Is there any good in-depth do's and dont's guide for IF?

I’m still pretty new to making IF, and I’ve looked around for something like this and can’t find anything of that nature. Could anyone point me to something they find useful?

Many thanks :slight_smile:

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Here’s a classic for parser-based adventure-type games in particular:

Thank you!

You may also find some of the things linked here useful.

Thanks for that too!

I’m surprised the IF Theory Reader hasn’t been mentioned. It’s not tutorials but it pretty thoroughly explores things that work and things that don’t. Be warned that there’s a LOT of information in it. You don’t need to read it cover to cover though, I tend to just pick out a chapter of interest. … 51190.html

it’s a collection of old IF articles, one of the main being the famous Crimes Against Mimesis

after reading it, you may want to play this interesting parody by Adam Thornton: … mimesis.z5

which also parodies Jigsaw and other IF

A few years ago when I realised I didn’t know too much about how to write IF, I went through a whole lot of game reviews and picked out useful comments. The result was this collection: …

As a relative newcomer trying to learn how to make Inform do what I want as well as writing a story and game to boot, I’ve just read a few pages and think it is wonderful and very useful. I wonder if anyone would consider doing IF Gems 2: The Next Ten Years?

IF Gems is my favorite collection and has been super useful. If someone took up updating it I would be very happy.

a hardy seconding of that


I probably don’t have time right now, but feel free anyone who wants to update it (and give it a new home – my old web host kind of died). It’s a rewarding experience going through other people’s reviews and thinking about how to categorise everything.

Anyone have a list of current review links? A lot of the reviews I originally used appeared in SPAG, but that online magazine doesn’t seem to be active at the moment.

Another answer to the original post: contains links to old news group threads to do with IF theory and various other things, though it may take some digging to find the relevant posts inside each thread.

Thanks to everyone here, loads for me to read up on now :slight_smile:

I know in my heart that I absolutely should do this. David, your reasoning for doing it ("…when I realised I didn’t know too much about how to write IF…") is exactly my concern at the moment, both in terms of the syntax of the language and storytelling/puzzle creation also.

Let me have a think on this. I’ve wanted to become more active with IF as a whole, and while I am essentially a nobody here compared so some, I’d at least hope it was useful to some (least of all, myself).

For now, I’ve hosted IF Gems on my website: which at least means it’s less likely to get lost. I hope that’s okay.

For learning syntax, the best way is probably just to write some games (even if they don’t ultimately get released publicly). The first two or three things I tried didn’t end up leaving my hard drive, but they were still very helpful experiences.

Thanks for that. Feel free to edit the link near the beginning that says, “Its home on the web is at …”

Yes, I have a few of those around the place. One could actually pass for a game…

I struck the line out, if only to preserve the history. As soon as I have anything to add, I will edit a little more.

The Gems are great. I am glad the specific games are also mentioned.

the IFGems stuff would make a nice article for SPAG or IFography…

Out of interest, how old are you? I don’t class articles written from the year 2000 onwards as being old - especially regarding IF - but then to someone in their early twenties it must feel like ancient history. It all seemed interesting and relevant anyway.

Eh, if I were reviewing a bibliography and noticed that all my sources were from 2000 at latest, I’d call them old too. Well, okay, maybe not literally call them “old”, but I’d make a note to re-evaluate my sources and probably add a disclaimer about it if I were discussing it with anyone else, which is sort of the same thing, right? (Though of course I defer to your judgment as an experienced member of the IF community if you mean that there haven’t been that many changes in IF over time.)