Counterfeit Monkey Release 5

Cover art for Counterfeit Monkey

…is now available. This version extends the game’s vocabulary by over a hundred items, provides better feedback on several puzzles that were causing player difficulty, fixes dozens of bugs and introduces a few additional solutions. It includes Dannii’s Ultra Undo extension, which may extend UNDO functionality to additional interpreters. Some spoilery highlights after the jump.

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Assorted Links

Boon Hill

Some while back, I posted about a then-being-kickstarted game called Boon Hill, all about exploring a graveyard full of epitaphs. That game is now on Steam Greenlight.

The XYZZY Award finalists are announced and IFDB has a handy list so that you can click through and play whichever ones you’d like to get to before voting closes.

Choice of Games is seeking more authors, especially authors with previous experience writing for interactivity. They pay royalties of 25% or, in some cases, work-for-hire fees amounting to $10K.

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Fungus is a recently-announced free Unity plugin for building interactive fiction. As far as I can tell it’s aiming for something closer to Ren’Py or AGT AGS than text-based IF experiences, but I haven’t had time to actually play with it yet.

Tools and Characters: March and April meetups

We now have two more meetups scheduled for the Oxford/London IF group:

2:15 PM, March 30, in Oxford: a session on IF tools. Graham Nelson will present his most recent changes to Inform 7, and Eric Eve will introduce his adv3lite library for TADS, and we’ll open to a general discussion of IF tools.

7 PM, April 8, in London: a session on character modeling, led by Nicholas FitzRoy-Dale. We’ll look at what has been done and what current mechanics support, and talk about possibilities for the future.

Some Links

Illya Szilak reviews TOC, a multimedia novel by Steve Tomasula about (among other things) the passage of time.

Richard Goodness is running Fear of Twine, an online exhibit of sixteen Twine games distributed in four groups of four. Morgan Rille’s The Conversation I Can’t Have is a bravely frank exploration of the experience of a submissive in the kink scene. Jonas Kyratzes’ The Matter of the Great Red Dragon is (or at least was the time I played it) an illustrated, fairy-tale-like parable about moral clarity. Tony Perriello’s Debt is a highly linear vision of a dystopian future, enhanced by music and sound. I haven’t yet gotten to all of them, but they’re worth checking out.

And speaking of Twine, if you haven’t yet tried Tom McHenry’s Horse Master, you’re missing out on an extremely creepy and compelling experience, a horrific sim about raising a horse for competition. It is also about poverty and willingness to go to dreadful extremes. I’m hoping for a XYZZY nomination or two for it.

IF Discussion, Live Online

One of the things to come out of discussion at the first Oxford-London Meetup was the idea that it would be nice to have occasional scheduled discussion of IF on ifMUD. The MUD is always on and at least someone is almost always around, but much of the conversation is more general-interest. People also suggested that a) it would be nice to have a context for that discussion that was not exclusively about creation techniques, since so much of the existing mud conversation and intfiction discussion is so focused; and that b) it would be a good idea to provide some focus to these meetings by pre-announcing a topic to cover, so that people can think about examples to discuss.

I’m going to try this as a monthly Saturday thing. Sundays on ifMUD are used for weekly ClubFloyd meetings, and I don’t want to conflict with that. If you’re not familiar, ClubFloyd does group playthroughs of IF, often including recent comp winners or XYZZY nominees, and posts the transcripts. It’s been going on since 2007 and is by now a venerable institution, though attendance rotates quite a bit. If we can hit anything like ClubFloyd’s vitality and general usefulness, I will consider this idea a big success.

Saturday March 1, I will hang about at 8 PM GMT (= 3 PM Eastern, 12 noon Pacific) on the channel #theoryclub on ifMUD. (If you’re not familiar with the mud, see these instructions on how to get started: you will need to get an account, then @joinc #theoryclub to be able to see the conversation.)

Because this is something I’ve been thinking about a fair amount lately, I propose that the first session be on interiority, the inner life of characters. Some things we may discuss: What games do this particularly well? What mechanics are used, and to what effect? What aspects of interiority are not handled well in IF? Are there other possibilities we haven’t looked at? Are there experiences you’d like as a player that you’ve never encountered?

I’m open to suggestions for other topics as well — please feel free to propose future ideas.

Oxford/London IF meetup

A couple of months ago I ran a poll to see whether people might like to have an IF meetup group in southern England, and if so whether they preferred Oxford or London. Then I went to a conference, then got a really really bad cold, then the holidays were upon us and it seemed like a bad time to add extra things to anyone’s calendar.

But! Now that’s past, I’m eager to get this rolling. The feedback about location was decidedly mixed — lots of people who could only make one of those options — so I’m going to try for alternating locations. And because Oxford is where I am and it’s easier to start here, I’ve proposed a first meetup for Feb 2, in Oxford, at the Jam Factory Restaurant. We can meet, chat, talk about what kinds of things we’d like this group to do. I will bring a copy of Blood and Laurels, my next game, for people to look at if they are interested. Please feel free to bring your WIPs or favorite games as well.

If you hate the time, the choice of day of the week, the relative lack of advance notice, I’m happy to factor all those things into future plans about what we’re doing — I just wanted to get something rolling after that hiatus.

Want to RSVP? Want to join the group to get announcements of future events? The site is here.

Edited to add: we now have space and time for a London meeting as well, Feb 18 at 7 PM. Signup at the same link.