New to Inform 7

I just downloaded Inform 7, and i don’t know much about it at all. I have TADS 3 as well, but it is even more complicated. Well, first off i am not a programmer and know nothing about computer code. I had might as well be staring at an alien language. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips or hints that might make this easier for me. I’m good at making rooms…who couldn’t figure that out through the manual, and traveling between rooms. I can make objects and put them in the room, but, honestly, everything else is complicated. I know i sound like a moron, but i just can’t comprehend the code, or something. Maybe someone can give me simple codes with an understandable explaination.

BlueBlood–the best examples are probably those in the in-program manual itself. Work through it slowly, make sure you understand all the examples, and I’m sure you can make an easy game in little time.

Alternatively, think up something relatively non-complicated that you would like to program, try it out, then ask us if you can’t figure out how to do it. For instance, try the following three tasks in succession:

  1. Make an apple that the player character can eat.
  2. The same, but now you get to see a custom message “That’s one tasty apple!”, when you eat it.
  3. The same, but now you have to get the apple from a closed chest first.
  4. The same, but now the player dies immediately after eating the apple.

You’ll have learned quite a number of basic Inform 7 ideas once you’ve completed these steps. :slight_smile:

I know the feeling. I’ve downloaded just about every IF authoring system I’ve heard about and have played with all of them a little. It’s fun to make rooms and objects, but once that pleasure wares off, it’s very frustrating not to know how to get the system to do what you have in your head.

As a thirteen-year-old kid, I studied the fourth edition of the Inform Designer’s Manual meticulously. I was discouraged, but I had fallen in love with IF, and my enthusiasm carried me through. However, I probably could never have learned Inform 6 well enough to write even the simplest game had it not been for the Inform Beginners’ Guide by Roger Firth and Sonja Kesserich, an awesome tutorial that expected no programming knowledge of its readers. I have never since encountered a tutorial that seemed as eye-opening and easy to follow as the IBG, but Eric Eve has written an excellent TADS 3 tutorial based on one of the example games in it.

I never became extremely proficient, but I think I got to the point where my biggest obstacles were design problems rather than implementation/coding problems, in general. For the Comp entry I hastily wrote in 2005, I tried to stick to the limits of my I6 ability, and I felt the need to show off the tricks that I did know how to do, such as daemons/timers. That was probably why I used all those pretty text colors! :unamused: Even so, I never understood the concept behind the attempt effect that caused the most glaring out of all the many bugs in Dreary Lands after I became aware of the glitch.

Actually, now I’m feeling something of the old frustration again, now that I have a concept and a story that I really want to give to the IF community. I thought it would be easier to pick up I7 or one of the other authoring systems by virtue of knowing a little I6. However, I’ve been finding that I have forgotten many things, while things that I do remember sometimes confuse me as I try to work them out in the newer systems. Despite all this, still my greatest obstacle is coming up with a coherent plan. I’m so close, and yet there are issues that I just can’t seem to work out, and areas of design that I have no idea what to do about. I wouldn’t give myself a very good chance of finishing my dream game; but I’m confident that I will succeed in completing something if I’m meant to do so. :slight_smile:

I say all this hoping to encourage you in some way. I’ve been there, and I’m sort of still there. If writing IF is something you desire very much to accomplish, then don’t give up! Keep working through the example games in manuals and tutorials, typing in the code yourself and recompiling after every change. You’ll be entering code that you have no idea how to use at first, but it will be cool to see that it does work. Eventually, principles both of IF design and of the system you’re using will begin to unfold in your mind. Don’t lose heart!

Hi BlueBlood, I was like you a few months ago but just when I needed help to go beyond making rooms and objects I came across the Inform 7 Handbook by Jim Aikin. I love IF and have always wanted to write my own games, well now I can, at least I’m learning how to and making good progress. Without the I7 Handbook I don’t think I would have got to where I am now, not without a lot of effort understanding all the ‘how do I’ questions that seemed hard to find answers to.

The thread is here if you need help starting out with I7 I don’t know of a better introduction, I’m sure Jim would appreciate some feedback and encouragement knowing he has helped another Inform 7 newbie!

Thanks for the props, Terry! The Handbook is available at

I’m working on an expanded edition, but I don’t plan to release it until after the next version of I7 appears. The current edition is 200 pages long, though, so there’s lots of information in it. It’s written specifically for newcomers to I7.


No problem, thanks Jim! The Handbook is just what a newcomer to Inform 7 needs, I know it was what I needed. I was hoping you might be expanding the content, I’m ready and keen to continue on up to more advanced use of I7. I have stayed with version 5Z71 that you used for the handbook, I will update after the next version of I7 has been released and the expanded Handbook is out.

I just downloaded the Inform Handbook, too. I expect that it’ll be helpful to me as well. Thanks for the link.

Every wannabe author of IF owes a big thank you to all those who have taken the time and effort to write these tutorials! I mentioned Firth and Kesserich, but over the years I’ve studied a number of guides and tutorials. As I don’t ever expect to be a master of adventurecraft, I’ll always appreciate the work and care that goes into a tutorial, at least as long as I have anything to do with IF.

One of the first Inform 6 tutorials I worked through was a charmingly fun and useful little manual, even though it cut off abruptly just before unlocking the all-important secret of routines. Those were the days!

Bainespal, If I’m not mistaken, you can still write games in I6 if you prefer. My Old Man prefers I6 because he sees it as more objective and code-like.

I know the feeling.

Write simple games (Like the examples above), try & fail, retry, etc.

Another idea: Go to the thread about Inform7 Writer, copy-paste the sources into a C++ compiler, compile it, run it, and you can type stuff and it generates the code for you.

1. Make an apple that the player character can eat. 2. The same, but now you get to see a custom message "That's one tasty apple!", when you eat it. 3. The same, but now you have to get the apple from a closed chest first. 4. The same, but now the player dies immediately after eating the apple.

These are very good ideas. When I started out I tried to make a 4-room game about making a margarita, and I found it to be way harder than anticipated, so it was a great initiation into the process.

I thought I’d just have each ingredient in a different room, and maybe some of them behind closed cabinets, but I didn’t anticipate the intricacies of pouring from one vessel to another, shaking salt, checking that all activities had been completed before winning, and so forth.