A brief retrospective of the personal projects I shipped over the past year:

The Interactive Fiction Competition. Far and away the main focus of my creative energy and attention for nearly all of 2014.

After he offered it to me at the end of the previous year, I accepted the mantle of IFComp organizer from Stephen Granade, who ran it from 1999 through 2013. I knew immediately that I wanted to give its website a major refresh, both in terms of modernizing its appearance and rethinking its focus. I wished to not merely acknowledge but actively encourage and help cultivate the rapidly exploding definition of IF beyond its long-time synonymy with only parser-driven text adventures.

Thanks to everyone who helped me, I feel I succeeded. I plan to continue organizing the IFComp again this year, and on into the foreseeable future. All the technology and content we built to run 2014’s competition should last us for a long time to come. While I do plan to continue helping the Comp evolve along with the rest of IF, I don’t think it’ll require nearly as an intense amount of work as it did last year.

Two episodes of Play of the Light. I can’t feel good about that. I mean, they’re good episodes and you should listen to them, but two shows per year represents perhaps 1/5th of what I’d consider an acceptable minimal frequency for even an irregularly paced podcast.

I know exactly why I run out of gas here: I hate editing audio. I hate it so much. Even after I resolved to be more lenient with the content after PotL’s first couple of episodes (when I sunk countless hours into scrubbing out every pause, uhm, and sniffle), I viewed the many rote steps involved in transforming the raw conversational audio into something worth sharing as drudgery of the worst sort. Pretty much any other project looks more attractive to me. (And when I have something as attention-demanding as the IFComp nearby…)

I have begun to invent a software tool that will help me produce podcasts by automating as much of this as possible. I make progress with it, but I cannot make predictions as to when a new episode of Play of the Light (or anything else) might appear as a consequence.

A half-dozen or so essays at my other blog, The Gameshelf. Not a whole lot here either, but for whatever reason I feel significantly less pressured to keep a regular pace with blogging versus podcasting. I’m satisfied with this.

Barbetween. I summarized this, and my external motivation for writing it, a couple of months ago on The Gameshelf.

A strictly web-based hypertext installation inspired by an Elliott Smith song, this was the first original interactive fiction I’d written since 2010, and nothing at all like anything else I’d ever made. Very proud of this work.

@EasternClock and @AcrosticPi, two Twitter bots, and the first two such works I’ve ever made. (Please note that the latter link may drift NSFW at times, despite my precautions against it.) At risk of sounding pretentious, I consider them less novelties than sculptures.

My thoughts on the legitimacy of Twitter bots as art has changed a lot over the last few years, something I hope to explore further in a future post. But safe to say that 2014 marked the year my view towards the entire concept went from impatient exasperation to a desire to try making some myself.

jmac’s GG generator, which produces on every reload a suggested obfuscation of a certain hashtag that rose to prominence in 2014. (Perhaps someday I’ll get around to giving it the minimal API it needs to complete the joke. Such as it is.)

The Rolandizer, a block of CSS which, when applied to your browser’s custom stylesheet, makes your Twitter timeline resemble the 11th century epic poem The Song of Roland. It does this by appending the mysterious trigram AOI to tweets, in a staggered frequency approximating how often the same letters show up after certain verses in the poem.

No, I don’t get it, either.

Plerd, this here blogging engine that I can’t seem to shut up about. Even if I remain its only user in the whole world, it still feels like the first modestly sized project I’ve developed as open-source software from the get-go. It makes me very happy. I worked on it obsessively through the final days of 2014, and I very much look forward to continue polishing it into a small, beautiful gem of a personal publishing system in 2015.


Next post: My IFComp 2014 post-mortem

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