Monday, August 17, 2015

so many cool-ass people doing cool-ass things

The other week, when I added a Paypal ™ button to this blog, I said something about wanting to list people I would donate money to if I could.  I didn't have links to share for everybody at the time, but I do now.  In no particular order:
  • Nikos Chantziaras:  While Kent Tessman went to a lot of trouble to provide a full-featured Hugo interpreter for Apple computers, the chosen method used a software method that was largely abandoned (or, at least, if it was updated, the Hugo interpreter was not updated along with it).  Eventually, Nikos came along and wrote Hugor.  Besides bringing Hugo multimedia back to Mac and Linux users, Hugor is a very nice experiment in IF interpreters, providing several features not found in any other.  Besides Hugor, Nikos also wrote the QTads and FrobTADS interpreters.  I'd highly recommend them!

    You can help support Nikos at his sourceforge page.
  • Juhana Leinonen:  Juhana has done so many cool projects, it's hard to know which ones to give top-billing.  Vorple, a javascript library for adding multimedia to Undum and Inform 7 games, has probably received the most acclaim despite having only seen a tiny percentage of its possibilities (I'm particularly impressed with some of its internet-using capabilities).  More recently, he announced Texture, an IF system designed with mobile devices in mind.  Personally, I've only recently gotten into smart phones and tablets, and I have to say that it was kind of disappointing shock to see how much of a hassle it is to play IF on them so I naturally loved this announcement.

    In the world of Hugo, he was the first to get Hugo games in a web browser (using a DOSbox implementation).  He also put together an online "story file parser" for checking out games' innards.

    Check out this page for a full list of his contributions (I really need to use that "IF Transcript Beautifier" more often).

    In any case, there is no way to donate money to Juhana, but he has some ideas for IF monetization in the future (especially in the realm of mobile apps), so go subscribe to his blog and watch for further developments!
  • Jesse McGrew:  Jesse doesn't tinker in the world of Hugo, but he is cut from the same cloth as these others who improve the tools and such at our disposal out of a love for the medium.  His first wildly ambitious project was Guncho, a MUD ("multi-user dungeon") where authors can add new realms by writing Inform 7 code, making it possible to write truly-multiplayer interactive fiction using interactive fiction tools.

    These days, a lot of attention has gone to his ZILF compiler, a project that makes it once again possible to write games in ZIL, the same language created and used by the Infocom "Implementers."  If I was not working on taking Hugo as far as I can take it, I would probably be spending all of my time with ZIL.  While not exactly easy to code in for a non-programmer as myself, I find it wonderfully powerful in certain ways, and it's cool that once again, it is within our power to write good games that could conceivably be played on an Apple IIgs or TI calculator.

    You can follow the ZILF updates as he perfects his port of the game "Adventure" here, and you can donate to his IF endeavors here.
  • Jimmy Maher:  With his blog "The Digital Antiquarian," Maher delves into classic computer gaming- both IF and not- and consistently provides enlightening forays into the stories behind the games of our youth (and a bit about the games themselves).  Of course, such a project of passion isn't going to completely free of the occasional editorial opinion, but even when I disagree with the sentiment on display, it's always great to see so much attention being given to something that also affected me so many years ago.

    I'm also am a fan of his Filfre interpreter for z-code and Glulx games; it's often my interpreter of choice for Glulx games that have graphics.  You can also get his King of Shreds and Patches game for the Amazon Kindle.  That is the first and only IF game I have played on the Kindle, and while a little sluggish (I had one of the earliest Kindle models), overall, I was very happy with the experience.
  • Robb Sherwin:  For the most part, the only reason anyone even remembers that Hugo exists for the last 15 years is because of the games of Mr. Sherwin.  Anyone unfamiliar with his work should check out his games page.

    You can help Robb now by helping his latest game get approved on Steam Greenlight!
  • Kent Tessman:  Of course, Hugo would not exist if not for its creator.  These days, his attention is devoted to his fantastic screenwriting program, Fade In.  I highly encourage anyone who has ever slightly entertained the "WAIT COULD I BE A SCREENWRITER?" idea to go get his program.  It continues to receive high praise from all sorts of industry greats, and compared to its competition, $50 for a lifetime license is not a bad deal at all.

    You can hear his latest screenplay, Chrome Noir, be given the "table read" treatment by a bunch of well-known actors (included Fargo's Colin Hanks) here

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