Over the past three decades, interactive fiction — text-based computer games — has evolved into a unique and vibrant medium. While the mainstream game industry has pursued the latest graphics and multimedia technology, the IF movement has focused on becoming more like literature, telling stories that not only talk back, but listen, too.

Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 is a step-by-step guide to creating these dynamic stories. Inform is a free, multiplatform interactive fiction authoring environment that uses an intuitive natural language syntax that reads like English. A tool focused on writers, not programmers, Inform allows users to 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.

Chapter by chapter you’ll create a full example game while getting comfortable with the features, functions, and vocabulary of Inform and gaining a skill set you can use for future projects. The book doesn’t attempt to cover every aspect of Inform, instead focusing on what you need to know to get started. Tips and tricks throughout the book will guide you as you become more familiar with Inform, and chapter exercises help you practice and test the information you have learned.

Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 will quickly have you on your way to creating your own unique, complex, and participatory storytelling world. Now available as a 448-page softcover. Include a foreword by Don Woods, co-creator of Adventure, and a closing thought by Richard Bartle, inventor of the MUD.

Buy now from Amazon.com or many other retailers.

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.