Oxford / London IF Meetup in 2018

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We’re putting together a cool selection of craft and design talks as well as tool workshops for next year — starting with a talk on story and mechanics from me in January, and a workshop on using ink with Unity in February. I’ve also got some very cool speakers who have expressed interest in joining us later in the year, covering a range of choice and parser IF, commercial and hobbyist work.

That’s all possible in part because we have a new, regular venue: Karlien Van Den Beukel is kindly hosting us at London South Bank University, which means we can afford to do more London events in 2018.

Work has me traveling a lot these days, so I am looking for support in a couple of areas to keep Meetups running regularly.

– volunteer co-hosts for London events in 2018 (multiple). Co-hosts promise to come to one or more specific events, do announcements, introduce the speaker, close the meeting again afterward, usher folks on to the pub at the end, and be on hand in case any issues arise. This is a limited time expenditure (mainly the event itself, and you can volunteer for as few as one). But it is a position of trust — please volunteer only if you’re committed, and willing to chat with me first about how we keep Meetups safe and welcoming.

– volunteer A/V assistant. I get requests to record our talks and make them available to people beyond London, but I don’t have equipment or experience with this. If we have someone who can take responsibility for recording and uploading talks, I’ll figure out which of our speakers are open to having their presentations captured.

– workshop presenter on an IF tool (other than ink and Tracery) in Oxford. Time of year is open, but I’m looking especially at early March, May or October, as students would be around. I’m in conversations with an Oxford maker-space that might host. This role pays an honorarium; if you’re new to running tool workshops, I’m also happy to offer coaching and suggestions.

If any of that sounds like you, please drop me a line at emshortif@gmail.com.

3 thoughts on “Oxford / London IF Meetup in 2018

  1. As someone who lives in London and is into Interactive Fiction, I’ve always been intrigued by these meetings and want to go. But I was curious as to what sort of things happen at them. Is it strictly/predominately about academic research/papers about the medium or is it a more casual meet up thing?

    • This is not an academic venue. We have members who do work academically on IF, and I’ve occasionally brought in academic speakers to talk about specific interactive storytelling projects, but in a way aimed at people who are primarily interested in playing or writing IF.

      I’ve also lately been trying to be clear in event descriptions about what intended audience is likely to get the most out of coming. (E.g. is it mostly for players, novice authors, experienced designers, people looking to get into commercial IF writing, …?)

      The meetup has evolved a bit over the years, but the structure we’ve landed on is roughly

      — 10-15 minutes of initial chatting etc as people settle in

      — 5-10 minutes of news and announcements (mentioning future Meetup plans, announcements from members of the group, sometimes sharing information about upcoming IF competitions or jams that people might want to be part of)

      — scheduled content (a talk from an invited speaker, a workshop on a particular tool, playing through IF Comp games together, occasionally a panel), which runs 60ish minutes for talks, longer if it’s an afternoon workshop session

      — discussion / Q&A in the room as appropriate

      — move on to the pub, people can keep talking as long as they want there

      We’ve tried more and less planned variants of this, and it’s clear that the group gets the most value if there’s both social time and prepared content on a topic that’s advertised in advance.

      At this point, we have enough resources that I’m able to invite experienced speakers who’ve worked on cool commercial and hobbyist projects. My first criterion is “would *I* like to hear this person give a talk about this topic?” — which means I’m going for presentations I think will be both informative and fun, on a diverse range of interactive story-related topics.

      Past speakers have included Nathan Penlington on his CYOA-based drama, Ian Thomas on his God Rest Ye Merry LARP, Minkette on the design of the Oubliette escape room, Olivia Wood and Meg Jayanth on moving into professional games writing.

      • Ah, this sounds very cool and up my alley! I will have to make it a point to show up to one very soon. I’ve been a member of the Meetup.com group for some time, so I will look for more details there.

        Thanks for your response

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