Stranger in These Parts – An Interactive Fiction for Teaching

One of the things I want my students to engage with in my ‘cities and countryside in antiquity’ class is the idea that in antiquity, one navigates space not with a two dimensional top-down mental map, but rather as a series of what-comes-next. That navigating required socializing, asking directions, paying attention to landmarks.  I’m in part inspired by R. Ling’s 1990 article, Stranger in Town, and in part by Elijah Meek’s and Walter Scheidel’s ORBIS project. Elijah and I have in fact been talking about marrying a text-based interface for Orbis for this very reason. But I’m also interested in … Continue reading Stranger in These Parts – An Interactive Fiction for Teaching

Masters and Doctoral Theses on Serious Games

A list maintained by Katrin Becker at SFU, ‘Serious Games Pathfinder‘: The following is a list of Master’s and Doctoral theses that have been completed that have to do with serious games (and in some cases more broadly with digital games). Doctoral Theses are marked in bold. You can get more info on each thesis by clicking on the associated ‘details’ link. Note: I am just starting to develop this list. So far, almost all the theses are Canadian ones. If anyone has a thesis they would like me to add, please let me know the following: Name, Title, Year, … Continue reading Masters and Doctoral Theses on Serious Games

International Digital Storytelling Conference – Call for Papers

Submission deadline extended: July 13, 2009 Conference site: Scope of Conference: Interactive entertainment, including novel forms of edutainment, therapy, and serious games, promises to become an ever more important market. Interactive Digital Storytelling provides access to social and human themes through stories, and promises to foster considerably the possibilities of interactive entertainment, computer games, and other interactive digital applications. ICIDS also identifies opportunities and addressess challenges for redefining the experience of narrative through interactive simulations of computer-generated story worlds. Interactive Storytelling thus promises a huge step forward for games, training, and learning, through the aims to enrich virtual characters with … Continue reading International Digital Storytelling Conference – Call for Papers

Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conference II – registration open

The second edition of Brock’s Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conference is taking place this summer. Registration is now open. I was able to attend last year, and it was the highlight of my conference season. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this year, so I’m going to miss out on some brilliant sessions. Interacting with Immersive Worlds An International Conference presented at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario JUNE 15-16, 2009 Register to attend at: Focusing on the growing cultural significance of interactive media, IWIW will feature academic papers organized along four streams: -Challenges at the Boundaries of Immersive … Continue reading Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conference II – registration open

Teaching with Interactive Fiction

I and some collaborators have a paper on using Interactive  Fiction in the classroom, for promoting straight-up literacy (not to mention computer literacy) skills. Hopefully, it’ll be coming out soon (ish). In the meantime, Jim Aikin has been using Inform 7 in his teaching: one to watch! From his blog: My first three-month adventure teaching interactive fiction to kids has come to an end, and a new class is scheduled to start next week. It’s tricky to generalize on the basis of one group of eight students; maybe these kids (ages 11-14) are unusually intelligent or motivated. But my impressions … Continue reading Teaching with Interactive Fiction

Interactive Fiction – bibliography and other directions

Denis Jerz writes of IF,  “Interactive fiction requires the text-analysis skills of a literary scholar and the relentless puzzle-solving drive of a computer hacker. People tend to love it or hate it. Those who hate it sometimes say it makes them think too much” I like IF. I’m crap at solving puzzles, but I like it all the same. For the bibliophiles amongst us, some bibliography from the academic literature on Interactive Fiction – you’ll note that most of the academic interest in IF waxed and waned in the late 80s, early 90s. But, there has been a resurgence in … Continue reading Interactive Fiction – bibliography and other directions

Interactive Fiction Competition

The latest IF competition is underway. Emily Short reports on the works she’s played so far this year here. As a historian or humanist, you should really take a look at what is being accomplished in this particular medium. A decent work of IF is as immersive as any whiz-bang 3d online world, but far more intimate in that it is your own experience generating the fireworks (like the old Infocom add had it, the brain is the fastest graphics card there is…). Note the different approaches of the various works. I’ve tried my hand here or there writing IF … Continue reading Interactive Fiction Competition

Interactive Fiction, Passively

PMOG:The Passively Multiplayer Online Game An interesting feature of Pmog ‘missions’ is the way that so many of them are really guided tours of specialty websites (e.g. this one). This is a handy approach if, say, you teach via distance and you want to show your students what constitutes ‘good’ research sites. Yet, that’s really nothing a powerpoint couldn’t already do. An interesting variant on these missions is the ‘puzzle’ mission, where creators exploit a glitch in the game to create breaks in the flow of the mission. The only way to progress is to solve the riddle to learn … Continue reading Interactive Fiction, Passively

Canadians on the Nile

The first piece of interactive fiction that I wrote (and continue to work on) puts far too many words into the mouth of Major Boulton. I need to make the conversation there far more natural – a menu system has been suggested, so I’m slowly learning how to implement that. The general idea of the piece is for it to be a one or two room rambling conversation, over the course of which, the player discovers truths about the Northwest Rebellion. In the interests of overloading my work schedule, I’ve started working on a second piece, that isn’t quite so … Continue reading Canadians on the Nile