Monthly Archives: July 2008

An Interview With SPA*

Earlier this year, Spanish IF author and aficionado Urbatain asked to do an interview with me on Vespers. Over about three months, we exchanged a number of e-mails and covered a variety of topics, mostly on different aspects of the 3D adaptation of interactive fiction. It turned out to be a really long interview in the end, but it probably could have gone on much longer. He asked a lot of challenging questions, and I think his enthusiasm for the project really shows, which made for an enjoyable interaction.

Urbatain’s intention was to publish the interview in the Spanish-language web-zine SPAC (Sociedad para la Promoci√≥n de Aventuras Conversacionales), and also to share it with Jimmy Maher and SPAC’s English inspiration, SPAG (Society for the [More...] Read the rest

Posted in 3D/if, interactive fiction, Vespers | 6 Responses

You Got Turn-Based Chocolate In My Real-Time Peanut Butter

The whole idea behind this Vespers project thingy is to take a rich textual world created in interactive fiction and extrude it, so to speak, into three visual dimensions. As I’ve discovered, a whole mess of issues arise when moving from the predominantly discrete world of IF to the largely continuous world of 3D. That applies, of course, to space: in IF, space is divided into discrete locations, with little to no functional representation of spacial relationships within those locations, while in 3D, space is represented on a more familiar continuous scale. Likewise, it applies to time: rare exceptions aside, IF is turn-based with discrete time steps, while first-person 3D games are real-time and continuous.

The question is, can a game really be [More...] Read the rest

Posted in 3D/if, interactive fiction, Vespers | 4 Responses

Embracing My Inner Nerd


So what, I couldn’t stand my state-issued license plate. Never could remember it to save my life. I know it’s hard to believe, but this was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about a new one, and it was available. I think I was actually surprised to learn it was still available, although in hindsight, I realize how additionally nerdy it is to admit that.

The puzzled looks I get, of course, far outnumber the acknowledgements.

In fact, I hadn’t had any acknowledgements, tacit or otherwise, until about a week ago. I was walking back to my car after a meeting and saw from afar an envelope under my wiper blade. Naturally, I thought it was a parking ticket, and was [More...] Read the rest

Posted in miscellaneous | 4 Responses

Conversation: They’re All Talking (About It)

I guess conversation is where it’s at these days. Recently I began a series of blogs on conversation mechanics and how interactive fiction games can perhaps show the mainstream game industry how to do better dialogue (starting here, continuing here, and most recently here). Others have also recently jumped in on the action.

Over on Gamasutra, an article written by Brent Ellison popped up not long ago to define dialog systems because, as he says, “very little literature has addressed the mechanics behind character interaction in games.”

Ellison essentially covers the basic mechanics of different dialogue systems in games, including branching and non-branching dialogue, hub-and-spokes dialogue, and even parser-driven dialogue. He does a fair enough job of summarizing the more common systems, [More...] Read the rest

Posted in adventure games, characters in games, interactive fiction | Leave a comment

No More Slamdance

Overheard from Jonathan Blow, he of Braid development fame, via Sam Roberts: the Slamdance Games Festival is cancelled, and appears likely to be no more. No big surprise there, but it’s unfortunate nevertheless. What a startling and swift fall into oblivion, triggered entirely by one little controversial entry.

It’s a shame because, as one commenter noted, it was a good way for indies to get exposure outside of traditional gaming circles. Aaron Reed’s report of his experiences there pushing his interactive fiction game “Whom the Telling Changed” was great stuff, especially the game transcript analysis he provided. Other shows are picking up the slack, like IndieCade, but there was still something about Slamdance being in Park City along with the Sundance festival [More...] Read the rest

Posted in indie games | 1 Response