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Does IF require a different writing style? - Advice wanted from 'proper' writers

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Postby twofingertypist » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:09 pm

I think that writing for IF needs different techniques to static writing. I like to think of IF writing in layers, with room descriptions as the "main level" and object descriptions as an underlying, supporting level of description. A good top level description provides the player with "teasers" that encourage her to explore that story node and discover the information necessary to progress to the next part of the story.

Compared to static text, IF has some disadvantages; notably the smaller amount of text that's visible at one time - effectively our "pages" are about the size of a postcard, which makes for a choppier reading experience, IMO.

However IF has its strengths too, one of which is its interactivity: the way it encourages the player to become a partner in discovering the story. Writing large chunks of text with all the descriptions of all the important objects fully described in the room description doesn't encourage interactivity.

That terse descriptions make the player imagine more isn't the point. (I'd say it's debatable anyway - lean prose just happens to be fashionable right now. I doubt that turn of the century readers revelling in the lush descriptive style then in fashion used their imaginations any less.) In IF, brevity in room descriptions is effective because it makes the player do more, thus playing to the strength of the medium.
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Postby madquest8 » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:32 am

I don't mind reading a long opening, if it's there to set the scene... so I prefer the first one, it creates atmosphere and mood...

I guess if you are trying to set the mood for the player go with one, if you want them to create the mood themselves, go with two...

If the IF is low on the interactive, and you are really just trying to tell your own 'story' with a bit of occasional input , go with one. If it's supposed to be an adventure with a lot of interactivity.. go with two...

That's my initial impression... :)
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