Personal and Technology blog

Sunday, April 6, 2008

8th Grade Project Interview with Emily Short (MUST READ)

For my 8th Grade Project, I interviewed Emily Short throw e-mail.
Since my project is interactive fiction.
Emily Short is one of the most known interactive fiction (IF) game authors and is involved with Inform.
It was easy to get a hold of Emily Short for this interview because I already had her e-mail from when she published some of the codes from my game to the extensions section of the Inform site.
Here is the interview below.

1. How long have you been designing interactive fiction games?

Emily Short: I wrote a number of attempts when I was young, but they didn't work out very well. My first real finished work was published in 2000, and I'd been learning to program them for about two years before that.

2. What first got you interested in interactive fiction?

Emily Short: My parents used to play interactive fiction back when it was sold commercially. They taught me how to play, too, and I had a lot of fun with it, though I didn't solve any games for years and years. Even when I was a kid, I really wanted to write my own. But I didn't know enough about programming to do a good job. I made a lot of maps and designs for games, and I tried to program a couple in BASIC, but none of them got finished.

3. For designing interactive fiction games, do you use the same software that’s released to the public like Inform 7?

Emily Short: Yes.

4. Do you know how do put sounds and pictures into interactive fiction games? If so have do you put sounds and pictures into Inform 7?

Emily Short: It's possible to do, and I've released a few games that had some pictures in them. ("City of Secrets" is the main one.) But for many works I find this is more effort than it's worth. If you're interested in adding pictures and sounds to your Inform 7 game, you should check out the documentation chapter on sounds and figures.

5. How did you get involved with Graham Nelson and his interactive fiction program Inform?

Emily Short: I had written a number of games in Inform 6 and some of them were pretty popular with other interactive fiction players. So when Graham decided that he needed some experienced authors to test Inform 7, he wrote to me (and to several other people).I was initially not sure how well Inform 7 would work, because the idea of writing code like English sentences seemed strange to me. Even so, I had a lot of admiration for Graham's previous work, so I agreed to have a look at it. Gradually I changed my mind and decided that this could be a good system after all. Since then I've spent a lot of time working with Graham to test the system and to help write the documentation for it.

6. Do you know if Inform 8 is in development?

Emily Short: No. Inform 7 isn't really done yet -- it's still considered a beta program, which means that the bugs and errors are being worked out. So we're still working actively on that.

7. What our your favorite interactive fiction games that you did not create?

Emily Short: I don't have just one favorite, but here are a couple I really like:

---Curses is a very long, difficult game with lots of different kinds of puzzles. It's not always fair, but it's fun. I played it in college with a bunch of my friends -- we were all giving each other clues about how to solve things -- and I still have happy memories about that.

---Anchorhead is a horror game with a very scary story. It's well written and easy to become absorbed in.Really, though, there are a lot of very good interactive fiction games, and depending on my mood I might feel like a different kind. If you asked me this question on a different day, I'd probably give a different answer.

8. Were you ever inspired by the interactive fiction game, Zork, in creating interactive fiction games?

Emily Short: A little, I suppose, since Zork was one of the earliest games I tried. But I'm usually interested in games that have more of a connected story and a world that makes more sense.

9. What was your first interactive fiction game?

Emily Short: Galatea, which is about a statue who has been brought to life and is able to talk.

10. Do you think this interview was short, had the questions clearly stated?

Emily Short: It seemed a reasonable length to me. :) And yes, the questions were clear enough.

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