Weekly Links #276: archival edition



We're halfway through 2019, in more than one way, and I wish there were more news to mark the moment. Well, the kind that warrants a comment anyway. Stuff keeps happening, of course, but when it's not about mainstream gameing, then it must be about often rehashed themes. Maybe I need some new sources of information. Hard to find one that's genuinely different, however, without going into obscure niches.

(To be honest, working on an unrelated website also distracted me from games. Well, partly unrelated. I keep my tabletop RPG and interactive fiction work elsewhere because, well, not sure why. Went back and forth over it many times.)

As of this week, the source code for Keep of the Mad Wizard is also available from the IFArchive. Hopefully this will benefit someone; not many people choose to share theirs in the same way. Guess one can always re-import a published game, but it's not the same thing when the original was written for Tweego and not Twine proper. Besides, this makes my intent explicit. And not many Twine games seem to use status bars, let alone RPG features.

Last but not least, I can scarcely imagine a more reliable backup. IFArchive rocks!

In the way of news, this week we have a write-up about tool reuse in games, even between very different genres, then another large archive of historical documents from the world of interactive fiction, and last an account of how No Time To Play is doing financially. Details after the cut.

At the start of the week, Fabien Sanglard posts on Gamasutra another chapter from his Game Engine Black Books, this time about the way technology developed for Commander Keen was reused in Wolfensteid 3D, to great success. Seeing how my own, primitive map editor that I used in a single game made a huge difference and is now one of my top creations, the importance of good tools can't be stressed enough. And as this classic case study shows, good tools can be used for a lot more than originally intended, thus recouping the investment many times over. So maybe don't put off looking into this stage of making your game.

Friday brings a major announcement from the interactive fiction community. Victor Gijsbers, mostly known as the author of The Baron and Kerkerkruip, just announced publishing 15 years' worth of work in the field as one big archive. That means not just source code but also manuscripts, notes, experiments and more. Like me, he also did it partly for safekeeping: blogs in particular go away all too easily. Sometimes entire blogging platforms, too. Then there's the importance of being able to look back and see how a concept has evolved. It's why I kept the chain of tech demos that led to Electric Rogue in the end. Last but not least, the ability to rewatch history as it was documented in real time just a few years ago is increasingly important these days. So this is most welcome. Hopefully it will also set a trend.

In the way of money, the hosting bill came and went, and I was able to pay it from sales of my books earlier this year. Luckily the domain name deadline is still a month away, because I'm missing $3 (less than expected, but still). If you could give me a hand, that would be much appreciated. Thank you, and have an awesome Sunday. See you next time.


Tags: rpg, tools, history, interactive fiction, preservation