[I am posting the following at Graham Nelson's request, because it is
not currently possible for him to do so himself:]
Many small and medium-sized games have been written during the
development of the forthcoming Inform 7 design system for IF. Some are
used for testing, others were simply experiments, but most are intended
as illustrative samples. More than 200 of these will appear in the
documentation, but they necessarily show off one trick each: so we
wanted also to offer a few larger-scale "worked examples". Though not
enormous, these are too long to be included verbatim in any book, and
their full source text will instead be published on the Inform website
when Inform 7 reaches its public beta. In the mean time, we would like
to release three of these example games for the community to play. All
have been beta-tested by players, and while they should not be taken
too seriously, we hope they may be fun. Each comes with a "feelie"
booklet, presented in PDF format, from its own web page: the links are
At present, these story files can probably be played only on Windows,
Mac OS X and some Unix-based systems running X-Windows, since they are
presented as Blorb 2.0-wrapped Z-machine story files: they include
cover art and bibliographic metadata. This will be the standard format
generated by Inform 7, so another purpose of the present release is to
offer the Z-machine community some samples to experiment with. See
below for details.
Reliques of Tolti-Aph
Graham Nelson (2005)
It used to be said that there are two kinds of magic-user: those who
have been to Tolti-Aph, and charlatans. It used to be generally
understood that the attempt to prove oneself in the unforgiving society
of Tolti-Aph was a bid for rapid level advancement or else romantic,
thin-young-mage-in-midnight-black-robes death. The closer you get to
the wilderness spot vaguely marked "Tholtaff" on the agate globe in
your great-great-grandfather's study, the better the alternative
sounds: settling down in some coastal village, perhaps, a little
weathermongering, some polymancy, and helping out with the nets after a
bad storm. Retire at maybe level 3, with most of your experience points
gained from observing rare fish-based poisons carry off those villagers
careless about gutting. Publish an awesomely tedious monograph on the
correct usage of the "untangle rigging" spell. You know, the good life.
Emily Short (2006)
When the seventh day comes and it is time for you to return to the
castle in the forest, your sisters cling to your sleeves.
"Don't go back," they say, and "When will we ever see you again?" But
since they've filled the time by telling you every word spoken to them
by every male in the village, you imagine they will find consolation
Your father hangs back, silent and moody. He has spent the week as far
from you as possible, working until late at night. Now he speaks only
to ask whether the Beast treated you "properly." From his tone of
voice, he is obviously inquiring after your virtue, not anything so
irrelevant as your health, comfort, or peace of mind.
You might not have thought it possible, but you are looking forward to
Bronze is a puzzle-oriented adaptation of Beauty and the Beast with an
expansive geography for the inveterate explorer.
Features help for novice players, a detailed adaptive hint system to
assist players who get lost, and a number of features to make
navigating a large space more pleasant.
Emily Short (2006)
14 AD. Agrippa Postumus, grandson of the recently-deceased Augustus,
tries to avoid death at the hands of the next emperor, Tiberius. At his
disposal: a couple of old manuscripts, a lamp, and a recalcitrant
slave. And a powerful knowledge of the Art of Venus Genetrix, of course
-- the magic eventually known as the Lavori d'Aracne.
Damnatio Memoriae belongs to a series with the author's previous game
Savoir-Faire; though it can stand alone, the game's mechanics will make
most sense to players already familiar with that work.
It is a fast, timed game, taking only a few minutes to play once, but
probably requiring multiple attempts to bring to a satisfactory
The story files for these three games are standard-compliant Z-machine
story files, but each is "blorbed". This means that it is bundled
together with a cover picture and some bibliographic information inside
a Blorb wrapper. The Blorb standard for gathering IF resources together
was set down by Andrew Plotkin in 2001, and was documented in the
Inform 6 Designer's Manual. At present relatively few "blorbs", as
blorbed files are called, are in circulation. But Inform 7 may change
this, since it publishes games as blorbs by default. Blorbing is Inform
7's equivalent of binding a paper publication: it attaches outer
covers, adding a cover picture and descriptive matter to help identify
the book within.
So these new games are only playable using an interpreter capable of
reading blorbed Z-machine story files. We recommend:
Windows Frotz for Windows, maintained by David Kinder
The current version reads and plays blorbed story files, but does not
yet display cover art.
Zoom for Mac OS X, maintained by Andrew Hunter
Version 1.0.5 alpha 1 is required. Zoom behaves like iTunes: it will
store any blorb it plays into a library, and displays the bibliographic
information in a browser in much the same way that iTunes displays song
information. Zoom also tidily stores saved game files associated with
each game, and is generally much to be recommended. (Click the
double-arrow button at the bottom right of the iFiction library window
to see more information about games, including the cover art and
A more basic version of Zoom is also available for Unix-like systems
running X-Windows, and we believe this will also be able to play
blorbs: here we recommend version 1.0.4a.
The Blorb format has itself been extended to facilitate this new usage,
and a new version 2.0 of the specification has just been published by
(Blorb is extensible, so new blorbs do comply with the old standard:
but they contain extra data which will be invisible to older
blorb-reading programs. The changes to the standard specify this extra
data.) Further details are being posted to the Z-machine and Inform
maintenance mailing lists.
1 March 2006