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Classic Games (Games) Role Playing (Games) Books Sci-Fi Entertainment

New Text Adventures Compete In 22nd 'Interactive Fiction Competition' (ifcomp.org) 25

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: 58 brand-new text adventures are now available free online for the 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. The public is encouraged to play the games, and on November 16th the contest's organizers will announce which ones received the highest average ratings. After 22 years, the contest is now under "the auspices of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation, a new, charitable non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the technologies and services that enable IF creation and play..." according to the contest's organizers. "[T]he competition now runs on servers paid for by the IF-loving public, and for this I feel sincere gratitude."
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New Text Adventures Compete In 22nd 'Interactive Fiction Competition'

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  • by tgibson ( 131396 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @05:50PM (#53131701) Homepage

    Inform [inform7.com] is a great tool for creating interactive fiction. Since it requires logic, branching, etc. I always thought it'd work well as an introduction to some of the thinking that is required in the design of programs.

    • by jhoger ( 519683 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @06:45PM (#53131909) Homepage

      In the 80s and 90s writing text adventures was a popular framework for intro to programming books.

    • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @07:00PM (#53132001) Journal

      Inform7 is something unique. As a special purpose tool, I hear that it's fantastic. If you're a developer, however, I expect you find it a bit maddening.

      A sample from Emily Short's Bronze:

      The iron-barred gate is a door. "An iron-barred gate leads [gate direction]." It is north of the Drawbridge and south of the Entrance Hall. It is closed and openable. Before entering the castle, try entering the gate instead. Before going inside in the Drawbridge, try going north instead. Understand "door" as the gate.

      After opening the gate:

      say "You shouldn't be able to open it, heavy as it is, but it swings aside lightly at your touch. The Beast said that it knows friend from enemy; and the castle, at least, still regards you as friend."

      [... snip ...]

      Before going outside in the Entrance Hall, try going south instead.

      The fireplace is scenery in the Entrance Hall. The description is "Unlit, vacant[if Search is happening]. It is almost as though you are not expected[end if]." The sound of the fireplace is "whistling wind". Understand "fire" or "whistling" or "wind" as the fireplace. Instead of burning the fireplace: say "There is no fuel prepared for a fire."

      You can do other things with it. Towers of Hanoi looks like this: Towers of Hanoi [rosettacode.org], and is surprisingly readable. Though I can't imagine trying to use Inform7 in an intro to programming class.

      • Inform 7 was specifically designed to be more friendly to writers rather than programmers, in an attempt to get more writers and their ideas and skills into the field.

        Anyone who wants something more akin to a traditional programming language can use Inform 6.

        Unfortunately I can't give you an example of that because of Slashdot/s lameness filter, but it's completely different to Inform 7.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It creates readable text as code, but it is incredibly frustrating to figure out which specific words will evoke the effect you want.

      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        MULTIPLY COBOL BY FICTION GIVING READ-ONLY-CODE

        Don't use caps, it's like programming on mainframes that did not have lower case letters!

    • by agiacalone ( 815893 ) <agiacalone.gmail@com> on Saturday October 22, 2016 @11:04PM (#53132775) Homepage

      Inform [inform7.com] is a great tool for creating interactive fiction. Since it requires logic, branching, etc. I always thought it'd work well as an introduction to some of the thinking that is required in the design of programs.

      It's interesting that you mention this. I actually teach a Theory of Programming Languages course at a state University, and the first (out of five) languages that I introduce to my students is Inform 7. I do so for a few reasons:

      1. It's a great introduction to "specialty" programming languages. An example of how languages can be created and used for highly specialized use cases.
      2. It's a very unique way of looking at programming (unlike Java, which has been drilled into the CS students since Freshman year).
      3. It has full language documentation in an accessible form, like grammar tree and parse generation tables.
      4. It's fun to make games and I think logic games fit in well with a Computer Science course in tandem with CS language concepts.

      Although, strangely, #4 is quite polarizing among my students. I only get one of two responses typically: "I hate it!", or, "This is awesome!". I guess game creativity isn't something that people usually take CS courses for...and since it's the "easiest" of the five languages to pick up, my students typically have a shortened time to learn it. So maybe that's it...

  • plugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Saturday October 22, 2016 @06:16PM (#53131791)

    That is all.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Interactive Fiction - computerized novels with a degree of command syntax and direction on behalf of the user. (most IF competition entries) Users are primarily trying to figure out the command that gets them to the next step of the novel. Dialog and story are emphasized.

    Text Adventure - text-based virtual environments often consisting of puzzles and complex maps. (Zork) User has freedom and must think carefully about commands, as many combinations are possible. Points systems, health, and collecting

  • It seems to me that Inform could be used in a similar fashion to Scrivener.

    • IIRC I once ran into a Steampunk in Second Life who did a bit of writing (participating in NaNoWriMo and such), who used Scrivener, but had dabbled a bit in IF using Inform.

      I wonder if it would be possible to combine the two, using Inform to maintain a "database of attributes" for characters, locations, etc etc. Something akin to:

      Aragorn is a Dunedain, Dunedain are also Numenoreans, Aragorn is the Son of Arathorn, who is also a Dunedain. Aragorn is a Descendant of Elros, Elros is the brother of Elrond. E

  • I would try these out, but I was long ago eaten by a grue.

  • Beyond the Titanic. I was just a kid, and I didn't know what I was doing. I would get into the under(water/ground?) grotto, and then never figure out where to go from there. Good stuff! It's a game, for command-line people. How amusing that I am now a linux and CLI guy. I should give these text adventures a shot again.

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson

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