complex, but not too complex

Don't have much time today so I'll just quote something I found in the rec.arts.int-fiction archive.

When asked about noting taking during the reading of IF Phil Goetz said: ``I don't. Unless I'm playing a detective. If I'm doing something that wouldn't call for taking notes in real life, why should it call for taking notes in a game? That spoils my suspension of disbelief. Generally, I like to just sit down and play.

Of course, this may be why I have never finished anything larger than John's `Fire Witch'. But I'd usually rather quit the game than have to switch to note-taking. When a game starts handing me lots of data, and I see they want me to play the "write all this stuff down and match it up" game, I quit.

Good point. When I was playing `The Dreamhold' I often thought I should really be taking notes, but I resisted the temptation. The point is that I should be able to read an IF without breaking out a sliderule. It's supposed to be for fun. Also, I found the map that came along with `The Fire Tower' (while helpful) distracted me from the text. I kept consulting the map rather than doing a full visualization in my head. I think `The Dreamhold' would have lost something if I had mapped it.

which authoring system? TADS vs Inform

I just realized today that TADS binaries were available for Mac OS X (I'm slow sometimes). I'm pretty sure that the binaries I have are just recompilations of the Linux version and run only in my Terminal window, but I can now play/read TADS IFs on my laptop. (I have HyperTADS on my old OS 9 laptop.) Anyway, I've been delving into Inform like it was the only IF authoring system out there. Now that I have a TADS compiler, in theory I could write IFs using TADS. What's the difference? So I googled and found: TADS vs Inform - a (vaguely) in-depth comparison.

I looked at some TADS source and I think I'll stick with Inform for now. But I'll keep an open mind. Maybe I'll do a TADS IF in the future just to see what's it's like.

hard work - programming drudergy

Brian Moriarty speaking about the creation of his IF `Trinity': ``As usual, most of it was programming. That's usually the case. I'd say that 90% of the time was programming and the other 10% was creative. Our development system was still very programming intensive. It didn't do a lot for you. It did some things but a lot you had to do for yourself. It was quite a bit of drudgery.''

Are you sure you want to write interactive fiction?

the first rule of authoring interactive fiction

Don't forget that I'm approaching IF (interactive fiction) primarily as a literary medium rather than as a game designer, so what I say may (probably won't) apply to text based adventure games that primarily involved problem solving and object collection. With that preface...

The first rule of authoring interactive fiction is--- Make the fiction interactive. Obviously, you say. More specifically, the IF author should not, at any point, force the reader to do anything. The reader/actor (I'll try to avoid the gaming term, player, for the reader) should decide the course that they take as a character in the fictional world. This is not to say that the author cannot guide the reader/actor, but the guiding must be done in an artful fashion and not heavy handedly. Give the reader more than one option in any given situation. Make the reader's interaction significant. Don't do this:

>walk down hallway
You go to the end of the hallway, you see a door.

>open door
>You open the door, see Lenny, and fire the gun killing him.

If the reader wants to shoot Lenny, let them make the decision, even if that means sacrificing the story you have in mind. The point here is don't grab the keyboard and type actions in for the reader/actor. All actions should be taken by the actor/reader.

you've got to be kidding another group?

Hey, I'm just testing the livejournal technology. I realize that if_developer, inform_dev, and int_fiction don't have enough posting frequency as it is--so diluting the information stream even more seems unproductive. However, I thought I would create a community blog for people who write interactive novels and short stories.

This is a little different than the gaming people. My interest is to push IF into a literary genre. I like the games and puzzles, and some have literary merit, but let's talk about how to make IF a vital literary genre.

I've written enough today about IF, so I'll stop here and see how this community develops (if at all).