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Boston IF Meetup, Tuesday, October 27

It's Boston IF Meetup time again. This time, bucking tradition, it's on a Tuesday, not a Monday. Come join us on Tuesday, October 27, at 6:30 in The Trope Tank (14N-233 at MIT). We have two people talking this month:

  • Andrew (aka Zarf) will be talking about procedural text generation, using room descriptions in his game Hunter, In Darkness as an example (go play it if you haven't). Late-breaking news: he's also working on a second example in Javascript.
  • Michael (aka Mike) will be showing off and talking about the games he made for IFWM earlier this year (IFWM was the impetus for the Boston IF Meetups (Meetsup?)).
There will, I'm sure, also be the usual talk about games in general, and I'm sure there will be at least some mention of the competition that's happening right now and that I'm not discussing in public. Usually around 8 or 8:30, we head over to Cambridge Brewing Company for food and/or drinks.

This is free (except for food and/or drinks) and open to the public. Please feel free to come by and talk, listen, or present (if you're planning to present, some heads-up to me might be nice before the actual presentation, but it's not strictly necessary).

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IFWM: My Week 4 Assignment

(See Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.)

The final week's assignment was to add at least one custom verb that contributes to the story in some way. The secondary part of the assignment was to make the story polished and try to run it by at least one beta tester.

So, the verb part I had done in Week 2 ("pluck" and "scoop", although I also allowed you to do the same thing with "get"). I spent a little bit of time, though, implementing another verb and some fun stuff around that. I won't go into too much detail in case you want to try it for yourself in the game.

And then that was pretty much the time I spent on it this week for various reasons. However, I did have one observation, which likely made this week worth it. It was that I spent about an hour coding something that, in my vision of the complete game, wouldn't be necessary to win. In fact, it only lead to another way to lose. However, I think it was worthwhile for two reasons. First, it was fun to code. Second, it is something that would add a little depth to the final game if someone were to try to do something suggested by the room description. And I think this could be a quality that I want to keep in other games that I make. I want to have things that contribute to the depth of the world, even if they aren't essential to "winning" the game and even if most people probably won't run into them. They make the game more interesting for me (which hopefully will help the game get finished in the first place) and reward the curious player.

So, anyway, you can play my Week 4 submission. It's pretty much the same as last week's, except that you can do a few more things to David, and there's an object in the living room you can mess with. Same way to win as last week, but there are a few more ways to lose.

And I'll take this opportunity to thank Lea for running IFWM. It got me and a handful of other people writing IF when we might not have ever gotten around to it otherwise. If you haven't done so, I highly recommend checking out all of the assignments, since there is a lot of good material in them.

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IFWM: My Week 3 Assignment

(See Week 1 and Week 2.)

You can check out everyone's Week 2 assignments. If you don't check them all out, I highly recommend at least Octopus's Garden by mhilborn and Grocery Shopping by Squinky.

Our assignment for Week 3 was to create an NPC and have that NPC be crucial to winning the story. As usual, I spent more time on the recommended reading than I did on the assignment itself. After having heard about it all over the place, I finally played Galatea by Emily Short, and it's highly recommended.

I was away at a conference most of this week, so I only ended up spending a couple of hours on my assignment. It is therefore very simple. I kept my Week 2 assignment as the first act and added a second act. I had grand plans for making a wandering NPC with scripted events, but that just didn't happen. I figured it was best to actually complete something simple than to give up and not turn something in this week. I'm using IFWM to just get something done, even if it isn't very exciting; I'm hoping that doing that will give me enough motivation to continue in the exciting world of interactive fiction.

Anyway, enough with the disclaimer. You can play my Week 3 submission thanks to Parchment.

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IFWM: My Week 2 Assignment

(If you missed it, see my post about Week 1.)

The first week assignments are up. There are 20 of them, ranging from just a couple of rooms with a couple of objects to a full-blown short game. It was a lot of fun to see the things that people came up with.

The assignment for the second week was to add some more interactivity to your objects (including trying a puzzle and making the game winnable) and start defining the player character. There were some good readings on both of these topics, and I probably spent twice as much time reading this week as I did coding.

Here is my assignment for this week. I got rid of the puzzle from last week (even though it seemed to be good for a chuckle) and added a slightly more complex (and, I think, interesting) puzzle. I also spent some time on the player character, which I think worked pretty well. Additionally, I made more of the scenery in the room descriptions examinable and made sure that more verbs got non-default responses where appropriate. Please feel free to let me know what you think.

Also, we had a little meetup, including me and four people who aren't actually participating in IFWM (well, five, if you count the random stranger we picked up for bits of the conversation who overheard us and who had played the old Infocom games and had interesting things to say). We had a great time talking about IF, I got some suggestions for improving my game (which I just implemented before writing this post), and we decided that we're going to try to organize a regular monthly Boston IF meetup for people to chat about IF. More details on that last bit as I get more organized, but if you're local and interested in meetups, ping me at jacksonmead at the google mailing depot.

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IFWM: My Week 1 Assignment

I feel a little silly posting this, but since Andrew posted about Interactive Fiction Writing Month, I figure I'll post my entry.

The first week's assignment (after getting the compiler running and reading through some tutorials) was to create a few rooms with a few objects in the rooms, using at least three different attributes (scenery, container, light, etc.).

I have some programming experience, but I've never played with Inform before, so I kept it pretty simple. You can play it online here (thanks to the Parchment web-based Z-machine interpreter). It's just a few rooms, but there actually is something to do, including a win condition. Note that it hasn't been tested much by people besides me, so it may behave weirdly.

I'm happy to hear your thoughts about it, and I'll be posting each week's assignment, which should culminate in an actual playable game.

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