Well, it’s been a long time since I posted on this blog – inkle has been keeping me pretty busy. But there’s a couple of releases to report, both on active content for Kindle (so US-only!), and both appearing on the same day, as luck would have it.
A few weeks ago I posted up a nasty little perl script called the Kindliser, which turns a plain-text markup into ebook-ready HTML. Not such a big deal – it’s just a web-page with links – except that it also included support for tracking true/false values, which is impossible.
It does it by playing through every possible game the player might have, and writing them all out separately… which turned my first example game Flaws from a 40Kb sourcefile with 40 paragraphs of so and 4 true/false flags into a 600Kb HTML.
The other day I thought; I wonder how far I can push this thing?
I recently picked up a copy of Rich Horton’s 2011 SF anthology, and was really excited to see my story The History of Poly-V in the recommended list at the back.
But the story’s a little inconvenient to get hold of, so I’ve put together an ebook version for Kindle.
I’m calling it a “sci-fi single”. Title track on the A-side, and a slighter, previously unpublished B-side story to go with. There’s also a short set of “liner notes” that discuss a little of the inspiration and history of both stories.
If you’re interested, it’s live on Amazon now; just choose your flavour.
A few weeks ago I blogged about a Kindle ebook I’d produced and put on Amazon. It was a simple “click the links” CYOA story with one cunning twist: a limited ability to store information about what the player had done, and use that information to alter game text and game choices.
That ebook was built using a custom tool – that tool is now getting its version 1 release. While it needs some validation and error checking to help diagnose typos and simple coding mistakes, it is fully functional and capable of producing working CYOA ebooks.
Full documentation and download on the Kindliser page.
In the last few weeks I’ve been reading up on what kind of IF possibilities the Kindle opens up. The short answer is, “anything” – well, anything without too much animation. The Kindle is a computer like any other. But the more app your thing becomes, the less e-booky it feels. So what can the lowest-tech approach achieve?
This blog is meant to be about game design and story-telling: this post is about how reading my shiny new IF Theory book made me realise something about how I write static, non-interactive fiction.
I think a lot of writers would agree that one of the hardest parts of any project is starting. I’ve been thinking recently about how to come up with the germs of stories. In the past, I’ve relied on moments of inspiration, usually driven by reading, seeing or playing things I either loved, and wanted to imitate, or things I hated, and wanted to do properly.
More recently, I’ve been trying to develop a method. I wouldn’t call it a formula; it’s more of a process. But it’s closer in spirit to design than art. I’m not sure if that’s selling out, or just growing up.
I’ve been looking for a worthy enough occasion to start a blog for a while, and now here one is: the IF Theory Reader has been published and can be ordered from today. It’s free to download as a PDF, and costs around $12 or £10 from the US or UK to have printed and delivered as a paperback.
My own article, Thinking Into the Box: On the Use and Deployment of Puzzles, was quite a late addition, despite being written nearly 10 years ago when the idea of the book was first put forward. Kevin Jackson-Mead revived the project last autumn and emailed all the original authors, but real life got in the way and by the time I finally replied in January, it was to apologise, as I assumed I was too late.