Prospective author

This may be a rather un-Informed question, but I need to draw upon your wisdom as experienced IF writers–

I played all of the old Infocom games when they came out in my teens, and played them through to my early 20s, and thoroughly enjoyed them, but I lost contact with IF until very recently(I am 46). I ‘re-discovered’ IF by accident when I found Graham Nelson’s Jigsaw, played it, enjoyed it, and then played his ‘Curses’–both of which re-awakened an old desire to write IF text-based games. So I have been looking at Mr Nelson’s Inform programs, however, I found that the latest version is not supported for Windows 7. I work with a Toshiba laptop computer with Windows 7 and 420GB free memory. I would like to get started writing a game, so computer-wise, what route(s) would you recommend?

Thank you all very much for any assistance you can provide.

I’m running Inform 7 6L38 on Windows 7 with no problems. What problem are you encountering?

CV–Thank you for your prompt response!

Oh no problem yet–I have not yet attempted to download it. I did want to know if it was ‘safe’ to do so, even though the website said that versions of Windows earlier than 8 were not tested and are not supported for that program. Apparently you are not having any problems with it, would you recommend it for me? Is 420GB free memory enough?


I think you’ve misread that line. It states: "Installer for all versions of Windows from Windows XP Service Pack 3 with Internet Explorer 8 onwards. (It may run on earlier versions of Windows, but these have not been tested and are unsupported.)

So anyhting newer than XP will suffice.

I’ve had no major problems running version 6L38 on Windows 7, either. (I haven’t downloaded the latest version (6M62) yet.)

I don’t know the answer to your question about memory, but if you’re eager to get started, you can start putting together a game at, and then copy the code into your IDE whenever you get it installed.

Thank you both very much, I guess I may have misread that page. I can’t wait to get it downloaded and get something started, thank you for the referral and the tips!

This thread led me to discover that my I7 installation is a version out of date. How on earth did I miss that?

Thanks to you all–I have downloaded Inform7 and am ready to go, as soon as I have a good block of time, because I know that once I dive into it, I won’t be able to tear myself away! (Darn this little thing called ‘having to go to work’!) I am looking forward to learning something new.

CV–I am glad that you also benefitted from this thread.


By the way, there’s a group of authors at of all levels of experience that enjoy discussing how to make games with each other, and you’re welcome to check it out if you ever want to talk about your projects or show off your progress

Welcome! I hope you enjoy Inform and find yourself as addicted to it as I am. :slight_smile:

I think you’ll like Inform. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use. The engine is brilliant.

Okay, I have just completed (playing) 4 great IF games and have succeeded in finally tearing myself away long enough to come up with a good plot–I think. I have started typing up room descriptions. I think the best approach for me, at this point, is to go ahead and create a map(on paper) and type up room descriptions, and get a kind of skeleton going(?). I think it’s good that the program doesn’t stop me when I make an error, until I test-play(run the program), but one problem becomes immediately obvious. I am basically beginning the game using the rooms of my own house, as it has a number of structures that I want to exploit somehow in my game. I have an upstairs bedroom that has a banister, to the north, looking down onto the lower floor. The long landing going to the staircase is to the northeast, where the banister turns a corner heading north. I want to exploit the fact that about 3 feet from the banister, to the north, is the suspending rod to the overhead fan in the lower room. The problem here is that the long landing to the staircase is to the northeast of the bedroom, while from the landing, you actually go SOUTH to enter the bedroom. I COULD simply write, in the program, that you get on the landing, from the bedroom, by going NORTH, but 1)this would not be true, and 2)I want to use the suspending rod somehow, which would involve going north from the bedroom. Originally, I wrote, in the program, that the landing was northeast of the bedroom, but the bedroom is south of the landing(which is the setup I want), but test-play allowed me onto the landing by going either north or northeast, and back into the bedroom by going either south or southwest–which I don’t want, because I want to use the banister to the north. I have noticed in the past, in games I have played, there were a number of instances where you could move between the same places using two similar(but not same) directions–for example, the description might say ‘the library is through the door to the northeast’, and in the library it might say ‘you can get to the salon through to door to the west’, but you find that you can also go southwest to return to the salon, and conversely go east to enter the library(though these weren’t in the description). I guess either the author did not have an easy way to correct this(and give an accurate description that he wanted) or a correction was not essential to the game…??
I haven’t yet taken the time to read the manual completely, to be honest–I figure I can read it as I go(?). Is this a good approach?

Speaking as a newish author myself - read the manual all the way through.

Especially if you’re at the point (where you seem to be) where you have an idea of what’s possible, but not how to do it just yet, the concrete examples of what you need (and what is possible that you haven’t considered) will be immeasurably helpful.

Map connections are bidirectional by default. So, if you say that the landing is northeast of the bedroom, Inform will also create a connection leading southwest from the landing back to the bedroom. You can override this by explicitly stating that there’s no room, or a different room, southwest of the landing.

Bedroom is a room.
Landing is northeast of Bedroom. Southwest of Landing is nowhere.
South of Landing is Bedroom. North of Bedroom is nowhere.

Test me with "n / ne / sw / s".

See §3.3. (One-way connections) in the Writing with Inform manual on the documentation panel for more on this.

If you have additional Inform programming questions, the Inform 6 and 7 Development forum is the place to post them.

Vlaviano and Teaspoon, thank you both–I had not yet gotten that far in the manual, thanks for the tips! I think I’m going to continue going through the manual and develop only the house area of the game, using the house area as a practice/test area, implementing what I learn as I learn it, and expand only once I’ve learned it all thoroughly.

Magnificent advice. That doesn’t mean “don’t experiment until you read it” either. Read it in the IDE and play with the examples and experiment with them as you read. Randomly sampling the Recipe Book as you read is entertaining as well.

Definitely learn how to manually make maps. If you start doing some serious worldbuilding, you might consider trying Trizbort which is like a CAD application for Inform maps. It actually will generate a map as you play, can try to build a map from a transcript you feed it, or you can build your map out graphically with drawing tools and it will automatically write code to paste into Inform to set it up. You can then edit what you paste or organize it however you’d like.

Seconded. My absolute favourite thing about the Inform 7 manual is that each of the examples is self-contained, so you can experiment as much as you want and not worry about breaking anything!

I’ve also found it useful to keep a testing file completely separate from the actual game you’re coding. There are times when you’re going to want to try out a new principle quickly, and it can be a lot simpler to just run an example from the Recipe Book in its own file before you put it into your game proper.

Excellent suggestions all–thank you all very much!