Mid-September Link Assortment


September 17 is the next meeting of the People’s Republic of IF at MIT, for those in the Boston/Cambridge area. The website here also features notes from previous meetups.

The 20th annual European GAME-ON® Conference on Simulation and AI in Computer Games is September 18-20 in Breda, The Netherlands.

September 25, the London IF Meetup has a 7 PM talk on interactive and immersive theatre and LARP projects. This will be a densely-packed session with four speakers, talking about work by Fire Hazard Games, Coney and Venice as a Dolphin, and Crooked House.

IF Comp begins properly at the beginning of October, and is still accepting donations to the Colossal Fund as well as donations of prizes of other types.

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

October 12, the London IF Meetup gets together to play IF Comp games, starting with contributions created by our own members. We play for much of the afternoon, with someone reading the text and someone else driving interaction, while the audience participates by voting for what we do next. We sometimes get through five games or more in the play time, meaning that participants have played enough to vote in the Comp if they wish.

Indiecade Festival will be in October in Santa Monica, CA.

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.


Sam Ashwell on how to write a good blurb for a comp game, which may be relevant to a number of people around now.

Chris Martens and Owais Iqbal on Villanelle, a research language for authoring autonomous characters in IF.

End of August Link Assortment


September 1 is the deadline if you want to submit an intent to enter IF Comp 2019. (That’s tomorrow!)

PAX West in Seattle features a panel September 2 about building an interactive fiction portfolio and becoming a paid IF author.

September 7 is the next meeting of the SF Bay area IF Meetup.

September 14 is Boston FIG, or festival of indie games, held at Harvard.

Also September 14, the Baltimore/DC IF meetup gets together to discuss Hanon Ondricek’s Cannery Vale.

The 20th annual European GAME-ON® Conference on Simulation and AI in Computer Games is September 18-20 in Breda, The Netherlands.

September 25 is the next meeting of the London IF Meetup, and we will be hearing about live-action interactive narrative experiences including immersive theatre and LARP from several amazing speakers.

Indiecade Festival will be in October in Santa Monica, CA.

New Releases

Greg Boettcher has released an illustrated parser game that debuted in IntroComp 2006. It is now, at last, available from his website, and for a limited time you can also make a charitable donation and receive some feelies as a reward.

Sam Barlow’s Telling Lies is now out, a new FMV/exploration story that is not a sequel but perhaps a conceptual heir to Her Story.

Community and Volunteer Things

Sofia Kitromili is looking to interview IF authors about their experiences creating games and using IF tools. You can contact her any time in the next several months if you would like to speak to her and contribute to her doctoral research.

The Colossal Fundraiser is now raising money for prizes for this year’s IF Comp, as well as to cover the IF Technology Foundation’s other needs and overhead for the year. IFTF supports the IF Archive and other community technology, preserves interactive fiction work and tools that might otherwise be abandoned, and leads accessibility and education initiatives to improve the IF community’s resources.

Mid-August Link Assortment


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

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

September 1 there is a Character Engine workshop run through the London IF Meetup.

The 20th annual European GAME-ON® Conference on Simulation and AI in Computer Games is September 18-20 in Breda, The Netherlands.

IntroComp games are now available for play, and you can vote on your favorites through August 31.


If you use IF in education, or teach about IF, you might want to connect with IFTF’s Education Committee, which is currently building resources and communication networks.

Articles and Podcasts

The Short Game podcast covered Counterfeit Monkey (and liked it, yay!). They’re interested in hearing suggestions for more IF to try and play, so worth letting them know about if you’re interested.

Sam Kabo Ashwell reviews a new boardgame based on the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series.


There is also a Kickstarter for a new version of the classic tabletop storygame Fiasco, this time working with a card deck.

End of July Link Assortment


On August 3, the SF Bay Area IF Meetup will get together at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment.

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

The second round of XYZZY voting is open from now til August 9. Anyone who wants to participate is eligible to vote on the best IF of 2018, with the constraint that people should not vote for their own works and may not canvas for votes. Congrats to all the finalists! (Since Cragne Manor with its 80+ authors was nominated, I suspect this year features by far the largest field of XYZZY nominees ever…)

August 10 is the next date for the Baltimore/DC IF Meetup, discussing Omen Exitio: The Plague.

August 11 is the deadline for submitting games to WordPlay 2019 in Toronto (the event itself takes place November 9-10).

Boston Gameloop 2019 will take place on August 17.

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

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

September 1 is the deadline to register your intent to participate in IFComp 2019.

If you want to submit a speaker application for WordPlay 2019, the cutoff there is also September 1.

The 20th annual European GAME-ON® Conference on Simulation and AI in Computer Games is September 18-20 in Breda, The Netherlands.


The folks at Thorny Games have a number of intriguing projects available currently highlighted. Their tabletop RPG Dialect: A Game About Language and How It Dies is up for Game of the Year at the 2019 Gen Con ENnies. The game allows players to make (and potentially destroy) their own languages.

Dialect originally had its Kickstarter campaign in 2016, and the physical copy was shipped to the original backers last year. One of the minds behind the project is David Peterson, who created the Dothraki and High Valyrian conlangs for Game of Thrones.

Dialect is available in both a digital edition and a hard copy (and there are a few reviews out there, as well).

In addition, Thorny has a pair of other projects (also language-focused). Sign, which is based on the 1977 creation of a sign language in Nicaragua, is currently for sale. Meanwhile the upcoming Xenolanguage is currently in playtesting, but is aiming for a 2019 release.

If you’re curious about what Sign and Dialect are like to play, Sam Kabo Ashwell has just posted reviews of both.

Digital activities and classes are taking place through Oxfordshire libraries this summer. Among the offerings are classes on IF.

Texture has added a few recent features, notably: a “private library” option under the New Story button, as well as an “unlisted link” option for publishing games without making them public.

Phoenix Leicester is hosting the experimental game Langoors in the Labyrinth, a new commission by Studio Oleomingus. Designed to be played by two players across two screens, the game is set in post-colonial India, and runs until August 18. Dhruv Jani will lead a workshop on interactive storytelling via Skype on August 10, also at Phoenix. Space is limited, so if you’re interested, book in advance.

Articles & Links

Adam Cadre presents another year’s worth of most excellent prose stylings, with the winners of the 2019 Lyttle Lytton Contest.

Articy is posting video recordings of the talks from Narrascope in June, but Storygames by Aaron A. Reed is excellent and well worth a look. Also in a couple of cool pieces of news from Aaron: the recent release of Downcrawl, a supplementary tabletop RPG book, which is available this month. In addition, Archives of the Sky won a Judges’ Spotlight award at Gen Con this year.


New Releases

Screen Shot 2019-07-31 at 6.16.59 AM.png

In the last Link Assortment, I mentioned the updated version of Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood, which was originally created for iOS but is newly available on Steam. For additional information, you can see the press release here, which goes into great detail about the snazzy new features.


This isn’t IF, but if (continuing what seems to be a theme of this roundup) you’re interested in language use, linguistics, and digital culture, you may like Because Internet, a book by Gretchen McCulloch on how language use has evolved online.

Mid-July Link Assortment


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


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.


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


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.


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.