[I7] A few technical questions

Hey all,

Zane here, long time video-gamer, first time writer looking for some clarification and advice. I’m working on a fairly complex (at least to me) I7 game and am so close to a playable demo I can taste it. Getting closer to release has me with a few questions that I haven’t quite found the answers to in the manual/recipe book. So I’m hoping you all can help.

1-File types: Most of the games I currently play are not from Inform, and the ones that are are listed as blorbed glulx files. Is this the standard file type for Inform works, or is a .z8 more universal? I’m not intending to have media included apart from a cover image, but I was hoping to host (playable) on a personal website, if that helps.

2-Story vs Extensions: The “Core Mechanics,” so to speak, of my project has gotten quite lengthy to include a shop system, combat system, quest handling, changes to the player character, branching dialogue (thank you Tilford!), etc. I’m considering moving these mechanics to a separate extension to include in the story file. My question is: would this matter for performance at all (i.e. are stories loaded faster than extensions or vice-versa)?

3-Extension Testing: Are extensions up for beta testing through the forum? As a corollary to the above, my project is very adult and very niche, so the audience will be limited. I was hoping that having these core mechanics tested as a standalone extension could increase the potential for bugs/issue to be caught. I haven’t seen an extension listed in the beta testing forum, so I was wondering if that’s okay?

Thank you all in advance for your help. Hopefully I’ll have an alpha at the end of the month at this rate.

Blorb is a packaging format designed to include a story file and bibliographic data.
A .z8 is a raw game file in z-code format (z8 is one of several variants). Unless you’re using an older version of Inform 7 like version 6G60, it’s unlikely that a large game can be compiled to z-code. Glulx is an alternative more advanced format which is suitable for large games. There is a setting in the Inform 7 app to choose Z-code or Glulx format. Both formats are suitable to host online. There is an I7 phrase like “Release along with an interpreter.” Which will generate a web site when you compile the game.

TLDR: it makes no difference to your game if you use extensions.
Extensions are automatically integrated into the main story before compilation. Organising things in an extension nearly always costs the same as putting them in the main story. You can assume that a game file compiled from a story will be just as fast if the story uses extensions.

You can request testing for an extension. You can make a new thread for your extension in the Announcements and Beta Testing forum. Include a note that it’s an adult game so testers know what they’re getting into. To make it easy for testers to get started provide an example story which uses the extension.

Good luck!