Some postings about digital mapping that exports to various languages piques my curiosity. I believe that the process is generic enough to encompass planning your IF.
For me, this process is for story based IF, instead of puzzle. Also parser based, instead of CYOA. For puzzles, game design begins with mechanic instead of maps. For CYOA, it begins with first paragraph and add branches.
I actually don’t use digital/computer based mapping software. I just use papers. Specifically, I decide on plot and theme. Then write down locations, characters, and objects. Next I transfer rooms to index cards, noting name, descriptions, static objects, and paths. Portable objects are written on mini post-it notes, or something that is attached to poker chips for ease of transfer. Characters can be represented with pawns.
Then some repeated plays, roleplays with GM, condensing the map, making it smaller and more concentrated. By the end of it, I’d have list of rooms, objects, and their attributes. Characters, their locations,
and motivation. Also some suggested verbs beyond the standard LOOK, GO, TAKE, DROP, USE. At this point, drawing custom map (cartography) is optional. I don’t feel the need for digital mapping software because it’s easier for me to shuffle cards. Besides, once the map is decided, it’s not like I’m going to change it significantly.
It’s the need for role-playing sessions that compels me to do it on paper, instead of digital mapping. Can’t have computer games without coding, after all. Can play board games with minimal rules.
Then just copy the list of rooms and objects to your preferred IF language. Notice that coding does not happen until the flow of the game is determined.
This method does help more with story based IF, instead of puzzle based IF. Any “puzzles” is part of the story. I do not have a set method to develop puzzle based IF, or anything requiring novel game mechanic.
If you have any advice for planning hard puzzle IF, please feel free to share.