Thursday, May 04, 2006

Recent Advances

There have been
at least four developments in the past week that any connoisseur of ludicity* should take the time to consider.

Most of my readers probably either know about these developments, or were instrumental in carrying them out. Nevertheless, I trek ever forward.

First, the release of Inform 7, an editor for interactive fiction that utilizes a fairly basic Plain-English system of programming. I've checked it out for you, good people, and let me tell you, it's completely on the level. And by that I mean it's significantly less confusing than programming in Basic, but still manages to frustrate me to no end. This system is capable of a LOT more than just choose-your-own-adventure jaunts.

FUN FACT: Story files are called Blorbs. You'll need an interpreter to run them.

Then you can marvel at Swat, Chris Crawford's verb editor for his Storytron. Utilizing the tutorial, I was able to accomplish nothing at all. Well, I clicked some menu items. I read a bunch of the Erasmatron Design Documents and I have to admit, this stuff makes sense from a linguistic point of view -- but I can't imagine how an interactive experience might look.

Also, Chris Crawford has been known to have ideas which, how do I say this, don't hold up well under a thorough fisking.

Then we got a whole series of posts from Corvus concerning the Honeycomb engine. An intro about Game Narrative, a crazy diagramming of Radial Plots and a third on Plots and Characters. I haven't digested it all, so I can't give too much feedback at this time. It does make for a fascinating journey. Reminds me of the Tree of Life and how each aspect can contain their own trees, leading to convolutions like the crown of the severe nature of beauty - or something.

And in reaction to Corvus' revelations, we got Chris Bateman to tease us with a system for dynamic narratives known as FreeSpeak. A canceled project. Dammit!

*I was going to claim this word, but, unsurprisingly, someone else beat me to it.

1 comment:

Chris said...

It's funny, I'm completely open to Storytron being a really interesting project - but I think it's already apparent that *using* Storytron is going to require exceptional people. Patrick, I don't doubt, can do it - but the average person is going to find it too much of a struggle. I'm no slouch when it comes to complexity (used to be a dab hand at astrophysics) but Storytron seems like a lot of hard work to me.

One of my chief goals with FreeSpeak was to get the dynamic narrative in an easy to use form - hence the idea for a drag and drop interface for story generation. Sadly, it was not to be. :(

Thanks for mentioning the "memorial service" here. :)