I’m in Saint Louis for Strange Loop, a code-centric conference “that aims to bring together the developers and thinkers building tomorrow’s technology in fields such as emerging languages, alternative databases, concurrency, distributed systems, mobile development, and the web.” Although it didn’t really fit in any of those impressive categories, I spent some time on Wednesday presenting a 2.5 hour workshop on my favorite Weird Art Language, Inform 7. As with any new language, it’s hard to learn more than a tiny fraction of Inform in just a few hours, but we managed to cover kinds/properties, basic adaptive text, action processing rules, and new actions. I love seeing what scenarios participants decide to implement, and this group didn’t let me down: we had a slayable Smaug, some cats, a baby in a tuxedo, and a classic “where I am right now” game set at Strange Loop itself.
The workshop was structured around sample code that was introduced chunk by chunk alongside relevant IDE features, with livecoding to work through participant questions when they came up. I also had a brief slide deck to introduce the topic and situate our fairly narrowly focus (parser-based interactive fiction) in the wide world of text-based interactive works. I’m not sure how useful these are outside the context of the workshop, but my sample code, slides, and a simple chart of the I7 action processing rules are all available on github if you want to take a look.