Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Ming Y Chow

Tufts OpenCourseWare
Introduction to Game Development
M. Chow
Spring 2012


Assignment 3: Interactive Fiction

This assignment with worth 25 points, to be done individually.


Interactive fiction is a genre of text-based games that provides an immersive story. In interactive fiction games, challenges and puzzles are typically solved conceptually by lateral thinking with discrete and limited choices. The world is essentially a mathematical graph where each node in the graph is a separate scene. Unfortunately, players can be dead on arrival, or loop around the world with no end. Writing a good interactive game requires planning the entire game world and the story before actual coding of the game. In this assignment, you will write an interactive fiction game using Inform 7 (http://inform7.com/), a platform-independent system for playing and writing interactive fiction using natural language. It is also one of the most popular languages for writing interactive fiction.


0. Play the original Zork online at one of the following locations:

1. Download and install Inform 7 onto your computer at http://inform7.com/download/

2. Read the Beginner's Guide to Interactive Fiction with Inform 7/Getting Started with Inform 7 at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Beginner%27s_Guide_to_Interactive_Fiction_with_Inform_7/Getting_Started_with_Inform_7

3. Read the Inform 7 for Programmers. You can get the PDF version of the guide here.

4. Write your interactive fiction game. Your game will be graded on 5 factors:

  • Basics - Your game must:
    1. Have at least 10 rooms
    2. Use at least 3 doors
    3. Have at least 5 people, which includes animals, that can be interacted with
    4. Have at least 10 things (or props) that can be interacted with. Examples: a lantern, a leaflet --both can be examined.
    5. Have at least one way to win the game
    6. Use scoring in some capacity
    7. Use at least one custom action (i.e., a verb)
  • Functionality - Does the game work? There should not be syntax errors such that the game will crash in the middle of execution.
  • Complexity - The deeper the game, the better.
  • Design - Is the game fun? Is there good game balance (i.e., not too easy, not too hard)? Is there a lot of repetition (which is a bad thing)?
  • Style - Spelling and grammar counts; use comments to make notes on your work

(UPDATED on 2/25/2012) Inform 7 Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Design Considerations

Please avoid:

  • Puzzles solvable only by trial-and-error.
  • Illogical spaces. Example: Legend of Zelda (NES), the second quest.
  • A game that require outside knowledge. We are not writing a Carmen Sandiego game here!