Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chowder and a Chat: A Programmer Visits The House

It's been lonely here recently so I had my old friend Christian DeWolf over for chowder and a chat. Christian has been keeping busy this spring; he's been programming non-stop, drinking lots of Clamato, and is hoping that writers all over the world "shell out" for his new web writing platform.


FP:  It's great to have you here today.

CD:  Thanks for having me.  This chowder is fantastic.

FP:  Can you taste the clams?

CD:  Yes. It looks like there are two different kinds. Are these chives?

FP:  Three kinds, actually. And they're scallions. Cassandra's recipe.

CD:  Is she here?

FP:  She's...  no.  Tell me about this new website you've got coming out next month, FractalFic, kind of maybe give me the concept behind it.

CD:  Well, FractalFic is an interactive fiction platform, where users can write their own "Fractal Stories," which are non-linear, exponentially-branching adventures.

FP:  How are these different than those books, where you could choose your own--

CD:  Size, for one.  As the stories expand, they incrementally double in size, easily overtaking the potential of a book trying to accomplish the same thing. Users don't have to learn programming or write complicated rules to build a story; they simply create multiple "trees" and link them together, with the option to hide items and locked boxes where it suits the narrative.

FP:  I don't see how anyone would want that.

CD:  No?

FP:  It's all a little too "New Media" for me.  Are you actually trying to make money off of it?

CD:  My original idea was to have it be kind of a money machine, one that would offer a free service, fully automated, that could be improved with a small cash payment to cover my costs.

FP:  Now, you've been experimenting with Clamato juice this spring--

CD:  I've found, though, that as my program gets bigger, and I look at it in its full glory from the very top, that I've created more of a money castle, with myself as the--

FP:  Please, let's bring it back to clams for a second.  You said earlier you've been adding balsamic vinegar to your Clamato juice.  That's pretty out there!

CD:  And a few drops of hot sauce.

FP:  Aren't you buying the Extra Spicy stuff?  They have an actual--

CD:  I know.  I do.

FP:  But you need something extra.

CD:  Yes.

FP:  Interesting; interesting.  Do you eat clams often?

CD:  Not really.  I try to avoid seafood these days, you know, Fukushima and such.

FP:  Clams have natural protection against radiation.

CD:  They do?

FP:  They have shells!

CD:  You could write a clam-related game, or story, on FractalFic.

FP:  Are you planning to write one?

CD:  (pauses)  Not immediately, I don't think.  But you can just go on there, create a user, start adding trees, and you can even upload images, take submissions from other users, colour different parts of your story, collaborate with your friends on the same--


Christian had to leave at this point but he left me this recipe on his way out:

"The Black Spot"
-5 oz Clamato juice (extra spicy)
-half capful of balsamic vinegar
-3-5 drops Jamaican hot pepper sauce
Do Not Stir

I'll give it a try and let you know! And hopefully Christian will write us that clam story after all. The world needs more clam fiction.

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