Second Person

Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media is a remarkably rich book, covering amateur and commercial projects in a number of media and forms. It contains four essays explicitly about text-based interactive fiction: Jeremy Douglass’ reading of Andrew Plotkin’s “Shade”; Steve Meretzky’s account of the creation of the robot Floyd in “Planetfall”; … Continue reading “Second Person”

Feelies, Maps, Cover Art

The new Treaty of Babel standard for interactive fiction files allows games to come with cover art, to be displayed by complying interpreters at the beginning of a game. Not all interpreters do this yet, but it is becoming increasingly common. Having cover art can be good for a game’s publicity outside of the IF … Continue reading “Feelies, Maps, Cover Art”


Challenges of a Broad Geography A large, well-designed world is a pleasure to explore, and expansive design does a good deal to dispel the feelings of claustrophobia that may come over an IF player. At the same time, games with large geographies are especially challenging to make playable. If the player spends too much time … Continue reading “Geography”


I am a game writer, narrative designer, coder, and critic with twenty years of experience developing games, tools, and interactive media experiences. My work with modeling interactive conversation and generating procedural text has led to me to work with AI to achieve the character and narrative effects that interest me — but I’ve also created … Continue reading “Overview”

Writing IF

Choosing a Tool One of the first decisions you’ll need to make before you do serious work on your own piece of interactive fiction is what tools you will use to create it. While you could create IF in a general purpose programming language, most people choose to use a language or design system specially … Continue reading “Writing IF”