Mid-August Link Assortment

IF Comp intents to enter are still open through the beginning of September, so if you’d like to write for the comp this year, you can sign up.

August 14-17, Cape Cod, MA is the Foundation of Digital Games conference, including a workshop in procedural content generation.

August 17 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF in Cambridge.

WordPlay, the annual festival of word-based games that came to London in 2016, is this year returning to its native Toronto on November 18. If you’d like to submit something, you have until August 25 to propose a talk or workshop, and until September 30 to submit a game.

New Releases

Mid-September, Anya Johanna DeNiro is releasing A Bathroom Myth, a story whose proceeds will go to the Transgender Law Center.

Elizabeth Sampat has written 8 Vignettes from the Tech Industry, a Twine piece about her reactions to the recent leaked Google menu about the role of women in tech.

Nanobots is a Twine anthology based on the They Might Be Giants album of the same name. It is still seeking entrants to cover some songs, but others have been filled in; for instance, zarf has contributed Nouns.

Joey Jones’ Choice of Games piece Trials of the Thief-taker is now out. Joey is a participant in the Oxford/London IF meetup and the author of a wide array of parser IF; this time he turns to a choice-based historical about being a sort of bounty hunter in London before there was such a thing as an organized police force. I’m completely a sucker for historical IF, especially when it’s supported by some loving research, and we had a good time playing an in-progress version of the game many months ago. I’m looking forward to seeing how the finished version came out.

Xalavier Nelson, Jr. (of SCREW YOU, BEAR DAD among others) has released Replacement, a Twine anthology about body modification. The portion I’ve read so far is quite linear, using links for pacing and to dramatize the text in dynfic fashion.

Introcomp games became available this month; there are eleven unfinished entries of various kinds of IF, and the aim is to vote on which pieces you’d most like to see made into a finished project. Introcomp is also an opportunity for authors to get feedback on works in progress, so responses from reviewers are especially valuable here.

Paying Work

Choice of Games has started a new, romance-specific line of interactive novels, called Heart’s Choice. This is the first time CoG has branched out genre-wise beyond their Choice of / Hosted Games distinction, which is more about quality and brand-adherence guarantee than anything else. The Choice of series contains a number of different genre titles, including romance but also superhero stories, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers and adventure of various types. I’ll be particularly curious to see how their structural requirements change (if at all) to support narratives that are more about relationships rather than the development and expression of an individual protagonist’s powers.

See their description of the line for more information about what it is and how to pitch for it.

Worth Reading Elsewhere

Sam Kabo Ashwell has a detailed writeup of the story-focused board game T. I. M. E. Stories, which I’ve been wanting to play for a while and just haven’t had time for yet.

Also on Sam’s blog, this writeup of Inheritance, a Viking-themed LARP that sounds pretty engaging.

Timothy Samoff has written a masters’ thesis about the use of real-time mechanics in IF, taking examples from 80 Days, Breakers, Border Zone, The Martian, and others.

Digital Antiquarian has been doing a fascinating sequence on game development in the USSR, including the saga of how Tetris came into being, and what happened afterward.

And here’s a history of the writing of Tales from the Borderlands. From those who were around at the time. TftB is one of my favorite Telltale experiences.

Procedural Generation and AI Topics

Using Electricity is a collection of computer-generated works, mostly poetry, edited by Nick Montfort.

Been Kim gave a talk on interpretable machine learning: how do you make the system’s decisions comprehensible to human onlookers? I didn’t see the talk itself, but the slides are easy to follow.

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