Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0’

Overheard on ifMUD last week was an observation-only comment about Zifmia being vaporware. I was amused by the comment, since I have made great progress on the entire project in the last few months. I just haven’t been talking about it all that much. Since there has been no demonstration of Zifmia and no public discussion, the vaporware comment was accurate.

However, that is all about to change. I have a working system and although I’m slightly side-tracked with a potential investor meeting on the 16th, a beta of Zifmia is coming this month. The beta will be a replacement of the entire Textfyre.com website into a game portal for Interactive Fiction developed with Inform 7, FyreVM and Zifmia extensions, images, js, css, and html.

A version of Cloak of Darkness will be present in the beta along with a demo version of Shadow in the Cathedral. A full version of Shadow will be added when the payment system is ready. Other features will be added over time, including the ability to upload your own games and web provisioning. I intend the beta of the new Textfyre website to be an extended period of time, to let the kinks iron out.

One of the first tasks will be to adapt extensions for the “standard” Zifmia design, which will be very simple. You can see a functional sample of the latest standard design at http://textfyre.com/design/zifmia-design-2.html. The opening page is a templated “prologue” and following a press of any key, the main template is displayed. Currently there is a column of main text, some spot art, fly out text windows on the left and right, a command line text box, along with map and hint buttons.

Templates are based on straight HTML5/CSS3 using jQuery and various jQuery plugins. I’ve tested this design with IE9, FF 5, and Chrome. It does not work on mobile devices as I see that as a separate template entirely. I plan to investigate jQuery Mobile to help with that work.

I plan to move forward with this design and implement an Inform 7 extension to implement the various pieces. It shouldn’t be too hard to create simple Inform 7 markup that translates to html with known classes.

Feel free to test it out and leave comments.

 

So I’ve been attending an entrepreneur conference in Chicago this weekend and I’ve found the whole thing very interesting.

First there was the keynotes, which underlined the nature of Chicago’s seeming up and coming start up nature. And then a couple of sessions I attended were quite volatile.

The Education 2.0 session had very passionate people arguing about content and censorship, about rural Internet access, and that the start up world is looking at web 10.0 as opposed to the schools systems just sort of figuring out and having meetings on web 2.0. I ended up getting contact info from a VP at Britannica and the CTO of the Chicago Public Schools. Both seemed genuinely interested in reviewing IF and helping us work in classrooms.

Saturday morning I attended a session on responsive web design, which essentially showed how you can use the @media screen tag to create alternate views of your site based on max width, resolution, and other criteria. Very helpful if you want to create HTML for multiple devices and have it change based on CSS criteria alone.

Another morning session was on social data and this too seemed to catch people’s attention. The general concern is that there could, and already is, a sort of “character rating system” which will compile data on all of your purchase history, your social history, employment history, financial records, and allow someone to segment the population by who should be provided an easier path to wealth than others. Do you go to the library or the bar? Do you purchase healthy foods? Do you read comic books or economic journals? Do you maintain a savings account? What sort of things to you say on Facebook or Twitter? This seems both inevitable and deeply frightening.

The last session for Saturday was about Gamification and the panel was made up of iconic game designers involved in Mortal Combat, Tony Hawk, Call of Duty, and more. The discussion talked about rubberbanding games and then using social media and various kinds of rewards to keep people at a website.

I’m taking Sunday off to decompress and assimilate everything. I had not planned to attend the Monday sessions, but it looks like it has most of the entreprenurial content. It looks like a must-attend day from Textfyre’s perspective.

I’ve been slowly working on the new vision for the Textfyre.Com website. It’s very much a work in progress and in the very early stages of development. If you’re concerned about design aspects, be patient. There will be artwork and prettiness added later. The site is going to be a portal for games and that functionality is at the core of the changes. There will be a lot of AJAX and Web 2.0 features and a new AJAX based FyreVM implementation called Zifmia (open source). Here’s the plan so far:

Game Portal Features
Zifmia will provide the ability to offer Interactive Fiction in the same way that a website offers web pages. Using AJAX, we’ll send commands to a server dedicated to Zifmia games (based on a modified stateless FyreVM engine). The web page will receive the response from the Zifmia server in JSON format, which will be stored locally using jStorage, unpacked, and written to the web page as required. There will be no scroll bar text window. Each response will be displayed in full in the main text area in the center of the portal. Each “turn” or response will be saved as history to local storage. There will be user interface features that allow the user to easily page through the history of their game play. This will happen by pulling the appropriate JSON data out of local storage and displaying it on the web page. If the user closes their browser, they can always come back to the same state they left the website in, carrying on with their game.

Game Search Features
At the bottom of the page there is a rectangle with the word “menu” as a placeholder. This area will be a place to scroll horizontally through game titles. The game titles will be represented by their cover art. When clicked, a light box will display the information about the game, which allows the user to start the game immediately. If the user is in the middle of a game, its state will be stored and we will start the new game automatically. What’s really cool is that we will keep track of all of the “games in progress” somewhere on the web page. Jumping to any game in progress will be a single click.

Membership
Similar to the previous website, we will have people register and login for certain types of content, mostly paid content, but there are other (legitimate) reasons for asking people to register. Anyone that’s registered and logged in will have access to paid content, beta versions, insider news, and more.

Cross Device Delivery
The biggest change to Textfyre is that it will focus on delivering games (ours and others) to many mobile devices in addition to the traditional desktop and laptop devices. The portal will prominently identify all of the current devices and available content.

Content
Another big change in Textfyre.Com is that we will begin to widen the type of content we promote and sell. This will include more mature themes and may include games with profanity, violence, and mild sexual themes (nothing explicit!).

Partnerships
Textfyre.Com will partner with other publishers and content creators to provide a wide variety of content.

Advertisement
Textfyre.Com will begin to carry skyscraper advertisements that will be located on the sides of the portal.