I’m fairly new to IF, but come with more of a writing background. In getting started with Inform, the first things one does is to create rooms and map them out. Upon replay, I realized the compass directions have to be included in the room descriptions for the game to be playable. I do that. Then I decide to make a change to the positioning of the rooms - and I realize I have to go back and edit the descriptions each time I do that. This makes the game feel very unpolished. It should be smarter than that.
Eventually, I move on and learn more about extensions and realize there examples for exit listers I can use that automatically do exactly what I want. I mean, why would you not have this as the Inform default is beyond me. Perception and playability is so important when one is new to the construction of IF. I get it if one wants to keep the room descriptions and room mappings separately, but that shouldn’t be the default.
I learned the hard way, but I’m over it now. The Inform defaults should be made to provide as much functionality as possible for the novice writer if you want to attract them.
Looking through all the extension, it appears quite a few more of them would be quite beneficial to be defaulted into the Inform product.
Why can’t Inform do a version check upon startup and download all the extension from a common area? I seriously doubt any will care if a handful more of text file extension are stored on their computer. Then it should be up to the author to decide what to include in their game. But to make one go out to the website and hunt and peck for downloads?
I’ve also found playfic - which is a great site for development (especially if one is on a work laptop and can’t install the Inform client). But I try to compile my game code that has include statements for the exit list extention - well, of course that doesn’t work. But if you actually had Inform automatically downloading extensions - the playfic site should always have what it needs to compile all games with includes. It just makes sense.
All that being said, I am impressed with Inform and hope to publish a game someday.