Best of the Author's Board 2015

In the private author’s board for the 2015 IF Comp there was a lot of content that others outside the board may find interesting. Authors are invited to repost the best of their offerings.


There was a poetry thread, with a lot of good pieces. This was my fourteener in response to Mathbrush’s:

[spoiler]The duelling pairs all drop their swords and shake each other’s hands,
Now dusty pilgrims have returned from wand’ring distant lands;
Survivors of the city streets and bravers of the forest,
Break bread with stranded astronauts and other hapless tourists.

Ev’ry puzzle box is put away, the capes are on the hook;
The tombs are shut, the treasures found, the bottle’s in the book;
The coffin’s closed, the summit’s climbed, and countless cats are resting;
There’s no more birds or ceph’lapods or candidates in testing.

Personal entanglements, alchemical compounds,
With bicycles and burning bins, are littered all around;
The dreamer wakes, the blogger sleeps, the simulation ended;
The magic’s over for a year, the nice guys are befriended.[/spoiler]


I looked at the number of authors that had returned to the comp from previous years.

I also worked out how many authors had swore off entering the comp after winning it:

[spoiler]Year Winner Re-entered? 1995 (Inform) Andrew Plotkin Yes 1995 (Tads) Magnus Olsson Yes 1996 Lucian P. Smith No 1997 Graham Nelson No 1998 Adam Cadre No 1999 Laura A. Knauth No 2000 Ian Finley No 2001 Jon Ingold Yes 2002 Paul O'Brien Yes 2003 Star Foster/Daniel Ravipinto No (neither) 2004 Paul O'Brien No 2005 Jason Devlin Yes 2006 Emily Short No 2007 Admiral Jota No 2008 Jeremy Freese No 2009 Jack Welch/Ben Collins-Sussman No (neither) 2010 Matt Wigdahl No 2011 Ryan Veeder Yes 2012 Marco Innocenti No 2013 Lynnea Glasser Yes 2014 Sean M. Shore No

Of all the 22 authors who’ve won, 7 of them have re-entered. Only Paul O’Brien has managed to win twice (the two winning games were the second and third game in a trilogy).

So around a 3rd of IFComp winners return.[/spoiler]

My contribution to the poetry thread: After William Carlos Williams

[spoiler]so much depends

black words on
white screens

or white words
on black

hypertext or

This was my Nighttime of the Comp poem:

[spoiler]Now the tumult hushes as the night begins to break;
The crowd begins to drift away, but some remain awake;
The nervous pace from side to side, and eye their competition
While some in slumber smile, careless hearts free from ambition.

The baker closes up his shop, the king takes off his crown;
The embered smoke behind the coffee joint is dying down;
The night has followed day as the day will follow night
And the few last souls that linger will prepare the morrow’s fight.

Though many came to battle, they have mingled here in peace
The tense and hectic feeling that they felt has found release
But soon the sun will dawn, and then all those who keep the score
Will wait with baited breath, until they need to wait no more.[/spoiler]

Here’s my contribution to the poetry board:

[spoiler]There once was a man who was bored.
While visiting this messageboard
found a topic so curious
with poetry furious
lacking the limericks he himself so adored.

Forbidden to answer when someone else spoke
One author, so frustrated, broke
To the end from the start
It was so long and so hard
That is why this rhyme’s really a dick joke…

I really don’t mean to be rude
But I’m in a really strange mood
Baking bread, finding hats,
Sailing ships, tending cats,
But the burning cats one… what the fuck, dude?!

Okay lets not start acting that way
In a technical sense Taghairm’s okay
On the other hand, fuck it
You know who can suck it?
That girl Emily… oh shit. She’s away.

Some reviewers just don’t get what the deal is,
while others will teach you what ‘mean’ is.
Don’t shrug and don’t frown
if you hate King and Crown;
I invite you to suck on my [rant]oh like you need me to spell it out[/rant][/spoiler]

Then Craig made a valid point (which I won’t share on his behalf) and I replied:


CraigLocke don’t tempt me
I reduce manslayers to tears
know: genius’ slow death is the one thing
a true creator fears

we must preserve magic
t’is our foremost mission and how
it’s important this topic lives on fresh
and I’m doing so now

aye, important, laddie,
no matter what may come to pass
you can stick it in your ear, son,
and blow it out your ass

for aside from crude dick jokes
and invitations of acts most pleasant
it’s our affinity for art’s work
that defines us from king’s man or peasant

Craig, you see why it’s so important?
I’m sure you’re a terribly bright chap
for if not I’ll have to school you
in the form of battle rap[/spoiler]

And finally this board was resurrected by A Schultz with a limerick, which was his 1337th post. So I was all like:

Oh joy, it’s A. Schultz with a limerick!
Focusing on 'nother comp? Ooh! Sounds like the trick
to keep my head out the gutter
before I go even nutter
and become even more of a huge dick!

Well, what the heck. I’ll share mine. 2 limericks, I mean it. The other…I hope I don’t! Y’all can guess which.

IF Comp 2015
Brought authors both seasoned and green
Fine-tuning their way
Into a cliche:
This year is the best yet we’ve seen!

Look back. What did IFComp bring?
So much good stuff, I couldn’t swing
Reviews like I hoped
But not 'cause I moped.
Y’all spurred my head start on Spring Thing.

Folks who debate parser or twine
Can waste their time thus. That’s just fine.
For I’ve come to see
THIS dichotomy:
Lame stuff versus whatever’s MINE.

Someone else filked a more famous Philip Larkin poem, which I hope everyone gets to see, and which you can probably guess if you know much about Philip Larkin. It had me wondering if I should, because it was a bit off topic, but eventually I did.

[spoiler]A study of gaming habits (filk of a study of reading habits)

When playing an Infocom game
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth poverty’s blues
To not feel like a fool,
And gain a moment of fame
“What? Suuure, no InvisiClues.”

Later, with low vital stats,
RPGs were just my lark.
My skills at the level grind,
I mean, playing well past dark
Had my friends all tipping their hats!
Yet jealous THEIR chars were behind.

Don’t play much now: the dude
Sleepwalking through bland sequels,
An endlessly box-pushing sap,
A party of different but equals
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Games are a load of crap.[/spoiler]

My own if comp haiku:

I can’t sleep these days
Can’t concentrate or write good
Hope’s my frenemy

And my reviews of my own game, Scarlet Sails… positive, then negative (incredibly fun to write):

I was immediately drawn into the pirate world by the strong characters and an enjoyable lack of cisgender assumptions (in this world, sexuality is apparently completely fluid, and there is no gender-based discrimination whatsoever - a fantasy world indeed, but a nice place to visit and a lecture-free statement of hope for our own world). The writing is excellent; fast-paced without compromising on style, and with several moments and images that stuck with me after the story ended. The magic system worked mainly as another “fighting” statistic, but added colour to the narrative at the same time, and foreshadowed the supernatural villains nicely. As someone who often has trouble picking just one romance, I enjoyed the polyamorous option, and as a relatively new player I enjoyed the ability to look at “Achievements” for insider info on what type of pirate I could be. I’ve played the game several times, and it feels as if a close friend has written a near-infinite number of pirate stories for me to read depending on my mood at the time. The optional pieces of actual history at the end reveal that a surprising amount of the fantastical adventure is influenced by real people and real piratical adventures. Truth really is more piratical than fiction! Best enjoyed with a finger (or a bottle) of rum and a sense of adventure. Five Arrrrrrs!

Oh good. Yet another quasi-historical story that starts in an utterly stereotypical bar. And the clichés just keep coming - from a peg leg to evil mermaids. Has this writer ever had an original thought? Speaking of the writer, it’s clear she lacks personal conviction and depth of any kind. Even when she obliquely refers to major social issues (such as the gender identity of the protagonist) she takes an offensively simplistic approach. The only meaningful choice is to be a “good” pirate or a “bad” pirate, and yet the protagonist is forced to kill on at least one occasion (rendering any attempts at so-called “goodness” utterly pointless). Any pleasure derived from the story depends on the player being young enough and ignorant enough to feel that they’ve achieved something by clicking a mouse a few times in order to increase their statistics - statistics which are almost exclusively based on violence. The game could be summarised as, “Do you like violence? What kind? Good for you, you blood-spattered snowflake you!” It insults the player’s intelligence one last time after the game is finished by giving an abrupt (and wildly speculative) history lesson, evidently designed purely to show off the fact that the writer read a book once. Perhaps she “researched” by drinking a great deal of rum and then throwing up this shallow, mediocre, clichéd disaster. Recommended for people so sad and lonely that a cardboard cut-out romance is satisfying, and a series of largely meaningless (not to mention violent) “level-up”-style choices feels like empowerment. Playing it drunk might make it appear cleverer than it is, but I tried that and it still sucked. I left one star because apparently it’s not possible to leave zero stars.

These appeared on the chat first, but I think they belong here as well. These are all my IFComp song covers:

IFComp “Still Alive” and “Want You Gone”: … ougone.mp3
Birdland Cover: … rendan.mp3
Taghairm Cover: … rrible.mp3

oh my god

I think one of the best ideas on the author board was the “Positive Vibes / Anti-Jitters thread”, which I hope will be there in future comps too.
The idea was to have a thread where authors could request (for instance, because they’re stressing out) that somebody play their game and say something nice about it. I think it was a really nice thread, a great idea for those first few days of the Comp, where the authors are like a pack of excited and nervous puppies that really, REALLY want players to play their game and like it. I remember being a bit stressed out at that time from seeing no reviews of my game for the first 3-4 days, and that thread helped taking some of the stress off.

(Thanks craiglocke for starting it!)

^ Same. I was a wreck when the comp started and if that thread hadn’t been so nice and welcoming, I wouldn’t have stuck around to meet all of you fine people [emote]:)[/emote]

Also have to give a big thanks to WesLesley for hiding out in my pillow fort with me and being hilarious, and Craiglocke for his especially nice comment on the anti-jitters thread ^^

Just came up with this, posted it in the Author’s Board, so I’m not breaking any rules now also sharing it here:

Warning: NSFW. May contain nuts. Keep away from children. Warranty void if confused.