Mid-July Link Assortment

Events

In Cork, the meeting of the Electronic Literature Organization is currently in progress through July 17. The program includes several artist forum sessions in which authors will be talking about their own projects; for instance, Katherine Morayati on Human Errors the 17th.

July 21 is the next Seattle Area IF Meetup, focusing on works in progress.

download-6The SIGIR Conference is taking place in Paris from July 21-25.

July 25 is the next Boston Area IF Meetup.

The 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) will take place in Florence (Italy) at the ‘Fortezza da Basso‘ from July 28-August 2.

DiGRA 2019 is being held August 6-10 in Kyoto.

Nh4sqhAugust 10 the Oxford/London IF Meetup is doing a workshop on Bitsy, a tool for creating small easy games with some narrative content and also some spatial navigation.

The IEEE Conference on Games (CoG) will be August 20-23 in London; I will be giving a keynote here, looking at some of Spirit’s recent work.

The Foundations of Digital Games Conference (FDG) is happening August 26-30 in San Luis Obispo; I’ll also be speaking here, but only by Skype, so I’ll miss those of you in California. (Sorry! But I’ve been doing too much flying lately.)

September 25, the London IF meetup will be doing a session on immersive theater, LARP, and live-action interactive experiences. The details aren’t yet live on the website, but we’ve got some excellent speakers lined up, so if that’s a topic that interests you, join the group if you haven’t already, and we’ll announce when the venue details are final.

Screen Shot 2019-07-13 at 9.11.44 AMAdditionally: Narrascope 2019 is already in the rear-view mirror, but the folks at Articy are sharing recordings from some of the event’s presentations.

logo-512Starting it off is Natalia Martinsson’s keynote address, with more videos planned. If you weren’t able to attend, this can give you a sense of the event and some of the individual speakers and topics.

And finally: tickets have gone on sale for AdventureX, which is November 2-3 at the British Library. The Narrative Games Convention has also released its lineup with some of the included speakers. As of this post (July 2019) the event seems to be sold out, unless/until they release another block of tickets, which their Twitter account suggests they will.

So: if you were disappointed not to have gotten in on that first round, don’t despair! But do follow the AdventureX Twitter account and/or sign up for the mailing list, if you want to maximize your chances of snagging a ticket for yourself.

Tools & Authoring Systems

Villanelle is an experimental authoring system to let creators build complex character behaviors for interactive fiction. The project is put together by Chris Martens and her team at NCSU. They are actively seeking outside opinions, so if you’re interested, you can first try out the prototype, and then fill out a feedback form to help the team evaluate and refine the project.

Twine-Monogatari is a project to let authors write content in Twine and present it in the Monogatari visual novel system. Monogatari is an open-source tool designed to let authors (among other things) present visual novels in a web browser, and has some other neat features even when used without Twine.

Jams & Contests

ifcomp

The 2019 IF Comp is open for authors to submit intents, now through September 1, if you’d like to contribute a game to the competition.

XYZZY Award voting is currently open, and you’re welcome to participate by nominating up to two games per category.

Articles

In Wing and a Prayer — Stress and Structure, Ian Thomas explores the potential emotional impact of LARP / simulations, via Allied Games’ recreation of a British Ops room in World War II. (More info about the game itself can also be found here.)

This integration allows users to play the original Zork Trilogy through Slack.

Chris Klimas shares his Narrascope presentation on the history of Twine (and its current state).

Forthcoming Releases

headerElsinore, a time-looping adventure from Golden Glitch that explores the story of Hamlet from the point of view of Ophelia, as she relives the same four days and tries to avert the tragic endings of the play.

The game is slated for release on Steam on July 22.

Also coming soon is the rerelease of Nocked!, which originally came out in 2017 for iOS and which I reviewed on this blog at the time. This time around, the game is getting a new-and-improved desktop version, available on July 17.

The Twine-based historical adventure drops players into Medieval England at the start of Robin Hood’s outlaw adventures, and with dozens of potential endings, the choices made will lead to wildly different conclusions.

Author Andrew G. Schneider has added 100,000 words to the branching narrative for the Steam version, so there will be plenty of extra material for those already familiar with the game (and given that the original already had 400,000 words, that leaves plenty for those coming to it for the first time.)

End of June Link Assortment

Events

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

July 6, the SF Bay Area IF Meetup is meeting in the usual spot in the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment.

July 13, the Oxford/London IF Meetup has a talk on Content Selection Architectures. If that title sounds a bit opaque to you, let me clarify: it’s about how we choose what pieces of content to show the player next, one of the fundamental questions of interactive literature. The talk comes to us from Michael Mateas, one of the creators of Façade and Prom Week, who through his own work and through his teaching and program development at UC Santa Cruz is one of the most prolific and influential academic thinkers on how we use procedural systems to create memorable player experiences. I am more than slightly smug that he’s agreed to speak to the group about his most recent work.

July 13, the Baltimore/DC IF Meetup is also getting together, resuming its monthly schedule to discuss The Missing Ring.

evt-655.jpgThe SIGIR Conference is taking place in Paris from July 21-25.

July 25 is the next Boston Area IF Meetup.

The 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) will take place in Florence (Italy) at the ‘Fortezza da Basso‘ from July 28-August 2.

Logo_DiGRA_Kyoto-V3-300x288.pngDiGRA 2019 is being held August 6-10 in Kyoto.

The IEEE Conference on Games (CoG) will be August 20-23 in London.

The Foundations of Digital Games Conference (FDG) is happening August 26-30 in San Luis Obispo.

Games

Time What Day is a piece about memory that includes both Twine elements and (if you pay for it) a box containing scents and other sensory cues. I am sorry to say I missed the chance to check this out when it was demonstrated at NarraScope, but I’m glad someone did make an interactive narrative with scent tie-ins.

fUPDrH.pngHeretical Geese is a tiny tabletop RPG by Yoon Ha Lee and Ursula Whitcher, available from itch.

Victor Gijsbers has made a huge archive available containing his past games with source code (in many cases the games were previously free but the source was not); some unfinished projects; and writings and posts about interactive fiction.

Articles and Talks

Polygon on the Episodes platform and the people who write content for it.

Lynda Clark offers some interesting stats on the IF on the British Library’s interactive fiction archive, and calls out a few specific games available there.

Long time readers of this blog may remember Ian Thomas’ fascinating LARP write-ups from God Rest Ye Merry, an amazing Christmas murder mystery roleplay scenario held in a historic house with all kinds of jaw-dropping special effects. He’s done another project, All for One, a LARP based on cinematic renditions of the Three Musketeers, and you can read all about it in his Medium post on the making of. (Warning: that GRYM link can eat hours of your life. Pleasurably. But wow there’s a lot there and you will not want to stop once you start. The Medium post on All for One is a much shorter but still really fun and fascinating read.)

I’ve already posted elsewhere, but once more for people who might not have caught it, Graham Nelson did a talk about where Inform is going next, at NarraScope, and the slides and notes are available.

Jon Ingold did a talk on designing a lost language for Heaven’s Vault. This is from a couple of months ago, but I don’t think I’ve posted it here before, and it’s cool:

And here’s Dragan Jerosimovic in a talk from Reboot Develop Blue about what is necessary to build compelling digital characters.

Mid-June Link Assortment

Events

download.jpgThe Narrascope games conference is currently taking place in Boston, MA, June 14-16.  Both Graham Nelson and I are there and speaking; I’m on a panel about Bandersnatch, and Graham is updating people on the current status of Inform.

NarraScope is also the Boston IF Meetup for the month of June.

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.

logo_CIS_front.pngFor those interested in the IEEE Conference on Games (CoG)June 30 is the deadline for early bird registration.  The conference itself will be August 20-23 in London.

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

July 13 will be the next meeting of the Baltimore/DC IF meetup (there is no meeting in June due to NarraScope). The discussion will center around The Missing Ring from the 2019 Spring Thing competition.

July 16-17 is set for the symposium Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games, and Play. The two-day event is funded by the Scottish Graduate School and takes place in Glasgow, UK.

icon.pngThe SIGIR Conference is taking place in Paris from July 21-25.

DiGRA 2019 is being held August 6-10 in Kyoto.

New Releases

Final_Export_Text_01_Square.pngBack in October, I mentioned that the folks at StoryFix Media were working on a project called The Pulse. That game now has a release date right around the corner, and will be available on June 25 on Google Play.

The Pulse was written by Christopher Webster, developed by Gareth Higgins and Arthur Lee, with original score by Auto/Reflex. Check out the trailers here and here.

Electric Sleep, a recent release from a small team including artist Matthew Weekes (Kynseed, Freedom Planet) and Jack Sanderson-Thwaite (theatre writer with Bristol Old Vic) is currently available on Steam.

Rock Paper Shotgun gave it a very positive review in April, and GameGrin followed suit with a 9/10 rating.

Announcements, Articles, & Links

This interview with Hannah Powell Smith, on plotting, Choice of Games, and writing about ghosts.

A little more backstory on the development of Return of the Obra Dinn (and how it nearly didn’t happen.)

The possibility of further Black Mirror episodes à la Bandersnatch.

The IF Technology Foundation has published its report on accessibility in IF tools and games, with recommendations for how to make IF experiences work better for more people.

Playing Text-adventure Games with an AI by Prithviraj Ammanabrolu records some new experiments with TextWorld.

Crowdfunding

Ninepin Press is publishing a story told on those folded fortune-teller toys, funded via Kickstarter. This is the same press that did The Family Arcana, a story told on a deck of cards.

End of May Link Assortment

Events

June 1 will be the next San Francisco Bay Area IF Meetup, exploring games from this year’s Spring Thing competition.

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.

download.pngJune 9 is the deadline to apply 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.

https___cdn.evbuc.com_images_57512733_293295238101_1_original.jpgNarrascope 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.

NarraScope will also be the Boston IF Meetup for the month of June. It’s worth noting that if you’re a Boston local and you missed the registration date, you might still be able to attend by volunteering for the event.

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.

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

July 13 will be the next meeting of the Baltimore/DC IF meetup (there is no meeting in June due to NarraScope). The discussion will center around The Missing Ring from the 2019 Spring Thing competition.

July 16-17 is set for the symposium Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games, and Play. The two-day event is funded by the Scottish Graduate School and takes place in Glasgow, UK.

New Releases

web408.png“What manner of fool are you: the shrewd knave ever ready with a venomous quip? The renowned artiste at pains to stay above the political fray? The bawdy buffoon known as much for off-stage antics as on-stage mirth? Or the clever counselor whose real audience is the noble ear they whisper into? …The kingdom itself will be shaped by your choices!”

The latest offering to come from Choice of Games, Fool is a 420,000-word interactive novel by Ben Rovik. Play as a talented young court fool, navigating the scheming and treacherous world of the court of Breton.

Oslo-based independent game-developer Red Thread has just released Draugen, an ambitious first-person mystery set in 1920’s Norway. Described as “Fjord Noir,” players take on the role of an American traveler, searching the coastal Norwegian town of Graavik for his lost sister, and accompanied by a young ward.

Announcements, Articles, & Links

Starting on June 1, the IntroComp 2019 contest will be accepting “intent to enter” submissions, through June 30.

download.pngIntroComp is an annual contest that aims to give designers feedback on as-of-yet unpublished works that are not completely finished. Entries should be far enough along in the development process that they are playable, and all entries should also be interactive fiction. Cash prizes are available for the top few games (more information can be found on the site.)

raidersmariners_thumb-764d30a47f98a9fc19120f02be0ec454a9d175a39a5de0ec26809ec984022796.pngOn June 2, Fire Hazard Games will be launching The Extraordinary Voyage, a new immersive game at the National Maritime Museum.

The Extraordinary Voyage blends mobile games with interactive theatre, putting the player in the exciting world of seafaring and ocean exploration. Over the course of 90 minutes, players will explore objects in the museum, solve puzzles, and interact with real-life characters to create their own personal narrative.

The game is family-friendly and suitable for children 8 and up. Currently scheduled to run through July 7, although you’ll want to check the schedule for specific dates and times.  More info can be found here.

Failing Forward: Bruno Dias discusses the topic of failure in storytelling, and the forms it can take in interactive narrative.

Olivia Wood and Jessica Krause appear on the ScriptLock podcast, talking about topics such as their favorite choices in games and what makes for a good NPC.

On his blog, Jason Dyer journals his trip into the classic 1979 game Kadath.

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.

arthur-the-quest-for-excalibur_3.png
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 “Mailbag: Multimedia in Spanish Text Parser IF”