Thinking about starting writing IF

i was thinking about trying this out can anyone give me some pointers on what to star with with program should I use should I start small and build up or jump wright in with my game idea (Rivers of Blood)?

thanks for you help

Of the IF languages, the one most recommended for beginners is Inform 7. I also hear Adrift and Quest are pretty easy to use as well. If you prefer to make a CYOA-type IF, there’s Twine as well.

As for whether you should start small, it’s a good idea to make a few small “test” games to learn the ropes of whatever language you decide to use. You don’t have to release them, and it’s generally a good idea not to. After that, it’s up to you, really.

I’m currently making a small test game in Twine called Fallen Throne. It seems like a pretty good solution if you’re trying to mimic a game book format or just want to tell your story in hypertext. If you want something with a parser (i.e., typing ‘get book’ and ‘go north’) you’ll want something else as suggested above.

Doogerie, I’m in the same position as you.

What I’ve found out is that it depends on your background, and what you want to do. I do have a programming background and want to do traditional IF, so right now I’m favouring Inform 6, though you can tell it’s a bit dated and had lots of ad hoc patches. For multimedia use (which is a PITA with I6), there’s also TADS 3, though this comes with a fairly heavyweight set of libraries.

If you’re not really the programming type, Inform 7 provides a more natural-language approach (IMHO it is only superficially easier to use, hiding the true complexities, but YMMV). ADRIFT is also worth looking into; what you do there is more configuring through a complex GUI rather than programming.

I’ve also found that starting with a small game (or a “test bed”) helps you tremenduously to learn about the workings of any system you may use. You get practice, you find out what you actually can do and what not, and it also helps you making a cleaner game design for the “big one” coming up. It would be a pity if halfway through a big game you learned that you could have coded things much easier and more elegantly…



hay guys thanks for all your help so far I decided that perhaps you would like to know a little about me . I am 28 and I live in Reading (in the uk pronounced Red-ing) i left uni in 09 strait in to the rescission. So for the last for years in Reading there have been no jobs in IT (my degree is out of date and now useless) So i decided to star up my own company So what got me interested in this well i read a article in PC gamer and taught I would give it a go as I have an obscene amount of free time.

So what else do i d well i read play computer games go out now and again and I also row so that’s ab it about me oh yeah I also have skills in HTML5 and CSS.

Hm. IF is really a niche market in a very small niche, plus there is a culture of games being free.

I’m not sure I would start here with the aim of making a living out of it, honestly.



of course not no this is just a hobby

I know I’ll sound like an ass for saying this, but writing text games is a lot about being able to write text well so that people want to read it. That means capitalizing, use of punctuation, ability to spell, etc. Just reading your posts says you might want to consider if this is the right medium for you to work in, at least if how you write here is indicative of how you write in general.

Again, I know this makes me sound like an ass but I’ve played a lot of text adventures that actually seemed pretty cool but were so painful to read (due to grammar and spelling) that I gave up on them.

As far as getting started, why not just jump right in with one of the available systems and start implementing ideas you have for “Rivers of Blood.” Nothing says it has to be perfect out of the starting gate. So one option is to start small but still start with the game you are interested in creating. That may help maintain your interest and allow you to apply what you learn to something that slowly evolves into what you ultimately want to produce.

Shit, when I read “unemployed with obscene free time” I pretty much remembered why I started experimenting with IF. Now that I work and moonlight as a socialist activist at the same time I don’t have the same sort of free time as I did, and all those IF projects are now rotting on my computer lol.

The first stuff I released were I7 extensions. They were all meant to be components to bigger games but the games never got done but the extensions were. I think writing extensions are a great way to learn, and are pretty useful to the community as long as you provide some nice documentation. You might need some help with that looking at your quality of writing, no offense.

I’ve noticed some people are pretty mean to new authors. It seems to me collaboration is the way to go if you don’t want to get burned out on a large project.

I can’t say I’ve noticed anyone being mean (other than our friend Pudlo, that is). I may just have missed those threads.

Collaboration can work well – I’ve written one collaborative game – but your success with it may depend on what you bring to the table, and what you’re looking to find in a collaborator. I’ve seen a few plaintive posts from people who have ideas for stories and would like to team up with an experienced programmer. The first difficulty being, most experienced IF programmers already have plenty of ideas for games that they would like to write, so why would they want to dig into your story? The second difficulty being, if you’ve never written IF, the story you envision may turn out to be impractical for reasons to do with how it would have to be programmed. Until you’ve written a game yourself, you might find it frustrating to work with a programmer who listens to your ideas and then says, “No, that will never work.” The programmer might, in some cases, be wrong … but the best and perhaps only way to prove that an idea can be implemented is to roll up your sleeves and implement it yourself. At which point, you’re a programmer and have less need to collaborate.

As you already have some experience in IT, you might want to have a look at TADS 3. It’s a powerful authoring system, but one that some newcomers to IF authoring find intimidating, as it’s a full-on object-oriented programming language, similar in syntax to C++.

The IF community generally welcomes new authors who are willing to embrace the art of interactive fiction.

Let me rephrase – some of the reviews of games by new authors I’ve read seem to be quite harsh.

I know somebody who suffers from a pretty bad case of dyslexia, but who’s also a really good coder. mainly in C++ i think. I know little about this, but just speculating - maybe inform 7 is not the ideal language if you have dyslexia? Does anybody know how this works?

The community definitely felt like a clique-ish wall of icy spikes the first couple of times I tried to poke in, and my first time daring to venture into the hidden cave of ifMUD it was made abundantly plain to me that I was an outsider and that my enthusiasm in IF was misplaced and I should go.

Honestly, the community still feels the same way, overall … I’ve just learned to surf it, and learned (mostly) which people are cool and which people are writers and which people are programmers and which people are game designers and which people are players/testers and which people are whiners or trolls or pedants or questionably sane … and learned to stroll the terrain, as it were.

The most valuable lesson I learned as a newbie seeking input here was simply this: stick to technical questions. The community pounces on a technical question as if it were exactly what it is: a new puzzle to be the one to solve first :slight_smile:

I have no experience with dyslexia whatsoever, but: I7 can be more verbose than other languages.

And just like any other programming language, it is extremely picky about correct spelling and syntax. The main differences seem to be that most phrases can be written in multiple ways [size=40][1][/size], while a language like C only offers, say, a single syntax for each loop construct; it allows the writer to define an object using a long name the first time, then refer to it using a short name (only one or two words, for example) thereafter; and relations and implicit loops can allow very complex high-level concepts to be represented in very concise, yet readable code.

I7 tends to promote literate code as an ideal. Again, whether that’s helpful for dyslexia, I have no idea.

[1] For example, the standard rules define a phrase beginning “To choose a/the/-- row (N - number) in/from (T - table name)”, which not only offers writers six possible partial permutations for how to structure the phrase [size=40][2][/size], but also each definition included in the phrase can be written multiple ways: numbers can be spelled out in English or written in numerals; objects may be preceded by articles, or not; and so on.

[2] “a row” and “in”, “the row” and “in”, “row” and “in”, “a row” and “from”, “the row” and “from”, and “row” and “from”.

Actually, that’s a really interesting question: Will dyslexic people do better or worse when programming with “conventional” programming languages like “C”?

My guess is, the verbosity of I7 will not be very helpful to a dyslexic person; the amount of code to be typed syntactically precise will probably frustrate him. Something more “abstract” and symbolic (like I6) might be better suited.

Or he might be better of with a GUI-based configuration system like ADRIFT.



As someone with dyslexia, I actually get on well with I7, I6 and C++. I find that because Inform 7 is a programming language, you can treat the words as if they are programming concepts (such as round brackets and square brackets in C++ and I6). Also, for cases where there are multiple ways of expressing things (such as “To choose a/the/-- row (N - number) in/from (T - table name)”), you can just as well choose one way of writing it and just stick to that.

That said, I very strongly prefer the begin/end syntax over the colon/indentation syntax as I find the latter confusing and the former mirrors squared brackets in I6 and C++.