Inform7 vs QDK

Hi everyone,

I am new to interactive fiction (aside from playing Infidel as a 12 year old on my commodore 64, as well as titles in the Kings Quest series). I must admit that I have been inspired by the documentary “Get Lamp” and want to learn the art of authoring IF.

I began by using QDK, but quickly realized that Inform 7 is more popular. QDK seems pretty intuitive and organized with a point and click window interface, whereas Inform seems to involve a lot of coding, albeit in plain English.

So what do you think? Should I stop using QDK before I get attached? Anyone have experience with both? Thanks for any advice/opinions you can give.


What’s QDK? I’ve never heard of it.

Quest games are not held in very high esteem. It’s difficult to say this without sounding harsh, but I have yet to find one that is even playable, let alone good.

ADRIFT offers a similar point-and-click style interface and has an active and friendly community. A few of its games have made a splash in the larger scene but in general the ADRIFT folks keep to themselves.

Both systems suffer from the fact that the full-featured client is Windows-only. That means that Mac and Linux players get a second-rate experience, and many people will shun the games for that reason alone. It also means that the prospects for a decent mobile or web-based client are rather grim.

Inform is a better choice if your goal is to get your game in front of the largest number of people.

Thanks for the advice and honest opinions. Looks like I will be joining the Inform Academy. It makes sense that the more popular/versatile the authoring software, the more support I will get along the way.

“What’s QDK? I’ve never heard of it”
-That says it all right there


Oh, Quest, wow, haven’t heard of that in awhile. I’d recommend both Adrift and Hugo over Quest.

One caveat with Inform 7: it’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees, precisely because it is so fully-featured (read: complex). It requires actual coding regardless the facade, while Adrift does not. (I’m unfamiliar with Hugo, but am warm to most games written in it.)

I’ll declare an interest here in that I’m the creator of Quest…

QDK is the name of the Quest Editor. It takes a “point and click” approach, which will suit some people but maybe not others. It is designed to be intuitive, so that features aren’t hidden away - the Script Editor for example shows a categorised list of script commands, so you just have to know roughly what you want and then you can find the exact command you’re looking for in the list.

This is in contrast to something like Inform where you would have to know the right way to express yourself in Inform’s syntax (although I expect the integrated help takes out a lot of the guesswork).

Quest used to be commercial software, which may explain some of its relative unpopularity, but as of January it is now free. There is also a complete rewrite in development which is open source - see

Regarding the accessibility of games, you’ve been able to play Quest games on multiple platforms since 2007 via the “Play Online” feature at This is now the most popular way of playing Quest games - the most popular games are played online about 8 times more than they’re downloaded for offline playing.

Because of this I’ve been putting a lot of effort recently into WebPlayer, which is the new “Play Online” feature for Quest 5.0. This is currently in beta, and if you log in to the site you’ll see a link to try it under the regular “Play” link for each game. Unlike the current version, this has been rewritten to get rid of the Flash requirement and is now pure AJAX, which means you can play Quest games not just on PC, Mac and Linux but mobile devices too.

The WebPlayer interface hasn’t been refined for other devices yet, but it works on iPhone and iPad. Android seems to be a bit variable, but the latest devices seem to handle WebPlayer well - I was able to play on an HTC Desire HD which I tried the other day.

So while Quest may not currently have a great reputation in the IF community, I’m working hard on it!

Thanks for your contribution to this post and to IF in general, Alex. I must say that the QDK tutorial pdf: “How to write games for Quest”, was very useful.

Thanks Alex, that’s good news to hear!

Oh very nice, Alex. Web players are definitely the wave of the future.

Hugo is a lot like Inform 6, but has more multimedia features. I’m not sure how actively Kent is maintaining it.

For anyone who is new to IF authoring, wants to write games that are playable in a web browser, and doesn’t mind writing (mumble-mumble) code, Inform 7 is really the best choice, in my opinion. Great IDE, great support, lots of features … plus a few odd bugs and an oddball approach to syntax that only occasionally drives the author completely nuts.


I’m definitely experiencing the learning curve with syntax on Inform 7. Once I go through the motions a few more times and learn the language better, I think it will work nicely, but right now I am struggling with things that were super-intuitive using graphical interfaces on other programs (QDK). The only thing keeping me using Inform right now is the VERY helpful documentation tab.

East from the house is a room called east of the house
North from east of the house is the backyard (no longer recognizing east of the house as a room and giving me an error)

Didn’t have this problem with the graphical room mapping tool in QDK

There’s a discussion of precisely this problem on page 3.2. As with many pages of Writing with Inform, however, it’s less than comprehensive. Here’s how to do it:

[code]The house is a room.

East of the house is a room called east of the house.

The backyard is north of the room called east of the house.[/code]
By putting the backyard at the beginning of the sentence, I helped Inform figure out what was meant.

You might also want to download my Handbook (from Although it hasn’t been updated to cover the latest version of Inform, it lays out all of the basics, using a task-oriented organization that I felt might be easier to follow than the built-in docs.


Thanks, Jim. I did try using 3.2 in the docs to get around this problem, but you are right in that it is less than comprehensive. I will definitely check out your handbook. Your example here is very clear and helpful.


Alternately, if you add periods at the end of the sentences and capitalize the room name, Inform figures out your intent as well. That’s why I’m in the habit of capitalizing room names; since so many room names include a direction, if there’s any ambiguity Inform always interprets capitalized directions (after the first word in a sentence) as part of a room name.

East from the house is a room called east of the house. North from East of the House is the backyard.

Sorry for interruping the discussion, but I personally like Quest since it is point-and-click.

Well, I think that is all I’ve gotta say…