Grand Text Auto

June 30, 2007

The Mods in Spain Fall Mainly on the Chiptunes

by nick @ 8:33 pm

A quick note: The LABoral Centre for Art and Creative Industries in Gijón, Spain is running some very interesting workshops in July, on modding, bordergames, Second Life, and even chiptunes. Check the LABoral website for details.

June 29, 2007

Zork’s History at Gamasutra

by nick @ 12:41 am

Matt Barton has written an article on Zork through the ages over at Gamasutra. You shouldn’t trust me, since Barton quotes me copiously and plugs my book, but it’s a nice piece. (Barton also talked to and quoted several more authoritative sources, including Zork co-author Dave Lebling and Infocom’s Steve Meretzky.) Check it out for yourself.

I’ll also note, as Barton does, that Tim Anderson’s “History of Zork” article is a good read on this topic. Anderson, a Zork co-creator, goes into more detail about the specifics of the creation of the original game and the trilogy based on it. What Barton’s article adds to this is insight into the contexts of Zork’s creation and the influence it has had, following through Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, the all-graphical Activision Zork games and into the present day.

June 25, 2007

E-Lit with a Car Crash

by nick @ 1:26 am

The amazing thing about Han Hoogerbrugge’s Hotel is that like so many other works of e-lit (afternoon, Photopia, 253 if you expand the definition of “car” slightly) it involves a car crash. The design and visual appearance may dominate the text, but it does make for some interesting clicking.

June 22, 2007

User-Generated Content, er, Links

by nick @ 11:01 am

Thanks to these three for pointing me to several interesting sites of note…

Dennis Jerz sent word of the fracas over Manchester Cathedral being modeled as part of Resistance: Fall of Man. A video walkthrough shows what the level looks like. Sony has apologized, as I think they should have: The cathedral is neither candle-lit nor full of doves, and it lacks Chow Yun-Fat. Fortunately, at least one of those problems is being addressed in another game.

Geoff Washburn sent a link to intimate interface work that lets you play with your partner’s pants, as also mentioned by Ian on WCG. This technology was developed at NYU - the Media Lab’s Lingerie of the Future group got scooped, it seems. The first demo is of something like a simplified Pants Pants Revolution, but after this interface has developed we can expect things like Prince of Persia: The Pants of Time and maybe even Resistance: Fall of Pants.

Jena Osman’s “Public Figures” project is now online, set in Flash by John Sparrow. It’s activated with the links at the top. I’ve seen (and participated in) her offline presentation of this work, which deals with, among other things, the gazes of Philadelphia statues and how they are heavily armed. (Maybe not compared to Chow Yun-Fat, but still.) Also see Jena’s new essay, “Is Poetry the News?: The Poethics of the Found Text.”

June 20, 2007

Playing Defender

by nick @ 1:15 pm


Generating Narrative Variation in Interactive Fiction

Nick Montfort
University of Pennsylvania, Computer & Information Science
Mitchell P. Marcus & Gerald Prince, Advisors
Committee: Aravind Joshi, Mark Liberman, Fernando Pereira, Marie-Laure Ryan

(This is a distilled version of my dissertation defense from this morning, for Grand Text Auto.)

Update: My dissertation itself is now online.

The main question I’m considering today (after working on it for a few years) is:

How to create a text-generating automatic narrator to tell about the same events in different ways?

The context for this question is interactive fiction (IF). There are two parts to the answer:

  • Develop a formal theory of narrative variation for IF
  • Implement it in an IF and text-generation architecture


June 16, 2007

Twittering Rocks in Two Hours

by nick @ 12:51 pm

The intricate Wandering Rocks section of Ulysses will be enacted on Twitter today, Bloomsday, in two hours, by Ian Bogost and Ian McCarthy. They have already practiced. Note that this isn’t just one of those line-a-time book-reading robot runs.

June 14, 2007

Art, Politics, Religion, and Game Developer

by noah @ 12:06 pm

The “Skunk Works” product review section of the June/July issue of Game Developer magazine has a full-page discussion of Second Person by Bijan Forutanpour. It begins on an intriguing note:

As a word of advice, when meeting a boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s parents for the first time, it’s wise to stay away from the sticky subjects of art, politics, and religion. There are certain subjects that defy definition and unanimous agreement, and if the conversation ends up there, you know you’re in for a long evening.

I don’t know if those words produced a flashback for you. Let’s just say that my flashback includes the line, “Noah says the war is all about oil!” (more…)

June 13, 2007

Television Can Still Be Intelligent

by nick @ 12:34 pm

The contest has been announced: Your newly-created Intellivision games are due on November 1.

June 10, 2007

game very many numerous times

by nick @ 7:40 pm

Jason Nelson’s game, game, game and again game looks a bit like Paper Mario attacked by rock and scissors. It is an unusual platformer that takes a stand against the unfortunate lack of Super-8 footage in most games. And it is philosophical.

Game game etc. snippet

Another game game etc. snippet

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