A Perhaps-Inadvisable Comp Idea

First, I just want to say that while I’m willing to help, my suggestions are only suggestions; I don’t want to dictate anything. If the ideas are helpful, great! I outlined something specific mostly so it could be more directly compared against other ideas.

Here’s my thinking behind some of the choices I made:

  • Running a comp is a lot of work, so a lot of my outline is designed to minimize that work. This is part of the reason why I didn’t include public voting; it just seemed like too much of a hassle. If someone wants to go through that hassle, I’m not going to stop them, though! Maybe you could make it as simple as ‘create a Google Form, require an account, report the results’.
  • To me, the best part of any comp is the creation of Stuff, and the celebration of that Stuff. Hence, the work I did give the organizers was ‘review all the Stuff’, and why public participation is mostly ‘write reviews’.
  • I thought it was clever to have implicit ‘voting’ on the seeds by their practical effect on the world: a good seed will inspire people to Create A Thing, so the more inspired people, the better the seed worked. I also thought it would be funny to have a ‘Primrose Path’ award to the seed with the biggest difference between intents and actual entries :wink:
  • Part of my idea behind letting people sign up for multiple seeds was if they wanted to combine those seeds into a single game. If we want to limit full-game entries (for some reason?) I would limit the number of Entered Games, not the number of Seeds Used.

If the organizers are uncomfortable being Judges, another option is to recruit a handful of Celebrity Judges to write reviews and/or award favorites.

So… Daniel, Milo, Pinkunz: you want to be The Committee? Would you like me on it, too?


If you need help, I am down!

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Fair enough, I just worry that without some friendly competition, some won’t enter. We’re all wired differently and that sense of competition can be an important driver for some, even if it’s as tame as two “best in show” ribbons and no public rankings otherwise.

Agreed on both, love the idea, definite golden banana vibes.

I entirely agree, I was being imprecise with my language. This would apply to competitive 2nd Round entries, not seeds. As for the max limit, the concern is with a single author flooding a single ranked comp with a whole slew of games (And tRo11z4LiF3 gets 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 13th, and 15th place…). It isn’t super likely, but not implausible, as it was a rule put in place a little preemptively by IFComp many years ago when a specific author reached out enquiring if there was a max limit of games he could enter into the competition.

Personally indifferent about celebrity judges; it’d probably be more dependent on their willingness to do it. I’d imagine they might have a concern about forming a precedent and thus an ongoing expectation that they might come back each year to do the same. Then again, maybe they might be into that. I dunno.

I would be down for joining any committee that formed to move this forward, as I obviously like the idea.


I’m down to help organize! I have another batch of thoughts and ideas for how it could be structured, but I’m travelling to visit family this week so that batch might have to wait a day or two.


I like this idea! There was a similar competition for tabletop RPGs, called Threeforged. It worked well.


I don’t think we got an answer to this. Any takers? I, for one, am lousy at coming up with an original idea for a game, so I’d be lousy at phase 1. Whereas, there are others that are full of ideas, but don’t know how to implement it or turn it into a game. I see this as an opportunity for the two to meet.


Yes, that’s what I had in mind when asking the question. This could bridge the gap between starters and finishers.


I think this might be the most crucial question about the comp so far. I think we’re at the point where decisions have to start being made. @pinkunz, @Draconis, @lpsmith, @manonamora, and I have all declared interest in being on a committee. Is that too many people? From running committees before, that feels like too many people.


After chewing on that, I think I agree. I feel like participation in both sections should be encouraged, but definitely not mandatory.

And this is where we step off into uncharted territory. I reached out to organizers of other comps and asked if they had any nuggets of wisdom or words of caution they might be willing to share in this topic, but a decent fraction will be surely preoccupied elsewhere.

As for hashing out details and creating this from scratch, a group of five shouldn’t be too bad. If there are any devisive decisions to be made, a group of five should capture both sides of the issue as well as come with a tie-breaking vote. I imagine it’s when you start acting on that framework that the kitchen starts getting crowded. What do you kind folks think?

ETA: To be more clear, I feel the committee should hash out all the details of how SeedComp should run, and then maybe two (?) people should actually run the thing when it comes time to officially announce?


My vision is fairly similar to Lucian’s. Something like… (differences marked in bold)

  • Gather a group of organizers. They can participate in Phase I, Phase II, or both.
  • Phase I: Relatively short deadline. Contributors create game seeds, which can be anything: a design document, a poem, a story, a basic game, an I7 extension, whatever. After one month, all seeds are made public.
  • Phase II: Longer deadline. Contributors publicly sign up to announce that they’re working on a given seed. Multiple people can sign up for the same seed, and authors can sign up for multiple seeds, if they desire. No restriction on game length, but the target it set at ~15-30 minutes of gameplay. In the meantime, people are encouraged to write reviews of the seeds.
  • Final: All games are released. Phase I awards are given out: most number of people that signed up for your seed, and most number of finished games from your seed. Reviews are again encouraged.
  • Voting: People, including organizers, rate the games, and can propose/nominate games for special awards. Special awards are accepted or rejected at the discretion of the organizers; if accepted, they’re added to the ballot.
  • Final awards: Awards for the highest-rated games, and all accepted special awards, are given out.

I personally like the democratized rating system, though it wouldn’t have to be as formal as IFComp’s—for me, it motivates me to play and vote on the games, rather than just waiting to see what someone else thinks. But also I think special awards, like the ribbons in Spring Thing, are a great idea.


Should there be a limit on the amount of seed an author can sign up for?

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Honestly, if someone wants to combine every single seed into one enormous game, I think we should let them do that. On the whole I wouldn’t expect any given entry to successfully incorporate more than two. But I think it would be interesting to see what results from combining seeds. What do you get when you cross “a heist gone wrong” with “first contact with an alien species”? I’m not sure, but I want to play it!


Right so seed =/= entries.
What about a limit of entries though? I think the IF Comp has one for 3 entries?

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I also don’t think that’s really necessary. I could very well be proven wrong on this, but I figure the time limit to write the games (and the goal of ~30 minutes of play time) will keep a single person from making two dozen of them.

But, a limit of three per person also isn’t unreasonable, and could head off some weird problems later on.


Alright, let’s compromise. How about a max of five round 2 entries? Shouldn’t cramp anyone’s style, but should also prevent outright silliness.

I otherwise like all of the propositions @lpsmith wrote above and all of the suggested changes made by @Draconis.

I’d like to formally suggest an optional back garden for those wanting to try something experimental without the pressure of ranking or judging. Given the nature of the Comp, we might have people trying some very unusual things and we wouldn’t want to discourage that.


I like that a lot! That would help take off the pressure of people who want to joint comps but don’t like/are put off by rankings too!


I’m good with that also. Would they also not get special awards?

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I think it’d be nice if they could still get awards. Or maybe leave them the choice when they submit?


I think leave it up to them on whether to opt in or not.

If I were organizing, I’d have it on the submission intent form. If you choose a back garden submission, the next question would be whether to opt in to special awards or to just stick with the default option of “No, thank you.”


Another idea…

In indie world, there’s a jam where in the first phase people draw fake NES cover art. That is, totally non existent games of Nintendo Entertainment System.

Then in phase two, people select their preferred covers and create a game for that cover :slight_smile:

So I think you can do the same, have some phase 1 where people push prompts or covers, or intros, or 1 rooms, or whatever. In phase two participants create those games.

You can even use the Introcomp games of previous years, and put people to complete those games (with permission of the authors).

The possibilities are endless.

But, to be sincere, I would not bloat the new comp with rules. I think it has the spirit of a jam, where the ranked competition is just secondary.

My two cents.