November 30, 2008

Tiltfactor Open House This Week

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:54 pm

Tiltfactor Open House 2008
Dear GTxA readers, come one, come all to the inaugural open house at the new Tiltfactor Laboratory at Dartmouth College!

Student researchers, lab staff, affiliated faculty, and I will be hosting our open house and holiday festival: TUESDAY the 2nd of December, 2008, from 3-7.
We will be showing games we’ve made (RAPUNSEL project’s PEEPS game, Profit Seed, Massively Multiplayer Soba, prototypes of Skoolin (codename) and Layoff) and games we like to study (too many to list here!). Hear the students talk about their projects, including a study being conducted in Aden Evens’ course on immersion with the game Warhammer, which I have heard will culminate in a performative game action on the college green this week.

We are also announcing our new lecture series, courses, and salon. The new lecture series, called the Digital Arts and Humanities Lecture Series 2009, will be underway as of January. Invited speakers include Celia Pearce, Tracy Fullerton, Jesper Juul, Nick Montfort, and more.

Three 1K Story Generators

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:50 am

To follow up on the 1K story generator I posted ten days ago, here is a slightly revised version of that generator and two new ones.

  • – Story generation by elision. This is a slightly modified version of the November 20 “original.” It uses a sequence of (specially written) sentences; all but 5-9 sentences are removed and the remaining text is presented as the story.

November 27, 2008

email trouble in 1K

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:55 pm

e-mail troublee-mail trouble: love & addiction @ the matrix
By S. Paige Baty
University of Texas Press
167 pp.

November 25, 2008

Give Thanks: Processing 1.0!

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:32 pm

A great programming language, which I happen to have used very productively for computational experimentation, art, and teaching, has just finally been released after many years of development and (very functional) beta versions. It’s Processing 1.0, now ready for download. Congratulations to Ben Fry, Casey Reas, and the others who have participated in the project, and yay for us. Here’s the blurb on Processing 1.0:

Today, on November 24, 2008, we launch the 1.0 version of the Processing software. Processing is a programming language, development environment, and online community that since 2001 has promoted software literacy within the visual arts. Initially created to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing quickly developed into a tool for creating finished professional work as well.

FDG Doctoral Doctoral Consortium and Student Scholarships

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:26 pm

The 2009 Foundations of Digital Games conference is now accepting applications for two student-oriented programs. For PhD students there is a Doctoral Consortium, chaired by Ian Horswill, with applications due December 19th. For advanced undergraduate and Masters students there is a Student Scholarships program, chaired by yours truly, with a deadline of December 20th. Both provide ways for students to attend FDG free of charge, get additional feedback about their work, and make valuable connections. Please encourage students you know to apply!

November 23, 2008

Free Software for Video Scholars?

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:52 pm

Sam Deese is working to foster student digital scholarship projects at Boston University. He asked me about good free software for editing video and for producing slideshows with voice-overs. I didn’t know the answer – do you?

November 21, 2008

A New Scholarship for Making Games

As reported earlier this fall by the San Jose Mercury News and others, UC Santa Cruz recently received more than $450,000 from Sony Computer Entertainment America (as part of a class-action settlement) to fund undergraduate scholarships.

I’m happy to announce that application information is now online. The first scholarships will be available to students applying this year — each will provide $10,000 to students entering the B.S. Computer Science: Computer Game Design degree.

November 20, 2008

Story Generation in 1K

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 7:54 pm

Michael’s here at MIT and just gave a great talk. While he was preparing for it, apropos of conversations I’ve had recently with him and Beth Cardier, I wrote something that I think is a story generator, and which is a self-contained 1K python program. Here it is: (Update: This is a slightly modified version of November 30, which uses the same algorithm but has a streamlined implementation and a few more sentences.)

Let me know if you think it’s a story generator, and, whether or not you think it is, if you think of anything interesting about stories and computation as a result of looking at the program and running it.

November 19, 2008

ISEA Go Bragh

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:57 am

ISEA 2009 will be held from 23 AUGUST – 01 SEPTEMBER 2009 in Belfast, Colraine, Derry, and Dublin, Ireland. Proposals for papers and art projects are due this Friday, Nov. 21, by midnight. The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts (ISEA) is an international nonprofit organization fostering interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and emerging technologies. Conference themes include Citizenship and Contested Spaces, Interactive Storytelling and Memory Building in Post-conflict society, Interactive Textiles, Positionings: Local and Global Transactions, Transformative Creativity – Participatory Practices, Tracking Emotions, Posthumanisms: New Technologies & Creative Strategies, and Entertainment and Mobility.

November 18, 2008

Two on Turbulence

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:16 pm

New on

“Bronx Rhymes” by Claudia Bernett and Maria Ioveva. “Bronx Rhymes” illuminates the history and significance of Hip Hop in the Bronx by tagging important locations for Hip Hop (1520 Sedgwick, for example) with posters. Each poster describes the historical significance of that location in the form of a rhyme, and invites people walking by to join in a rhyming battle by txt-ing their own rhyme from their mobile phone. The website displays the artists and locations along with all the submitted rhymes elevating the most recent submission.

The Old Games and Art Question

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 9:38 pm

I wanted to call everyone’s attention to an article by Chris Crawford about whether games are art, published this summer in Notes On Game Dev. The article offers many interesting observations, and I suggest that those interested in the question read it. My purpose in mentioning it, however, is not to repeat it, rephrase it, or respond to it, but to pose a different and related question.

November 16, 2008

Ahora en español: Venenarius Verborum

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:10 pm

Jarel presenta Venenarius Verborum (video):

Tras el misterioso fallecimiento del brujo propietario, el año pasado, sus herederos pusieron inmediatamente en venta la torre.
No faltan potenciales compradores para la finca, pero existe un grave problema, y es que la torre es indestructible, inquebrantable… o lo será mientras persistan en ella ciertos objetos que el brujo encantó: Los Siete Objetos. Objetos cargados de energía mágica.
En vistas de que no logran vender, ni desahuciar a los inquilinos y sirvientes del brujo que aún permanecen allí, los herederos han decidido contratar a un especialista en recoger objetos para limpiar la torre.
Basada en Ad Verbum, de Nick Montfort.

IF Comp 2008 Results: Congrats, Violet!

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 3:01 pm

Violet, Nightfall, and Everybody Dies are the top three games in the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition, after a month and a half of play and voting by the public. Congratulations to Jeremy Freese, Eric Eve, Jim Munroe, and the authors of all the entries. You can still download all the games, of course. The full list of results is also up.

November 15, 2008

America’s Best Bullet Points

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:51 am
  • James Wallis, in his presentation A Thing of Beauty is a Stout Green Toy, explains the relationship between the Oulipo, game books, and RPGs, also explaining why orcs are green and have upward-pointing tusks. (Thanks, Roger.)
  • Jason Rohrer has a new game, Between, which is for two remote players, who interact only indirectly, and is hosted exclusively by Esquire. It’s up to you to determine whether or not the game is about masculinity.
Oil's Well crack screen
  • It’s been almost a year since an early version of this game was released, and it’s still apparently in stasis, but lovers of retro serious games (which have only become more topical) would do well to note Oil’s Well Redrilled, a remake of a Sierra On-Line game.

The Unknown Reading at Columbia College, Sept 25, 2008

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 2:15 am

Reading of The Unknown at Columbia College, Chicago, Sept 25, 2008 from Scott Rettberg on Vimeo.

November 11, 2008

Beyond the Screen, in Siegen

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:14 pm
Poster for Beyond the Screen

Next week I’ll be in Siegen, Germany for Beyond the Screen: Transformations of Literary Structures, Interfaces and Genres. Organizers Peter Gendolla and Jörgen Schäfer have put together a program in which I’m honored to participate, including my former Brown colleagues John Cayley and Roberto Simanowski as well as my current UC colleagues Rita Raley and N. Katherine Hayles.

The conference theme, as one might expect from the title, arises from examinations of works such as locative narratives, literary immersive environments, and what the organizers call “stagings” (using AR Facade as an example). I was invited, in part, because of my work on Screen (hopefully there’s no pun intended with the conference title).

I’m certainly interested in, and sympathetic toward, literary work that uses interfaces that move beyond the standard screen. But as I put together my presentation, I find myself wanting to use a chunk of my time to vent my frustration with tantalizing literary interfaces that do little to harness the combinatory possibilities they open. For example, at the Hybrid Ego show at this year’s Ars Electronica, I was excited to get my hands on Tablescape Plus. But while it was listed in the catalog with literary-sounding words (“users can develop new stories by changing the arrangement of the screens”) to me it was actually just an interface demonstration, with no fictional world beyond characters that could be made to bow to each other, sit next to each other, etc. Each combination resulted in an animation, but no state or history of the system could impact anything else. People with no histories and no futures aren’t characters. Events that happen in no consequential order aren’t stories.

November 6, 2008

Creativity, Cognition & Computers in Mexico City

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:01 pm

I’m here in México D.F. participating in the UAM Cuajimalpa’s 3rd International Colloquium in Creativity, Cognition and Computers, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first computer installation in México (and Latin America). Today we had short presentations in a roundtable format.

To start us off, Rafael Peréz y Peréz (UAM Cuajimalpa) described a project, now underway, to have two MEXICA agents improvise a story together.

November 4, 2008

CFP: Workshop on Computational Approaches to Linguistic Creativity

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:52 pm


Boulder, Colorado, on June 4 or 5, 2009, in conjunction with NAACL-HLT 2009
Deadline for paper submissions: February 27, 2009.
Workshop homepage

It is generally agreed upon that “linguistic creativity” is a unique property of human language. Some claim that linguistic creativity is expressed in our ability to combine known words in a new sentence, others refer to our skill to express thoughts in figurative language, and yet others talk about syntactic recursion and lexical creativity.

For the purpose of this workshop, we treat the term “linguistic creativity” to mean “creative language usage at different levels”, from the lexicon to syntax to discourse and text (see also topics, below).

November 3, 2008

Donna Leishman at UiB Nov. 5th

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 7:51 am

The University of Bergen Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic Studies Digital Culture Research Group
is pleased to welcome guest lecturer Donna Leishman.

Wednesday, November 5th, 14:15-16:00, HF-bygget 265

Lecture open to the public: “Dissonance in Multi-Semiotic Landscapes”

Dr. Donna Leishman is Course Leader BA (Hons) Illustration and Deputy Head of Media Arts & Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland. Her work combines critical writing and practice-led research in digital art with a particular interest in the intersection of narrative with internet based interactivity. Themes in her research include developing and exploring the role of the participant in these exchanges and developing a canon of practice that questions standard paradigms of behaviour. Her works of interactive animated narrative including “RedRidingHood” and “The Possession of Christian Shaw” can be explored at

November 2, 2008

David Wallace

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 8:09 am

David Foster Wallace killed himself on Sept. 12th, 2008. I wrote a couple of short texts in response to his death — he was my teacher when I was a master’s student at Illinois State University, and he will always be an important figure in the landscape of my life. I’ll post both texts here, in reverse order. I wrote the first piece here a couple of weeks back for his memorial service at ISU, which occurred yesterday. It is included in a collection of remembrances that was bound and given to his parents. The second piece I wrote the night after I heard about his death. It is a bit rawer, darker, and perhaps in some ways angrier than than the one I wrote for his memorial. I posted that piece on Grand Text Auto, and a redacted version was also posted on the McSweeney’s website. It has been a strange process watching the world react to his death (in some ways getting to know him better through the fragments of his life shared by others, in other ways just shocked at the way his postmortem memory has taken on a kind of rock-star hagiography). I have thought about him, his life, his writing, and his end very often since.

November 1, 2008

Computer Space 2008

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:54 am

I’m sitting in a conference room in Bulgaria at the 20th annual Computer Space Conference in Sophia Bulgaria, listening to Peter Molyneux’s cousin who is a UK apple rep talk about Apple products (and the retelling of how indie developer Steve Demeter developed the $5 iPod game Trism for 250K profit) — all with the hum of simultaneous translation in the back.

computer space 2998 bulgaria logo

This conference is Eastern Europe’s version of SIGGRAPH

EndNote Sends Thugs to Bust Inkwells

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 6:56 am

Thomson Reuters, which vends EndNote, has leveled a $10 million lawsuit at the makers of open-source citation management software Zotero, alleging that the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University violated a license agreement by making their software interoperable. This dispute has some interesting nuances, as MacKenzie Smith describes:

An interesting twist to the case is that Thomson had previously encouraged EndNote users (primarily scholars) to create their own citation format style sheets for use in the software, and to share them with each other via donation back to Thomson or by posting on public web sites. But now Thomson is enforcing sole ownership of those style sheets regardless of who created them or where they’re located. In other words, unbeknownst to them EndNote users have been creating and sharing proprietary EndNote style sheets for years, but only at Thomson Reuters’ discretion …

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