Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boston summer IF meetup!

As in years past, the People's Republic of Interactive Fiction is organizing a summer gathering of the IF folks of the world. If you are interested in hanging out and talking about IF, you are invited!

The weekend: September 14-15. The locale: Boston (the MIT area).

Once again, we will be gathering at NoShowConf, a tiny little indie game-dev conference. We will also have a presence at the Boston Festival of Indie Games, which runs the same weekend.

These are both great events, and I'd happily recommend coming into town to visit either one. Both on the same weekend... is logistically complicated, I confess. But it will only make the weekend more awesome!

What's going on?

NoShowConf will run all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

NoShow is at the MS-NERD center, adjacent to MIT.

This will be the primary IF hangout zone. We will not have a separate IF track -- it's a cozy conference, not a cluttered one. However, I will be proposing one IF-related talk and I hope you folks will propose more.

Note that NoShow is considerably cheaper than it was last year. (Thanks to Microsoft for providing event space to the Boston tech community.) If you are on a tight budget, you can grab the Game Jam pass, which is even cheaper and includes all the hanging-out and the free lunch. Last year there were IF folks lounging around talking the entire weekend -- don't feel like the presentations are the only reason to attend.

BostonFIG runs all day Saturday.

This is an open-to-the-public indie game expo. It's running at the MIT student center (a fifteen-minute walk from NoShow). Registration is free; they are currently running a Kickstarter to raise funds.

We are organizing an IF table at BostonFIG! (Thanks Clara.) This is still in flux, but we are aiming for a demo space where we can show off IF to the public, demonstrate IF tools, possibly run a workshop. This is what I expect to be doing all Saturday afternoon. Anyone who wants to help with IF outreach is welcome to come by.

The People's Republic IF Demo, Beerfest, and Chowdown.

On Saturday evening (7 pm), we will meet up to eat, drink, and catch up on IF. (Location is still being planned.) We're going to grab function space in a bar or restaurant, and have a screen and projector available.

The idea is that everybody gathers, orders beer and food, and starts talking raucously about everything that's going on. Then, maybe at 8 pm, I wave a giant wooden spoon in the air, shut everybody up, and point at the projector. This is your cue to jump up, plug in, and tell everybody what you've done in IF in the past 12 (or 24) months. For five minutes! Lightning talk, or just a few screenshots, then next person.

Hopefully that will go for 30-ish minutes. Then we go back to drinking and eating and talking raucously until the bar throws us out.

And then back to NoShow for Sunday.

Perhaps this is a bewildering array of event options. (I like to think of it as "feature-rich", or perhaps "Turing-complete".) The capsule summary is:
  • NoShow: Cozy; conversation with IF folks and indie game devs; presentations for small interested groups.
  • BostonFIG: Big, noisy; present IF to the public (gamers, but not necessarily aware of IF).
  • Dinner: Our annual time to catch up on what's going on in the IF world. Also, beer.

And as I said, wandering back and forth between NoShow and FIG is easy.

What does this mean for you, dear blog-post reader?
  • Consult your calendar. (September 14-15, 2013.)
  • Register for NoShow if you want to take part.
  • Register for FIG if you will be in town at all. (Free, no reason not to.)
  • Donate to FIG's Kickstarter if you want to support that event financially.
  • Submit a NoShow talk proposal if you have an idea for one.
  • Email me if you want to show off anything at the IF dinner. Or at the BostonFIG table.
  • If you're planning to attend any part of this, please comment here, email me, or otherwise let me know. (Planning dinner space means coming up with a head-count, eventually.)

I hope to see lots and lots of you, this summer.

Comments imported from Gameshelf

Jason Scott (May 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM):

I'm in another country and then at a wedding during that time, but I send my love!

ChrisC (May 3, 2013 at 12:50 PM):

I'm interested and I think able to come this year. Do you know any cheap place to stay nearby?

Andrew Plotkin (May 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM):

The NoShowConf page lists Le Meridien Cambridge-MIT or the Kendall Hotel. I don't know how they are for price. (Or where to look for better.)

Irfon-Kim Ahmad (Jun 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM):

Price is subjective by person, but both are more expensive than anywhere I've ever stayed -- $258 / night cheapest rate at the Starwood and $226 / night at the Kendall (that's with the 15% discount for staying three nights). :(

It could be made a lot more affordable if people were willing to room share, of course, or stay elsewhere and commute in as a group.

This seems unfortunately somewhat typical for the area., given the address of the meeting centre to home on (1 Memorial Drive, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA), gives almost entirely rates in the mid-$200s at the low end (with some up into the $600s).

The one exception that I can see that's nearby is The College Club of Boston, which is 1.2km away and seems to be running $168 / night. Does anybody know anything about that place? The reviews imply that it's a decent place to stay simply if you expect to spend most of your time not-at-the-hotel, which is probably acceptable for most attendees.

Irfon-Kim Ahmad (Jun 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM):

If you don't mind a 3.1km walk, the MIT accomodations page also recommends Irving House:

Their single-occupancy rate for a queen bed with a private bath in the summer/fall is $165 / night - $205 / night. (Full bed, private bath is about the same.) Since it's a converted house, I assume that the range is by specific room, so it might depend on what rooms haven't been booked yet. If you're willing to be a little more spartan and/or friendly, a room with a single bed and shared bath (they say approximately 1.6 people to 1 bath sharing rate) is $135 - $160.

The walking route looks pretty straightforward -- the bulk of it is just walking along Broadway from about Ellery at the northwest. I don't know the area, so someone local could probably comment better on safety, etc. At the end of a long, exciting day, 3.1km might be a longish walk, but not too bad, really.

Andrew Plotkin (Jun 2, 2013 at 2:09 PM):

Thanks. That's two stops down the Red Line, so the walk won't be an issue -- as long as you remember that the Boston subway system closes at (roughly) midnight.

Andrew Plotkin (Jul 24, 2013 at 6:16 PM):

Further details:

Several IF authors of various stripes will be speaking at NoShowConf. Familiar names include Anna Anthropy, Deirdra Kiai, Juhana Leinonen, and Chris Klimas.

We are in the process of organizing a public reading of Lost Pig (by Admiral Jota), which will occur at BostonFIG on Saturday.

IF folks (including me) will be showing off IF -- again, in various forms -- at a table in the BostonFIG showcase room.

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