<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>Oh god you are going to be //sick//. Quick! End this shenanigan!\n\n"Are you feeling okay?" Emily asks.\n\n"Um. It was lovely to talk to you," you say. "I think I will be going now."\n\nYou dash out to the bar and are sick in the sink next to Kieron, who sighs. Quinns looks apologetic.\n\n<<if ($Leigh) and ($Kieron)>>\n<<display 'ending'>>\n<<else>>\n"Give me something else!" you yell, desperately. "I hate being Quinns!"\n\n"Jeez," Quinns says. "Here's something to help you along."\n<<display "drinks">>\n<<endif>>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"Oh, sure, if that's all you want to know. I have cookies coming out of the oven in half an hour, but I guess you wouldn't rather stay. Is that your real accent, by the way? I've always wondered."
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': When can we play Hadean Lands?\n\n''Andrew'': Next Thursday morning, from 7:15 to 7:17 AM. Ha! Ha! No, I'm kidding. I'll be asleep then.\n\n(Man, *that'll* pull in the irate commenters. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.)\n\nI do not have a scheduled completion date for HL. As I keep saying, if I gave you one now, it would be wrong. I *can* say that I've started writing the ritual-management game code, which will certainly be the most complicated part of the game. That's going very nicely and I hope to finish that module by the end of the month. After that, well, I still have all the locations and scenery and story elements to build, but the scary part will be done.\n\n(Never believe a developer who says stuff like that. The scary part is always the last part. And shipping, shipping is scary too.)\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
''NO JOURNALISTS OR IF WRITERS WERE HARMED DURING THE MAKING OF THIS ADVENTURE''\n\nThis adventure was made in Twine over a 3 week period. I asked each IF writer a set of questions and follow up questions. I then constructed an adventure from those 3 email interviews. Under Anna Anthropy's instructions, I have made it slightly more autobiographical than my last one, in the sense that I guess it is about my own journalistic anxieties. It seems to have come out okay. I think this proves that //anyone// can make a game. Go try it out yourself!\n\nI'd like to thank the extremely patient Andrew Plotkin, Emily Short and Adam Cadre for collaborating on the branches of their interviews, answering my follow up questions, and generally giving their time when they didn't have to. Interactive Fiction really does deserve more of a readership, and I recommend that everyone have a look at their work.\n\nI'd also like to thank Kieron, Leigh and Quintin for their friendship, their easy to satirize personalities, and, well, their advice on how to do interviews. Life would be a lot harder without their patient answers to my impatient questions, and a lot more boring without their excellent writing.\n\nMany thanks to Rab Florence, for dropping everything to make me the secret content. Everyone needs secret content in their games.\n\nA thank you to RPS and particularly John for actually paying me to make this piece of what I guess is half a glorified RPS fanfic and half a love letter to interactive fiction.\n\nAnd a thank you to Anna Anthropy, who really is the world's most supportive videogame zinester.\n\n//Cara, July 2012//
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': You're currently writing a book - is that IF's fault?\n\n''Adam'': Well, I work in a number of media, and ideally I will always have projects cooking in all of them. If you look back at what I've worked on over the past decade or so, you can see that I jump around a lot:\n\n2003: IF (Narcolepsy)\n2004: comics (Evil Creatures)\n2005: N/A (didn't work on much due to factors in my personal life)\n2006: novel (an odd project that I want to return to someday)\n2007-8: film work (can't really talk about this due to NDAs)\n2009: novel (the first half of the one I'm trying to finish now)\n2010-1: more film work (see above)\n2012: IF (Endless, Nameless) and now back to the novel\n\nI do plan to return to IF at some point. When I do, my current plan is to finish up Zeta Space, which I started back in 1999... but plans can always change.\n\n''RPS'': You are //busy//.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': The first one that made you think, ugh, I could do better?\n\n''Adam'': It never even occurred to me to try writing them until I saw the 1995 comp entries on the Masterpieces of Infocom CD. And I was never motivated by the idea of writing something "better" than the ones I'd played - I don't think I ever played a piece of interactive fiction that was clearly of unprofessional quality until I had already started writing the things myself.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = $questions + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>''RPS'': Have you squandered all of your [[Hadean Lands Kickstarter|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/05/text-to-speech-andrew-plotkin-interview/]] money on women,\ndrugs and booze yet?\n\n''Andrew'': Oh heck yes. That is to say, on rent, food, and bills. That's like drugs and booze for pragmatic people. I know, it's less glamorous than the high-powered star image I like to project.\n\nOccasionally I get an outraged commenter saying "You grab all the Kickstarter money and go off to live a life of luxury..." No, not so much. I don't live in the most expensive area of Boston, but it's still a high-rent part of the country. My living expenses exceeded my Kickstarter income long ago.\n\nOf course, this does not mean the project is a failure. I've been doing many things with my time. I figure that if I'm going to be successful at this, I'm going to have to make *several* successful apps -- build up momentum. (Certainly my first couple of releases have not turned me into an indie-game superstar.) HL is one link in that chain, so it really just has to cover my shipping costs for all the reward stuff.\n[[When can we play Hadean Lands?]]\n\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>\n\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Uuuuuuuuh, do you smoke?\n\nEmily looks at you disapprovingly.\n\n''Emily'': I don't smoke, sorry. Have some water.\n\nHangover fail.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': I mean... It would be super great if you'd read it.\n\nEmily humours you, and sits down to read it.\n\n''Emily'': Mostly what it makes me think is argh, I still haven't played Spelunky, and also I feel guilty I never got back in touch with Derek Yu after he asked me to write something about IF for TIGSource. "I'm pretty busy right now because I'm changing jobs," I think is what I said, not realizing that entering the game industry wasn't so much a change of jobs as a permanent lifestyle shift, and that I was never going to be less than "pretty busy" ever again.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
An interactive RPS fanfic love letter to the authors of Interactive Fiction
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"Seriously? You walk in here just to stare at me blankly for 45 seconds, and then walk about again? Is this a method-acting performance piece about your rejection of modern videogame journalism? Are you now going to swing down naked from the ceiling screaming about the Norwegian albino bat?"
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $cocky = true>><<endsilently>>You start to feel a bit more like Quinns, and so naturally you get cocky.\n\n''RPS'': Errrrr... Have you read my [[review of Spelunky|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2009/03/30/snake-to-death-the-majesty-of-spelunky/]]?\n\n''Emily'': Seriously? You're asking me to do homework for an interview?\n\n[[Quick! Ask for a cigarette! Your brain isn't functioning!]]\n\n[[Quick! Press on as if you meant to ask that!]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Quinns = false>><<set $Kieron = false><<set $Leigh = false><<set $questions = 0>><<endsilently>>Several tipoffs have lead you here, to this too-bright too-loud place they unironically call the 'Namco Funscape' in Westminster. Three giants of the Interactive Fiction world, Andrew Plotkin, Adam Cadre and Emily Short have disappeared, and everything has pointed towards a mythic ginmill they call the //Barcade//. You've heard that the London //Barcade// is run by a legendary games journalist, frequented by those on the fringes of games culture, and is a place where those who have almost escaped the grasp of games go to nurse their battlewounds. You think your three absent royals are held there, for what reason you can't tell. Old feuds? Or have they been imprisoned as sex slaves? You wouldn't put anything past embittered games journalists.\n\nA //Dance Dance Revolution Euromix// machine glares at you. You look for your man.\n\n"Gerry?" you say to the man behind the Namco bar.\n\n"Yes," he says.\n\nYou hesitate before saying the words. "Do you know where sailors hang out?" You look at him intensely.\n\nGerry squints at you.\n\n"Do you know anything about Chinese people?" you say, desperately. \n\n"Em," says Gerry. "Are you looking for that secret games journalist place? It's just over here," he says. He opens the side of an out of order //Ridge Racer// machine, revealing steps down into the dark. "You're on your own," Gerry says. "//Good luck to you//."\n\nYou descend into the darkness.\n\n[[<Keep walking>]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Shortanswer = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': Your most renowned piece is [[Photopia|http://adamcadre.ac/if/photopia.html]]. Do you consider it your most interesting work?\n\n''Adam'': No, I think my most interesting work is the book I'm trying to finish.\n\n[[Tell us more about your new book.]]\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': What are you working on just now?\n\n''Emily'': Little Text People was sold to Linden Lab in January, so now I work there. I can't say too much about the final product that we're working towards, but I can tell you some things about the core technology that we were working on when we sold to Linden.\n\nRichard Evans (lead AI design on Sims 3, among other things) built a simulator for social practices -- that is, focus on how people interact, rather than on physical objects or physics or the placement of things in a room. For example, it has complex models of things like how characters interact in conversation -- and not just one type of conversation, not just interrogating an NPC for lore or collecting quest data, but a variety of conversation flows, from small talk to persuasion to a marriage proposal. And there were models for other things too, like eating dinner, or dancing, or playing a card game. Characters could be involved in several social practices at once -- say, eating dinner and also having a conversation -- and the AI would smoothly combine all the options available and pick the ones that best fit a character's needs and goals at the moment.\n\nThe project we had started building at LTP used those features to support a real-time, multiplayer comedy of manners scenario, where each player has lots of social options that will affect her relationships with the characters around her. Aesthetically, we were going for a book-like feel, with lots of stylized illustrations and an emphasis on carefully written dialogue.\n\nThat development was really an extension of a lot of things I had always been wanting to do in parser-based IF, but didn't have a good engine for: an emphasis on conversation and social nuance, characters who would act autonomously but plausibly within their social context, and a story that flowed in different directions depending on the outcomes of those scenes. And it also resembled some of the things I'd always wished the Sims could do -- namely, have a model that was about the fun and interesting stuff in life, the friendships and the ideas and the flirtations and grudges, rather than about doing the dishes and cleaning up busted toilets.\n\nThe concept has evolved with Linden's support, and I'm excited about the new aspects that have come into the project, but I'll save the specifics until we're ready to do an official announcement.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Can you make money from writing Interactive Fiction?\n\n''Adam'': Indirectly, yes - my IF work got me some writing jobs that have furnished me a comfortable income over the past couple of years. Directly, I'm not sure. I know that Zarf [Andrew Plotkin] raised a bit over $30,000 on Kickstarter, and there are those who have suggested that I do the same and try to make a paying career out of writing IF. However, I suspect that many of Zarf's contributors considered it a one-time donation to interactive fiction in general, and wouldn't support other authors in the same way on a regular basis. For one thing, the money Zarf made wasn't just for the game he put in the headline, but also for the various tools he said he'd create - and, really, for the tools he'd already created. I considered my own donation pretty much a payment for Glulx, which I used for a couple of my projects back in the early '00s.\n\nFinally, while Zarf got headlines for raising $30,000... that's only a year's expenses for me, and I don't live an extravagant lifestyle at all. I would have to have that kind of fundraising success year after year just to tread water. So it does seem, based both on my own experience and on that of some other IF authors I know, that the better bet is to use IF as a calling card to get freelance work. (And if anyone out there is looking for a freelancer with my skill set, I'm available.)\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = 0>><<endsilently>>Kieron shrugs at you. "It's this RPG magic. But you know - at least you get to be me for a while! Doesn't it feel //sexy//?"\n\nYou feel slightly weird, and inclined to make jokes about other people's mothers.\n\n"Time to do work!" Kieron shoves you into a murky backroom where the muffled sounds of what must be a music gig are vibrating through the wall. The dull thud of the intense bass drum beat is raising your pulse: you suspect... Japandroids. Stubbed out cigarettes in the corner smoulder quietly. You feel at home. The debris of decades of gigs lies wilting in the corners. The only thing missing are girls with guitars, a drink in your hand, and...\n\nWait - Andrew Plotkin, the missing IF writer! He's sitting over there, patiently writing an epic on the computer. He looks up.\n\n"Hello," he says. "You must be Kieron. I had to look you up. Sorry, in some ways I'm out of the gaming-world loop."\n\nYou shake his hand, resisting the 'I AM VERY IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL' comment.\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>Man! The music! The dancefloor is calling you, you have to go!\n\n"Thank you for your time, Andrew," you say, shaking his hand vigorously, before running out of the door towards the sound of the beat. You can hear Andrew's voice fade behind you as you go:\n\n<<if $questions eq 0>><<display "Walk out">><<endif>><<if $questions eq 1>><<display "cookies">><<endif>><<if $questions eq 2>><<display "cookies">><<endif>><<if $questions eq 3>><<display "busy">><<endif>><<if $questions eq 4>><<display "busy">><<endif>><<if $questions eq 5>><<display "time flew">><<endif>>\n\nYou reach the packed dancefloor when a smiling Leigh Alexander materialises out of the crowd and grabs your arm.\n\n"Not so fast, hotshot," she says. "The bar beckons." You get back to the bar, and Kieron grins at you. \n\n<<if ($Quinns) and ($Leigh)>><<display 'ending'>><<else>>"What are you buying, stranger?"\n<<display "drinks">>\n<<endif>>
Rab's secret content
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': IF is a great storytelling form. Are there any major disadvantages to the IF form?\n\n''Adam'': This is a gigantic question. If you want to get philosophical, you could say that IF has no disadvantages that standard prose fiction doesn't, insofar as IF is a superset of prose fiction: you can turn War and Peace into an Inform program just by placing the text of it into the Initialise() routine. (Though you'd need to compile to Glulx to avoid the memory limits.) Thus, you can say that the usual complaints leveled at IF (e.g., the fact that it's difficult to implement characters in a robust way) are not disadvantages so much as advantages that have failed to fully materialize. (Say you think that Jay Gatsby is a great character. I can transfer Fitzgerald's text to an IF program and the character will be exactly as great. It's only when you try to add *extra* abilities, like allowing the reader to ask Gatsby questions of her own devising, that you start running into trouble.)\n\nBut that answer may be too cutesy, so if you have a follow-up that's less broad, fire away.\n\n[[Do you think IF very much depends on the determination of the reader to explore?]] For example, a reader who only plays through once might not get the most from a piece of IF? \n\n[[You're currently writing a book - is that IF's fault?]] Or is it just a natural progression?
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<actions "Red Eye">><<actions "Rum and Coke">><<actions "White Wine">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Have you tried the Inklewriter yet? What do you think of it?\n\n''Emily'': I have tried it, yeah. You want the short emotive answer or the long technical answer?\n\n[[Dude, the shortest. I am gonna hurl in this wastepaper basket.]]\n\n[[I'M A BRILLIANT JOURNALIST I NEED THE LONG, COMPLEX ANSWER]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><html><img src="anigif_excited-ron-6869-1311881136-43.gif"></html><<silently>><<set $RonSwanson = true>><<endsilently>>\nYou send the above gif of Ron Swanson.\n\n"From: Kirkbro@kirktaku.com\nSubject: OMG RON SWANSON\n\nBRO: You had me at meat tornado.\n\nLet's do a hang srsly\n\nKirk"\n\nYou had better do some work. Kirk has probably got some cat pictures to post on Kotaku. Also, jazz.\n\n[[Yell at the taxi driver]]\n[[Dive out of the taxi]] and choose another drink
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $needtoplay = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': Do you think IF very much depends on the determination of the reader to explore?\n\n''Adam'': Well, let's consider Endless, Nameless in relation to this question, as it's the piece that is freshest in my mind.\n\nI wrote the beginning of Endless, Nameless in 2006, then set it aside. When I picked it back up at the end of 2011, I had a pretty good idea of the shape of the middlegame, but still had many details left to work out; I also had only the vaguest idea of what might constitute a good ending. Nevertheless, I plunged right into coding the parts I was clear on and figured that I would figure out the rest as I went along. Even as I solidified the middlegame, the ending remained nebulous, and eventually I reached the point that I had the first and second acts almost completely finished and still didn't know what the third act should look like.\n\nNormally I'm not a big fan of abstraction, but in the interest of avoiding spoilers, I guess I'll resort to it. So I looked back at what I'd written, and saw that I had all these moments with some thematic weight to them: call them A, B, C, D, etc. There didn't seem to be a good way to resolve all of them with a single ending, and furthermore, it seemed like it would be a missed opportunity to be working in an interactive medium and route the player toward a single ending when I didn't have a clear idea of what that ending ought to be. (Obviously if a single ending had been a key element of the work from the outset the situation would be different.) So the solution I eventually hit upon was this: I would write several endings. One would pick up, say, moments A, D, G, J, etc., that were all related to theme X, and resolve those - ideally, the player would finish and think, "Ah, that was a satisfying story about X." And another ending would pick up moments B, E, H, K, etc., and resolve those, and again, I hoped the player would think, "Ah, that was a satisfying story about Y." Now, if you only play once, you'll still get a satisfying story if I've done my job correctly. But if you play the endgame a number of times and reach different outcomes, you should come away having experienced a *palimpsest* of satisfying stories that have resolved multiple thematic threads, which would make for a much richer experience. (There are thirteen endings in the finished work, about seven or eight of which are pretty\nsubstantial.)\n\n''RPS'': I badly want to play this now.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"I hope this has been helpful. Yes, very busy -- back to work -- you know the drill, I'm sure. If I don't write another four unit tests before bedtime, I'll just feel awful about myself in the morning.\n\nNow, let me see, where the heck were those Riddler clue informants..."
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Leigh = true>><<endsilently>>"I'll have a rum and coke," you say.\n\n"Wait!" Leigh jumps up from her chair. "I'll make it! I was gonna make another one for myself anyway." She picks up the rum and two glasses. "So... you know why you're here, right?" she says, as she cuts lime. "We should be doing more about Interactive Fiction."\n\nYou nod. "I loved your [[Colossal Cave Adventure|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/04/colossal-cave-review/]] retrospective."\n\n"Thanks," she says. "That game's pretty important to me." A cat with white paws slinks past, brushing Leigh's arm.\n\n<<if $Quinns>>"I just interviewed Emily Short - but you did a really [[great interview|http://emshort.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/gamasutra-feature-by-leigh-alexander/]] with her too." Leigh smiles in thanks.<<else>>"And back when Emily Short wasn't missing, you did a really [[great interview|http://emshort.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/gamasutra-feature-by-leigh-alexander/]] with her."\n\n"Emily isn't missing," Leigh says, grinning. "She's just temporarily not upstairs."<<endif>> Leigh puts down two sparkling glasses of rum and coke. "Let's drink," Leigh says, her eyes gleaming. You clink glasses.\n\nAs soon as you have sipped your drink, the lime stinging your lips, you feel strange... faint...\n\nYou wake up in a taxi with a rising sense of urgency flooding your senses. The taxi is speeding down a highway, fast, the wind blowing your hair.\n\nYou look down at yourself. You are wearing something funky. You have a magnificent rack. There is a laptop on your lap, open, at an article. The prose is precise, tight, succinct. Wait -\n\nYou look in the rear mirror. You are Leigh Alexander! Woah. Who knew that was going to happen?!\n\n''You feel a sudden urge to:''\n[[Yell at the taxi driver]]\n[[Dive out of the taxi]] and choose another drink\n[[Slack off]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $confuse = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': The works of Levine, Hocking or Molyneux?\n\n''Andrew'': I'll be honest, I had to google "Hocking" there. (Mind you, I had to google "Kieron Gillen" too. Sorry about that.)\n\n(My first hit -- er, for Hocking -- was on "William Ernest Hocking, American idealist philosopher"... he sounds like my kind of guy. I'd go with him as an inspiration, if I had to make one up.)\n\n(My first hit for "Kieron Gillen" was "Did you mean Karen Gillan?" Sigh. I bet you get a lot of that.)\n\n''RPS'': I quite enjoy being confused with a hot girl.\n\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"What the hell buddy!" you yell at the driver.\n\n"What?" he says.\n\n"Where are we going?"\n\n"Wherever this guy wants," the taxi driver gestures to the passenger seat next to you.\n\nAdam Cadre sits there, expectantly.\n\n"Adam Cadre!" you say. "You wrote some of my favourite interactive fiction. And I found you. Hey, don't you know you are missing?"\n\nAdam smiles. "I'm not missing. I'm just spending a lot of time writing. Isn't that what writers do?"\n\nYou crack your knuckles. Time for a whirlwind-fast Leigh interview special! Your fingers are prepared to type faster than the speed of light.<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'':What was your first text adventure?\n\n''Adam'': Do you mean the first one I wrote, bought, played, or saw?\n\n[[The first one you played?]]\n[[The first one that made you think, ugh, I could do better?]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = $questions + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>''RPS'': Do you ever play big budget games like the ones on show at E3?\n\n''Andrew'': Yes, okay, yes. It would be silly to deny it.\n\n(I've gone through the //Bioshocks//, although not the //Mass Effects//. So I'm not *totally* out of touch. On the other hand, I just started //Arkham City// this weekend. So I'm not totally up to date either.)\n\nThere aren't too many big-budget *genres* that I'm into. I'm pretty bad with shooter games, and I don't dare get into the really big CRPGs -- much less MMOs. That would destroy my work schedule. But I'll always have time for a few Tomb Raider / Prince of Persia style action-adventures hybrids. And survival horror, sometimes. None of these genres are as popular as they were a few years ago, but I've spent most of my life in niches.\n\n(My first console-game crush was //Soul Reaver//, you see.)\n\n[[AAA development studios and IF]]\n\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': What are you currently working on?\n\n''Adam'': I recently packed Endless, Nameless off to the IF archive, so I'm now turning my attention to finishing up my next book.\n\n[[Tell us more about Endless, Nameless]]\n[[Tell us more about your new book.]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Kieron = true>><<endsilently>>"I'll have a glass of white wine," you say.\n\n"Excellent choice," Kieron says. "That'll be a Scotch Egg." \n\n"I KNEW IT!" you say, handing one over.\n\n"You know why you're here right?"\n\n"To rescue IF writers from the clutches of obscurity?" you say.\n\nKieron looks annoyed. "Yes," he says.\n\n"How is New Games Journalism?" you say.\n\n"I wouldn't know," Kieron says, breezily. "I have a busy life of penthouse apartments, champagne, jacuzzis and naked ladies now. And you know what Marvel ladies are like." [pauses to look at camera]\n\n"//Nude// Games Journalism," you say. (You are //very// funny.) "But you can't get away with it entirely. We should hold you to account for making young journalists think that all they can do now is talk about their //feelings// about games and their //sex lives// in relation to games. You have done the equivalent of lobbing a Molotov at a manure truck and then hang gliding off a cliff towards the Marvel office."\n\n"Sounds like me. Drink up," Kieron says.\n\nYou drink the wine down. Man. You needed that. Wait - what the hell - ARGH! Holy shi - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRGGHUUUUURGH\n\n"Journalise //that//, bitch," Kieron says, writing himself //terribly//.\n\nYou look down at yourself. You are wearing hideous amounts of black and are really quite tall. You feel... //pretentious//, and slightly annoyed at how few people across the world are having sexual intercourse right now. \n\nHoly. Shit. You are Kieron Gillen.\n\n[[YOU FEEL A SUDDEN URGE TO REWRITE THE WORLD]]\n\n[[Text your wife to find out what is for tea]]\n\n<<if ($Leigh and $Quinns) or ($Leigh or $Quinns)>><<else>>[[You feel slightly nauseous and want to choose another drink]]<<endif>>\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>Paul gently shoves you into a backroom and closes the door. \n\nEmily Short sits there, demurely, in a red velvet seat surrounded by bookshelves that extend up into the heavens. Somehow, your hangover seems less important. You've found one of the missing IF writers!\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<<actions "Influences.">> <<actions "Why would IF not be enjoyable to play?">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $thorough = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': Ahem. The long answer, please.\n\n''Emily'': Okay, some context: inklewriter is one of a number of tools that do similar things. Other tools in the same area include [[ChoiceScript|http://www.choiceofgames.com/make-your-own-games/choicescript-intro/]], [[Undum|http://undum.com/]], [[Varytale|http://varytale.com]], and [[StoryNexus|http://blog.failbettergames.com/post/StoryNexus.aspx]], which [[RPS just covered a little while ago|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/25/text-my-breath-away-storynexus/]]. [[Twine||http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/]] may count too, but I've never tried it myself, so I'm going to leave it out of the analysis here.)\n\n''RPS'': I have never heard of it.\n\n''Emily'': All these tools are trying to tackle the same basic problem: choice-based narrative that uses variables to track world state, so that you can have choices with long-term effects but avoid the combinatorial explosion of branching your narrative every time the player makes any decision.\n\nConsidering how much they've got in common, it's kind of astonishing what different output they typically produce.\n\nChoiceScript tends towards RPG-like character development. Choices typically have effects on the player's stats. Are you going to be brave or cowardly? Law-abiding or rebellious? If you make the law-abiding choice early in the game, that affects your lawfulness stat in a way that determines later options. ChoiceScript supports that style with a code feature it calls fairmath, which lets the author give proportional bonuses to a character depending on how good that character's stats already are.\n\nVarytale is similar to ChoiceScript in that it lets the author track an arbitrary number of variables and display any subset of those to the player. But the possible structures are more complex: Varytale lets the author present the reader with storylets (short passages of text) randomly drawn from a pool or selected on the basis of priorities, whereas a ChoiceScript piece always moves necessarily from one node to another specific node. Varytale also has a completely different aesthetic: where ChoiceScript's output is very bare-bones in appearance, Varytale is going for a lush book-like typography.\n\nInklewriter has branching and state-tracking variables, but no storylets, no randomized outcomes, and no fairmath. So the inklewriter engine offers a subset of the backend complexity that ChoiceScript and Varytale provide. Visually, it falls closer to Varytale's aesthetic than to ChoiceScript's.\n\nBut inklewriter's particular selling point is that it's extremely accessible. You don't have to download anything to start using it (as you do with ChoiceScript), and you don't have to learn any markup or familiarize yourself with multiple editing screens (as you might with Varytale). You start with text boxes you can fill in immediately. It's a great tool to pick up and just start sketching out new content.\n\nNow, those same things that make it fast to start -- the relative absence of extra visualization modes or organization tools, the inability to edit a raw text file -- make me think inklewriter might get unwieldy with a big project where there were lots of branches to handle or where the author might want to do substantial restructuring. I haven't tried, so I can't speak to that with certainty. inklewriter also doesn't so far show signs of letting authors monetize their work, whereas ChoiceScript already allows this and Varytale is intended to do so in the future.\n\nSo the constellation of features and design decisions makes me think that inklewriter is the right tool for small, fast projects -- sketches, prototypes, toys -- but that experienced authors wanting to put some time into a sizable choice-based story might prefer one of the other tools.\n\n''RPS'': Interesting stuff! I hear Rab Florence is a big fan...\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Is the IF community still thriving, and producing exciting ideas?\n\n''Adam'': I'm not really the one to ask. I got into the IF community in the late '90s and had checked out by the early '00s. Now that I think about it, I think the last time I sat down and played a new piece of interactive fiction to completion was during the 2001 IF competition.\n\nAs you'll see in my interviews in the early '00s, I fully expected that IF would have vanished by now - it seemed that most people in the IF community in the 1990s had gotten into it primarily for nostalgic reasons ("Wow, there's a programming language that lets you create Infocom games! Same format and everything! I've got to try that!") and it appeared that most of them had gotten it out of their systems after writing one or two games. People were getting married, having kids, graduating from grad school and getting jobs, etc. Few of the ifMUD regulars from the early days were spending much time there anymore.\n\nWhat I hadn't counted on, and what is still surprising to me, is that people who hadn't even been born when Infocom gave up the ghost would get interested in interactive fiction, considering it part of the "new media" or what have you. Some of my old ifMUD pals apparently put together an IF panel at one of those gaming conventions and attracted a standing-room-only crowd. That suggested that the audience for IF had not only failed to dwindle as I had predicted, but had grown. This is part of what Endless, Nameless is about, in fact.\n\n(That said, the fact that Endless, Nameless has been out for a few months now and has attracted little response suggests that maybe the IF scene hasn't revived as much as I'd heard.)\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>\n<<actions "What was your first text adventure?">><<actions "What are you currently working on?">><<actions "Your most renowned piece is Photopia. Do you consider it your most interesting work?">><<actions "Can you make money from writing Interactive Fiction?">><<actions "Is the IF community still thriving, and producing exciting ideas?">><<actions "Which pieces of Interactive Fiction are most important to you?">><<actions "IF is a great storytelling form. Are there any major disadvantages to the IF form?">>\n[[Dive out of the taxi]] and end the interview
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $punch = true>><<endsilently>>You sling a right hook at Quinns, who swoops out of the way, and you punch Kieron's arm instead.\n\n"OW," Kieron says, rubbing his arm. "That //really// hurt. Don't you know you have just punched someone who, according to Kotaku, started all of games journalism?"\n\n"I feel HUNGOVER," you say, in anguish.\n\n"That's how I feel all the time," Quinns shrugs, as if it makes it better. "Now go out there, and JOURNALISE, while we figure out how to make you less pretty. You know. Like, back to what you were before."\n\n[[Go to the backroom]]\n[[Request another drink]], because this headache is killing you, and you think Quinns might have gone to an Andrew W.K. party in this getup
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $inappropriate = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': [[I like to think of IF as an ex-girlfriend|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/05/text-to-speech-andrew-plotkin-interview/]]. Should it be my girlfriend?\n\n''Emily'': Do you mean can IF be a collaboration?\n\n''RPS'': Uh... Yes?\n\n''Emily'': Sure! The team of Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch is a particularly productive one, with [[several award-winning games to their credit|http://ifdb.tads.org/search?searchfor=author%3ABen+Collins-Sussman]].\n\nMost IF collaborative teams are still just two or three people, either sharing all the duties evenly or with one person doing the majority of the coding and the other contributing writing and design skills; but there have also been some [[larger group projects|http://ifdb.tads.org/search?searchbar=tag%3A+many+authors&searchGo.x=0&searchGo.y=0]].\n\nSometimes, too, people do anthology projects with a lot of small games by different authors, but focused on a single theme. [[The Apollo 18 Tribute Album|http://pr-if.org/event/apollo-18/]] is a set of games that riffed on They Might Be Giants songs -- I especially recommend Dinner Bell. Much longer ago there was the [[IF Arcade|http://ifdb.tads.org/search?searchfor=series:IF+Arcade]] project, which featured text reimaginings of a bunch of classic arcade games. Probably the most famous entry in that one was the pornographic reinterpretation of Dig Dug.\n\n''RPS'': That turns me on.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': The world is a brittle shell over a [[twitching mass of sexual longings|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/30/erotisim-sex-the-sims/]]. Have you ever done an erotic IF? One with love-dodecahedrons?\n\n''Andrew'': No. Also, no. No.\n\nDon't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are dodecahedra. If that did it for me, I'd be the luckiest guy in the world.\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
Absent Heroes
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>You hear heavy footsteps in the dark, groaning, deep mumbling. Sometimes you pause, afraid. But you go on into the darkness, mastering your fear, towards the faint sound of music in the distance.\n------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------\nYou emerge from the murky dark to //Atomic// by Blondie, and the smell of old hops surrounds you, dank and smothering. Slowly, as your eyes adjust, your vision reveals a tall bespectacled man standing behind a bar. A blue neon sign above him says //BARCADE//.\n\nYou know this man. This man is an old legend. They say he went into the darkness and never came back (apart from sometimes).\n\n"[[Kieron Gillen|http://gillen.cream.org/wordpress_html/?page_id=8]]," you say, triumphantly. "What on earth are you doing in this place?"\n\n"This is my outpost," he grins, pouring a white wine for himself. "It's the bar on the edge of games: limbo, if you will. This here is the no-man's-land between videogames and other cultural territory." He wipes some tomato juice and beer from a Cyclades board.\n\n"Sounds pretentious," you say. "Listen - I'm here on behalf of the IF community -"\n\n"I know," he says. "Stop interrupting I have this whole train of thought going - where was I - yes - this here is where games meet other cultural monoliths, boardgames meet videogames here, comics meet videogames here. We've even got a few Americans. If you look closely, into the moody lighting over there - "\n\nYou look. You can make out the ethereally-lit womanly figure of someone you recognise. It's [[Leigh Alexander|http://sexyvideogameland.blogspot.co.uk/]] with a laptop and a rum and coke, her pink curls lit like a halo. She nods at you, smiling mischeviously, before going back to her keyboard.\n\n"Leigh writes on other cultural stuff too. She drops in when she can. Have a drink. You look like you need one. We only stock what each of us drink."\n\nYou are distracted by a figure whipping a snake to death on a screen in the background, if you squint hard.\n\n"But let me warn you," Kieron wags a finger, "The magic has been unstable around these parts lately. We think our drinks have been affected with some sort of wandering RPG magic from that broken //Gauntlet// machine over there." \n\nHe holds up a board with the menu:\n<<display "drinks">>\nHmm. The worst selection of drinks you've ever seen.
Cara Ellison
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Slackoff = true>><<endsilently>>You ignore the taxi meter and sit back for a while, before writing an email to [[Kirk Hamilton|kirk-ag-article.jpg]] at Kotaku about Game of Thrones. You get an email back:\n\n"From: Kirkbro@kirktaku.com\nSubject: OMG Gaem of Thrones bro\n\nBRO: Game of Thrones is sick. Arya is sick.\n\nLet's do a hang sometime\n\nKirk"\n\nHmm. \n\n[[Send gif of Ron Swanson]]\n[[Yell at the taxi driver]]\n[[Dive out of the taxi]] and choose another drink
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Has IF grown in popularity now that we have tablets and e-readers?\n\n''Emily'': Depends what you mean. If you mean IF with a parser, there's been a modest, quiet growth. IF has become more visible in more places; there's IF in the iOS app store, IF on the Kindle, IF probably on the Android. But it remains a fairly niche medium, and to the best of my knowledge there aren't any companies making a significant income from it.\n\nIf you mean interactive stories based around text, stories that might or might not also be games -- *that* has taken off. The fact that the output is made of words suddenly doesn't feel like so much of an impediment as it did a few years ago, which I do think is due partly to the tablet market, and partly to the way social media have accustomed people to consuming lots and lots and *lots* of bite-sized, personalized text.\n\nYou can see that happening from the number of different authors and companies doing interactive text content for different platforms. And I can see the rising demand on the production side as well: I get a fair amount of email from people who want to hire experienced interactive text authors, or experienced authors in other media who are interested in trying their hand at interactivity. Some of those inquiries come from people in the games industry, some from people in traditional book and magazine publishing who are looking for new ways to engage readers.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': The first one you played?\n\n''Adam'': I think that would be Adventure, which was available on the Dow Jones online service for a mere $144/hour (in 1984 dollars). Fortunately for my father's bank account, I only got a few turns into it.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"Give me another drink," you say. "I don't feel quite right."\n\n<<display "drinks">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>Quinns lights your cigarette, which makes you feel marginally less like you want to murder everyone.\n\n"Better huh?" he says. You nod, morosely.\n\nPaul gently shoves you into a backroom and closes the door. \n\nEmily Short sits there, demurely, on a red velvet seat surrounded by bookshelves that extend up into the heavens. Somehow, your hangover seems less important. You've found one of the missing IF writers!\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>\n\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Let's talk about why IF might not be enjoyable to play.\n\n''Adam'': It's hard to put into words. I guess I'd say that as appealing as the back-and-forth between author and player might sound, in practice I find it... I guess the word might be "exhausting"? A lot of the time I just find myself reading the opening bit and thinking, "Okay, so... to make this keep going I have to *type* something? All right, fine... how about this? No? Then... this? Still no? Man, I don't have the energy for this. >QUIT" Again, I really do like writing the things so I'm glad not everyone's like me.\n<<display "Important">>\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $spouse = true>><<endsilently>>You text Beautiful Wife to ask her what is for tea. \n\nReply:\n\n//YOU ARE COOKING.\n\nYOU FUCK.//\n\nYou nod and put the phone away.\n\n[[YOU FEEL A SUDDEN URGE TO REWRITE THE WORLD]]\n<<if ($Leigh and $Quinns) or ($Leigh or $Quinns)>>\n<<else>>\n[[You feel slightly nauseous and want to choose another drink]]\n<<endif>>\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>You look at Leigh, Quinns and Kieron expectantly.\n\n"So?" you say. "I found all three of your guys, and interviewed the hell out of them. Are you going to change me back?"\n\nThey look at each other.\n\n"Well," says Leigh. "You did a pretty good job with my guy; I think we can let Adam go home now."\n\n"And Andrew Plotkin gave you some pretty good answers," Kieron says, showing grudging approval. "We'll let him go."\n\n"You didn't throw up in front of Emily Short," Quinns says, patting you on the back. "Good job."\n\nAs Quinns' hand leaves you, suddenly you feel slightly odd, like the world is expanding and contracting all at once: you look down at yourself and see that you are back to your normal self. Phewf. No more alcohol for you for at least another day.\n\n"How do you like interactive fiction?" Kieron says.\n\nYou nod. "I like it," you say. "There are so many possibilities. I mean, for a moment, I was in New York."\n\nThere is a small silence.\n\n"When are you coming back to RPS?" you say.\n\nThey smile. Quinns gulps some vodka. "Whenever it needs us," Kieron says. "But for now, we are stuck in the //Barcade//. Half in games, half out. But you know, I don't think we'll ever leave. There are lots of us here, and we all need this place just a little. Even Rab Florence comes in sometimes. He's setting up Warhammer later."\n\n"Am I a games journalist now?" you ask.\n\n"Haha," says Kieron. "Now let's not get ahead of ourselves. Go out and do some work."\n\nThe door to the bar closes on you gently. You turn around, and Andrew Plotkin, Emily Short and Adam Cadre are climbing the steps to the surface. Behind you, you can hear gentle laughter and the sound of someone whipping a snake to death in Spelunky.\n\nYou feel a little pang of longing. You'll get back, one day.\n--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[[--]]---------------\n<<display "Journalistic Awards">>\n[[Back to RPS|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/]]\n\n[[About this adventure]]\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n\n\n\n\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>You open the door of the taxi and fling yourself out, after all, this is all just a weird dream and that can't really be the Hudson River.\n\nYou land in the Hudson. Gross. You sink towards the bottom.\n\nA hand plucks you out of nowhere, dragging you to the surface.\n\nYou're back in //Barcade//, sprawled on the floor. Kieron should keep better care of this floor. It's a bit sticky, and half a Space Hulk guy is stuck to the tiles.\n\nLeigh Alexander looks down at you, an eyebrow cocked. "Were you in the Hudson? God, that is the second time it's happened now. Just stay in the taxi will you? It isn't that long a ride. And there are Bloody Marys at the end."\n\nYou look down at yourself, expecting to be soaking. Instead, the RPG magic seems to have kept you dry.\n\n<<if ($Quinns) and ($Kieron)>><<display 'ending'>><<else>>You look at the drinks again. You need something else to keep you upright.\n<<display "drinks">><<endif>>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>You feel so rubbish, a groan emits from your mouth. You feel like a dog raised on petrol station sandwiches. You feel like an obese kid who'd just been pushed backwards off a high diving board.\n\nEmily looks at you expectantly. You try to recover.\n\n''RPS'': So, what is the state of IF right now? Are times exciting for IF?\n\n''Emily'': ''Times are always exciting for IF!''\n\n''RPS'': ''ARGH! I have a headache!''\n\n''Emily'': Sorry, I'll use my library voice. Seriously, there is not a time in the dozen or so years I've been heavily involved in IF when I would have said "no" in answer to that question. It's just that the focus of current interest shifts around.\n\n''RPS'': And right now?\n\n''Emily'': It's a great time to be a new person getting interested in IF, because IF is more accessible and more new-person-friendly than it has been in a long, long time. It's possible to download [[IF|http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-warblers-nest/id536030627?mt=8]] [[apps|http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-dreamhold/id517870810?mt=8]], with a customized interface and interactive mapping and input helps, from the iOS store, for instance. It's possible to play IF online without downloading anything (let alone the interpreter + gamefile double that used to be necessary).\n\nThe IF community is also in much more contact with the rest of the gaming world than it used to be. We're seeing a lot more tools and presentation styles for IF than we used to, and that I think is also a really healthy thing.\n\nIf you're curious enough to read the super-long-winded discussion of this, I recently wrote [[a blog post|http://emshort.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/phrontisterion-and-some-more-thoughts-about-tools-and-the-art]] that talks about CYOA and parser IF both as subsets of a larger group of textual interactive stories -- and I at least am interested in mapping out what more of the other genres in that space might be.\n\nThe current project I'm working on for Linden Lab is a step in that direction, but I'm sure there are lots of other possibilities.\n\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Which pieces of Interactive Fiction are most important to you?\n\n''Adam'': Important in what sense? I can talk about the ones that influenced my own IF writing, but if you mean "emotionally important" or something along those lines, I don't think there are any. Much as I do like writing IF, I've never actually enjoyed playing it - I don't really have the patience or talent for it.\n\n''RPS'': That's quite interesting. I never thought about it being a purely authorial exercise before.\n\n<<display "Important">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Tell us more about [[Endless, Nameless|http://adamcadre.ac/if/nameless.html]].\n\n''Adam'': When I was twelve years old I entered a computer science magnet program which was full of kids who hung out on various Orange County BBSes. Most of these were WWIV boards written in Pascal. Borland's Turbo\nPascal let you swap in external modules called "door games," some of which were text adventures. Endless, Nameless begins by throwing you into one of these:\n\nATDT3635377\n\nCONNECT 1200\n\nWhat happens after that may not be entirely what you expect.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = $questions + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>''RPS'': IF doesn't have a reputation for being particularly sexy. Why is this, and what can we do about it?\n\n''Andrew'': That question is all about the implicit denotation of "sexy" in the videogame world. So many, many things that could mean... so few I can usefully comment on.\n\nI mean, one definition of "sexy" is "you have a 2500-square-foot enclosed booth at PAX with gamers lined up around the edges to see your demo." We are not there because nobody is making enough money to build that booth. I don't seriously expect to get there. On the other hand, "sexy" enough to be a bustling single booth in the indie-row section of PAX or GDC... that may be possible. (On the third hand, text games aren't all that attractive in a flashing-demo-screen expo hall. So maybe the whole question is silly.)\n\nContrariwise, another definition of "sexy" is "nearly all gamers recognize your genre, and a whole lot of them respect it as an influential part of gaming history and a cutting-edge modern what-have-you." You see my bias, but I'd say that's all true.\n\n[[Have you ever done an erotic IF?]]\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = $questions +1>\n<<set $bigwords = true>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': You mentioned to that rapscallion [[Quintin way back in 2010|http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/11/05/text-to-speech-andrew-plotkin-interview/]] that IF was\ngetting increasingly popular. Is IF still increasing its //magnanimity//? Is it a //galvanizing// time for IF writers?\n\n''Andrew'': For darn tootin' it is. (You probably didn't mean "magnanimity", although I will magnanimously let it pass.) \n\n''RPS'': I certainly //did// mean "magnanimity". I invented words you know. Kotaku said so. KIERON MAKES THE MEANINGS.\n\n''Andrew'': It is a galvanizing time for IF writers... an electrifying time... well, often shocking, anyhow.\n\n''RPS'': Carry on.\n\n''Andrew'': Interactive fiction is a hot topic. All sorts of games are now laying claim to being "interactive fiction", which opens up the question of "what do you mean by that and why should anybody listen to you", which I don't think I'll get into here. But it points at the respect that people still have for the original idea.\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
[[Bonus extra content|http://writer.inklestudios.com/stories/zfhz]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>><<set $Quinns = true>><<endsilently>>"I'll have the Red Eye," you say, thinking it sounds like the most outlandish thing on the list. What is a Red Eye anyway?\n\nSomeone barges past Kieron from behind the bar. "Did someone say 'Red Eye'?"\n\nYou don't recognise him at first without all the tiger facepaint on him. Then... "HEY. You're //Quinns//! What the hell? Is everyone from RPS Past here? Have I gone back in time?"\n\nQuinns sticks a cigarette in his mouth and lights it. "Listen dude, I only work here part time. Hey Paul! Come over here and tell this freezepop why they're here."\n\nThe other half of [[Shut Up and Sit Down|http://www.shutupshow.com/]], Paul Dean, pops his head up. "Oh hello, young stranger," he says. "I'm glad you're here." Quinns loudly bangs a frosted mug down on the dirty counter and some ash from the cigarette protruding from his face drifts lazily into the mug. You feel a little bit of sweat form on the back of your neck. "You're here to help Interactive Fiction, my friend," Paul says. Quinns sniffs a carton of tomato juice and makes a face - //makes a face// - before pouring it full into your pint glass. He coughs a bit, before reaching for a Bloody Mary behind him and drinking it half down, //cigarette still intact in his mouth//. You feel tense. You look at Kieron, who has already gone to the side of the bar to scribble something comicsy about fucking and punching. Quinns tops up your pint with an off-smelling beer, puts his mouth under the tap for a while when Kieron isn't looking, and cracks an egg on top of your drink. He pushes it towards you. "That'll be a Scotch Egg please," he says, lighting another cigarette with the end of the one he has mostly lost in your drink. Good job you brought these Scotch Eggs, you think.\n\nQuinns pushes Paul aside and holds your face earnestly. "What we want you to do is drink this shit down, and go interview Emily Short in that backroom over there. Interactive Fiction is where books collide with games, and they never get any press. They won't go back to making IF until we change that, sunshine." He lets you go, and, taking a deep breath, you drink down all of your disgusting drink... WAIT. Wait. Wait. ARGH! Ouch. Ow. What is - what is happening... Oh... OH my god. //Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggh!//\n\nKieron looks over the shoulders of Paul and Quinns at you. "We really should do something about that loose //Gauntlet// magic."\n\n"Now THAT is one handsome bastard," Quinns says, looking admiringly at you.\n\nYou look down at yourself. You are wearing camo pants with the fly open. You are Quintin Smith. You feel hungover.\n\n\n[[Punch Quinns]]\n[[Smoke]]
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Tell us more about your new book.\n\n''Adam'': I don't want to say too much until the thing is finished. But I guess it wouldn't be going too far to say that people who like Photopia in particular out of the various things I've done might want to check it out.\n\n''RPS'': Cool.\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>\n<<actions "Hadean Lands">><<actions "Dostoyevsky, Chekov and Beckett">><<actions "Do you ever play big budget games like the ones on show at E3?">><<actions "Sexy IF">><<actions "Is IF getting more popular?">><<actions "I HAVE A SUDDEN AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS URGE TO DANCE IN THE NEXT ROOM">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Let's talk influences.\n\n''Adam'': My reflex is to say that the piece that most influenced me was A Mind Forever Voyaging, the bulk of which was concerned with wandering around and looking at things and seeing how they change. The middlegame of AMFV was the ur-work of puzzleless IF and I have been credited with helping to launch puzzleless IF in the modern day, so it seems like a natural name to drop. But now that I really think about it, no - that is the sort of thing that I am most interested in *playing*, but it hasn't really been the sort of thing I've written, nor even the sort of thing I'm planning to write in the foreseeable future.\n\nYou can make a case that my standard trick is taking a piece of IF that *didn't* work for me and grafting on influences from other media and my own life. Endless, Nameless is in part an exercise in taking some of my personal angst from 2005 and injecting it into, of all things, Westfront PC. Shrapnel is Southern Gothic and William Sleator injected into Zork I. Even Narcolepsy is basically an attempt to revisit the slapdash I-0 (the setting, the branching structure) and turn it into something worthwhile by applying a big jolt of The Big Lebowski.\n<<display "Important">>\n<<display "Ask Adam Cadre A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"Thanks for dropping by. Time certainly flew by! Enjoy the cookies! No, it's no problem, I bake when I'm bored anyway. Er. I didn't mean -- no, really, it's been fun."
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': The short answer?\n\n''Emily'': It looks cute! And I'm glad it's getting press, and Jon Ingold is a friend of mine and I hope it leads to good things for him and inkle studios.\n\nIn no way am I feeling at all overwhelmed by the presence of another interesting tool that I do not have time to take for a more thorough test drive. Not. At all.\n<<display "Ask Emily Short A Question">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>"Give me another drink! I can't stop thinking about sexytimes!" you yell.\n\nKieron takes pity on you, and asks you what you'd like instead.\n<<display "drinks">>
''Journalistic Awards''\n\n<<if ($Shortanswer)>>* You have won the ''Short Answer'' award for gaining the shortest answer to a question. Let's hope you don't get paid by the word.<<endif>>\n<<if ($needtoplay)>>* You have won the ''Need To Play'' award for coming away from an interview //needing// to play the game discussed. In this case, Adam Cadre's //Endless, Nameless//.<<endif>>\n<<if ($slack)>>* You have gained the ''Slacking Off'' award for slacking off like a real journalist.<<endif>>\n<<if ($RonSwanson)>>* You have won the ''Ron Swanson'' award for emailing Kirk Hamilton a picture of Ron Swanson.<<endif>>\n<<if ($inappropriate)>>* You have gained the ''Total Non Sequitur'' award for asking Emily Short that weird question about girlfriends<<endif>>\n<<if ($punch)>>* You have gained the ''Bar Brawler'' award for almost starting a bar brawl with Quinns. You ended up punching Kieron. You probably could have taken them both.<<endif>>\n<<if ($cocky)>>* You have won the ''DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM'' award for referring to your own work in an interview. //Dude//.<<endif>>\n<<if ($thorough)>>* You got the ''Thorough'' award for asking Emily Short for the long answer, even though the shorter one would have done you thorough bastard<<endif>>\n<<if ($pretentious)>>* You're now in possession of the ''Pretentious'' award because you asked the most pretentious question, which will now reinforce your image as a very pretentious journalist, even though that is mostly just because you are literate<<endif>>\n<<if ($confuse)>>* You are awarded the ''Confused Interviewee'' award for successfully confusing Adam Plotkin by mentioning obscure games designers <<endif>>\n<<if ($spouse)>>* You get the ''Texted Spouse'' award, which games journalists rarely get, because they do not usually get paid enough to afford a wedding. Also usually no one loves them<<endif>>\n<<if ($bigwords)>>* You are awarded the ''Big Words'' award. You have successfully wedged 'magnanimous' into your interview question. You can go home with your head held high, even if the use of the word made no sense at all<<endif>>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<silently>>\n<<set $questions = $questions + 1>>\n<<set $pretentious = true>><<print $questions>><<endsilently>>''RPS'': Do you find inspiration in the works of Dostoyevsky, Chekov and\nBeckett?\n\n''Andrew'': No. I don't even know how to spell Dostoyevsky.\n\n[[The works of Levine, Hocking or Molyneux?]]\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>\n
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html><<actions "Urrrrrrrgh.">><<actions "Has IF grown in popularity now that we have tablets and e-readers?">><<actions "What are you working on just now?">><<actions "I like to think of IF as an ex-girlfriend. Should it be my girlfriend?">><<actions "Have you tried the Inklewriter yet?">><<actions "Have you read my review of Spelunky?">><<actions "QUICK END THE INTERVIEW I AM GOING TO THROW UP">>
<html> <LINK href="cara.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"></html>''RPS'': Do you ever feel like striding into a AAA development studio and laying out a plan for how they could use everything IF has been doing for years to improve their stories?\n\n''Andrew'': This is going to sound like false modesty, but I don't have the nerve for that. My process for game design is very exploration-y and tentative... but one thing I know: you have to be willing to be exploration-y and tentative *all the way up and down the design*. Big-studio games have a strong set of design conventions. You can't plug in "IF-style story" and leave everything else about the game the same. You'd be rethinking the interface, the pacing, the way death or failure works, the kinds of actions open to the player during every minute of the game...\n\nSurely something awesome could come out of that. But just as surely, it would be a risky process, building a game that might not fit into a recognizable genre. That's not what AAA studios are set up for.\n<<display "Ask Andrew Plotkin A Question">>
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