July 31, 2008

Another Media in Transition Conference is in Store

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:10 pm

The next Media in Transition conference (see reports from the last one: 1 2) will focus on storage and transmission – a hot topic in digital media that continues to heat up. Note that although the deadline is not until January 9, submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, so those with ideas for the conference should submit now.

Media in Transition 6: stone and papyrus, storage and transmission

International Conference
April 24-26, 2009
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


In his seminal essay “The Bias of Communication” Harold Innis distinguishes between time-based and space-based media. Time-based media such as stone or clay, Innis agues, can be seen as durable, while space-based media such as paper or papyrus can be understood as portable, more fragile than stone but more powerful because capable of transmission, diffusion, connections across space. Speculating on this distinction, Innis develops an account of civilization grounded in the ways in which media forms shape trade, religion, government, economic and social structures, and the arts.

July 30, 2008

Replaced and Displaced Places

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:13 pm

From the first screen of in absentia Rilke turned to writing poems in French because there was no good word for “absence” in German. J. R. Carpenter’s in absentia presents place and the lack of place in English and French, mashing up a Google map (or, actually, a satellite view) of Montréal with rental and real estate annotations by herself and others. (The standard schmear of mash-up gaudiness is not present here, I should note.) “The guy upstairs cross-dresses; his unsteady stiletto gait traipses heavily over my head. The girl next door turns tricks, for cash or beer or kicks I couldn’t say; five in the morning, five in the afternoon, her headboard bucks at the wall behind mine.” Even those interested in video games will find something to pursue in these locational texts, as Ubisoft’s involvement with the local community is one of the subjects of discussion.

July 29, 2008

Secret and Overt Game Design Books

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:16 am

Malcolm Ryan has started a new project on his new blog, Words on Play, to review one book a week, covering topics such as game design and interactive narrative. The list is not restricted to those books that have just recently been released. The review project was prompted, in part, by his recently starting a list of “Secret Books of Game Design” – books that are not explicitly about the topic, but which are well-known by designers.

July 24, 2008

A Major Poet’s Work in Inform 7

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 5:39 pm

I’m pleased to announce, and link to, the first work in Inform 7 by a major poet. Now, it does compile without any trouble in its current form, but the file might need further editing to actually produce a playable, enjoyable game. Is anyone up to it?

July 23, 2008

Things We Think About Games

Things We Think cover

In the past, when Pat Harrigan and I both contributed to a book, it was always as the editors. But now Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball (from gameplaywright) have announced Things We Think About Games. Pat and I each shared a little of what we think with the book’s author/editors, as did such folks as John August, Fred Hicks, Kenneth Hite, John Kovalic, Michelle Nephew, Philip Reed, S. John Ross, and Mike Selinker. Robin D. Laws calls the result an “unholy mixture of helpful guidebook and jabbing provocation.” I’m looking forward to holding one in my hands!

July 21, 2008

New TIRW: Instruments and Playable Text

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:30 pm

TIRW special issue, Instruments and Playable Texts The latest issue of The Iowa Review Web, volume 9, number 2, is out. This is a special issue on “Instruments and Playable Texts,” guest-edited by long-singing hypertext star Stuart Moulthrop, author of the 1991 Victory Garden and winner of the 2007 Vinaròs prizes in both narrative and poetry. One of his prize-winning pieces, “Under Language,” is included in the new TIRW number.

July 18, 2008

A Meeting in Austin About the Future (of Story in Games)

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:09 am

This September will be the third Game Writers Conference, now called the Writing for Games Track, part of the annual Austin GDC. The theme this year is “The Future of Storytelling in Games”, and includes intriguing lecture titles and topics such as “Galatea 3.0: Designing and Writing Great Game Characters”, “New Interfaces, New Gamewriting Opportunities”, “Writing for Socially Networked Games: Blending User-Generated Content with Storytelling”, “The Play is the Thing: Interactive Storytelling from the World of Improv Comedy”, “Special Ops: The Writer of the Future”, and many more.

July 17, 2008

IGDA in NY state: A Call for Action

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:47 pm

There is apparently “anti-video game legislation” happening in New York state. Check out the letter from our own J.D.R. to NY developers, and if you are a New Yorker, decide to help if you can.

Second Person a Diana Jones Award Finalist

Diana Jones Award: For Excellence in Gaming

I’m honored to announce that Second Person is a finalist for the Diana Jones Award! Pat and I are very pleased to be in such great company, ranging from a major RPG (Grey Ranks) to an innovative festival (Come Out and Play), a worthy charity (Child’s Play), a popular podcast (Canon Puncture), and an innovative publishing model (Wolfgang Baur’s Open Design). We’re also impressed to have our book characterized as a “necessary, seminal volume” in the statement on the nominees.

July 16, 2008

Business Casual

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:42 pm

I haven’t posted for the past few months, a big reason being that I’ve been consumed by starting up a new game production studio in my home town of Portland. In May I founded Stumptown Game Machine, a sister company to Procedural Arts. SGM’s first project is to build a substantial collection of web-based 3D casual games for a major reality-television show, to go live in the fall with the new TV season.

Values, games, and learning

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:40 pm

The Games, Learning, and Society conference v. 4.0 this year in Madison Wisconsin gathered an insightful group of educators and designers who are intent on making a difference in the domain of learning and play. I ran a workshop there for Values at Play, and many of the panels during the full two days of conference-going were amazing. mary flanagan at gls

Among the best of the panels

Scope This Out

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:50 am

Tennis for Two Rebuilt Ian Bogost just pointed me to a page on building your own modern version of Tennis for Two, the proto-Pong, proto-Odyssey game that Willy Higinbotham devised in 1958. It’s just the thing to do with that oscilloscope you have lying around. Interesting that the game is in side view and has a net, unlike the first wave of digital tennis games that were to follow.

Welcome Back

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:44 am

Sorry, our blog went south for the summer. We’re back now.

July 5, 2008

Intelligent Narrative Technologies Reloaded

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:32 pm

Three of us (Andrew, Michael, and yours truly) attended the first AAAI Symposium on Intelligent Narrative Technologies in November of last year just outside Washington D.C. Andrew provided a summary of the talks and mentioned that the gathering was a productive and interesting one. I found the talks and discussion to be very stimulating, and some new collaboration has developed from contacts I made at that gathering. Now, the call for submissions is out for the sequel: the AAAI Symposium on Intelligent Narrative Technologies II, to be held at Stanford University on March 23-25, 2009.

AAAI Symposium on Intelligent Narrative Technologies II

Narrative is a pervasive aspect of all human societies. Human beings make sense of the world by constructing stories and listening to the stories of others. In addition, stories as a form of entertainment play a central role in our social and leisure lives. As a result, story and narrative have become a key interest for Artificial Intelligence researchers. The role of narrative as a primary mechanism for organizing human experience has been recognized in many fields, spawning multidisciplinary research that encompasses philosophy, art, psychology, cultural and literary studies, drama, and other domains.

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