Author Archives: Dannii Willis

About Dannii Willis

Dannii is the developer of Parchment, the web IF interpreter.

An apology

So I really dropped the ball with SPAG, and I’ve realised it’s time to own up to that.

I had sincere hopes of publishing SPAG regularly, but for many reasons it didn’t happen. Real life got busy. One particular article stumped my editorial instincts so that I avoided the whole project for a while. I received only a handful of articles which made me worry that even if issue 62 were published there would be nothing for after that. (Though my inactivity was probably the cause of that – who would submit articles to a website that’s been quiet for two years?) But ultimately I’ve realised that I’m not the right person to be in charge. I’m a strong P in the Myers-Briggs personality system – I’m much better at maintaining other people’s Inform extensions than writing a story myself, or even than writing my own extensions. I much prefer to be a second-in-charge than a leader, and being a leader over no one but myself is the worst of all.

So it’s time that I ask for someone else to take over. I’m still willing to be involved, especially in a technical/webmaster role, but SPAG needs someone else to be the editor. It needs someone with a stronger vision for the site too. I still think that hosting short reviews is something that the community is more than covering at the IFDB and all the blogs, but what else SPAG could become I’m not sure. In depth SPAG Specifics reviews? A place for curating IF? An indie publisher? Please contact me if you have ideas or would like to help. I don’t want this site to stay dead.

My greatest apologies go to the authors whose articles I’ve been sitting on. I really do hope they will get published soon.

Editorial: Welcome back!

It’s been too long, so welcome back to SPAG! Real life intervened and unfortunately our previous editor David Monath was unable to keep publishing the magazine. Like many of you, for a long time I too was worried that SPAG might not receive the resurrection it deserved. But when I saw that Jimmy Maher, SPAG’s penultimate editor, hoped that someday someone would offer to take over running it, I decided that I could be that someone. I asked, he gave me his blessings (and the passwords for the old website), and here we are today!

I’ve been involved with the IF community for a few years now, though I wouldn’t consider myself a very important part of it. I’m not a, you know, author. But I guess I have made my mark: although I didn’t create it for the last few years I’ve been the main developer of Parchment, and I consider myself a reasonable Inform 7 hacker. My creative contributions are a few small additions to Kerkerkruip.

Portrait of Dannii Willis

Over the last eighteen years the IF Community works has on occasion shifted its hubs of discussion. The old newsgroups are all but dead as people have migrated to the forum and independent blogs, most of which are aggregated at Planet IF. Of relevance to SPAG is that there are now innumerable places to publish reviews, and those who don’t have their own websites can always use the IFDB.

So this new SPAG is more than a new web address and a shift to using WordPress. No longer will SPAG be the clearing-house of reviews as it once was; it’s been twenty months since Issue 60, and the community had coped well enough posting their reviews elsewhere. So what will the new SPAG be? Well I hope to fill these pages with longer articles: interviews, the art and craft of writing IF, tutorials for working with IF technology. We’ll have discussions of the growing community, and the broadening of what exactly “Interactive Fiction” entails today. But all this will still be grounded in reference to the works of our community, just with more analysis and synthesis than you see in normal reviews; SPAG Specifics will still be a regular feature!

Issue 61 isn’t a big issue, but I think it’s a good one. To start with we have interviews with the top three winners of IFComp 2012. Joey Jones then brings us a discussion on shared worlds in IF: what has been tried so far and where we might go in the future. And lastly Mark Ricard compares Deadline and Make It Good and how they together have defined the IF detective genre.

In bringing this issue to publication many thanks are in order: to Jimmy Maher for allowing me to take over as editor and giving me a leg up for the task, to Brandon Invergo for providing web hosting, to Marco Innocenti for his fabulous logo and cover design, to Rob Wheeler for the cover design and proof reading, to the IFComp winners for being willing interviewees, and of course to our writers! Many others have given advice or encouragement, so if that’s you know that I appreciated your help too.

Now I must finish on a traditional note, and remind you that SPAG is always after more content. So if you have an idea for an article please email me and tell me all about it.

See you soon!