Defining the story genre

This is less an implementation/mechanical question and more about IF standards, should any exist.

In Inform I know we can set the story genre, but is this of any importance other than to the author? The IFDB doesn’t seem to recognize it. Is this a piece of metadata that could be used for categorization but nevertheless goes unused, since it is left up to individual authors?

In other words, is it safe to be silly or misleading about it without annoying some archivist down the line?

Basically, it helps put the right games in the right categories, so when a player is looking for a certain kind of game it will be easier for them to find.

Hope this helps.

Geez, I should’ve just looked in the documentation. I’ve been reading the forum and the Inform Handbook and didn’t see much about it.

I’m still not sure how it is utilized, though. I believe I see where it is listed at IFDB but it does not seem to be searchable. For example, the current newest game is metrolith with the genre “ruins,” but searching for ruins does not pull up metrolith. Other new games have nonstandard genres listed (adaptation, paranormal, no search results).

If genres aren’t searchable, how will they help players find the games?

Well, IFDB uses tags to make games searchable, so my guess would be that the “story genre” would simplify the “tagging” process.

Searching for “ruins” on its own doesn’t bring up metrolith, but searching for “genre:ruins” does. I’d guess this is because a lot of genres are used for hundreds of games and you probably wouldn’t want all those results normally.

IFDB can’t automatically read the genre information from a game file, but other software can. Some interpreters (and the odd piece of IF cataloguing software) pull out the metadata and show it to the player or use it to build an iTunes-style game library. Plus, if someone is entering your game into IFDB, they can extract the metadata and copy-paste it to save time. So making sure the metadata is complete and accurate definitely does help with archiving and cataloguing.

That said, if you want to put something goofy in the genre field, I doubt it would really cause a problem.

I see. That makes sense. Just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t step on anyone’s toes! :slight_smile:

Ifwiki makes more use of the genre info by having those cute little icons (which match the genres listed in the Inform docs)


  • but those are manually appointed to games by whomever happens to wants to edit or create a game’s page.

I think some interpreters, like Zoom, may also pull the genre info metadata out and display it in a frontend. Oh yeah, Emerald already said that.

Overall, it doesn’t have heavy official use at this time.

  • Wade