Jezner Blog

Writing about Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi and Interactive Fiction

Cave Diving for Dummies

In Mexico, there’s an unassuming water body that also just happens to contain an unassuming crocodile. Yet under the hungry croc is an extensive underwater cave system that expands for miles. This cave system is known as Cenote “El Aerolito”.

It was recently made famous when a famous MMA competitor, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, decided to take a swim and almost died in the process. The story as told by Cerrone sounds like a tale of epic survival, but when presented to experts in the cave diving field, the story comes across … a little fishy.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Linking Inventory Items

At this point in this tutorial series, you have half of an inventory system in place. Inventory items appear on select passages. It would be nice to make each item linkable. When the user clicks on a link, they should be presented with another passage that contains a description of the item and maybe an image.

This should be easy. After all, linking passages is a key aspect of working with Twine. Or, is it? The only way to find is to start coding.

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The Plan

One of the questions I get over and over again is when the next tutorial is coming out. This sounds like a complaint, but it’s not. I’m quite flattered that people want to read my work.

Lately, this small site is growing in size, and being I’m getting this question a lot, I thought I’d post a small roadmap of my content plan.

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Inform 7 Goes Open Source

Last week on Twitter, in between Elon Musk’s cries for attention, I saw a simple tweet by Emily Short announcing that Inform 7 was now open source. All I can say is … wow! Wonderful news.

Inform 7 is a wonderful tool. It is a free tool developed by Graham Nelson. Inform 7 allows us to write interactive fiction in plain language. It doesn’t read like traditional code. It reads very much like a story in doing so, is truly self-documenting.

So being that the tool was free, why does it matter that it’s open source? Good question, indeed.

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How to Play Infocom Games on an M1 Mac

I’ve been a gamer my entire life from my early days of playing on the Atari to the latest gems on the PS5. I have to say, of the thousands games that I have played, Infocom games are my most loved.

I played with my dad, my brother, and friends around the neighborhood. We’d spent our summer days working out solutions to what seemed like impossible puzzles (and some were – I’m looking at you, Zork 3 Royal Puzzle).

Recently I bought a new Mac and decided to revisit the classics. I found that it took a little sweat and elbow grease to get the Infocom games working on the Mac but they do work on the latest M1 Macs.

If you need a little walkthrough to play Infocom games on an M1 Mac, then follow along. You’ll have your text adventures running in no time!

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Twine 2 Tutorial – Creating an Advanced Inventory

Since focusing on Twine in the last year, Jezner has acquired a lot of visitors looking to create Twine inventory systems. In fact, my tutorial on creating a basic inventory is one of my most viewed articles.

And while this tutorial will expand on that tutorial in every way, this solution is just one solution in a sea of them. That’s the beauty of code. There is a multitude of solutions yet, that’s also a pain point. After all, of all the solutions, there are few that will fit your story like a well-tailored glove.

This is why it is important to understand the mechanics of any code-based system instead of blindly copying and pasting code. Doing so, may solve your immediate problem, but like introducing an invasive species. It may solve one problem, but cause a whole lot of other problems.

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Interactive Fiction Development #1: Project Motivation

In the past few years, I’ve written many tutorials about creating interactive fiction games and one of the most common questions I get is, “where is your work?”

The answer often confounds people. The truth is, there isn’t any. Well, except for the demos that I’ve produced for articles.

There secret as to why I’ve avoided writing interactive fiction with Twine. It’s a prison of my own making. You see, Harlowe is the default story format, so it’s been the story format I’ve decided to use as my primary story format. But …

Harlowe kind of sucks.

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Twine 2 tutorial: Defining In-Game Objects

Your story is starting to grow complex. What started as a simple choose your own adventure story now has a difficulty setting and a homegrown inventory system.

Alas, the difficulty setting doesn’t work (just yet) and the inventory system only works with one passage. It’d be nice for the inventory system to work with every passage.

For this to work, it’s time to meet data maps.

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Top 4 Genre Movie Trailers in the Past 4 Years

I won’t lie – I’m a sucker for trailers. I know a lot of people hate them because of spoilers and such, but I’ve rarely had a movie-going experience ruined by one.

Trailers remind me of when chefs try to create a complete dinner experience on a single spoon. For me, trailers can even excel far beyond the movie they are based on.

Trailers are promises that may or may not be filled. Movies are a completed product. Trailers are the first kiss. Movies are long-term relationships.

Here are my top four trailers in the past year. I’ve only seen half of the movies presented because who wants to ruin a good trailer by watching a bad movie?

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Sometimes Boys Don’t Know by Donyae Coles

Growing up in the eighties, horror was everywhere. There were tons of magazines, anthology television shows, and my oh my, horror films galore. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this content was written by middle age white dudes.

Mind you, I have no problem with middle age white dudes. After all, I am such a dude. But in the eighties, white dudes had a monoculture of horror.

Donyae Coles takes that perspective and turns it on its head in her short story, “Sometimes Boys Don’t Know” and it is very much worth the read.

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