No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #236: interactive fiction edition


Hello, everyone! This was the second week in a row I've spent away from game development, but don't worry, got another related project in the works, to be announced once it's a little more fleshed out. It just involves writing instead.

Let's see, what else is going on these days... Apple is pissing off developers with their new Vulkan API and general unfriendliness. nVidia is pissing off gamers with overpriced new GPUs that don't deliver, and poor Linux compatibility. And Mozilla recently revealed some stats showing that fully two thirds of computers users have laptops with on-board Intel GPUs. Surprise!

Meanwhile, developers of games and middleware alike continue to neglect controllers, considering them secondary at best, while plenty of people find my games while looking for titles with controller support in particular. Very well then. More for me. But it's no fun.

Last but not least, not so long ago people still complained that itself drives little traffic to their games and they need to do marketing in other venues. While now essentially all my traffic comes from within Itch, with few exceptions. And everyone is talking about Itch in gaming circles. How time flies.

In other news:

Over at the forums, we learn of a new e-zine dedicated to (what else?) interactive fiction. The first issue begins with a love letter to the genre, from a very personal perspective. As such, it's very different from my own experience. That's a good thing. But I wish people stopped associating old games with "unnecessary" limitations. "A world the player hacks through" (please call them a player, not "interlocutor"; they are playing a game, dammit) is exactly what you get when filling your game with layers of pointless detail just because you have storage to spare.

Just like the art of a photographer or filmmaker involves directing the audience's attention towards the important things in a scene, so does the art of a game developer involve guiding the player through a possibility space towards those choices that are truly meaningful. And that also means culling detail that doesn't carry its own weight.

More news from interactive fiction this week. Quest 5.8 was just released, and the announcement also talks about the challenges of taking over a complex piece of software from another maintainer. No comment there. What I like is how this now feels like a true team effort -- a project with a future for a change. And hey, code can be refactored. Documentation can be added. And from watching the community at work, I dare say many people are grateful.

If you're ever about to abandon a piece of software, do release it as open source and call for maintainers. Even if your code is in bad shape, they'll understand. Just don't let things become lost forever without giving them a chance first.

And that's about it, apart from my little write-up from a few days ago. See you!