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Welcome to Inform!

Inform is an Interactive Fiction (text adventure) game compiler -- it takes source code you write and turns it into a game data file which is then played using an interpreter. There are several interpreters available which can play Inform games on different machines (e.g. frotz, jzip) -- you can probably obtain one from the same place you got this package.

Inform was originally written by Graham Nelson, and you are free to redistribute it under certain conditions -- see the file COPYING for details.

What's in this distribution?

The following subdirectories are included in the package:

  • src --- source code for the Inform program
  • lib --- Inform library files
  • include --- selection of useful include files
  • demos --- some Inform demo games (including the classic advent)
  • tutor --- some Inform tutorial files
  • docs --- internal Inform documentation and release notes
  • contrib --- other contributed Inform stuff

How do I install it?

If you're working from a git repository, do this first:

make submodules

Then, here's how to build Inform6:

sudo make install

This will install the following (assuming default installation):

Inform executable in /usr/local/bin
Inform library files in /usr/local/share/inform/lib
Inform include files in /usr/local/share/inform/include
Inform tutorial games in /usr/local/share/inform/tutor
Inform demo games in /usr/local/share/inform/demos

If you want to install Inform somewhere other than /usr/local, edit Makefile accordingly.

OK, it's installed. Now what?

There are three canonical works documenting the Inform6 language. These are the Inform Designers Manual (4th ed), the Inform Beginner's Guide, and the IF Theory Reader. These are at At least the the Inform Designer's Manual is currently available on Amazon as a hardcopy hardcover book. They're very nice to have on hand when going through the demos/ and tutor/ directories and follow along with the books. After that, you're all set to write an IF game! Yay!


If you have any problems with anything, contact the relevant person listed in the AUTHORS file. If you're not sure who that is, contact me instead, at the address at the end of this file.

The Interactive Fiction archive

There's a good chance that you got this package from the IF archive, or one of its mirrors. But if you didn't, you might like to check it out

It has lots of great things: games, hints, solutions, authoring systems (like this one), programs for playing the games, tools for making maps, and stuff about the late, great Infocom.

There are also more resources for programming with Inform, including a version of the Inform Designer's Manual suitable for printing. See the stuff in the programming/inform6 subdirectory.

The Inform maintainers

An active community of Inform maintainers exists to fix bugs, implement new features and issue new versions of the program. If you'd like to know more, or you think you've found a bug, visit them at

About this package

This package was originally created by Glenn Hutchings to address the tedium of gathering the program, libraries, and documentation for several different Unix machines. It received blessing from Graham Nelson. The result is a package that automates the configuration and installation process. It should build and install on all Unix, Linux, and Win32/Cygwin system.

This package is an ideal base for creating pre-compiled packages in the style of Debian .debs, Redhat .rpms and similar schemes as well as build trees like FreeBSD ports, NetBSD pkgsrc, and Gentoo portage.

Many people contributed to the contents of this package. See the file AUTHORS for more details.

This package is hosted at Github:

Feel free to hack on it and send me improvements!


If you have any comments or suggestions (or anything else, for that matter) feel free to drop me a line. I am:

David Griffith

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