Inform - Welcome - Software

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Inform 5  


What Software You Need

Inform consists of a compiler, often called "Inform" in its own right, together with a library of standard rules written in the Inform language: you need both of these to get anything done. You can download them from here, and will then need to install them, that is, set them up in working order on your computer. There are also six standard example games and the Inform Designer's Manual. You can get these, or browse them online, from the Resources area, which also includes links to a huge range of optional extras. Lastly, since Inform works by translating your textual description of an imaginary world into a simulation called a story file, you will need some way to write textual descriptions. Almost every computer has a text editor supplied with it, or you could even use a word-processor at a pinch, provided you saved your writing in plain text format at all times. Some text editors are very much better than others, and a few can be made Inform-aware enough to provide convenient extra features, so shop around.

Since Inform is a system for creating story files, it will only be useful if you have the means to read (or play, or explore) them. This means having another program called an interpreter. If you've played interactive fiction before then you probably already have one, but if not, see the Z-Machine area of this site. You'll likely find a choice of interpreters for your system, and can pick whichever you like best. To sum up:

Compiler - makes story files - different on different computers - essential
Library - needed by the compiler - the same for everyone - essential
Text editor - essential but you likely already have one
Examples - for testing purposes - the same for everyone
Manual - documentation - the same for everyone
Interpreter - plays story files - different on different computers
Story files - the finished product - the same for everyone

To begin by downloading the current compiler and library, follow this link, and then turn to the installation notes.

Last updated 29 February 2004. This web site has not been fully supported since April 2008. Information may be out of date. This page was originally managed by Graham Nelson ( assisted by C Knight.