cover image for Andrew Plotkin's Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home
Writer/programmer Andrew Plotkin is the author of several award-winning works of interactive fiction, including Shade, Spider and Web, and The Dreamhold. An integral member of the IF community, he also helps support the software tools that underlie modern IF. He has worked on game design and game tools his entire life, though mostly outside of the game industry and academic worlds. Currently creating Hadean Lands, an interactive fiction for the iPhone, he is pursuing in his words "a (perhaps chimerical) career as a creator of narrative interaction on mobile platforms.".
On Authoring Software he writes about his IF Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home. (2010) Created with Inform 7, Heliopause, winner of the 2010 XYZZY Awards for Best Writing, presents the reader, as do most IFs, with narrative descriptions and prompts. The process is continually interactive; the reader navigates the story by entering text phrases at the prompts; the story responds:
The sails begin to unfurl. They catch sunlight. The Horizon of Night shifts gladly around her keel, and slides into interstellar space.
The Outer Marches
Andrew Plotkin's Interactive Fiction Page includes a card with introductory IF commands and an interactive fiction tutorial game, The Dreamhold. But in Heliopause, as he explains in his statement, although some action verbs are traditional in IF and some are from sailing stories, "...the player must move beyond standard IF usage and engage some imagination..."
Plotkin, who is also known as Zarf, has provided the source code for
Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home at:
Andrew Plotkin: - Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home
Heliopause is primarily concerned with tone. Its language is drawn from the lyrical science fiction of the early 1970s (which was itself concerned with evoking high fantasy and fable into the science-fictional mode). I obliquely reference Jack Williamson and George R. R. Martin; Vance and Zelazny lurk inescapably behind them.