Names in Ultimate Quest

Because Ultimate Quest is a game with Twitter connections — and a game where you can create many different types of object — I thought it might be a good place to revisit the idea of puzzles of aesthetics. Puzzles of aesthetics try to tap into the player’s creative intuitions about what goes well together, but when you’re asking the player to invent new things, it’s kind of a pity to lose their inventions in the silence of a single-player game.

So UQ lets players build new objects according to certain rules, then rename their creations by tweeting what the new name should be — which means that browsing #UltimateQuest gives a pretty good view of what people felt moved to change, and how. Here are a few of my favorites:

There's the subtle(ish)

There’s the subtle(ish)

and the not so subtle

and the not so subtle

Continue reading

Ultimate Quest

UltimateQuest

You’ve been kidnapped, confused, and trapped in a factory to do labor far beneath your true level. The friends you once knew think you’re dead, if they think about you at all. But you’re equipped with NV-level nanomite implants, meaning that you can disassemble and reassemble the world around you in surprising ways. It’s up to you to escape, confront the people who put you away, and complete the world-changing project you had begun.

Ultimate Quest is a new IF game — written by me, gorgeously illustrated by Silvio Aebischer — that opens today and runs in five episodes through the 22nd, as part of a new product launch by NVIDIA. The first players to complete the game will win actual prizes. If you’re reading this blog, you probably have a head start on the competition: this is classic parser IF with plenty of puzzles and exploration.

Note that this is a game with Twitter connections: you will need an account to sign in, and to tweet during play.

Blood & Laurels in The New York Times

Originally posted on Versu:

Blood & Laurels is covered in the July 7 edition of The New York Times (page C1 in the print edition):

What Blood & Laurels offers is one of those quintessential video game moments, a first glimpse at something on the horizon.

The coverage is part of a larger article about developments in IF, which also mentions the growth of Twine, work by Porpentine, Christine Love, and Cara Ellison, and other text-based apps such as Device 6 and A Dark Room.

View original

Heroes Rise on Steam

Choice of Games has brought their Heroes Rise series to Steam, making it the first all-text game distributed that way. (Steam also carries a few other things I would consider interactive fiction, such as Depression Quest, and IF’s relative Sunless Sea. But those games are somewhat more visual.)

CoG would like to bring more text games to Steam in the future, but the possibility of that will depend on sales, so they can use some support from Steam-using IF fans.

Blood & Laurels now in the App Store

Emily Short:

As promised: Blood & Laurels is now live in the App Store.

Originally posted on Versu:

Cults. Conspiracies. Poison. Stabbing. Blackmail. Seduction. Prophecies and rumors. Divine wrath — or possibly just bad weather.

Our new Versu game, Blood & Laurels, is now live in the App Store for iPad.

With more than 10 times as much authored text as you are likely to see in a single playthrough, Blood & Laurels adapts strongly to what you choose to do, and what you choose to explore. Scheme, romance, murder, or choose your own ideals and stick to them. It’s up to you.

View original

News about Versu and Blood & Laurels

Emily Short:

An announcement from the relaunched versu.com site:

Originally posted on Versu:

Until February of this year, the Versu project had its home at Linden Lab, exploring the possibilities of interactive storytelling with advanced character AI by Richard Evans (Sims 3, Black and White) and dialogue modeling by Emily Short (Galatea, Alabaster), as well as work by authors Jake Forbes (Return to Labyrinth) and Deirdra Kiai (Dominique Pamplemousse).

Regency-era comedy of manners and a modern office comedy stories, released for Versu, had received significant attention in various forms, including an appearance at GDC’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop, an award for best AI in an independent game in 2013, and coverage at Edge Online and New Scientist.

When the Lab decided to refocus its offerings and cut support for Versu, the project was only three days from launching a Roman political thriller called Blood & Laurels. Blood & Laurels represented a significant step forward in complexity and depth from previous Versu…

View original 260 more words