The PAX East Files: From the Desk of Roody Yogurt
April 3rd, 2010 by Roody Yogurt

Ellison, Zarf and Rob at Infocom Headquarters

Ellison, Zarf and Rob at Infocom Headquarters

I was going to write my thoughts on my Live Journal, but hey, I haven’t updated that thing in like two years- why start now?

First off, these days, I’m kind of surprised when I meet people that I haven’t met before and find it especially enjoyable (I dunno, I’m fatalistic enough that I just get to a point where I figure I’ve met everyone I need to meet so far). I could list everyone I enjoyed talking to, but for fear of leaving anyone out, I’ll just give a special shout out to Mike Sousa, Worm, Chris Klimas, and Paul O’Brian since they are the most likely to read this.

I was very impressed with the quality of panels we had over the entire weekend. I was a little worried going into Robb’s panel that, being the one where people unfamiliar with the medium would go to, it would be the most watered-down talk of the weekend. Instead, it was quite the nice talk about various aspects of IF, and unsurprisingly, Robb delivered many of the funniest lines.

We had a panel the next day in the IF Suite about “IF Outreach”- promoting IF to new people. I was impressed with the caliber of the panelists. One guy was an AV Club writer for The Onion and another did stuff for jayisgames. It was great getting outside-the-community perspective from people who still appreciated the format.

The last talk on “adaptive difficulty” was good, too, but I’d like to chew on it some more before I really say much about it.

“Get Lamp” was good fun (and gave me my chance to finally thank Lebling personally for The Lurking Horror).

I think the weekend did a great job at showing new people that, yes, there is a community bundled with this gaming interest (which, sure, everyone knows but there’s just something about being crammed into a room full of people you’ve only known virtually). For us older people, many of whom are not as excited as we were when we found IF on the internet 10+ years ago, it was a great reminder that there are still new frontiers to be discovered in IF and that more progress and innovation are still ahead of us.

I know of at least three IF authors who haven’t written anything in years that have either already started coding something new or intend to, and I’m sure there are several more.

Near the end of the weekend, I was once again reminded that some of the recent IF games most mentioned aren’t similar in scope to the games I intend to write (I aim to continue writing games that are somewhat old-school, in at least limits-of-implementation and keeping-wordage-on-the-less-verbose-side aspects if not actual old-school puzzles), but the weekend was effective in making me rethink some scenes in the game I want to write (and I think it will be better for those changes).

Also, I have to admit, watching people code in Inform 7 is pretty even if I intend to stick with Hugo. Just the same, seeing that in person helps contribute to the whole “brave new world” feel.

All in all, the various game design talks were great, but just because I personally didn’t get into work-in-progress game mechanic discussions, I have found myself wanting another IF meet-up for authors where we concentrate on more on the applicable than the theoretical. Some other people feel the same way; we’ll see if it happens.

One Response  
  • Milker writes:
    April 6th, 20105:57 pmat

    Did you find out what to put in it, beside it, or on top of it during the Get Lamp debut? I want a shirt!

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