Thursday, April 28, 2011

SPAG #60; Lyttle Lytton 2011; nY #9

Three pieces of unrelated news concerning me and (in one case very tangentially) interactive fiction:
  1. The new SPAG is out, now with a beautiful cover, many interviews, an interesting design document for Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, an overview of the PAX 2011 Demo Fair, and my analysis of Gigantomania. It is not too early to start writing a piece of criticism, an essay on design, or some other interesting article for the next issue! What about recapping and reflecting on an interesting discussion that has been held on the blogs or the forum? There are many possibilities. SPAG needs you!
  2. I sent in a sentence to Adam Cadre's 2011 Lyttle Lytton competition, where you have to write the worst possible short opening sentence for a novel. I'm pleased to say that Adam awarded me a shared second place for:
    This is the story of how one woman overcame breast cancer by never ever losing faith in herself.
    Coincidentally, just after I had sent in this sentence, big posters appeared in the Netherlands showing a baby and the text "Vrouwen creƫren meer dan borstkanker ooit kan vernietigen", which translates to "Women create more than breast cancer can ever destroy". Which is terrible in so many ways that I don't even know where to begin.
  3. I published an article on interactive fiction as experimental literature in the Flemish (and Dutch-language) literary magazine nY, issue 9. I focus on two aspects: the many roles in a piece of IF, and how these can be used to explore, for instance, the theme of authority (think Fail-Safe and LASH); and choice, and how this can be used to explore moral issues, to represent reality in its potentiality as well as its actuality, and to represent consciousness without assuming that thinking occurs one thought at a time. I believe the piece will appear on the website at a certain point, but I'm not 100% sure; if it does, I will of course post an update.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

[ATTACK] Inform ATTACK version 2 released

I'm happy to announce the release of Inform ATTACK version 2. Apart from adopting a new and saner version numbering system, this release adds a couple of small features, fixes several bugs, and fixes many typographical errors in the manual. Get it from the usual link.

Change log:
  • Fixed a bug whereby the going action was counted as acting fast, because it triggered the looking action.
  • The decide whether hate is present routine now calls a rulebook called the hate rules, in which there is one standard rule called the standard hate rule. This makes it possible for the author to customise when ATTACK thinks a combat is being fought.
  • ATTACK now stores its decision about whose turn it is in the main actor variable. Thus, if you want something to happen every turn when the player is the primary actor, you can now write an "Every turn if main actor is the player" rule. (You cannot use the actor variable for this, because Inform will always reset this to the player by the time you reach the Every turn rulebook, even if an NPC has been acting.)
  • The handle the combat round routine now considers a new rulebook called the starting the combat round rules after the main actor has been set, but before a prompt has been printed or an AI rulebook has been run. This allows the author to intervene at an otherwise inaccessible point.
  • Fixed several typo's in the manual and the Test Dungeon game.
  • Fixed a bug with the artifical intelligence of the troll in the Test Dungeon game.