German IF is dead

12 views
Skip to first unread message

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 7:21:48 AM6/21/07
to
I am going to talk about something I personally consider really sad,
although it may make no difference to many people around here. First
of all, I want to clarify two things:

1.- I am not german, but spanish. And fortunately my own community is
pretty lively and healthy.

2.- Although I'll start talking about some facts wich are real and
verifiable, many of the things I'm going to say are just personal
opinions, which may be very different to the ones of the users of this
newsgroup.

First of all, the facts:

The german-spoken IF forum no longer works. (http://
forum.ifzentrale.de/) I've been told that it's been like that for
weeks, and nobody has done anything to fix it, nor anybody has
complained about that.

The German-spoken IF scene had been very quiet before that. There was
hardly any post announcing a new IF work. There was not a "Grand Prix"
this year (the main interactive fiction competition in German). It
just silently didn't take place. Nobody complained.

Before that, "Grand Prix 2006" only had three small IF works. And
there was barely anyone voting or writing any review for those three
works.

So, with the disappearance of the German forums, there is no longer
any central hub for the German IF Community. Interest in IF in German
seems to have faded out silently. The German IF community is no more.

Of course, there are many german people around here interested in IF,
but they all have moved to the English-spoken community. They are
active, they write IF, they make reviews... all of that in english.

Now, my opinion about this:

IF is literature. I'm not saying any new thing with this, but it seems
to me sometimes that people tend to forget the consequences of this
phrase. IF is a literary work of art, and so the language is important
in it.

Anybody who has read a novel in its original language can see the many
"subtleties" that are inevitably lost in the translation. Language
also affects the way of thinking (take a look at this, "The Influence
of Language and Culture on Written Communication":
http://www.tc-forum.org/topiccl/cl12thei.htm). The different languages
have been one of the sources of the richness and diversity in the
history of literature in general.

But still, non-english communities have been and still are fighting
for their survival. And many of them just cease to exist.

So what the problem is?

There's this "huge" planet of the english-spoken interactive fiction
community (incorrectly called by some people the "international
interactive fiction community"). Around it, the many different
"satellites", the non-english-spoken interactive fiction communities.

There's no communication between them: I don't know anything about the
french community, nor do the italian people know anything about the
russian community. We cannot enrichen with their views and their
works. We are, in fact, "isolated" by our own language. The ones who
can talk in their second language (English, of course) fluently, can
at least have a wider view of "what there really is". But still, with
no access to the rest, the view is incomplete.

And there's again the huge english-spoken "planet". They are mostly
oblivious to the rest of the world. Some of them, of course, speak
other languages, but the usual line of thought is "I barely have
enough time to play every english-spoken work to EVEN THINK about
playing a work written in a language I'm not completely familiar
with".

So the language I choose to write Interactive Fiction is of great
relevance. It definitely determines the amount of people that are
going to see my work. If I decide to forget about trying to make IF in
spanish and write in english instead, my work will be far better
known, reviewed, played, etc. Two problems about this: 1) As you can
see, my english is far from perfect, I cannot afford that in a
literary work. 2) AND it would not be ME. I don't speak english in my
everyday life. I don't think in english. My sensitivity is very
different from the english-spoken sensitivity. I would be writing
something "fake".

In an ideal world (I'm thinking about what already happens in static
fiction), no one feels the sattelite of anyone. Communities are pretty
lively by themselves. They aren't in a constant fight against
oblivion. And, above all, they don't feel that the language they
choose to write in is a factor for the "value" the work finally has.

Of course, in static fiction this is managed thanks to the work of
many translators. It's not that everything is translated, but we have
a good "general view" of at least the most outstanding works written
in every country. And then there's that wonderful side-effect: "the
virtue of contamination". Ryūnosuke Akutagawa tales wouln't be the
same without Edgar Allan Poe. John Cassavettes films wouln't be the
same without the french "nouvelle-vague". We learn from one another.
We build discovery upon discovery.

There MUST be translations in order for "this thing" to work. But we
are so egocentric (This is not a community of interactive fiction
players, but a community of interactive fiction writers) that we don't
want to "waste" any time with that.

So we reach the situation we are in today. "Sattelite" communities
cripple and die. We are more and more close to the "one an only
unified culture". Everybody speaks the same language, everybody writes
the same thing. "Coca-Cola and McDonalds, thank you". The globalized
world.

Victor Gijsbers writes his first game in both dutch and english. He
writes the second one only in english. A Dutch version what for? Dutch
people interested in IF are already here, and they will understand it
in english anyways.

Wikipedia states that spanish is spoken by almost 500 million people,
french by 300 million people, italian by 100-120 million people,
german by 123 million people. Has there been ANY review of a non-
english work (apart from "Ekphrasis", thanks Emily) or ANY translation
of a non-english work (apart from "Olvido Mortal", thanks Nick
Monfort) by an english native? Hell, no.

It's not just curiosity that we should have, but a real vocation of
enhancing the communication.

Without communication, we don't learn from one another.

Without communication, the smallest communities die.

German IF has died.

Thank you, guys.

Depresiv.

rgrassi

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 7:36:44 AM6/21/07
to
I completely quote you, my friend.
That's why I setup the rakontointeraktiva group.
Just a way to keep all the minor IF communities informed about their
status and to have a feeble feedback...

Rob

joha...@gmail.com

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 7:52:39 AM6/21/07
to

Rakonto-whatever was an almost completely unknown thing in spanish
communities.

I belived till yesterday it exists only for I7 translation related
issues!

You cannot create something like rakonto... and think everybody is
reading r.a.i.f.

r.a.i.f. is an english-related thing.

Perhaps a better information about rakonto-i objetives and functions
will help a bit
with that.

rgrassi

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 8:10:09 AM6/21/07
to
Hi,

> Perhaps a better information about rakonto-i objetives and functions
> will help a bit with that.

RakontoInteraktiva (it's esperanto) is a google group with this
description:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Newsgroup for discussion about localization strategies of IF authoring
tools. Furthermore, the group promotes cohoperation between people
across different countries (mainly non-anglophone) to solve common IF-
related issues (applications, tools...).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rob

Madoc

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 12:04:12 PM6/21/07
to
> German IF has died.

I see it mostly like You do. textfire.de is a great site for getting a
start in IF - and it still is. However, it does not get updated any more.
And it's the page that hosts the Grand Prix You mentioned.

I attribute much of the silence we experience in german IF right now to
Inform 7. It's a great product, I am absolutely amazed by it. Every new IF
author should use it. But it only makes sense for writing english IF.
(Really, something like "There is an Apfel here." cannot be taken for
serious. And german grammar is so complex that there will never be german
source code for I7.)

However, we have a very high rate of people in Germany who can understand
or speak English. Foreigners sometimes find that astonishing. Even though
there is a lot of debate about the quality of our school system, I am sure
that the average English skill here is very high, compared to other
countries. This means that playing IF in English is a valid option here,
even authoring in English.

Still, what You wrote about the importance about the language itself is
true. But don't forget the IF is only *one* form of literature. I believe
that Germany has a very vivid and living culture in writing books and
magazines. Of course, there is a strong tendency towards English. But the
German language itself is not "in danger" at all.

This means that we will still have german IF authors, even if the current
trend is writing in English. We cannot say if that trend will persist; I
think, at some time, the german IF community will get stronger again. And
more important, there are IF players in Germany. It's just that they are
more oriented towards the English community. (I myself look at English
pages, like Emily Short's blog, much more often than I looked on
textfire.de.)

Currently, there would be no advantage in having a german-only community.
Anyone can speak English anyway, so why limit the group of readers to
germans only? If I were to write a nice essay on IF, I would surely write
it in English, because then it can reach much more people. The same holds
true for adventures, for questions in forums, for test reports, for
anything basically. That's really a strong trend here right now.

But it would go too far to say that german IF is literally dead. Let's say
it is sleeping - there are still many germans interested in IF. It's just
that they are currently more english-oriented. But as long as there are
Germans interested in IF, there is a chance that new german IF is written.
Let some time pass. Eventually, when new ideas or advances in IF make it
attractive to write native IF again, there will again be a german
community. I'm sure of that.

Al-Khwarizmi

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 12:37:04 PM6/21/07
to

> But it would go too far to say that german IF is literally dead. Let's say
> it is sleeping - there are still many germans interested in IF. It's just
> that they are currently more english-oriented. But as long as there are
> Germans interested in IF, there is a chance that new german IF is written.
> Let some time pass. Eventually, when new ideas or advances in IF make it
> attractive to write native IF again, there will again be a german
> community. I'm sure of that.

That last claim sounds quite overoptimistic to me. You have mentioned
that a large part of the reason for the German community's decline is
the release of I7, i.e., that the tools to write English IF are now
better than the technology to write German IF. This sounds quite
reasonable, although I don't know the German community so I can't
agree or disagree with it. But if this is the reason for German IF's
death, I don't see it reviving any time soon. If the German community
didn't develop an I7-like tool (or an adaptation) when it was active,
it seems unlikely that it will do it now, being inactive. The English-
speaking community will probably keep improving I7 and releasing other
tools while the German community is "sleeping" as you say... so the
technological gap that you cite as the main reason for that sleep will
get wider and wider.

I think if you or anyone wants to save the German community, you
should start trying to do it now, instead of waiting for a second
coming that seems quite improbable.


Hazard Suit

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 1:28:05 PM6/21/07
to

I'm german, and to be honest, I never much cared for the German
community. Never heard of "Grand Prix" for example. That's not out of
hostility, but because by writing games in english one can reach more
people.
And until they make something as accesible as I7 in German, that's not
likely to change. Of course, this is just a personal opinion, but I
think many german newcomers do / will feel the same.

u...@mail.ru

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 1:52:24 PM6/21/07
to
On 21 June, 15:21, Depresiv <pablote...@yahoo.es> wrote:

> German IF has died.

What about that game from the last IF-Comp, Visocica? (Although it
didn't rank very high, it was the fault of the game itself, not of its
language).

Thus, I think your statement is a bit too categorical. (However, it's
just my personal opinion, since I'm in no way related to the German IF-
community).

Valentine

joha...@gmail.com

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 1:58:01 PM6/21/07
to
On 21 jun, 14:10, rgrassi <rgrassi1...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> > Perhaps a better information about rakonto-i objetives and functions
> > will help a bit with that.
>
> RakontoInteraktiva (it's esperanto) is a google group with this
> description:
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------------------

> Newsgroup for discussion about localization strategies of IF authoring
> tools. Furthermore, the group promotes cohoperation between people
> across different countries (mainly non-anglophone) to solve common IF-
> related issues (applications, tools...).
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------------------
>
> Rob

I have looked and we have in the spanish forums ONE message about
Rakonto-i and nothing more in two years. Total silence.

Anyway Rakonto-i still seems too much tool-oriented forum. While
Depresiv
is talking (i think) about a writing-oriented forum.

David Doty

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 3:12:55 PM6/21/07
to
Madoc <Mado...@gmail.com> wrote in news:2zt6wvp1v9s5$.14z0xiwtlb8sf$.dlg@
40tude.net:

> And german grammar is so complex that there will never be german
> source code for I7.)

German grammar may be more complex (or may just seem that way), but is
definitely more regular. It would actually probably be easier to use as a
basis for natural language computer program. I think gender would probably
be the biggest obstacle.

Emily Short

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 4:44:03 PM6/21/07
to
On Jun 21, 4:21 am, Depresiv <pablote...@yahoo.es> wrote:
> There's this "huge" planet of the english-spoken interactive fiction
> community (incorrectly called by some people the "international
> interactive fiction community"). Around it, the many different
> "satellites", the non-english-spoken interactive fiction communities.
>
> There's no communication between them: I don't know anything about the
> french community, nor do the italian people know anything about the
> russian community. We cannot enrichen with their views and their
> works. We are, in fact, "isolated" by our own language. The ones who
> can talk in their second language (English, of course) fluently, can
> at least have a wider view of "what there really is". But still, with
> no access to the rest, the view is incomplete.
...

> Of course, in static fiction this is managed thanks to the work of
> many translators. It's not that everything is translated, but we have
> a good "general view" of at least the most outstanding works written
> in every country.

Another possibility that is not quite as useful as translating whole
games, but still might generate some interest: I like to read reviews
by members of other communities, whether they're reviews of English
games (in which case, I find out what the Spanish or Italian
communities think about these, which might be different from the
reaction of English speakers) or reviews of games in another language
(in which case, I learn about the kinds of games other groups are
writing, even if I do not have the language skills to play them
myself).

So maybe a useful step would be to translate more of these reviews
from, say, SPAC and Terra d'IF for people to read? (I translated a few
once myself, but Italian and Spanish are not my strongest foreign
languages, so I am nervous of making stupid mistakes here.) Anyway,
there are never enough reviews even in the English-speaking world, so
I am sure they would get read, and might help generate more awareness
and interest in what other groups are doing.

Hazard Suit

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 5:08:08 PM6/21/07
to

Trust me, doing I7 in German would simply be impossible. German is not
an easy langauge, and there are many, many special cases and lots of
stuff that would make natural language impossible. I thought about it
a bit myself, but it simply is impossible (imho, and wouldn't I like
to be proven wrong.)

Translating a game would be interesting, though that would mostly be
more of a rewrite, I suppose,not to mention copyright issues. I think
there was/is a german translation of Adventure.

Reviews would be interesting, indeed.

Raksab

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 5:28:01 PM6/21/07
to
On Jun 21, 12:12 pm, David Doty <daved...@hotSPAMmail.com> wrote:
> Madoc <MadocD...@gmail.com> wrote in news:2zt6wvp1v9s5$.14z0xiwtlb8sf$.dlg@


I think the greatest amount of IF is in English for two reasons: one,
much IF originates in America and Britain, and two: English is the
language spoken by the greatest number of IF hobbyists.

English is a common denominator because a lot of foreigners know it
pretty well, while Americans often don't learn anything with fluency
other than their native English. I think that's the same reason they
speak English on the International Space Station. Most of the non-
Americans know some English, but the Americans generally aren't that
good in Russian or the other languages spoken by other astronauts.
(Yes, we're a bit lazy, but blame our crappy education system. I
don't know what the study of languages is like in Britain and Canada,
but in America most people do not start learning a second language
until they are teenagers. A lot of countries teach their students
English from an early age, so they usually speak our language better
than we can speak theirs.)

Of the Americans that do get good at a second language, the most
common choice nowadays is Spanish, followed by French. Fewer people
here bother to learn German because there just isn't as much demand
currently for German speakers. That has to do with current
immigration trends.

IF in English is accessible to the greatest number of people, so if
your goal is wide exposure, it makes sense to write the game in
English. I don't say that's a good thing, but it's the way it is.

I took a peek at "Ekphrasis" and it looked so great, I longed to play
it. But I don't understand much French and my computer isn't set up
to type it. I hope somebody decides to port the game in English one
day. I'd ask permission to translate it if I knew how to code games
in that format, but I don't.

u...@mail.ru

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 9:40:12 PM6/21/07
to
On 21 June, 15:21, Depresiv <pablote...@yahoo.es> wrote:

> So what the problem is?
>
> There's this "huge" planet of the english-spoken interactive fiction
> community (incorrectly called by some people the "international
> interactive fiction community"). Around it, the many different
> "satellites", the non-english-spoken interactive fiction communities.
>
> There's no communication between them: I don't know anything about the
> french community, nor do the italian people know anything about the
> russian community. We cannot enrichen with their views and their
> works. We are, in fact, "isolated" by our own language. The ones who
> can talk in their second language (English, of course) fluently, can
> at least have a wider view of "what there really is". But still, with
> no access to the rest, the view is incomplete.
>
> And there's again the huge english-spoken "planet". They are mostly
> oblivious to the rest of the world. Some of them, of course, speak
> other languages, but the usual line of thought is "I barely have
> enough time to play every english-spoken work to EVEN THINK about
> playing a work written in a language I'm not completely familiar
> with".

Well, that's not *entirely* true - at least, as far as French and
Russian communities are concerned. Thanks to Jimmy Maher. See the two
latest SPAG issues:

http://sparkynet.com/spag/backissues/spag47.html

http://sparkynet.com/spag/backissues/spag48.html

Valentine

Poster

unread,
Jun 21, 2007, 10:40:06 PM6/21/07
to

I'd like to say this, without getting involved in blaming cultures for
being successful, harping on educational systems, or appealing to the
always-trendy "Americans are ignorant" theme -- what we really need are
more go-betweens. Namely, these are people who can speak more than one
language fluently enough to spread ideas from one language to the next.
Historically, such people are rare.

In primitive times, did tribes and clans feel the need to speak more
than one language? Usually not. How about a medieval French peasant?
He'd know one language -- and that, only spoken. Even in the modern age,
most people know only one language well enough to really converse in it,
beyond "tourist English" or "tourist German" and so forth. Why is this?
Because their everyday lives only require one language, and there's no
problem with that.

I don't know how to stir up interest in IF in foreign languages, but I
will bet that it follows the same principles no matter the language. All
it takes is a few dedicated individuals and they can reshape the world.
Having language go-betweens who encourage the spread of ideas are nice,
but you're talking about a very small part of the population.

I had no idea that the German IF scene even existed, but outside of an
abstract desire to encourage the spread of IF, I couldn't have done
anything anyways except learn the language. (And you tell me how well an
American newbie would have been received? I know enough about world
politics to think twice before attempting that.)

Like it or not, the rise and fall of native-language IF rests on those
communities, and I can influence them only slightly. I'll help when I
can, don't get me wrong, but most of us have no way of helping.

-- Poster

www.intaligo.com Building, INFORM, Seasons (upcoming!)

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 3:53:24 AM6/22/07
to
> So maybe a useful step would be to translate more of these reviews
> from, say, SPAC and Terra d'IF for people to read? (I translated a few
> once myself, but Italian and Spanish are not my strongest foreign
> languages, so I am nervous of making stupid mistakes here.) Anyway,
> there are never enough reviews even in the English-speaking world, so
> I am sure they would get read, and might help generate more awareness
> and interest in what other groups are doing.

If that could really help to generate interest, I don't have any
problem in translating reviews (english and spanish works) from SPAC.
Still, I would need some native english speaker to help me correct the
translation (as I said my english is far from perfect).

I don't know if there's a correct place where to send the reviews of
untranslated spanish works, though... Maybe IfReviews?

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 3:58:52 AM6/22/07
to
> Translating a game would be interesting, though that would mostly be
> more of a rewrite, I suppose,not to mention copyright issues. I think
> there was/is a german translation of Adventure.

If the original work is already in the same programming language than
the translated work (e.g. Inform or Tads), it's not a complete
rewrite, but an adaptation. 95% of the code is completely the same
from one version to another. If it's in a different language (I'm
working in the translation of an italian work, originally written in
BASIC, to spanish Inform), it can be much harder, though.

And you shouldn't be worried about copyright issues. Most authors are
pretty happy to have translations of their works :)

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 4:12:52 AM6/22/07
to
> I took a peek at "Ekphrasis" and it looked so great, I longed to play
> it. But I don't understand much French and my computer isn't set up
> to type it. I hope somebody decides to port the game in English one
> day. I'd ask permission to translate it if I knew how to code games
> in that format, but I don't.

To have taken a look at "Ekphrasis", to have been genuinely curious
about it, is definitely something ;-)

I understand that there's not many english-spoken people who: a) speak
a foreign language good enough to understand a literary work, b) knows
the format in which the game is programmed and c) has the time and the
energy to translate a foreign work. But still, my idea is that
comunication is already enhanced in other ways (Emily Short gave me an
idea with the translation of reviews) some (obviously really few)
people could actually do that work.

Anyway, I've taken a look to "Ekphrasis" walkthrough, and all
characters are typeable by an american keyboard.

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 4:22:01 AM6/22/07
to
> Like it or not, the rise and fall of native-language IF rests on those
> communities, and I can influence them only slightly. I'll help when I
> can, don't get me wrong, but most of us have no way of helping.

I completely agreed with you until the last paragraph :)

What you are telling me is that your capability of helping with this
issue is limited, because you only speak english. I understand that.
And also, "go-betweens" are very few. I also understand that. But I am
almost sure that there are some of them somewhere, and they just
didn't have the information (or the curiosity) to take a look to
what's being done in other countries.

And no, "the only" responsability for the rise and fall of non-english
spoken communities is not "theirs". We can all help one way or
another. To be curious, in your case, to ask for information, is one
way of helping.

rgrassi

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 9:22:16 AM6/22/07
to
Hi,

> Anyway Rakonto-i still seems too much tool-oriented forum. While
> Depresiv is talking (i think) about a writing-oriented forum.

"IF-Writing" common troubles are shared for english and non-english
communities and can be discussed in raif.
Talk about how to localize Inform, Tads or Hugo in the different
languages, with reinventing the wheel in each country could be the
added value of rakontointeraktiva group.
Rob

Hazard Suit

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 1:18:35 PM6/22/07
to

I had no idea that the German IF scene even existed, but outside of an


abstract desire to encourage the spread of IF, I couldn't have done
anything anyways except learn the language. (And you tell me how well
an
American newbie would have been received? I know enough about world
politics to think twice before attempting that.)

I must object. The german community would surely welcome you. We just
hate Bush, not all Americans. :-)
I'm welcome here and I'm german. I have not heard a single "Nazi"
remark in my time. Then again, I never ran into Pudlo.
I just hope we all are above those statements. If you want to learn
German, I'd be happy to help.


Eriorg

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 1:22:24 PM6/22/07
to

There were also interviews with members of the Italian and Spanish
communities in SPAG #40:

http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/backissues/spag40.html

Eriorg

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 2:25:43 PM6/22/07
to

I suggest that you send them to SPAG, and you could also send them to
the Interactive Fiction Reviews Organization *after* the SPAG issue
will be released. I think the chances are that they'll be read, then.

Anyway, I find this idea (translating reviews of non-English games
into English) very interesting, because I know very little about these
games, except French ones.

Of course, it'd be preferable to choose reviews which are both
interesting to read and about good games: we'd want to make readers
want to play games in other languages, not to dissuade them!

Personally, I'm much less enthusiastic about translations of reviews
of English games written by members of non-English IF communities. Did
you really notice their opinions about these games are so different? I
don't know: it just seems a bit odd to me. And if they aren't, we
might well learn almost nothing which isn't already in reviews of the
same games by English-speaking people.

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 22, 2007, 2:50:47 PM6/22/07
to
> Personally, I'm much less enthusiastic about translations of reviews
> of English games written by members of non-English IF communities. Did
> you really notice their opinions about these games are so different? I
> don't know: it just seems a bit odd to me. And if they aren't, we
> might well learn almost nothing which isn't already in reviews of the
> same games by English-speaking people.

Yep, you're right with that. It would be better to concentrate on non-
english works (that doesn't mean that maybe it could be interesting to
send reviews of english games to SPAG in future issues. But that would
be in order to help SPAG with some extra reviews, since there are not
so many, and not to help promote our own communities).

I think a fair number would be a couple of reviews for the next issue
of SPAG. If I send two and you send two, that will make four, which
wouldn't seem as if we had taken over the SPAG or something :P (just
kidding). What do you think?

Eriorg

unread,
Jun 23, 2007, 11:16:54 AM6/23/07
to
On 22 juin, 20:50, Depresiv <pablote...@yahoo.es> wrote:
> Yep, you're right with that. It would be better to concentrate on non-
> english works (that doesn't mean that maybe it could be interesting to
> send reviews of english games to SPAG in future issues. But that would
> be in order to help SPAG with some extra reviews, since there are not
> so many, and not to help promote our own communities).

Yes, that's exactly what I meant.


> I think a fair number would be a couple of reviews for the next issue
> of SPAG. If I send two and you send two, that will make four, which
> wouldn't seem as if we had taken over the SPAG or something :P (just
> kidding). What do you think?

You should ask Jimmy Maher, but I don't think it would be too harmful
if you send a bit more reviews. I suppose you won't have the time to
translate dozens of them before the SPAG deadline, anyway! If there
are too many reviews, some of them could be published in the next
issues.

I can't guarantee that I'll send reviews of French games, because
they'd have to be *written* before they can be translated. Right now,
I don't know of any real reviews of modern French IF games, only some
comments which aren't detailed enough for SPAG. In any case, I'm sure
that I won't send too many reviews.

What about the Italian IF community (or even other languages)? Will
they participate in this project, too?

Urbatain

unread,
Jun 23, 2007, 1:38:22 PM6/23/07
to
I think that instead of translating italian, or french, or german, or
spanish reviews, is far better to make new and shiny ones for games in
that languages.

I think it quite less work than translate an already wroten review...
or not? I don't know!

The ideal thing is that people here that could understand various
languages would play foreign games and review them for SPAG.

Simply, I can't understand somebody understanding French or Spanish
and not playing the best games in that languages. I mean, that's the
reason because there's non English people here playing English games.
I do not play every piece of English entries, but I enjoy a lot the
best ones. And in the same time I improve my English level, who at the
same time improve my posibilities or get money in the Costa del Sol :)

Urbatain.

torredifuoco

unread,
Jun 24, 2007, 4:45:15 PM6/24/07
to
Il Sat, 23 Jun 2007 08:16:54 -0700, Eriorg ha scritto:

>> I think a fair number would be a couple of reviews for the next issue
>> of SPAG. If I send two and you send two, that will make four, which
>> wouldn't seem as if we had taken over the SPAG or something :P (just
>> kidding). What do you think?

<snip>

>What about the Italian IF community (or even other languages)? Will
>they participate in this project, too?

the italian if community doesn't write too many reviews lately, and
it's a pity. bad sign. i like your project but i can't guarantee my
partecipation here and now - i don't even know what's the deadline!
moreover, i agree with urbatain, we could also write brand new
reviews.

--
max "torredifuoco" bianchi

torredifuoco

unread,
Jun 24, 2007, 4:45:09 PM6/24/07
to
Il Fri, 22 Jun 2007 07:58:52 -0000, Depresiv ha scritto:

>> Translating a game would be interesting, though that would mostly be
>> more of a rewrite, I suppose,not to mention copyright issues. I think
>> there was/is a german translation of Adventure.
>
>If the original work is already in the same programming language than
>the translated work (e.g. Inform or Tads), it's not a complete
>rewrite, but an adaptation. 95% of the code is completely the same
>from one version to another. If it's in a different language (I'm
>working in the translation of an italian work, originally written in
>BASIC, to spanish Inform), it can be much harder, though.

what are you translating? i am curious. mmmhmhmh, let's suppose:
something by colombini or vallarino?

--
max "torredifuoco" bianchi

torredifuoco

unread,
Jun 24, 2007, 4:45:14 PM6/24/07
to
Il Thu, 21 Jun 2007 22:40:06 -0400, Poster ha scritto:

>I'd like to say this, without getting involved in blaming cultures for
>being successful, harping on educational systems, or appealing to the
>always-trendy "Americans are ignorant" theme -- what we really need are
>more go-betweens. Namely, these are people who can speak more than one
>language fluently enough to spread ideas from one language to the next.
>Historically, such people are rare.

i agree, unfortunately your language is too successful. you can't
practice easily foreign languages (and cultures, they go together),
nor you do have to. i had to learn english because of my job.

>I don't know how to stir up interest in IF in foreign languages, but I
>will bet that it follows the same principles no matter the language. All
>it takes is a few dedicated individuals and they can reshape the world.

it's not so easy. a community, to sustain itself, needs a critical
mass of individuals, otherwise it dies. the italian if community is
*surviving* now, thanks to the hard work of a core group of authors.

>Having language go-betweens who encourage the spread of ideas are nice,
>but you're talking about a very small part of the population.

translate, translate, translate. you need a few translators. this
maybe won't help much other communities, but it'd make the english one
richer. diversity = richness. if you want to survive as a community,
and successful ones do, you'd better have many different individuals.

>I had no idea that the German IF scene even existed,

there are a few, thanks to inform 6. the development of i7 has been a
kind of roadblock for foreign communities. we would like to keep the
pace with you, but now experience some difficulties. a plea to
developers: don't forget us! i understand there are problems with i7,
however someone is trying to make it work with different languages. t3
libraries are huge and documentation for translators poor, but at
least t3 libs are thought to be translated.

>but outside of an abstract desire to encourage the spread of IF, I couldn't
>have done anything anyways except learn the language.

the english community could help others by developing tools which can
be translated. if a foreign community dies, you (english) lose part of
your potential audience.

>(And you tell me how well an American newbie would have been
>received? I know enough about world politics to think twice before
>attempting that.)

american newbie under attack? 8) i speak about the italian scene, and
we already build golden bridges for *any* newbie. strangers even won
two italian competitions (i mean, they were worthy): in 2004 totolo's
translation of "filaments" by frenchman jb ferrant won "l'avventura
dell'anno" (a prize to the better if of the year), and in 2006 "final
selection" by sam gordon won the orgc (one room game comp).

>Like it or not, the rise and fall of native-language IF rests on those
>communities, and I can influence them only slightly. I'll help when I
>can, don't get me wrong, but most of us have no way of helping.

this is maybe true, but aren't you curious about foreign if? would you
play translations of the best ones? don't you know a second language?
if you do, why don't you play, review and translate foreign if? if i
look at the shelves in my room, i mostly see books by foreign authors.

--
max "torredifuoco" bianchi

Depresiv

unread,
Jun 24, 2007, 5:56:20 PM6/24/07
to
> what are you translating? i am curious. mmmhmhmh, let's suppose:
> something by colombini or vallarino?

I'm translating "L'apprendista Stregone" by Enrico Colombini (good
guess!).

By the way: there is no deadline. The idea would be to send reviews
with some periodicity to SPAG, just to let the best works in our
communities be known outside of them. If there are not enough reviews
in the italian community, now it would be the right time to "push" it
a bit :)

PTN

unread,
Jun 24, 2007, 10:09:42 PM6/24/07
to
Urbatain wrote:
> I think that instead of translating italian, or french, or german, or
> spanish reviews, is far better to make new and shiny ones for games in
> that languages.

I agree. With the Lovecraft Project, my first attempt to coordinate
any sort of comp of any size, getting games in different languages was
a foundational part of the premise. I think it is good to have games
in multiple languages as part of the same event. Not because I think
English language only speakers are going to suddenly start playing non-
English games, but because I think we can all be part of the same
community without language being an impassible barrier (especially now
that we have google translator). And I am hoping that the upcoming
exhibit will introduce new French-lanugage and Spanish-language
players to the form.

A comment further upthread was, in order to maximize your audience,
you need to write IF in English. I think that's true up to a point,
but come on -- in order to maximize your audience, you need to NOT
write IF at all, switch to static fiction!! I say write IF for
yourself first, your audience second, and if there is no audience for
games in a particular language, well, "build it and they will come",
as the saying goes.

Finally I don't see why I7 not being usable for other langugages is a
limiting factor. Just use I6! I7 has the promise of making it easier
to write games, but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with
making them better. We're talking about writing games that have the
look and feel of games written 30 years ago, one hardly needs the
latest technology to do that. :)

-- Peter
http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/if

enquiring mind

unread,
Jun 25, 2007, 3:48:50 AM6/25/07
to
> So what the problem is?
>
> There's this "huge" planet of the english-spoken interactive fiction
> community (incorrectly called by some people the "international
> interactive fiction community"). Around it, the many different
> "satellites", the non-english-spoken interactive fiction communities.
>
> There's no communication between them: I don't know anything about the
> french community, nor do the italian people know anything about the
> russian community. We cannot enrichen with their views and their
> works. We are, in fact, "isolated" by our own language. The ones who
> can talk in their second language (English, of course) fluently, can
> at least have a wider view of "what there really is". But still, with
> no access to the rest, the view is incomplete.
>
> And there's again the huge english-spoken "planet". They are mostly
> oblivious to the rest of the world. Some of them, of course, speak
> other languages, but the usual line of thought is "I barely have
> enough time to play every english-spoken work to EVEN THINK about
> playing a work written in a language I'm not completely familiar
> with".
>
> So the language I choose to write Interactive Fiction is of great
> relevance. It definitely determines the amount of people that are
> going to see my work. If I decide to forget about trying to make IF in
> spanish and write in english instead, my work will be far better
> known, reviewed, played, etc. Two problems about this: 1) As you can
> see, my english is far from perfect, I cannot afford that in a
> literary work. 2) AND it would not be ME. I don't speak english in my
> everyday life. I don't think in english. My sensitivity is very
> different from the english-spoken sensitivity. I would be writing
> something "fake".
>
> In an ideal world (I'm thinking about what already happens in static
> fiction), no one feels the sattelite of anyone. Communities are pretty
> lively by themselves. They aren't in a constant fight against
> oblivion. And, above all, they don't feel that the language they
> choose to write in is a factor for the "value" the work finally has.
>
> Of course, in static fiction this is managed thanks to the work of
> many translators. It's not that everything is translated, but we have
> a good "general view" of at least the most outstanding works written
> in every country. And then there's that wonderful side-effect: "the
> virtue of contamination". Ryūnosuke Akutagawa tales wouln't be the

I don't understand IF or I7 but I have very modest knowledge about
Aventure games. I don't believe windows operating systems in North
America support foreign languages beyond word documents or text files.
or programming languages support compiling the German character set.
Even in Linux one has to rely on unicode and encoding and codec which
for beginners and others is quite tricky and complex. I am learning
German and learning Python to be able to write basic Adventure games in
German as a teaching aid for myself and others interested. With the
little German that I understand, it appears that support for foreign
languages in computer programming languages is non-existent or modest at
best.

In my opinion it is the programming languages and not languages in
general that are the difficulty.

joha...@gmail.com

unread,
Jul 2, 2007, 5:42:42 AM7/2/07
to

Sometimes the opinions are surprising different.

I think that can be because of the same reason some of us in spanish
community find some of the english ways of telling i-f very very
strange...

Many of us dont play even one Infocom game or related ones during
years. The i-f culture is just different here.

Eriorg

unread,
Jul 2, 2007, 11:41:05 AM7/2/07
to
On 2 juil, 11:42, johan....@gmail.com wrote:
> On 22 jun, 20:25, Eriorg <Eri...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > Personally, I'm much less enthusiastic about translations of reviews
> > of English games written by members of non-English IF communities. Did
> > you really notice their opinions about these games are so different? I
> > don't know: it just seems a bit odd to me.
>
> Sometimes the opinions are surprising different.
>
> I think that can be because of the same reason some of us in spanish
> community find some of the english ways of telling i-f very very
> strange...
>
> Many of us dont play even one Infocom game or related ones during
> years. The i-f culture is just different here.

Thank you for your answer!

I'm curious: could you tell us the names of some English IF games
which the Spanish often like and the English or American often don't,
or vice versa? Are most of them old (1980s) games, or are there also
more recent ones?

Autymn D. C.

unread,
Jul 2, 2007, 7:58:38 PM7/2/07
to
On Jun 21, 12:12 pm, David Doty <daved...@hotSPAMmail.com> wrote:
> Madoc <MadocD...@gmail.com> wrote in news:2zt6wvp1v9s5$.14z0xiwtlb8sf$.dlg@

The biggest obstacul: http://google.com/groups?q=Autymn+Norman+OR+corruption.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Spivak_pronoun#another_criticism_from_lysdexia

The four English genders:
[th]a speakka
[th]e speakke
[th]i speakt
[th]y speak

Original Latin had four also, not and neither masculin and feminin,
but nominativ and accusativ.

English startd in +450 whereas Thewdish startd in +500. The muttish
between +1200 and today doesn't teallan|computire as English. I
suggest that ye/we bulldoze the "English" educational sustem until it
toshapes with the whole paradigm.

-Aut

Picguy

unread,
Jul 3, 2007, 11:42:19 AM7/3/07
to
"Autymn D. C." <lysd...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in
news:1183420718.2...@e9g2000prf.googlegroups.com:

> The four English genders:
> [th]a speakka
> [th]e speakke
> [th]i speakt
> [th]y speak
>
> Original Latin had four also, not and neither masculin and feminin,
> but nominativ and accusativ.

Are you talking about gender or declension? Because nominative and
accusative are noun declensions not genders.

Irrelevant but interesting fact many English speakers don't know about
their own language: declension is partially preserved in pronouns
(I,me,mine), although the accusative and dative are merged together.

John W. Kennedy

unread,
Jul 3, 2007, 1:43:55 PM7/3/07
to
Picguy wrote:
> "Autymn D. C." <lysd...@sbcglobal.net> wrote in
> news:1183420718.2...@e9g2000prf.googlegroups.com:
>
>> The four English genders:
>> [th]a speakka
>> [th]e speakke
>> [th]i speakt
>> [th]y speak
>>
>> Original Latin had four also, not and neither masculin and feminin,
>> but nominativ and accusativ.
>
> Are you talking about gender or declension? Because nominative and
> accusative are noun declensions not genders.

No, they are cases. Declension is the whole system: number, gender, and
case.

> Irrelevant but interesting fact many English speakers don't know about
> their own language: declension is partially preserved in pronouns
> (I,me,mine), although the accusative and dative are merged together.


--
John W. Kennedy
"I want everybody to be smart. As smart as they can be. A world of
ignorant people is too dangerous to live in."
-- Garson Kanin. "Born Yesterday"

Picguy

unread,
Jul 4, 2007, 12:34:41 PM7/4/07
to
"John W. Kennedy" <jwk...@attglobal.net> wrote in news:vVvii.24$tW2.0
@newsfe12.lga:

> No, they are cases. Declension is the whole system: number, gender, and
> case.

You're right, of course. Sloppy memory there.

Dave

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages