Interactive Fiction

I’ve also been delving into the world of Interactive Fiction recently, or should I say revisiting it as the first computer games I played belonged to that category.

The Interactive Fiction Database has proved very useful in this regard as it hosts a range of IF games for download and points you in the direction of the interpreters (e.g. Frotz, Glulxe, etc) that you will need to run them. You can also refer to the Interactive Fiction Archive for more on both games and interpreters (in fact, Frotz and Windows Glulxe can be download from there).

I’m currently having a stab at IF games called Anchorhead, Zork I (one of the games that started it all) and (you can’t fail to have heard of this one) The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. And very enjoyable they all are.

This latest interest has also prompted me to have a tinker with a piece of software called Inform, a tool which allows you to develop interactive fiction in a fairly natural and easy manner. From the Inform web site:

Inform is a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language. It is a radical reinvention of the way interactive fiction is designed, guided by contemporary work in semantics and by the practical experience of some of the world’s best-known writers of IF.

So far I’ve developed a basic world for some action to take place in and have gotten a handle on how to move around that world. Now I just need to populate it with some stuff – people, objects, brain-melting puzzles and challenges. Nothing too demanding.

Keep watching this space to see what develops.


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