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Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 [Paperback]

by Aaron Reed
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 19, 2010 1435455061 978-1435455061 1
CREATING INTERACTIVE FICTION WITH INFORM 7 is a jargon-free, step-by-step guide to mastering the basics of creating dynamic, text-based story worlds. Inform 7 is a free multiplatform interactive fiction authoring environment that uses an intuitive natural language syntax. A tool focused on writers, not programmers, Inform allows users construct complex, rich storytelling worlds by writing sentences as simple as "Tom is a person," or as complicated as "Instead of attacking Tom when something lethal is held, now every nearby watchdog owned by Tom hates the player." No prior programming experience is required. Throughout the book, readers develop a full-length, release-quality example game, exploring the real-world issues involved in authoring participatory narratives and gaining skills that can be applied to the creation of future games and stories.

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Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 + Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Introduction: Why Interactive Fiction? 1. Understanding Interactive Fiction Chapter. 2. Introducing the Inform Application Chapter. 3. Creating a Story World Chapter. 4. Describing the Story World Chapter. 5. Making Things Happen Chapter. 6. Understanding the Player Chapter. 7. Logic and Control Chapter. 8. Time, Scenes, and Pacing Chapter. 9. Creating Other Characters Chapter. 10. Challenging Assumptions Chapter. 11. Polishing and Finishing Chapter. 12. Further Pursuits.

About the Author

Aaron A. Reed has worked as a travel writer, web monkey, offensive t-shirt designer, graphic artist, filmmaker, and murder mystery producer. His fiction has appeared in "Fantasy & Science Fiction" magazine, and his interactive fiction has won acclaim from indie gaming, electronic literature, and new media circles. His 2009 project Blue Lacuna has been called "the most ambitious interactive story of the decade," and is the longest work yet produced in the Inform 7 language. Reed is currently working with the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz developing new forms of participatory storytelling.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 1 edition (August 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435455061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435455061
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aaron A. Reed is a writer, programmer, student, and teacher of interactive narrative. His work has been featured in the Electronic Literature Collection, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and at the IndieCade, Slamdance, and IGF games festivals. He is currently a PhD student at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz, where he was the lead writer on Prom Week, a groundbreaking social AI narrative.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable reference for Inform 7 users October 15, 2010
Format:Paperback
Inform 7 is free software for creating interactive fiction (IF), a form of text-based gaming that enjoyed a brief period of commercial popularity back in the 1980s, and still enjoyed by a loyal group of enthusiasts.

The development system is unique in its use of a programming syntax that often resembles plain English. This makes it quite easy for new authors to create simple stories. However, as soon as you want to try anything unusual, the language's eccentricities can pose a challenge.

This volume, by noted IF author Aaron Reed, is a big help. It works through a complete non-trivial example story, "Sand-Dancer." He begins with a description of the Inform environment and builds the code almost line by line, thoroughly explaining each step. By the end of the book, most of Inform's major features have been encountered and discussed.

Reed's book is a nice complement to Inform's built-in documentation. Recommended for new IF authors and students, as well as experienced Informers who want to hone their understanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to learn Inform 7 August 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a software developer that was looking to Inform 7 as a little diversion from my day job. The documentation that is supplied with Inform is really quite good and there a ton of examples, however, sometimes I've found it hard to find exactly what I was looking for. Also, I had trouble on the "Where to start?" question....how do I begin my piece of IF?

Aaron Reed does a great job of teaching you the language, but also guides you through developing a basic game....not just little snippets, but a game where as you learn new Inform skills, you apply them to the game and watch how it progresses. He also guides you and encourages you to make your own changes, allowing you to exercise what you just learned and explore the language and your story creation a bit further.

I worked through the book in about a week with a few hours each evening and now I feel confident enough in my skills to start my own IF. The book isn't comprehensive, but it gives you a strong foundation to build upon. Highly recommend to any contemplating learning Inform 7.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best available starting points. September 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There aren't that many places to start on your IF (interactive fiction -- text adventure) journey. Inform 7 and this book is one of the best starting points, particularly for somebody not very familiar with computer programming.

If you're looking to start IF as a new hobby, start here!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Way to Learn Inform January 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not one for long reviews. If you are interested in authorizing interactive fiction using Inform 7, then you should not hesitate to buy this book. He covers a lot of ground in a sensible order, he gradually increases the complexity but keeps it hands on. Even the story authored through the course of the book is exceptional, truly "interactive fiction" (and not yet-another puzzle game or dungeon trawl). This book gives you the tools to really exploit all the power inside Inform. Get it.
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