Collaborate

Today's interactive fiction is often collaborative. Inform makes it easy to share, borrow and merge text together.

Coloured pencils

Whereas Inform 1, in 1993, assumed you were on your own, Inform 7 was designed for teamwork from the outset.

Make Good Use of the Examples

While there are many differences between Inform and traditional ways to program a computer, there are also similarities. Most programming languages, like Python or C++, come with a whole suite of ready-written utilities to save you reinventing wheels - though of course you have to learn how to find and use it, or it's of no benefit.

Inform provides that too, but in a deliberately different way. Rather than having a great mass of unseen library code and a mass of technical documentation on how to interface with it, we've provided ours openly - literally so, because it's written out in full in the manuals.

So we don't offer "modules" or "libraries" or "packages" - we have Examples, shared between the two manuals. Although the Examples are examples in the traditional textbook sense, they are really intended to provide source text you can copy into your own works of IF - grab what you need, try it out, adapt it until it's just what you want.

The Recipe Book provides a guide to what's built-in, and what you can use it for. If you're trying to do something tricky, the Recipe Book is your friend - it's well worth getting to know. (The Examples are mechanically checked and tested with every public build; they aren't like the scrappy not-quite-right snippets you find in a lot of computing books.)

Make Good Use of Extensions

Extensions are passages of Inform source text which aim to provide a good solution to a commonly-felt need. They contain their own documentation and, in many cases, examples of usage. Each extension is neatly packaged in a single easy-to-download file, which the Inform application can automatically install for you. Extensions have names like Bulky Items by Juhana Leinonen - identifying what they help with, and who wrote them.

There's a large archive of free extensions hosted on this website. We really do encourage Inform writers to check this out right from the start: there are some excellent solutions to popular needs here.

And if you write a really good set of rules to (say) create birds of prey, or provide a truly kick-ass adaptive hints system, you can share these as extensions yourself, which others can simply drop into their own projects as needed.

Collaborate with Other Authors

Inform’s rule-based structure means that the design can be written in any order. We can redefine anything at any point, or add to existing definitions. That includes even built-in stuff, like the “can’t close what’s already closed rule”, or basic concepts like “room”.

It is especially easy to merge pieces of design by different people. Write a chapter each - literally, since Inform has chapter headings - and simply paste them together: add a few connections between, and the whole thing can be seamless without fuss.

It makes the most remarkable community projects possible, such as the annual IF Whispers collaborations. (Check them out with this link searching IFDB.)