New IF: Book and Volume

ELO Vice President Nick Montfort has just released a large-scale interactive fiction, his first original work of interactive fiction in more than five years and the first since he wrote the book Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003).

Book and Volume simulates a curious near-future city, one that is headquarters to the media division of a large computer company. The main character, a system administrator, can uncover unusual things about this place while attending to tasks and getting ready for a mind-bending demo. Book and Volume is all-text and was written in Inform. It is free, and runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and a wide variety of other platforms. Completing Book and Volume should take between six and ten hours.

Download, preview, and read more about Book and Volume:

Autumn 05 Issue of Born

Born, the online journal of new media collaborations between artists and writers, features four new works in its Autumn 2005 issue: “A Few Days from Yellowknife,” by James Grinwis and Oscar Asmoarp; “Origami,” by Courtney Queeney and Sara Lu Davila; “Birding by Ear,” by Greg Delisle and Katya Moorman; and “First Water,” by Shirley Stephenson and Don O’Connell. In Born’s Birthing Room, which features experiments exploring interactivity, narrative design, and other storytelling techniques, you’ll find “Beautiful Portrait,” a collaboration between the ELO’s Thom Swiss and Motomichi Nakamura.

tirw: The Iowa Review Web–November 2005

November 2005’s issue of tirw: The Iowa Review Web features new media work by Lance Olsen and Tim Guthrie; Jason Nelson; Juliet Davis, and Millie Niss and Martha Deed.

tirw is a journal of New Media and experimental writing and art, published at the University of Iowa with support from the Graduate College and the Department of English, and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.

Call for Participation: Creative Versioning Project

Matthew Kirschenbaum is looking for poets and fiction writers willing to participate in a project to archive versions of texts in progress. An electronic document repository (known as a Concurrent Versions System, or CVS) will be used to track revisions and changes to original fiction and poetry contributed by participating writers who will work by checking their drafts in and out of the repository system. The goal is to provide access to a work at each and every state of its composition and conceptual evolution ­- thereby capturing the text as a living, dynamic object-in-the-making rather than a finished end-product. A reader will be able to watch the composition process unfold as though s/he were looking over the writer’s shoulder.

Participating writers must agree to:

* Work with your text exclusively within the confines of the CVS, checking it in and out each and every time you wish to edit or compose.

* Give their consent to make all archived versions of the work publicly accessible.

The result will be a Web-accessible archive, with the full text of each and every version of a writer’s text available for reading and relations between the versions expressed by means of maps and visualizations.

To participate, please contact Kirschenbaum at mgk =at= umd =dot= edu . Please indicate your willingness to abide by the above constraints.

Matthew Kirschenbaum
Assistant Professor of English
Acting Associate Director,
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
301-405-8927 or 301-314-7111 (fax)


[Note: At this point Kirschenbaum is recruiting interested writers. He is not sure when the project will actually get off the ground – hopefully this winter.]

Interactive Drama Façade Released

After more than six years of work, Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern have released their long-awaited one-act interactive drama Façade for free download. The system features a 3D environment and voice-acted, AI-driven characters, and has been a testbed for research in and development of natural language processing, drama management, and control of character behaviors. Research that went into the system has been documented in more than a dozen academic publications by Michael and Andrew, as well as in Michael’s Carnegie Mellon University Ph.D. dissertation. A pre-release version of Façade made the finals in the 2004 Independent Games Festival, and one was also exhibited at ISEA 2004. The New York Times has called the system “the future of video games.”

More information and discussion about the release can be found at Grand Text Auto. Mateas and Stern’s press release about the system has more information. The initial version runs on Windows computers with processors of at least 1.6 GHz, and is available on CDs (sold at cost) or via BitTorrent download.

Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database

The MIT Press has just published on DVD the first collection of work by the The Soft Cinema Project, headed by Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky. Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database includes three narratives, “Mission to Earth,” “Absences,” and “Texas,” that explore the storytelling possibilities of “(soft)ware cinema.” This first release drew on numerous talents, including DJ Spooky, Scanner, servo, Andreas Angelidakis, Schoenerwissen/Office for Computational Design, and Ross Cooper Studios.

Mystery House Taken Over

MHTO The MHTO Occupation Force is pleased to announce the launch of Mystery House Taken Over.

The Mystery House Advance Team — including ELO board member Nick Montfort, working with Dan Shiovitz and Emily Short — has reverse engineered Mystery House, the first text-and-graphics adventure game. Members of the Advance Team have reimplemented it in a modern, cross-platform, free language for interactive fiction development, and have fashioned a kit to allow others to easily modify this early game. Read more Mystery House Taken Over

In Search of Oldton

Contribute to Tim Wright’s online project, In Search of Oldton, either by visiting the website or completing and returning an Oldton postcard. Using your contributions and his own memories, Tim is piecing together the mystery of what happened to his childhood town of Oldton. Find out more about Oldton and how to contribute by visiting the website.