More (post competition release, and reflections)   6 comments


First straight to the point: you can download Version 2 of More at this link. Alternatively, you can play through your browser. This will eventually show up at the IFDB page.

I’m still up for a Version 3 if any issues crop up, so if bugs arise you can either email me [jason followed by a dot b dot dyer, at] or just drop a comment on this blog post.

time to… reflect! —

I. All of You Are Awesome

To be frank, I’ve been out of the normal IF community loop of late. I have been posting to my All the Adventures project, but opining about interactive fiction from the 1970s isn’t exactly keeping track with modern trends.

I don’t know if y’all noticed, but holy cow your writing. I’m going to blame it on Twine/Undum/other CYOA forces. The community’s XP level in “Writing Prose” has taken a major upgrade. Even the humblest of works had some smashing sentences tossed in the mix. Possibly this trend has been invisible to the participants, but for someone who has barely touched IFComp since 2007 it was very noticeable.

So, if I drop out of things for another 7 years, when I pop back up there will be AI characters so reactive they will beg you to not end the story because then they will have to go back into the little box, right?


II. On using all 8 songs for More

I started with this song, which I knew had to be my setting

Joey Jones – Grandaddy – Broken Household Appliance National Forest

but it suggested to me no characters or plot, so I kept listening in circles, and realized these three combined together to make an excellent tale:

Emily Short – Stephen Sondheim / Madonna – More
Peter Orme – The Smiths – Girlfriend in a Coma
Miguel G. – Sinead O’Connor & Shane MacGowan – Haunted

At that point I thought I had my song set, but I got severely stuck in designing The Puzzle and so went back to the songs I hadn’t used to see if inspiration struck. Lo, a song I still don’t understand but with groovy lyrics:

Neil – Arcade Fire – No Cars Go

So … there! Great! Done! I sent on the first-draft version, knowing that I was going to add depth to the story before the contest deadline. Enter writer’s block; myself, lurching forlorn over a keyboard with no notion or clue how to fill in the relationship. I had parts, but not an entire story. The remainder of the songs came to the rescue:

Royce Odle – Jethro Tull – The Witch’s Promise
Sam Kabo Ashwell – Patty Griffin – As Cold As It Gets
Ryan Holman – Lorrie Morgan – Five Minutes

This was not done on a dare or personal challenge. It just happened that way. I know some of the song-submitters have undervalued their contribution — don’t. More as it exists would never have happened without the entire list. So, great thanks to everyone.

III. A beta-tester shout-out as well

William Samuels, Jason McIntosh, and Royce Odle came in with quick turnarounds and extremely useful comments. I was worried on the testing-time aspect but this group blazed through in record time. Thanks!

IV. Random theoretical bits

One-puzzle game: I thought of having an adversary for the main character to deal with while they were trying to find the money, but that messed with the meditative quality of the work. So it was nearly always planned to have only one puzzle. This is partly inspired, oddly enough, by a fan mission for Thief 2 called Calendra’s Legacy where the first part involves a mission that can be done in 5 minutes (if you go straight for the goal) or 4 hours (if you explore). Obviously I didn’t ape that structure exactly (it was more like 20 seconds to go straight to the goal versus 10 minutes if you mess around) but the idea of having an ending that is easy to get to but having the story show up in the non-essential bits has always interested me.

I also find it interesting that one-room and one-move interactive fiction games are genres in themselves, but one-puzzle is not considered a Thing.

Stream of consciousness: The last chapter of Joyce’s book Ulysses has prose that reads thus:

married woman or a fast widow or a girl for their different tastes like those houses round behind Irish street no but were to be always chained up theyre not going to be chaining me up no damn fear once I start I tell you for their stupid husbands jealousy why cant we all remain friends over it instead of quarrelling her husband found it out what they did together well naturally and if he did

I did not go all out, but I did include some character-perspective stream of consciousness in the prose. This comes up straightaway, where the PC rambles:

Once you had an argument with Tommy if it was possible for something to be beautiful and ugly at the same time, and he said no, and you said Toaster Hill, and he said ok sure you’re right which is weird because your arguments usually lasted longer than that.

The “you” is there to sustain that this is clearly a “role-playing” perspective; you aren’t meant to control from a distance. The rambling indicates the character has a state of mind that goes on tangents, for obvious and current reasons:

> x me
You’ve got bloodstains all over so you don’t want to look too close.

> x blood
no no no no no no no no

On the conflux with Tea and Toast: The fact this Shufflecomp entry also featured toasters was a complete and random coincidence. The first line of the Grandaddy song mentions a toaster. There was no way out of it!

V. A final request

I did in fact release something else recently:


At last check (and I do have download statistics so I am not exaggerating) it has been downloaded by two people. If you liked More could you give this a try? I promise it won’t take more than five minutes of your time. Download from the IFDB over here. (ADD: If if-archive is being flaky, you can download here.)

Posted June 8, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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6 responses to “More (post competition release, and reflections)

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  1. Was there a previous version of Renga that I might have? I know I’ve played it, and I seem to have a transcript which I may have sent you. I suppose I may be one of the two.

  2. Congrats! I felt like this HAD to be a Ryan Veeder game, except I was also pretty sure he didn’t enter. So at least one person thought you made a game worthy of comparison to one of the greats. (Ryan Veeder is considered to be one of the greats by now, right?)

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