Easy to learn Parser IF languages for beginners that I used

ALAN (2 and 3)

This was my first low tier programming language, it actually help me understand ZIL if not ZILF better (thanks Thomas for making this!). It is a great language to learn a somewhat list-like way of coding. It’s not LISP, or ZIL let alone ZILF… But it does do what it can for the beginner to make the old skool IF like back in the good ole days!


Developers can create libraries on a fly.

Parser is preprogrammed into the compiler, so even defining original verbs and commands like SAVE, QUIT can be redefined as other terms, basically using a flag switch and using synonyms for the term in SYNTAX.

List-like Programming, very much a primer for programming into ZIL.

The compiled storyfile (ACode) is two files, and doesn’t matter who large the file is in the end (at least if I remember Thomas explaining that to me).

ALAN 2 has binaries compatible with LIN, WIN, AMIGA, DOS and many other legacy platforms.

ALAN 3 is compatible with WIN, LIN and MAC concurrent platforms.

ALAN 3 allows graphics and sound (Winglk and Garglk only).


Because the parser is built into the compiler, just like ADRIFT, don’t expect an ALAN 3 abuse unless you get your hands on the source code of the compiler it’s and the interpreter… Which I highly doubt since ALAN 3 is not even open source yet (at least I do not remember).

Because the compiled source code has no cap, unlike zcode and zmachine, ALAN could eat up memory if you are too ambitious… But I highly doubt it would happen.

ALAN does not have anyway to change the status line unless modifying from the interpreter source code and recompiling it.

ALAN at this moment has no javascript functionality nor any interpreter that supports javascript at this time either.

Inform 7

Bear with me… I know some of you are saying “Jerr, this is not as easy as it sounds…” Well yes, I do agree, I would put this on the top of ALAN had it not been for how you can use the rules in a different way. The only thing that is complicated it is the rules programming like any other programming language, there are “rules” in rules programming syntax… It uses an order of operation of how to define the rules. But other then that, it being a very high level program, it is very sophisticated even to it’s older brother Inform 6 and it’s baby sister, ZILF. But sophistication has it’s costs, usually making it too sophisticated even for me to use as to be simple.


Natural Inform using Rules Programming giving it truly a sophisticated high level experience in programming.

Can export storyfiles entirely with javascript interpreter.

A wealth of extensions and libraries already included out of the box.

Can compile to zcode or glulx with a tick of a mouse.


Sophistication of high level programming has new learning curves that can be a challenge.


I found ZILF about version 0.4, but actually downloaded it and studied it for seriousness of all tense and purposes since last month with version 0.7. Due that it is based off of ZIL, and is very much a carbon copy, I would definitely prefer this over the last two. But that is just more choice of three languages, so it’s comparing apples and oranges, and also due to anecdotal nostalgia… But it is by far advanced then even ALAN could ever be.


ZIL-clone, so great for nostalgic reasons.

compiles upwards to version 8 of the zcode storyfile.

List programming that is simple to learn.


Mono release (but works natively with Mono for all your unix-likes, so not really that much a big deal)

Poorly documented, but the accompanied sample files is enough to get you started with something.
And the ZIL primer is a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of the list programming.

Still at zero-point development, but from the intel I gathered, vaporwares long awaited version 0.8 is around the corner, and as early as next week.

Another to consider is the Perl scripted SAC compiler and Deassembler by Mike Taylor. The scripting language is simple to learn, and it is readable with Scottfree terp, due that it spits out Adventure International/Scott Adams format. The downside is that it does only Verb-Noun parser, which more advanced developers would sneer at but great for budding starters, if not old skool gamers like myself. Sure it won’t be taken seriously, but it is rather a fun novelty nonetheless… But isn’t all text adventures if not interactive fiction, novelty nostalgia?

I wouldn’t say that, no.

I am just doing apples and oranges Zarf. I mean, video games, even interactive fiction, if not text adventure, which you might agree, is tantamount to our Skyrim (you existed longer then me, you seen the initial Zork release no doubt) in 70’s and when I was having exposure to computers 1987 (I was seven then, so you can understand me pointing the Skyrim thing… But actually, Myst felt more like Zork, if you take out the thief, grues and darkness and items bit); and as it truly of great importance for a cultural niche as even a book from 1938 would point the importance play is just as paramount (Homo Ludens, Huitzinga) as a great entrance for economy for media art, it is just as well novelty. It is not as important as book to me. But then again it’s just pointing that out due to apples and oranges. I do love IF and text adventures, but I rather read a good book any day, but I don’t give myself enough time to read one enough anymore. Which is very unfortunate. But at least with IF, it’s a paring of literature and ad ludeum. So I can see your point as well Zarf.