XYZZY Award Reviews

The XYZZY Awards blog has daily reviews coming out of each category of XYZZY nominees from 2012, which I’m really enjoying reading, and not just because it means coverage for some of my stuff.

These are subject-specific reviews, so for instance Carl Muckenhoupt writes exclusively about the puzzles of the games in the Best Puzzles category, with attention to their individual design, the kind of thinking required to solve them, the overall puzzle arc in a particular game, and so on.

And the reviewers are an all-star cast. Over in the Best Use of Innovation category, Aaron Reed (Blue Lacuna, 18 Cadence, maybe make some change) talks about how the link mechanics of howling dogs worked for him, and its context in the Twine revolution in general. In Best Individual NPC, indie game designer and IF author CEJ Pacian unpacks the way New Rat City plays with gamer tropes. In Best Technological Development, Dannii Willis — creator maintainer of the widely-used Parchment interpreter for browser play — covers StoryNexus, Playfic, Quest and Vorple.

In other words, this some of the most in-depth coverage of IF to come along in some time, written by subject experts and directed at the popular favorites of 2012. If you’re interested in what the IF world has been up to lately — including formats ranging from traditional parser IF to Twine to StoryNexus and one-off experiments — the blog is well worth following.

3 thoughts on “XYZZY Award Reviews

  1. I must give appropriate credit: Atul Varma was the creator of Parchment, I am just the maintainer/developer.

    (And to take this even further offtopic, are you planning to do another release of Counterfeit Monkey any time soon? I’ve finally started playing it, and I feel the lack of undo personally! As always I’m happy to help.)

    • Ah, sorry! Thanks for the correction; I’ve edited in-line.

      Re new release: I really want to sort something out, and a couple weeks ago I did think I might be able to carve out a weekend to put into it, but that didn’t work out and I’m busy for the next couple of months at a level that is hard to communicate in any language but I-just-saw-Cthulhu screaming. I have to finish the immigration process, have some kind of socially graceful goodbye with local friends and family, clean out my apartment in Seattle and move all my worldly goods to Oxford, while trying to disrupt my always-busy Versu work as little as possible. And I’ve got a couple of student mentorships for which I owe feedback, and conference talk planning, and a paper of my own to revise and then I’m supposed to be reviewing this other paper for another publication and, in short, AIEE. (Tentacles. Yelling. Flames leaping in the dark.)

      Short version, I don’t foresee having a lot of head-room before mid-August at the most optimistic.

      The one thing I can think of: Ben Cressey helpfully made me some sample versions of Gargoyle with bigger memory allotments and suggested I test them and see which were sufficient to Monkey’s needs to keep UNDO available. Which I then promptly did not have time to do.

      I don’t know whether that kind of testing is workable for anyone else but me to do. If it is, though, I’m perfectly willing for it to happen (though faintly guilty about having other people do my dirty work for me). I am nervous of rolling your alternative UNDO implementation without doing a bunch of testing on the results, though, which is why that also looms in my head as a many-hour project that I don’t have time to tackle.

      • I understand busy!

        How complete is the published source code? One thought I had is that I could to version four add just my undo fix, test it thoroughly, and give you the .gblorb to publish as version five. The other changes you want to make could then wait for whenever you get the time. (Maybe let’s continue this discussion by email.)

        I don’t think Ben has nearly enough time for Gargoyle anymore, and it would be great if someone else could start working on it too. But that’s not me, and I don’t know of anyone else who it could be unfortunately.

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