Has anyone read or used this book? How does it compare with the documentation tutorial included with Inform 7?
I have been through the Creating book at least two times. It is a very in depth college level text on creating a story with Inform 7. It is best to use the version of Inform 7 that was current during the books writing and updates. (Older versions of Inform 7 are available for download from the Inform 7 Website)
See publisher’s website for details, source code and updates
In conjunction with Inform 7s included documentation, this is an excellent way to learn the language. As a learning experience for one of my tours through the text, I modified the source code to work with the newest version.
I is well worth the cost for a hard copy if available and/or the Kindle version.
I quite like it. It takes you through Inform 7 in a fair amount of depth, and the approach it takes – teaching Inform while in the process of building a single game, which runs throughout the entire book – is really good.
I do think that it should be followed up by a thoughtful reading of the Writing with Inform manual to fill in some of the gaps that Creating leaves (inevitably; that single game can’t cover everything that Inform can do).
There are some ways the official Inform documentation is great, especially the quantity, variety, and depth of its examples. I don’t think providing an easy on-ramp for beginners to the language is one of the things it’s good at.
But I think Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 does a very solid job at both teaching Inform 7 and fundamental game design issues.
(If you haven’t already, check the list of Inform 7 documentation for pointers to resources labeled by what version they were for. And there are a couple of very good, recent free tutorials to tide you over while waiting for Creating Interactive Fiction to arrive if you end up ordering a physical book…)
Where I found the book particularly helpful was in giving me practical tips on polishing my game, including useful extensions for checking and filling in more game responses. To be fair I already had a nearly finished game by this point, but reading the relevant sections belatedly was a big help.
I just wish the Kindle version was more widely available. I can’t buy it in the UK, and did ask many years ago why not. Apparently the digital rights are limited to the US or similar. Which is very frustrating. I would have been very happy with a digital copy.
You can swap accounts on kindle if you need. I managed to read the japanese versions of the Ringu novels this way, so I know it works. It’s a little annoying to log out and log in each time to switch libraries, so whether it’s worth the effort all depends on how important the books you want to purchase are to you.
Kindle can be frustrating overseas. I lived in Germany several times and had the international version of the Kindle. My account is in the US. There were books I could not read due to digital rights. It could determine I was in Germany by my IP address and blocked the content. I never could figure out a way around it. That was 2012 - 2015. Maybe there are some creative ways I didn’t know.
So how different is the current version of Inform from the version the book is compatible with? If I’ve already started coding with the current version, is the book still relevant? Or should I start from scratch?
So ya’ll know, I’m not trying to create a game that’s too complicated. Something on the level of Zork and those early Infocom games.
It hasn’t been available for the Kindle for a long time. Barnes and Noble sells Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 for the nook, though.
I think it’s more that Amazon relaxed their policies. IIRC, it wasn’t until 2017-ish that they let you use a foreign credit card to buy from another region. For example I can now use my american credit cards to buy stuff off amazon.co.jp and even have it shipped to me, whereas before I would have had to use a third party service to both purchase and deliver the item. It still doesn’t work with all products, but it does most of them.
That’s unfortunate. One of the benefits of a kindle version is that Amazon lets the publisher deliver updates, so they could have kept the info in the book updated to reflect the current version of I7.
Isn’t @aaronius the author? Maybe we could get some info out of him? I’d also love to be able to buy it for my European Kindle which is hooked up to the US store.
I’d suggest you keep coding your own project with the current version. Most of what’s in the book is still applicable but there were enough changes between 6G60 and 6L02 in particular that you shouldn’t be surprised if any given code snippet from the book (written for 6E72) doesn’t work without tweaking it. So having 6E72 on hand to work through the book would be useful. (The book’s website has errata noting the changes that would bring it up to 6G60.)
There are significant difference between the version the book supports (2010: 6G60 with updates) and the latest 6M62 from 2015. However, adapting the code is a good learning experience. My hard copy has my markings and notes all over it.
You can still download 6G60 and use that version for learning.
Maybe Arron will chime in and provide info from his perspective.
PS. I went and checked my Kindle version. It is still on my Kindle. Several times in the past when Amazon stopped supporting a book they removed the copy from my Kindle.
I would be very interested to see your modifications - if you kept a note of them!
I bought a second hand copy of the book on Amazon for £40 but haven’t gone through it yet - I hope to when I know more about the version changes. Incidentally, it’s downloadable in PDF format from some shady websites. Though I felt better buying the physical book (the money won’t benefit Aaron but I suppose helps keep the economy going).
There’s been a lot of backlash any time a service deletes something you’ve paid for (for obvious reasons) even though it’s explicitly stated that it’s within their rights to do so in the service agreement. So what services have been doing now to maintain the middle ground is that they remove the item from sale, but those that have already purchased it can keep their copy and re-download it in the future.
It’s also pretty easy to back up your Kindle files and sideload them later if you’re really worried about losing it. It’s legal to do because they’re still DRM protected, so they won’t work with another person’s account. I believe there’s even a guide on how to do it on Amazon’s site.
Hi all, author of the book here (thanks Tobias for tagging me in). A couple clarifications:
The book has been out of print for a while, although inexplicably is still officially available a few places (like the Barnes and Noble store, for some reason). Most copies you see still for sale are secondhand, sometimes at ridiculously inflated prices: sadly this is entirely out of my hands. (I get a lot of angry emails about this and wish I could do something about it.) The publisher was never especially (or at all) communicative with me about why it would appear and disappear off various ebook platforms like a backpacker on a European holiday, so I have no idea what their strategy/policy is or ever was on that front.
I don’t make any profits on sales of the book, legit or otherwise, and basically never have (I got an advance for it back in 2010 and that was it). Do with that information whatever you like.
I recently got the rights back from the publisher after a tediously drawn-out process, but it will take some serious work to reissue (I own the rights to the text, but not the cover art or layout, for instance). Also I’d obviously like to update it for the years of language changes since. So I can’t promise when a new edition might appear. I’d like for it to happen sometime this year but definitely can’t promise that.
A couple of years ago I had paid for a Poe book. They pulled it off my kindle and gave me a refund. Anytime your kindle is linked to the internet, they can sync and pull a text. If you have it backed up, place it on your kindle, they will pull the kindle version on the kindle the next time it is linked.
Stinks! But the Kindle has a log of utility for me.
Thank you so much for the update. I am sure there would be a lot of demand for an updated version. Maybe you could self publish through one of the instant printers? Who cares about cover art. It is your content that is valuable.