Announce: the 2023 Spring Thing Festival!

I’m very pleased to announce Spring Thing 2023!

Spring Thing is an annual festival celebrating new text-based computer games of all kinds. Originally founded as an off-season counterweight to the larger fall Interactive Fiction Competition, the current incarnation of the Thing is a less competitive space with looser restrictions. Without the two-hour judging limit of IF Comp, for instance, longer games are welcomed (although shorter games are fine, too!) There’s no fee to enter, but you do have to submit an “intent to enter” in advance. And there are prizes!

The details can be found at the official Spring Thing site, but in brief:

  • Games must be debuts and in a well-polished state (bug tested, etc.)

  • You must submit an intent to enter by March 1st, 2023, and your game itself by April 2nd.

  • Your game must be free to play, and will be archived on the Spring Thing site after the festival closes, although:

  • You can submit to the “Back Garden” to showcase a demo of a game you’re planning to sell, or a polished excerpt of something unfinished.

The festival’s also always looking for prize donors. If you have a cool idea for a prize that fellow IF authors might enjoy, let me know!

Check out the site for more info, and I’m happy to answer any questions here or sent to brian at Thanks, and happy writing!


p.s. This is my first year running, so expect a few bumps. I am definitely looking for random-access tech people to contact in emergencies (of which a few I have talked to), but also a long-term, no-pressure tech lead who casually looks over code for much of the year to get familiar with it and make incremental changes.


I want to congratulate the organizers of this Spring festival and thank them for the effort.
Best luck for all the participants.
I am waiting the games for enjoying them all.


[quote=“Brian Rushton, post:1, topic:60104, username:mathbrush”]
March 31st, 2023,

Shouldn’t it be March 1st?

YAY For having it up and running so quickly!


Hurray! I can’t wait to see what everyone else makes too! Lovely to see the festival in such safe hands.


You have been busy. You probably could write the rest of this post yourself… Would you like to add an event page on IFWiki about Spring Thing 2023? You could use the form at Form:Event - IFWiki to create the page.



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That was quick! The page is at Spring Thing 2023 - IFWiki.

I’ve added some dates. The way we structured the database, there is nothing between “Submissions due” (here, 2 April 2023) and “Voting begins” (12 April 2023) – we wrongly imagined that voting just begins when games are published – so I just skipped the date when games can be played but voting has not yet commenced (5 April 2023). I hope that makes sense.


Yeah, that’s perfect!

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Hey, can I release a project that I initially outlined in say, March 2020, but never actually developed?


That sounds like it would be appropriate for the Back Garden, which has more open rules.

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Participants, you should have just now received a welcome email with further instructions! If you did not receive such an email, there may be an issue with your spam filter or with my email system, so please reach out!


Not urgent, but i think the 100Mb limit ought to be revised up for future years. It does appear a bit small these days.


I’ll definitely look into it! The main reason for it is that the organizer pays for hosting himself. I was worried about that when I took over (because I live paycheck to paycheck), but Aaron paid it up in advance. Hosting larger games would require paying more, and that’s literally the only reason.

So even though I talk a lot about the sanctity of history and the importance of archiving, this is one thing that takes priority over that for me, and is the exception of the ‘archival’ rule (so images and sound files do not have to be included in the zip that is sent to spring thing/ifarchive for preservation).

I only offered to run Spring Thing as a backup in case things didn’t work out with others, and that’s what happened, so I’d like to preserve the history and tradition of Spring Thing but also transition its ownership to a committee or new director after 3-4 years. When that happens, we may be able to upgrade to a higher tier of server and host bigger games!


Thanks for the explanation, and i understand what you’re saying, but if you want to archive, it’s what you’re going to get. Be careful what you wish for :slight_smile:

Personally i think the limit should be 1GB. Even then, people should be encouraged to compress their data as best possible. Obviously. I use webp for images, it’s about the smallest format that’s got wide compatibility. My latest project weighs in at 130Mb. So more than 100Mb, but comfortably less than 1GB.

Wasabi sell S3 storage for $6/Tb/month. I think that would basically cover it. You can get cheaper but whether it’s easy to bolt on is another question.

Tangentially, isn’t the archiving an IFTF problem. or is it? How does it work for Ifarchive and so on. One huge IF cloud in the sky sounds like a good answer.

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I can totally sympathize, I did a test one year when IFComp had a low file size limit and was like MY GAME WON’T FIT! But that was due to music files which can be bitrate compressed as you’ve mentioned by at least half without any noticeable quality loss. This can be done in Audacity. Or lots of huge pictures which can also be compressed.

Remember when text games fit on a floppy disk? :floppy_disk:


Yes. People sometimes grumbled, back then, on the slowness of Commodore drives, but in text adventures, drive speed definitively don’t matter, and in Italy, a proverbially laidback country, gives even time for say, light a cigar, refill a mug, and… think about next move ! :wink:

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.


Entirely off-topic, but this reminded me of a guy I knew in high school who attempted to write his own BBS software for the Commodore 64.

The messages were stored as numbered files, with the lowest number being the most recent. When someone posted a message, the software would rename, say, 09.TXT to 10.TXT, 08.TXT to 09.TXT, 07.TXT to 08.TXT, and so on before saving the new message as 01.TXT. All of this was happening on a floppy disk.

Soon, it took minutes to post a single message to the board. People would hang-up—thinking the system had crashed—which led to file corruption.

An early lesson in on-disk data structures.


Sure, Jim. That reminds me of a “friend of mine” who used to have a pirated copy of HHGTTG for the Atari 800. :wink:


Honestly, I never had a C-64! I was the guy who had a pirated copy of HHGTTG for his Atari 800.