May 31, 2006

Drama Princess

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:17 am

Belgian game design duo Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, aka “Entropy8Zuper!”, creators of 8, have more than one ambitious new projects in the works.

The first is The Endless Forest, a dreamy, non-goal-oriented online world where players embody human-faced deer, beginning alone in the forest but before long encountering other deer avatars, and soaking up the peaceful environment together. They’ve just released Phase Two of the forest, which now allows players to collect “the hidden magic of the forest to cast spells on each other”, altering each other’s appearance. Their artistic goals include exploring new forms of narrative in an online world, presumably emergent narrative.

Especially relevant to GTxA readers is their newest project, Drama Princess, currently in an initial design phase


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:11 am

The trAce Online Writing Centre, having recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, has now moved into virtual archival boxes at Nottingham Trent University. Featured at the trAce Archive, along with many other materials, is a scanned-in copy of Cyberwriting: Selected Internet Resources for Writers by Simon Mills – the first document of the project and a fascinating backwards glance and writing online in the good old days.

While this marks the end of trAce at NTU, trAce is scheduled to reappear in September 2006 as an online journal at the University of Luton.

DAC 2007: Perth

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:22 am

Perth SkylineThe call for papers for perthDAC 2007 is out. The theme of the 2007 Digital Arts and Culture Conference will be “The Future of Digital Media Culture” which, I presume, leaves plenty of room for electronic literature and other GTxA type interests. The conference will be held from 15 – 18th September 2007, during the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth. There will be a double blind peer review process for papers. The deadline for 500 word abstracts is 14th August 2006, and the deadline for full papers is 4th December 2006. Although it’s a long, expensive way to go from just about anywhere else, Perth is a wonderful city in a fantastic part of Western Australia, with great culture, food, wine, beaches, parrots, and Aussies. I was there for a couple of weeks last winter/summer and I’m looking forward to going back.

May 30, 2006

NILE 2006

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:56 pm

NILE ain’t just a river in Egypt … and it’s heading toward you. The 4th International Narrative and Interactive Learning Environments (NILE) Conference will be happening in Edinburgh August 8-11. While the paper deadline has long passed (March 1) and this particular blogger won’t be able to make it, we here at Grand Text Auto did want to note the event for those who might attend. We welcome any reports or comments about this conference. Thanks to Melanie Hundley for the note about NILE.


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:15 am

The frAme: Online Journal of Culture & Technology which published new media writing, art, interviews and essays from 1995-2004, has stopped actively publishing new work, but it’s going out with a bang rather than a whimper. Simon Mills is editing a project, framed, including retrospective interviews with many of the writers and artists whose works were published in frAme. The first installment of framed includes provacative interviews with Mark Amerika, Matthew Fuller, Christy Sheffield Sanford, and Alan Sondheim. More interviews are coming soon.

May 29, 2006

Grand Wedding Photo

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:59 pm

Yesterday in Los Angeles, Grand Text Auto, among others, celebrated the wedding of Jennifer and Noah!

Pictured, from left to right: Andrew, Scott (played by Eva Vu Stern; we realize this is confusing, as Eva has more hair than Scott), Nick, Noah the dashing groom, Mary and Michael.

On that note, Scott is rumored to be occupied with nuptial ideas of his own recently…

May 26, 2006

Conceptualization by Anticipation

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:48 am

When Oulipians discover that someone else used a particular ingenious constraint for literary composition long before they thought to “invent” it, they call this plagiarism by anticipation. Reading through Craig Dworkin’s excellent Anthology of Conceptual Writing that is online at UBUWeb — all the way through it, this time — I see that famous conceptual artist and writer Lawrence Weiner, in his 1970 “Tracce/Traces,” appropriated of the visual and interactive framework for Digital Ream, or close to it: there are fifty (rather than five hundred) single, white, linked words on dark gray (not black), appearing on consecutive pages. At least, Weiner’s typesetter (Dworkin? UBU’s Goldsmith?), using BBEdit 6.5 according to metadata in the pages, managed to get this digital discount — all about three years before I posted Digital Ream. Now it makes me wonder if the print version of Ream was also ripped off years before it was created…

May 25, 2006

Façade Player Survey

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:08 pm

I’m currently working with Blair MacIntyre, Steve Dow and Manish Mehta on AR-Façade (Mary mentioned this in an earlier post). Part of this project involves evaluating the difference in the player experience between the desktop and embodied AR versions of Façade. And of course, to do this, we need to better understand the player experience of the original Façade. Following up on earlier evaluation work on Façade, we’re currently conducting a web survey. We seek participants who have played Façade and are willing to answer questions about their experience. The online survey does not collect any identifiable personal information and will take approximately 10-15 minutes of your time.

May 24, 2006

manga and graphic novelists/ artists

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:20 pm

attention ! New York publisher looking for graphic novelists/ manga artists and writers

May 23, 2006


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:29 pm

Poetry publisher Wave Books proffers an online system, Erasures, for creating subtractive poems. The project celebrates Wave’s recent publication of Mary Ruefle’s A Little White Shadow, which was composed in this manner. A page links to that book and illustrious predecessors produced by deletion: Jen Bervin’s Nets, produced by removing letters from Shakespeare’s sonnets; Ronald Johnson’s Radi os, based on the first four books of Paradise Lost, and Tom Phillips’s A Humument. My favorite digital tool for creating texts in this way, presented in performance at A Night at the Cybertexts at DAC 2001, is John Cayley’s Instrumental, which allows the user to multi-select runs of text and then delete everything except what is highlighted. It’s nice, of course, to also have a flexible Web system like this to allow people to share what they’ve shored against ruin.

May 22, 2006


from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:05 pm

The schedule is posted for the upcoming Northwest Games Festival, Saturday June 3rd in Portland, and it appears to have a sizable dose of interactive narrative content. Southern Oregon-based Chris Crawford will be keynoting, presumably discussing and pimping his and his team’s latest Storytron efforts. Portland-based Alexandre Owen Muniz will be giving a presentation on IF; his piece A New Life tied for 2nd place at IF Comp 2005.

Since I assume there’ll be plenty of newbies there, rather than present Façade I volunteered to give an intro to game programming lecture, where I plan to proselytize Inform 7 (and 6), Processing, Torque (also Oregon-based!) and any other accessible systems and high level languages I can think to suggest.

Gam3r 7h3ory

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:54 pm

MacKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto, has written a new open text, Gam3r 7h3ory, in which he is interested in two questions: can we explore games as allegories for the world we live in, and can there be a critical theory of games. For GTxA readers, the answer is already yes and yes. But of course the real meat lies in the particulars of how you answer those questions. Wark invites us all to participate in the on-going evolution of this text. Thanks to Ben of the Institute for the Future of the Book for pointing this one out.

Entering the Scene

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:50 pm
the couch is against the wood wall. the window is on the wall. the window is next to the couch. the door is 2 feet to the right of the window. the man is next to the couch. the animal wall is to the right of the wood wall. the animal wall is in front of the wood wall. the animal wall is facing left. The walls are on the huge floor. The zebra skin coffee table is two feet in front of the couch. The lamp is on the table. The floor is shiny.


Image generated from the text above

As a programming language, the natural-language-like Inform 7 (main I7 site) might recall COBOL — whether or not it fulfills a similar grim destiny. But in addition to being a way to write code, Inform 7 is a way to describe spaces and objects in a simulated world. An interesting precedent here, although it generates 3D graphical images instead of a simulation for textual interaction, is WordsEye, a system now in closed beta. More images and the texts that generated them are available at SemanticLight, and there’s a paper about the system.

May 19, 2006

The 10 O’Clock IF News

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:00 pm

Today’s Gamester column, written by Tom Leupold and appearing in Inside Bay Area, is about IF: “Games with no pictures? Yes, they really did exist.” The focus is on Scott Adams of Adventure International, Adventureland, and Pirate Adventure fame. He’s still writing IF, and is now at work on The Inheritance, a game based on the Old Testament.

David Welbourn is the force behind the content and upkeep of ifwiki, the increasingly useful wiki about IF founded by Dave Cornelson. David W. offers another useful index into interactive fiction at the Key & Compass IF Games index. Thanks to Dennis Jerz for pointing this one out.

Dry Water in the Uncanny Valley, and more

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:50 pm

Been too busy to post, but would like to share a few links:

  • Devil’s advocates: Clive Thompson calls interactive narrative “dry water” and a “nonstarter”, noting (via GTxA) that interactive poetry is more prone to success; and Greg Costikyan opines,

    To me, the search for the interactive narrative game is one of those things that people have bashed their head against the wall about since the beginning of computer games – and if you want to bash your head against that wall, that’s great. Sooner or later someone will break through the wall, but me, I’ll go do something else.

    Bam… bam… bam…

  • Clive again, on next-gen characters’ ever deeper descent into the Uncanny Valley. Reacting to a preview of Indigo Prophecy sequel Heavy Rain,

    This wouldn’t be so bad if the designers were actively trying to create some eldritch, sephulchral nightmarescape straight out of Goya’s Black Paintings. But no … they’re trying to create a spunky, cute, realistic girl. God almighty, these people must be stopped. This stuff is hideous beyond description…

  • (Interestingly, Clive seemed to like our foray into interactive narrative, but didn’t seem to like our attempts at avoiding the Uncanny Valley…!)

May 18, 2006

girls – n – games

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:24 pm

Thanks to coverage on Gamasutra, I shall merely note last week’s Girls ‘N’ Games thinktank held last week on the UCLA campus. The event consisted of an intense day workshop followed by a conference. I’m cited along with some fantabulous colleagues including Brenda Laurel, Tracy Fullerton, Justine Cassell, Mimi Ito, Carrie Heeter, and Celia Pearce, only to name a few. Look forward to a book emerging from the event…

Meanwhile, I’m in the throes of formal assessment on the RAPUNSEL project! We’re working with over 80 kids at a particularly cool school. molto interressante!

Logozoa Reloaded

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:45 am

In Soviet Russia, language says that William Burroughs is virus! Robert Kendall’s stickerific and aphoristic Logozoa project (mentioned before on here) now offers an “E-Doption” program — and a short program, too. Two lines of code will include an randomly reloading logozoan (one of about 200, for now) on your page.

The truly assiduous reader will be also be able to determine what other text on this page changes each time the page is reloaded.

May 17, 2006

Two Bits, Four Bits, Eight Bits, a Video

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:05 pm

Beautiful Ground This gem has probably become the most famous execution of an Apple II program recorded online. I’d be very interested to hear if you know of any other contenders, though.

Something like the reverse of this music video project has been done, too, using a soundtrack sampled from classic hardware and more “modern” video: “Video Computer System” by Brazilian electonica duo Golden Shower hit the net way back in 2000. Samples of VCS sounds aren’t truly chiptunes, sure, and you gotta like the textual Applesoft BASIC program idea, but both of these are still high-quality cultural productions.

May 16, 2006

More conferences

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:31 pm

Following up on my previous post about upcoming conferences, here’s another batch of conferences of interest to GTxA readers.

ACM Multimedia 2006 Interactive Arts Program
ACM Multimedia is the premier annual multimedia conference. The ACM MM Interactive Arts Program brings together the arts and multimedia communities to explore, discuss, and push the limits of both multimedia technology through the arts, and the arts through multimedia technology. They’re looking for both papers and interactive art exhibits. ACM MM will be held in Santa Barbara, California (USA), October 22-28, 2006. Submissions due June 1.

May 12, 2006

A Column Treats Gamers to IF

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:58 pm

The gaming website TeamHomp, while busy covering E3, has just added new column on IF and similar matters, Cardinal Points. Graphical adventures may be in the works for future installments, but the first column is a good introduction to IF with several solid recommendations of modern-day games.

May 10, 2006

GTxA Makes Three

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:21 pm

Three years old, that is. Yup, it’s Grand Text Auto’s third birthday. Besides some great discussions with you all this past year here on the blog, and some all-time-high traffic numbers for the site (mostly spam bots, but still), lots has happened this year for us “drivers”: completions of PhD’s, releases of digital fiction, poetry and art, new jobs, and not to mention a kid or two. Probably a book announcement or two in there somewhere as well.

We’re looking forward to more as we begin year four!

May 8, 2006

regards croisés / crossed looks Seeks Digital Literary Perspectives

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:56 am

deadline: 10 June 2006
La version française figure ci-dessous

Dear colleague,

The Paragraphe Laboratory at the University of Paris 8 is creating a new bilingual Fench/English academic review called regards croisés/crossed looks that focuses on the digital literature. This review will become a locus for exchanges between different points of view on digital literature. The review is resolutely multicultural and pluridisciplinary. It puts contributions by authors and researchers together. Researchers will come from literature, communications studies and new media studies, semiotics, psychology.

May 7, 2006

Satisfying Review Review on ebr

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:02 pm

Electronic Book Review keeps on going, and going, and going: New contributions are now available on three threads, Writing [Post] Feminism, Critical Ecologies, and End Construction.

Among the new items on the feed is a review of Marie-Laure Ryan’s Narrative as Virtual Reality, which I’m very glad to see being further discussed. (Noah’s review on here has been one of too few texts to grapple with this formidable book.) The ebr review seemed to me to based on more than one misreading, however – or at least to be written from a perspective or frame that doesn’t have much to do with Ryan’s arguments. My disappointment with these problems in the review was pretty much erased when I read Dave Ciccoricco’s riposte to review. I would say more nice things about this response, but I’d be writing a review review review if I did that. I’ll just encourage everyone to check out the whole thread, including, if you can manage, the book.

May 6, 2006


Yesterday, as Scott predicted, I successfully defended an interdisciplinary PhD at Brown. I’ll be posting more information about it before long, and hopefully updating my moribund personal website at the same time, but first I have some plans. The biggest is for this May 28th, when I’ll be getting married to Jennifer. We’ve been friends for 19 years now, and I’m looking forward to being family with her.

May 5, 2006

Two talks at GDX

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:57 pm

This morning I went to GDX, a one day game symposium hosted by the Atlanta branch of the Savannah College of Art and Design. I caught a keynote lecture by Noah Falstein on serious games and a talk by Brenda Brathwaite on censorship challenges to games. Here are my relatively unedited notes from those talks.

Noah Falstein

Opens by saying “serious games” is a bad name. Implies that all other games are trivial or frivolous and that serious game aren’t fun. His interest is games beyond entertainment.

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