I’ve started work on a quick-start guide to Inform 7, using examples from Colossal Cave Adventure. I’ll be publishing 1 lesson a week for at least 9 weeks. The first lesson is out now, covering how to set up Inform and how to build and connect rooms.
This is not a comprehensive guide, and it won’t teach people the “best” way to do things. It is tailored instead for environments like game jams, where people will benefit from a streamlined tool that helps them get from zero to game as fast as possible.
My plan is to have people ready to build a basic game by week 4. At that point, they’ll have access to rooms, basic objects (supporters, containers, scenery), and simple lock-and-key puzzles (for both doors and containers).
It won’t necessarily be a good game, mind. But it will be one that works.
This one covers doors, keys, and a couple rudimentary examples of text with variations. I tried to include enough from text-with-variations to intrigue quick-starters into reading Chapter 5, because there is SO MUCH MORE there than I am ever gonna cover in a quick-start series.
It’s kind of funny to me that I cover part of the Advanced Actions section before covering any of the Basic Actions section, but… it seemed to make sense as I was planning it out. Next week, I loop back to the Basic Actions chapter.
Thanks, I can tell this will be really helpful! I was frustrated early on because the Inform manual goes into a lot of detail on certain things but doesn’t ever really give you simple instructions on how to do the basics, so this sort of thing is really handy!
The depth and power of Inform 7 is incredible, and there’s a whole lot that won’t be covered. But I’m hoping that the quick-start approach will be beneficial to people who just want to hit the ground running, and comments like this are really encouraging!
Maybe a section on extensions: where to find them, how to install them and include them in the source, etc. New authors may find it useful to first search for something they want to implement in the extensions list, rather than attempt to tackle the coding on their own.
After taking a treasure (called the current treasure):
if the treasure is unscored:
increase the score by 5;
now the current treasure is scored;
if the score is 15:
end the story saying “Hooray, you win!”;
continue the action.
Covering the dwarves will cover every turn rules, so I’ve got that one already in queue. I can probably sneak creating new activities in there too.
I hadn’t thought of delayed events, and that’s a good one. (I use these constantly!) Closing the cave is the only example in Adventure, I think, but it shouldn’t be too hard to explain and I can squeeze it in somewhere.
As for extensions - I don’t have an example from Adventure for that one, but I could cover it in kind of a wrap-up at the end of the series.