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Get the Play Now! Button

The Play Now! button is a small browser plug-in that turns IFDB into your "IF jukebox." Once you install the plug-in, IFDB adds the button to each game's Download box. Just click the button to play the game. IFDB downloads everything you need automatically, and takes you directly to the game's opening screen.

How do I get it?

Installing the plug-in is easy - just find the right version for your browser below, and follow the "install" link.

The IFDB Meta Installer is free software, distributed in the hope that it will be useful but with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. Install and use it at your own risk.

We offer plug-ins for the following configurations:

Windows/Internet Explorer
This version is an ActiveX control for IE.
Click here to install
Source Code

Windows/Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera, Google Chrome
This version uses the industry standard Mozilla plug-in architecture, which most Windows browsers support. It's been tested with recent versions of Mozilla, Safari, Opera, and Chrome.
Click here to install
Source Code

In addition, some IF Player applications integrate with IFDB, letting you browse the database right from the player program:

A multi-format IF player for Mac OS X, capable of running most of the modern IF formats. Zoom features an integrated IFDB browser, which can launch games directly from the site.
Zoom information and downloads

How does it work?

The Play Now! button activates the IFDB Meta Installer, which can automatically download and install most IF games. It's called the "Meta" Installer because it works with the the individual IF Player programs to install the software you need to play each game format. (The Meta Installer isn't a separate program - it's built right into the plug-in.)

If you've used the IFDB Download Adviser, you've already seen half the system in action. (The Download Adviser is an IFDB feature that gives you customized instructions for downloading a game - you can activate it with the "Show me how" button in any game's Download box.)

The Meta Installer takes those instructions and carries them out for you - automatically. It takes care of all the details: downloading the game, unzipping compressed files, and installing any needed Player software.

Once you've installed a game, clicking Play Now takes you directly into the game. It turns IFDB into a sort of IF jukebox, so you don't have to hunt around on your hard disk for past downloads. Just find the game's page on IFDB, click Play Now, and the game will start up.

Is this a Web-based Player?

No. You'll still be running each game on your own system, with the full-featured, full-speed, official Player software for each format. You won't need a Web connection while playing, since everything runs on your computer after it's downloaded.

Is this a "combination" Player?

No - this isn't a multi-format player like Gargoyle or Zoom. The Meta Installer instead fetches the individual Player software for each format that you need. It installs everything "on demand," not as one big bundle, and you'll always be up-to-date because it automatically checks for updates for each Player you use.

But what if I want to use a multi-format player?

If you already use a combination Player, you might still like the Play Now! button just for the convenience of downloading and installing games with one click. You won't have to mess with UNZIP tools and the like, since the Meta Installer handles that automatically. It also saves you the trouble of remembering where you saved past downloads - just click Play Now! and the Meta Installer will find and launch the game.

The Meta Installer can recognize certain multi-format players, so if you use one of these, you won't have to switch players just to use the plug-in:

(We'll add others as we gather the information the Meta Installer needs to recognize them. If there's a multi-format player you'd like to see added to the list, drop us a note - see our contact page.)

Is it safe?

A lot of people are suspicious about browser plug-ins, with some justification. Between hackers and over-zealous marketers, plug-ins have gotten a bad reputation as carriers of viruses, spyware, adware, and other bad news.

To prove we're not trying to hide anything like adware or spyware in our plugins, we've made the plugins completely open-source. If you don't trust us, you can look at the source code and see for yourself if there's anything bad in there.

Even if you trust our intentions, there's always still the risk of bad design. There have been cases in the past of poorly-designed plug-ins that have created security risks that their designers never intended. So, we need to persuade you not only that we didn't intentionally create any security risks, but that we didn't unintentionally create any, either.

We obviously can't guarantee that we didn't make any mistakes. However, we did think about the problem, and we made an effort to understand and avoid the known sorts of vulnerabilities.

The biggest danger with any plug-in is that its scripting interfaces can be exploited by rogue web pages to do things that the plug-in's designers didn't intend. To reduce this risk, we purposely made our scripting interfaces extremely simple and limited. Our plug-in only does one thing: it installs games based on IFDB instructions. The only information that a web page can send to our plug-in is the ID number for a game - that's it; a web page can't even tell the plug-in where to find the game. Everything else the plug-in needs to know comes directly from the IFDB server, via a separate network connection, outside of the browser and not subject to scripting interference.

For full details, you can look at the source code (linked above, with the corresponding browser packages) and the design specification (linked below). The design spec has a section on the security measures designed into the overall architecture and into the individual plug-in implementations.

I want all the gory details!

For more detail than you can possibly really want, here's the design spec for the Meta Installer system.