Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir 33rd in IFComp

The 25th Interactive Fiction Competition is now over, and the results are in! Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir came 33rd in the end, which may not be a Top Ten result but I’m still pretty happy with. There were 82 entries altogether so that’s very much in the top half of the rankings, and apparently high enough to score a small cash prize and possibly some other stuff. (IFComp is pretty generous when it comes to runners-up: if you’re on the fence about submitting something in 2020, I highly recommend giving it a go.)

The range of responses from the judges is interesting: the game attracted more votes than most (I’m guessing because people saw the title, thought “Haha what?” and clicked it), and managed to snag every possible score from one to ten. It didn’t divide opinion enough to earn me the Golden Banana of Discord (which, as you can imagine, I really really would have liked to win), but clearly there were at least a few people out there with strong feelings about it, and quite a few more who got a chuckle out of it. For something I hammered together in about a week, I think that’s a pretty good response.

I’ll be aiming to produce a slightly more ambitious version of the game in the not too distant future, which I’ll hopefully make available as an actual printed gamebook. There should also be an ebook, an online version, and probably a mobile app.

The full results for IFComp 2019 can be found here.

Make Your Twine Games More Accessible

If you’re interested in learning to make games with Twine – and especially if you’re interested in using them to build up a portfolio – it’s well worth considering how to reach as many players as possible.

Anything that runs in a browser (such as a Twine game) will tend to be played more often that something must be installed, and anything that’s primarily text and choice -based (like most Twine games) is generally more accessible to players with disabilities than something that depends primarily on using quick reflexes to respond to graphics on screen. By making just a few small adjustments to your Twine games – such as ensuring your text is clearly legible, and adding descriptions to any visual media included along with it – you can boost their reach even further!

This post offers a few quick tips, as well as links to further resources if you want to look into the subject in a little more detail:

Hey all, After our group discussion about my “Disability Media” Twine project on Frost accessibility, I went on to do some further research on how to make Twine and the HTML you put in it as accessible as possible. I hope to update this post as I learn more, because this is actually to some […]

via Brief Understandings of HTML Accessibility — Electronic Literature & Digital Writing [2]

Unsee Elixir on The Short Game Podcast

Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir got a mention in Part 2 of The Short Game‘s IFComp 2019 podcast! (That bit starts at 00:39:27 if you want to skip ahead.)

It’s great to see the game reaching people in any form – this being my first time entering IFComp, I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how many players have already given it a go – but it’s especially nice for it to be so well received!

If you haven’t yet played Unsee Elixir, this might be a nice little lead-in to it, and if you haven’t got involved in IFComp at all, it the podcast as a whole might point you towards some good ones to try. You’ve got until November 15th, you only need to rate five to be a judge for the event, and naturally it’s easier to manage that number in that time if you throw a few short ones into the mix. For an introduction to the entire event (and a few more games), do check out Part 1 of their IFComp podcast as well.

This is Just to Say

This is Just to Say

I have not eaten
the plums
that were in
the fruit bowl

and which
you were very
kind
to offer

Forgive me
they had stones
and nowhere
to bin them

 

Audio: Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure at EGX Rezzed 2019

Since Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure will be returning to EGX next week, I thought it was about time I uploaded the audio from its appearance at EGX Rezzed back in April.

If you’d like to catch Exponential Adventure at the main EGX event, it’ll be running from 13:00 to 13:45 on Friday the 18th of November. Even if you’re not there in person, the Fringe Theatre schedule suggests that you should be able to catch it streaming live on the official EGX YouTube channel, so you can still enjoy my live interactive* theatre thingy from the comfort of your own home!

*Unfortunately you can’t actually interact with it over the internet.** You’ll only be able to have a hand in the story if you’re there in the ExCeL centre.

**I guess technically you could still yell at your computer screen, but I won’t be able to hear you. Also, you’ll probably get some funny looks from anyone who can hear you. Especially if you’re in a library.

WordPlay 2019 Lineup Announced

Here’s something I’ve been waiting to share for a while: the lineup of games on show at WordPlay 2019 has now been announced!

WordPlay will be running on November 9th and 10th at the Toronto Reference Library. This is the same event that featured Wolf at the Door in 2018, and I’m pleased to say that they offered me the opportunity to judge games for the shortlist this time around! If you’re anywhere nearby that weekend, do drop in: I wasn’t sent everything that was submitted, but what I did play through was exceptionally good. It was tough to whittle it down to just the top few of those, and I’ve got no doubt that what the other judges chose must be similarly excellent.

Announcing Girth Loinhammer and the Quest for the Unsee Elixir

I had big plans to enter IFComp this year with a big fancy sci-fi game, but they were pretty much scuppered by a perfect storm of things getting in the way: I got called up for jury service again (making me the only person I know who’s done it twice), I snagged some extra freelance work, and EGX accepted my Fringe Theatre panel (also making me the only person I know who’s done it twice).

Since that plan went out the window, I came up with a new one:

It’s exactly what it looks like.

The scenario is going to be pretty familiar if you played Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure: Girth Loinhammer (Dungeon Lord) is unsatisfied with the public perception of his seriously evil dungeon, but this time – more than that – he’s traumatised by a certain something he was unfortunate enough to witness during its day-to-day operation. A certain something he wishes to unsee. Continue reading

Exponential Adventure Returns to EGX

If you missed my live reading of Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure at EGX Rezzed this year, then good news! You’ve got another chance to catch it. I’ll be performing at the EGX Fringe Theatre at 1pm on Friday the 18th of September!

This will all be happening at ExCeL in London, and it’s my first time there. In all honesty I’m a little disappointed to see EGX move away from Birmingham, but I’m also incredibly happy to get a chance to take my work to the “big” EGX. I think it went well last time (which I assume is why they’re letting me do it all again), and if you did manage to catch it back in April then you’ll be happy to know that the odds of hearing any of the same storylines again are more than a hundred to one.

If you don’t already have a ticket for EGX, you should know that they’re now running a little low. Early entry day tickets are already gone, but you can still catch my panel with a standard Friday ticket. There are also a limited number of Super Passes left, which will get you in early all four days. If you can stick around for the whole thing, I highly recommend it: if the London version of this event is anything like the Birmingham one, there’ll be way too much to see than you have time for while it’s running, let alone in just one day.

Finally, if you’d like to come along but can’t shell out for a ticket, you might like to know that Tranzfuser is looking for abmassadors (but be quick – applications close at 5pm on the 15th of September). Not only will you get free entry, they’ll pay you £70 per day to run their stand. I don’t know for sure that you’d be able to duck out and catch Exponential Adventure, but I figure there’s at least a possibility you could make that your lunch break or something. Regardless, it sounds like a great opportunity, and I’d be applying for it myself if I weren’t already attending as an exhibitor.

Twine Stories on Tap

Last week Wattpad began accepting Twine stories on Tap – a mobile platform for interactive fiction – and I’ve begun the process of converting my own work to submit. You can already find Ultraviolent Unicorn Deathmatch of Destiny on my profile there!

This version of the game has a little more graphical flair than the one that originally went out as part of Flash Fiction Month 2017, with a style loosely based upon the physical edition I had printed earlier this year. I’ll likely opt for a similar setup if I ever release it as a standalone mobile app: the default Twine stylesheet isn’t spectacularly well suited for very small screens. Continue reading

Interview on Adventure Games Podcast

A while ago I did an interview with Seoirse Dunbar of the Adventure Games Podcast, and you can now listen to it here!

If you haven’t already been following my interactive fiction, this should be a really good introduction to it. Even if you have, there’s still some new stuff including plans for a sequel to Blacklight 1995. It also touches upon Ten Little Astronauts pretty heavily, so there’s something for everyone!

The podcast can also be found on iTunes, Spotify and PodBean, among other platforms.