So I’m not really new to IF. I played Zork and other IF games on the Commodore 64 back in the day, but even to this day I kind of suck at playing IF. Over the past few years, I’ve tried playing a few comp games, but I’m really bad at puzzles and more often than not I resort to walkthrus. I greatly prefer parser based games that are story driven, but there aren’t many out there that have clicked with me. Perhaps the best one was Worlds Apart by Suzanne Britton. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
So with that inauspicious beginning, let me continue…
I would really like to write IF. In fact, it’s been a dream of mine to write long-form, parser-based, story driven games. The most I’ve ever really accomplished is a small, complete game in Python that apart from my own testing, hasn’t had much exposure to the world. I’ve dabbled in programming for years but I’m getting up there in age, and my latent dream of becoming a software developer doesn’t seem like it’ll ever happen. But I can still program for fun, at my own pace, and if I can just give myself permission to do something as “impractical” as IF I might have a lot of fun.
I’ve been considering TADS. Years ago, I spent several weeks trying to learn TADS 2, printing out all the manuals and creating a few test games that were really nothing more than programming exercises. Then TADS 3 came out, and for some reason all of the prior effort seemed like a waste and stole the wind out of my sails. Lately, I’ve looked at Inform 7, and maybe it’s my nerd bias showing, but I don’t see the natural language as real programming. In fact, I swear I have some mental block that prohibits me from grasping the notion of creating a complete game in Inform. But TADS 3 seems like something I could get a handle on, though it would take time. (I don’t mean to start any language flame wars, but
that’s where I stand.)
Having said all that, what experiences do you think it is important to have to create the type of IF I’m interested in? Are there any games that I should definitely play? Are there any code bases I should definitely look into? Do you have any general advice about how to see a project through, and the hurdles I might inevitably face? Are there any articles or blog posts you recommend on what it takes to make a good parser based IF game?
I’ve pretty much ruled out entering games into competitions for now, but if you recommend doing that I would be interested in hearing the arguments in favor.
Thanks for reading this far, and I appreciate any responses.