After years of work and anticipation, Graham Nelson’s new interactive fiction development system, Inform 7, is out. The new system is in many ways more different from Inform 6 than OS 10 was from System 9: Code looks like natural language (like English prose, specifically), a new and well-crafted IDE from Andrew Hunter is provided, and numerous improvements to the language and world model have been incorporated. Games still compile to z-code, however, to run on the standard interpreters that run earlier Inform games.
April 30, 2006
April 29, 2006
There are a number of interesting conference and workshop deadlines approaching.
The 3rd international Conference on Technologies in Interactive Digital Storytelling and Entertainment (TIDSE 2006), Darmstadt, Germany, December 4-6, 2006. Papers are due July 15, 2006.
Workshop on adaptive approaches to optimizing player satisfaction in games, held in conjunction Simulation of Adaptive Behavior 2006, Rome, Italy, September 25-29, 2006. Papers due May 21, 2006.
Sandbox: ACM SIGGRAPH Video Game Symposium, Boston, MA, USA, July 29-30, 2006. Papers due May 15, 2006 (Extended deadline!)
Game-On 2006, Braunschweig, Germany, November 29-December 1, 2006. Early submissions due July 31, 2006 (there’s a later deadline of September 15th).
Greetings from Karlskrona, Sweden, where I’m a visiting distinguished scholar at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. While my students at Hunter College NYC are busy prepping for their graduate reviews (crits) mid-May, I’ve been making the rounds with folks here in the Literature, Culture and Digital Media program. Past scholar visitors to the program have included Kate Hayles, Jesper Juul, and Jay Bolter.
(large scale chess demo derby, Stockholm)
April 28, 2006
Brian Kim Stefans has just deployed Web-works aplenty in the container format of his Brown Masters of Fine Arts thesis, “Kluge: A Meditation, and Other Works.”
April 24, 2006
Some enterprising folks in my hometown of Portland, Oregon are organizing a free, one-day games festival on Saturday June 3rd, called the Northwest Games Festival. Register on-line to come show off your game, attend sessions, awards, etc. Everyone is invited, including all you up in Seattle and Vancouver, you out there in Boise, come on Eureka, hey you up in Anchorage…
I hope to do a session on getting into game programming, participate on a panel with local indie studio folks, and make Façade available to play.
Procedural Arts is proud to be a sponsor of the festival.
Check out a new interview I discovered at furtherfield.org with GTxA’s Mary Flanagan on net art, cyberfeminism and authorship.
There’s some of the standard article-about-IF fare there, yes, along with some nice touches such as quotes from Don Woods and a write-up of the Mystery House Taken Over project. Since the piece was written up on Slashdot, you can even read the rereshingly unselfconcious comments available there. Slashdot rule #1: All jokes about IF must begin with “>”.
April 21, 2006
While I appreciate the “rah-rah, boo-hoo, emotion in games!” cheerleading in this week’s The Escapist — I too am all for creating more affective interactive experiences — let’s get real about the status quo of gaming’s expressiveness, please?
April 20, 2006
I’m at UCI’s Massive gathering today, although I had to arrive a little late.
One of the more intriguing things I’ve heard so far is about some developments in Second Life. They’re building an API into the system. It sounds like it might just be for pulling live data out of Second Life for use elsewhere, but my hope is that it will be possible to structure and control elements of Second Life via external processes (e.g., characters controlled by AI running outside Second Life‘s scripting system). Similarly, they’re working toward an open source viewer that they imagine being customized by different communities. These might both open up interesting possibilities for researchers and artists.
April 17, 2006
Stuart Moulthrop, author of Victory Garden, Hegirascope, Reagan Library, and Pax, will discuss his more than 15 years of work in digital writing and will read from new work.
Wednesday – April 19, 2006 – 5:30pm
The reading and discussion will take place at the Kelly Writers House, on the University of Pennsylvania campus, 3805 Locust Walk.
April 14, 2006
Jim Carpenter and his prosthetic imagination now have a blog. Jim’s Electronic Text Composition project website just went up less than a month ago, as we announced here. At this rate we’ll have the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.poetry.etc before the end of May.
April 12, 2006
- I thought Tadhg Kelly’s particleblog ended in July 2004, shortly after his interesting insyn proposal. I didn’t realize he was back to blogging, as of last summer; he’s been working at Lionhead as a scene designer on The Movies (although apparently is leaving Lionhead along with many others in the recent re-shuffle). Anyhow, he’s got two new essays I enjoyed, one on moving beyond fun in videogames, and a response to Warren Spector’s Escapist article series. Also check out this Next Gen article he wrote on using human-captured motion/imagery in games, although I found it problematic.
April 10, 2006
Robert Kendall has just launched the site for his new generator-backed, photo-enabled sticker literature project, Logozoa. Photos provide the logozoo – more exhibits are sought from contributors – while texts are downloadable and sticker-printable from the adopt-a-zoa section of the site. This project is aphoristic rather than novelistic or completely open and blank. It’s is based on Rob’s earlier Soothcircuit system, emplying some of the sayings that system can diagram.
Some of this, some of this, and even a touch of this to help you get fully iPoemd up during our noble country’s National Poetry Month. It’s the cruelest month, and sometimes it snows in April; but celebrate it or oppose it, it is indeed here.
- “If Someone Touches You,” by People Like Us, The Jet Black Hair People and Wobbly (more by PLU)
- “The Jezebel Spirit,” Brian Eno and David Byrne (last.fm) (info)
- “Mayakovsky,” The Four Horsemen
- “Rocked by Rape,” Evolution Control Committee (more by ECC)
- “PoetryMix” (Christian Bök + Caroline Bergvall), DJ Disaffected (special to GTxA!)
April 9, 2006
Quickly on the heels of my previous personal announcement, I have another one. This summer will be my last summer at Georgia Tech. Starting this fall I will be joining UC Santa Cruz, where I will help in building up their new, technically-focused undergraduate degree program in computer game design (here are some working papers describing the degree program), as well as help in building up a new game research lab. The last few years at Georgia Tech have been good ones; I will certainly miss my friends and colleagues here, though I’m sure we’ll continue to actively collaborate and will see each other on a regular basis.
I was delighted to see that someone at my alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin – to wit, Jeffrey Lamar Howard – wrote a dissertation engaging interactive fiction and contemporary literature, and ways that IF can inform the teaching of postmodern writing. Jeffrey Howard’s dissertation is “Heretical Reading: Freedom as Question and Process in Postmodern American Novel and Technological Pedagogy.” Update, May 9: It’s now online.
I will just quote a few passages from it and mention one point that it makes. This won’t provide anything like a summary of Howard’s work, of course, but hopefully it will show something about the very novel approach to interactive fiction and postmodern literature that he has taken.
Literary pedagogy can be thought of as a form of game design, in which the teacher transforms a printed text into an interactive fiction by locating and devising “puzzles” in the form of interpretative challenges for the student to solve. By applying the principles of game design while teaching postmodern novels, instructors can draw upon the theories and examples of interactivity already associated with interactive fiction to enhance their own pedagogical imaginations.
April 7, 2006
[reas’ process-ed work “Path 14″]
Some observations drawn from Friday’s keynote lecture at the 2006 iDMAa + IMS Conference- HumanSystems | DigitalBodies follows!
For the last two years, Casey Reas has been writing software utilizing the principles of emergence and simple machines and ‘vehicles’ which develop neural systems. His work is created these days primarily using Processing (surely blogged about before on gtxa)…
It must be national poetry month. In addition to Nick Montfort’s foray into deforestation this morning my email included note of two other strange poetic projects. William Gillespie at Spineless Books announced that to celebrate Charles Fourier’s 234th birthday and the first birthday of Joshua Corey’s Fourier Series, the winner of the Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn Award For Best Book Length Work of Constrained English Literature (2005), there has been an update to the Fourier Series web suite to include recordings of the author reading (recorded in the offices of Burning Deck Press), a PDF excerpt of the book’s inventive layout, and Fourier Electronique, a ten-minute MP3 poetry remix. The MP3 is haunting, western, and linguistically interesting, well worth a listen. Ken Tompkins also passed along a link to The Fib, a poetic form based on the Fibonacci sequence: a 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8. Although others, including Paul Braffort, have experiemented with the famous pattern before, this seems like a fun form to try on a plane, shortly before bed, or to inflict on one’s students in an Art, Games and Narrative course.
April 6, 2006
I write a lot of things intended for the computer. I decided, for a change, to write a poem that was fit for print and paper. Here are a few notes about the project:
- Ream is a 500 page poem.
- The writing of Ream was entirely imagined and executed on one day: April 5, 2006.
- On each page of Ream a single, one-syllable word appears, centered, in ordinary, 14-point type.
- Page numbers do not appear on any of the pages and are unnecessary, since the words are in alphabetical order.
- Pages 1-51 recapitulate Poe’s “The Raven.”
I haven’t had a chance to read Wendy Chun’s Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (I need to get past a couple looming deadlines first). But I was just looking at the website, which is definitely one of the more interesting book-related sites I’ve ever seen. For starters, there’s an End-User License Agreement, a simulated packet sniffer and webcams, and some rather suggestive imagery. In terms of the book itself, if her ISEA keynote (pdf) is any indicator, it’s going to be a very thought provoking read.
April 5, 2006
As easily predicted Darwinia swept the GDC’s Independent Games Festival, and also predictably there is a bit of controversy over whether Darwinia deserved to compete, since it’s now distributed by Steam and has had some moderate commercial success. I think the answer is an obvious “yes” — Darwinia was created in true indie style, and just because the game is now moderately successful, by no means disqualifies it as indie.
On April 20th UC Irvine will host “Massive” — a one-day event about the present and future of MMO games. There’s an early registration discount, but the deadline is tomorrow (April 6th). From the site: MASSIVE will engage 25 speakers and approximately 80 registrants from industry and academia in a dialog about the future design, technical and cultural challenges presented by massively multiplayer games, current and future research agendas from both industry and academia, and case studies and future models for industry academia collaboration.