In case you haven’t heard, the Spring Thing is “the other” annual IF comp. The Thing is designed to create a place for longer, more polished games (which means it has often featured a more select set of entrants than the IF Comp) but is open to any new, completed interactive fiction. You need to pay a $7 fee to enter, but there are cool prizes. In some years there have been over $1000 of prizes!
The deadline to enter isn’t until March 2014, and games are due in early April-- but start thinking about it now if you’ve got a work in progress (maybe one that won’t be finished in time for this year’s IF Comp?)
To find out more about the Spring Thing, including history and rules, check out the link above.
Finally, you may have noticed that I’m not Greg Boettcher. After nine heroic years of organizing the Thing, Greg is handing off the torch, and I’m pleased and honored to be the one to carry it for a while. As someone who’s placed both first (2005) and last (2008) in the Spring Thing, it carries a special place in my heart, so I’m happy to help keep it alive. While I’ve got long-term plans to make Spring Thing an even more awesome, inclusive, and vital comp, for the 2014 comp everything will be the same as prior years for an easier transition.
I’m glad to be passing on ownership of the competition to Aaron.
A year ago when I asked for volunteers, three people contacted me. I was grateful to all of them for their interest, and I was especially glad when one of them was Aaron. He has had a long-standing interest in the competition, and I trusted him to follow through on things.
Over the last month it’s been a very smooth transition handing over springthing.net to Aaron. He hasn’t changed the site much, but tells me he may do so in future years. I’ve tried to make the transition easy for him, and I’m grateful that he’s made it easy for me.
By the way, as far as the 2014 competition, don’t forget to donate!
And if you’re thinking about releasing a game next spring, why not enter Spring Thing 2014?
Thanks to both of you for organizing this and making a smooth transition.
As a former participant, if you’ve got a game that might not fit IFComp, or just wasn’t quite ready, I recommend entering, because I would like to see what other people come up with. I’m glad I got the chance to send in my game last year, despite its flaws I’m still turning up and fixing.
I know there are people who like to help test Spring Thing games specifically, and I’d like to add my name to the list, regardless of how long or short your game is, because the preparation was a nice experience, and I got some nice feedback afterwards, too.
I looked into the history of this question (mostly this thread and this one) and it seems like the consensus was that the benefits of allowing IntroComp entries outweigh any potential downsides.
So I’ve altered Rule #8 to allow for (most) IntroComp games. The rule remains the same in principle (“no previously released games”) with an added note that a game containing some previously released material is okay, provided the entry mostly feels like an unreleased game, in the judgment of the author. A full six-chapter story based on a one-chapter preview is fine; just a new ending or updated mechanic to something previously released is not.
(In questionable cases I’ll discuss the matter with the author before the competition begins, to decide if they should enter or not. I reserve the right to decide a game does not qualify, although I hope to only enforce this for extreme cases. For edge cases, judges who feel an entry violates the spirit of this rule might vote accordingly.)
A few other small rule changes for Spring Thing '14:
Commercial games were previously flat-out prohibited. I’ve changed this to note that this doesn’t prohibit authors from monetizing their entries, provided they abide by all other rules: the comp version must be freely available and remain so in perpetuity, no substantially similar version (commercial or otherwise) may have been released at the time the comp begins, etc.
Judges must vote on half of the entered games, rather than a specific number of them.
These seem to be sensible amendments. Regarding the Introcomp games, many of these seem to be about half complete, which is quite different to the part one of six example. Would they still be allowed? Perhaps a certain percentage of source code should have to be unreleased?
Hmmm… interesting rule change. I wondered about entering my IntroComp in the Spring Thing but figured the rules would stop me (as the first part of it had already been released), but after this change I think it might be okay to submit it as an entry. Assuming I finish it in time…
I’d like to mostly leave this up to authors. I expect it’s going to be rare that your IntroComp game ended up being exactly half the size of your final game. In general, if you IntroComp’d 3 chapters of a 6 chapter story, in finishing it you very likely reworked and improved a lot of material in the first few chapters too, so I imagine the finished product would feel quite substantially new to the author and most players.