Occasionally, the thought crosses my mind: what if I created a game in every existing interactive fiction engine, something tailored to capture its strengths? It would be a whole lot of work, but it would also ensure that I know the strengths of every system out there (an appealing thought!)
I suspect this thought will never cross my mind again. The intrepid Matt Chelen built a comprehensive spreadsheet at Another Interactive Fiction Engine List, which stands at 59 entries and counting.
I am not going to make 59 games. It would take too long.
However, if you have an interactive fiction project in mind and you’re searching for the perfect language to execute it, the list is certainly worth a look. Matt includes notes for all 59 engines on:
- what the user interface is like
- what scripting language is involved
- whether there’s an IDE
- what file format it produces
- how complex the system is
- whether you can self-publish titles
- and when the system was last updated (important for ensuring that you’re working in a maintained system!)
A number of these were entirely new to me. Personally, I’m going to look further into Fungus, which looks incredibly promising for game jams (it’s the development engine behind Steal My Artificial Heart!).
With the IGDA Write A Game Challenge starting on June 1, that’s particularly interesting….