Ancient Inform versions (pre 6)

Hi! Does anybody know or have ancient versions of Inform? Just asking for historical purposes… I have found some 5 series releases, but nothing before them… specially the original release.

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Good question. … form5.html is all that I know about. If anyone has anything earlier, please upload 'em.

Definitely no slight intended here but given how people often lament how much of Infocom’s stuff, like ZILCH, is apparently lost to history, never to be fully recovered, it would be somewhat ironic if those who followed in its stead fell prey to the exact same situation.

For many years nobody thought about it, and the IF Archive only tried to keep the latest version of any game or tool.

You can see that in 2006, there was an active effort to locate old versions of Inform (compiler and libraries) and upload them.

More recently we’ve started retaining old versions of games. So there’s a directory … eXold.html , for example.

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I put together what I could find of inform5 into something easily installable for Unix systems at

I have some indication that certain Archimedes magazine CD image stored on has an Archimedes archive whose timestamps predates Inform 5.0 release (that is, perhaps the surviving source/archimedes binary of inform 4…) but I never managed to proper unarchive this locked treasure chest, lacking an Linux/unix tool for decompressing & converting said archive, and without the patience needed for bringing up a working archimedes emulator.

if of real interest, I can point to those .iso ; really hope to see someday an ifarchive/compilers/inform/old/inform4 :slight_smile:

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

I’d be interested in the .iso …

Yes, URL please. :slight_smile:

brief history of the former research:

from Wedding.txt

The 1994 AU CD isn’t in, but there’s an april 95 CD:

whose indeed contain this file:


from the timestamp, if isn’t Inform 4, is an early Inform 5, surely predating all those in the IF-Archive, save MPW_Inform5.4.sit.bin

the file is in that archimedes ZIP compression format… good luck !

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

The archive doesn’t look to be compressed, as plenty of plain text is visible in it. From looking at the plain text, it’s Inform 5.2 release 1259, which we already have ( No source code obviously in the archive. Ah well, keep searching!

According to what I see here:, the April 1995 issue of “Acorn User” was the first to have a CD included.

what file(1) reports is:

/home/pigi/dload/INFORM: RISC OS archive (ArcFS format)

and I don’t figure how to unpack/unbundle/whatever…

EDIT: on the other point, that the 1995/04 AU CD being the first the lead came from history.txt in the sources of wedding by James Neil, whose, as quoted above, points to a 1994 CD, and specifically says also:

However, dunno if there’s something useful in the AU '96 release of Inform 5

EDIT 2: there’s a most important thing:

now I have treated this file with strings(1) and there’s a perhaps interesting thing:

+---------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Inform: A Compiler of Infocom-Format Games | | | | by Graham Nelson | | | | | | Fifth Edition | +---------------------------------------------------------------------+

that is, AFAICT, the fifth and final edition of the pre-DM1 manual, (and indeed, an eyeball scan reveals differences with DM1), so at least something is recovered, perhaps ?

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio. is a working unpacker for arcfs.

What we find is an Inform executable, not source code. Oops! And executables for Zip, and z-code files of Advent and Curses. (“Release 12 for Acorn User / Serial number 940604”)

There’s the Inform manual – that’s the header you see in the previous comment. Also a set of library files (Grammar, Parser, VerbLib) dated 3/7/94. We may have those already; I’ll check.

This library is not quite the same as … , but the differences are small. It’s missing some comments and a few small (one-line) bug fixes.

so, in the end, we have recovered only the release 5 of the pre-DM Inform manual ? better than nothing, I think

Hope you upload it in the Inform5/manuals/

Tnx for the link to the arcFS unpacker; perhaps deserve to be placed in if-archive/tools

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

The August, September, and October 1994 issues of the magazine came with cover disks (3.5-inch floppies), which also contained some early Inform software, though nothing that hasn’t already been mentioned or linked to in this thread, I don’t think.

The disk-images have been found, and I’ve extracted the Inform software and attached it here, just for completeness: (477 KB)


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It’s sad to think that some or all of this may have been lost forever… Things move so fast that sometimes we forgot to preserve things.

What do you suppose “Inform v1258” is supposed to represent?

Welcome to Adventure!

The Interactive Original
By Willie Crowther and Don Woods (1977)
David M. Baggett's 1993 reconstruction, ported by Graham Nelson
Acorn User Edition
Release 1 / Serial number 940604 / Interpreter 1 Version F
(Compiled by Inform v1258)

At End Of Road
You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you
is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.


Inform 1258 is a version of Inform 5.2, I think. For comparison, see

INFORM 2 !!!

da Manual:

contenuto dell’ archivio:

├── !Inform
│ ├── !Boot
│ ├── !Run
│ ├── !RunImage
│ ├── !Sprites
│ └── Templates
├── Inform
│ ├── info
│ ├── Inform
│ ├── Inform(SM)
│ ├── Manual
│ └── z
│ ├── Core
│ ├── Core_Help
│ ├── dejavu
│ └── hellow
└── settypes

The interesting things are in the z directory:

Core is what later became the Inform Library;
Dejavu is the no more lost source of dejavu.z3

Later I’ll rename the archive in a more proper manner (what should be the extension of an Archimedes archive ??) and I’ll duly upload in its proper archive (that is, the IF Archive)

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.