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Writing with Inform

2017

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2018-01-04

30 Years of Interactive Fiction

Finished the manual for Inform7, which is a programming language for writing interactive fiction (or text-based adventures). I'd played some from the heyday -- the 1980's -- and one of the questions on my mind was: how much has interactive fiction technology evolved in the last 30 years?

Answer: not a lot. Obviously, graphics and sound have been big additions to gaming (and interactive fiction is what a book is to a movie), IDE's and extensions let authors get their stories out faster, but at the basic level control over story and characters is about the same.

But I suppose if you add much more than basic algorithms to the interaction -- characters you can talk to naturally, plots that evolve in ways not coded by the author -- you begin to create systems where computers write the story, which would require a level of artificial intelligence I've not seen.