WIP Reading and Writing Group(s)

Hi folks.

Following NarraScope ]|[, I’ve been threading a handful of conversations about longer term, low-stakes collaboration. If you are familiar with one of my hippie-surfer-hacker personas, “human society is just, like, a bunch of nested game jams, man.” I know there are many smaller private and semi-public circles that already operate like this! Short of working with a Game Studio, here is my rough taxonomy for these groups:

  1. reading IF together ifMUD style
  2. reading IF together book club style (read solo, discuss in group)
  3. reading IF together LARP/MMO style (designed for or requires multi-reader)
  4. writing individually for any of these reading styles
  5. writing collaboratively for any of these reading styles
  6. writing workshops for any of these reading styles

As one of my fellow Inform 2022 Workshoppers put it: a Reading & Writing Group is “just a low volume game jam with a resource sharing component”

Another: “Academic departments often make use of ‘work in progress’ seminars where, in a hopefully supportive environment, one or two people present what they are up to and show the hidden writing that we usually conceal. The idea is to just talk about the ideas, and possibly to work through possible challenges.”

I’ve been personally motivated to take on something that bridges gaps between private writing seminars, and IntroComp. I’ve thought of hosting a monthly game jam on itch.io, but that would take both moderation and marketing efforts, consistently. (If anyone can recommend a good private versioned-publishing tool similar to itch.io… I’m all ears!)

I would be eager to join or help start a group along these lines. What do you think?


I would be interested in a coding workshop for one of the traditional parser coding systems. (i6, TADS, Dialog)

I have an operational MUD server if that is the kind of interaction format you are thinking of.

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I am extremely interested in operational MUD servers with existing communities! For the reading/writing group I was thinking of a combination between a MUD-like and Zoom. In my ideal group’s charter, we would start with:

  1. Zoom && (ifMUD OR Seltani OR xMU**)
    OR 2) Gather && (embedded Seltani OR MU*)
    XOR 3) some unidentified integration of all these options

My personal bugbear is porting my favorite MUD source to include an Inform front-end, but that is far larger than the scope of this R&W Group notion.

edit: @fos1 is there a particularly good guide to YFMUD composition tools?

I have been experimenting with the development branch of Evennia. The dev branch documentation can be found at: Evennia-1.0-dev

Evennia is a modern MUD based on Python and Django.

If interested, I can send you PM with the server link.


Share it in public and it will populate with scum(m) like me! @.@


It is just an experiment and a place to test ideas. I don’t publish the link since there is not much there.

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I like your list @dvd , though personally I would be most excited by something even simpler: something like a book club model with time to look through things individually and then time to get together to discuss and gain insights, and other times to meet up and share work inspired by what people are exploring. This seems like it would be a lot easier to do than to setup custom tooling to do this within a MUD/MOO environment (though I recognize how cool that would be).

So all we’d need is:
a) some people kinda interested in aligning their investigations and getting together at some sort of cadence,
b) a sticky note type approach in a thread just like this one where the group scopes in from all of interactive fiction’s history and platforms to a specific topic/platform/title to investigate, with offset help in the thread for those unfamiliar with installing or accessing sources or how to document their experiences as they go to help with discussion,
c) a means to connect as a group that is pretty easily accessible to those who agree to participate and who discover this as this goes. It doesn’t even have to be webconferencing or a realtime tool – it could just be a chat thread here, on Discord or Slack – though I think you are right that something with faces and screensharing would making showing up much more likely!

This kind of a approach would just need something like a list of games in specific traditions created with specific tools that the group can play, can review its source, and share insights into how some mechanics work, perhaps invite in authors or savvy community members who can illuminate what isn’t obvious to one just studying these things on ones own.

Probably equally important that the group schedules to meet regularly to discuss and have a real-time experience of looking at things together – and keeping up the consistency and fighting everyone’s impossibly busy schedules is probably the hardest thing to do of everything discussed here.

And if someone or some small group has the passion to host some sort of regular activity even if it is super narrow focus, and keeps it going, there will likely be pickup and folks following along. My own interests are much more Inform7, Choicescript, Ink, and Twine (already too broad), but if you start an amazing weekly MOO party that reveals the secrets of the formats/approaches and has lots of amazing collaborations happening, then I’d just be like “ah, I’ll check this out even though I wasn’t that interested at the start!”


Come to think of it, all you need are a group of people who are passionate about learning who have a decently aligned goal for what to learn – all of the other process stuff and where to do it etc will just come from who is willing to commit to showing up. No need to “build it and they’ll come” and no need to solve problems better solved by the participants after they get together. :wink: