January 2014 – IF Update

A new year is upon us and I feel like reflecting back a bit on how 2013 has treated me (at least in how it applies to the world of IF).  My history with IF goes way back to the early 80’s when I discovered the Scott Adams adventures on my Vic-20, then progressing onto the joys of Infocom in the mid 80’s.  I even tried to write a few back then using Basic or whatever language I was into at the time.  It seems that as I learned each new programming language (as I progressed to becoming a software developer by trade), I tried to implement some sort of adventure game and parser.  The stuff just fascinated me.

Jump forward to the early 2000’s and I went looking for some of the old adventures I used to know, and lo and behold I find that a community has been built up where people actually were writing new ones.  I was so excited…. I went and downloaded the latest group of games from the current IFComp and played through them, I probably even voted.  I downloaded Inform 6 and began to learn and write my own.  Life got in the way as I was trying to get my fledgling consulting business off the ground (and we were having our 3rd and 4th children) and again, they faded from memory.

Then jump to late July of 2013.  On vacation for a week, I’m sitting in the air-conditioning trying to keep cool, and I decided to see if the IFComp was still going on.  Sure enough, it was.  I downloaded some more games, discovered IFDB, and was in heaven.  Thought I’d give writing games another try and discovered that Inform 7 had been released (years prior obviously) and was pretty impressed….impressed enough that I went on to spend the better part of a week, all of my free time, learning and writing.  I was finally hooked.

I start this blog, discover the forums, meet some people and then Marshal Tenner Winter invites me to join the private Google plus group, The Interactive Fiction Faction.  Here I get to meet some pretty impressive people, a few that are newbies IF authors like myself, and others that are veterans.   I’ve learned, I’ve participated and I think I’ve even contributed some good information at times.  All the while, learning and growing in the community.

So what has this all lead me to accomplish in 2013.  Well beyond learning a lot and hopefully sharing some of what I’ve learned through my posts here on the blog and in the forums, I’ve managed to release my first work, Jack, for the 2013 EctoComp.  It finished middle of the pack and received some positive feedback, so I was greatly pleased with that.

December Accomplishments

So what did I accomplish in December?  I had every intention of release a post-comp version in December, but my creativity and momentum on that particular work, slowed down drastically so it has been put on the back burner for now.  I began work on an idea for the recently completed New Years mini-comp, but failed to finish that.  I made some progress on two unannounced and only partially completed pieces that I had every intention of entering into the Spring Thing, but that’s not going happen.  So to answer that question of my accomplishments in December, I can say, NOT MUCH.

Plans for 2014

Well despite my creative pit I fell into the last month of 2013, I have every intention of making 2014 the year I release more than one small mini game.  Perhaps I’ll push the big works off until the IFComp for 2014 (congrats to Jason McIntosh on his newly announced role as organizer), but I still will try to much more productive and perhaps release a work or two outside of any comp.  What will I do different?  Well I plan to give myself deadlines, just like I do in my real life job.  Deadlines that need to be met and work that needs to be done.  Perhaps with a bit more organization, I can push through my less-than creative times and get some crap done.  Wish me luck.

Well I’m hoping everyone has a great 2014 and I’m looking forward to learning more and more, meeting new people and sharing what I’ve learned to help others.  I look forward to releasing some new games and playing all the great releases I’m sure will come from around the community.

In the spirit of the frigid cold we are feeling her in northeast Ohio this January, I’ll finish this post with “Go south” my friends!