Can Inform 7 be self hosted & made as app games??

I’m so glad I found this community!

…been researching IF writing and Inform 7 looks brilliant!

My question here, which I cannot seem to find clarity on, is:

[size=150] HOW can Inform 7 be self-hosted and published to desktop & mobile platforms?
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The intent here is to create games and both give away /sell them to my current fan base through my website and also through Google / Apple.

I did see the thread that describes self-hosting / mobile creation is possible, but not being a programmer myself, I didn’t understand how this could be done, even after following the links.

Is there a service / program that allows a writer to convert an Inform 7 game to a self-contained app for Android / iOS / Desktop??

Apologies to you all. This community is far more intelligent in the technical department than I am and I’m not even sure I’m asking the right questions.

I’d just like to find these answers before investing the time and effort into learning a new program.

Could anyone answer this for me…or perhaps point me in the right direction?

Thanks so much!

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Short answer: yes, though making an iOS/Android app is significantly more difficult. (Look at Hadean Lands as a successful example.)

Probably the easiest approach would be to use one of the web interpreters (Parchment or Quixe), and put it online. Effectively turning the game into a playable web page. Inform 7 can do this automatically for you:

Release along with an interpreter.

Then you just have to put the page online with whatever method you prefer.

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Thanks for the quick reply, Draconis.

So if I’m understanding you correctly–I could take the game and host it on my own website, for example?

I have a Wordpress site, but there should be a way for me to host the files on the site (again, new to this here, so I’m guessing)…

You can host it. Most Inform games are distributed inside of a zip file, including the gblorb file that plays in IF interpreters, and often a “playable website” version that runs in any browser. The files are index.html and play.html when you “release along with a website and an interpreter”.

Okay, again–hoping I’m understanding here…

I can create a game, put it into a .zip file, allowing the person to download it and play it in their own browser?

Is there anything for me to actually ‘host’ on my website, or does the game use the downloaded files and play from their actual computer?

I started playing “Fair”…

Is it me, or is the theme emotionally disturbing? lol.

Those are some creepy kids.

Can I host a game, like you have that on ifcomp.org–so people can play in their browser??

Indeed. You can either host the files yourself and it’ll become a page on your own website (Wordpress should allow for that), or upload it to the IF Archive and people can play it through the IPlayIF website. Or both.

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Awesome! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks, Draconis.

I’m going to go look at Hadean Lands as you suggested…but that’ll be my next step–to learn how to make it into an iOS and Android app/game.

Hi Jaime, welcome!

Short answer: not currently. But it could be done. I understand your desire to monetize it and make it an ‘app’, and people have done this with several Inform 7 stories I have found.

My observations are: There is currently a divide between Apple mobile and Google Android when it comes to Inform 7. The biggest gap is the lack of a Glulx interpreter for Android that is on Google Play and ‘ready to use’, even for free stories (games) that are out there to download. The web browser Quixe engine might be the best solution for Android as of right now in my extensive testing of the 4 options I’ve found. Inform 7 can target .z8 files, but there are size limits on the content of your game. That’s why Glulx is more ‘modern’. However, if you want to stick to Z-machine, there is a proven path:

The most-wide example I’ve found so far is : github.com/SimonChris/AndroidIF - with a very nice HOWTO steps of publishing your own Inform 7 game using his Android code!

Related posting from Simon on this very forum: https://intfiction.org/t/patanoir-now-available-on-steam/10080/1 where he did the Steam release.

I would say it depends on how large you expect your game to get and how fast you intend to develop it. If you are thinking many months of authoring then I think the technical issues are less of a concern because hopefully the Android Glulx options keep improving. Someone could clean up Incant for Android to make it ‘app publisher friendly’ - or we might get the Git Glulx interpreter working on Son of Hunkypunk well enough in the next couple months.

P.S. If you intend to use a lot of graphic images, sounds, touch integration, etc - things will become very complicated fast! Cross-platform ‘native Inform 7’ is very limited in a lot of these technologies. Libraries exist, but mostly things are geared toward free (as in non-profit) and things are not going to be nearly as flexible as what most creative people would find with a “game engine” that you see hundreds of new apps a day go with. Inform 7 in general is low-tech and text-oriented. Even multiple font changes in a story can run into limitations (custom programming) pretty quickly.

Wow, thank you SO much for that information, allensocket!

This helps me a great deal in my quest to entertain.

I wasn’t really thinking about a complicated game with the sounds and such, and as for graphics–simple pictures that I would make myself, but I was thinking more of “cover art”, not really in the game.

My desire is to keep the games as close to the native way they are played out of the box—just make it available across platforms so it could be sold on my website. I thought about doing the Choice of Games route, but with all the struggles and building my creations from scratch…giving 25% of the proceeds was too steep a price for me.

That and Inform 7 seemed to be capable of so much more.

In the end, my son is still convinced we’ll have to have an engine created for our company–but I’m still a tiny Indie Author. That’ll take too much coin at present for it to be a reality.

You’ve opened up many possibilities for me, allensocket, and I’m grateful. :smiley:

If anyone has any other information, go ahead and post it. I’m sure I’ll have more questions as I go along… :wink:

Reading your reply, I see my link was wrong. here is Simon’s post from just a few months ago where he did his Steam release: https://intfiction.org/t/turn-your-inform-7-game-into-an-android-app/9211/1 - and he didn’t just do this for one Inform story, but several of them: “The King of Shreds and Patches”, “Death off the Cuff” and “PataNoir”.

Just remember the old Indie wisdom: once you decide to roll your own game engine, you’re no longer in the business of making games. You’re in the business of making a game engine.

(Some related discussion and calculations in this recent blog post: emshort.wordpress.com/2016/09/0 … r-mailbag/)

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Which method do you recommend the most?

itch.io is one of the easiest. You just make an account, then upload a zip file with the index.html in the top layer and you can set the file to be browser-playable.