Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Kickstarter’

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.

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.

Kickstarter Intro Video Complete: Project Launch in Progress

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The Kickstarter introduction video for the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative is complete, and it is now on YouTube. It’s embedded here for your viewing convenience:

We are now in the process of getting the final Kickstart site details completed, which includes setting the actual donation level awards. The project launch is right around the corner, and we hope you will support us by spreading the word and making a funding donation, big or small!

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!

Coming to Kickstarter: The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative

What is the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative?

Imagine Interactive Fiction crafted around real places and people in history, where not only can a person read about settings and events, but the person can be a part of the unfolding story as an actual character. The intent of the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative project is to build the geography, culture, and characters from the years surrounding the birth of the United States in Williamsburg, Virginia, using the literary format of Interactive Fiction. This three-phase project will include the development of functional maps, the architecture of the historic buildings, and interaction with significant characters such as Patrick Henry and George Washington. Each phase is a project milestone, completion coming 150 days after start.


The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative is three things:

  • It is a computer game: Individuals will “play” a character out of the historical times around the date of the American Declaration of Independence. They will be able to interact with actual historical figures of the day that lived or visited Williamsburg, Virginia, and they will learn about the events that brought the 13 colonies to sign the Declaration on July 4, 1776. The game environment will be an accurate map environment of Williamsburg as it existed then, and players will be able to roam the streets, enter the buildings, and go anywhere as they encounter people from the past with stories to tell. The game will be in the format of Interactive Fiction, which you can learn more about at the Interactive Fiction Wiki here.
  • It is a history lesson come to life: If you are someone interested in the history of how the United States was formed, the Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative will be one of the best ways to learn it. Like a time machine for the imagination, it will transport people back to the days of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Peyton Randolph, where they can learn about the events of the times by talking with these historical figures. Whether you are a history buff, history teacher, or just a fan of Interactive Fiction and period pieces, this game will have something for you.
  • It is a Kickstarter project: If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter.com, then you should check it out here. Kickstarter is a wonderful way of funding projects, where individuals may donate funds (in small amounts or large, and anything in between) to get a project off the ground. The Historical Williamsburg Living Narrative is a Kickstarter project, and it will be launched officially sometime in April. More details on participation and rewards will be coming, so you can check back here–or better yet, subscribe to this blog for updates on the project.

This is an exciting project to launch, and we hope to have your participation and support! And be sure to pass the word to anyone that you think may be interested in bringing the history of Williamsburg, Virginia, to life!