Fiction is a Three-Edged Sword

Fiction, interactive fiction and narrative

A Colder Light


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New game: A Colder Light

A Colder Light

The last light has gone. The stars are coming out in the black sea above. Many are hidden by ice-fingered winds. My father is still not returned and the fire is almost gone.

But this is how life is: always an edge. A thin sheet on a diving-deep pool.

I hope he will return soon. I cannot summon him.

A Colder Light is now available to play online.

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Choice: from analogue to digital and back again

Screenshot of demoErik Temple, creator of many extensions for Inform 7 that do animations, sprites, and lots of shiny things, has a new demo up on his blog, this time demonstrating a text-game playable without typing.

It’s a really good piece of work and shows real potential for making text games accessible: teaching the syntax while letting people get on with the game. But it also highlights one of the text games major problems – there’s way too much choice.

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Kingdom Without End

This link appeared first as a comment, then as a tweet, and finally now as a blog-post, which is all back to front. But this is archaelogy, which works downwards.

The short version is: presenting Kingdom Without End by Shannon Cochran, a multi-choice input game from 2001 about archaeology, that is perhaps the best example of CYOA written in a parser-IF style, and not only that, it’s a damn fine piece of work too.

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Set-pieces, pacing, flow, and finally, Vorple

Recently, I’ve been writing a lot of selection-based hyperfiction. There are two reasons: firstly, it’s a lot faster to go from idea to playable game, and secondly, I can show it to people who “can’t” play text games and they get it.

The first of these isn’t really a problem, if your idea is good enough. The second is something we’re working on, with extensions for making IF easier to get into, and good general design.

Then there’s the third problem: pacing. And that one’s hard.

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Interactive parsing update

Interactive Parsing (as explained here and here) has now been updated to version 3.

This version adds support for suggesting and accepting words longer than the 9-letter Inform default, and for commanding characters using the “JIMMY, GIVE ME THE GUN” syntax.

This resolves all the known missing features of IP, so it should be now good to go in any game-project you care to throw at it. It also runs under Quixe once more, thanks to some help from Zarf.

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The long way round

Sometimes, I think I start too many projects and leave them unfinished – or more often, leave them barely begun. I have on various computers about six text-games, three hypertext stories, two half-written novels and a pile of semi-decent short stories.

Other times – when I dig something up from the pile and realise that, with just a little more work, it could be really good, I wish I’d spent more time when I had more time knocking out bad stories, ready for a future version of myself to pummel remorselessly into shape.

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Interactive Parsing, v2

Interactive Parsing is now up to version 2. This latest release handles disambiguation prompts by the parser.

This release means the extension is now at playable quality and while I’m sure there are still improvements to be made, the extension is serviceable with no known bugs.

The approach taken to deal with disambiguation is reasonably interesting, so I’ll talk more about that after the cut.

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Disambiguation Control updated

I’ve updated my Inform 7 extension for improving parser clarification and guesswork to version 7. This fixes one moderately serious bug where the word “her” wouldn’t be understood as a pronoun, and only as a possessive. Turns out Graham had already done some work in the parser to solve this: this version of DC carries that change deep into the bowels of I6′s NounDomain function, where it can do some good.

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