Teaching Inform again

That’s the trick—Inform is advertised as being easy to write, but the English syntax isn’t really any more forgiving than C or Python. The real benefit is that it’s easy to read. You can design your code to read in a very natural way, which makes it faster to skim and also makes it somewhat self-documenting (insofar as that term really has any meaning). And I really wish the advertising were more clear about this.


I did this once, about 15 years ago, with some home-schooled kids. The experience inspired me to write the original version of my Inform 7 Handbook. You can download the most recent version (which is somewhat out of date) from www.musicwords.net/if/I7Handbook.odt. You might find it useful.

It’s mostly current except for the material on Extensions, which is completely out of date.


I’m correct in inferring that giving the link to the .odt file and not one of the two .pdf files can be construed as an hint pointing toward condition 4 of the license ? This should be an interesting IF community project…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


This has been bothering me these past few days. Certainly board game design can be done by 7-8 years old. However, if the goal at the end is Parser IF (Inform/Tads), what is a good progression from board games to Inform?

There is Twine, of course, and you can start linearly in the beginning. The path begins to diverge, however, as you choose whether you want to incorporate graphic (Visual Novel) or Choice.

If graphic is chosen, then do you want to include Point and Click games before you tackle Parser? If Choice is chosen, would it be a good idea to try for 2 word parser games before tackling in complexity that is Inform?

Even knowing that the end product is sophisticated parser based system, there are different ways to get there, each equally valid.

So I’m curious. Do you go to Inform directly after board games design? Or are there intermediary steps in between, and if so, what are they?


Here’s an update on the subject. I think learning IF early is more important than ever.

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Thank you for this!


I’m leaning towards teaching them how to write role playing games. So with that they have to write a story and anticipate various ways the player may react. From there we can get to programming. That’s my theory anyway. I’m working with my five year old grandson at the moment on this as a trial run. We’ll see…


“Design First, Code Later” type of programming that I fully approve!

Edit: Between this thread and

I think I’m ready to put TACK down on paper. Thanks!

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I reckon I’m close enough to done to mention it. I have HTML-ified @Jim_Aikin 's Inform 7 Handbook. I have not been attempting to update it beyond removing links to things that aren’t there anymore (and incidental restructuring of sentences to accommodate good link text for the links).


If you’d like to send the new file to me so I can do a quick check, let me know. My Inform is totally rusty, but I can at least skim through it and look for possible problems.