Sunday 20 November 2016

Interactive Fiction Saturday: AdventureX 2016 and WordPlay London

For some reason, this weekend seems to be the weekend of Interactive Fiction here in London. AdventureX is enjoying its sixth(?) and biggest year, with all manner of people demoing all manner of interactive adventures over the course of the weekend at Goldsmiths University in south-east London, and yesterday saw the international WordPlay festival take over the British Library for the day. Seeing as how I live a tube ride away from central London, it seemed rude not to attend both.

Goldsmiths University, venue for AdventureX 2016.

I started at AdventureX, where I listened to a very interesting conversation with Rhianna Pratchett and briefly got the chance to say hello afterwards, and then headed back across London to the British Library, where I was appearing on a panel myself.

Rhianna Pratchett in conversation.

Both events took over their respective venues, with laptops dotted about the place and people trying out each others games (AdventureX in a stairwell/hallway, and WordPlay in the environs of the British Library). There was a real buzz at both events and it was pleasing to see that the gamebook hasn't died out, rather than it has evolved.

The British Library, venue for WordPlay London.

I arrived at WordPlay in time to hear the panel before mine, entitled 'Practical Considerations of Writerly Games' and found myself nodding away as the panellists discussed the pros and cons of crowdfunding platforms, the challenges faced by independent games designers trying to market their games, and how to actually earn any money from such ventures.

Does what it says on the tin...

And then it was time for 'Worldbuilding with Words'. Hannah Powell-Smith (creator of various interactive games in which a far bit of making out seems to take place) did a sterling job moderating our panel, on which I was joined by Helen Carmichael (whose new game 'Shadowhand' is out imminently) and Nate Crowley (who has contributed a story to the soon-to-be-Kickstarted short story anthology SHARKPUNK 2).

We discussed how to avoid overloading readers with information, pacing, design vs storytelling, creating believable worlds within a limited word count, and matching the setting to the game mechanics. (I also plugged Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland and The Wicked Wizard of Oz - a lot!)

After all that talking, it was only right that we decamped to a hostelry down the road to refresh ourselves and talk more about this business we call 'Writing'.

Thanks to everyone who came along to listen to our panel (especially loyal FF fan James Aukett) and for being such an involved and interested audience*. And here's to WordPlay London happening again next year!

* One gentlemen was taking copious notes on his laptop and I'd love to read his transcription of the talks, if such a thing were possible.

1 comment:

Stuart Lloyd said...

I didn't know about these. I'll try to be there next year.