Mid-January Link Assortment

Events

Feb 5 is the next meeting of the SF Bay IF Meetup.

If you wish to enter Spring Thing this year with a new work of interactive fiction, you have until March 1 to submit your intent to enter, and March 31 to complete your game.

Releases

chiaroscuro is a short, low-fantasy IF novella from Kim Berkley, author of Harbinger’s Head, about a young American artist in Rome, choosing her artistic and personal path.

End of December Link Assortment

Events

Running for a week starting January 1 on itch is the Historically Accurate Game Jam. This isn’t specifically an IF competition, and games of all types are welcome, as long as they’re written in a week and address the chosen time period or event of the jam. If you’ve had a craving to contribute to the tradition of historically-themed IF, though, this might be a place to do it.

Also starting Jan 1 on itch: Gaming Like It’s 1926, a jam for games riffing on material that has just come into the public domain from that year.

January 8 is the next meetup of the SF Bay Interactive Fiction Meetup.

January 9, the Seattle/Tacoma IF Meetup is getting together.

Talks and Articles

Back in November the Oxford/London IF Meetup did a talk and panel on freelance game writing and narrative design, with guests Florencia Minuzzi, Allie Bustion, and George Lockett. That session is now available on YouTube.

Aaron A. Reed has published the last posts in his 50 Years of Text Games series, covering A.I. Dungeon and Scents and Semiosis, looking at two very different types of generative storytelling. Though the series is now over, you may want to keep an eye on his substack a little longer, as he’s also going to announce plans for a book of the series.

Meanwhile, Lynn Cherny’s newsletter is now also a substack – and the first post covers everything from graphical AI tools to the mythology of angels.

If you have access to the December Italian version of Wired, you may find that there’s an interactive interview with cybertext and interactive story scholar Espen Aarseth inside. The interview was conducted by Sara Uslenghi, but I restructured it into an ergodic experience (drawing a little inspiration from Meanwhile for how to present a short choice-based piece in a visual, large-page format).

Tools and Platforms

TWIST is a platform for interactive audio stories from Ear-Reality; it’s currently in closed beta, but people interested in building content for it can apply to the beta program.

Liza Daly has released a new version of Windrift, her tool for writing hypertextual interactive fiction, along with some sample pieces that show off what it can currently do. By her own description, she’s expecting Windrift more to inspire other systems than to be adopted widely itself. She’s now working on a version of the tool to support multiplayer stories, which sounds exciting to me; there is, I feel, a lot of room for interesting new development in multiplayer IF.

Mid-December Link Assortment

Events

January 8 is the next meetup of the SF Bay Interactive Fiction Meetup. [Edited: originally it was listed as Jan 1, but it’s been moved to avoid holiday clashes.]

[Edited to add:] The next meetup for the Seattle/Tacoma IF group will be on January 9.

Running for a week starting January 1 on itch is the Historically Accurate Game Jam. This isn’t specifically an IF competition, and games of all types are welcome, as long as they’re written in a week and address the chosen time period or event of the jam. If you’ve had a craving to contribute to the tradition of historically-themed IF, though, this might be a place to do it.

End of November Link Assortment

Events

December 4 is the next meetup of the San Francisco Bay Area IF Group.

December 12 is the next meetup of the Seattle/Tacoma IF Group, meeting online via Discord.

The Ectocomp competition for spooky and Halloween-y games is now over, but the entries can still be played.

Or, if you’re looking for something to enter in the future, signups are now open for Spring Thing 2022, which welcomes interactive fiction games of many varieties and lengths, and is a more festival-like venue than the IF Comp.

Articles and Videos

My colleague Bruno Dias writes about power creep in long-running games (including those with a narrative component).

Verge today has an article on procedural narrative, for which Lewis Gordon interviewed me as well as a number of other usual suspects in this space.

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has published new guidelines for freelancing work in the game industry, establishing some norms around contracts and work in this field.

Back in October, I did a talk for the Birmingham Indies meetup about narrative design for a long-running live narrative game (namely Fallen London). That talk is now available on YouTube.

Books

Hannah Nicklin’s forthcoming Writing for Games: Theory and Practice is now available for preorder.

I’ve reviewed a bunch of books on game writing here, but I’m definitely looking forward to this one, on the basis of Nicklin’s past tutorial and blog writing on the subject. She brings in theatrical as well as game experience, and has given a lot of thought to the art of writing strong, characterful dialogue, among other things.

Mid-November Link Assortment

Events

IF Comp judging ends today — you may have a few hours left to register your opinions, if you wish — and results will be available soon.

Today also marks the beginning of fos1’s jam for TADS games, which will run through early 2022. This is intended to invite more authors to try out the TADS system and put some fresh energy into that ecosystem.

November 21, the Oxford/London IF Meetup has a session on writing and narrative design for hire: we’ll be talking not just about how to get freelance writing work, but about what that work tends to involve and how to approach clients of different types.

November 29 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction.

December 4 is the next meetup of the San Francisco Bay Area IF Group.

Articles

50 Years of Text covers Versu, with a background on what the platform was, how it worked, and what ultimately happened to it.

End of October Link Assortment

Events

IF Comp games are currently available to play and judge. Anyone can participate in judging — so if you want to be part of that, check out the website for instructions. The judging period runs through November 15.

November 6 is the next meetup of the San Francisco Bay Area IF Group.

Starting November 15, fos1 is hosting a jam for TADS games, which will run through early 2022. This is intended to invite more authors to try out the TADS system and put some fresh energy into that ecosystem.

Articles, Podcasts, Etc

Arcweave is a branching narrative design tool; its creators have also started a new YouTube series about interactive fiction, starting with a look at Spider & Web by Giannis G. Georgiou.

The Short Game podcast is covering some games from IF Comp 2021. At the time of this post, their Part One episode is the only one available, but more coverage of more games may be forthcoming.

Stacey Mason’s dissertation on Responsiveness in Narrative Systems is now available. (Disclosure: I was on her committee.) In the dissertation, she offers both a theoretical exploration of ideas of agency and responsiveness in interactive narrative and a discussion of the practical tooling and design she has been developing lately – and starts off with a strong argument for why this pairing of theory and practice is essential to advance the field.

Via arnicas, A Guided Journey through Non-Interactive Story Generation is a massive overview of narrative generation systems. (Also, if this type of research interests you, or you’re into related topics around text generation et al, I very much recommend arnicas’ newsletter.)

Releases

Speculative fiction author and long-time IF creator Yoon Ha Lee has released An Amiable Planet, a Twine piece running about 20 minutes and set in his hexarchate universe.