An Authoring System is a platform for developing Interactive Fiction games, and usually consists of a dedicated Integrated Development Environment (IDE), or just a specific syntax with a compiler. Some systems compile their games to format (that can be either propietary of standardized) that need a dedicated interpreter, while others compile directly to HTML with JavaScript.

A very common question to hear from budding developers is which system should I use? There have been several comparisons between the systems over the years, Roger Firth's Cloak of Darkness[1] looks at implementing a standard IF in various authoring systems. Eric Eve, documentation writer for TADS3, has written a comparison between older versions of TADS3 and Inform7. Both of the systems has seen some work since then. When it comes to choosing a system for writing AIF in, there are some other factors to consider; namely how good support there is for the Adult part of the game.

Common Authoring Systems Edit

Today, most new games are made using a select few systems:

  • Inform: A custom language based on natural syntax and relational algebra for world simulation. Version 7 comes with a dedicated IDE.
  • TADS: A custom programming language that uses an object oriented approach for world simulation. Comes both with a compiler and specialized IDE (workbench).
  • Twine: An IDE for designing branching stories (CYOA), which are compiled directly to HTML.

Notes Edit

  1. The comparison is based on rather old verions of the systems. The source code is available by navigating to the system on the right side table, and then 'source' or 'download' in the header on the new page.
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