This is not entirely within the scope of this blog but I’m hoping my fellow blogsters could assist with some information. I’m after software — preferably free and easy to learn — to use in teaching Interactive Entertainment. Here is a list I’ve got so far:

3D Worlds
Active Worlds: 3D software
Animation and Interaction
Free VR backgrounds (urban)
Processing: images, animation, sound etc (code art and exhibition space)
3D Characters
Poser (paid only)
3dMeNow (free version)
Audio Streaming (Indy Radio)
Blog Fiction Use free blog software and hosting to post blog fiction
Cyber Theatre
Game Mods
Modologues: instructions for creating mp3 files to listen to whilst playing Grand Theft Auto
Aurora Neverwinter Toolset (pay for Neverwinter CDs first)
iPod Fiction
iStory Creator (includes emulator for viewing on a computer)
Mobile Fiction
WINKSite: publish stories to online mobile phones
SMS Stories: get SMS stories published at
Robot Art
Robosapien Dance Machine (need Robosapien though)
Lego Mindstorms (paid only)
Text Adventure Games Software
Adventure Game Studio
Inform (IF)
Snap (IF)
ChatBots & Artificial Life
Bot: Pandora Bots (free software and hosting)
Bot: Character Maker 2.0 (Janet H. Murray)
Bot: Facade
Bot: Personality Forge
Bot: Yapanda (comes with Virtual Humans book)
ALife: Generation5 JDK
Interactive Drama
Erasmatron (Mac Only)
Storyspace (paid only)
Macromedia Flash (paid only)

12 Responses to “Interactive Entertainment Practice Software”

  1. 1 Mark Marino

    This is a great list, Christy. I’ve added a few to your initial post.

    Re: Modologues, they’re one source but mod communities have much more freesoftware out their that folks can check out by going to the modsites for the various games.

    We should add some form of Wiki and perhaps even WordPress?

    Perhas this might be a guiding list for our Benchmark Fictions, depending on whether we want to try out each application or merely each genre.

  2. 2 Jeremy Douglass

    Interesting idea! - I agree that this would be a good wiki document.

    I also like the category headings as a method of organizing, rather than by product name - to take that a step further, this list could turn into a brief description / exercise for each type, rather than a recommendation - i.e., there are dozens of free blog services available, all of which support the basic features required for blog fiction, so why recommend Blogger vs. any other? Well, why not - but the important things would probably be to explain the idea, and then list “Blogger, Livejournal, MySpace etc.”

    It is interesting to think what pedagogical angle this could have (”easy entry-level sampler” seems to be what you are going for - great!) that would distinguish it from the many Game Creation Resource type pages out there.

    Okay, specific suggestion for the adventure section - I’d also probably separate Adventure Games and Interactive Fiction, which are historically and terminologically entangled but totally distinct in terms of development. Also, I might mark difficulty of entry and the platform, etc.:

    Snap is a hoax, so we should drop it - and ADRIFT is the interactive fiction starter kit for avoiding source code, so we should add it.

    I don’t know much about Adventure Game development, but I know who does - we might just point people to that page….

    Adventure Games
    - For a list of engines, see Adventure Developers
    - Adventure Game Studio
    - Adventure Maker
    - AGAST

    Interactive Fiction (Text Adventure)
    - Adrift
    - Development: GUI, easy
    - Authoring: Windows
    - Play: Windows / Mac
    - Price: free, $18.95 for advanced features
    - Inform
    - Development: Source code, challenging
    - Authoring: Any platform
    - Play: Any platform
    - Price: free
    - TADS
    - Development: Source code, challenging
    - Authoring: Any platform
    - Play: Any platform
    - Price: free

  3. 3 Jeremy Douglass

    Mark - interesting idea making it a Benchmark Fiction launchpoint. I like it - especially if we write a blurb on each one as we use it for a Benchmark.

  4. 4 Christy Dena

    Thankyou Mark and Jeremy for your excellent additions. Yes, I realised as I was writing the list that my categorisation is contradictory (inclusion of Blogger and Modologues is not akin ot the other entries) but threw them in because they are actually helpful.

    Re: Blogger, yes, we should include as much blog software as we can. This also brings up an interesting point: I think it is important to include info about hosting: Blogger hosts blogs, just like Pandorabots hosts bots. These are very helpful to creators, especially those just passing through. Publicity channels is also important too with channels that are not that accessible at this point. Having mobile phone stories, for instance, published on mobile networks is a part of the process. I mean, there is creating a mobisode or iPod story and then there is having it experienced in the channel it was intended (as opposed to an emulator). Publishing to a mobile phone is not within the grasp of many, unlike web publishing for instance, and so I included these services. I don’t however, think I need to include all forums for publication — just the ones that need it (does this include IF?). These services (hosting and/or publicity channel) can go with your software descriptions that you’ve added (great!).

    Oh yes, and I included Modologues because even though it is not a software it is a possible publication channel, but the site also gives a basic description on how it can be done.

    And it is funny having software like Blogger and so on in there. Although they aren’t created for narrative and ludic use they can be utilised that way. Indeed, any program can. So, I’m not keen to imply ‘the only way to create stories and games is through story and game software’. Instead, I want to say: ‘Ever thought of creating a ###? Well then, here is the means…’.

    Is SNAP a hoax? A joke? If so, then perhaps that makes it a creative work then.

  5. 5 andrew stern

    Just to clarify, the freeware version of Facade being released at first is not an authoring system, it’s a playable experience (i.e, a game).

    There will be parts of the authoring system released over the next 6 months or more, but they may not be terribly user-friendly. e.g, they may be programming languages, with some sample code, but with no GUIs. They probably will not encompass the entire functionality of the Facade architecture, at least at first (we’re still figuring this out).

  6. 6 Mark Marino

    I came across this page the other day from the ISI at USC.

    It has two resources: Spade and HALogen that seem like they might be very useful to more technically minded interactive storytelling developers.

    Should we have a high-tech list for those trained in programming?

  7. 7 Mark Marino

    Thanks, Andrew,

    Your papers, however, do offer some guidelines for programmers to develop ground up systems based on the Facade model. What are the pieces of Facade that will be available, ABL?

    Do you have any recommendations for applications for our list?

  8. 8 andrew stern

    True, the papers describe in enough detail that one could potentially reimplement the system / techniques, especially with ABL in hand.

    Yes, the ABL compiler and runtime will be the first major piece of the architecture to be released, probably under a free academic/non-commercial license. Stay tuned for more details as we figure them out :-)

    > Do you have any recommendations for applications for our list?

    Nothing comes to mind immediately that you don’t have on your list.

  9. 9 Jeremy Douglass

    While rereading the Snap hoax just now (IF has a tradition of fake development languages that is its own topic) a line from the FAQ jumped out at me about having HQ9+ support.

    This is a bit of trivia / silliness re: Hello world programs, and in the spirit of critical code studies (and our discussion about hello world in general), I thought I’d include it: HQ9+.

  10. 10 Christy Dena

    Update: The list expands and moves to our Wiki.

  11. 11 Jeremy Douglass

    I believe that it is indeed a hoax - and hoaxes are part of a rich creative tradition in IF, particularly on ifmud. For other examples see the TextFire Hoax and the AAS (Advanced Authoring System) Hoax.

  12. 12 Fiona Murray

    You could add Zinadoo to the Mobile Fiction section. Zinadoo is a completely free and easy to use mobile website creation tool. In minutes anyone can create and publish their very own mobile website. Users get to customise their site to their own tastes and add some cool interactive features. Then they can use the many sharing features provided to tell everyone about their mobile site.

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