February Link Assortment

Upcoming events:

We’ve got a range of things happening in the Oxford/London Meetup: there’s a talk in Oxford on Iain Pears’ Arcadia, including me as a panelist, March 2, as well as meets in Oxford April 3, and in London April 19.

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Spring Thing is happening again this year, and you still have until March 8 to submit an intent if you want to enter. Spring Thing is a counterweight to the big yearly IF Comp, and can be a gentler way of getting your work out there.

A particularly cool innovation: as of last year, Spring Thing’s Back Garden division accepts works that the author doesn’t want to put into the main ranked competition. It’s a good place to share excerpts, unfinished work that you still think might interest someone, and experiments where you’d like feedback. (This is where/how I released Aspel last year, and that proved to be a good experience.)

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Laura Hudson talks to Sean Vanaman about dialogue modeling in Firewatch, and writes more generally about how Firewatch is drawing on inspirations from text-based games, including Infocom but also 80 Days and Lifeline. The dialogue model from Valve that they refer to is the Left 4 Dead model that Elan Ruskin talked about at GDC a few years back. Note the “Prior Art: Inform 7” slide partway through that talk.

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Here’s Naomi Alderman’s interactive documentary about interactive fiction, RPGs, and related forms, executed in Twine with overlaid audio interview snippets. (Quite possibly including some from me: I haven’t explored it fully yet, but was interviewed as part of this project.)

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Carolyn VanEseltine writes about the idea of cover songs as applied to IF.

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Cat Manning (Invasion, Crossroads) with a list of Twine games that demonstrate some of the possibilities of the field.

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Haywire Magazine on why 2015 was the year of IF.

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For those who liked my post on being edited this month, here’s a GDC Vault presentation from Cameron Harris of BioWare, on what editing is for and why games need editors.

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Here’s a Guardian article about several interesting IF/ebook projects. The article mentions Editions at Play, teamed up with Google Creative Lab. Wired also has a take on this development.

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Here’s an article on video game curation for museum and shared spaces, such as No Quarter, Wild Rumpus, and other live displays.

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NaNoRenO is a month-long jam for visual novels, especially those in Ren’Py, which is running through March. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at this but not gotten off the ground, now is your chance.

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The Electronic Literature Collection volume 3 is now available; it includes First Draft of the Revolution, I’m happy to say, as well as With Those We Love Alive, The Hunt for the Gay Planet, Quing’s Quest VII, Dwarf Fortress, and many other fine things.

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Failbetter Games has announced Fundbetter, an investment scheme for narrative games and interactive fiction offering amounts in the range of £2000-£20,000. If you have a project you think could benefit from their investment attentions, have a look.

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Vice covers Rob Swigart’s Portal (Activision, 1986); Jimmy Maher has also written in quite a bit of depth about this piece over at Digital Antiquarian. I haven’t had a chance to play it, but a quote from the Vice article –

True to his name, Homer is a story telling AI, with only fragments of his memory intact and a desperate desire to unravel the past. Homer becomes your invaluable ally in the search for the truth. He digs through the system, unlocking new data that you must go through, and with each new file uncovered, Homer begins constructing the story of how the world ended.

– made me think of Ice-Bound, which is freshly out.

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Stout Games has announced Cheongsam, an AI-driven interaction with a character who responds to your gestural input. It sounds vaguely Façade-like, though it’s early days yet; I’ll be curious to see what comes of this project.

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Midnight Stranger was a 1994 FMV game with an interesting control scheme where you could indicate your response to events along an axis rather than with discreet choices. (So maybe a little like The Act, except that as far as I can tell from the description you’re doing this at specific choice moments rather than providing continuous realtime input.) There is now a Kickstarter to make it playable again on current technology. I’m not sure whether it’s likely to be good, but it certainly sounds interesting.

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Speaking of Kickstarter, there’s one to distribute the movie about the making of That Dragon, Cancer.

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IF author Christopher Huang (Muse, An Act of MurderCana According to Micah, Sunday Afternoon) is writing (has written?) a classic-style murder mystery, which is now gaining followers and possible backers on inkshares.

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Mattie Brice writes about Style Savvy: Trendsetters in a piece on aesthetic gameplay.

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