• "There are so many good stories to tell about relationships with some history. The stakes are higher than the stakes of a first crush; there’s all that context to add meaning to the interactions. The characters are invested in each other. And relationships between older people typically have involve juggling other responsibilities and commitments — jobs, children from previous relationships." Excellent stuff from Emily Short on all the *other* shapes of relationships you can show. (It made make think of two very different films I've seen recently that showed deep, adult, *sibling* relationships, for starters).
  • "So, given this [zero-button, move and look] interface, whence interactivity in Dear Esther? I say: from an understated but deadly-precise sense of attention design through spatial design.

    You walk along the beach; a path goes up the bluff, another along the strand. You go one way or the other. There are no game-mechanics associated with the choice, and a plot-diagram analysis would call them "the same place" — you can try either, back up, and go the other way. But this misses the point. Precisely because the game lacks keys, switches, stars, and 1ups, it has no implicit mandate to explore every inch of territory. Instead, you want to move forward. Backtracking is dull. Worse: given the game's sedate walking pace, it's slightly frustrating. (They left out the run button for a reason, see?) Moving into new territory is always the best-rewarded move, and therefore your choice of path is a choice. You will not (unless you thrash hard against the game's intentions) see everything in your first run-through." Cracking writing about immersive, environmental storytelling in Dear Esther, and why it's clearly a game.

  • "…he still remembers his frustration at encountering "sliced-up ghettos of thought" – sculpture, architecture, fashion, embroidery, metalwork, product and furniture design all in separate departments – "which I don't believe are absolute. It's just the way we categorise things and the way we chose to educate people."" Quite excited to see the Heatherwick show.
  • "Super-simple baseline .mobi templates. Here ya go."
  • It's basically a satellite that's an external Android peripheral, and they're chucking it into space with a phone attached. Impressive.
  • "My hope is that Playfic opens up the world of interactive fiction to a much wider audience — young writers, fanfic authors, and culture remixers of all ages." Which is always the audience Inform 7 felt like it was really branching out towards. Sometimes the way to make things accessible is to lower the cost of entry – and in that case, it means a webservice, rather than a downloadable app. Will be interested to see how Playfic develops.
  • "So is it worth reading dusty IF history? Well, I haven't read it yet. But I can say that the book really represents a tour through the past ten years of the IF community's thinking. Some of the essays are from 2001; some have been revised for this edition; some are brand-new. Many have been published in other forms, so if you've been devouring our blog posts and essays for the past few years, you will see few surprises. But if your awareness of IF dates from the last century — or if you've been following us only casually — I think this book has something to offer."
  • "NOTE: This is a demake of the third level of Irem’s 1987 arcade game R-Type, retold as an interactive story. You'll need a dice to make rolls and something to write down your armaments (and points if you wish)." Brilliant.
  • "These are clearly black market frankenproducts – made from a combination of surplus mobile phone components and car alarm key rings. I wonder how much they actually cost to manufacture. I wonder if the bits are stolen." Ben Bashford on the magic of Shanzai. And, of course, when a video camera is eight pounds, it's no longer precious, and you start doing weird things with it: Youtube is full of examples.
  • "Curveship is an interactive fiction system that provides a world model (of characters, objects, locations, and things that happen) while also modeling the narrative discourse, so that the narration and description of the simulated world can change. Curveship can tell events out of order, using flashback and other techniques, and can tell the story from the standpoint of particular characters and their perceptions and understandings." This looks both bonkers and brilliant.
  • "Data combined with narrative creates personality. It can be used to construct a larger and richer history around a subject.

    The world is already divided in to two camps: People who are going to watch the Super Ball and those who aren't. This is an opportunity to delight the former and reach the latter, by providing a larger and more playful cast of characters to describe the events during the game." Nice!

  • "More important: the game, Sand-dancer, is a good game. It is not the sort of example that exists to have one of everything in the manual. It is the sort of game that exists to make IF better. Aaron puts it together on your workbench. You can see the parts going in, and I don't mean rules and action constructs now; I mean character, background, voice, theme, and narrative drive. He explains what he's doing, and what each game element is for. He talks about story structure and shape of interactivity. He discusses what you have to do to get the player involved and what you have to do to put the player in control." This sounds great. Add-to-cart.
  • "I want all the young present-tense storytellers (the old ones have won prizes and are incorrigible) to allow themselves to stand back and show me a wider temporal perspective. I want them to feel able to say what happened, what usually happened, what sometimes happened, what had happened before something else happened, what might happen later, what actually did happen later, and so on: to use the full range of English tenses." There's lots in here. I think it might be good; it is definitely interesting, and worth returning to.
  • "In this programme we hear from colleagues, friends and former students as well as the great man himself about the beauty of nature and the importance of science to our understanding of the world." A lovely Archive Hour on Radio 4, on Richard Feynman; only available for a few more days, so grab it whilst you can. Delightful, and nicely structured.