Category: Blog

Making Interactive Fiction: Narrative Design for Writers (part 1)

June 12th, 2018 by

This is part one of a two-part series about narrative design aimed at traditional-media writers and IF authors. First things first: What is narrative design? The real answer is that the role of “narrative designer” is relatively new in the games industry and has something of a fluid or even vague meaning. Different teams will […]

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June 2018 – Table of Contents

June 5th, 2018 by

As an author and avid reader of prose fiction as well as the interactive kind, I often wonder what it is about the two media that makes them so engrossing. For me, at least, one of the key elements of interactive fiction is how it involves the reader in the tale it’s telling. The best […]

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“The Space Under the Window” and the Promise of Interactive Poetry

May 29th, 2018 by

Released in 1997, Andrew Plotkin’s “The Space Under the Window” (“Space”) was a groundbreaking, unclassifiable work of interactive fiction, the impact of which is still felt today. Many consider it a work of “poetic” IF, or poetry outright, but what does that mean? Is poetry a quality of language, interaction, or both? The work itself […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Using Generative Prose

May 8th, 2018 by

Generative prose is the technique of dynamically generating text from smaller chunks of writing. This can look like the adaptive, variable prose functionality in Inform; like using Twinecery to add procedural text to a Twine story; or like Ink’s text-variation capabilities. Given a deep enough body of text to pull from, generative systems can spit […]

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May 2018 – Table of Contents

May 1st, 2018 by

Here at sub-Q, we’re no stranger to authors using technologies in novel ways. We’re also pretty good at trouble-shooting when things go wrong in a submission, or when one doesn’t play nice with a particular web browser. Still, with wearables, embedded RFIDs, and self-driving cars in the news these past few years, it’s sometimes hard for us […]

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Author Guest Post: Hannah Powell-Smith

April 24th, 2018 by

Hannah Powell-Smith‘s interactive work focuses on fraught relationships, unreliability, and unknowable entities. As well as publishing interactive short stories in sub-Q, and self-publishing at hannahps.itch.io, she is developing a dark fantasy game with Choice of Games about a mob necromancer. She lives in the UK with her wife and son. In this post, she talks […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Going beyond “test your stuff.”

April 10th, 2018 by

The most-often given advice to new IF writers, and writers in general, is “get feedback.” Okay, so you’ve taken your story from a concept to a draft. You’re ready to show it to folks; maybe you’re even pretty proud of what you’ve put together. You take it to beta readers… and then they give you […]

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April 2018 – Table of Contents

April 3rd, 2018 by

Perhaps it’s just my upbringing in England and current residence in Oregon, but I’ve always associated Spring with rain. Another thing that’s associated with Spring in some folklore traditions are certain types of fairy. In pre-Roman Spain, for instance, the Cantabrian people believed that on the night of the Spring Equinox, small female fairies called […]

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Jac Colvin

Author Interview: Jac Colvin

March 27th, 2018 by

Jac Colvin is the author of our March game, “Lost Ones,” which will be published on March 15th. Jac enjoys writing interactive fiction in the fantasy genre, and currently has two gamebooks published by Hosted Games with hopefully a few more on the way. Abysm’s Veil is set in the same universe as Lost Ones […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Branching Choices

March 13th, 2018 by

From Twine to visual novels to AAA RPGs, branching choices are the basic building block of many interactive narratives. This month, I wanted to zoom in and talk about writing choices themselves, about handling branching points. It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing choice as a tool for player expression. That relates to […]

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Natalia Theodoridou joins sub-Q as editor

March 9th, 2018 by

Last month, sub-Q put out the call for a new editor. Now, we’re excited to announce that position has been filled by Natalia Theodoridou, a UK-based author whose work has appeared in our virtual pages not once, not twice, but three times. Natalia may be new to the position, but she’s certainly not new to […]

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March 2018 – Table of Contents

March 6th, 2018 by

It’s starting to feel like spring here in the Pacific Northwest, but we still get cold weather overnight, and sometimes in the mornings the landscape seems to shimmer with a fine layer of frost that suggests an otherworldly influence. Which makes this the perfect month to release “Lost Ones” by Jac Colvin, a game with a […]

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IF Riffs: An IFComp Postmortem

February 27th, 2018 by

Welcome to something new at sub-Q: IF Riffs! We hope this will become a recurring feature where a question will be posed to several members of the IF community on a particular topic. Our first blog collects some thoughts on IFComp 2017 by the top five winners. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: Scope

February 13th, 2018 by

Hi. Welcome to the first of these. Sub-Q magazine has made the frightful editorial decision to give me a monthly column. This posed a problem. The mandate for writing this column – 600 words about any subject I like, related to IF – is too broad. I had to pare it down, come up with […]

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Author Interview: Gareth Damian Martin

February 6th, 2018 by

Gareth Damian Martin is the author of our February game, “Salt,” which will be published on February 20th. Gareth is a writer, game designer and artist. He is studying for a PhD in experimental literature and is currently developing a game about Xenobiology and alien oceans called In Other Waters. This interview was conducted over […]

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Romance in Early IF: A Review of Pytho’s Mask

February 6th, 2018 by

Interactive fiction’s history both intersects and acts as an alternative space to modern game development—even indie, narrative-based development—with its own unique traditions and community standards. One of the most prominent is “comp,” which could also be a “mini-comp” or a “speed comp.” Most were small, one-shot affairs with perhaps a few games entered, while others […]

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