July 2 (tomorrow!), the San Francisco Bay IF Meetup gets together.
ParserComp games are now available to play and vote on through July 31. There’s a health supply of entries: I’ve not had a chance to try, but the list of entries includes a prequel to the Frenetic Five games from veteran IF author Neil deMause; also some novelties, such as a game called Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand in which it appears you type your input but the game’s output takes the form of hand-drawn images. Some players are reviewing these games over on the intfiction forum.
Narrascope registrations are open for July 30-31: the event is low-cost and remote, and features speakers on many aspects of interactive narrative.
This is some way in the future, but in early September, inkJam will be running to encourage new games written in Ink.
The book version of Aaron Reed’s 50 Years of Text Games series is live on Kickstarter, but only for a few more days – if you’re interested, now’s the time to pick it up.
Articles and Publications
ICCC, the conference on computational creativity, ran recently; Alex Calderwood presented a paper on using large language models to help author generative Twine games, and released Spindle, a tool to do this that requires access to the OpenAI API.
This paper also draws on an older one studying how novelists work with generative AI tools, and I find these observations familiar:
Generated passages display a level of narrative coherence that allows the model to ‘yes-and’ the user’s apparent authorial intention, while still enabling a degree of defamiliarization that results from the composition of nearly appropriate text, an attribute of AI writing which has been said to be prized by writers including the novelists Robin Sloan and Sigal Samuel, who respectively envision an AI writing assistant as “less Clippy, more seance” and describe feeling “strangely moved” by AI ´writing (Calderwood et al. 2020)Calderwood et al., 2020
People interested in using IF in the classroom might be interested in EscapeIF and, especially, this talk on how to build content around specific learning outcomes.
EscapeIF is a non-computer system designed to be used by teachers with minimal classroom resources, but the design guidance about how to apply learning outcomes and work towards playable experiences could easily carry over to other types of interactive fiction.
This is an older article, but I’ve recommended it in a few places recently, especially with Inform now open-source: Bruno Dias on why Inform is great specifically for prototyping.
Borogove.app makes it easier than ever to do that prototyping online and share it, as well, though if you try that, note that currently Borogove tends to let you do one project at a time.
And if this sounds fun but you want to be able to present an Inform prototype with choice-based input and/or other UI features, rather than a standard parser interface, check out Vorple.