Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Final Thoughts

The final submissions are now available at the website.

Pittsburgh: I'd like to have a meetup sometime this weekend; Saturday evening has been suggested. Please voice your preferences at this forum thread.

Boston: The Boston gang has announced a meeting on Sunday, March 22, at 6:00 pm at The Asgard in Cambridge. Zarf himself attended their last meeting, so if you're in the area, you should check it out.

Everybody: I hope that this month has encouraged you to learn about IF as a unique medium, and given you some confidence in your ability to write works of IF. It has been very exciting for me to see interest from so many exotic locales, and examples of many different kinds of story. Thank you all for participating!

So, where do you go from here?

First, second, and third: Beta-testing is what makes your game playable by people who can't read your mind (which is probably everybody who is not you). Being literature, puzzle, and code, IF needs to be proofread, playtested, and debugged — early and often. Testing can even spur new ideas and help you sort out larger design issues.

Fourth: Feelies are obviously optional, but working on a feelie, map, or cover art can help you solidify the theme and intent of your story. Personally, I find graphic design much more approachable than writing, and if you are of the same persuasion, designing feelies may be a good way for you to get into your story project.

Fifth: Once you've got something you want the world to see, read up about promoting your game and get to it.

Lastly: The world of IF is rife with competitions, most notably the XYZZY Awards. Competitions are a great way to find out what's new in the world of IF, especially since many IF competitions require the submitted games to be fairly short — perfect for those of us with a short attention span. And of course, you can always enter competitions yourself.

Thanks again, and I hope to see you around.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Please send in your final submissions! if[dot]month[at]gmail[dot]com

Stay tuned for some wrapup thoughts and meeting logistics.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Week 3 submissions I've received are now online at the IFWM website. I know there are at least a few more submissions out there, so please send them in if you have them.

Week Four Assignment

Send in your Week 3 assignments! if[dot]month[at]gmail[dot]com

If you've been writing along so far, you've (hopefully) described a place and its contents, and allowed a unique explorer to interact with the environment and animate inhabitants. Another way to expand an IF story is to define new verbs. While gratuitous extra verbs can lead to far less amusing versions of "Guess the Verb" than this one, a well-chosen verb can lend credibility to your story, allowing your player to interact in more natural ways.

Em Short uses a few new verbs — notably, "remember" and "link" — in Savoir Faire that are intuitive and vital to the story. She also just wrote a blog entry about action and agency, which you may find relevent to your writing process this week. (Have you noticed yet that Em Short is awesome?)

And of course, where would interactive fiction be without the spell "xyzzy"?

You can learn about how to make new verbs in in Inform 6 with the "William Tell" example in the IBG, or §6 in the DM4. In Inform 7, check out chapter 12.7 in the Manual.

This week, write a story that includes at least one custom verb that contributes to the story in a seamless way.

This is our last week, so I think it's time to also request that the games be as immersive as possible. This means that there should be no inappropriate "You can't see that here" and "That's not a verb I recognise" messages. Ideally, you should run your game by at least one beta tester: this is a good habit to be in. You may be able to find a willing beta tester on the forums; I can also look at some games, though I can't promise super rapid turnaround.

If you're looking for a more concrete assignment, here is a title to make a story out of: "Synaesthesia: The Text Adventure."

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 2 Submissions


All of the entries are looking great (especially for the one week production timeline). I particularly recommend checking out Squinky's and mhilborn's entries, in terms of player character development.

There are a few that I know of that have not yet trickled in, so be sure to check back in a few days.