Interactive fiction is a form of computer game which shares many traits with fiction in book form, role-playing games and puzzle-solving. It’s one of the oldest forms of computer games.
Interactive fiction is a somewhat nebulous phrase. It can refer to text adventures where the player uses text input to control the game, and the game state is relayed with text output. They are known as text adventures. Crowther & Woods invented this form of games in the 1960s when they designed the famous Colossal Cave Adventure, which was available on many mainframe computer systems. They were massively popular when computers were limited to displaying text. Mobile phones offered a resurgence to the genre, given they consume little resources.
The phrase can also apply to gamebooks, which offer the reader given choices at different points of the text. Over the years the phrase IF has extended to include interactive stories and experiences that don’t meet the definition of a game.
While the game genre is somewhat niche, there’s still a committed community of enthusiasts who love writing and playing interactive fiction.
To create an enthralling interactive text-driven digital fiction game, the focus is on an author’s talents rather than a programmer’s skills. If you’re interested in writing interactive fiction, there’s a wide range of authoring systems available.
There are some awesome open source tools that will let you exercise your creative juices and create some fun interactive tales.
Here’s our recommended open source solutions for writing interactive fiction. Many are powerful and sophisticated tools with specially designed programming languages that use a form of natural language and are therefore easy to learn. Some of the applications don’t require you to write any code to create a story. Developing games can almost be as much fun as playing them.
|Write Interactive Fiction|
|Ren'Py||Create over a thousand visual novels, games, and other works|
|Twine||Visual tool for creating interactive stories|
|ALAN||ALAN Adventure Language|
|Quest||A good system to make interactive story games|
|Squiffy||Useful tool for creating interactive stories|
|FrobTADS||Authoring System to Create Your Own Interactive Fiction|
|Inform||Popular design system for interactive fiction based on natural language|
The following open source tools are also worthy of a mention. QTads and Gargoyle are both excellent interpreters for interactive fiction. An interpreter allows you play an interactive game file.
|Tools for Interactive Fiction|
|QTads||Provides a very good interpreter for TADS game files, using a Qt interface|
|Trizbort||Interactive Fiction Mapper|
|Gargoyle||IF player that supports all major interactive fiction formats|
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