December 16, there’s an intro to Twine run by Queer Code London and co-sponsored by the Oxford and London IF Meetup. We are not otherwise having a meetup this month, as it’s such a busy time of the year.
The New Year’s Minicomp is accepting interactive fiction submissions through January 4.
The Opening Up Digital Fiction competition runs through February 15, 2018. It offers cash prizes and the possibility of future publication.
Jacqueline Ashwell is taking over from Jason McIntosh as IF Comp organizer next year.
Articles and Reviews
Atlas Obscura covers this year’s IF Comp top finishers, interviewing Buster Hudson, Liza Daly, Stephen Granade, Nick Montfort, and others.
As part of PROCJAM, Bruno Dias wrote a tutorial in how to use the procedural text tool Improv.
The last couple of weeks have seen some really nice new work. Particularly recommended:
Mama Possum is a new interactive story from Cassandra Khaw and Kevin Snow with art by George Kavallines and sound by Priscilla Snow. It’s a short, effective piece; light on branching, but it doesn’t need much either.
Brendan Patrick Hennessy has released the fourth and final chapter section of Known Unknowns, a serial set in the same universe as Birdland, Open Up! and Bell Park, Youth Detective. Endearing characters and excellent dialogue.
Reigns: Her Majesty is a sequel to the original Reigns, written by Leigh Alexander and taking on the experiences of a female ruler. It has a lot of the appeal of the original Reigns — easy, more-ish play through a Tinder-style choice interface, events that gradually unlock the further you get into the story — but for my tastes is considerably funnier. Alexander gets the most out of event descriptions that might be just a sentence or two long.
And from a structural perspective, this is worth looking at for people interested in quality-based narrative styles: Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty both use a deck of storylet cards, with new cards being added or old cards removed based on what you’ve accomplished so far.
Story Speaker is a system to support Google Home voice-driven IF.
Pushing Loyal People is a satirical piece about being a cog in the corporate machinery.
Isak Grozny’s The Bitter Drop is taking preorders now on itch. He describes the game thus:
Itinerant Rabbi Chaim Shlomovich Vidal and his pupils, the bigender horror writer Lev Venyaminovich/Lyubov Venyaminovna and the witch Mogila Borisovna Balshemnik arrive in Svet-Dmitrin, the capital of a crumbling empire. They stay with one Anzu Tamiratovich Menelik, a necromancer dandy with more than skeletons in his closet. As the days pass and Lev recovers from a recent stint on a psych ward, Anzu and Lev grow closer; Anzu shows Lev around the city and the two of them stumble on a horrifying, eldritch truth about the current Czar and his White Guard. Following this lead will cost them dear.
Liza Daly’s NaNoGenMo project A Physical Book treats the letters of a page as physical objects that can be dropped, bumped, and squished. You can add your own text and play with it, too, though (as the site explains) it may make your computer run hot.
Pictured: what (one of) its many deformation methods does to the Counterfeit Monkey blurb. (Somehow that seemed like the most appropriate of my projects to play letter-games with.)
Meanwhile, this is not strictly speaking IF related, but this article on Artificial Intelligence Augmentation has typographical generative systems that you can play with, together with some really interesting discussion of computational creativity and what we’re even hoping to do with AI.
Elizabeth Sampat writes about why it is hard for women in games specifically to talk about the sexual harassment and abuse they’ve faced in the workplace.
And this article from The Cut speaks to the professional damage to women caused by harassment and other related abuses of power.
This is something I have seen a lot, unfortunately, and been affected by myself, around the edges. It’s always enraging, encountering the reminder that some men will always judge women on their appearance and availability, no matter what effort, talent, hard or soft skills those women bring to workplace.