80 Days (Meg Jayanth / inkle )

4_travelling-ferry

80 Days is a gorgeous iOS game from inkle studios and a script by Meg Jayanth, who (among other things) did the StoryNexus Samsara project. 80 Days takes off from the Jules Verne novel about Phileas Fogg’s round-the-world race; but it adds steampunk elements to the setting (I realize that some people feel about steampunk the way I feel about zombies) and allows the player to set the route, casting him in the role of Fogg’s valet Passepartout. Different routes take different amounts of time and have different costs associated with them; money and health are both resources that must be replenished periodically. The player can also buy (or more rarely acquire through narrative events) various inventory items that make the trip more comfortable, reveal new routes, or sell for fantastic profits in distant cities. It’s also slightly more constrained than the big open map might initially make it seem: you can’t really backtrack in some cases, even if there’s a nominally valid route in a particular direction and even if you the player think it would be a good idea.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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