Fiction is a Three-Edged Sword

Fiction, interactive fiction and narrative

Undum game seeks critically-minded readers for quick once-over

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I’ve been doing some more work with Undum (which I’m starting to link to off this blog so frequently I should really make a category tag for it. In fact, I will).

This should mean two releases in the not-too-distant future: first, a perl script for turning a simple, easy-to-edit text format into Undum-ready javascript, including features for varying and conditional text; and secondly, a new hypertext story.

The first needs documentation and tidying up: it relies on a couple of changes to the basic Undum js file, and some order-of-definition and white-space rules that I’m not sure I really understand. Once I’ve got it to a position that I think anyone else could ever be able to use it, I’ll make a page for it here with some example games.

For me, having a script to automate the formatting of javascript was what tipped Undum from being a interesting example to a practical system: in its native form, js has too much structural information to allow my writing brain to engage, and the minute I wanted to refactor the flow of the story – say, break a long paragraph into sections with decisions – the work involved in getting that right was prohibitively high. With the Undumiser, this becomes a trivial matter.

But more of that later. For now, it’s the second things that needs testing. No Space to Breathe is a short-story-length sci-fi piece that has a little in common with Insight in its setting and themes, but hopefully not too much. It’s entirely browser-and-link based. It probably takes about twenty minutes to read through. It has something you might call a puzzle, but you might not. It has a fair bit of conversation, and some emotional-state-modelling. It could use some feedback.

If you’re interested in helping out, please drop me a comment or an email (jon – dot – ingold @ gmail – dot – com).

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Author: joningold

Jon Ingold is a writer and games designer from Cambridge, UK. He is co-founder of inkle, a company specialising in interactive narrative for mobile devices. He has written prose, plays, short films as well as interactive fiction, both in hypertext and parser-based systems. His short stories have appeared in Interzone magazine and his IF works have won competitions and awards.

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