Monday, 11 June 2007 Explaining Inform 7

Link: Explaining Inform 7.

Occasionally in the newsgroup, between the requests for help with the syntax of the different interactive fiction interpreters, other interesting things are posted. I particularly enjoyed reading the thread I link to here.

Jeff Nyman:

In the thread "I7 Philosophical Distinctions" I had brought up some of the conceptual difficulties some classes I was teaching had with Inform 7. I was in danger of carrying that thread too far off topic, so I figured I'd post a follow-up here for those interested.
Jeff goes on to describe his findings in using the Inform 7 manual to teach the language to classes of both programmers and writers, and proceeds to discuss it with Emily Short, Graham Nelson and a few others.

Jeff Nyman:
Rather than have a manual broken up by conceptual topics (Relations, Actions, Advanced Actions) you'd have a conceptual chapter based on what storytellers (and game writers) do: i.e., represent characters. Within that chapter you'd talk about the means by which that can be achieved with Inform 7. (After all, they're reading about Inform 7; they're going to try this in Inform 7; you're trying to convince them Inform 7 is a good tool for doing so; --- you can't really separate the implementation too much from the ideas because then it becomes too theoretical, which would be the kiss of death for some people.)
Emily Short:
Now this is something that I can begin to imagine the shape of. Off the top of my head, I'm imagining things like:
Emily goes on to break down a very detailed hierarchy.

Jeff Nyman:
I think what you put there is definitely the closest I've seen to where this has all been leading me. I really like it.
This is some selective quoting of a small part of the thread. The thread goes into a lot more detail of course, and there is a lot I was not willing to extract quotes from because it would have meant I would have felt that I was summarising the thread rather than just highlighting its presence.

Update: Emily Short has posted about it on her blog.

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