Entries from August 2010 ↓

GLIMMR Tutorial

Those interested in using Erik Temple’s new GLIMMR extensions may be interested in this tutorial, which takes the author step-by-step through creating a custom graphical map that will reveal itself as the player moves around the game.

Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7

Aaron Reed’s book Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 (http://inform7.textories.com/) has just been released. Something of a spiritual successor to The Inform Beginner’s Guide for I6, Aaron’s
book takes new users through the design, construction, and testing of a single large example story called Sand-dancer. Rather than endeavoring to be a feature-complete reference manual, the focus is on quickly learning how to tell stories using core I7 concepts like relations and activities. Exercises invite readers to test their knowledge by building optional parts of the example story.

The book is up to date with Inform: both technically (it’s compatible with release 6E72 and uses no deprecated features) and in spirit, mirroring the shift in nomenclature from “game” to “story” that took place in recent updates. Focusing on contemporary IF design, the book spends little time on traditional adventure game tropes like locked doors, score, and mapmaking, and uses examples mostly from works created in the last few years.

The 448-page book contains a full glossary and index, a foreword by Don Woods (co-author of Adventure) and a closing thought by Richard Bartle (creator of the MUD). It’s available now from Cengage Learning and major online retailers.

Glimmr Release

image-map

Erik Temple announces the release of his Glimmr project (GLulx Image and MultiMedia Resources). Glimmr is a modular system of extensions that can be used to build dynamic graphical content, such as maps that are revealed as the player move through them, graphical user interfaces and status indicators that respond to the game state, visual puzzles or minigames, and so on.

The centerpiece of the Glimmr family of extensions is Glimmr Canvas-Based Drawing, which provides an object-oriented and largely automated system for defining even quite complex graphical layouts in Glulx graphics windows with only a few lines of code. Glimmr also includes the Glimmr Canvas Editor, a GUI graphics editor that allows authors to create a composition from multiple images or other graphic elements. Once created, the composition can be exported as I7 source code to be pasted into your project.

basic-floorplan-toolkit-glimmr-canvas-editor

The system provides support for a number of different kinds of graphic element, including sprites, image-maps, arbitrary bitmap images–that is, images that are created procedurally in-game rather than from external files–and painted text (text that appears in graphics windows). Authors can design their own fonts for use in text-painting. Future releases in the Glimmr family will provide plug-and-play automapping, as well as HTML-style form input in graphics windows.

Glimmr works on top of Jon Ingold’s Flexible Windows extension, and can be used for multi-windowed layouts. The built-in debugging log can be directed to the main window, a second window, or even to the transcript.

Glimmr extensions can be downloaded individually at inform7.com/extensions, or all at once at http://code.google.com/p/glimmr-i7x/downloads/list. If you’d rather just see the kinds of things Glimmr can do, you can also download the compiled demo story files from http://code.google.com/p/glimmr-i7x/downloads/list.