Author Topic: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released  (Read 5070 times)

chooseusername

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Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« on: April 12, 2015, 07:30:53 AM »
First published in 2001, Imaginary Realities is remembered fondly as being a place where you can read interesting mudding-related articles.  Or even get your own published.

Our new revival is targeted at text-based gaming in general, and in this issue we feature our first roguelike-related article kindly contributed by Matthew Ward.

Read it online, or download a version to read offline at:

http://journal.imaginary-realities.com/volume-07/issue-02/index.html

akeley

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 09:14:19 PM »
It`s a great initiative - especially in the current tl/dr  era, where  anything longer than five lines is given "a wall of text, ugh" treatment and even supposedly "serious" outlets as The Independent suffer from the hot take mania and lack of proofreading. It looks like a zine or disk/tape-mag - and kudos for proceeding with "only" two articles anyway.

Also commendable is expansion from MUDs to all things ASCII - in particular pleased to see the text-adventures included too (much prefer this term to Interactive Fiction :P)

chooseusername

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 04:24:28 AM »
It`s a great initiative - especially in the current tl/dr  era, where  anything longer than five lines is given "a wall of text, ugh" treatment and even supposedly "serious" outlets as The Independent suffer from the hot take mania and lack of proofreading. It looks like a zine or disk/tape-mag - and kudos for proceeding with "only" two articles anyway.

Also commendable is expansion from MUDs to all things ASCII - in particular pleased to see the text-adventures included too (much prefer this term to Interactive Fiction :P)
Well the future is uncertain.

As it is, the number of authors is decreasing every issue.  There's some other periodical, I think in the form of a blog, starting up which is likely competing for articles against us, and they've picked an almost identical name.  Good luck to them getting the number of articles needed to do their weekly or whatever it is publishing.  It's all very well to include text adventures, but no-one has offered to write an article on them yet.

And it looks like it does, because I am bad at web design.  What I should have done is make something that looks reminiscent of what clean scientific journals look like.  As it is, it looks like something out of the 90's I think.

akeley

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 08:13:02 PM »
And it looks like it does, because I am bad at web design.  What I should have done is make something that looks reminiscent of what clean scientific journals look like.  As it is, it looks like something out of the 90's I think.

I actually meant to say that it feels like a zine or a diskmag, pardon my second-hand English. As in DIY, niche, non-mainstream publication.  But as far as the looks go, my first thought was "oh, another 'clean' site" - though this time it was a positive impression since you don`t use these nauseating colours and shapes that are virtually everywhere these days. Honestly, it`s great as it is and I think you forgot what (badly designed) 90s sites really looked like if that`s what it reminds you of.

It`s quite sad to hear about the dwindling contributions though - one would think that amongst the MUD/RL/IF crowd there would be enough authors to put something out every now and then. Are things really that bad when it comes to reading/writing? Quite depressing...

chooseusername

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 08:49:02 PM »
I actually meant to say that it feels like a zine or a diskmag, pardon my second-hand English. As in DIY, niche, non-mainstream publication.  But as far as the looks go, my first thought was "oh, another 'clean' site" - though this time it was a positive impression since you don`t use these nauseating colours and shapes that are virtually everywhere these days. Honestly, it`s great as it is and I think you forgot what (badly designed) 90s sites really looked like if that`s what it reminds you of.

It`s quite sad to hear about the dwindling contributions though - one would think that amongst the MUD/RL/IF crowd there would be enough authors to put something out every now and then. Are things really that bad when it comes to reading/writing? Quite depressing...
Well, it's not that you said anything about the look of it, as much as my own thoughts before I read your post.

Anyway, perhaps you (or any other readers) might want to write an article

mushroom patch

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 09:30:49 PM »
I suspect there are people who'd write features and who would attract a lot of interest, but I think you have to take your announcements to more widely read spaces or directly solicit people you think might be interested.

chooseusername

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 11:00:59 PM »
I suspect there are people who'd write features and who would attract a lot of interest, but I think you have to take your announcements to more widely read spaces or directly solicit people you think might be interested.
What more widely read spaces do you think would be appropriate?

Kyzrati

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 02:20:20 AM »
I suspect there are people who'd write features and who would attract a lot of interest, but I think you have to take your announcements to more widely read spaces or directly solicit people you think might be interested.
This, and I think it also applies to readers just as much as writers.

chooseusername, I remember when you approached me some time ago about writing something, and then (as well as more recently) when I go to look at IR there is pretty much no evidence of a readership. Not that there isn't one, but it's not at all obvious that anyone reads the articles. Nor is there any interaction surrounding the articles, which would be a primary indicator that they're being read.

As is, there seems to be more value in putting articles like this on a blog where users can at least comment and interact with the author and between themselves. I recall you set up a subreddit where people can discuss the articles, but I never saw any discussion. It doesn't help that the location for discussion is detached from the articles themselves.

It's hard to attract writers without an audience. I know, catch-22 about getting readers before writers... but previous issues had quite a few articles yet there wasn't really any discussion then, either.

The marketing aspect, while probably not something you're interested in, is kinda necessary to keep something like this alive, which would also be easier to accomplish given a better format. I like the way IR looks and feels, but it doesn't seem as practical on the modern internet.

...just me speaking as a potential contributor about what keeps me from contributing. Some writers write purely for the pleasure of writing, but I believe a majority would prefer being able to reach the widest audience possible, or possibly even interact with that audience.

chooseusername

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 05:42:47 AM »
Well, text-based gaming is a niche subject any way you look at it.  Not sure how it could be popularised without expanding the focus, which isn't really an option.  I announce on all the various forums where it's applicable, from the top 3-4 mud forums, this place for roguelikes, three subreddits for mudding and roguelikes.

I think that the hard-coded reddit discussion links to the imaginaryrealities subreddit are a waste of time.  It'd be better to submit the articles to the relevant subreddit for the genre directly, and that'd do a lot for discussion.

I don't know.  It's all something to think about, regardless.  What is a better format in your estimation?

Kyzrati

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2015, 06:40:13 AM »
True about the problem being compounded by the fact that its already a niche.

Taking that into consideration, the best results one could hope for is to concentrate discussion from the different communities in a single place, which was apparently the intention behind the embedded reddit links, though that hasn't panned out too well.

What has the response been like in the other forums you mention? Maybe there simply aren't many people out there who want to talk about this stuff? (This could even be a characteristic of the target audience...)

Promoting IR would be easier with some changes to the system, be it via format or content. The latter refers to more open-ended discussion of topics by writers, aiming to engage readers (obviously not always possible depending on topic), while a more accessible format would be a website designed to make browsing (and advertising) earlier issues and articles easier.

There is definitely a nostalgic (and more professional) appeal to the way IR is currently presented, but I don't think that clicks with a majority of readers these days. Imagine if you changed it to a serial format akin to the 7DRL.org blog, and made new articles available on a weekly or biweekly basis. If there isn't enough new material coming in, to gain momentum on that route you could first take articles from previous issues and start posting them one by one.

One especially unfortunate decision (oversight?) that prevents accessibility is that none of the issues are connected to each other. At all. Or at least not that I can find. Following your link to the current issue, there is no link to move from there to the main page with all the issues. At the very least clicking on the header image should do that. But even that wouldn't be enough--the site should really be designed with an eye towards easy browsing. And if it had its own built-in commenting system that would be great. Wordpress is a great platform for this.

I can't say whether all the additional work would be worth it in the end, given that it's a niche. I also wonder if a lot of those developers with experiences to share don't already have their own outlets to write for... (I guess you can also get articles from players just the same--I imagine those are in the minority, though).

mushroom patch

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 01:02:54 PM »
I suspect there are people who'd write features and who would attract a lot of interest, but I think you have to take your announcements to more widely read spaces or directly solicit people you think might be interested.
What more widely read spaces do you think would be appropriate?

Well, if you really want to beat the drum about it, twitter. Also reddit, but maybe you're already doing that. Presumably you know people involved with this stuff personally. If any of them have nontrivial twitter followings, ask them to retweet your announcements. Approach people with twitter followings who you think would write a good article and ask them to write. They'll promote their article for you. Stuff like that.

btw, I think the idea of tying mudding and roguelikes together via the text theme is great. If I were you, I'd try getting people involved in multiplayer roguelike games, like mangband, tomenet, pwmangband, etc., and people involved in major roguelike telnet communities, especially those for nethack and dcss, to write for you.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 01:07:01 PM by mushroom patch »

Zireael

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 07:29:42 PM »
I've clicked the request for content link, but it didn't tell me much. How long do the articles have to be? 1 pg TNR 12? 2 pages? 5 pages? 1500 words? Do they have to include bibliography of some sort? How about roguelike/MUD post-mortems or game design articles?

akeley

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 08:20:34 PM »
Kyzrati makes some good points - especially about the lack of links too older issues/articles, that bugged me too. Adding possibility to comment is also a good idea. I`d also add a pagination option to longer articles - the endless scrolling can be off putting for some.

Personally I`d vote more for "a website" than "a blog" angle. You could have the front page with news & updates and subsections for various content itself. Blogs are okay for more kinda running commentary - like dev diaries and such whereas website approach suits the magazine/journal style better.

Depending on contributors, interest and resources you could even swing it into a full blown text-gaming HQ. There isn`t one out there as far as I know.

I`m not sure "players" are a minority - would`ve thought it`s the other way around :P Joking, but this ties to opening more to the non-dev audience - to be honest the purely design orientated articles hold little interest for the layman such as myself - sure, I read some of it just because theres not much else (same like reading Programming section here on roguetemple) but would love to see some more stuff regarding games themselves. Reviews, opinions, hints/tactics (NO! SPOILERZZZ!) etc...you know, just like in a normal gaming mag.

Overall, yes, it`s a niche subject and the audience might be in low figures - in fact not only at IR but everywhere - look at 7DLR blog which has zilch comments or even this very forum, which is not exactly booming with activity. But...that`s no reason to give up.  I believe that even if there`s  few interested folk out there at the moment it`s still worth doing, and eventually, who knows, it all might pick up and grow.

I`ll try and cook up that thing described in PM - end of May seems a reasonable deadline. Also have an idea for the next one already. Hopefully more folk will jump on in the meantime...

chooseusername

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Re: Imaginary Realities volume 7, issue 2 released
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2015, 12:53:38 AM »
I've clicked the request for content link, but it didn't tell me much. How long do the articles have to be? 1 pg TNR 12? 2 pages? 5 pages? 1500 words? Do they have to include bibliography of some sort? How about roguelike/MUD post-mortems or game design articles?
Hmm, the following text seems to have been lost: "Articles should be in the range of 1000-4000 words. ...  Longer articles are possible for serialisation, with approval required."  Ideally, if the topic requires it, a bibliography is preferred.  Post mortems and game design articles are fine, and I think we've already had several.