• February 17th 2016


    Yesterday, on &if, someone asked whether we were attracted to IF because of its status as "outsider art."

    I don't really want to define outsider art, or get into the discussion over whether IF qualifies. But I responded that I felt I was attracted to IF because it's unsettled.

    And then I had to go and write a post about what, exactly, I mean by that.

  • February 15th 2016

    The Future of Raconteur

    I'm not really ready for a release of this just yet -- it'll be a while, probably at least a week -- but I wanted to give people an update of where I'm at with Raconteur. Here's the current (rough) roadmap.

  • January 27th 2016

    Improv, a javascript library for generative text

    I’m currently working on a project involving some fairly demanding procedural generation of text. While that project isn’t ready to be announced yet, one of the first core pieces of functionality I wrote for it was a text-generating library. Said library had to be powerful, flexible, and fulfil the following needs:

    • Like Tracery, it needs to randomly choose text from nested webs of corpora, recursing itself.
    • Also like Tracery, it needs some basic templating functionality.
    • Unlike Tracery, it needs to run with the backing of a world model that can guide text generation.

    Most of the ideas used to build this initial version of the tool were taken from Emily Short’s Annals of the Parrigues, which contains a long and extremely useful discussion of generative text in its epilogue.

    Since this library is a separate module, I’ve decided to open source it. Improv has been released under the MIT license and can be viewed on Github. It’s an npm module, but it’s built so that it will work in a browser environment using a module-bundling tool like webpack or browserify. Improv is currently in active development, but the latest (0.4.2) version is one I consider to be reasonably usable.

    Assuming you have node (v4 or newer), npm, and gulp installed, you can see a demo of Improv in action by doing:

    $ git clone https://github.com/sequitur/improv.git
    $ cd improv
    $ npm install
    $ gulp demo
    $ node demo_build/hms.js

    This demo produces descriptions of fictional ships, along the lines of:

    The HMS Reliable is a clipper commissioned 6 years ago.

    Using a whale oil engine, she can reach speeds upwards of 32 knots. The Reliable is one of the new generation of vessels built to fight against the Arkodian fleet in the Short War. Her crew is known to be one of the more disciplined in the Navy. She is currently serving as a colonial troop transport.

    The most obvious place to play around with Improv, at first, is Raconteur projects, since those are already friendly to including npm modules. NanoGenMo and ProcJam are some time away, but I look forward to seeing what people do with this tool in the meantime. Bug reports and pull requests are welcome.

  • January 6th 2016

    Impressions: What Fuwa Bansaku Found

    What Fuwa Bansaku Found (Chandler Groover), released today through sub-Q magazine, is a free-verse ghost story set in an abandoned shrine in Sengoku Japan.

  • December 31st 2015

    2015 in Review: Thank-yous and shout-outs

    As the year heads to a close I have been busy sending thank-you notes (well, emails). This list is in no particular order and, inevitably, incomplete; if you feel like I have missed you, I am sorry.

    • My testers, too numerous to name but incredibly important; any remaining bugs and typos are entirely my fault.
    • Tory Hoke, Devi Acharya, Kerstin Hall, and the rest of the sub-Q team: You’ve made a dramatic change to how I look at writing IF. This has been an incredible year, and sub-Q is responsible for a lot of that.
    • Carolyn van Eseltine, Aaron Reed, Neil Butters, and Jason McIntosh: That is, the people whose competitions I entered this year. People consistently underestimate how much work organising those events is, and the least I can do is thank the people who inexplicably continue to do it, expecting no reward whatsoever.
    • The good people at &if, including furkle, Brendan Patrick Hennessy, Chandler Groover, Emily Short and others, who’ve made the last couple of months a terrifying delight. There’s a million things we haven’t done; but just you wait.
    • greenie, chromakode, and intortus, the Euphoria crew, for giving me this wonderful space to do terrible things with.
    • Last but not least: Cat Manning. You know what you did (and continue to do).
  • December 30th 2015

    2015 in Review: Things to highlight

    Following on from my previous post, a look some of the IF and IF-adjacent games that came up this year which I thought were important enough to bring up.

  • December 29th 2015

    2015 in Review: My Work

    I was originally going to release this year-end rundown all in one piece, but I realised it's very long and therefore probably best split into three parts. First, the most skippable part: A look back at games and stories I released this year.

  • December 24th 2015

    The World Turned Upside Down

    The World Turned Upside Down is a tiny bit of parser fiction I wrote as a sort of thank you note/Christmas special. It’s very short and straightforward, so I’ll just direct you to the game page where you can play or download it.

    Happy holidays, everyone.

  • December 18th 2015

    Notes on the Euphoria chat

    A brief reminder, since I haven’t posted about this on the blog ever since the comp postmortem: the Euphoria IF chat (&if) is still ongoing and regularly active. It’s an open channel, so anyone can join the conversation on Euphoria.

    Euphoria is a a platform for chat rooms you care about”, developed by some friends of mine; it’s a web-friendly, modern recreation of the IRC chat environment with support for threading and other cool features. As before, it’s a public chat that anyone is welcome to join in on.

  • December 8th 2015

    Impressions: Lime Ergot

    Lime Ergot, by Caleb Wilson, has just been republished by sub-Q Magazine -- Which, full disclosure, also published my work in the past, particularly Lyreless which came out last week. I think of Lime Ergot as a pretty important entry in the canon of parser fiction, and also a very good starting point to introduce players new to parser IF, so I'm taking the occasion to make it all about myself and write a few impressions of it. This post contains mild spoilers.