Craft articles listed here attempt to answer an author's "how do I do X" questions, like "How do I craft better NPCs?" or "How can I craft better puzzles?" Articles are grouped into categories based roughly on the XYZZY Awards, plus an extra category for promotion, eg: "How can I promote my game?"
For articles about classifications, terminologies, and "what is X" questions, see Theory.
For examples on coding specific game features, see Category:Tutorials.
This section can be about design, the game as a whole, or a general catch-all for articles that cover several topics.
- Lessons Learned the Hard Way by Jim Aikin for XYZZYnews #18. Write a walkthrough. Beta-test. Be systematic. And comment, comment, comment.
- Design Patterns by David Cornelson. Tries to define patterns in IF game design.
- IF Cliches by Nate Cull
- 10 Steps to Great Game Design by C.E. Forman for XYZZYnews #1.
- The Hazards of Invisibility, or, Making Your NPCs Respond The Way You Want Them To by C.E. Forman for XYZZYnews #6. A caution against rushing the design phase.
- The Craft of the Adventure. by Graham Nelson. 2nd ed. The IF Archive, 1995. A good starter with some general points about what makes good IF.
- How to Write a Great Game by Dan Shiovitz. Focuses on construction, interaction, and concept.
- General Game-Design/Authoring Notes by Dan Shiovitz. Short assorted notes jotted down.
- Idea to Implementation by Emily Short. Discusses general workthrough strategies on how to get one's game from vague idea to final product.
- Make IF Fast! by J. Robinson Wheeler. Covers the creation of games starting from a mock transcript of play.
- Ideas For Games
- Discussions about game design on the rec.arts.int-fiction news group.
Articles describing the creation of specific games. These may cover any aspect of planning, designing, or crafting the games in question. (Articles listed by author's surname order.)
- Mean Streets by Bad Dog Studios. Primarily focused on lessons learned.
- Scarlet Sails postmortem by Felicity Banks.
- Writing Cabal by Stephen Bond. Addresses concept development and planning.
- SPAG interview on Primrose Path by Nolan Bonvouloir.
- Comments on Fort Aegea by Francesco Bova. Discusses initial intent, puzzles, coding, and meeting deadlines.
- PHAQ on Photopia by Adam Cadre. Addresses artistic inspirations.
- On Shrapnel by Adam Cadre.
- Brain Guzzlers from Beyond! by Steph Cherrywell.
- The Land of the Cyclops by Francesco Cordella. Discusses the possibilities of adapting puzzle material out of classic literature.
- Arcane Intern (Unpaid) postmortem by Astrid Dalmady.
- Deadline Enchanter by Alan DeNiro.
- Doggerland Design Notes by Alan DeNiro. Focuses on the themes of the piece and on designing hypertext for very personal pieces.
- Unbeknown by Alan DeNiro.
- SPAG interview on Sting of the Wasp by Jason Devlin.
- Mere Anarchy by Bruno Dias. Discusses design for hypertext, the need to build new tools, and scoping changes over the course of the project.
- Cape by Bruno Dias.
- Digital Humanities article on All Hope Abandon by Eric Eve. Addresses Biblical inspirations and thematic content.
- RAIF post on Nightfall by Eric Eve. Discusses design concepts and characterization.
- SPAG interview on Elysium Enigma by Eric Eve. Discusses design and TADS 3 coding.
- Missive by Joey Fu. Discusses writing, handling of gender, and other thematic elements.
- Raik postmortem by Harry Giles. Goes into detail about the decision to do dual language work.
- Seeking Ataraxia postmortem by Glass Rat.
- SPAG interview on Lord Bellwater's Secret by Sam Gordon. Discusses puzzle design and the game's ending.
- Down, the Serpent and the Sun by Chandler Groover.
- HUNTING UNICORN postmortem by Chandler Groover. Discussion about multiple ending storytelling.
- Taghairm and Midnight. Swordfight. discussion by Chandler Groover. Explains the conceptual aims behind both pieces.
- Toby's Nose by Chandler Groover.
- SPAG interview on All Things Devours by half sick of shadows.
- All Things Devours Wrap-up on rec.games.int-fiction by half sick of shadows.
- Birdland postmortem by Brendan Patrick Hennessy.
- Tea Ceremony postmortem by Naomi Hinchen.
- Growbotics postmortem by Cha Holland.
- Oppositely Opal by Buster Hudson.
- SPAG interview on An Act of Murder by Christopher Huang. Discusses puzzle design and mystery structure.
- Eidolon by A.D. Jansen.
- Plans and Workflow article on Sub Rosa by Joey Jones. This is part one of a five part series; see also 2, 3, 4, and 5.
- SPAG interview on Lost Pig by Admiral Jota. Discusses polish, conversation design.
- Splashdown Post Mortem by Paul J. Furio. A retrospective on the creation of this IFComp title from a first-time IF author.
- SPAG interview on Blue Chairs by Chris Klimas. Discusses freedom in games.
- Life on Mars? by Hugo Labrande (in French).
- SPAG #55: Editorial by Jimmy Maher discusses the making of The King of Shreds and Patches.
- Crossroads postmortem by Cat Manning.
- Ether postmortem by Mathbrush. Discusses puzzle design and the introduction of story elements.
- Focalization in Multi-Agent Interactive Simulations by Chris Martens. Theoretical and technical background for the multiple-viewpoint hypertext piece Origins.
- Fifteen Minutes postmortem by Ade McT. Discusses puzzle decisions, implementation, and story elements the author wished had been clearer.
- Map postmortem by Ade McT.
- Laid Off from the Synesthesia Factory postmortem by Katherine Morayati.
- Jigsaw and I by Graham Nelson. Discusses research and design process, and the creation of the protagonist.
- Pilgrimage postmortem by Víctor Ojuel.
- Transparent by Hanon Ondricek. Discusses goals for the design and how they succeeded or failed.
- Post Mortem: The Baker of Shireton by Hanon Ondricek.
- Following Me by Tia Orisney. Talks about concept development and responds to feedback received in reviews.
- Kane County by Tia Orisney. Talks about technical development, design issues, and reception.
- Blog entries on Gun Mute by C.E.J. Pacian.
- A Long Drink by Owen Parks.
- Koustrea postmortem retrospective wrap-up discussion by Jeremy Pflasterer.
- Duel postmortem by piato.
- Degeneracy postmortem by Leonard Richardson.
- Grim Fandango Puzzle Documentation - Design specs for Grim Fandango, made available by Tim Schafer in November 2008.
- Ugly Oafs postmortem by Andrew Schultz.
- The Problems Compound postmortem by Andrew Schultz.
- Hunger Daemon postmortem by Sean M. Shore.
- Aspel Postmortem part 1 and Aspel Postmortem part 2 by Emily Short. Focuses on designing for multiplayer experiences and implementation in Seltani.
- Making of Bronze by Emily Short. Addresses puzzle design.
- Making of Counterfeit Monkey: Puzzles and Toys by Emily Short.
- Making of Counterfeit Monkey: Story by Emily Short.
- Making of Damnatio Memoriae by Emily Short.
- SPAG interview on Floatpoint by Emily Short.
- Making of Glass by Emily Short. Addresses conversation system design.
- Making of Metamorphoses by Emily Short.
- Parlez-Vous Nalian? by Lucian Smith. Discusses the design of the game's famous puzzle.
- Gotomomi by Arno von Borries.
- Six Gray Rats Crawl Up The PIllow by Caleb Wilson.
- NPC Characterization by Emily Short. Extensive discussion. The NPC as object, agent, and interlocutor.
- Two algorithms for creating true character interaction in computer games by Guy Hasson.
- Creating Autonomous Non-Player Characters in Interactive Fiction by Stephen Granade.
- Discussions about NPCs, conversation systems and AI on the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup.
(Articles about types of PCs are on the Theory page listed under Taxonomy.)
- IF Roundtable: The Art of the Puzzle from XYZZYnews #14. Adam Cadre, Lucian Smith, Andrew Plotkin, and Neil deMause discuss puzzles.
- Making Better Puzzles by Stephen Granade.
- Making Fragile Shells by Stephen Granade.
- Designing the puzzles of Escapade! by Juhana Leinonen, March 2010, about his game Escapade!
- Parlez-Vous Nalian? by Lucian Smith from XYZZYnews #16. Lucian discusses the language puzzle from The Edifice.
- Discussions about puzzles on the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup.
- Designing the Puzzle by Bob Bates.
- Laying Out Geography in IF by Emily Short. Covers playability principles, layout, pacing, and the 'edge of the world'.
- Developing a Setting for Fantastical IF by Emily Short. Covers finding your ideas, constructing your map, and presentation.
- Discussions about descriptions & settings on the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup.
- Plot, Scene by Scene by Emily Short. Discussion of different scene types, broken down by styles of interaction.
- That Darn Conundrum by Andrew Stern. Discusses the trade-off in game design between freedom, agency, and story. Not specifically about IF, but applicable to it.
Use of Medium
- Desiderata for a Physical Simulation Library by Emily Short.
- What XYZZY Does by Eileen Mullin from XYZZYnews #3. (See also: Xyzzy.)
- Description Medicine by Michael Berlyn for XYZZYnews #17. Liven up those rooms.
- Descriptions Constructed by Stephen Granade. Descriptions that do more than just describe.
- Exercises in Generated Prose by Emily Short. Overview of some ways Inform 7 can be used to generate tailored room descriptions and other prose.
- Mapping the Tale: Scene Description in IF by J. Robinson Wheeler. Covers the writing of scene descriptions for locations.
- Writing in the IF Gems review quotes collection (also available from the IF Archive).
- Discussions about creative writing on the rec.arts.int-fiction newsgroup.