Welcome To Adventure: A Quick-Start Guide to Inform 7

The fastest path from zero to game, using the Inform 7 engine.


1. Setting up Inform 7; how to make and connect rooms
2. How to make objects, both hidden and visible
3. How to make doors and keys; a quick look at text with variations
4. How to make XYZZY! (creating a new game command; using if/then statements; teleporting the player)
5. How to implement the bird and the snake (creating people; changing existing actions)
6. How to build a scoring system; how to create new kinds of things with new properties; how to end the game
7. How to implement the dwarves (every turn rules; timed actions; values that vary)
8. How to implement a maze of twisty little passages (more about kinds; tables; phrases)
9. How to implement the lamp (darkness and rules)

Colossal Cave Adventure

Throughout these tutorials, we will use Inform 7 to recreate examples from Will Crowther and Don Woods’s Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENT, Colossal Cave, or simply Adventure.) Since Adventure is almost 38 years old, I trust no one will be too concerned about spoilers.

Play Adventure online
Hints for stuck people
Full walkthrough
Aaron Reed’s Inform 7 source text (created as a demo for the Intelligent Hinting extension; currently out of date)

Inform 7 documentation

Go here for a list of other Inform 7 resources.


This past weekend, I attended an interactive fiction game jam at MIT. I went with two purposes: first, to provide technical support for anyone using Inform 7, and second, to produce a game.

I wound up focusing more on the second than the first, because no one produced a parser game except me. There were some people experimenting with Inform 7, which was wonderful to see, but in the end, the people who completed games all opted for Twine.

That wasn’t surprising. Twine is a fantastic engine, and I often opt for Twine myself when I’m trying to complete something rapidly.

But I think it isn’t just that people can work faster and farther in Twine. I think it’s that the existing tutorials for Inform 7 take a comprehensive approach, rather than a quick-start approach. Inform 7’s natural-language interface is friendlier to non-programmers than any other parser language, but given the time constraints of a game jam, it can still be tricky to plunge into a detailed manual.

I love parser adventures (that’s why ParserComp exists, after all!) so I want to help make Inform 7 more accessible to people just starting out. Therefore, I’m writing a series of quick-start tutorials for Inform 7.

These tutorials will not be comprehensive, and they will not be detailed. They do not have an index or a search function.

They have one purpose: to help you write a game in Inform 7 as fast as possible.

Work for Charity Day

This quick-start guide began on November 3, 2014 as a Work for Charity Day project. Work for Charity Day is an unofficial holiday in which participants agree to donate their earnings for one day to a charity of their choice. Because I am currently unemployed, I am taking a slightly different approach.

SBFLogo-taglineMy charity this year is St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research, in honor of Rebecca Meyer and the Meyer Family.

I spent my Work for Charity Day writing this quick-start guide. If it has been of use to you (no matter what the day may be!) please consider making a donation.

Donation link

Thank you very much!

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  1. What a great website!! Thanks for the help in getting started with Inform 7!!

  2. Yeah, great site and this tutorial is fantastic. Almost finished with Lesson 9.

  3. Lost and confused

    okay there issue I have, how do make possibly create a character in story that is player, or make so random options for player to select? For beginning? Like options here this to select starting gate, followed by continue onward for adventure RPG.

    • It sounds as though what you want to create is not exactly in the standard interactive fiction flow. You may be better off asking questions in the Inform 7 folders at intfiction.org, or else trying a system like RPGMaker.

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