So a couple of deadlines have been extended, much to my relief. Perhaps.
The deadline for IndieCade, the annual independent games festival/competition, was extended from April 30th to May 15th. This is good because I really had no chance of having something close to submission-worthy by the end of April. It's still up in the air if I can have the demo ready by the 15th, but at least I'll have another shot.
Additionally, the submission deadline for the Austin GDC conference (for presentations) was just extended from today to Wednesday, May 13th. I've spoken with a couple of people about a presentation already, and I've prepared a draft of my abstract, so the extension will allow me/us to edit and refine it a bit more. Although I've submitted many abstracts for scientific research conferences in the past, I've never prepared an abstract quite like this before, so it feels like I'm heading into uncharted territory.
The working title right now is, "Lessons from a forgotten genre: game design innovations in interactive fiction." It was fairly tough to nail down, given the 80-character limit, but I think it gets the essential idea across. I have some reservations about using the word "forgotten", but I haven't come up with a better alternative yet, and it has a certain degree of hyperbole that might draw some attention.
I'll offer a preview of the abstract here; feel free to comment or criticize as desired.
The modern commercial game industry is frequently criticized for a reluctance toward innovation, owing largely to the risk-averse approach taken by many mainstream developers. Although the independent game development community, to a certain extent, has accepted the challenge of advancing innovation in game design, gameplay, and storytelling, another small but devoted group of individuals has done precisely this for decades, behind the scenes, in a genre largely overlooked in game development circles: interactive fiction (IF), also known as text adventures. A closer look at the many ways in which this medium has evolved over the years will reveal a remarkable number of techniques and strategies that game developers, mainstream and independent alike, might consider exploring and translating to their own genres and projects.
If there is any actual interest in reviewing the abstract and perhaps offering some suggestions, let me know. Rather than post it all here, drop me an e-mail (slcrubes at gmail dot com) and I'll see if I can make a full draft available.