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.)
- 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.
- The Land of the Cyclops by Francesco Cordella. Discusses the possibilities of adapting puzzle material out of classic literature.
- Deadline Enchanter by Alan DeNiro.
- SPAG interview on Sting of the Wasp by Jason Devlin.
- 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.
- SPAG interview on Lord Bellwater's Secret by Sam Gordon. Discusses puzzle design and the game's ending.
- 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.
- SPAG interview on An Act of Murder by Christopher Huang. Discusses puzzle design and mystery structure.
- 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.
- SPAG #55: Editorial by Jimmy Maher discusses the making of The King of Shreds and Patches.
- Jigsaw and I by Graham Nelson. Discusses research and design process, and the creation of the protagonist.
- Blog entries on Gun Mute by C.E.J. Pacian.
- Grim Fandango Puzzle Documentation - Design specs for Grim Fandango, made available by Tim Schafer in November 2008.
- Making of Bronze by Emily Short. Addresses puzzle design.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.