End of October Link Assortment

November 5, the SF Bay Area IF group has its meetup.

IF Comp voting wraps up November 15.

November 16, Boston/Cambridge: the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF.

I’ve been talking this up for a while, but the weekend of November 19/20 is a double treat for IF and word game enthusiasts in London: the 19th is the one-day WordPlay event held at the British Library, and the 20th will see IF-related content featured at AdventureX. I’ll be talking about the history and future of IF at AdventureX. Various IF folks will be in town especially for the occasion.

New releases

In addition to the IF Comp games, this time of year brings Ectocomp, a competition for short Halloween-themed games. Some of these have been written very quickly (in a 3-hour time period) and others get a little more time for development, but they’re usually in the short-short category.

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The Seers Catalogue is a surreal, moderately fantastical hypertext piece: at times it reminded me of the old Avengers TV show, the one with Diana Rigg. It’s illustrated and supported with music, and the production values are high, if odd, throughout. I reached what I thought was the end, but it seemed to loop. There were a few differences in the second pass. Had I not finished after all? I am not sure, but the second pass was so repetitive that ultimately I decided the first pass was enough.

Main Course is a new, free text adventure from Quantum Sheep where you play an alien trapped aboard a space ship.

Choice of Games has a new game on Steam: Congresswolf:

Is the next member of Congress a werewolf? Can you survive a lycanthrope’s bite? There’s no silver bullet for winning an election!

On Sub-Q from Veve Jaffa, there’s Which Passover Plague are You?, a piece that falls somewhere between short story, job interview, and personality quiz. It’s a bit less serious than Tenth Plague. This piece slightly fell between two stools for me — longer than strictly necessary as a joke, but without as much of a focused point as I might have expected from a deeper story… but your mileage may vary. I turned out to be the Plague of Frogs, which is accurate about the quality of my singing voice at the very least.

This is no longer a really new release, but I’ve accumulated a bit of a backlog of press releases and game announcement emails. Silence! The Elder Speaks describes itself as

a choice-driven narrative adventure about an aging shaman, an isolated forest village, honey fetishism, unforeseen consequences, and unrequited inter-species love.

and while I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, can you really go wrong with honey fetishism?

Procedural goodies

PROCJAM (“Make something that makes something”) starts November 5. If you’d like inspiration, some of us (including me) participated in a day of talks about procedural generation. Adam Summerville’s talk on machine learning algorithms and Tanya Short’s talk on procedurally generated personality might be especially interesting to people thinking of building procedural stories or texts, but there’s a lot of other good stuff in there as well. I spoke about the concepts in Annals of the Parrigues.

Alongside the Jam, Jupiter Hadley put together a zine called Seeds that describes different past procedural projects, or offers creators’ essays and philosophies about procedural generation. It’s especially fun seeing methods applied in unexpected ways to generate unexpected things — like the maze maker used to generate alphabets by @TearOfTheStar. I also liked the chapter on clothing generation and related effects in Ultima Ratio Regum.

Also, Adam Summerville’s talk mentioned emoji2vec, which is able to reason about the relationships between emoji meanings. This pleases me very much.

Meanwhile, over at Gamasutra Bruno Croci writes about creating a gamejam game about a procedural dating sim that comes up with randomized characters and challenges the player to combine them suitably.

And if you want your procedural romance game to include procedural robots, maybe look out for Gerty – Robots in Love, which has recently-ish been greenlit on Steam.

Finally, Liza Daly’s amazing Voynich-esque procedurally generated manuscript Seraphs is available for purchase as a softcover book in full color.


François Alliot writes about adaptive narrative considerations for Reigns, in a way that fits right in with IF community discussions on quality-based and salience based narrative.

Board games

Here is an interview with Rob Daviau, the creator of a number of legacy mechanic boardgames, starting with Risk Legacy and moving on to Pandemic Legacy. Here’s a best of Essen to go with that.


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