To start things off, I figured that I would let people know what I’m working on right now. My last post before my lacuna had a lot of information about all the projects I was trying to get done at that time. I have finished two of them, but I haven’t worked on a number of them for a while. There are reasons for this, but I will not go into them (it will become apparent soon, as the posts roll out). I thought it would be nice to talk about what I’m doing this summer, even if it really doesn’t affect anyone but myself.
Two days ago, I signed up to be an author for the 2011 Interactive Fiction Competition (http://www.ifcomp.org/). I expect to lose. This isn’t being self defeatest, this is being rational. I have never made any interactive fiction before, and some of the people who enter IFC are Emily Short, Andrew Plotkin, and Aaron Reed (these are all people who pretty much “are” modern IF). Just because I expect to lose doesn’t mean that I still shouldn’t try.
The rules for IFC are pretty simple: Make a piece of interactive fiction that stands on its own and that can be played in under two hours. To me, this seems like a fairly low commitment. I have to make a game that is small and that relies on nothing but its own world building. There are no graphics to prevent me. The programming doesn’t even have to be very complex. The deadline is September 1, which I think is very doable, provided I limit myself (and fotunately the rules do this for me anyway).
Although the competition rules note that I may enter up to three games into the mix, I am committing myself only to one game. If I get the game done in a few weeks, then maybe I will try to do another one, we’ll just cross that when we get to it. Suffice it to say, I am going to let one game take as much time as it needs to be the finished product I want it to be.
To do this, I may need help. From my friends, I ask that you push me a little. Ask me how my game is coming along. Tell me that I should work on it if I haven’t been working on it for a while. Cancel your plans with me if you think I’ve been procrastinating (be sure to tell me you’re cancelling because you think so!). I also may need playtesters. If you’re willing to play a two hour game a couple times to tell me what you think about it and where it bugged out on you, let me know. When I have something worth playtesting, I’ll contact you with more details. Please feel free to be harsh. I like (constructive) criticism. Please remember, though, that it is interactive fiction. Text-adventures (though these two terms are not identicle). Don’t tell me that it needs pictures or that you don’t want to read to play. Tell me if you couldn’t envision something, or if you thought something was awkward. I’m a trained writer, which means I’ve been trained in taking harsh criticism. Feel free to dish it out 🙂 I do ask, though, that you try to explain why you are giving the criticism you are giving. At least try, even if you can’t, say that you don’t know why something bothered you.
So that is what I am doing right now. As for what has happened over the last few months, keep watching.