Oxford/London First Meetup

The inaugural meetup of the Oxford/London interactive fiction group was well attended, and ran for a good four and a half hours before the last of us had to go our separate ways. Many thanks to those who came!

We talked about loads of things, as you might expect, including work in progress by several of the participants; the parser/non-parser split in recent IF production; ways to make the more parser-focused side of the community more welcoming to new participants; life in the game industry; why horror is or is not hard to write; storytelling features in the Silent Hill games; game mechanics and marketing strategies of Fallen London; and a number of other topics.

There was also a proposal that it would be good to have scheduled IF discussion on ifMUD, like ClubFloyd but for critical conversation — perhaps around a topic or question announced in advance. The idea was that there’s a desire for some more focused live discussion of interactive fiction, but that just dropping by the MUD casually doesn’t always provide this, depending on who happens to be logged in at the time. Having a pre-announced topic would give the conversation a bit of shape and make it easier for participants to perhaps have thoughts together in advance.

Proposals for future events:

— IF game jam
— group play-through and discussion sessions, about interesting new releases or works by members who want feedback
— book-club style discussion of games members had picked and played in advance
— overview of new Inform features with Graham Nelson
— (brought up online rather than actually at the event) overview of TADS adv3Lite library with Eric Eve
— (likewise) tabletop storygaming

The next meetup is already scheduled and will be at the Failbetter Games headquarters in London, Feb 18, 7 PM. Alexis has been good enough to raise the event attendance to 30, so if you saw that that event was closed out and you wanted to go, it’s open again.

7 thoughts on “Oxford/London First Meetup

  1. I would be very interested in schedule online discussions. I’m of two minds about the frequency… on the one hand, I have ClubFloyd weekly because it’s easier for people; they don’t have to think about it much and they just know that every Sunday at the same time there’s probably a game going on, except during IFComp season. On the other hand, I think with pre-arranged topics and wanting to generate a bigger crowd, it seems better to do something like this at most once a month, and perhaps set it up via a site like Meetup or Facebook or send evites or whatever in addition to posting it on IntFiction and a bb on the ifMUD to ensure people put it on a calendar and show up.

    Are you interested in taking something like this on? I would be happy to manage the transcripts (assuming we’d want to document the conversations).

    • It doesn’t seem prohibitively hard — I think the trickiest thing will be finding a good timing that works for everyone who might want to attend. And I agree it sounds like more of a monthly than a weekly idea.

      Help with the transcripts would be awesome, since you’ve got the documenting mechanism all worked out.

      • I remain very interested in this, and agree with the proposed monthly schedule. As for timing, holding it on Saturday or Sunday seems like the best way to avoid conflict with both European and American working hours – I’d suggest Saturday, to avoid conflict with Club Floyd. If it turns out that some other day would be better for most of the people who’re interested, we can reschedule subsequent events accordingly. Does this seem like a reasonable approach?

  2. “ways to make the more parser-focused side of the community more welcoming to new participants”

    it’s simple enough: we don’t need no stinking CYAO any more than we need stinking parser-based IF.

    The real problem is that nowadays it’s much easier to script a few choices — hold it! linear links most of the time, actually — into a barely passable excuse for a story/plot than it ever was with parser-based IF. So, that makes it far more difficult to find the good stuff among all the stinkers. Sure, versu, inkle productions and a few others are very likely sure bets. No so much with the tons of puerile barely interactive choicescript-kiddies invading IFDB…

    then again, perhaps terrible noise ratio is an ugly side-effect of market acceptance…

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