Mid-May Link Assortment

Events

logo.pngThe Nebula ConferenceMay 16-19 in Woodland Hills, CA, features multiple talks on interactive fiction by Mary Duffy (Choice of Games) and Stephen Granade (long-time IF Comp organizer and author of many games) among others; there will be a panel on consent in interactive stories.

The deadline to register for Narrascope is fast approaching. May 17 is the date listed on the site, so if you are planning to attend and haven’t yet signed up, now is the time. (More about the actual event below.)

May 18, the Baltimore / DC Area Meetup will discuss The Empty Chamber from Spring Thing.

E4GrZW8x.jpgMay 22, the London IF Meetup hears from Chris Gardiner about the narrative design of Sunless Skies.

The 2nd International Summer School on AI and Games will be held in New York City, May 27-31.  The event is organized by Georgios N. Yannakakis and Julian Togelius, who wrote the Artificial Intelligence and Games book.  More info can be found at the site.

June 1 will be the next San Francisco Bay Area IF Meetup.

June 8 and 9, the London IF Meetup has talks (the 8th) and a workshop (the 9th) on interactive fiction designed for audio devices. We’re welcoming some out of town guest speakers for this one, one of our most ambitious events yet.

June 9 is the deadline to exhibit a game or to speak at AdventureX, which is taking place November 2-3 at the British Library.

June 11 is the deadline for submitting Game Industry talk proposals to the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG).  The conference itself will be August 20-23 in London.

June 10-12 in London is the CogX Festival of AI and Emerging Technology, where I will be speaking about the work we’re doing at Spirit.

logo-512.pngNarrascope is set for June 14-16 in Boston, MA.  This is a new games conference that will support interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction by bringing together writers, developers, and players. Both Graham Nelson and I will be there and will speak; I’ll be on a panel about Bandersnatch, and Graham will be updating people on the current status of Inform. More information can be found on NarraScope’s home site.

ICCC 2019 takes place on June 17-21 in Charlotte, NC.  The event is in its tenth year and is organized by the Association for Computational Creativity.

July 2-5 will be the ACM IVA Conference, taking place in Paris.  IVA 2019’s special topic is “Social Learning with Interactive Agents”.

Announcements

unnamed.pngAdventureX will be back at the British Library November 2-3, for International Games Week. The event is currently seeking participants in the form of speakers or game submissions. It is free to exhibit a game as part of the event, and the deadline is June 9.

If you want to know more, AdventureX has posted talks from last year’s event to their YouTube Channel. You can get an idea for the format and content with this talk on dialogue by Jon Ingold (Heaven’s Vault).

Articles & Links

Here’s one on the experience of teaching Twine to young students.

Gamebook News posted a roundup for the the month of May, including profiles of a number of recently released gamebooks, as well as a few online games.

Mailbag: Multimedia in Spanish Text Parser IF

Hi Emily,

I thought you might be able to shed some light on this question:

Text parser IF tends to rely heavily on the text for narrative, and uses little by way of multimedia.  Until you get to Spanish parser IF… here, multimedia is much more common. Spanish-language games often incorporate video, pictures, or sound effects.  Is there a reason behind this (possibly due to Spanish-language games using different engines better suited to multimedia?).  Or is there another reason?  Can Inform and similar platforms support these elements as well?

[Ed note: at the request of the asker, the original question has been re-written from a longer, less anonymous format.]

Several points here. One: for a lot of English-speaking IF fans, the defining IF of the commercial age came from Infocom in the early to mid 1980s, and almost all of their work was without illustration. There were a handful of late exceptions, but they were generally not considered Infocom’s best work.

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Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur (Infocom / Bob Bates, 1989)

In Spain, by contrast, the golden age of commercial IF came just a few years later, on different hardware. Adventuras AD was publishing illustrated interactive fiction and setting expectations somewhat differently for hobbyist fans to follow. So most likely there was a certain amount of founder effect at work, in terms of what interactive fiction fans wanted to build.

Perhaps as a result of this, or perhaps coincidentally, Spanish language IF games have been written with an overlapping set of tools to Inform. Superglus for instance is a tool that compiles to the Glulx virtual machine, but uses a different, non-Inform parser.

And, in fact, the French and Italian IF communities have also traditionally done more with multimedia parser games than the Anglophone community — I’ve put a few links about this below as well.

Can Inform and similar platforms support these elements as well?

Yes, they can, though historically it was quite a bit of effort to get them set up. That’s less true now.

Continue reading

End of April Link Assortment

Events

May 4 is the next San Francisco Bay Area IF Meetup, at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment.
May 5 is the next Seattle Area IF Meetup, at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.
May 10 I am speaking at the 10-Year Anniversary Event for State of Play, in Dublin, Ireland.

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May 14 is the deadline for submitting short papers to the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG).  The conference itself will be August 20-23 in London.

May 14 is the next Boston IF meetup.

May 18, the Baltimore / DC Area Meetup will discuss The Empty Chamber from Spring Thing.

May 22, the London IF Meetup hears from Chris Gardiner about the narrative direction of Sunless Skies — how the Failbetter team set a course for their content, how they developed it, and how/when they chose to course-correct.

cover-200x300.pngThe 2nd International Summer School on AI and Games will be held in New York City, May 27-31.  The event is organized by Georgios N. Yannakakis and Julian Togelius, who wrote the Artificial Intelligence and Games book.  More info can be found at the site.

Narrascope is set for June 14-16 in Boston, MA.  This is a new games conference that will support interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction by bringing together writers, developers, and players.

They’ve also just announced their keynote speaker, Natalia Martinsson. Both Graham and I will be speaking, Graham about the future of Inform.  More information can be found on NarraScope’s home site.

ICCC 2019 takes place on June 17-21 in Charlotte, NC.  The event is in its tenth year and is organized by the Association for Computational Creativity.

Articles and Podcastscover_The_Invader_Elizabeth_Smyth.jpg

Elizabeth Smyth gives readers a glimpse into her creative process, and her new game The Invader. (I’ve previously discussed Smyth’s work with her IFComp entry Bogeyman, listing it as one of my favorites of 2018.)

Bruno Dias discusses the theme of failure as it shows up in storytelling; particularly the different types of failure that frequently can be found in Interactive Fiction

Announcements

When Cryptozookeeper was originally released in 2011, it won five XYZZY awards as well as Best Game for writer Robb Sherwin. This month, Sherwin and Mantissa Ltd have come out with a mobile version of the classic text adventure, and is available for download here, for both Apple and Google Play.

Jobs

Wharton (yes, the business school) is hiring an interactive fiction coder to help with an educational narrative project. This is a full-time job with benefits.

Books

leadfrom.jpgOn the plane back from Albany a few days ago, I read Stacey Abrams’ Lead from the Outside. It’s not about games or much about writing — though Abrams is also a fiction writer, this book doesn’t get into that — but I was really impressed with what it has to say about leadership, purpose and self-knowledge, and self-assessment in a world that doesn’t always reflect us back accurately. Sometimes I talk about the need for more guidance in how leadership works for women. If you also feel that need, maybe read this book.

Mid-April Link Assortment

 

Events

odphmbjbolppopab.jpgApril 16 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF in Cambridge.

April 27 I will be at GameFest 2019 in Albany, NY, speaking about narrative design in games and other media.
April 27 is also the next Baltimore/DC Area IF Meetup; discussing Castle, Forest, Island, Sea, and Cragne Manor.
May 4 is the next San Francisco Bay Area IF Meetup, at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment.
May 10 I am speaking at the 10-Year Anniversary Event for State of Play, in Dublin, Ireland.

May 14 is the deadline for submitting short papers to the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG).  The conference itself will be August 20-23 in London.

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May 22, the London IF Meetup hears from Chris Gardiner about the narrative direction of Sunless Skies — how the Failbetter team set a course for their content, how they developed it, and how/when they chose to course-correct.

The 2nd International Summer School on AI and Games will be held in New York City, May 27-31.  The event is organized by Georgios N. Yannakakis and Julian Togelius, who wrote the Artificial Intelligence and Games book.  More info can be found at the site.

Narrascope is set for June 14-16 in Boston, MA.  This is a new games conference that will support interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction by bringing together writers, developers, and players.  More information can be found on NarraScope’s home site.

ICCC 2019 takes place on June 17-21 in Charlotte, NC.  The event is in its tenth year and is organized by the Association for Computational Creativity.

Articles and Podcasts

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 8.41.30 AM.pngThe Story Fix carries an interview about the creation of Star Wars-themed choose your destiny stories.

The Narrative Innovation Showcase from GDC 2019 is now available as free content, if you’d like to see short talks on a number of interesting narrative design and interactive storytelling solutions.

Not a single article but a whole website: Can I Play That? is a site dedicated to reviewing games for their accessibility, including “how I play” articles about accessibility adaptations (such as using voice recognition to play games whose usual controllers would cause RSI problems for the player). There’s also an ongoing series of deaf game reviews.

Announcements

Heaven’s Vault is out as of April 16, and will be available on Steam.

 

Spring Thing is now open, if you missed that announcement. There are a whole bunch of new works to play, both choice-based and parser-based.

The festival will be open until May 6, so plenty of time remains to survey this year’s offerings. For those interested, a few impressions can be found on the intfiction board here, here, and here.

Also worth a look is the new interactive fiction Lies and Cigars by Katherine Morayati, written as a commission for Now Play This.

Orihaus has publicly shared the hypertext tool used in some of their past work:

 

Jobs

Wharton (yes, the business school) is hiring an interactive fiction coder to help with an educational narrative project. This is a full-time job with benefits.

 

End of March Link Assortment

Events

April 2, I’m on a session at the London Games Festival interactive narrative summit about whether AI can tell stories. (Preview: the answer is “it depends what you mean by that.” But we can definitely get more into it.)

April 4, the Spring Thing interactive fiction festival opens and games become available to play.

April 4-6, the Playful By Design Spring Symposium at the University of Urbana-Champaign features Chris Klimas speaking about Twine, alongside Allen Turner and Stuart Moulthrop.

April 6, the Oxford/London IF Meetup hears from Tom Kail (inkle) and Xalavier Nelson Jr (freelance) about game design considerations in IF and narrative games.

Also on April 6, the SF/Bay Area IF Meetup will be playing through games from the 2019 Spring Thing competition.

April 13, I’m speaking at the British Library in the Off the Page Chapter 2 event; I’ll be talking about Endure, Blood and Laurels, and Galatea, as work drawing on classical poetry, myth, and literature.

April 15 is the late deadline for designers to submit their work to Indiecade Festival.  The event itself is in October in Santa Monica, CA.header.jpg

April 16 is the release date for Heaven’s Vault, the massive new game from inkle. The archaeological science fiction game has been in development for four years. A video preview is online, as is a review from Eurogamer (as well as several others).

April 27 is the next Baltimore/DC Area IF meetup, discussing Castle, Forest, Island, Sea, as well as Cragne Manor.

The 2nd International Summer School on AI and Games will be held in New York City, May 27-31.  The event is organized by Georgios N. Yannakakis and Julian Togelius, who wrote the Artificial Intelligence and Games book.  More info can be found at the site.

The Oxford/London IF Meetup has an excellent program in process for the weekend of June 8, interactive audio experiences for phones, smart speakers, and similar devices. Saturday, we’re going to be hearing about craft, tools, and commercial considerations, with a couple of speakers coming from out of town. Then Sunday we have a workshop on using Spirit AI’s Character Engine for natural language interactions.

Narrascope is set for June 14-16 in Boston, MA.  This is a new games conference that will support interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction by bringing together writers, developers, and players.  More information can be found on NarraScope’s home site.

logo_0.pngICCC 2019 takes place on June 17-21 in Charlotte, NC.  The event is in its tenth year and is organized by the Association for Computational Creativity.

 

Announcements and Crowdfunding

Hugor is an interpreter that allows you to play Hugo games, and there is now a new release available.

Cyan is Kickstarting a new game called Firmament, and Andrew Plotkin has some thoughts about the project.

Articles, Links, & Podcasts

This exploration of level names in video games by Lasse Hämäläinen is fun if you’re intrigued by naming issues in general.
Accessible Games offers guidance on how to build better, more accessible gameplay experiences.

 

 

 

Mid-March Link Assortment

Events

gdc19thumb_17.jpg

GDC is just next week; March 18-22 in San Francisco.

March 24 is the deadline for submitting full technical papers to the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG).  The conference itself will be August 20-23 in London, and I will be there.

March 24 is also the next meeting of the Seattle Area IF Meetup.

March 30, the Baltimore/DC Area IF Meetup will discuss Within a Circle of Water and Sand.

April 6, the Oxford/London IF Meetup hears from Tom Kail (inkle) and Xalavier Nelson Jr (freelance) about game design considerations in IF and narrative games.

Also on April 6, the SF/Bay Area IF Meetup will be playing through games from the 2019 Spring Thing competition.

indie-cade-featured.jpgApril 15 is the late deadline for designers to submit their work to Indiecade Festival.  The event itself is in October in Santa Monica, CA.

The Oxford/London IF Meetup has an excellent program in process for the weekend of June 8, interactive audio experiences for phones, smart speakers, and similar devices. Saturday, we’re going to be hearing about craft, tools, and commercial considerations, with a couple of speakers coming from out of town. Then Sunday we have a workshop on using Spirit AI’s Character Engine for natural language interactions.

If you’re interested in going to Narrascope, the big narrative game conference this summer in Boston, registration is now open.

New Releases9781138595309.jpg

I contributed to the forthcoming Procedural Storytelling in Game Design (“forthcoming” here is a term that will only be applicable for about a week; the book comes out on March 21.)

Each chapter in this collection is written by a different contributor and focuses on a unique topic in Procedural Storytelling. Tanya X. Short and Tarn Adams were the editors, and more info is available here.

41YXldsW6jL._SX392_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Advanced Game Narrative Toolbox is a new book release following on to The Game Narrative Toolbox, which I reviewed previously.  I have it ordered but haven’t read it yet; I’ll share thoughts here once I’ve had a chance to do that. (Actually, I have now read it. Review coming Tuesday.)

The Quest Smith is cool, and a bit reminiscent of Jerry Belich’s Choosatron.

Lastly, another Kickstarter to check out: the “H2O: A Drop in the Ocean” project is live as of this month.

Articles & Podcasts

the bettercast is an interesting long-form podcast about learning to do conversation design for natural language interactions, from Danielle Frimer of Xandra (and formerly ToyTalk).

Announcements

ElWtNt4e_400x400.jpgAnd we’ve recently had two related announcements about how science fiction and fantasy interactive fiction markets are now being recognized by SFWA.

First of all, Choice of Games announced at the end of February that three of their titles have been selected as finalists for the 2018 Nebula Game Writing Award.

A week later, sub-Q also had some good news of their own.

Talespinners has just announced their collaboration with the University of Southampton on the IF portion of the Green Stories Writing Competition.

The University’s aim is to explore the topic of sustainability through stories. The competition has a wide scope: novels, stage plays, radio dramas, short films, and various varieties of screenplay are all welcome.

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According to the site: “all genres will be considered, but stories must engage with the idea of environmentally sustainable practices and/or sustainable societies.”

The IF contest is accepting submissions until December 1, 2019. It’s free to submit, and there are a number of prizes. For more information, check out the competition page here.