So, this weekend I’m busy getting ready for the move back to Scotland. Next weekend we’ll be doing the actual move. That means that I won’t be doing much here for a couple of weeks until I’m settled in our new place (which I haven’t even seen yet). That has consequences as you can imagine for the next patch – that’ll likely be the end of March, but I promise we’ll be back to getting them done every couple of weeks or so after that. Your patience in these busy times is appreciated, and will be rewarded. :-D

Much of my professional work over the past couple of years has been to gradually align all my various interests into something that approaches a coherent whole. As you all (probably) know, I’m an academic in real life[1] and while my PhD was in accessibility for older users, I’ve managed to put together a few reasonably well received papers on video games too – especially in the intersection between accessibility and interaction in games. I’ve also managed to layer text gaming into this framework too, both as a platform for accessible gameplay as well as just an interesting environment for hobbyist game development. I’ve had numerous papers published on various bits of this, and I have three further papers out there looking to cement what is becoming my ‘research area’.

What that means for Epitaph though is that as time goes by I need to worry less and less about ‘work’ versus ‘recreation’ because there are times when these aims will neatly align. I keep a research wiki in which I outline my agenda for research and papers, and now some of those incorporate Epitaph. The graphical client stuff I posted about around Christmas is a great example of something that neatly straddles both parts of my life. It’s both a research project and something that will hopefully be of benefit to the game itself. Likewise with another project in my list which is about accessibility in heavily text based environments. By looking at how we’ve addressed it on Epitaph and how that relates to web-based text games and even command line interfaces, we can get a better experience here as well as come up with useful information for others.

It’s all very exciting.

I don’t really have much to say today because as I mentioned earlier, it’s a busy time. I just want people to know that the pace of (visible) development since last December isn’t a sign of things to come, but rather one of the inevitable slow-downs that come from real life getting unusually busy. When this intense period is over, expect to see rapid advancements more akin to the first few months after we launched properly. Also, expect to see some concentrated effort to recruit new players and developers as we gear up for the future. If you know anyone who might be interested in developing for the game, nudge them towards Hugo or Maw for a discussion.

As an aside, thanks to Romero for his review on The Mud Connector[2] – if others have similarly kind[3] things to say about the game, remember you have all kinds of outlets where you can express your views. Word of mouth is important to us – it’s one of the best recruitment tools that we have.

See you on the flip side!

Drakkos

[1] See http://michael.imaginary-realities.com if you’re interested in Another Side of Mike Heron.
[2] http://www.mudconnect.com/cgi-bin/prev/review.cgi?rid=33257
[3] Or unkind, actually – we’re not shy of criticism, but bear in mind we do emphasise every patch that we’re a 1.0 game.