We’ve been crazy busy back here lately, and concentrating on Fallen London (as you may have noticed from the rush of content) and cleaning house. But we’ve just applied a small patch with some fun stuff:
- a CLEAR_HAND exotic effect
- Living Stories (shh, don’t tell everyone)
- optional Second Chance use in Fallen London (FINALLY, I know)
We’ll be releasing a rather elegant new theme today or tomorrow as well – Liam will be along in a bit to talk about that, and some other enhancements to the whole way we deal with CSS.
We’ve added an explanation of how you can build Objectives into your StoryNexus world, and how the new Difficulty options work. They’ll make it easier to guide players through what you want them to do; and you can now tune success and failure chances in more game-y worlds much more easily.
We’re just releasing GLEAM, the latest StoryNexus patch. Key features are:
The first two are fairly complex… I’ll update the reference docs as we bed in.
Other features include:
The next significant patch should be social actions. Hold on to your hats.
THE TRUTH StoryNexus update is out today. The major update in this one is a swanky new cross-StoryNexus inbox, accessible through the top bar, for messaging in all worlds: the Fallen London inbox will stay as well for now, but we’ll phase it out.
There are two other small but very tasty treats for creators in this release:
- You can now delete branches rather than just lock them into invisibility (I hear the sigh of relief from here).
- We’re adding a PLAY button to every storylet in the developer’s tools. Clicking it will open a new tab, with your character in the storylet. NB that this bypasses all quality and setting checks, and allows you to leap straight into an undrawn op card!… which makes life much easier for debugging and testing individual storylets, but may lead to weird behaviour if you’re not aware of it.
That interview last week – I said the novel was two hundred years old, and a couple of folk pointed out I probably meant three hundred. They’re right of course, mea culpa. Honestly, I still think we’re living in the twentieth century, and the eighteenth century always sounds two hundred years old to me.
Folk also pointed out that there are things more than three hundred years old which are probably or definitely novels… so, here, I did actually have a point to make. As far as I know, the novel hit its stride culturally and commercially in the eighteenth century, and has been top dog as far as fiction’s concerned ever since.
Part of its long primacy is because a novel-sized story is meaty enough to satisfy but short enough to finish in a realistic period of time. But part of it’s technology, right? Production, distribution, economies of scale mean your fictional experience has to be small enough to be portable and large enough to sell. Rather suddenly, that’s no longer the case, which is why chapbooks, novellas, Kindle Singles.
I’m not predicting the death of the novel – I don’t think that’s likely and I don’t know enough about publishing to say that sort of thing anyway. But I do think that digital fiction is porous, transcendently ephemeral, ultraportable, and I think that means that a story doesn’t have to be something you start, consume over a defined period, finish. It can be iterative; it can be micro-episodic; it can be free or semi-free; it can be something that you try before you buy.
Free-to-play has been a tremendous success story in casual gaming over the last couple of years. It just makes sense for something with really small marginal costs. That doesn’t mean all games have become, or will become, F2P. Free-to-read, pay-for-extras in some form will come to fiction in some form and to some degree – that’s not really in question. The question that interests me is to what degree this will be artistically interesting and culturally constructive, and how violent the outrage of readers will be.