Thursday, February 14, 2013

« Second Life's Best (Perhaps Only) Killer App: An Immersive, Open-Ended Social Platform for the Disabled | Main | Win Over Your SL Sweetheart With the Perfect Valentine's Day Ensemble »

Versu, the Artificial Intelligence-Powered, Tablet-Based Interactive Fiction Platform from Linden Lab, is Now Live

Versu is now live and available for the iPad, and as we suspected, it's an interactive fiction platform developed by award-winning interactive fiction writer Emily Short and acclaimed game AI programmer Richard Evans, whose company Linden Lab bought last year. Here's the official trailer:

Hopefully you get a sense of what Linden Lab is trying to accomplish here: Far more than old school interactive fiction updated for the tablet, the platform uses an artificial intelligence back-end to allow for subtle changes of character behavior based on the player's choices. Short wrote the first story, derived from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (but playable from multiple character perspectives), along with an original horror story of her own, and a murder mystery called "A Family Supper" that'll also be available today through in-app payment of $4.99. (The platform's launching on iPad, but an Android tablet version is also promised.)

Reading the announcement Linden Lab was kind enough to send along, it's easy to see where this is likely going:

Versu Interactive Gameplay

"[I]n the future, we plan to open the platform to allow authors to publish their own work on Versu as well,” says Rod Humble there. Given that Short's "Family Supper" story is being sold as an in-app payment, it's reasonable to assume other authors will be able to sell their own interactive fictions on Versu too. Tablets, ideal for leisurely, living room couch use, are perfect for this kind of medium. The real question is whether there's a large enough audience for this kind of fiction. Text-only interactive fiction per se hasn't attracted a very large audience since the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books and Infocom text adventures of the 80s (which were pretty nichey to begin with). What's more, on the surface (without really exploring the AI interaction) this doesn't have a whole lot of difference from dio, another kind of interactive fiction platfor from Linden Lab. However, intuitively I sense there's a desire for the tablet-driven generation to have a new kind of fiction, and Versu might be it. Why not give it a try and decide for yourself?

Please share this post with people you like:


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Versu, the Artificial Intelligence-Powered, Tablet-Based Interactive Fiction Platform from Linden Lab, is Now Live:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I hope they didn't invest heavily.

Lum Lumley

Should have waited until the authoring tools were ready and shipped both simultaneously.

Jessica Q

I'll bet you a dollar someone figures out how to use it for cybersex.


What a great way to bring the StorySpace concept into our century. I've been waiting for this sort of product since Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story debuted.


I hope they didn't invest heavily.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.