Talk:PAX East 2010

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Revision as of 20:36, 14 February 2010 by DougOrleans (Talk | contribs) (Artwork: comment about badge sticker)

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This is the "ideas in progress" section that built up on the main page. I've shifted it here, because it's more discussion than result. Somewhat reorganized.

Feel free to keep adding ideas! I will update the main page as they solidify.

Managing the room

"How to throw a large room party at a science fiction convention"

Extra room supplies

  • Cheese? Sushi? (Coolers to put them in?)
    • Isn't sushi expensive, also a little dicey (as in going off) if sitting out?
  • nm suggested an easel or whiteboard to facilitate group IF play -- set it up next to the TV for mapping, notes, etc.
  • How about nametags? Given that many of us only know each other as names on a screen... (Paul O)
  • IF-related books, game boxes, memorabilia to show off.
    • Second Person, Twisty Little Passages
    • nm had a copy of "The Gothic in Interaction Fictions" which really has to show up
    • At least a printout of the Jerz "Colossal Cave" article, if nobody has the journal it appeared in
    • Artwork for the wall - the poster jrw mentioned, a collage of the some of the best submissions from Emily Short's IF cover art-a-thon, flag of The People's Republic of Interactive Fiction, Steven & Misti Grenade's dated-but-still-cool-looking IF timeline (I have the pdf if someone can print it - HK), jrw's zorkmid coin graphic if it is not used to adorn a giveaway feelie

(Note that while there will be known people in the room at all times, there will also be an inevitable chaos factor. Don't bring anything if you're not willing to let strangers handle it behind your back for three days.)

Electronics questions

Note that the room comes with an HDTV which *probably* allows laptop input.

(I am going to bring a bag of wires and adapters to and from various formats, so that hopefully we can get anything to work that ought to work. --jrw)

Record the panel discussion of "Storytelling in the world of interactive fiction" and put it up on an appropriate website as a downloadable audio (not video) podcast. (Many people, believe it or not, don't like to listen to or watch anything lengthy at a computer but prefer a portable player. And what would video add of any real value to audio? - HK) (The PAX events person has offered to video-record some of the PAX panels, including ours. Once the file exists we can worry about converting it to audio or whatever. --Z)

Photos of the room? I assume many people will show up with cameras. I'd like to collect event photos afterwards for a web gallery. Or maybe this just means agreeing on a flickr tag. --Z

Panel discussions

Maybe some scheduled discussions beyond the official PAX panel. (I propose an informal, salon type discussion format, hookahs and velvet pillows optional. Could be as small as 2 people or as big as the room can handle. Perhaps we can propose topics and gauge interest below and schedule them once we know the PAX activities of interest. --JM)

  • No Hints Please: Adaptive Difficulty Strategies (proposed by: JM) interested participants: YOUR NAME HERE.
  • Meet the First Generation: hang out with Infocom emeriti and other folks from the old days. (Obviously dependent on such people being interested! I will ask jscott. --Z)
  • Platform Design: White board different ways of parser->action->word model architectures. No code - just ideas.
  • Tearing Down the Invisible Walls: IF Outreach (proposed by HK) What's working? What's not working? Why? What hasn't been tried? Two panel members from the IF world, two sympathetic parties from the non-IF gaming world, me benignly moderating. Interested participants: Andrew Plotkin, Chris Dahlen (freelance writer who covers general gaming and also likes/plays IF), John Bardinelli (major contributor to the JayIsGames website that has been so supportive of IF) YOUR NAME HERE.


  • Fliers: we should have a stack of fliers describing the suite and all PAX IF events, official and unofficial. Leave on free-flier tables in the convention center.
  • Badge ribbons for all of us. Many possible slogans. ("Grue lover", "Ask me about Interactive Fiction", "Lost in a maze of twisty little passages", "Interactive Fiction is Real", "What IF?", "Look around", "X ME about IF", "Likely to be eaten by a grue", "Twisty little passages", "IF at PAX" "Interfictive Action")
  • Badge stickers for anyone who drops by the suite (may be same as ribbons). (Or maybe these can be simple: a prompt and cursor? --AAR) (Prompt and cursor was the first idea I had, but I may use a Zorkmid design that I made for another project. --jrw)
  • Proposal for combining the two "feelie" and IF Starter CD ideas below: a thousand zorkmid bill with graphics on one side and instructions for downloading IF Starter CD ISO file on the other. Model the graphic side loosely after US bills with "People's Republic of Interactive Fiction" in place of "The United States of America." Hopefully some of jrw's zorkmid coin graphics could be adapted/stretched into the front side of the bill, with verbage on the second side along the lines of "Citizenship in the People's Republic of Interactive Fiction will immediately be granted to anyone traveling to (URL) and downloading (filename) for creation of an IF Starter CD." Virtues: buys us time to decide what we want on the CD and create the ISO file, and only requires the run of one physical thing (the bill) which I think should be affordable even in quantity. I'd like to see it printed on a material other than easily crumpled/torn paper. Feedback? Good? Bad? Ugly? (HK)
    * An intriguing (though inexpensive) modern-day "feelie" for visitors to take away

Re the feelie idea: I looked at geocoin sites -- thinking about a fancy zorkmid coin -- there are some great products available but they're expensive, $2 to $4 each. I'd want to have at least 200 for the weekend, so under a buck would be preferable. Wooden coins? Acrylic? --Z

(The coin falls somewhere between art and manufacturing. I have a a couple of designer friends who might know where to point me - let me see if I can get a bead on an affordable source during the upcoming week of 2/1. --HK)

(Oh! In fact, I created the zorkmid design because Jota wanted to make zorkmid geocoins. Hmm. I guess I should send that to you. --jrw)

(I think jrw just answered a question I was going to post - I will assume that if I can find an affordable way to have the coins produced, we can supply the graphics for both sides. Are we talking true geocoins or just souvenir coins? I thought the latter, but if we're looking for authentic geocoins it's unlikely I can help. If the former, what size souvenir coins? Please advise. -- HK) (Whatever size is economical. --Z)

    * "Starter" CD with some interpreter software and a few appropriate beginner games. 

(I still think this is a nice idea, but I don't know if I or anyone have the resources to make enough. Maybe a less medium-centric solution might be better, like a USB key chained to a table, or a wireless network with a shared folder containing the disk image? --AAR)

(AAR may be right. If we were to produce CDs, though, what would be the minimum number we would want to have for giveaways? - HK) (Same question applies to coins. All guessing is ass-wise. 100? 250? Extras can be used at future events, so they won't be wasted, but it's still down to how much money is available. --Z)

  • A barebones "How To Get Started in IF" handout, defining some basic terms and giving relevant links (along with searchable phrases) to both more expansive instructions and most useful game/review sites. (At one point Emily made a booklet like this, and I did the cover art for it. I was almost thinking of printing the cover art as a poster to bring to the suite. --jrw)
    • Booklet update: Download This appears to be a zip file with the original booklet text (it seems to match the printed booklet I have, but only after a cursory comparison -- it might not be the final proofread version) in three formats: html, pdf, and TeX. I'm putting it here in case someone can make use of it. (--jrw)

General notes

  • While certainly doffing our hats to our roots (as in a possible zorkmid souvenir, Meet the First Generation panel discussion, and most especially Jason Scott's epic documentary and its planned panel discussion), keep in mind that anyone stopping around who's truly new to IF may never have heard of this stuff. If we want new blood, which we do, we want to be careful not to come off as too retro.
    • Seconded. For that reason, I prefer JRW's prompt/cursor and beginner's guide art to the Zorkmid artwork. (Paul O)


Okay, here's the bits of artwork I have around, for my use or possibly others. (jrw)

Discussion Item

The one that needs feedback before I run with it is the IF badge sticker, a prompt-and-cursor logo. It looks like it might be 1" wide by .5" high. It could easily be bigger (and in fact is easier on the printers I've looked at -- I may have to cut them by hand to make them small), but I don't think the badges are big enough to take a two-inch-wide sticker. Here's a large version and an approximate actual-size (as converted to web resolution):

IF sticker big.png

IF sticker small.png

  • Personally I think an underscore would read better as a cursor than a non-blinking block does. - DougOrleans 20:36, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Other art for use

  • Beginners Guide to IF illustration - The Beginners Guide to IF drawing I made for the feelie booklet once upon a time. Could still be used for a booklet, or for a room poster. I'm making it available for anyone to use. Or color, if they feel like it.
  • Zorkmid coin design - This is the Zorkmid coin design I made, adapted from artwork used in Infocom documentation. Feel free to use it to make buttons or what have you. The thumbnail on the Zorkmid design seems to be crufted, but the full-size original displays properly if you click on the link for it.