IntroComp and Hooks

In a post explaining the purpose of IntroComp, Stephen Granade wrote

I think IntroComp has benefit beyond people turning specific intros into games. Neil deMause started the competition because so many games’ openings were terrible, and he wanted people to think more about how they hook players.

In practice, it feels as though IntroComp is used this way less than I’d like. Many of the entries turn out to be alpha-tests of one kind or another: the author is showing us an unfinished system that doesn’t have its narrative in any kind of shape, because he wants to know whether the mechanics work or whether the setting strikes people as interesting.

It would be useful if IntroComp were more of a referendum on Writing a Good Hook, because we need some more of that. IF hooks have to accomplish two separate things:

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Inform 7 for the Fiction Author

Jeff Nyman recently raised the idea of having a guide to Inform 7 specifically written for an experienced fiction author without background in IF, and I posted a brainstormed outline for such a project. The formatting was pretty ugly on Usenet, though, and I had a few ideas for revisions, so here is another, longer and better-laid-out version of the same thing, with more links to relevant games and articles.

This still isn’t nearly into the shape I would use if I were actually going to write this book — and I don’t have time to do any such thing right now anyway; I have a bunch of things to do for Inform 7,, and the long-neglected theory book before I could take up a project of this magnitude. (And I’d like to have a little time to work on a WIP of my own — IF support work has pretty much wiped out my time for that kind of thing lately.) But possibly people will find the brainstorming interesting, even if it isn’t worked up into a complete document.

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