Tuesday, April 28, 2009

blueful fades

I never had a clear conception for how blueful would end. It clearly couldn't last forever, both because of postage expenses and the difficulty of maintaining the continually breaking links, as the web's busy pedants slowly report each nodes as off-topic or violating terms of use. I suppose I imagined that eventually I would just take the whole thing down, close the exhibit, as it were, and that would be the end.

Well, except I didn't really realize how popular it would become. (There have been literary critiques, at least one homage, and Google is up to 7,740 hits-- there were 114 the day I began the project.) And blueful has become part of Blue Lacuna's history, too-- one of the reasons I've been dragging my heels about pulling the plug.

So blueful has been tweaked and is now in its "archive edition." As pages go down, users will report the broken links, and I'll replace that node with a screenshot of that page at its prime... continually fading away (clicking the image will bring it back, if only temporarily). At the end, you'll be able to see a photo of your chosen postcard-- a poor, if closure-providing substitute for the original ending. Thus it will continue to slowly fade away, but the story will remain accessible for those just discovering it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hints, Books, and Slugs

In honor of this year's Spring Thing (there's still time to vote!) and the one-year anniversary of Blue Lacuna's first awkward steps into the world, I have three springtime updates to share.

First: the Blue Lacuna hints page has finally been updated and restored to the website. I'd purposefully taken it down before release, since I wanted to hear from people about which puzzles were stumping them, and I figured if hints were available I'd have a much harder time finding out. Unfortunately, an older version of the page remained cached by Google, so it seems everyone was getting their hints anyway, just in an out-of-date and uglified version. The new improved hints page is all Javascripty and fancy and, more importantly, now actually accurate.

Secondly: somewhere near the end of BL's development, I got the idea that I could convert the source text into a printed book on lulu.com, as a reward for myself when I finished: the thought of a weighty volume to place on my shelf and point to when people asked me how I spent my mid-20s was appealing. The book turned out better than I imagined, so I thought I might as well make it public in case anyone else wants to own a 738 page tome of adventure game source code, cost to print the thing be damned. I even threw in an essay on the making of the game (more specific than my recent article in SPAG), the original concept document for the project, and a glossary of Progue's slang. Just think, you could be the only one on your block and/or continent to own one! Check out a swoon-inducing Lightbox photo gallery if you still aren't convinced.

Finally, some personal news: I recently learned that I've been accepted into the Digital Arts & New Media MFA program at UC Santa Cruz. The campus is gorgeous, the faculty top caliber, and the program itself is fantastic. (I just need to get Emily Short a job there and I could have a thesis committee made entirely of IF fans.) During my time in the program, I plan to continue playing at the experimental fringes of what interactive stories can do, and am incredibly excited to become a Californian again this fall. Go banana slugs!