End of March Link Assortment

Events

April 9 is the next meeting of the SF Bay Area IF Meetup.

April 10 is the next meeting of the Seattle area IF Meetup.

ICCC, the computational creativity conference, is seeking short papers and demos. This can be a great place to send things that play with procedurality, including procedural text, art, and games — do have a look at their past contents if you’re not sure you’d be a good match. Submissions are due April 13.

Mid-March Link Assortment

Events

March 21, I’m speaking at the GDC AI summit (at a fairly silly hour of my morning, but a relatively normal time for US-based people) about the work underlying Mask of the Rose, and especially the way NPC decision-making is exposed as part of the story.

The Foundations of Digital Games conference will be September 5-8 in Athens this year; they invite papers and presentations on topics including game design and game technology, and they also accept playable games and demos to share. Their call for papers is up now: papers are due March 25, while game and demo submissions have until May 27.

The French IF Comp is ongoing, and you have until March 27 to vote on the games. If you are curious but don’t have the time or French reading skills to play, you may like these reviews in English.

March 30, I’ll be speaking as part of the University of Bedfordshire’s Beds Talks: Telling Stories event. The focus of that event is on writing rather than on games per se, so I’ll be talking about what I do from that perspective.

Spring Thing entries are due March 31 — as participating authors are probably keenly aware — but that means that for the rest of us, the new games will become available to play in early April.

April 2 is the next meeting of the SF Bay Area IF Meetup.

End of February Link Assortment

Events

March 5 is the next meeting of the SF Bay Area IF Meetup.

March 21, I’m speaking at the GDC AI summit (at a fairly silly hour of my morning, but a relatively normal time for US-based people) about the work underlying Mask of the Rose, and especially the way NPC decision-making is exposed as part of the story.

The Foundations of Digital Games conference will be September 5-8 in Athens this year; they invite papers and presentations on topics including game design and game technology, and they also accept playable games and demos to share. Their call for papers is up now: papers are due March 25, while game and demo submissions have until May 27.

March 30, I’ll be speaking as part of the University of Bedfordshire’s Beds Talks: Telling Stories event. The focus of that event is on writing rather than on games per se, so I’ll be talking about what I do from that perspective.

Spring Thing entries are due March 31 — as participating authors are probably keenly aware — but that means that for the rest of us, the new games will become available to play in early April.

NarraScope is back this year, and will run online July 30-31, 2022. If you’d like to submit something to it, the deadline for proposing a talk is 22 April 2022.

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Other Conferences

Perhaps you like the idea of presenting about your interactive narrative work ata conference but none of the above options feels like the right timing or fit.

For academic conferences that take on interactive story and narrative proposals and/or game AI, keep an eye out also for ICIDS 2022 and AIIDE 2022 (I haven’t found a dedicated website for it this year).

Meanwhile, the call for full length papers is closed for ICCC 2022, the International Conference on Computational Creativity, as that conference is happening earlier this year, June 27-Jul 1, but they are likely to make a call for short-form papers soon – so if you think something you’re working on might be a good fit for a short presentation there, you’ll want to check back at their website.

Mid-February Link Assortment

Mask demo!

This month’s link assortment is a few days later than usual; that’s because I was focused in the first half of February on launching the demo for Mask of the Rose, the new game I’ve been working on at Failbetter.

Mask of the Rose is set in the Fallen London universe, but decades earlier than the other games in the series: even if you don’t know the game universe, it would be a safe place to jump in. It’s also much more focused on relationships (romantic and otherwise). I spoke about the project with Fraser Brown for PC Gamer, and that article captures a lot of our thinking about what the game should do.

Mask of the Rose gives you a ground-level perspective on Fallen London.

Even if you’re not a fan of the Fallen London universe, if you are interested in my procedural narrative work, Mask might interest you. The fundamental narrative arc is designed rather than generated, and the vast majority of the text is also hand-written. But in between those layers are a host of systems that handle different aspects of

  • NPC responsiveness – from how they decide whether to honour your requests to how they pose and move during a scene
  • Protagonist characterisation, allowing the player to build out a social persona with different social “moves” available
  • Selection of narrative chunks (scenes and sub-scenes that happen automatically, and those that are offered to the player to explore)
  • Procedural text generation to describe the outfit you’ve chosen each day, or stories that you invent as part of gameplay

I’ll be going into more depth about Mask‘s internal features, and especially the way it makes NPC reasoning into part of the storytelling, for the AI Summit at GDC next month.

Continue reading “Mid-February Link Assortment”

End of January Link Assortment

Events

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

February 20 is the next meeting of the Seattle IF Meetup, and will be held via Discord, so people are welcome to attend remotely. It will feature a guest appearance from Daniel Ravipinto, one of the authors of the classic parser IF game Slouching Towards Bedlam.

If you wish to enter Spring Thing this year with a new work of interactive fiction, you have until March 1 to submit your intent to enter, and March 31 to complete your game.

Games

The Winter TADS jam for games written in TADS has now entered its judging phase; there was only one entry, Past Present by Jim Nelson. It’s getting some good buzz from players, though – you can check that out here.

Nominees have been announced for the 2022 IGF awards, with some especially strong contenders in the narrative category this year.

I have not yet played all of these games, but I very much enjoyed Overboard! (a classic interactive fiction story in mobile-friendly form) and Unpacking (which contains almost no text at all); and I was intrigued by what I’ve played of Closed Hands.

Andrew Plotkin has written about many of these games on his blog, as well as some of the other contenders that didn’t make it to nomination.

Books

logo for the ink scripting tool

A user guide to ink is now available in physical form from inkle, including all the guidance you might find in the online documentation, but some extra tips as well. My copy arrived today, and it’s lovely – and already proving itself useful.

Jobs

Failbetter is hiring a Senior Writer/Narrative Content Designer – details here. The position is open to applications through February 7. We do hire remotely, but note that there are core working hours and that the job may be tougher fit for someone outside Europe/Africa timezones.

Mid-January Link Assortment

Events

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

If you wish to enter Spring Thing this year with a new work of interactive fiction, you have until March 1 to submit your intent to enter, and March 31 to complete your game.

Releases

chiaroscuro is a short, low-fantasy IF novella from Kim Berkley, author of Harbinger’s Head, about a young American artist in Rome, choosing her artistic and personal path.