Upcoming IF Discussion Club events

We have plans for the next two sessions! They are:

Jan 10 (this Saturday): IF Competitions, Anthologies, and Shows. Talking about IF events and how they work: what different goals apply, methods used for judging and curation, things that worked and things that didn’t work.

In preparation for this discussion, I’m putting together a blog post (scheduled Jan 8) that gives a bit of an overview of some of what’s been done in this line during the past 20-ish years, and also collates a huge amount of input from event organizers. Many thanks to those who have already answered my email about their event experiences. I’ve tried to reach out widely and take in some gamebook and visual novel stuff as well as a wide spectrum of IF, but there is so very much going on that I’m sure I’ve left some things out. If you are someone who has organized a thing that you think I should be profiling, and you haven’t heard from me, please feel free to email me in the next day or so to tell me about your event.

Feb 21 (third Saturday of February): Tour de Seltani. Seltani is a multiplayer system, but so often there aren’t other players around, so we don’t get to see it as intended. In this session we’ll try to change that (briefly, anyhow). We’ll be exploring some Ages in Seltani as a group, then probably retire back to ifMUD to discuss further. (It’s possible to make a transcript of discussions of ifMUD; harder on Seltani, I think.)

There are some candidate ages there already for us to look at, but if you have an Age you’ve written that you want us to tour, let me know; if you have an Age you haven’t written yet but you intend to write and then have us tour… well, implement it and then let me know. :slight_smile:

(Also, yes, I know this isn’t the second Saturday as usual; however, the second Saturday is Valentine’s Day, so that seemed like a bad plan.)

Feel free to ask me about Seltani coding issues (or, y’know, anything else).

There’s no logging facility, no. You can copy-and-paste from the chat window, but that auto-trims at 60 lines.

(In theory someone could write a Seltani bot, but I haven’t documented the websocket protocol.)

The overview post about comps and anthologies is now up: emshort.wordpress.com/2015/01/0 … and-shows/ . It’s a long piece, thanks to the many awesome responses I got, so I tried to make it something you can dip into rather than reading straight through. Obviously I also wouldn’t want anyone to skip joining the discussion because they didn’t have time to read it – but if you do have time to check it out, there are probably at least a couple of events that you haven’t heard of before.

Wow, thank you for pulling this post together, Emily. I just started to read through it.

Joining for my first IF Discussion Club this weekend. Just to make sure I have this correct – it’s on ifMUD, and I’m assuming… in the lounge? Or is there a room I should go to on there? I’ve only been (so far) in the lounge.

Discussion takes place on the #theoryclub channel, so you can be anywhere (the lounge is fine) as long as you type

@joinc #theoryclub

At that point you should be able to see the stream of conversation. Then if you wish to say something as part of the discussion, you do

#theoryclub blah blah blah

which means “say ‘blah blah blah’ on the theoryclub channel”. And after you’ve set your channel, you can abbreviate to

;blah blah blah

which means “say ‘blah blah blah’ on whatever channel I was talking on last.”

Thank you! So… just to ask one last question because I’m trying to wrap my brain around the MUD in general, are channels the equivalent of… let’s say… a hashtag on Twitter. If you follow that hashtag, you see all the tweets that use that hashtag, but you’re still on the Twitter site in general. And if you follow a channel in the MUD, you are seeing all the discussion associated with that channel (which is more established than a hashtag which may pop up for a single use) but you’re still in the lounge/MUD-in-general and can also see the rest of the conversation around you.

Do I understand that part? I’ve been trying to figure out channels.

Yep, that’s right. Things that are said on the channel will look like this:

but they’ll be embedded with whatever lounge chat is going on, so you might see something like

If that gets confusing, you can optionally leave the lounge so you’re only seeing channel content. Also, some MUD clients let you set up triggers that will color channels different colors to help them stand out – but that’ll depend on the specific software you’re using.

Perfect. Looking forward to this.

There is (I note again) an XMPP chat room that relays the channel, if you find that XMPP chat is more convenient than the MUD.

Incidentally: I’ve had one suggestion that we should schedule a talk about how to make the parser friendlier, experiences with parser and newbie players, and tools for new authors to make their parsing better – especially as there’s recently been some discussion on these boards again about how to make more newbie-friendly libraries. March might be a natural time to schedule such a discussion, as ParserComp will just have happened, providing (perhaps) some additional grist.

That said, I feel like this is a bad fit for me to lead myself. So if there’s interest in making this March’s topic, I would need a volunteer to spearhead it. This task would consist of

  1. 2ish weeks before the event: email me any background reading links they’d like me to post. If you don’t have any, that’s okay, but sometimes it helps get people ready to contribute.

  2. during the event, have some questions/thoughts ready; be prepared to keep the ball rolling. (Some discussion groups need more prodding; some roll along quite vigorously on their own. But having someone who has something they want to say is helpful.)

I would still do the transcript capture, cleanup, and posting as usual.

And if no one wants to lead this, that’s fine and I’ll come up with something else for March.

Just a quick reminder that the first of these is this evening.

…and the transcript is now up: emshort.wordpress.com/if-discus … ows-zines/

From the transcript:

Although it isn’t IF specific, Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz ran an event along these lines. They got a bunch of people to submit pitches, culled the pitches, gave participants a month to build, and then collected the games. The results will be published in a pay-what-you-want game bundle sometime in the fairly-soon future. (antholojam.com/)

I think it’s an intriguing model, and it would be interesting to see how it played out in an IF context.

(Disclaimer: I was on an Antholojam dev team, so I really hope it’s a viable model!)

I like this model. If players understand the theme and scope of the collection they can then trust that the items in the anthology are of a good standard. Good curation helps cut through a lot of noise.

Cross-posting from the comments on that:

I must say, that TravelComp thing you linked to is quite the… uh, something. I’m not entirely sure what to think of it myself. Sadly the guy’s website doesn’t seem to be archived, so I can’t read the review that started the whole mess. Do you really think that one game actually existed, by the way? I’m getting flashbacks to that review by Conrad Cook about the (alleged?) “dogwalking” game.

Slightly off-topic, about that TravelComp, Sam Barlow makes a cute throwaway comment:

People have been hailed as prophets and fortune tellers for less!

Part of my thinking about the publisher-run anthology also comes from reading about things like Lightspeed Magazine’s Women Destroy Science Fiction issue (which has some great stuff in it, btw): specifically, how editors reaching out to potential authors helped get some contributors past the self-censorship they might otherwise have done.

I’m curious to see what comes out of antholojam!

What was TravelComp ostensibly about, anyway?

As I recall – though it’s been a long time – it was pretty much what it said on the tin, a comp in which the protagonist is making a sizable journey.

The submission that was released, On A Horse With No Name, actually incorporates multiple bouts of travel. The parser is an older Alan parser and there are a few bugs if you try to do things out of the anticipated sequence, but still, it’s entertaining in a spooky-fantasy-short kind of way.

Oh, if I ever do get around to making my epic Two-Verb entry (“Walkabout”) I should retrospectively enter it into that one too.