Burnout from IFComp participants?

I’ve been wondering if a lot of people felt burnt out after the last comp.

I know I did for a month or two.

I ask because things seem slow, somehow. This time of year is always slow, but it’s more. It seems like participation from IFComp reviewers and authors has been lower on ifdb, intfiction, and twitter.

I don’t think it’s just a general lull, because newer people (like IFAddicted, liquidrain, and howtophil) have been very active and creative, as has the French IF community and a few people that didn’t do reviews or enter last IFComp (like Veeder or Sean Shore).

I’m writing because a)I wanted to know if other people also felt burnt out, and b)why people thought they felt burnt out.

I personally felt burnt out from playing all 80 games, and felt like I made a mistake by posting so many review threads on the author’s board, crowding out the discussion. I also felt like the results were a bummer because so many repeat authors (like me) had entered hoping to place well, but the sheer quality and number of games meant that a lot of us placed lower than we hoped (I know several people who expressed this sentiment).

I’m considering not entering this year, because I’ve spent so much time on Sherlock Indomitable and need to finish my Owl Consults Spin-Off. It would be fun to do public reviews for once, and I’ve already had my ‘shot’. But I also have an idea for a fun, simple game, and I appreciate people like Schultz and Ondricek who can be counted on to provide a quality game every year.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts, and I’d be interested in hearing others’ thoughts.

I am probably not a typical subject, but for me at least I entered IFComp for the first time in 2017, felt somewhat overwhelmed at the end of the comp, and from a combination of that and general life busyness didn’t get back into an IF-y mode until pretty recently; now I’ve started a new project and am kind of skulking around again.

I’m sure this past comp was a trial for anyone who even contemplated comprehensiveness. It’s hard to know if the volume was a fluke or the new normal (I’m sure this has been discussed plenty elsewhere). I do think my energy levels have only now recovered.

That really describes how I feel. I don’t think I played any IF games besides beta testing during December and January. But now I’m regaining interest.

I don’t know if it has been discussed anywhere, to be honest. That’s why I was writing; it seemed like everyone involved in IFComp, including me, just melted away. It’s interesting to hear your point of view.

I’ve only participated in three IFComps, but last year’s was stressful for me in a way the first two weren’t. I was burned out before the comp started, and pretty much a shell when it ended. Since then, I’ve been busy with other projects, so I haven’t had as much time to participate around here. I doubt I’ll have anything ready for Spring Thing. If I get the chance, I may try to review the entries this time.

I guess I’m a bit opposite. Entering last year’s IFComp was me coming back from a bit of a hiatus from the scene. Since the comp, I’ve been steadily (if slowly) working on more than one project. (That being two.) And lurking all around, seeing if there are other comps to enter. I wanted to do something for the No Shit Sherlock jam but I couldn’t get anything done for it in time. But basically, since last year, I’ve been feeling more creative than burnt-out.

The fact that I wrote four (I think) longish games in 2016 - for New Year’s minicomp, Veedercomp, Spring Thing and IFComp - is probably why I didn’t write any in 2017.

I think eventually you just sort of run out of ideas. There are natural ups and downs. I suspect a lot of us have other things to do.

I remember a quote from Mark Taimanov, super strong chess grandmaster and concert pianist:

“When I’m playing chess I’m on vacation from playing piano. When I’m playing piano I’m on vacation from playing chess.”

So I suspect a lot of us have our other hobbies to do that makes playing text adventures fun again.

That said, I think a lot of us would love to just sit down and, say, write one review a month for IFDB. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you used walkthroughs closeby to look through the old comps when you got stuck for 5 mins or so? Sometimes that feels like cheating, but on the other hand, it’s important just to try to keep doing stuff and to play that game you always meant to.

I know I have a lot of ups and downs during a project. I won’t want to look at it a few days, then I come back to find I was hitting my head on something that seems obvious now. So I think backing off is healthy and natural, and there’s a lot of guesswork needed to keep/achieve the right distance from a project.

And also I am glad to be testing stuff for other people. That’s a way to recover from creating stuff without getting too far away. And if people are just planning now, then there’s an expected lull in creativity–our works aren’t ready to go yet, but we’re still working every day!

I don’t feel burnt out on IF generally—I spent some time this spring on a big overhaul of Windrift internals (2 years is ages in JavaScript time), and I’m actively working on a new project.

I won’t be entering IF Comp this year because it was consuming too much of my summer, and because I’m looking forward to participating as a reviewer/voter.

never did IFComp, but i did feel incredibly burnt out after ECTOCOMP, partially bc it seems like i got completely ignored. receiving low ratings on IFDB with no accompanying review hasn’t helped either, to be honest.

Well, your SHEOL game is in the 94th percentile of all Ectocomp games in rating, and (assuming it is in Twine) is in the top 92nd percentile of all Twine games ever in average score (and six ratings isn’t much, but is more ratings than 75% of the other twine games).

I think it’s worth an XYZZY nomination in Best Writing, but the competition is so fierce in that category this year that I don’t know what will happen.

But getting people to play your game? That’s a lot, lot harder. I’m trying to figure it out, myself. But the problem is that once you figure a way to get people to play your game, everyone else figures out, and it gets crowded until someone figures out something else new.

By the way, have you ever looked into writing a Choicescript game for Choice of Games? They have a pretty substantial audience, you get paid for sales, and they allow anyone to publish with Hosted Games, and experienced authors with their Choice of Games label (if you don’t know if you count as experienced, you can always ask them).

I typically don’t write something unless and until I’ve got an idea I’m excited about, or some new technique I want to try. That’s less about burn-out, though, than apportioning my limited time.

While I’m not planning on entering this year’s IFComp, I’ve been struck by both an idea I love and a tool I want to try out, so I’m back at work on a new story.