Categories of interactive fiction (redux)   6 comments

I have taken one of my old posts and tweaked it.

Visual model of interactive fiction

There are some changes from the last version.

1. I placed interactive poetry more ambiguously this time; I’m still not sure where it goes. It’s essentially a genre that doesn’t exist yet.

2. I do still wish I had an official name for “advanced hypertext”. I believe some of the Japanese “visual novel” works fall into the category, but I just don’t know enough about them to say more.

3. I simplified “keeping track of world state” into “world model” and “no world model”. What I mean is that some information is kept over the session; a CYOA book typically doesn’t care what previous parts of the book you’ve visited, whereas a Gamebook may require the interactor to keep a detailed log.

I made this revision because I am going to be referring back to this chart fairly soon in my survey of Nick Montfort’s dissertation.

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Posted October 18, 2007 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

6 responses to “Categories of interactive fiction (redux)

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  1. Pingback: Modeling » Categories of interactive fiction (redux)

  2. Pingback: Narrative Variation (part 5) « Renga in Blue

  3. Oh nice. I agree with the diagram except for interactive poetry, which I’d place in the center-bottom of that square rather than the center-right. I say this because I wrote the interactive poetry extension for Inform 7 (wrote it for Michael, to be correct — he took over maintenance so we leave his name as primary extension author).

    http://inform7.com/extensions/Michael%20Bacon/Interactive%20Poetry/index.html

    And Michael wrote an interactive poem with it, which you can get from IFDB:

    http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=rve9kbxk9pkg6wej

    It has no world model (per Michael’s instructions to me) and is controlled via single keywords. Hence how I place iPoetry on your diagram.

    I know Nick Montfort makes poetry generators, but a generator is a different beast altogether from anything on your diagram. Generators go into the authoring bin with Inform 7, IMHO.

    • You should see my IF Demo Fair entry! I was waiting until v2 until I was going to post (probably next week) but I’m fine with people seeing the demo fair version:

      Author’s notes

      Renga in Four Parts download

      It’s a proof of concept of right-side-of-diagram poetry (that I’ve been working on since I first made this diagram 6 years ago).

      Thanks for the link to Arid and Pale, I agree that it and Space Under the Window are more bottom-of-diagram.

  4. This post is many years old, but I like your idea of distinguishing between low-freedom games that have a world model from those that don’t. However, I’m skeptical that “gamebook” is the right term to use to describe games with a world model.

    There’s two reasons I doubt the word “gamebook” will work here: first, it sounds too much like it includes the CYOA books, and second, it puts too much emphasis on the “book.”

    Paper books are an inherently bad way of tracking a world model. Either your world model is nothing more than the current page number (as in CYOA) or the book has to trust the player to use pencil, paper and dice to track the world model by hand, outside of the book. IMO anyone who’s played a paper Fighting Fantasy book since the dawn of the PC has thought to themselves: “I wish I were playing this on a computer!”

    • Yeah, I’m not wild about it either, but I was trying to avoid inventing a term if I could — gamebooks are a well-established word with lots of examples.

      Project Aon has been around for awhile to play the Lone Wolf books, and there’s a Kindle version of at least one Fighting Fantasy. I guess for the latter the term ‘gamebook’ makes sense but not the former, but they use it anyway.

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