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Interactive Fiction foundation formed to aid Twine, IFComp growth

Interactive Fiction foundation formed to aid Twine, IFComp growth

June 30, 2016 | By Bryant Francis

It’s been a good year for interactive fiction and narrative game writers.

Today, the Interactive Fiction Competition founder Jason McIntosh and a group of other interactive fiction writers announced the creation of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation, a new nonprofit to support the growth of text adventures, choice-driven games, visual novels, and more. 

The announcement comes on the heels of Failbetter Games announcing the first story-driven games published through their Fundbetter program. It’s another boon for developers of interactive fiction, who historically haven’t enjoyed an extensive amount of infrastructure for game development and distribution.

In a press release on their website, the IFTF founders write that the organization will take over operation of the annual Interactive Fiction Competition, and support the development and maintenance of the open-source interactive fiction tool Twine. Twine’s creator, Chris Klimas, is among the foundation’s board of directors.

Speaking to Gamasutra by e-mail, IFTF's Flourish Klink, who joins Klimas and McIntosh on the board of directors, says that the organization’s first two goals are to build a program to help sustain the Twine community over the next 20+ years, and seek solutions for making interactive fiction games be more accessible to people with disabilities. 

“There are many game genres that are difficult to make accessible…not because of any failure on the part of the developers, but because they simply require sight. On the other hand, it should be easy for [players with disabilities] to play an interactive fiction game,” Klink says. 

“Because interactive fiction is usually developed by indies who don’t have experience with accessibility, sometimes that falls by the wayside. We plan to create resources to help those developers, and to work with projects like Twine, Inform, etc to make sure they have good accessibility tools.”

Klink also says the foundation’s organizers have seen a recent boom in the interactive fiction genre, and that success underlines the foundation’s goal to preserve and support the genre’s easily accessible writing tools. 

The IFTF’s advisory board includes many notable developers with extensive work in the interactive fiction field, including independent designer Emily Short, former Failbetter Games CEO Alexis Kennedy, Ubisoft Toronto’s Liz England, and Inkle Studios’ Jon Ingold. 

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