Wow. I didn’t expect there to be so many rooms, but last night, I finished the maps and counted the rooms, which allowed me to get a better handle on the project. I might shed or add a few rooms, especially in Autumn, which is currently larger than the other seasons, but 213 is a firm number. The number of rooms will not be more than this.
The strange thing is that due to the sectioned nature of this game, 213 doesn’t feel like a lot of rooms. I plan on introducing touchback points that the PC can return to by typing a single word, so hopefully it won’t feel like the game is too large to the players, either. (I think that system, rather than having every single room as a touchback point, is an acceptable compromise between having to go to every room directly and being able to go to every room by typing its name.)
This blog is my release valve. It is not a forum for discussion or target practice for haters (as the two seem inextricably intertwined, I had to disallow comments). I needed somewhere safe that I could blow off some steam about IF and a method to keep myself on track with Seasons. What you’re reading is my internal dialog of self-cajoling, lamentation, and reflection.
If you need the latest in Inform 6 libraries and don’t mind the sting of using an unofficial archive, I’ve got the goods. Head on over to ftp.intaligo.com and use following login/password: firstname.lastname@example.org/whatever you like.
As far as its unofficial status, well, I got tired of waiting for others to fix their stuff. I’ve also added stuff to this archive that isn’t in the official archive — other I6 files that live on the web in various places that I’ve found useful. I’ll also be updating it on a regular basis, so enjoy!
Bonus points to those of you who can identify the show I stole the title from. Anyhow, down to the point — I guess I’m just too idealistic to ever learn. Thou shalt not say the emperor has no clothes! I feel like Ben Stein in the ad for Expelled, writing on the blackboard a thousand times not to criticize the orthodoxy of the new priesthood.
Do not identify the problems! Bad dog! Don’t expose the problems of the jerk silos to a wider world! The new information is not what we’ve heard before and we don’t like it. It hurts! Out with the burning truth!
The sad thing about all of this is that I’m not really sure how it could have gone better. Emails to the people in charge were ignored. Sites broke and decayed. Others had brought up these issues in the newsgroup many times before, only to be ignored. I bring them up as issues and a bloodbath of recriminations and phyrric attacks results.
I’m still awestruck about it all. All you needed to do was update the page, fix the broken links, and restructure the IF archive. These are all Very Simple Things to do (yes, the last is a little bit more complicated, but not by much). Yet they won’t be done, no-one will be allowed to do them, and any outsiders will have their questions ignored until someone else shines a spotlight on them. Then, the cycle repeats. It’s a sick social implosion.
In the meantime, the community doesn’t benefit.
Another interesting thing I learned is that pointing out problems leads to some incredibly bizarre counter-attacks. People will ignore every point you made and jump on a single word, defend it like it was the Holy Grail, and accuse you of all kinds of bombastic crimes. I’m surprised someone didn’t tie in Jimmy Hoffa. In a few days I’m sure it will seem hilarious to me. It already brings a grin to my face at the wild absurdity.
In the meantime, I’m going to just let the dust settle, unsubscribe, and spend my time finishing up what I’ve come to call the “Fire Library”. Hopefully, I’ll release it by the end of the week. I know that means I’ll have to wade back into the shark-infested waters of RAIF, but I suppose I can do so for just one day and then immediately unsubscribe again.
One of the defensive reactions of any longstanding community is an aversion to change; change is uncomfortable; change is unknown; change is in some way, distressing; especially when change is suggested by someone other than the Old ones. Now, if the Old ones let things fall into disarray, then that seems to be acceptable, as no-one is willing to call the Old ones to task. It’s the same kind of logic that was in play when some folks spoke out against arresting James Brown for marijuana use, because he was a hero to young blacks. Hey, if you’ve done these great (or even mediocre) things in the past, you’re a living legend, and everything you do from then on out is golden!
Anyhow, Doe hit on this tendency previously here. Needless to say, I resonate with that feeling quite a bit recently. When you bring up that something has been let lapse, then it’s time to shoot the messenger, deny the problem, or pat the messenger on the head and mouth saccharine blandishments. A combination of the first and the last is also somewhat common.
It’s amazing to me the inexorable force stasis has upon people.
There’s something fundamentally awry with the IF community. There’s no wide-ranging agape-type love, but instead silos of jerks, sprouting up over and over again like toadstools after rain. You’ll find a forum here, a wiki there, a site here, where various obnoxious people get together and make life insufferable for anyone who dares dissent in their little corner of the community.
Wikis are probably the worst, because they uniquely fete Stalinesque behavior. They combine some degree of officiality (no matter how much imagined), the illusion of a community, and a wide array of participants who are drawn in with lure of contributing. But of course you have rulers who must decide styles, who decide what is abusive, and who, inevitably, decide what is “good”. The temptation to shout “bad dog” and thrash the ever-living-heck out of people you don’t like (or who say things you don’t like) proves irresistible.
Sites and forums tend towards cliquishness, where again, some IF Old One gets together with the resultant groupie club and sets up business, declaring this or that and reaping a host of nodding heads. Now these aren’t as fierce as the R*IF newsgroups, but they still hang a sign out that reads not unsubtlely, “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.” Given this landscape, I can sympathize with the trolls on the aforementioned newsgroups. Their effrontery is one borne of exclusion and frustration.
The landscape, taken as a whole, reminds me of a Lovecraftian plain, with dark towers piercing the low-hanging sky. There is no grande conspiracy, but a worse kind, an unwritten “axis of jerks” that these towers plus the direct involvement of the Old Ones lead to a fairly repressive atmosphere; IF creation is a rather lonely enterprise as it stands, but to be turned away at soup line after soup line is an even more dispiriting experience.
The IF community does not cohere; instead of flexing, it frays; instead of drawing together, it fragments into towers, cliques, and “dark networks” (meaning unofficial conduits of contacts by which new contests and such forth come to life, burbling up as if from the depths). All I’m asking for is a little kindness, here, a little understanding, a little more transparency, a little less hectoring, and some real community. If me, probably more trenchant than the next guy, can feel this gaping absence, then surely there must be something to it.