IFComp 2020

I see that the judging for IFComp 2020 is now open. IFComp is, I would say, the biggest annual competition for interactive fiction. You can find the list of entries here.

IFComp has had a bit if a problem in the past with a relatively low number of judges compared to the number of authors, so I encourage everyone to take a look at the games, and take part in the judging. There are a lot of games, but you only need to judge 5 to make your votes count, and you have until 29th November so plenty of time.
Looking at other people’s games is a great way to get inspiration for your own games.

I did a quick tally of systems used:

  • Glulx 23
  • Z-code 4
  • Windows executable 6
  • Web-based 64
  • ADRIFT 2
  • TADS 3
  • Quest 2
  • Total 104

Glulx and Z-code are both Inform behind the scenes (Glulx has support for 32-bit integers), so that totals 27 for Inform; it usually has a lot of entries. Of the web-based games, all but 10 say they are “Choice-based”, so presumably Squiffy, Twine, ChoiceScript, inklewriter, or similar. Only about three say they are parser based. Given how big this category is, I find it odd they do not say what the system is that was used (I guess this is how the organisers set up the submission form). Three “Windows executable” are choice based, two are parser and one does not say. I find the idea of downloading and running an unknown windows executable a little dubious given the security risks; I wonder if that puts players off. The attraction for authors, of course, is that your players only need to download the game, not the system as well as the game.
Presumably all the other games are parser based (I only checked the Quest ones). I make that about 40 parser games and 54 choice based (and 10 unknown).

There are two Quest games this year:

The Brutal Murder of Jenny Lee

Tombs & Mummies

I only had a very quick look, just enough to see the first page really, but both look well written, and both authors have taken the trouble to customise the interface. I hope they both do well.

4 thoughts on “IFComp 2020

  1. none

    both of these are accurate — the comp form does not provide a subdivision of choice or web systems, and downloadable executable games tend overwhelmingly to have less viewership, though not necessarily lower scores.

  2. Matthew Warner

    I’m the author of Tombs & Mummies. I didn’t even know Quest existed until early August and didn’t know about IFComp until like two days before the first deadline. It’s been a fun few months. I hope I make you proud!

    I just released another Quest parser today, Omelet Miner, which was much more challenging and I’m afraid more buggy. I think I’ll try out the new Quest version you’re programming for my next project. I’ve been writing and publishing in prose fiction for years, so I’m excited to find a new genre that marries my storytelling and web programming skills. Besides the lack of GUI, does the new Quest version have the same features as Quest 5.8, such as movable NPCs, timer scripts, and the like? It seems like in the other parser systems out there that the most they support are player inventories.

    Anyway, sorry for the blather here. Have you read Twisty LIttle Passages by Nick Montfort? My wife gave it to me for our anniversary a couple days ago. It’s an old book, basically an academic dissertation, but it’s interesting so far . The author is very biased toward parsers as opposed to CYOA systems.

  3. pixiemusingsblog Post author

    That is some fast writing!

    I suggest you go here for details on Quest 6: https://github.com/ThePix/QuestJS/wiki

    It has links to a couple of example games, and there is some example code. If you are used to web programming it should be easy for you; I have designed it to reduce typing as much as possible for my own benefit. It supports pretty much everything Quest 5 does, and a little bit more too – go to the “Outstanding features” link at the bottom right o that page to see what is not. I think there is better support for NPCs, for example.

  4. Matthew Warner

    Thanks. My vote for feature development is the mapping system. I realize it must be extremely difficult, but a visual feature like that helps draw in folks who are new to parsers.

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