> go north, get sword, update to Inform 7

A friend informs me (ha!) that the long-awaited version 7 of the Inform game-writing language has been released, and that it’s quite a big deal for the interactive fiction community.

I’ve only glanced at it so far, but I’m inclined to agree: it seems to represent a complete overhaul of the text-adventure-writing process. The most immediately noticeable change is that you can now write your text adventure as a single file using something very closely akin to “plain English,” rather than creating and compiling a vast library of separate files written in scary-looking coding language.

It’s a bit difficult to explain, actually; I recommend just downloading it and giving it a try. In the few minutes I’ve spent playing with it, I can almost say that the process of writing a text adventure in Inform 7 is almost a text-adventure game in and of itself–and I think that’s a good thing. Go give it a try!

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  1. hobbylobby says:

    sweet! I’ve been interested in Alan (Adventure Language) for the last year or so and found it to be a very easy language to learn. When I first encountered it I was pretty much new to programming. I’ve learned a lot since then but still like it a lot. Alan version 3 is out now and there are some really great tutorials available that should get new users up and running quickly. The language is very high level, object oriented, and uses classes and libraries (many of which have been made publicly available for newcomers). The community for Alan is very small – but that makes the user group community (yahoo groups) very good.

    At some point when I have some time I’ll have to check out Inform 7. sounds wicked cool 🙂

    here’s a link to the Alan home page.

  2. Andy says:

    Thanks for the link and info–I’ve heard of Alan, but have not checked it out. I’ll give it a look!

    Have you written any full games with it?

  3. hobbylobby says:

    i’ve started 3 games at different times but never got very far because i couldn’t decide how to develop the story. i tinkered with a few hard things like putting the hero in a truck and driving around – which turned out to be a complex problem that alan wasn’t really equiped to deal with. some folks on the forum were really helpful in offering suggestions about how alan might work such a problem. i was new to oop programming so didn’t go as far as i wanted with the truck issue. then i worked a long time on some really cool stuff that the then current version of alan had problems with ( containers ) and they ended up not working (they would now since the new version of alan has fixed those bugs) … but then i got busy doing other things and never really got back to it. i still check the forum and think about it… but i’m in school and learning vb.net, asp.net and java, so that doesn’t leave much time.

    have you?
    if so, post a link – i love playing new IF games ! 🙂

  4. Andy says:

    I’m in a similar boat, hobbylobby–I’ve done quite a bit of fiddling around with interactive fiction games but have not written one I’d consider polished enough to publically release 🙂 I’d like to change that this year, but time will tell. My main problem is that I find it difficult to “keep it simple”–once I start writing a game, I keep coming up with newer and more complex ideas for it until it ultimately becomes so daunting that it collapses under its own weight!

    Even just fiddling around with unfinished IF projects, however, is a fun exercise in writing and coding. If you do ever get a game written, let me know–like you, I always enjoy trying out new IF when I can find it.

  5. hobbylobby says:

    you know about this one, don’t you?


    that was my gateway game. i started playing it right after i finished reading the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. it’s freaking hard though, so save often.
    i liked the online version at bbc, but the save feature wasn’t as nice as i would have liked, so i found a downloadable copy of the game somewhere and started playing that.

    unfortunately, i got stuck in the ship’s hold with Ford, some towels, and a babel fish vending machine that i could not freaking work. (argh that hole in the floor/wall !! )
    the puzzles are fiendishly difficult – but fun.

    i think a hint would be to not forget the tea. though i never got around to trying that idea myself.

  6. Andy says:

    Oh yeah, I definitely remember Hitchhiker’s Guide. (Those are some very cool graphically updated versions, BTW.) I also played it (on my parents’ Mac Classic) right around when I first read the novel–sometime in junior high, I think. I did eventually beat it, but I had to use the in-game hint system at several points, so I feel a bit guilty about that. I vividly remember the part in the ship’s hold you refer to; that was a tricky one 🙂

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