February 1 is the next meeting of the SF Bay Interactive Fiction Meetup.
February 8 will be the next meeting of the Baltimore/DC Interactive Fiction Meetup, discussing Mike Spivey’s Sugarlawn.
February 15-16, Rob Sherman is running an interactive fiction masterclass at the British library. This is a paying event; tickets here.
February 29 will be the next meeting of the London IF Meetup. We’ll be doing a shared gameplay session with a curated list of games — I’ll post a link as soon as the session information is up on the website.
March 20-22 in Toronto is Breakout Con, a conference on boardgames and tabletop RPGs. Some great narrative designers are scheduled in as guests.
NarraScope will be May 29-31, in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
January 31–Feb 3, Ryan Veeder is running the first of three events in his Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction. This one is a short jam for Inform 7 games, currently in progress: this one, intriguingly, has Ryan judging the beauty of the source code first, and then only secondarily making judgements concerning the quality of the game itself.
There are a number of rules about how to participate, so please do check out the fine print.
February 3 is also the closing date for the Green Stories interactive fiction competition, which looks for interactive stories about more sustainable futures.
If you plan to enter Spring Thing 2020, you have until March 1, 2020 to declare your intent to enter. Spring Thing is a long-running competition for interactive fiction that welcomes longer games than IF Comp can accommodate, and features a “back garden” section for games that are unfinished, commercial, experimental, or where the author just wants to opt out of the competitive aspect of the competition. The games themselves will be due March 29.
Also on the topic of competitions: the annual IF comp now draws upwards of 80 games a year. That’s a lot, and it’s stretching judging capacity a bit. The organizing committee would welcome input and discussion about how best to handle this.
If you’re into the more procedural side of narrative, the latest Dwarf Fortress release includes some very cool narration of simulated events. You may also enjoy reading others’ wild tales.
Articles and Podcasts
The Ludology podcast interviews Andrew Plotkin, starting from “what is interactive fiction?”
inkle’s podcast, meanwhile, recently covered the difficulty of dealing with fail states.
Mark Marino has been leading a code critique of a passage of Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and inviting participants to comment.
I gave a talk about storylet design at the London IF Meetup. The session was (atypically) recorded, and we’ll be able to share the recording when it’s been edited, but there is also a tweet thread about the event for those who are curious. The talk included a workshop component where the group brainstormed possible story events, worked out what the prerequisites and effects should be, and then collectively played through the resulting game.