a marker to inventory item cursors to help the player see where the active hotspot is on the cursor. A custom sprite can be chosen, a default crosshair, or none may be selected.
  2. Inventory item cursor hotspot marker sprite - If you choose a custom sprite in the choice above, you can define which Sprite # to use here.
  3. Use selected inventory graphic for cursor - When true, this will allow the mouse cursor to become the selected inventory item.


  • Inventory items are not objects. The two are totally separate, although often picking up an object will give the player an inventory item.
  • Each character has their own inventory. If you are making a game like Day of the Tentacle, where the player can switch between characters, then they will each have their own set of inventory items. Usually, you'll use inventory commands to operate on the current player character.
  • To give the player an inventory item, use the player.AddInventory command.
  • Test the game as before (F5) , and try it out. Does your character say a comment about the key when you look at the key within your inventory?

Next Chapter: Part 6 - Using Your Own Graphics