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Posts Tagged ‘Historical Williamsburg’

The Historical Williamsburg IF Project: an Interview with Emily Short

I was quite pleased when I was contacted by Emily Short about the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative. For those of us engaged in authoring Interactive Fiction, attracting the attention of Emily is a very gratifying experience. Emily has won multiple IF competition awards for many of her games including Galatea, Savoir-Faire, and Floatpoint (just to name a few). As it turns out, Emily was interested in the concept of my Williamsburg project, and she offered me an opportunity for an interview which she would publish on her blog, Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling.

You can go directly to the interview by clicking on this link. I think the interview turned out well, but I’m biased regarding the topic. So be sure to read it yourself.

And don’t forget, we’re still in the funding stage for the Kickstarter project and can use all the support we can get. Please feel free to click here and go directly to the Kickstarter project page. Every bit helps!

Getting from Here to There: A Matter of Scale

April 22, 2012 1 comment

One of the great joys of playing Interactive Fiction games is in the discovery and exploration of the physical space or actual play environment of the game. Years ago when I played the Colossal Cave Adventure for the first time (on the Data General Eclipse computer at the office after hours), I delighted in drawing maps for all the locations and paths that were available. When I got to the maze area, where room exits looped back into the same room, the value of the mapping process became very clear. Those skills were well utilized as I grew into the Scott Adams adventure games, and later the collection of games from Infocom. Sketching out the location boxes with their associated path connections became second nature as a necessary Interactive Fiction player skill. (I am often surprised when I teach Interactive Fiction to college game design students, how few of them already know or readily develop the map-making skill set.)

Developing maps for IF is a slightly different process, though, that requires more than drawing boxes with interconnecting lines. There is the idea of location scale and relative size in IF games, and the developer needs to make some important decisions before committing to computer code. Locations are not all uniform in size (when we imagine our settings), and logical layout is not the same as physical layout. When dealing with fictional settings, there is some latitude for interpretation (though the good designers have a very clear picture of their environment before starting to code). However, there is no room for creative interpretation when attempting to recreate historical settings with absolute fidelity to the historical reality.

That’s our situation with the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative. A large part of the questions could be framed around geographic granularity: as we build the maps, what is the smallest unit of measurement we should be using? (A square yard seems reasonable, actually.) There will be the typical Interactive Fiction flex in the maps; for example, walking down one side of a street may result in more “stops” along the way than walking up the other side. That would have much to do with the buildings or other pathways located on each side. But the point is, we need to make consideration of the space or area that needs to be “reserved” for game locations in which action may (or may not) take place.

I’m making my sketches now, and that will be one of the first pieces of the game that will be ready for review (we may even put that up on Playfic for people to try out). Do you have any suggestions regarding map making? Is that something you enjoy doing? If you’d like to contribute in some way on this (or any other) piece of the project, please drop me a line.

And don’t forget to check out the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative Kickstarter project.

PlayFic: Implenting Inform 7 on the Web

April 22, 2012 Leave a comment

We’ve come across the PlayFic website, and it looks to be a very good tool for building Interactive Fiction through Inform 7 to place on the web. We’ve already built a few test programs, and the implementation works quite well. While we haven’t decided whether or not we’ll place “in progress” versions (perhaps the navigation component) of the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative online through PlayFic, we definitely will be implementing a version of the program there.

Interested in Inform 7 Development? Read On…

April 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Are you skilled in Inform 7? Would you be interested in developing parts of the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative? We are looking for Interactive Fiction developers with experience in Inform 7, especially in the area of NPC dialog. Contact us for more information if you are interested!

The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative is also seeking backers through Kickstarter. We are off to a very good start. Click here if you would like to learn more about backing the project.

Live on Kickstarter: The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

We are up and running on Kickstarter with our 45-day window to raise $1500 to fund the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative. Check it out at the Kickstarter site!

More info to follow, but in the meantime, please spread the word!

We Have Kickstarter Approval!

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

All systems are go, and Kickstarter has approved the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project! We are currently aligning our launch sequence, and we anticipate the official launch of our 45-day funding window to occur before the end of April 20, 2012.

Wanted: Teachers Interested in Interactive Fiction

April 5, 2012 Leave a comment

  • Are you a teacher at any grade level with an interest in history?
  • Do you have familiarity with the Interactive Fiction format of computer games (or would you like to know more)?
  • Would you be willing to participate in a study on the use of Interactive Fiction in curriculum?
  • Would you like to learn how you might make use of the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project in your class?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we need to connect! The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative is not just about creating a fun Interactive Fiction computer game about some of the exciting events surrounding the birth of the United States. The project is also about providing a tool that can potentially engage more students in a way that promotes thinking and problem-solving skills that can help in all areas of their academic lives.

To connect with the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative, feel free to post a comment here, or you may email directly at historicalwilliamsburg@gmail.com. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have about the project or about Interactive Fiction in general, and we will work with you so that you and your students can participate interactively with people and events from the early days of this nation.

Status Update: Kickstarter Launch Checklist

April 3, 2012 Leave a comment

The picture above is of me standing outside of the Governor’s Palace in the nortwest section of the historical Williamsburg area. This was the home of the colony of Virginia’s Royal Governors (before Independence), and then home to famous Americans Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. The picture is from the collection of photos and video clips I’ve gathered for the making of my Kickstarter project intro video. That’s the only thing standing between now and project launch, so I need to edit the visual content together. I’m still penning the text for voice-over narration to the video, so that will likely take me a few days. I hope to have the video complete by the end of the coming weekend so I can get the project off the ground!

I used two cameras for the photography work: my Sony NEX-7 (primarily) and my Sony DSC-HX9v (mainly as a backup). They are both excellent small cameras, and I recently picked up the NEX-7 to replace my Canon 7D. I’ve been a long-time Canon fan, but I got tired of waiting for them to come out with a mirrorless camera offering. For my money, the Sony NEX-7 represented the best bang for the buck. Well, the proof is in the pudding, and the pictures I took of all the Williamsburg sites turned out extraordinarily well.

So far, so good!