Yes, but after some two years now I’m back from my long search, and of course I’m where all long odysseys end, namely at square 1.
I had decided to look into writing my own IF authoring system — tentatively called Stardust — and to this end I looked for a suitable programming language.
After about 500 lines of code, I began to see the immense amount of work I had ahead of me. For the first time, I understood concretely what designing and implementing an IF authoring system means — which in turn lead me to look back on Inform 6 to see how Graham Nelson had dealt with the questions which reared their countless ugly heads. I didn’t exactly despair, but now I grasped that with the limited amount of spare time to assign to this hobby, I’d never get anything worthwhile together, so I decided to give up on Stardust.
But it wasn’t all for nothing (otherwise I wouldn’t revive this blog); first of all I got a bit of insight into several programming languages which had been black boxes to me before. Secondly and more importantly I now also understand Inform 6 much better. One confronted with the questions and problems programming an IF system entails, I now much better understand Nelson’s concepts and why he choose to design I6 the way he did. This in return makes it much easier for me to program in I6, because I can follow Nelson’s “trains of thought.”
To make a long story short, I’m pouring and sweating over my first “real” work of IF, after the Isle of Statues, which always was only a prototype. The new story will be called Sinners and Saints, more story- than puzzle-driven.*) Currently, work on it is going at a good pace (note, I have to re-learn much detail of what I had already understood once three years ago…), and due to my exploration of the IF authoring world, I daresay I encounter less blocks and bottlenecks than back then. So, the odyssey wasn’t all for nothing. ;-)
Here’s the intro to Sinners and Saints in it’s nascent state:
“The time: 1525, a sunny spring morning. The location: A city which shall remain nameless, in the northern regions of Italy. You are Fortunato di Carazza, a young cavaliere, quick with the rapier and the wit — a renaissance gentleman.
You have been summoned to the palace of the town’s Doge, the almost absolute ruler of the community. The summon was friendly but positive, so you decided not to keep the Doge waiting, though you have no idea what he wants from you. You arrived at the appointed time at the palace, but now you’re waiting in the antechamber for the Doge to finish his other, apparently more important businesses.”
*) I never really got the hang of most puzzles, and found them endlessly and needlessly frustrating. YMMV.