Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

When I was at TechWeek, a start-up/entrepreneurial conference here in Chicago, I met a couple of representatives from Encyclopedia Britannica. We chatted about my company and what we could do if we worked together. This led to a meeting in their office in the city this morning.

I gave them a demonstration of various Interactive Fiction examples and we talked about how we could develop classroom oriented applications using their content and the IF medium. They were very excited about the prospect and we’re moving forward with a plan to develop a prototype. They’re offering access to all of their content and when the prototype is ready, they will do the leg work of putting in front of administrators, teachers, and students and gathering feedback. If the prototype looks marketable, they will take over the entire marketing and sales process.

Textfyre has moved away from a strictly education-oriented model, but this is likely to branch some of my efforts, which is a good thing.

I still need to get in touch with my contact at the Chicago Public Schools, so stay tuned for more education-oriented news.

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Textfyre is extremely close to completing its delivery platform, proving its concept, and building a customer base.

In order to enable growth we are now looking for a Marketing Director to become a founding member of our company. The ideal candidate would be someone with publishing experience, education experience, and building trust with soccer moms or parents looking for supplemental education products.

This is an immediate and critical need. Please contact me directly if you’re interested.

David Cornelson, President
voice: +1 01 630 803 4302
email: david plaque textfyre dust com (where plaque is @ and dust is .)

Textfyre is making an effort to publish games on all platforms now. The list of targeted platforms includes:

  • Windows desktops, laptops, netbooks, and tablets
  • Mac OS X
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Droid
  • Windows Phone 7
  • Palm Pre
  • Blackberry
  • Web via Silverlight
  • Web via Zifmia
  • Web via HTML5
  • Amazon Kindle
  • B&N Nook
  • XBox 360
  • Nintendo DS/DSi
  • Sony PS3

This is going to be a sizable effort and will take time to implement. In the end, we will be able to accept content that meets a set of criteria and publish that content to all of the implemented platforms.

We’re also going to try to make it so that saved games can be stored online or offline along with progress and status information. Some of this information will have the option of being shared with social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

We are developing tools to integrate games with social networking sites, allowing authors to use profile information within their games.

The criteria for publishing your content will include the following:

  • Game file must be Glulx with FyreVM support. We have an Inform 7 extension for FyreVM and are working on an Inform 6 extension (for glulx output only though). I don’t think we can support the Z-Machine, but upgrading your source code to Glulx Inform 6 may get you past this requirement.
  • At this time, we don’t have any way to support TADS 3, but it’s on our radar.
  • No blorb support.
  • No glk support.
  • Channel emissions must be tested thoroughly.
  • Games must be tested thoroughly.
  • We will allow for spot and page art implemented through channel or markup data. Details will be included in the FyreVM Developer’s Guide, which will be available soon.

We really have no interest in becoming a censor, but Textfyre has to set some guidelines about content. I’ll have to talk to people about how to implement the content standards, but I believe the primary consideration would be that the game be of high quality. After that it will likely be an editorial decision.

The website is undergoing a complete redesign and won’t be available for some time, but I’m going to start posting information there, even in raw form, so that people can keep up with our progress.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly.

Last week I went to a job fair event that tried to match start-up businesses with job seekers. They allowed 24 of the companies to do a 60 second pitch, of which Textfyre was one. There were at least several hundred people at the event which was held at John Barleycorn’s second floor in Wrigleyville in Chicago.

They called me up third and I got up on the stage and did my pitch. Needless to say I was pretty nervous, but explained who I was, what we were doing, what products we had already published and how we competed with other types of gaming and reading material. I wanted to say I was looking for market research, sales, and investor help, but it slipped my mind at the moment. I probably didn’t even use my entire 60 seconds.

So then I went back to my spot, which was actually a pretty good spot in the venue. Low traffic and the other two companies that were supposed to share my booth didn’t show.

For the next two and a half hours I had a line of people wanting to talk to me about Textfyre.

I had several people tell me that I should read Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age because of a sort of living book a female character interacts with within the story. I told them I was currently reading Quicksilver and would get to Diamond Age eventually.

I had a few people really just looking for work and I chatted with them to either figure out if we could use them in the future, if I could direct them on a better path, or if they might be interested in working for free.

I had one guy come up and say, “You’re the only company I want to talk to.” He was a big fan of Infocom and we chatted a lot about Interactive Fiction and how it impacted our early lives.

Then I had a guy come out of the crowd and asked me if I knew anything about Follett publishing. If you know anything about the educational publishing market, you know who Follett is and why they are so important. Follett is a major pipeline into school libraries and they have a digital division that handles software. This means that when schools are looking for digital content, they do searches through the Follett computerized catalog. It also means that schools will ask Follett for recommendations on software. Needless to say, Follett has been a very important part of my business plan all along. This guy was a product manager and he referred me to another guy in Follett Software and we’re at the beginning stages of discussions on a partnership.

So if this partnership moves forward, we will have three products to list in their system, including the upcoming Empath’s Gift.

I’ve always said that I would partner with any of the hobbyist authors and this is where I can help. If I can work the deal with Follett Software, I would also ask them to include the hobbyist titles. To do this, we would probably have to publish games under the Textfyre name and produce ISBN numbers. There would be some minimal amount of overhead and depending on that and what Follett expects in compensation, I would offer to publish anyone’s games for free or at cost or if people are interested, for profit.

Exciting news in the land of Textfyre. There were other hopeful signs at the event and I’ll share those when I have more details, but the Follett meeting was really great news.