The Bare-Bones Jam is a month-long game jam for text-based games where you cannot change the formatting of the chosen program. Not only are graphics prohibited, but so is changing the interface or presentation in any way from the engine defaults.
During the jam, the focus is on the text only. After the jam, you can do whatever you like with your game.
This jam was inspired by the Naked Twine Jam from 2014, but it is not restricted to twine.
Constraints and Rules:
You cannot make changes to the visual of the game, and must keep the basic UI and formatting of the chosen program.
Excluded are the uses of basic text formatting (italics, bold, underline, etc…), lists and tables (that means it’s allowed!).
Games should not include assets, like images or sound - the focus should be on the text.
Games should not include any generated AI content.
The Jam is open to any program/medium, as long as the piece can be considered Interactive Fiction (i.e. the game is interactive, and its focus is on the text).
The Jam is open to any language.
The Jam is open to NSFW content, as long as you indicate it in your submission (in the Content Warning of the form).
Spam or hateful content will be removed!
During the duration of the jam and the two weeks following the deadline, the submissions should be free to play.
If you’ve ever considered giving Twine a shot, this is about as low-stakes and beginner-friendly as you can get in a Comp/Jam. Other creators’ CSS and graphics/audio mastery becomes temporarily irrelevant, lowering the perceived barrier to entry. Just focus on your game/story and have fun. Chapbook in particular is fairly easy to pick up and the default UI isn’t even that hard on the eyes.
[Eyeballs murder-mystery made on an excel sheet. The financial forensics that provide evidence of motive and means are hidden in the sheet and you have to use the built in formulas and tables of figures to solve the murder mystery.]
I think that’s outside the scope. There’s nothing to stop you doing that, but I think the spirit of the jam is to concentrate on content, not cosmetics. To quote:
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write anything, as this jam conflicts with ECTOCOMP and I was thinking of doing an ECTOCOMP entry this year. However, if I do, I have a question…
If I write a parser-based game that’s contained in a z-code or glulx file, the appearance of the game is determined by the interpreter and different interpreters will display it differently. I presume that’s okay.
However, if I do a Parchment version, I have to jump through hoops to do that and that means custom html and css. Is that permitted? Perhaps I could force it to black text on white background. I’m not using Inform 7, so the Inform 7 default templates don’t apply.
It is acceptable! We actually expect more Choice IF than parser, honestly…
It’s more than plain text, because we only ask people to not change the built-in visual of the format chosen. So if you chose Twine Harlowe, you are stuck with the black background, white text, and blue links.
Can you make IF with it? Then sure!
Just don’t change how the visual looks in the output file.