Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 in Gameshelf-TV land

Well, we only ended up doing one episode this year, contrary to my hopes last fall. But production of the next show is well underway, and it's as different from the Diplomacy show as that one was different from the shows that came before it. Once it's done, I'm going to release it in a brand-new format that, I hope, will make the show much more watchable, without sacrificing any show quality. You'll know what I'm talking about once you see it.

I'm hoping that 2010 will be the year I can actually bring some regularity to this show's production schedule, enough so that I can say "I make a TV show about games" without feeling obligated to qualify that with some statement about its near-nonexistence as a regular series. I do indeed have a plan for making this happen that is better than "OK, let's just work harder at it." But, in the interest of not jinxing myself, I'll save further yapping about any new process for when I actually deliver something.

To tide you over, please enjoy this historical confection that PeterB over at TLeaves dug up. Wargames! A unique and intriguing hobby.

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I haven't posted much about the Myst movie project since I first blogged about it. Patrick McIntire and Adrian Vanderbosch have been posting occasionally on their blog, but while they've been colorful about the life of indie filmmakers, they haven't had much in the way of solid news.

They still don't have solid news. But they do have encouraging news:

Our trip to LA was to meet with potential producing partners.  What this means is that we were looking for producers to join forces with to further develop the script and project in preparation for pitching to the studios. [...]

We have joined forces with two production companies.  Announcement of those names will come at a later date after some business elements have been taken care of.  For now I will tell you this: One of our partners has a first-look deal at Warner Brothers.  [...]  Don't assume this is a guarantee of WB being the studio.  I will also tell you that the other producer we partnered with is an Oscar winner and has extensive experience with world-creation and bringing epic films like ours to the theaters.  We are very excited about our partners and we're enjoying the collaboration.

-- Adrian Vanderbosch, posting on Christmas

So, no deal yet. But they have friends in high places, or rather in glitzy places, who will be working with them to help make a deal possible. (Adrian estimates that they're "two and half or three years" away from having a finished film, and that's if they don't bog down anywhere.)

I find this awesome, and I look forward to more.

In other news, Chogon (Mark DeForest, CTO of Cyan) posted this on the Myst forums a few days ago:

I am working on Riven for the iPhone/iTouch (along with RAWA and Rand) as I type. And yes. There are some challenges still ahead that I am confident we can solve. And we are determine to make this the best Riven evvvv-er.

(That's with Richard Watson and Rand Miller, two of the other Cyan honchos.)

Myst has been ported to quite a few platforms (DS, iPhone, Saturn, Jaguar... seriously, I didn't even know about most of these). Riven, due to its size -- five CD-ROMs originally -- has been much less widely ported. And in fact, while I've replayed versions of Myst several times over the years, I've never gone back to Riven. My old Mac version certainly won't run on OSX, and I've never gone through the contortions needed to set up a Windows version.

So I'm super-excited about an iPhone Riven. There are challenges, as Chogon says; see his full post for his comments about making the video-playing toolkit do what they need it to do. But it's in progress.

(Yes, someone asked about Droid/Android. Unfortunately the current Android devices still have limited space for app storage, so no luck there for the moment.)

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Boston IF Meetup: Monday, December 21

It's that time again. Please join us for the monthly Boston IF Meetup on Monday, December 21, at 6:30 at MIT in 14N-233.

This month, we'll take a look at the Textfyre game The Shadow in the Cathedral, and we may also see a work-in-progress game or two. And of course there will be the usual general chit-chat about IF and games in general.

As usual, we'll head over to the Cambridge Brewing Company after a while for food/drink.

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Get Lamp at PAX East

I insinuated this before, but now I can pass the word:

I have pretty much committed to premiering GET LAMP at PAX East in the end of March. That means I am going to want to have BOXES of GET LAMP at PAX East at the end of March. That means, well... that means I just bought myself a metric assload of personal pain. But it's pain that will result in an amazing product. So let's enjoy the pain, shall we.

--jscott, in email, updating his Sabbatical status

I look forward to seeing myself blather about IF. With lots of other IF aficionados(*) sitting next to me, mocking my blathering. It'll be great! Show up.

(* "Each with his bottle of aficiolemonade." Oh, Google, you take all the fun out of being obscure.)

EDIT-ADD: You can now pre-order the DVD set.

EDIT-ADD, 12/23: The Penny Arcaders just posted that PAX-East is filling up fast:

Imagine our surprise when looking at pre-registration numbers, it became clear that PAX East would be as big if not bigger than our Seattle show. I can't believe I'm saying this about the first year of PAX East, but if pre-registration keeps going like this we will probably have to cap attendance just like we did this year in Seattle.

Decide soon whether you're interested, folks.

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Planet M.U.L.E. - First thoughts

Planet M.U.L.E.ScreenSnapz002.pngYouTube review by me of the original M.U.L.E. is here, if you need some background.

Last night I played a couple of games of the brand-new Planet M.U.L.E. - one with some friends over the internet, and one by myself. It is a faithful (sometimes a little too faithful) adaptation of Dani Bunten's original economic simulation from the 1980s, and it does indeed finally meet the long-time dream to bring internet playability to this intrinsically multiplayer game. Unfortunately, at least in its current version, Planet M.U.L.E. is marred by some design choices that will, I fear, significantly limit the size of audience.

More details after the jump:

Continue reading Planet M.U.L.E. - First thoughts.
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Just to prove I'm not ashamed

I got into The Mob on 1 vs. 100 tonight, after several personal-best high-scoring rounds, and then blew it on the first question. Yes, I said that the act of swishing liquid inside your mouth was to gaggle. Because it was the first choice that appeared, and because I was freaking out about being in the Mob.

So, if you ever play the game and wonder what the hell kind of idiots got that wrong? when you see the inevitable group of Mob knockouts after the first, always-easy question, I am here to tell you: some people just don't act their fanciest under sudden stress.

See also:

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I said a few weeks ago that interactive fiction stuff "will happen" at the Penny Arcade Expo East (Boston, March 26-28).

This past weekend PAX sent out a call for speakers and panel discussions. Some of us IF folks started emailing back and forth. We currently have three suggestions submitted to the PAX events site. I've listed them below.

Before I get there, let me say that this is not an exclusive list. The names attached to these panels are simply the people who were in that email discussion. If you're an IF author, current or erstwhile, submit more events! Or register as a panelist for IF-related sessions. And comment here, so we know what's going on. I intend to sit in on every IF-related event at the conference.

(A suggestion: include the phrase "interactive fiction" -- not just "IF" -- in the event title. We'd like all of these events to jump out as clearly related on the schedule.)

We'd like to make this PAX a focal point for IF activity, education, promotion, and all-round chin-wagging. For a start, Jason Scott is saying that he's keen to premiere Get Lamp there...

Continue reading IF activity at PAX East -- now with info!.
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Meeting my complain-about-consoles quota

I just got my second Xbox RRoD in three months. This is kind of ridiculous. It appears to be the power supply this time, rather than the internals, and the phone rep I just spoke with said he can get a new one to me within two or three weeks. (Since I called, the power supply graduated into a flickering sorta-kinda working state, but I don't expect it to hold out much longer.)

I'd be less sad about this if Microsoft were more like Apple (ha ha) when it comes to repairs. If your under-warrantly MacBook dies, the truck delivering your repaired machine nearly runs the truck picking up the broken one off the road. Microsoft's Seattle attitude is rather more shall-we-say relaxed than that of their high-strung Californian competitors, and you can expect a solid month to pass between the day those red lights start flashing and the day you can once again get down and dirty with whatever your high-def poison is.

A more astute comparison might be how my Atari VCS lasted a good 11 years before it experienced any kind of hardware failure... but that was a rather simpler device. Are modern consoles' hot-running guts just too complicated and failure-prone for users to expect to work for any long stretch of time?

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Spider and Web in Russian

Just to keep the friends-of-Gameshelf game-news tap flowing:

Andrew Plotkin's landmark work of interactive fiction Spider and Web has been translated into Russian by Vsevolod Zoubarev. That's a pretty great initial translation choice for this particular game, what with its vibe of Eastern European-ish intrigue.

If you haven't played Spider and Web in English, allow me to direct you to the jump-right-in online version, courtesy of Atul Varma's Parchment website. (I'd say more about Parchment, here, but... I'll save it for the upcoming episode of the show.)

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