Let's Make IF: Marbles, D, and the Sinister Spotlight

I recently failed to finish an Ectocomp Petite Mort game on time. Soon thereafter, I failed to complete a Grand Guignol game on time. Finalizing release 4 of Repeat the Ending got more complicated then I expected due to a dramatic reworking of my story mode extension. Busy, busy, busy!

My new plan is to enter this ill-fated WIP in Spring Thing. Since I received a best in show ribbon this year, I’ll take the back garden route in 2024. That frees me up in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to sharing info, code, compiles, etc. I thought: what if I did a “Let’s Make IF” (instead of a “Let’s Play”)?

I’m rebooting the project, and will blog about it as I go, sharing code and Borogove stuff along the way. While I may not be a great example of how to write IF, beginners might at least get an idea or two. The target audience consists of persons new to Inform, though I don’t think that’s the only audience.

“Marbles, D, and the Sinister Spotlight” is short story about a cat and her friend, a young boy. In their latest adventure in the Great Underground Empire, they discover a mysterious creature in an abandoned theater. Is it dangerous, or does it need their help? While part of the Repeat the Ending extended universe, this is a lighthearted story appropriate for readers of all ages.

There isn’t much to look at yet. It’s just a skeleton! but who knows what might happen next?

I’ve also made a “let’s make IF” category to keep this organized.

If there’s conversation about it here, I’ll post about updates. Otherwise, you can keep an eye on things either at tumblr or mastodon.


I love this idea! Looking forward to following along.


I will try to go on contact day by day.


I’m grateful for all the interest! @mathbrush just to be sure, are there any limits to what I can share if I intend to enter this project as a back garden game?

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Current rules are:

The general idea behind the “new” guideline is that games should feel like a debut: they should have mostly new content. A translation of a game from another language or an extensively fleshed out version of a game prototyped in IntroComp or Ludum Dare would probably be cool; a minor improvement to an already existing game, not so much.

That’s for both divisions. So as long as the final result feels substantially different from what you’ve publicly released in the past, it should be good. That could include:
-public source code but not full compiled game
-full compiles sent to a subscriber-only newsletter (i.e. not publicly available)
-compiled ‘snippets’ of the game that aren’t the full game
-Design documents


Releasing periodic full versions of the game over time including a public beta would probably not qualify even for Back Garden (for instance, my NGUHD game is disqualified from Spring Thing).

If you think you have an edge case I’ll definitely consider it!


OK! Based on this, here’s what I’m thinking.

  • I’ll just skip compiles altogether. If I want to demo something executable, I’ll limit it to a borogove snippet or just do something separate.
  • I’ll maintain public source code until the game is feature complete, then go dark.
  • I’ll conduct playtesting privately (I’ll publish my posts about those phases of the project after Spring Thing is over).

I think that’s in line with the rules. Let me know if anything needs tweaking!


The adventure continues. I want the player to be able to see other rooms and their contents, and I really need that in place before I start building out the geography. Here goes!


Since I will likely update this blog every weekday, I am not going to post new links to announce content. I think it would be awkward.

Though obviously if some discussion arises, I’ll gladly be a part of that. If you know any beginners that would benefit from seeing an Inform 7 game developed from start to finish, please pass this information along. I’m happy to answer any questions that come up!

As a reminder, a link to the series/category is in the first post.


Just caught up and I think I’m following everything so far! Thank you for doing this, I can feel my Inform knowledge increasing already.


Question about today’s post! In the snippet, what’s the purpose of establishing the marshmallow fluff rule, rather than using “[if the player is hungry]” for the conditional statement?

There’s no practical purpose beyond making use of a “to decide” phrase, I’m afraid. I originally intended to have more conditions in the texts, but I decided things were getting too complex. Rather than cut it, I grafted it onto something else. Sorry for any confusion! :bowing_man:

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Ahh, I see! Thanks for clarifying. Just wanted to make sure it wasn’t serving some purpose that I was overlooking. :slight_smile:

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