October Meeting Post Mortem

October 2022 PR-IF meeting attendees

The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction convened on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 over Zoom. Zarfanjchang,  Rourke Bywater,   Stephen Eric Jablonski,  Kirill Azernyi,  Josh Grams,Mike Stage, Hugh,  Feneric welcomed newcomer Kyler HE. Warning: What follows is probably not proper English, but just my log of notes from the meeting to jog people’s memories.

Mentions of IFCOMP entries people have played https://ifcomp.org

Baba is You command language mentioned.

Kyrill planning a panel about the User experience and tools.

Discussion about co-authorship by the user. Mention of “Death of the Author” and Max Kreminski’s Gardening Games concept for procgen

User-ship vs Authorship– are they the same
— do game designers and players have the same tools in the game

In “Death of the Author” 2nd half introduces the idea of the “Birth of the reader”, the author is one of the many readers of the text. Every reader brings their own experience to the reading.

Max Kreminski’s Gardening Games concept for procgen, the idea that the player in the simulation are co-creators of the narrative.

If we have a tool not being used currently, can we say that this tool is not quite a tool. Heidigger and Jesper Juul’s ideas about usable and unusable objects in the game.


If we have a tool that is used, then do you author are users? Live-coding interactive fiction? Mark Marino had a live-coding IF experience


Affordances of objects (assets) and being able to use it vs. authoring its qualities

Divinity – original sin

Role playing, and how we hope and assume the user knows what to do with objects. the Intention of the creator to enable others to create. Author have to be highly skilled and have the intention. In teaching, you create a lesson that is something between a book and a stage play. A spectrum that is single author vs multi-author with varying degrees of intention to allow people to create the story.

Idea of Skill “agōn (gr)” constant competition. Hard to tell whether authors are helping others develop the skills correctly. You need to be an author who is also a user.

If you’re writing a sonnet, are you an author, or are you first a user? As a coder, you have to be a good user of code. With coding, you’re first of all users before you become authors.

Rourke organized a rogue-like conference recently

Feneric recently organized the Halloween short story competition.

Kyler’s looking into Inform and unexpected interactions.

Hugh tackling aspects of narrative design and text-to-image generation https://stabilityai-stable-diffusion.hf.space/

Zarf working on new game based on Jason Shiga Leviathan. Discussion of Hobbes Leviathan and Disco Elysium . Reminds us of 9:05 by Adam Cadre, where you could use a little more freedom but author tells you “you’d rather not do X.” In Disco Elysium the body is not yours (hangover),mind or body is not a great tool.

Is narrative impotence a fault of the medium? Or is it the author’s challenge to maximize the user’s agency? Why not let the readers input entire lines into the system? Otherwise we concern ourselves too much with verbs (imperative). Could there be more freedom in the player’s agency? Imperial relationship might be desired when interacting with small objects in front of you. But you can do interesting stuff all along the spectrum from linearity to whatever else.

Games that break imperial relationship, or are interesting with respect to player agency.

The body issue– is it limiting or freedom. When we know the verbs we use in an IF is that enough freedom?

Allowing people to do crazy things but then fail/die spectacularly so that the game ends quickly.

Irrellevant vs reasonable behavior,

Broken Legs https://ifdb.org/viewgame?id=ii0k5l53vhghqyh6

Use Your Psychic Powers at Applebees was a surprisingly fun bite-sized silly thing (and has a surprising amount of “things-go-differently” if you do things in different orders)

Some papers on frustration/uncertainty and their role in games. I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, so can’t attest to their quality, but may be interesting to look at:

Mastering uncertainty: A predictive processing account of enjoying uncertain success in video game play https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.924953/full

Negative Gaming Experiences and Disengagement article bye Nick Ballou https://nickballou.com/post/need-frustration-grounded-theory/

How to handle all things that people could do?

Discussion about whether next meeting will be in person + hybrid at the Trope Tank. Stay tuned for the poll!