Starting to think about expanding my Inform 7 Handbook. I’ve gotten a number of nice compliments on it, so I know people are finding it useful. If I’m able to put together an IF class this fall, having an even heftier textbook would be a good thing. (I could even print out spiral-bound copies and sell them.)
Jeff Nyman has just uploaded a PDF on how Inform assembles the text in a room description, and I’m thinking, “Oh, I should probably do something like that for every chapter in my handbook.”
Also, I’ve started doing a survey of the types of puzzles in IF. This material should be equally useful for authors and players (including me, which is one of the reasons I’m doing it — I’m lousy at solving puzzles). The Handbook could use a whole chapter on puzzles, I think, complete with spoiler examples from existing games and probably a few coding tips too.
To create a well-rounded survey, I’m not just relying on stuff I know already. I’ve played part or all of half a dozen more games so far, and I’ve just barely started. Varicella is brilliant — and impossible. I had to use the walkthrough. Lots of other interesting games too. I went through All Hope Abandon by Eric Eve and found it modestly enjoyable, with a few good puzzles. Eric is a New Testament scholar, so his depiction of Hell is perhaps more liberally interwoven with theology than I’m equipped to appreciate, but that’s one of the fun things about writing IF: You get to pull in bits of this and that based on whatever fascinates you.
Not that I’m planning to write a game about cello playing, though. That would be a bit too esoteric.