IF Theory Reader
Those who have been in the IF community for a long time probably know all about the history of the IF Theory Book. It was originally started ten years ago by Emily Short and Dennis Jerz, got sidetracked for a number of reasons, and then was finally updated and published by Kevin Jackson-Meade and J Robinson Wheeler last year. But what may have gotten overlooked amidst all of the delays is how darned good the book is.
I can appreciate the dilemma of the original crew behind the IF Theory book. My own IF project has lost steam in the past year owing to an overly busy work life. But having taken a break from Inform7 coding for longer than I would like, I've been diving back into the IF Theory Reader, as it's now known. While I had read several of the articles in the book elsewhere on the web, having them all compiled in one place is a tremendous resource.
The book weighs in at over 400 pages and includes articles by some of the best IF authors in the post-commercial period including Nick Montfort, Andrew Plotkin, Michael Gentry, Gareth Rees, Emily Short, Jon Ingold, Duncan Stevens, J Robinson Wheeler, Robb Sherwin and Stephen Granade among others.
And despite the title which makes the book sound rather academic, many of the articles provide practical techniques for improving the quality of one's writing, whether it's dialog, descriptions, puzzles, pacing, geography or even how to build a good hint system. If you are looking for theory, Graham Nelson's pieces are phenomenal. (Not that I understood much of them, but they are still entertaining.) You can view the full table of contents at IFWiki.
The IF Theory Reader stands up there with Aaron Reed's Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7, Inform Designer's Manual and Twisty Little Passages. These are all essential readings for any would be IF author.
The IF Theory Reader is available from Lulu for $13 in paperback and as a free PDF. I wasn't able to find a free ePub or Mobi version suitable for eReaders, but you can always convert the PDF to other formats using Calibre.
- IF Theory Reader: IF Wiki, Paperback Edition, Free PDF
- Amazon: Creating IF with Inform 7, Inform Designer's Manual, Twisty Little Passages