Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thoughts on Persistent Worlds in Interactive Fiction

So this topic on got me thinking. While only slightly (and I mean very slightly) related, the topic of “persistent worlds” has interested me for some time. Persistent worlds aren't usually (if not ever) used in IF, aside from Eamon. (Whether Eamon is considered IF is another topic for another day, but I digress.) What I mean by a “persistent world” is something like Aemon, where the game takes place in the same world, and items, skills, Etc. are migrated from the previous game or chapter to the next. (They're usually associated with “RPG’s” thanks to Aemon, but I can imagine several different genres or stories taking advantage of this capability in IF.) Not to mension the problem with save games. Think about this: A new game, entitled “the Adventures of Super Simon, Chapter 1”, for example, is released. A year later, Chapter 2 is released. You can't use your old save game, because Inform or TADS (or any other of the major IF platforms) doesn't work with old save games (or save games from an earlier chapter, in this case). (This would also be true for updates of chapter 1; the old save game cannot be used.) If an authoring system was created that utilized persistent worlds (or an authoring system like TADS was upgraded with a persistent worlds option, for example), this would not be the case. I can think of several series that could benefit from using persistent worlds:
  • the various games by D. B. Taylor (especially the “Lurking Beast” series)
  • the Andromeda Series by Marco Innocenti
  • Mike Snider’s “Convergence Saga” (if Mike has plans to continue the saga, that is)
  • and many, many more!
Overall, I think that at least one authoring system (either an update or a new system) that took advantage of the idea of persistent worlds would be a good thing to have available. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The 20 room adventure competition: my thoughts


I recently got word of a new competition, the 20 room adventure comp. The goal, as I understand it, is to write an IF game that takes place in exactly 20 rooms. Of course, new competitions are a good thing; they encourage community activity. However, I have one gripe: Why 20 rooms. The organizer of the competition doesn't give any reasoning behind the 20 room limit, just that he wants to "bring back the small world adventures".

How small is a "small world adventure"?

The IF community is known for its diverse selection of games and competitions. There are even one-room competitions. I can't think of any video game that takes place in one room. However, most modern IF games usually don't go over the 100-room mark (usually 30-70 rooms) (The commercial IF companies—Level 9, Infocom and Magnetic Scrolls— are usually the only developers that will create more than 50 rooms or so, E.G. Snowball by Level 9.) Does 20 rooms seem like a small amount? Yes. However, you'd be surprised what can be done with 20 rooms. (Hell, I'm surprised what some people can do with a single room!) If the competition organizer was going for a really "small adventure", he could've set the limit to 15 (or even 10) rooms. However, I think 20 rooms is a nice amount for a small game. (Scott Adams and the Infocom implementors are some of the authors that could do a hell of a lot in 20 rooms.)


Over all, I think the 20 room adventure comp is an interesting idea and I hope that people (especially those who don't have a WIP) consider entering it. Thanks for reading and good luck to all the entrants!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Hello folks. This is my first shot at writing a blog. This blog will focus on my Interactive fiction releases, as well as my opinion of IF in general. Stay tuned! You can contact me by sending email to, or by sending a PM to Flathead on