September Link Assortment

Not really a link as such, but: if you’re used to contacting me at emshort@mindspring.com, I am phasing out that email address — I’ve been having more and more issues with undelivered attachments, missing messages, etc. And who uses mindspring any more anyway? So you may want to update your email address book to emshortif@gmail.com.

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Some upcoming live IF meetups and events:

London, October 7: I’m speaking at the London Literature Festival, as part of a panel on games and stories with Cara Ellison and Naomi Alderman.

Boston Meetup, October 12.

London, October 16: as part of the London Science Museum’s celebration of Ada Lovelace, I’m giving a Lovelace-themed workshop on interactive fiction (ticketed but tickets are free).

LA, October 24: Meetup and attendance at Indiecade Night Games.

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There’s more IF available in commercial form this month: inkle’s 80 Days for the Mac and PC (as well as a whole lot of new content for all platforms).

Also out this month: Simon Christiansen’s PataNoir remastered and illustrated for iOS and Android. PataNoir’s release is also marked by an accompanying music video, and there’s a nice post about it on Offworld, too.

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PixelTrickery’s Kickstarter for House of Many Doors has been funded and then some, but there is still another day or two to run. Project updates include many samples of entertainingly horrible procgen poetry.

Also on Kickstarter, [Top Secret] is a play-by-email interactive fiction game about the Snowden leaks and the NSA.

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Submissions are open for the Kitschies, which will award £500 to one UK-published piece of digital fiction released in 2015. (UK-published does not require that the author live in the UK.)

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If you feel like writing a short ghost IF, the annual Saugus Halloween story contest accepts both parser and choice-based contributions. Entries are due by October 22. Winning stories will be posted on the contest website, and winners will receive a Saugus t-shirt.

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The Windhammer Prize for gamebooks is currently running: you can download the contestants and vote on them any time between now and November 14.

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And of course, we’re now on the verge of IF Comp. Sometime in the next few days, the 2015 contestants should be released. At that point, anyone who is not an author may judge, review, and discuss the games, though you need to submit votes on at least five entries to have your vote counted.

It is also still possible to donate IF Comp prizes, should you wish to do so.

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Anyone interested by my review of Iain Pears’ Arcadia may also be interested in this Guardian review of The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz; it mentions a number of other interactive novels as well.

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Carolyn VanEseltine shares some notes from a GameLoop talk on scoring creativity. This kind of thing fascinates me both for the computational challenges (can we in fact come up with metrics for creative success, even within very small domains?) and because I’m interested in games of aesthetics.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos (Gnome) curates ImpishWords, a Facebook page with daily recommendations in the text game/IF space. Sometimes these are links to classic games and articles you may already have heard of; sometimes they’re scanned maps or information on new releases.

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Mattie Brice wrote this month about idle games — things like Candy Box and Dark Room and the especially evil and addictive Kittens Game. She notes that there is now an idle game-making tool for those who would like to experiment with the form without having to roll their own.

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Speaking of new tools, if you’ve ever tried to use Undum but been put off by its relative difficulty, you might want Raconteur, the Undum creation tool by Bruno Dias. Raconteur has been available for a few months, but this month Bruno also released the Raconteur source for a complete game (his Prospero, written for Sub-Q). I have written more about Raconteur here.

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Erin Robinson Swink gave a workshop at Headstart Institute based on her mindmap approach to game design, which is also written up over here. This is an approach to building mechanics rather than story structure, relevant for the more systemic puzzle sort of design.

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GAME Journal is looking for games that comment on or critique other games: this could include parody, but also other forms of commentary. Send a demo by October 5 if you would like to be considered for inclusion.

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The illustrated Twine game A Bucket Filled With Sand lets you build a little sand kingdom according to the principles you prefer; in some ways it’s a bit reminiscent of The Compass Rose.

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shadowhand

I’ve only seen the preliminary announcement, but I like the look of the forthcoming Shadowhand, a narrative card game with visual novel elements, telling the story of an 18th century lady who dresses up as a highwayman in order to kick ass.

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Not new, but good: Jo Walton on how to write characters that readers will care about.

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This month I updated my Writing IF resources page. It now has a lot more to say about choice-based IF tools and commercial/semi-pro publishing options, as well as more links to craft articles.

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