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Ian Wrigley reveals how to use open-source tools to create games from a bygone era

The IF Archive has a fairly comprehensive, if not exactly friendly, list of interpreters that you can download:. Jump to: Interpreters by Platform One of the advantages to the Virtual Machine concept is cross-platform compatibility. There are interpreters for nearly every modern and many not so modern computing platforms. Some interpreters are usable for most formats of interactive fiction. The IF Archive has a fairly comprehensive, if not exactly friendly, list of interpreters that you can download: Types of Interpreters Z-machine This is the one that Infocom invented in the late s.

Glulx This is something of a redesign of the Z-Machine with many new features.

Z-Code/Z-Machine

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How to write interactive fiction games on Windows or Mac | Alphr

Filfre , Glulxe , Git , Lectrote , Zag. Hugo Multimedia Interpreter , Hugor , Lectrote. Gargoyle , ARun , Glk Arun. People who are interested in emulating virtual machines often write new interpreters for these formats, especially the Z-machine. If you're tempted, please look around for a gap in coverage - ask what you can provide that isn't there already.

Or contribute to a work in progress: There are several variant interpreters aimed at particular needs: The Parchment project is for web browser-based IF, again for the Z-machine. At present there's no equivalent for Glulx, which is a pity. Andrew Plotkin is in the early stages of work on a Javascript implementation of Glulx. We know of no Glulx interpreter for the iPhone or iPod Touch. Apple's terms and conditions for iPhone applications could be read as forbidding all virtual machines capable of executing code which comes from off the phone; but our belief is that the limited worlds of Z and Glulx, which are very heavily "sandboxed" and have no network or file system access, are not true virtual machines in Apple's sense.

Apple seems happy with iPhone Frotz, at any rate.


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We would like nothing better than for Inform to be able to export a project direct to an iPhone application, but Apple's developer programme requires a paid membership, so it isn't for casual use, and integrating with rapidly changing SDKs subject to non-disclosure agreements is just too hard for us. Several projects to take IF to Google's Android platform have been started, but it's unclear how far they have got. When the platform itself takes off, these are likely to get somewhere. Inform news if interactive fiction interpreters anthology standards learn learn movies manuals Complete Examples support changes papers download write write collaborate extensions test publish teach teach Resources by Grade Resources by Subject contribute contribute extensions report sources Architecture Interfaces Inweb Webs I6N.

Playing Interactive Fiction A work of interactive fiction is more dynamic than a text file, or an image.

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Interpreters and virtual machines The "story files" created by Inform are not like text, or music files: Some formats The Z-machine was designed by the founders of Infocom, Inc. How to spot an IF file Although a work of IF is often supplied with a manual or some other bits and pieces, the thing itself is always a single file.

There are also many IF games that have been written by other people, and the best place to look for these is The Interactive Fiction Database , which is a searchable archive. If you want to create your own game, you can do that too, thanks to a program called Inform that runs on Windows, Macs and Linux.

How to write interactive fiction games on Windows or Mac

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