February 18th 2017
Help me write more IF!
In 2017, with the release of Voyageur, I want to get back to splitting my time between different projects. And, in particular, I want to do more noncommercial work: more short free IF, more reviews and criticism of noncommercial IF, more games writing that doesn’t find a home in commercial outlets, and more altgame experiments like Storytelling Skeletons.
I also want to be able to dedicate time to improving and maintaining the various open-source projects I’ve released over the last two years. All of these are things that I’m happy to release for free, but which do take up time and energy like anything else. So I’m experimentally launching a patreon; with only a few supporters, I’d be able to put more time and resources towards making those kinds of experiments, and that would mean being able to make more of them.
Pledges or helping spread the word are deeply appreciated.
February 10th 2017
Voyageur is out now!
January 11th 2017
New Release: Storytelling Skeletons
A little side-project for the Pico-8. Wander an endless graveyards, find dark warnings about daunting perils, and never encounter any of them.
December 31st 2016
New release: Not All Things Make It Across
A follow-up to last year’s The World Turned Upside Down, Not All Things Make It Across commemorates the end of 2016 with another short vignette set in the Mere Anarchy universe. Taking advantage of the threshold of the new year, choose what debris of the past you want to destroy… or keep.
I hope you all enjoy it. Happy new year, and thanks.
December 30th 2016
2016 End-of-year Roundup
By the time this post goes up, I will have already posted my top ten games of the year list on Giant Bomb. It’s not all IF — there’s a mix of AAA, indie, and altgame in there — but I did include Brendan Hennessy’s Known Unknowns and Astrid Dalmady’s Cactus Blue Motel in there. I also used my Giant Bomb column this year to put a spotlight on IFComp. There are a couple others I want to highlight though.
I didn’t get to this in time to write about it during the competition, but I enjoyed it a when I did play it. It’s a very deft and worthwhile piece.
Criminally underrated, Take is a perfectly-sized allegory; it doesn’t overstay the welcome of its high concept and crams in relevant detail and semantic value into everything. Given the story’s themes, I don’t necessarily feel super qualified to comment on it in depth, but Emily had a very good writeup.
Overall, 2016 in IF was a year with less high highs than 2015 but more spread-out quality. I think this IFComp was harder to predict than last years’, for example.
Things I made
I have spent most of 2016 buried neck-deep in Voyageur (coming sometime in early 2017!), so there was no chance I could match the prolix release pace I had last year.
Still, I couldn’t stay away completely. On Halloween, I released Four Sittings in a Sinking House, a horror story in the Mere Anarchy universe.
I also released a couple of IF tools. Improv is a tool for text generation similar to Kate Compton’s Tracery, built on ideas that Emily Short developed for The Annals of the Parrigues. It incorporates a world model that can be filtered and inspected in programmable ways to select context-appropriate snippets of text to fill a grammar.
Later in the year, in the heels of Four Sinkings, I released Gall and Blotter, a couple of experimental tools that set up a more turnkey process for building Ink stories using the Inkjs web interpreter. I don’t consider them quite production-ready, but they’re there for tinkering with.
And tomorrow I’m on track to release Not All Things Make It Across, my end-of-year game for 2016.
The &if Euphoria channel is still going strong, with heavy activity particularly around the time of the IFComp.
More recently, I’vee been working on promoting more the IF community on Imzy. Imzy is a link-sharing and discussion network designed to support kinder and more meaningful communities than exist on sites like reddit. It’s perfect for sharing links to your work, blog posts, or things you want to highlight, and I’m hoping to grow this community in 2017.
If you were one of the many people keeping IF thriving in 2016 — whether as an author, maintaining community resources, or just being a positive presence — thank you.
As always, I can be reached through Twitter.
November 13th 2016
New release: The Recombinant Armorial Roll
My project for this year’s Procjam, the Recombinant Armorial Roll is a procedurally-generated dynastic history of a fictional empire, assembled from a relatively small corpus and rendered in the form of a finite but very deep hypertext.
Like the Annals of the Parrigues, the Armorial Roll is a finite document. It’s by necessity more repetitive than Parrigues, with a much smaller corpus for a much bigger text — there are theoretically 65,535 dynasties in the Roll, though I can’t guarantee they all are accessible through links from the starting dynasty; I literally don’t know.
November 10th 2016
Brief reminder: The Imzy IF Community
Imzy is a link-, media-, and post-sharing website built around the idea of positive, well-regulated and kind communities. Going forward, I’m hoping to bring more activity to Imzy’s IF community and build it up as a safe and welcoming place for IF’s increasingly diverse authors and readers to come together and organize events, discuss IF, and encounter one another.
Imzy has only recently left its closed beta, too, so now everyone who wants to can read and join the community here.
October 31st 2016
New release: Four Sittings in a Sinking House
October 13th 2016
Introducing Gall and Blotter
Earlier this year when Inkle released their Ink scripting language, there was a lot of excitement from the IF community around using it as a tool for building sophisticated branching stories in the vein of Choicescript. Today I'm releasing a couple of open-source tools that should help people who want to experiment with Ink without having to build a full game UI to go around the story engine.
October 7th 2016
IFComp 2016 Capsule Reviews: The Little Lifeform that Could, The Shoe Dept.
For these two pieces, I'm writing shorter capsule reviews. See my initial post for info on my approach to writing about those.