[General] Feedback & Support

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Jim Aikin

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May 9, 2007, 12:06:38 PM5/9/07
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Yesterday, after spending a couple of hours developing and debugging some
complex behavior for an NPC, it occurred to me that there is absolutely
NOBODY in my life that I can talk to about this accomplishment. Nobody to
cheer me on when I succeed, nobody to commiserate when I'm stuck, nobody to
suggest enhancements or perspectives I haven't thought of.

r.a.i-f is good for technical discussions, but I'm not inclined to post
bloglike monologues about my tribulations, both because I'd be opening
myself up to random potshots from people who have nothing better to do than
take random potshots, and because some of what I'd end up talking about
would contain spoilers for the game.

I'm wondering if some sort of email-based invitation-only IF workshop might
be viable. The idea would be to talk about everything _except_ the technical
details (unless they're relevant to a larger topic). Also to celebrate our
triumphs together. ("...almost ready for beta-testing!!!")

Would anybody else find this useful? What sort of model or guidelines would
make sense for you?

--Jim Aikin

P.S.: The reason I said "invitation-only" is not because I'm a snob (though
I'm certainly a snob). It's because I'd like to keep the signal-to-noise
ratio high and get to know a few people better. If you know where someone is
coming from (because they've shared about their creative process), their
feedback on what you're going through is a lot more meaningful.


ChicagoDave

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May 9, 2007, 12:43:10 PM5/9/07
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Jim,

You should sign onto ifMUD (ifmud.port4000.com). We're very supportive
and offer exactly what you're looking for. We have a channel system
for topics such as #tads, #I7, #inform, #craft, and more.

Come on down!

David C.

Jacek Pudlo

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May 9, 2007, 1:06:57 PM5/9/07
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Jim Aikin

> Yesterday, after spending a couple of hours developing and debugging some
> complex behavior for an NPC, it occurred to me that there is absolutely
> NOBODY in my life that I can talk to about this accomplishment. Nobody to
> cheer me on when I succeed, nobody to commiserate when I'm stuck, nobody
> to suggest enhancements or perspectives I haven't thought of.

You'll get plenty of that when you start beta-testing, provided your game is
worth its salt. If you're not ready for beta, and want feedback, you could
always recruit a small band of alpha-testers.

> r.a.i-f is good for technical discussions, but I'm not inclined to post
> bloglike monologues about my tribulations, both because I'd be opening
> myself up to random potshots from people who have nothing better to do
> than take random potshots, and because some of what I'd end up talking
> about would contain spoilers for the game.
>
> I'm wondering if some sort of email-based invitation-only IF workshop
> might be viable. The idea would be to talk about everything _except_ the
> technical details (unless they're relevant to a larger topic). Also to
> celebrate our triumphs together. ("...almost ready for beta-testing!!!")

Sounds like a mutual adoration society. Why are you so scared of criticism,
Jim?

Jim Aikin

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May 9, 2007, 1:44:07 PM5/9/07
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> You should sign onto ifMUD (ifmud.port4000.com). We're very supportive
> and offer exactly what you're looking for. We have a channel system
> for topics such as #tads, #I7, #inform, #craft, and more.
>
> Come on down!

Okay, maybe I'll give it another try. To be honest, I have reservations.

First, I don't really want to learn another big slug of syntax or another
piece of software. I already don't have enough time to write, or play music,
or lots of other things.

Second, my impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that a MUD is a
real-time activity. I'm a lot more interested in the leisurely conversations
that are carried on in a forum, a newsgroup, or a mailing list.

Third (and again, please correct me if I'm wrong), it appears that the
already tiny world of IF is split up on the MUD into even tinier channels
(tads, inform, betatesting, yadda yadda). Do I have time to check in on all
of these channels every day? No, I do not. r.a.i-f is at least all in one
place!

But I'd love to be educated on these points. Tell me more.

--JA


OKB (not okblacke)

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May 9, 2007, 4:51:30 PM5/9/07
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Jim Aikin wrote:

>> You should sign onto ifMUD (ifmud.port4000.com). We're very
>> supportive and offer exactly what you're looking for. We have a
>> channel system for topics such as #tads, #I7, #inform, #craft, and
>> more.
>>
>> Come on down!
>
> Okay, maybe I'll give it another try. To be honest, I have
> reservations.

<snip>


> But I'd love to be educated on these points. Tell me more.

The best way to educate yourself is to come to ifMUD and check it
out. If you don't like it, no problem. But the kind of community you
are describing exists, and it is ifMUD. And if you are unwilling to
learn a new system even when motivated by the desire for such a
community, it's a good bet that people on ifMUD, who already have such a
community and hence no such motivation, are probably not going to have
much interest in learning your new forum-based system.

--
--OKB (not okblacke)
Brendan Barnwell
"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is
no path, and leave a trail."
--author unknown

José Manuel García-Patos

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May 9, 2007, 5:39:55 PM5/9/07
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> But the kind of community you are describing exists, and it is ifMUD.

As a former regular visitor of ifMUD, I must say that (with the exception
of two or three people) I never felt that kindness you describe. Of
course, this is just my personal, subjective experience and not the
absolute truth, but to me it looked more like a small closed circle of
friends where (almost) nobody seemed to want to disturb the current status
quo by accepting new members.

I was going to pull a shameless plug of an IRC channel I created almost a
year ago, but now I guess it would too hypocrytical, so I won't do it.

Also, when I bought a domain back in January, I got the right to create,
use and manage five mailing lists. Unfortunately, I don't yet know how to
use them, but if there are enough people who would like to have one, I can
try and set it up. It shouldn't be that difficult, I guess.

All The Best.
José Manuel García-Patos
Madrid

José Manuel García-Patos

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May 9, 2007, 5:47:23 PM5/9/07
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>> But the kind of community you are describing exists, and it is ifMUD.

Oops. I misread that. Sorry.

Bad subconscious, bad!

Jim Aikin

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May 9, 2007, 5:46:49 PM5/9/07
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> The best way to educate yourself is to come to ifMUD and check it
> out. If you don't like it, no problem.

Well, there's a certain amount of education that has to happen BEFORE one
can check it out.

> But the kind of community you
> are describing exists, and it is ifMUD.

That's good to know. I'm encouraged to investigate further.

> And if you are unwilling to
> learn a new system even when motivated by the desire for such a
> community, it's a good bet that people on ifMUD, who already have such a
> community and hence no such motivation, are probably not going to have
> much interest in learning your new forum-based system.

Oh, yeah -- forums are just a pain in the butt, aren't they? Such obscure,
user-hostile technology! :-)

--JA


Stephen Granade

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May 9, 2007, 6:22:21 PM5/9/07
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José Manuel García-Patos <jgarc...@alumno.uned.es> writes:

> > But the kind of community you are describing exists, and it is ifMUD.
>
> As a former regular visitor of ifMUD, I must say that (with the exception
> of two or three people) I never felt that kindness you describe. Of
> course, this is just my personal, subjective experience and not the
> absolute truth, but to me it looked more like a small closed circle of
> friends where (almost) nobody seemed to want to disturb the current status
> quo by accepting new members.
>
> I was going to pull a shameless plug of an IRC channel I created almost a
> year ago, but now I guess it would too hypocrytical, so I won't do it.

It's not really hypocritical, and since the discussion has turned to
where existing communities for feedback and support exist, it would be
entirely appropriate.

Stephen

--
Stephen Granade
stephen...@granades.com

Bert Byfield

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May 9, 2007, 8:41:44 PM5/9/07
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> As a former regular visitor of ifMUD, I must say that (with the
> exception of two or three people) I never felt that kindness you
> describe. Of course, this is just my personal, subjective
> experience and not the absolute truth, but to me it looked more
> like a small closed circle of friends where (almost) nobody seemed
> to want to disturb the current status quo by accepting new
> members.

That's exactly what I found on ifMUD.


ChicagoDave

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May 9, 2007, 8:48:28 PM5/9/07
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> On May 9, 4:46 pm, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> Oh, yeah -- forums are just a pain in the butt, aren't they? Such obscure,
> user-hostile technology! :-)

Well, the positive side of forums is that the history of any
conversation is there to re-read at anytime.

We do have the ability to save conversations on ifMUD, but it's
something we only do when we have a really interesting discussion.

But the thing you're looking for specifically. People to converse with
about IF topics and have a deep understanding of all of the nuances of
your development. That is something I personally don't think you'll
have more success finding than ifMUD.

As has been mentioned, the mud has had issues with some visitors.
These visitors tend to come in very loud, rude, and not at all
interested in communing with us. When people like this get out of
hand, we boot them. But more often than not, they just aren't
interested in the boring discussions we have on channels like
#politics, #religion, or #housing.

Which leads me to my other point. We talk about a LOT of things, not
just IF. But IF is what's brought us all together.

ifMUD has even launched a few relationships and even a couple of
marriages.

Anyway....using Pueblo or some other mud client to connect is a no-
brainer and then chatting on ifMUD takes a few minutes to learn. After
that, it's just chatting.

David C.

Jim Aikin

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May 9, 2007, 10:46:44 PM5/9/07
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> Anyway....using Pueblo or some other mud client to connect is a no-
> brainer and then chatting on ifMUD takes a few minutes to learn. After
> that, it's just chatting.

By my count, the help file lists 282 commands, flags, options, etc. If you
can learn that in "a few minutes," then you're a lot smarter than I am, and
my conversation would only bore the pants off of you.

Here's a random example drawn from the help text:

@fail kitten=@switch("%s", "she", "The kitten allows you to pet it,
but won't let you pick it up.", "he", "The kitten scratches and
bites your hand when you try to pick it up.", "The kitten runs to
the other side of the room, while looking at you strangely.")

There's a kind of poetry in that, I suppose, but I'm not sure what it has to
do with chatting.

--JA


Emily Short

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May 9, 2007, 11:08:59 PM5/9/07
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Not much, which is why very few people ever use any of that stuff.
It's there if you feel like building a game-like area on the mud, but
it's not needed. Almost all of what I type falls into one of the
following categories:

lounge [go to the main chat area]
"foo [say foo]
@listc -recent [see on which channels there's been recent activity]
@joinc #foo [join channel foo]
#foo [say something on channel foo]
bb * [read new posts to channels that I'm on -- these being permanent
messages left on a channel rather than live conversation]

...and that's it. I built some things back when I first joined the mud
in, um, 1999, because I thought that's what people were supposed to do
when they joined. I don't think I've touched it since the first week.
There are a few other commands to learn if you want to create a new
channel of your own or post an announcement to a channel, and a few
flags you can set to customize your mudding experience, but they're
optional and easily to look up and do not constitute the bulk of the
interaction.

That said: yes, ifMUD is a realtime environment. This can be useful if
you want live support on a code issue (assuming there's someone online
who is an expert in your system of choice) -- you can often get
questions resolved much faster than through an exchange on RAIF. But
if realtime is categorically not what you want, ifMUD won't be much
help.

Jim Aikin

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May 9, 2007, 11:31:07 PM5/9/07
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>> There's a kind of poetry in that, I suppose, but I'm not sure what it has
>> to
>> do with chatting.
>
> Not much, which is why very few people ever use any of that stuff.

Thanks for the clarification on this. The help file is rather intimidating,
not to say unhelpful.

> That said: yes, ifMUD is a realtime environment. This can be useful if
> you want live support on a code issue (assuming there's someone online
> who is an expert in your system of choice) -- you can often get
> questions resolved much faster than through an exchange on RAIF. But
> if realtime is categorically not what you want, ifMUD won't be much
> help.

Well, it's not so much "categorically" as "in a practical sense." I like the
idea of being able to click over and find out what other people are doing,
boast, ask a question, or whatever, but there are issues.

First, I've been doing most of my IF work sitting in the other room with my
laptop. I'd love to have a new laptop with a wireless connection, but that's
not in the budget this summer.

Second, if I'm online I have too many distractions already -- principally
playing go. I'm usually playing seven or eight games on the Dragon Go
Server, so if I'm online the temptation to see if it's my turn in any of the
games is nearly overwhelming. So I get a _lot_ more done if I'm sitting in
the other room with the laptop, wrapped up in my own little cocoon.

There's a mailing list at feelies.org, but it seems to be dead. A mailing
list in digest form would be about my speed, I think.

--JA


Emily Short

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May 9, 2007, 11:50:54 PM5/9/07
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On May 9, 10:31 pm, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> >> There's a kind of poetry in that, I suppose, but I'm not sure what it has
> >> to
> >> do with chatting.
>
> > Not much, which is why very few people ever use any of that stuff.
>
> Thanks for the clarification on this. The help file is rather intimidating,
> not to say unhelpful.

We usually point newcomers to http://diden.net/~maga/ifMUDfaq/ .

> There's a mailing list at feelies.org, but it seems to be dead. A mailing
> list in digest form would be about my speed, I think.

Yeah, it got only brief use. I don't know: you're welcome to try to
start a new thing of your own, of course, but my experience is that
most such spinoffs rapidly lose traffic and go quiet.

Bert Byfield

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May 9, 2007, 11:52:28 PM5/9/07
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>> There's a kind of poetry in that, I suppose, but I'm not sure
>> what it has to do with chatting.

> Not much, which is why very few people ever use any of that stuff.
> It's there if you feel like building a game-like area on the mud,
> but it's not needed. Almost all of what I type falls into one of
> the following categories:
> lounge [go to the main chat area]
> "foo [say foo]
> @listc -recent [see on which channels there's been recent
> activity] @joinc #foo [join channel foo]

An additional item:
* Have minions drag Bert Byfield through the slime and the mud...
;-)


Cassy Palop

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May 10, 2007, 3:56:30 AM5/10/07
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It will sound funny, but to me the main problem deals with my European
location and time zones.

The first time I entered ifMUD... everybody was still sleeping. :)

Blank

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May 10, 2007, 5:23:55 AM5/10/07
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Hi Jim

I wonder if a blog might work? I use livejournal (free account) and it
has facilities for grading entries as "public", "friends-only" and
"private". So you'd be able to write general musings about what you're
doing IF-wise at the moment, and have more specific discussions with a
smaller circle of friends. The notification system for when people leave
comments can effectively mean that the interconnected blogs function as
an email list if you want to use it that way.

have a look at

http://www.livejournal.com

A quick search there on interactive fiction throws up quite a long list
of people who give this as an interest - though I notice quite a few of
them are trying to write their own homebrew parsers.

LJ also has "communities" - which I've not used so can't really tell you
how effective they are at bringing together people with similar
interests, but there is already an IF community:

http://community.livejournal.com/int_fiction/

so just joining that might be worth a go.

hth

jz.

Emily Short

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May 10, 2007, 3:07:04 PM5/10/07
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On May 10, 4:23 am, Blank <b...@nowhere.com> wrote:
> LJ also has "communities" - which I've not used so can't really tell you
> how effective they are at bringing together people with similar
> interests, but there is already an IF community:
>
> http://community.livejournal.com/int_fiction/
>
> so just joining that might be worth a go.

People do occasionally post little bits about their works in progress
there, though the traffic isn't very high. I don't think it would be
unwelcome, though; it just doesn't happen all that much.

There's also the intfiction forum (http://www.intfiction.org/forum/
index.php), which has somewhat sluggish traffic, but the mood is a bit
chattier and less formal than on RAIF. Posts about progress on a WIP
would probably not be out of place there.

José Manuel García-Patos

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May 10, 2007, 3:30:30 PM5/10/07
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> It's not really hypocritical, and since the discussion has turned to
> where existing communities for feedback and support exist, it would be
> entirely appropriate.

If anybody else had done what I just did and had then mentioned his IRC
channel, I would have thought that the reason why he was criticizing the
ifMUD was because he wanted to make publicity of it. That's why I thought
it was hypocritical. If you really must know, the channel is called
#ifdev, and it's on Freenode. But as far as feedback and support goes, the
newsgroups and even the ifMUD are probably better. The original intention
behind the creation of the channel was more the exchange of ideas and
general IF related conversation.

José Manuel García-Patos

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May 10, 2007, 3:32:18 PM5/10/07
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> It will sound funny, but to me the main problem deals with my European
> location and time zones.
>
> The first time I entered ifMUD... everybody was still sleeping. :)

Did you join any channels? Most talking was done in there.

K M

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May 11, 2007, 12:13:56 AM5/11/07
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Jim's original post resonates with me. Whose brain can I pick, whose
shoulder can I cry on?

Real-time communities (like the chat room model) seem less accessible
to me, too, not because of a technical hangup, but because, in my
experience:
1) while they tend to provide more (and instantaneous) interaction in
the acute phase, in the long term they seem to lead to more
superficial conversations (OSISTM). Too much popping in and out (and
always right when one is getting to the meat, or the meatless entree,
of a conversation...)
2) the time zone issue Cassy describes, mixed with...
3) mismatch in diurnal creativity cycles. If I like to get up at 5:00
am (and believe me, that's completely hypothetical) and write IF and
IF-related stuff before the rest of the house gets up, but my "beta
buddy" is a night owl, finding a mutually agreeable time for
synchronous discussion online will be difficult.
4) I'm a sufficiently-slow thinker, and weak enough at expressing
myself both quickly and specifically, that the kind of person I'd want
to partner with is likely to get impatient with me. That is, it seems
more of a courtesy to him/her for me to labor over what I want to say
*on my own time*, then send it off, allowing the recipient to mull it
over, or zip it back.

The reverse is also true. The two IF Comp entrants for whom I beta-
tested were patient enough to wait a couple weeks for feedback while I
-- not *ran through* their pieces, perhaps my pace might better be
described as *slogged* (and this is a reflection of my own mental
torpor, not the quality of their games, both of which the IF community
judged to be quite good). But both those writers, I'm certain, would
prefer reading my remarks in a transcript, rather than watching in
real time over Telnet as I played.

On second thought, they might have found it humorous:

>[long pause]
Thinks John: "I bet she's not sure how to spell 'sergeant' and is
looking it up."

>[long pause]
Thinks Nolan: "She's identifying WAY too much with the PC."

>[long pause]
Think John and Nolan: "She's never going to get the bit involving the
time paradox."

Jim Aikin

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May 11, 2007, 1:19:23 AM5/11/07
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"K M" <kate-...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1178856836.5...@y80g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

> Jim's original post resonates with me. Whose brain can I pick, whose
> shoulder can I cry on?

Based on a couple of other responses, I've done a little poking around. It
seems to me the problem is not that we don't have "virtual spaces" in which
to hang out. If anything, just the opposite: We've got too many of them, and
the community is not large enough to support them all.

--Dan Shiovitz started a mailing list. It died several years ago.

--There's a perfectly swell forum at intfiction.org/forum. It's not dead by
any means, but it gets very little traffic, as far as I can see.

--There's ifMUD.

--There's the ifwiki.

--One poster recommended livejournal.com. It looks very nice at first
glance. He said there was an IF community there, but apparently you have to
create an account in order to browse the list of communities, and I haven't
done it yet.

I personally don't feel like using raif as a blog. I don't think that's very
appropriate (plus, it would be sort of like painting a bull's-eye on my
tee-shirt and walking into a room full of trolls).

Maybe the best idea would be for about a dozen people (or two dozen) who
are, shall we say, more than casually involved in IF to resuscitate Dan's
list. All you have to do is join it and then start emailing the list -- the
software is still extant. It's at feelies.org. The advantages of a mailing
list are (1) it's moderated, (2) it doesn't look or feel like a forum or
newsgroup.

I've joined it. Haven't sent out any messages yet. Why not join and send out
a howdy?

--JA


Arnel Legaspi

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May 11, 2007, 2:48:50 AM5/11/07
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On May 11, 1:19 pm, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> Maybe the best idea would be for about a dozen people (or two dozen) who
> are, shall we say, more than casually involved in IF to resuscitate Dan's
> list. All you have to do is join it and then start emailing the list -- the
> software is still extant. It's at feelies.org. The advantages of a mailing
> list are (1) it's moderated, (2) it doesn't look or feel like a forum or
> newsgroup.
>
> I've joined it. Haven't sent out any messages yet. Why not join and send out
> a howdy?

I'm interested. Where can we find it?

--Arnel

Cassy Palop

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May 11, 2007, 4:01:19 AM5/11/07
to
> Did you join any channels? Most talking was done in there.

Probably not. I intended to enter there in the small hours (at least
in Spain)--and I know that she that would have the fruit must climb
the tree--but I lacked the patience and concentration to read all the
help. :)

Nevertheless, thanks a lot for your remark!

Best regards,
Cassy

ChicagoDave

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May 11, 2007, 9:40:14 AM5/11/07
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On May 11, 12:19 am, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> "K M" <kate-mc...@hotmail.com> wrote in message

I do hope a few stronger IF people show up on the list. That would be
a good thing. It's my guess though that you're going to need to go
where the stronger IF people are, because to date, they have proven to
be a very stubborn lot. They respond to e-mail, on raif, and on ifMUD.
In ten years, I've yet to see any other forum succeed. Even the inform
and z-machine mailing lists are rarely used.

The problem is that a lot of questions one might have really belong on
raif. And then if you're asking questions about a specifc scenario in
your game, seriously, ifMUD is by far the best place for that sort of
thing. We upload/e-mail people code all the time and get working
feedback. Instead of using a mailing list or forum over several days,
you might get a problem resolved in minutes.

It's unfortunate that I've heard so many negative assumptions about
ifMUD or chatting in general. I do understand the timezone issue, but
the mud has people from the UK, Austria, Australia, and all over the
US on. It might get sleepy once in awhile, but we have a lot of strong
IF developers in many time zones.

David C.

Jim Aikin

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May 11, 2007, 12:30:18 PM5/11/07
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"ChicagoDave" <david.c...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1178890814....@y5g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...

>
> The problem is that a lot of questions one might have really belong on
> raif. And then if you're asking questions about a specifc scenario in
> your game, seriously, ifMUD is by far the best place for that sort of
> thing. We upload/e-mail people code all the time and get working
> feedback. Instead of using a mailing list or forum over several days,
> you might get a problem resolved in minutes.

Well, I'm not really talking about a place to ask technical questions. I
don't feel any need for more of that -- the newsgroup works fine. What I'm
talking about has more to do with being able to share triumphs and
tribulations. That sort of thing doesn't really belong on raif, IMO.

> It's unfortunate that I've heard so many negative assumptions about
> ifMUD or chatting in general. I do understand the timezone issue, but
> the mud has people from the UK, Austria, Australia, and all over the
> US on. It might get sleepy once in awhile, but we have a lot of strong
> IF developers in many time zones.

I'll plead guilty to making negative assumptions. But honestly, I do have my
hands full learning TADS 3. I really, really don't want to learn a bunch of
arcane text commands, especially when the goal is to enhance my level of
human contact. That seems sort of counterintuitive, really, as a
methodology.

--JA


Bert Byfield

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May 11, 2007, 1:25:06 PM5/11/07
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> I'll plead guilty to making negative assumptions. But honestly, I
> do have my hands full learning TADS 3. I really, really don't want
> to learn a bunch of arcane text commands, especially when the goal
> is to enhance my level of human contact. That seems sort of
> counterintuitive, really, as a methodology. --JA

You should try the mud for yourself, and you really don't need to learn
technical stuff to do it. All that arcane stuff is there as optional
toys. Any MUD software (it connects you to the mud) should have you
talking to humans right away. I did write my own mud software, but that
was because I like VB6 programming, not because it was necessary. Plug
"mud freeware" into Google, or maybe someone here has a suggestion, and
you should be talking to the kids -- oops, I mean the people -- in the
MUD right away. If it then seems like you have walked into a high
school hallway, that's another issue entirely. ;-)


J. Robinson Wheeler

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May 11, 2007, 2:45:06 PM5/11/07
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"Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:

> "ChicagoDave" <david.cornel...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > And then if you're asking questions about a specifc scenario in
> > your game, seriously, ifMUD is by far the best place for that sort of
> > thing. We upload/e-mail people code all the time and get working
> > feedback.
>
> Well, I'm not really talking about a place to ask technical questions. I
> don't feel any need for more of that -- the newsgroup works fine. What I'm
> talking about has more to do with being able to share triumphs and
> tribulations.

If what you want is a place to go at the moment of triumph
to say "Hooray! I just solved that tricky NPC programming
problem I've been bashing my head on" and have several
familiar and comprehending people say "Yay" and "Nice
work", that's more typical of ifMUD than Dave's example of
being a technical forum to work out problems. In my experience,
the only people who go to ifMUD for that are new to IF
programming and are dealing with basic problems.

However, if you feel there is a technical barrier to learning
how to connect to ifMUD and talk, enough to make you
uncomfortable, then that's fine. It is also the case that, like
with any gathering place, some people quickly get the vibe
and fit in, and others don't seem to, and that's a potential
barrier as well. (Hard to predict.)

But, I'm posting this because I just wanted to say for the
record that commiserating while one toils on one's own
projects is what ifMUD is all about, since almost everybody
there is working on something or other.

--
J. Robinson Wheeler http://raddial.com/if/
JRW Digital Media http://thekroneexperiment.com/dvd/

Poster

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May 11, 2007, 11:38:22 PM5/11/07
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J. Robinson Wheeler wrote:

> However, if you feel there is a technical barrier to learning
> how to connect to ifMUD and talk, enough to make you
> uncomfortable, then that's fine. It is also the case that, like
> with any gathering place, some people quickly get the vibe
> and fit in, and others don't seem to, and that's a potential
> barrier as well. (Hard to predict.)
>
> But, I'm posting this because I just wanted to say for the
> record that commiserating while one toils on one's own
> projects is what ifMUD is all about, since almost everybody
> there is working on something or other.

If you wanted to set up an email thing, count me in. Email is easy.

-- Poster

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

Bert Byfield

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May 11, 2007, 11:46:11 PM5/11/07
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>> ... projects is what ifMUD is all about, since almost everybody

>> there is working on something or other.

> If you wanted to set up an email thing, count me in. Email is easy.
> -- Poster

No, MUD is entirely different. But you might have a go at it anyway.
MUD is not as easy as email, but you can do it. You need a MUD program
(software) and the name of the ifMUD, and (PRESTO!) you are part of the
ifMUD community!


Cassy Palop

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May 14, 2007, 4:39:03 AM5/14/07
to
As I missed an extremely empathic answer here, I only wanted to
express my solidarity with you. ;)

Above all, notice that there is not a bit of irony in my following
words.

> There is absolutely


> NOBODY in my life that I can talk to about this accomplishment.

How about me? Personally I realized how complex a piece can be when I
played "Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina". It was a really deserving
work in IF.

> Nobody to cheer me on when I succeed

They say that there are 99 ways to say very good. I will say: "Keep up
the good work!"

If it makes you feel any better, sorrowfully I will miss the IF Art
Show 2007 deadline by a day or two. :(

All the very best,
Cassy


Jim Aikin

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May 14, 2007, 8:02:59 PM5/14/07
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"Cassy Palop" <cassand...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1179131942.9...@y80g2000hsf.googlegroups.com...

> As I missed an extremely empathic answer here, I only wanted to
> express my solidarity with you. ;)
>
> Above all, notice that there is not a bit of irony in my following
> words.
>
>> There is absolutely
>> NOBODY in my life that I can talk to about this accomplishment.
>
> How about me? Personally I realized how complex a piece can be when I
> played "Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina". It was a really deserving
> work in IF.

Thanks for the encouragement, Cassy. It does make a difference!

In retrospect, "Ballerina" would have benefitted from a bit more in the way
of a coherent story line, and a couple of the puzzles were downright stupid.
If I were doing it over again, I'd get rid of the 15-tile "door lock" on the
rear entrance of the toy store, for sure. Sadly, I no longer have the source
code, and life is too short to recreate an entire ASCII electric train set
from scratch.

Right now I'm working on a top-to-bottom rewrite of "Last Resort." Version 2
will have a more structured plot, there will be no timed puzzles or randomly
moving NPCs to evade, and the Aztec temple complex is much more fully
developed. NPC conversations will be deeper and more extensive because I've
switched to TADS 3. And there will be one or two other little enhancements
(heh-heh-heh). Those who have already played the game will probably find
enough fresh stuff to enjoy it a second time (assuming they enjoyed it the
first time, that is).

There will be a really cool piece of cover art, courtesy of Tim Simmons. I
don't think I'll be able to download the 30-day free demo of Illustrator a
second time, though, so I'll have to figure out some other way to do the PDF
of Eternal Springs.

--JA

JennyK

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May 21, 2007, 8:49:40 AM5/21/07
to
Hi.
Jims original post made me interested in something a bit quieter, a
bit less technical. Anyway, I joined the good old-fashioned mailing
list at feelies.org. I did send a howdy there. Just because it's dead
now doesn't mean it needs to remain dead right?
Maybe I'll see you there... Oh, I know how to talk to myself and enjoy
it too, but in the long run it can get a bit weird.
"I was schizo once but we're ok now."
Jen

George Oliver

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May 21, 2007, 11:10:23 AM5/21/07
to
I'm surprised no one in this thread has mentioned that what Jim seems
to be looking for is a classic writer's workshop. In all of the
current IF communities, such as RAIF, the forum, and IFMud, there
aren't focused workshops as far as I know; either it's much less
formal or people have small groups of testers and idea people they go
to first (and that's still a one to many relationship, rather than a
many to many thing you'd get in a workshop).

If you look at the SF writing world you have communities like RAIF,
for example off the top of my head I can think of the sf newsgroups
and sff.net, but there are also online and offline workshops -- the
first that springs to mind for online is critters.org (really big) and
I know only of the offline ones in my area (such as Writer's Cramp).

Anyway, I think there are different requirements for a functioning
workshop and I'm no expert. But if Jim is looking for a workshop
things should be set up a bit differently than your standard mailing
list. Even if he isn't looking for one, I would think that this is
something that could benefit others in the community.


jsh...@comcast.net

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May 21, 2007, 12:21:16 PM5/21/07
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On May 9, 12:06 pm, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> Yesterday, after spending a couple of hours developing and debugging some
> complex behavior for an NPC, it occurred to me that there is absolutely
> NOBODY in my life that I can talk to about this accomplishment. Nobody to

> cheer me on when I succeed, nobody to commiserate when I'm stuck, nobody to
> suggest enhancements or perspectives I haven't thought of.
>
> r.a.i-f is good for technical discussions, but I'm not inclined to post
> bloglike monologues about my tribulations, both because I'd be opening
> myself up to random potshots from people who have nothing better to do than

> take random potshots, and because some of what I'd end up talking about
> would contain spoilers for the game.
>
> I'm wondering if some sort of email-based invitation-only IF workshop might
> be viable. The idea would be to talk about everything _except_ the technical
> details (unless they're relevant to a larger topic). Also to celebrate our
> triumphs together. ("...almost ready for beta-testing!!!")
>
> Would anybody else find this useful? What sort of model or guidelines would
> make sense for you?
>
> --Jim Aikin
>
> P.S.: The reason I said "invitation-only" is not because I'm a snob (though
> I'm certainly a snob). It's because I'd like to keep the signal-to-noise
> ratio high and get to know a few people better. If you know where someone is
> coming from (because they've shared about their creative process), their
> feedback on what you're going through is a lot more meaningful.

Hey, Jim! What you are describing sounds interesting to me. Would
you consider starting a blog for purposes similar to what you
described? I have health problems, but when I am well, I enjoy
writing and playing IF. I'm not much good at either, by the way! ;-)

Jim Aikin

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May 21, 2007, 12:42:18 PM5/21/07
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"George Oliver" <georgeo...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1179760223....@36g2000prm.googlegroups.com...

> I'm surprised no one in this thread has mentioned that what Jim seems
> to be looking for is a classic writer's workshop.

True enough. As a writer of SF, I participated for several years in a
once-a-month workshop/dritique group in San Jose. I found it extremely
useful for several reasons. When I presented what I thought was the final
draft of "The Wall at the Edge of the World", Kevin jumped up and down and
said, "It's not finished! You've only written half the story. You have to
finish it." He was absolutely right. I went back and finished it, and my
agent (whom Kevin also recommended) sold it.

> If you look at the SF writing world you have communities like RAIF,
> for example off the top of my head I can think of the sf newsgroups
> and sff.net, but there are also online and offline workshops -- the
> first that springs to mind for online is critters.org (really big) and
> I know only of the offline ones in my area (such as Writer's Cramp).

I dipped into critters briefly. (I still receive their stuff every week.) I
think it's performing a great service. The quality of the writing did not
inspire me with much hope that anyone there would have anything insightful
to say about my work ... but perhaps that was just ego. I've noticed that
people who are not good writers are sometimes very insightful readers. The
two skills are not the same.

> Anyway, I think there are different requirements for a functioning
> workshop and I'm no expert. But if Jim is looking for a workshop
> things should be set up a bit differently than your standard mailing
> list. Even if he isn't looking for one, I would think that this is
> something that could benefit others in the community.

I think a mailing list has the advantage that it's a known mechanism (and
requires no setup, since Dan already has it running). But I'd be very
interested in hearing other ideas/models.

One thing that an IF workshop could do, I think, would be to allow other
participants to check out works-in-progress. The current model is, you
develop a game all by yourself in your room, and then when it's done (you
hope...), you enlist beta-testers. If the testers suggest ideas that would
require massive reorganization of the code, you're sort of screwed, no
matter how good the ideas might be.

Whereas, if I could upload a section of a game (perhaps the rooms, with no
puzzles implemented yet, or the opening section with puzzles but nothing on
the other side of the big steel door), others would have a chance to suggest
enhancements or tell me where they're getting bored and confused.

So yeah, a workshop would be terrific. How might we set one up?

--JA


Blank

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May 22, 2007, 6:10:07 AM5/22/07
to

Yahoo Groups? I know each group has a folders section, so workshop
members would be able to post binaries of their wips there.

jz

David Whyld

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May 22, 2007, 8:50:30 AM5/22/07
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On May 22, 11:10 am, Blank <b...@nowhere.com> wrote:
> Jim Aikin wrote:
> > "George Oliver" <georgeolive...@gmail.com> wrote in message
> jz- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Would the WIPs be available for everyone to have a look at or just
certain people? (I.e. do you want any Tom, Dick or Harry coming across
your game, seeing a neat idea and stealing it?) Can the admin of a
Yahoo group restrict what files people can and cannot download? If
not, might it be an idea to set up some kind of forum where the files
in question could be posted on a hidden part of the forum that only
certain people have access to?

Blank

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May 23, 2007, 5:35:06 AM5/23/07
to

The files would be visible to all members of the group - but since it's
supposed to be a workshop, you could just restrict the number of
members. (Although given the frequency of traffic on other fora, the
main problem seems to be getting *enough* members for the group to have
a reasonable level of conversation!)

Alternatively, just post your WIP for a week or two and then take it
down again.

--jz

ChicagoDave

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May 23, 2007, 1:12:23 PM5/23/07
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On May 21, 11:42 am, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> "George Oliver" <georgeolive...@gmail.com> wrote in message

I'm wondering if a workshop over a phone conference call might work?
We could have one or two games submit transcripts to all participants
and then during the conference we'd discuss the material.

Textfyre would be more than happy to sponsor such a thing (really
though, it's about $5 for a 2 hour conference call).

David C.

ChicagoDave

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May 23, 2007, 1:24:44 PM5/23/07
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On May 21, 11:42 am, "Jim Aikin" <edi...@musicwords.net> wrote:
> "George Oliver" <georgeolive...@gmail.com> wrote in message

I'm wondering if a phone conference would be a good way to do an IF
workshop. Phone conferencing is relatively inexpensive and I think
Textfyre would happily sponsor the call.

I think we could set aside two hours at some point and review two
games. Or maybe one hour and one game. Or have it be an open
discussion.

Thoughts?

David C.

Michael D. Hilborn

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May 23, 2007, 3:29:43 PM5/23/07
to

Yikes! You mean... talk... with our voices...? Without the safety net
of our computerized anonymity?

I'm all for it. I would be more than happy to participate, although I
could only critique. I don't have a game-in-progress that I feel I
could submit (not enough content, just yet).

Jim Aikin

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May 23, 2007, 7:27:12 PM5/23/07
to
> I'm wondering if a phone conference would be a good way to do an IF
> workshop. Phone conferencing is relatively inexpensive and I think
> Textfyre would happily sponsor the call.

The workshop/critique groups I've participated in had a very specific
structure, which worked like this: At one meeting you pass out copies of
your story (or a portion of a novel) to the other attendees. During the
intervening weeks, they read and mark up the copies. At the next meeting,
the discussion goes around the circle: Each participant has five minutes or
so to give their critique. During this period the author is NOT allowed to
engage in cross-talk or defend specific points. After everyone has shared,
there is sometimes some free discussion (depending on how many other stories
remain to be gone through).

The main part of this could be handled very easily via a mailing list or
something similar. The game is uploaded to a private area on some date, and
two weeks later there's a scheduled flurry of email to the list.

To me, that would be just as useful as a phone call. For one thing, phone
calls among a group of eight or ten strangers ... just establishing social
boundaries would take ten or fifteen minutes.

But if others feel differently, I'd be happy to participate in a group phone
conference.

Another option would be to do the group teleconference on a channel of
ifMUD.

--JA

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