Best Way to Learn Inform7?

So… I’ve been using Twine for a while to create stories. My background is in writing – not coding – and it took me a few tries to master concepts such as variables and functions. But so far so good.

I’m realizing that I want to create games that are closer to Zork than a Choose Your Own Adventure, and I sense that Inform7 would be the way to go. If people want to suggest a different language first as a stepping stone between Twine and Inform7, by all means, I’m not married to the idea of Inform7.

But if I am going to proceed with Inform7, it seems like there are a lot of options out there and I guess I was looking for input on the best place to start. Keep in mind that my background is in writing (I have an MFA), not programming. So I’m looking for tutorials that are very simple, very straightforward, and will build on information.

I found Jim Aikin’s PDF ( – is that good? Aaron Reed’s book looks good – would it be easiest enough for me to use as a starting point? Any other good tutorials online on books I should use to get started? What I lack in computer knowledge, I make up for with enthusiasm?

Thanks for the help!

Don’t rule out Inform6. Have you looked at it?

I dunno if Inform 6 would be a good place to start for someone who says they’re more of a writer than a programmer. It’s definitely more of a typical computer programming language.

Anyway, a good place to start with Inform 7 would be this Quick-Start Guide by our very own Carolyne VanEseltine (or cvaneseltine for short). I’m not really familiar with the two tutorials you mentioned, but keep in mind Inform 7 had a big update relatively recently that cleared out a lot of old, deprecated syntax that older guides might have used. I think Aaron Reed might have been aware of this and planned around it, but I can’t say for sure; the other one I can’t really speak for. Let the beginner beware!

Anyway, if you run into any trouble, posting about it on the Inform 6/7 development boards should give you a relatively prompt response. Hope this helps!

I had no programming experience when I started using Inform 7, and just reading the built-in documentation worked really well for me.

But more than which introductory text you use, I think it’s important to get your hands dirty and write a game: Something tiny, so you can finish it without burning out first, and preferably something stupid, so you don’t get bogged down in trying to do a good job. The first thing I wrote in Inform was a game where you looked for some folders and then threw them in the trash.

One of the things I really liked about Inform 7’s built-in documentation when I was learning it was that each of the examples is a tiny but complete game. One of the things I did a lot while I was learning I7 was to take an example and tweak it, or expand it into a very small but winnable game.

I was going to offer my quickstart guide, but I see Healy beat me to it. (Thank you!)

I like Aaron Reed’s approach a lot, and I think it would be a good starting place, but I have heard that a couple of his examples are out of date, so that’s a thing to be a bit wary of.

Personally, I learned from the built-in Inform 7 documentation. There are seven complete examples available at, mostly by Emily Short, which make really useful references once you’re started on your way.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t note that it is possible to do more “Zorklike” things with Twine than most people are doing. Handled correctly, Twine can support movement through a map, inventory manipulation, etc. ( has some good examples - Candlesmoke, Chemistry & Physics, Xenobabysitter, Quit Your Job Simulator 2014.)

But parser games have a magic all their own, and I hope you find Inform 7 to be accessible through one of the resources you’re considering.

All fantastic advice. Thank you so much! Ready to get my hands dirty with Inform7.