Events (some of which I mentioned last time, but are still in the future):
September 28, Boston area, PR-IF is holding its next meetup.
September 28 is also the deadline to submit games to be shown at WordPlay London, a November event centered on interactive text and held at the British Library. You may submit your own works or nominate works by other people.
Sept 30-Oct 2 in Santa Clara, CA is GaymerX, where Carolyn VanEseltine will be running a workshop on modern interactive fiction.
The Los Angeles IF Meetup has been making twitching, not-quite-actually-dead-yet movements, so might be worth joining if you belong to that area and would like to be notified of LA area events.
AdventureX is running a Kickstarter to support its London event November 19-20. With luck, this money will help do things like fund travel for additional speakers and cover venue costs. Wordplay London is also happening November 19, which is a little unfortunate, but the two events are working together to try to minimize overlap, so you could go to Wordplay on the 19th and AdventureX on the 20th for a full weekend of texty, adventureful goodness.
Meanwhile, October 16 is Comp Game Party Day in London, when we will get together on a Sunday afternoon to play a bunch of newly released IF Comp games. I have a couple of volunteer readers, but could use more, and/or snack-bringers, so if you would like to come and do one of those things, please let me know. And of course if you do not want to bring anything except yourself, that is also welcome.
Choices: And Their Souls Were Eaten is a serialized IF work for Android and iOS by Felicity Banks and published through Tin Man Games. Felicity describes it as “a gloriously epic 1830s magical steampunk adventure.” New pieces of the story come out weekly. (There is already a previous serial called Choices: And The Sun Went Out in progress. On iOS, subscribing to one gains access to both; I gather there’s a different, “story pass” payment mechanism on Android.) Felicity also has an interview up about her recent work and how she got into IF writing, together with some background about the series.
Lethophobia is a new StoryNexus piece by Olivia Wood (Failbetter’s awesome editor previously described) and Jess @notmoro. It is a game at a much different scale than the average StoryNexus piece, one where you can spend dozens of actions exploring a garden. The flavor is not very much like Fallen London, and yet it shares FL’s tendency to the evocative phrase. Beware Southend.
New from Porpentine: All Your Time-Tossed Selves, an interactive fiction implemented in Google Forms. My favorite thing about this piece is the way it marks some questions as * Required, inserting a bossy, bureaucratic affect into what is otherwise a rather evocative, allusive, poetical form. A runner up, though, is the way that Google Forms allows you to see all the analytics on everyone else’s answers before you.
Blood Will Out is a not exactly cheery Twine story about cancer diagnosis. It uses repeated text passages to good effect. Depressing but solid and representative of someone’s specific individual experience.
IntroComp is over, and the results have been posted — you can still check out the games if you’re interested.
Twine, meanwhile, has had a new beta release, 2.1.0, with improvements to running speed as well as the look and feel of the tool:
Because it’s beta, you should keep backups if you decide to try it out on an important project.
GeekDad.com reviews Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine, which I’ve also reviewed in the past — GeekDad.com’s take is nice if you want a take on the book from someone who was working through the book in order to learn.
Sam Kabo Ashwell covers Photograph, an IF Comp game from some years back; it’s a more thoughtful take than I’ve previously seen on this piece.
I wrote about IF about alien kinds of life for Rock Paper Shotgun: The Axolotl Project, Coloratura, Vesp, and Solarium.
At Giant Bomb, Bruno Dias writes about how algorithms take on the responsibility for human priority-setting and decision-making:
Except at no point are human decision-makers ever replaced. Instead, they’re put behind a curtain made out of software. Where before you had bosses cutting pay and jacking up prices, now you have an algorithm telling you the value of something. Algorithms are useful in many ways, but Silicon Valley has made an artform out of using them to sublimate responsibility.
This is an important point around politics and economics, as Bruno frames it; it’s also important when we come to think about procedural artwork. The procedure came from somewhere and expresses something.
Here are papers from ICCC 2016, work on computational creativity that might be of interest to people in the procgen and narrative generation parts of IF.
For content | code | process, Judy Malloy has posted an updated article on the electronic manuscript, which provides an overview of several works (including First Draft of the Revolution as well as work by Mark Marino) that reimagine physical text formats. For example, here’s a screenshot of Soothcircuit, a circuit diagram as fortune-telling device: