Brass Lantern
the adventure game web site


Interactive Fiction Theory

Thoughts on the art and craft of adventure game design. The articles cover design issues, elements of adventures such as puzzles, and analyses of successful games.

The Room as Metaphor in Interactive Fiction

What if the room, the basic structural unit of most interactive fiction, obscures other ways of organizing and thinking about interactive fiction? Nathan Jerpe looks at the room as a metaphor and explores what other metaphors might replace it.

A Comparison of TADS 3 and Inform 7

Eric Eve is one of the few IF authors to have worked extensively in both Inform 7 and TADS 3. Here he shares his insights in the two languages' similarities and differences.

Making Better Puzzles

Want to make better puzzles? Try thinking about what make puzzles satisfying to you, and don't neglect the logic that undergirds many puzzles.

Creating Autonomous Non-Player Characters in Interactive Fiction

Making NPCs that act on their own is a tough undertaking. This article describes some of the approaches to making autonomous NPCs, looking in depth at the game Child's Play as a case study.

The Making of The Infinite Ocean: The Preparation

In the second article in a series, Jonas Kyratzes, author of The Infinite Ocean, discusses the preparation he did for writing his game and how that preparation helped him.

Some Observations on Using Inform 7

Emily Short, one of the developers of Inform 7, discusses why she finds Inform 7 more powerful than Inform 6 in terms of how it makes some of the more intractable issues of interactive fiction easier.

The Making of The Infinite Ocean: The Idea

Jonas Kyratzes, author of The Infinite Ocean, describes the process he went through in writing the game. In this first installment, Jonas discusses where the idea for the game came from.

Description Constructed

Descriptions in interactive fiction can do more than describe physical objects. They're the primary way in which authors convey information about the game world. Because of this, there are a number of effects authors can achieve with descriptions.

Twisty Little Passages Review

Nick Montfort's book argues that interactive fiction should be considered a new branch of literature, and offers up the critical tools and terminology for analyzing interactive fiction as such. That it manages to do so yet still remain compellingly readable is a testament to how good the book is.

The Player Will Get It Wrong

No matter how many times you play your own game, you'll be hard-pressed to figure out what actual players will see when they play it.

Escape from Monkey Island's Puzzles

The puzzles in Escape from Monkey Island are some of the best ones I've seen in a long time, and remind me of older adventure games. Why, then, are they something of a failure?

Where Mazes Came From

Once upon a time, mazes were in every adventure game you played. Nowadays, they're a seldom-used puzzle. Why were they so popular? Where did they come from, and where did they go?

The Player Character's Role in Game Design

In response to the game design section of the 4th Edition of the Inform Designer's Manual, Duncan Stevens takes a look at how the main character of a piece of interactive fiction can change the game itself.

Developing a Setting for Fantastical IF

Emily Short talks about what goes into creating a game set in a fantasy world, from ideas and research to consistency and imagery.

"Easy" IF Languages

Eric Mayer discusses his experiences with Alan and ADRIFT, and why a so-called "easier" language may be the better choice for non-programmers.

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