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PAX East -- the IF suite!

Further PAX excitement: I have reserved a large suite on the top floor of the Back Bay Hilton. (Room number TBA.) When PAX begins, this will become the People's Republic of Interactive Fiction Hospitality Suite.

The People's Republic of Interactive Fiction is the label we've adopted at the Boston IF meetups. We intend to make games and such under this label, someday; but our first offering will be this room, where we will welcome all PAX attendees on behalf of Boston and its rich IF history.

(Hopefully, not all PAX attendees at the same time...)

If you know the IF community online, come by and meet us in real life. (See the PAX page on IFWiki for the list of familiar names who will be at PAX -- it's a long list, and I promise several of us will be hanging out in the room at any given time.) If you're curious about IF, come by and ask us about it. If you want to play some IF, or learn about how to write it, come by and see the software demos we'll have running. If you want to eat potato chips, we can provide those.

(Really, you don't need to be a PAX attendee to visit the room. If you're in Boston and you missed getting a ticket -- we hear they're selling out fast -- you can still come hang out. But you're going to be sad on Friday night when we all leave to do the IF panel, and then watch Get Lamp.)

The current plan is for the doors to be open noon to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and maybe noon to 3pm on Sunday. (Excepting those two IF event times on Friday.)

Further details will be organized on the wiki page. We'll probably have a SpeedIF event (write a complete IF game in two hours -- bring your own laptop), maybe some less-formal panel discussions, maybe show clips from Get Lamp that didn't make it into the Friday evening showing.

One other event I forgot mention in the last post: Emily Short and Jeremy Freese will be speaking at MIT on Monday, the day after PAX. This is for Nick Montfort's Purple Blurb series, and the details aren't officially out yet, but recent Purple Blurb events have been 6pm in MIT room 14E-310.

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IF activity at PAX East -- schedule!

We now have confirmation of two IF events at PAX:

Storytelling in the world of interactive fiction

(Friday, March 26th, 5:30pm-6:30pm, Wyvern Theatre)

Text adventures have been quietly experimenting with narrative gaming for thirty years. Five authors from the amateur interactive fiction community discuss the design ideas in their games -- reordered storylines, unreliable narrators, deeply responsive NPCs -- and how they apply to other kinds of games. (Rob Wheeler (mod.), Robb Sherwin, Aaron Reed, Emily Short, Andrew Plotkin)

GET LAMP Panel/Screening

(Friday, March 26th, 9:30pm, Naga Theatre)

The premiere of Jason Scott's three-hour documentary on IF history and culture. Will he show all three hours? Who knows? (Noted via twitter.) (By the way, check out his awesome cover art for the DVD set.)

Purple Blurb

(Monday, March 29th, details TBA but I believe 5:30pm at MIT 14E-310)

This is not a PAX event, but it's happening in town the day after PAX. Emily Short and Jeremy Freese speak at MIT on the subject of interactive fiction and electronic literature. Hosted by Nick Montfort for his Purple Blurb lecture series.

We also have confirmation that PAX East will be sold out and no badges will be available at the door. Preregister or stay home. (By which I mean, "preregister"!) If the cost is a problem for you, they're looking for volunteers, who will get free admission.

EDIT-ADD: I forgot to mention the Purple Blurb presentation on Monday! See above.

EDIT-ADD again: We are going to be hosting an open IF hospitality suite where you can come see IF people and talk and try our games and stuff. See this post!

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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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IF activity at PAX East -- now with info!

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...

Obligatory note: these are submitted ideas, not scheduled events. The PAX people have not told us whether they are going onto the schedule, in this form or with alterations. I don't expect those decisions to come out until January. I'll post when I hear from them.

So you haven't played any interactive fiction since Zork?

Text adventures didn't go away in 1990. They just went indie. Join us as we whiz through the past two decades of IF history. Then we'll present two recent games that are intended for IF newcomers: "The Dreamhold" and "Blue Lacuna". (Andrew Plotkin, Aaron Reed)

Storytelling in the world of interactive fiction

Text adventures have been quietly experimenting with narrative gaming for thirty years. Five authors from the amateur interactive fiction community discuss the design ideas in their games -- reordered storylines, unreliable narrators, deeply responsive NPCs -- and how they apply to other kinds of games. (Rob Wheeler (mod.), Robb Sherwin, Aaron Reed, Emily Short, Andrew Plotkin)

Rule-based programming in interactive fiction

Inform 7 is a modern text-adventure design language based on two controversial principles: natural-language source code, and rule-based declarative programming. Andrew Plotkin digs into the rule programming model, why it exists, where it might go, and why it kicks OO's butt.

(You might recognize that last as the talk I gave at Penguicon last May. Yes, I want to reprise it for PAX. Apologies to the ten or so people who saw it there -- you'll just have to come back and cheer for me.)

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Diplomacy woos FPS fans :: More PAX plans

Ego-surf du jour: fans of (a mod of) the multiplayer shooter Battlefield 1942 discovered the Diplomacy show, and it inspired them to give the game a whirl themselves. They started a game over on, and recent posts on the original forum thread are now devoted to international saber-rattling circa 1901.

The sight of hardcore FPS fans getting excited about discovering a board game (even one played electronically) due to a Gameshelf episode quite honestly delights me.

In other news, I've bought my registration to PAX East. I look forward to seeing what IF-related plans coalesce over the next few months, and to meeting lots of y'all. Eager to see the show beyond that, too; not counting SF cons, the only game-related event I've attended is the rather modestly sized Origins Game Fair, so I'm prepared to be completely unprepared for PAX.

Personal goal: by mid-March, I want to be able to say, with a straight face, that I produce a TV show about games. I can say that now only with a lot of hemming and hawing about how infrequently it's published. So, I'd like to get at least a couple more episodes in the can by then.

I've begun production of episode 9, insofar as there is now a stack of index cards on my desk that more or less seems to outline the next 30 minutes of the pure gamish elucidation that only The Gameshelf can provide. With fairest winds, it'll be done before January. Stay, as they say, tuned.

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IF activity at PAX Boston!

...will happen. Details when we have them.

What? No, I really don't know yet.

What? I'm talking about Penny Arcade Expo East, scheduled for March 26-28 next year, in downtown Boston. I'll be there. Quite a few IF folks are interested in showing up. We all said "Yeah, we should get together at PAX and do some stuff!"

What? We could do some IF panels. Demo some games. Talk about Inform 7, or about interactive storytelling. I hear Jason Scott has been working on a movie, he might have something to show. I like the idea of an MIT tour, featuring "Lurking Horror" locations. Nothing's set up yet; this is all still ideas. But if you're interested in IF, and Boston isn't out of your way, stick a note on your calendar.

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