For those of you who don't know Interactive Fiction
Interactive fiction is a video game genre, which started during the 70s but is still very alive nowadays. They are "text adventures", and playing them looks like this :
You are standing in front of a big wooden door. It is locked. At your feet, among the gravel, you can see a key.
> TAKE KEY
You pick up the key.
> OPEN DOOR WITH KEY
The door creaks and opens; inside the house, it is pitch dark.
Those games appeared on the ancestors of our modern computers, and were pretty successuful in the 80s; nowadays, a small community of amateurs still play them and create original games. To play them, follow these easy steps: first you must download an Interactive Fiction Reader (called an "interpreter"), then you simply open a game file in your interpreter. There are many different interpreters: Gargoyle is the most versatile (and it runs on Windows and Linux), but you can also get WinFrotz, Zoom for MacOS and Linux, and many, many more! You can even play those games online, with an interpreter like Parchment.
The online IF community is structured around several websites: IFDB, a catalogue of IF games with ratings and reviews, IF Wiki, a wiki about all things IF-related, and Intfiction.org, the forum where the English-speaking community gathers. For those of you who speak French, here is Ifiction.free.fr, the French-speaking IF community; we're a small but dedicated community, with around 60 games under our belt (find them here); and why not join us on our forum.
Here's a short list of some classic games by other authors that I recommend you check out:
Most games here are in French, but I'm planning to write most of my next games both in French and English.
[Play][IFDB]Les espions ne meurent jamais, my first game. You, as Randolph McHifflin, must find how to kill your nemesis, the English spy James Powers, who is conveniently tied up in front of you on a chair: but, as they say, an English spy never dies! This is a very short game (an "almost always one move"-game), and furthermore very suitable for newcomers to IF, as it is quick and funny. A list of the available actions (without spoilers) is available here.
[Play]Même les pommes de terre ont des yeux, a port of an older game published by Froggy Software; being originally a game with graphics, this text-only version adds more text to describe the setting and the actions.
[Play][IFDB]Ma princesse adorée: originally an entry in the first Rapid'Fictions (French Speed-IFs), it was heavily reworked and expanded to become a medium-length game without the Speed-IF flaws. In this medieval city (with bits of magic), you are a wizard student looking to impress the princess, with whom you fell in love...
[Play]Châtiment divin, an entry to the second Rapid'Fictions. Contrary to the previous one, it wasn't reworked a lot, and is thus a short game with pretty brief descriptions and a couple of puzzles (featuring what I believe to be the first ever Christian puzzle). You are a simple man with the mission of saving the Earth from an incoming disaster by recovering a mythical weapon. In these Rapid'Fictions, you had to pick three themes among "asteroid ", "katana", "wrestling", "beetle", "djinn" and "organ": I used them all!
[Play]La femme qui ne supportait pas les ordinateurs, a port of an older game by Chine Lanzmann and Jean-Louis Le Breton and published by Froggy Software. This text-only game is a funny game with the following premise: what if your computer, suddenly talking to you, went crazy and went on a rampage on the network?
[Play][IFDB]Brrr ! (as Wakaboodah), one of my entries in the French IF Comp 2007 (placed third). It's a short and silly game highlighting how primitive our syntax becomes when we talk to an IF parser.
[Play][IFDB]Divine bonace (as Théoclès Philocratos), my other entries in the French IF Comp 2007 (placed second). A much more serious game where you, as a sailor in Ancient Greece, must investigate to find the cause of the sudden drop in the winds that cause your boat to be immobilized.
[Play][IFDB]Gossip, a game in which you, as a reporter for a gossip magazine, have to investigate a dark case, much more serious than your usual scoops... This is only the introduction of the game; the full game will come out eventually, as I'm still working on it, but very slowly. I should mention that the full game will probably be very different from the introduction, as I am probably going to change quite a few game design elements.
[Play][IFDB]Homeland Security, entered in the French IF Comp 2011 (as Terry S. Albright; placed fifth). After losing all your money playing poker in Aruba, you must find a way to fly back home in time, or your wife will start asking questions! (This game was coded in about three days, and has a number of bugs; an updated version is on the way.)
[Play][IFDB]Life On Mars?, that won the French IF Comp 2013 (as Brad Bradbury). The first mission to establish a human colony on Mars ended in a horrible crash, and you're the only survivor. Now you just have to wait for the second shuttle to arrive. Seven more months...
[Play][IFDB]Gossip, the same game, but in English (both came out at the same time). This game entered the IntroComp 2009, and placed second; it featured a last-minute bug that made the game way too hard to finish, but that bug was corrected since. The full version will possibly be a different translation, as I will probably change heavily this introduction for the full game.
[Play][IFDB]Heading East, which entered ShuffleComp: Disc 2, under the pseudonym Alex Davies. It is about two friends living in Vancouver, for which it's the last summer before leaving for university...
[Play]Life on Mars?, translation of the eponymous game that won the FrenchComp2014; entered the IFComp2015, and placed 13th out of 53!
Other IF-related stuff
Le butin du Capitaine Verdeterre, by Ryan Veeder. This game placed 4th at the 2013 IFComp ; the prize I had donated for the Comp was for an author to have his game translated in French, and Ryan chose this prize. This translation was released several months later, in February 2014; he asked me to add comments (in English) within the source about the choices I had to make and the problems I encountered during this translation. But don't read the source code before playing the game !
Ombre, by Andrew Plotkin. [Play in browser] [Download in .z5 for your interpreter (cross-platform)] Shade is a classic among the English-speaking IF community; a short, surprising and creepy story, masterfully made. You are travelling to a festival in the Death Valley tomorrow morning, but things don't go as planned... The 9th best interactive fiction of all times, which won a XYZZY award. The translation was written in collaboration with MonsieurBouc, and tested by Natrium729.
Directions Nautiques, translation of the Inform 7 extension Shipboard Directions by Samuel Byron. This extension allows you to replace compass directions (north, south, west, east) by directions you'd find on a boat (fore, aft, port, starboard).
(2011) Racontons une histoire ensemble: History and Characteristics of French IF[PDF], an essay in English I wrote for the IF Theory Reader (edited by Kevin Jackson-Mead and J. Robinson Wheeler, Transcript on Press, march 2011) about the history of French IF. The essay focuses on interactive fiction in French in the 1980s, discussing the origins of the genre and its specificities, as well as the contemporary French IF scene and its influences. The essay was also republished on the website SFFPortal.net. (Here is part one and part two .)
For the French translation, see here (click here for the PDF version).
(2015) >JUSTIFY, HEIGHTEN, SAY YES: Interactive Fiction as Improv[PDF], an essay in English that made the cover on issue 62 of SPAG magazine (edited by Katherine Morayati, whom I thank deeply for her work!). This essays is about some parallels between interactive fiction (more precisely, parser-based text adventures) and improv theatre, and uses principles from the latter to think about some aspects of designing such av Cet essai parle des parallèles entre la fiction interactive (et plus précisément les aventures textuelles au clavier) et l'improvisation théâtrale, et utilise des principes tirés de cette pratique pour réfléchir à certains aspects de la conception de tels jeux.
(2016) SPAG Specifics: Paolo Chikiamco's "Slammed!"[PDF], a review in English published in issue 62 of SPAG magazine (also edited by Katherine Morayati, thanks again!). This is a review of the Choice of Games game, which does a great job at conveying the atmosphere of professional wrestling, although I was disappointed about what was (or, rather, wasn't) done in the female wrestler route.
(2016) >SOLVE ZORK: Teaching An AI To Play Parser IF[PDF], an essay in English published in issue 64 of SPAG magazine (once again, edited by Katherine Morayati, thank you!). This essay is inspired by recent advances in AI brought by deep learning, and attempts to give an idea of the skills an AI would have to learn in order to get good at playing parser games; teaching an AI to play these games would give it advanced skills and something resembling common sense, which would be an interesting development!
Solutions and Walkthroughs
Click here to access the folder containing solutions and walkthroughs for interactive fictions in French.
Source code for my games
All my games are licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 FR licence (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs). The sources of my games are licensed under the same condition; they are released here for education purposes, for all those who want to learn Inform 6 and want to have a look at a few examples of games.