End of December Link Assortment

Events

January 4 is the next gathering of the SF Bay Interactive Fiction Meetup.

January 11 is Visual;Conference, an all-online presentation of talks about visual novels and related topics in narrative and choice design.

Also January 11, the Baltimore/DC IF meetup is getting together to talk about AI Dungeon 2.

January 21 is the next meetup of the People’s Republic of IF, in Boston/Cambridge.

There will be a London IF Meetup in late January, where I will be talking about narrative design with storylets; time and venue are TBD, but I will announce them via the London IF Meetup page when these are settled.

January 31Feb 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. There are a number of rules about how to participate, so please do check out the fine print.

February 15-16, Rob Sherman is running an interactive fiction masterclass at the British library. This is a paying event; tickets here.

The NarraScope organizers have announced that there will be a NarraScope 2020: specifically, May 29-31, in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Call for talks is here and the deadline for proposals is January 17.

Last year was the inaugural year for this conference, focused on narrative games from classic IF and text adventures through point-and-click adventures to VR games, interactive audio, and mobile story games, TTRPGs and LARP, and quite a bit more. Meanwhile, if you missed this year’s event, or would just like to revisit its glories, there is a new podcast, Through the NarraScope, that discusses some of the talks and content.

Competitions

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.

Meanwhile, Ryan Veeder’s Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction will be taking place in early 2020, in the form of three different events for different formats and lengths of game. The rules for this are fairly complex, so rather than trying to summarize, I will just point you in the direction of Ryan’s pages.

Continue reading “End of December Link Assortment”

Mid-December Link Assortment

Events

SubQJam closes tomorrow, December 16, for submissions of short interactive fiction, and winners will be featured in SubQ Magazine next year.

The Oxford/London IF Meetup does not get together during the festive season, so we’ll not be together again until 2020.

January 4 is the next gathering of the SF Bay Interactive Fiction Meetup.

February 15-16 next year, Rob Sherman is running an interactive fiction masterclass at the British library. This is a paying event; tickets here.

The NarraScope organizers have announced that there will be a NarraScope 2020: specifically, May 29-31, in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Call for talks is available as well if you’d like to present.

Last year was the inaugural year for this conference, focused on narrative games from classic IF and text adventures through point-and-click adventures to VR games, interactive audio, and mobile story games, TTRPGs and LARP, and quite a bit more. Meanwhile, if you missed this year’s event, or would just like to revisit its glories, there is a new podcast, Through the NarraScope, that discusses some of the talks and content.

End of November Link Assortment

Events

December 2 is the deadline if you’d like to submit a talk proposal or an exhibition piece (interactive fiction might very well be suitable) for the Electronic Literature Organization’s next conference, July 16-19 2020 in Orlando. Details of the call here.

December 7 is the next SF Bay IF Meetup.

December 10 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF in the Boston/Cambridge area.

The Oxford/London IF Meetup does not get together during the festive season, so we’ll not be together again until 2020.

The NarraScope organizers have announced that there will be a NarraScope 2020: specifically, May 29-31, in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. If you’re interested in speaking there, the call for proposals is now open.

Last year was the inaugural year for this conference, focused on narrative games from classic IF and text adventures through point-and-click adventures to VR games, interactive audio, and mobile story games, TTRPGs and LARP, and quite a bit more. Meanwhile, if you missed this year’s event, or would just like to revisit its glories, there is a new podcast, Through the NarraScope, that discusses some of the talks and content.

New Narrative Games

Tender Claws is the company behind the amazing PRY. They have a new piece out now for Oculus Quest, The Under Presents.

Meanwhile, Choice of Games has a new line of romance IF coming out, under the imprint Heart’s Choice. The first three titles will be available on Steam shortly, and consist of A Pirate’s Pleasure, Dawnfall (science fiction), and Jazz Age.

And this one isn’t a new release, but new accessibility for old releases: David Welbourn continues to release a steady stream of verbose, friendly walkthroughs for parser IF games from the 1990s and 2000s. His walkthroughed games can be found on IFDB via the lists that he publishes each month. Recent walkthroughs include Dr Dumont’s Wild P.A.R.T.I., a formerly commercial game.

Crowdfunding

Aaron Reed’s every-version-is-different novel Subcutanean is funding for a couple more days.

Competitions and Exhibitions

Zozzled

IF Comp 2019 has closed, with Steph Cherrywell winning first place for Zozzled. The full set of rankings and results is available on the competition website.

SubQJam is open now through December 16 for submissions of short interactive fiction, and winners will be featured in SubQ Magazine next year.

Ryan Veeder has announced his Second Quadrennial Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction, an event whose purpose is to create games that are pleasing to Ryan Veeder. Fortunately, Ryan’s IF tastes tend to elicit games that appeal to a lot of other folks as well. Last time around, the winner was the highly entertaining Foo Foo. As a taster of the sort of thing to expect, here is how Ryan describes his preferences:

Entrants should be advised that I like games that are funny, cute, elegant, spooky, friendly, dumb, and/or sincere. Entrants should be advised that I dislike games that are cynical, depressing, gory, horrifying, serious, and/or important.

Entries to the Second Quadrennial Exposition are due… well, at potentially several different times in early 2020. Rather than confuse matters by trying to summarize here, I refer interested parties to Ryan’s own site.

If you’re hankering to write a long game, or a game you don’t think is going to appeal to Ryan Veeder, or a game that is just going to take a bit longer to complete, Spring Thing 2020 is accepting intents from authors now, and through March of next year.

Finally, Green Stories is a competition for stories about building a sustainable future. The competition includes an interactive fiction division.

Articles and Videos

Jon Ingold talks to Meghna Jayanth about her work, the upcoming project Sable, and her presence in the game industry at AdventureX 2019.


Ed Fear talks about challenges around representation in games, and about writing gay characters in particular. Also from AdventureX. (Several other videos from AdventureX are now available as well.)


Jimmy Maher on Digital Antiquarian writes about the Z-Machine and the early days of Inform and Curses, with quite a bit of input from Graham Nelson. (Introductory thoughts about the Z-Machine, Graham’s personal account, Jimmy’s take on the IF Renaissance)


Those interested in the problems of teaching an ML agent to play interactive fiction may like these articles courtesy of Prithviraj Ammanabrolu:

https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.05398 Interactive Fiction Games: A Colossal Adventure – formalizing the task of playing text games with reinforcement learning agents, a software platform (https://github.com/microsoft/jericho) and series of baseline agents designed to play a wide variety of text based games.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.06556 Transfer in Deep Reinforcement Learning using Knowledge Graphs – answering the question of how well an agent can play a text adventure by learning to play other text adventures within a genre.

https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.06283 Toward Automated Quest Generation in Text-Adventure Games – looking at the other side of the problem, instead of playing a game, how can we use AI to help generate content for a game (here in the form of a quest within a given world).

Mid-November Link Assortment

Events

November 23 is the next Baltimore/DC meetup.

Dec 7 is the next SF Bay IF Meetup.

The Oxford/London IF Meetup does not get together during the festive season, so we’ll not be together again until 2020.

Crowdfunding

Aaron Reed’s horror novel Subcutanean, where each copy is unique, is now available for backing on IndieGoGo.  This is a cool procedural text project, and Aaron has also created a number of making-of posts that explain what he’s doing and why.

Competitions

IF Comp has just ended, and the winners should be announced shortly. (In fact, if you click that link, they may already have been announced — though they have not been at the time of this writing.) Meanwhile, there’s a huge spreadsheet tracking the various reviews written for the Comp, if you’re feeling like you’d read about some of the games.

Ectocomp, the Halloween-themed IF jam, received 22 entries this year. Voting is open through the end of the month, if you’d like to participate and rate the games.

ProcJam, the jam for making things that make things, is also recently over, having brought together 134 entries.

If the thought of all these competitions makes you want to write and share some IF, SubQJam is open now through December 16 for submissions of short interactive fiction, and winners will be featured in SubQ Magazine next year.

If you’d rather compete with something a bit more long-form, or just need more time to put it together, Spring Thing 2020 is accepting intents from authors now, and through March of next year.

Finally, Green Stories is a competition for stories about building a sustainable future. The competition includes an interactive fiction division, which has been described to me thus:

The Interactive Fiction competition is looking for entries from both individuals and creative teams, consisting of a complete story or demo of a longer piece, no longer than 30 minutes worth of gameplay in total. It may be the whole piece, the opening section, or a subsequent chapter or scene.

Winners will receive cash prizes and editorial feedback. Entries are due February 3, 2020.

End of October Link Assortment

Events

IF Comp is live now! You can visit the site to play and judge the games. The competition is also still accepting prize donations, in the form of cash or interesting objects, until the end of the judging period. Judging closes on November 15.

Also currently running, Ectocomp features games with a spooky or Halloween theme.

AdventureX runs November 2 and 3 at the British Library — I think it’s already sold out, however, so if you’re attending, you probably already know that.

The London IF Meetup does not do an activity separately in November in order to avoid competing with AdventureX for people’s time. We also don’t do a December meetup at all because people are usually slammed with other activities, so regular London IF Meetups will resume in January of 2020.

Also November 2 is the next SF Bay IF Meetup, which will feature more playing of IF Comp games.

November 7-8 is Code Mesh 2019 in London.  The conference focuses on promoting useful non-mainstream technologies to the software industry.

Wordplay in Toronto runs November 9-10 this year, showcasing games focused on words, text, and language.

November 12 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF in Boston/Cambridge.

November 13 there is a Twine workshop at the University of Manchester Library.

November 15, Dan Hett is running, also at the University of Manchester Library, a workshop session on writing compelling interactive fiction in general.

November 23 is the next Baltimore/DC meetup.

OldGamesItalia is running a game jam for Italian-language games; that’s already in progress, with created games due December 15.

Crowdfunding

Aaron Reed’s horror novel Subcutanean, where each copy is unique, is now available for backing on IndieGoGo.

Upcoming Competitions

Green Stories is a competition for stories about building a sustainable future. The competition includes an interactive fiction division, which has been described to me thus:

The Interactive Fiction competition is looking for entries from both individuals and creative teams, consisting of a complete story or demo of a longer piece, no longer than 30 minutes worth of gameplay in total. It may be the whole piece, the opening section, or a subsequent chapter or scene.

Winners will receive cash prizes and editorial feedback. Entries are due February 3, 2020.

Mid-October Link Assortment

Events

IF Comp is live now! You can visit the site to play and judge the games. The competition is also still accepting prize donations, in the form of cash or interesting objects, until the end of the judging period.

Ectocomp will be running again this year, with submissions opening October 27, if you’d like to contribute a piece of spooky interactive fiction.

AdventureX runs November 2 and 3 at the British Library — I think it’s already sold out, however, so if you’re attending, you probably already know that.

November 7-8 is Code Mesh 2019 in London.  The conference focuses on promoting useful non-mainstream technologies to the software industry.

Wordplay in Toronto runs November 9-10 this year, showcasing games focused on words, text, and language.

OldGamesItalia is running a game jam for Italian-language games; that’s already in progress, with created games due December 15.

Continue reading “Mid-October Link Assortment”