|An Inform Developer's Guide: Introduction
et me begin with some clarification. As the name states, this is not "THE Inform Developer's Guide." There are already several works on the net that qualify as developer guides for the Inform language. Hands down, the most widely viewed of these in the one written by the author of Inform himself, Graham Nelson. If any work deserves to be called "THE Inform Developer's Guide" it is that one. Instead, the name of this manual is "AN Inform Developer's Guide." Again, that's "an", as in "one of several."
For those who do not know the history, Graham Nelson contributed greatly to the IF community. This highly esteemed Oxford professor wrote the Inform compiler, the standard Inform Library, and several acclaimed games. He wrote a number of articles on the topic of adventure game design. Additionally, he wrote "The Inform Designer's Manual." Without a doubt, Mr. Nelson made a tremendous mark upon the IF community.
But Graham Nelson is only one man.
Different people learn in different ways. Some learn visually, while others learn audibly. Some need to see a concept applied to understand its use. Others need only the theory. Consider all the different ways to present a topic. Different methods work best for different people. No single man can cover the entire spectrum of presentation.
That's where this guide comes in. You see, I'M not writing it, YOU are. When a developer learns Inform, he/she usually does so because of an idea for a game. Every game is unique and each game applies aspects of IF that others do not. By the time the game developer has finished writing it, he/she has also acquired a bit of personal experience in design. It is this personal experience that you will find in this guide, for the articles here are written by developers like you. One developer may have a fair amount of experience developing NPCs. Another might have written a game with extensive language modifications. It is by submitting articles to this guide that other developers can share their experience with you.
It is by submitting articles to this guide that you can share your experience with other developers.