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February 15, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Playfic is a community for writing, sharing, and playing interactive fiction games (aka “text adventures”) entirely from your browser.

By mefi's own waxpancake. More from TheNextWeb.
posted by muckster (15 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man. There goes my evening.
posted by pharm at 12:39 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey, thanks! There are still tons of rough edges, and huge features missing that I haven't touched yet, but I figured it was better to get it out than keep sitting on it. I would love to see what games Mefi creates.
posted by waxpancake at 12:42 PM on February 15, 2012


So glad this has been coming together, man.
posted by cortex at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2012


This sounds so cool.
posted by brundlefly at 1:02 PM on February 15, 2012


METAFILTER
An Interactive Reality
Release 1

POST 112830

You read about "Playfic" -- a site that sounds incredibly awesome and would be a major time suck but you have work you MUST get done before you leave work today, and you want to leave on time.

>ignore
That's not a verb I recognise.

>don't click
That's not a verb I recognise.

>favorite and close browser immediately
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:04 PM on February 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is so cool!

Since this all happens on the web, it would be cool if the site could (optionally?) log player's actions and let the authors see them, so they could improve the games based on the most common things that people try.
posted by mbrubeck at 1:19 PM on February 15, 2012


mbrubeck: Entirely possible. There's a Parchment extension to do exactly that, and I could save the transcripts in the database.
posted by waxpancake at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2012


>HAMBURGER
A hollow voice says "fool."

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:34 PM on February 15, 2012


Oh this is so awesome.

Unfortunately I and Inform 7 haven't gotten along so well in the past. Programming in it hits what I like to call the COBOL Problem: it reads tons more easily than it writes. Those natural language sentences actually have a fairly precise syntax that the compiler expects you to follow. It seems like you would just be able to switch your mind over from Programming Mode to Writing Mode but that's just not possible. There are some documents out there that help to make it easier, like the amazing help system (one of the best helps there is, for ANYTHING, with hundreds of working program examples), or Inform 7 For Programmers, but it's harder to learn than it looks, and that can be a bit disheartening.

Off the subject a little, I'm not sure if it's supposed to do this because it gets somewhat around Apple's bullshit app store rules about users running their own code, whether native code, emulated or scripts, but the iOS port of Frotz lets you load your own game files.
posted by JHarris at 2:11 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


So true. Inform 7 is firmly in the uncanny valley of programming languages. It looks like English, but it definitely isn't.
posted by waxpancake at 2:28 PM on February 15, 2012


but it's [Inform 7] harder to learn than it looks, and that can be a bit disheartening.

Yeah. I finally learned it a few months ago (and haven't touched it since, so by now I've forgotten it.) It's simultaneously really, really impressive how expressive it can be, and really, really frustrating how difficult some really simple things can be,. And sometimes really, really crazy-making when you can't figure out why your statement isn't being parsed the way you think it should. I find myself wishing for something more computer-language-y, but I'm a programmer. It's probably attracted people to writing IF who might not have considered something more computer-language-y accessible.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to do this because it gets somewhat around Apple's bullshit app store rules about users running their own code, whether native code, emulated or scripts, but the iOS port of Frotz lets you load your own game files.

It would seem to lie outside the letter of the ban on interpreters. But the Z-machine is pretty much too weak to worry about, and the glulx machine pretty much too painfully slow (for substantial general purpose computing; for most of the IF written for it, it's fine.)

Nice work, Andy.
posted by Zed at 11:27 PM on February 15, 2012


I find myself wishing for something more computer-language-y, but I'm a programmer.

On that front, you may want to take a look at TADS. It's more of a programmer wonk language while still being constructed specifically as an IF framework; I haven't played with it in years but during a brief stint where I was really wanting to play with IF development and not really digging on Inform's approach, it was interesting to play with.
posted by cortex at 12:19 AM on February 16, 2012


Alternately, you could try Inform 6, the version of Inform that predates the entire natural language approach. The Inform Designer's Manual (linked above) contains dozens of examples similar to the ones built into Inform 7, and it does a splendid job of explaining the language.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 8:39 AM on February 16, 2012


I kind of like to read Inform 7 source code.
From the linked material above..
Bob is a man. The time he spent in jail is a thing.
Bob can remember the time he spent in jail.
It's like stilted prose intended to be consumed by computers.
posted by TheKM at 7:43 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been getting the itch to write some IF lately, maybe this will be a good springboard to get me back into it. I wrote one complete, tiny game in Inform 6 for a mini-comp 6 or 7 years ago (24 non consecutive hours to complete an story over the span of a month, with the requirement that the story incorporate three specific things) and it was really satisfying. My problem is that I feel like I haven't played enough IF to have a good sense of what makes a good story, what's hackneyed, etc, but I have such a low tolerance for getting stuck in IF games that I almost always lose interest before finishing.
I find myself wishing for something more computer-language-y, but I'm a programmer.
Inform 6 is still an option (in fact, my understanding is that Inform 7 is technically a preprocessor that translates your Inform 7 code into Inform 6 under the hood, then runs it through the I6 compiler.) The Inform Designer's Manual (Web, Print) by Graham Nelson is a helpful tome for learning I6. It's still a very peculiar language just by virtue of having its one specific, esoteric purpose, but it's definitely more traditionally "programming languagey" than I7.
posted by usonian at 1:27 PM on March 7, 2012


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