The Angler (theangler) wrote in if_developer,
The Angler

what i've learned in the last two weeks about if

I've been writing fiction for quite a while and have for a couple of years tried to make good use of computer technology to read and navigate text. A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about those old text adventures that people used to play and started poking around to see what I could turn up. I couldn't believe that the form was still alive and well. I admit my initial thought was that I wanted to serve up my interactive fictions over the web, but Inform is so well developed that I'm willing to accept the current state of the technology in hopes that someday playing Inform coded games in a web page will be a reality. With gnusto it's essentially already here for Firefox users.

I'd like to spend my time writing a story rather than developing a piece of software. I do like programming, but I lack the necessary energy to follow through with all the debugging. I might just have the whatever-it-takes to write an Inform-style IF and debug it, but no way will I ever write my own parser--I'll leave that to the real programmers.

I think the best way to promote IF and ensure that design systems develop and adapt is to write good IF stories and games. If there's a body of top-class IF literature out there, then people will knock themselves out to make sure that it doesn't die. I think that's why we can all still play the old Infocom games on our super-dooper jazzed-up modern computers. Those games were good enough to save.

Of course, building a new design system can be fun. Back in the early nineties I wrote this huge sprawling authoring system for my Mac and several other pieces of software that only I was ever able to use. I had a great time. I even worked for a time on a space exploration game, but ultimately it all went on the shelf. Just depends on what you want to accomplish.
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