2016 End-of-year Roundup

Highlights

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.

Cold Harbor

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.

Take

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.

Community developments

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.