Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Idea for AIF Writing Salon and Minifest

Here is my current thinking about the AIF Writing Salon and Minifest. Or perhaps a more accurate description would be Mini-Writing Salon and AIF-fest.

As part of moving the focus away from winners and towards writers, I think the core of the event will be modeled after a game jam. Writers will be encouraged to start working at the start of May. At the end of July, I'll gather all the completed games, and we can have a Minifest where people can download all the games and talk about them. It will be a celebration of all the games that were finished. Since there won't be a competition, there will be no voting. If people are really interested in awards, I'm sure some sort of award for "AIF Short" can be added to the Erins next year. Since there won't be a competition, there also won't be any rules except for "don't ruin things for other people." If someone wants to take their 100 room mega-game that they've been working on for the last three years and offer it as part of the Minifest, that's fine. Unlike the Minicomp, you can talk about and share your games before the deadline. In fact, I encourage you do that. Although the Minifest will be modeled after game jams, I will try to avoid using game jam terminology. The AIF community has always had its roots in the fan fiction and IF communities. Its strengths has always been in its writing. There are many things that are hard to implement as a game, but very easy to implement with writing. I want to see if we can draw more writers into the community who are interested in dabbling with interactivity. So from now on, I'll try to describe the event as a NaNoWriMo for AIF, but you'll all know what I mean.

Running simultaneously from May to July will be the AIF Writing Salon. This will be like the Iowa Writers' Workshop but with more sex. The AIF Writing Salon will also not take place in Iowa, will not involve top writers, and will not be a rigorous graduate program. Actually, now that I think about it, the AIF Writing Salon will not be like the Iowa Writers' Workshop at all. In fact, I think the Iowa Writers' Workshop probably has more sex than us too.

What the AIF Writing Salon will be is a series of weekly events where authors can talk about their progress on their works. Each event will have a suggested thing to bring, like a room description, or a description of naked people, or a transcript of a sex session. If new authors keep pace with all the events, they should end up with a simple "One Night With..." AIF game at the end. As part of the no rules thing, everyone is welcome to participate at any time. You can jump in and jump out of events as you wish. If you only want feedback on your room descriptions, then you can participate in only the Room Descriptions event. If you think the events are moving too slowly, then you can speed along at your own pace. It's meant to be a fun weekly gathering where you can get feedback on your ideas and see how a work of AIF comes together. I will try my best to give some comments to anyone who submits anything to these events. The first few weeks will focus on concept. Basically, you'll pitch your story ideas, and everyone will tell you that you're being too ambitious and that you should simplify your ideas. You'll disagree, and we'll argue about this for several weeks until you realize that you're wrong. The next few weeks will alternate between writing and programming. The events will focus on different parts of a one-room sex scene, so by the end, you should have all the pieces needed to put together a simple AIF. Then there will be a few weeks at the end where you can focus on adding more elements to your AIF to turn them into fuller works.

Thoughts? Do these sound like the sorts of events that you would be interested in joining?


  1. Great idea! I've got a game that's 95% done and that last 5% is killing me. This'll be the kick in the pants I need, I think. Probably ought to knock that one out before though, and start something new in May!

  2. If I understand the concept the idea is that by setting aside a period of time to focus on writing more people will do it. Kind of a positive peer pressure.

    If it encourages more writing that will be good, but I doubt we'll have any idea if it will work until it is tried. You'll probably be helped if you try and run it in multiple places.

    Having more potential writers talk would be helpful. My feeling is that there are more authors out there who start games but don't finish them (for any of the many reasons that AIFs don't get finished) and that these authors don't discuss their games because of a desire not to create false expectations. If this period creates a time when people talk more freely about ideas and helps move them toward completion, it could be very beneficial.

    As for the second part, it sounds like a more focused Open Thread were the community tries to work through issues one at a time. That could also be good, but you might want to move it to every other week or every ten days. My experience with Open Threads is that while the conversations usually don't run that long, they can and you want to give them time to develop.