The Inform Beginner's Guide

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The Inform Beginner's Guide, by Roger Firth and Sonja Kesserich, is a tutorial manual aimed directly at Inform 6 novices, especially those with little or no programming experience. This manual, often known as the IBG, is intended to complement the definitive source of information — The Inform Designer's Manual by Graham Nelson.

Note that both books describe Release 6 of Inform; they do not cover Inform 7, which pioneers a radically new approach to IF authorship based on natural language definitions.


The information is structured as seventeen chapters, and focuses on three games: all short, all playable to completion.

  • Chapters 1 and 2: introducing interactive fiction, and downloading the necessary files.
  • Chapters 3 to 6: "Heidi" — just about as simple as an IF game can be, but still manages to introduce a range of important concepts.
  • Chapters 7 to 10: "William Tell" — a retelling of the famous folk tale, is nearly as brief but roams more widely in its use of Inform 6's capabilities.
  • Chapters 11 to 13: "Captain Fate" — the final game presents a comic-book hero in urgent need of a change.
  • Chapters 14 to 17: some formal summaries, plus help with compiling and debugging your games.

In addition, a series of appendices summarise the features of the Inform 6 language and library, and provide a glossary of terms.

Known errors in the manual are listed here.


The manual is available as a free PDF download. It is also available for purchase in paperback from

The original publisher of the printed edition of the IBG, in July 2003, was David Cornelson. After a period when the manual was out of print, in March 2006 the role of publisher was taken over by Dan Sanderson.

Revision History

  • Edition 1: April 2002 (describes Inform 6 release 6.21, using library release 6/10)
  • Edition 2: August 2002 (describes Inform 6 release 6.21, using library release 6/10)
  • Edition 3: August 2004 (describes Inform 6 release 6.30, using library release 6/11)