Web-based library front-end?

I’m new to this forum, this is my first post, but I’ve been an off-and-on IF fan since…well, since Zork. I usually binge two or three games per year.

I was considering writing a rather simple (to start) web-based library front-end for IF, with an appearance similar to many web-based ebook libraries.

…that would then launch a Parchment (or similar) session on the IF file.

But then it occurred to me, someone has probably already created it and I just can’t find it. So I thought I’d check here first before I start re-inventing the wheel.

Does anyone know if something like this or similar already exists?



I don’t know if this is a thing, but your idea sounds cool.

However, there seems to be no standard for the aspect ratio of IF cover images. From from your picture, you’d need something around 9:16, ie 16 by 9 in portrait or thereabouts.

What happens when you click on a “book”? Is there blurb or goes it go right in?

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something similiar, but online, is already in use, and heavy use these days:


Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

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I didn’t want to get too excited about the design without first knowing if something is already out there.


Yes, there would be a “blurb” page as you put it. A larger picture, date, author, rating, description, etc. A ‘play’ button and optional hint buttons like “invisiclues”, “walkthrough”, “hints”…depending on what other files are uploaded alongside the IF file.

This front end would allow the admin user to upload an IF file, and using the IFDB API, search it for the name of the game and store that in a DB so the app may display it where appropriate.

As far as aspect ratio, I can do some magic there. For example, I could define a 9:16 box with fixed pixel dimensions and fit the game image into it based on the longest dimension. Anything not filled by the original image would be either transparent or some theme color.

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Yes, fundamentally, just like that, I was thinking of more of a bookshelf appearance, but functionally the same. I’d love to poke around in that code if it’s available (doesn’t seem obvious where to find it).


Ah, i think there’s your problem;

The uploads will either be a bunch of html or they could be game files for various interpreters which you might have to host. Then there’s versions too.

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I didn’t consider that as a problem that needed to be addressed. this would just be a front-end to whatever interpreter(s) are installed and available. Just like the IFcomp page is doing.

So for example, if a .z3 file was uploaded, and no interpreter was previously installed for it, then the “play” button wouldn’t be present. Or perhaps an error that pops up saying “no interpreter available for this format”.

Essentially, this app has nothing to do with playing the file, it’s just the butler to get the user to the IF file and launch the appropriate interpreter.

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I don’t know much about it but there’s an IFDB api and the IFDB already has: metadata about games; cover images of games; in most cases, links to where games can be played online.

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Yes it does. That’s what actually sparked the idea. :wink:


I don’t think anyone has created a “library view” as you’re describing.

But except for the library view, the rest of the functionality you’re describing seems very much like the functionality of IFDB itself.

Speaking personally, I’m fairly skeptical that a nice-looking library view could be made to work based on the cover-art images we have in IFDB. Here are the big challenges:

  1. Art quality. Popular book covers are gorgeous, not least because there’s almost always a budget for making them look great. Popular IF cover art is, uh, hit and miss, I’d say. Hardly any IF has a budget for its art. (Most IF has no funding at all.)
  2. Aspect ratio. IFDB handles non-square images just as you say, adding transparent padding around non-square images, and that’s fine for IFDB, where being beautiful to look at is a secondary priority. But if the goal is to look really great, I’m skeptical that it’s possible to present a grid view of a bunch of images with different aspect ratios and make that actually look good.
  3. Titles. Book covers always have the title in them, so all you need to do is show the book cover, and you’re certainly also displaying the title (and, usually, the author, too). Not so on IFDB. Some IF cover art includes the title, but some doesn’t. Almost no IF cover art includes an author. So a library view would either have to show an additional textual title next to all games (even games whose cover art already includes the title) or it would have to detect which cover art does/doesn’t include the title and embed a title overlay on those, ideally in a nice spot (in a nice font?!) that doesn’t ruin the art. I think having redundant titles might ruin the visual effect of the grid view, and adding titles to cover art is a Hard Problem. (Maybe it’s easier nowadays if you do some AI art generation??)

Itch.io is not a bad model here. It doesn’t have the aspect ratio problem (Itch requests a specific image size for uploaded cover art.) But it presents a big grid of artwork, widely varying style and quality, with separate title and a bit of blurb below each image. I think it’s pretty effective.


Thank you. That’s very helpful information. Before digging too deep into the code I can prototype something up in simple HTML and see what a few of the challenges may look like.

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An old post, but I came to this section of the forum to post a similar musing so I figured it would be better to post here.

I use the library manager Playnite to manage my video game library. It can import from the eleventy-billion different launchers and storefronts that exist now, continually keep your collection up to date with every addition, and even launch those games from within the platform. Plus, there are a bunch of plugins for metadata, emulation, etc. There are others, and I know a lot of folks use LaunchBox and love it, but I found it too heavy for what I want.

Instead of a whole new piece of software or website, I’d love to be able to import IFDB metadata into those more “mainstream” platforms.


GitHub - iftechfoundation/ifcomp: The software behind the Interactive Fiction Competition. is the repository at least…

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