Where do I start with modern IF

(H. W. Williams) #1

Hi, I’m new to IF well not really, I’ve play a bunch for the 8-bit era and DOS like games and well I would like to start playing modern IF and soon hope to learn to write them as well. My question is where do I start?

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#2

Oh man, welcome to the party! Lots of people have written guides for this, but here are my super-quick suggestions to get you started.

Most IF games are distributed as “story files” designed to be played with an interpreter program, rather than (e.g.) as Windows executables. There are a lot of advantages to doing things this way, but also quite a few competing formats; a good one-stop-shop is Gargoyle, which can play pretty much any IF format you care to throw at it. In recent years, web-based games have become popular as well; those don’t require an interpreter.

What to play? As you’ve seen, IFDB is the main clearinghouse for reviews and download links. Games on the Interactive Fiction Top 50 list are all good choices to try, or you could just search around and see what looks good. There are some polls that might be helpful (1, 2), or you could create your own (tailored to your personal interests) and see what games people suggest.

How to write? You’d probably be most interested in Inform 7 or TADS, the two most popular systems for writing parser-based IF. Inform 7 is a clever rule-based programming language with code that looks like natural English (“The Cavern is a room”, etc.), while TADS takes a more procedural approach and looks more like a conventional programming language. Both are very powerful and have good documentation (if a bit overwhelming, just due to the sheer number of things they can do!)

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#3

Also see the (automatically updated) IFDB Top 100.

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