Calling the IF Meta-Comp: Define this comp!

Folks, I am calling the Meta-Comp for early Summer ‘09. Meta-Comp is a new and innovative concept in IF game competitions, which will challenge game designers’ creativity in truly unique ways.

The Timeline:

The Comp will begin July 1, which in '09 is a Wednesday. Prizes will be drawn from a cash pool, with proportional allotments (explained below): I’ll donate $100 to start us off.

Early registration opens May 1 and runs until June 1. It costs $5 to register early. Normal registration runs June 2 until June 17, and costs $10. Late registration runs right up until June 29, and costs $15.

Game designers are required to upload their games by the end of June 29 – not at their time of registration.

All registration fees go directly into the prize pool, so you’ll have a chance to win it back.

Judging begins July 1 and runs until July 25, which gives judges three and a half weeks. The winners are announced on the 26th, and we have the rest of the month for victory celebrations. Winners will be expected to write acceptance speeches. --Posts.

The Theme:

“Meta” now means “about.” Originally, it meant “after.” Aristotle wrote a book on nature, and that book was called Physics: then he followed it with one on the nature of nature, that one was called Meta-Physics.

The meta- prefix is generally used to describe concepts that are being applied to themselves. In role-playing circles, “meta-gaming” is to play, not the game from within the game-world, but from outside and above the game-world: “Do you think the D.M. would really have had the butler do it?” --that is meta-gaming.

The meta- prefix is generally applied to situations that are self-referential.

Some people have suggested that a Meta-Comp would be a competition of competitions; others have suggested that it be a competition of games that make meta-references (xyzzy humor). In reality, the Meta-Comp is whatever you, the game designers and the judges, decide it will be.

The Rules

“You know the rules; there are no rules…”

The Meta-Comp does not apply rules to the competition. Instead, the contestants are expected to provide the rules on which their game should be judged.

Each entry to the Meta-Comp will include an IF game and a description, including rules, of the competition which that game is meant for. Judges will assign each entry an Olympic score, 1-10, on whatever basis they choose.

Some competitions have rules requiring games be newly-written, or that the competitors comport themselves in a certain way. Meta-Comp has no such rules, but the competition entries themselves may; and judges are of course free to use their votes to reward newly-written games, or especially admirable comportment of the game writers, or indeed any criteria whatsoever.

Is Meta-Comp Really Wide-Open?

Meta-Comp is absolutely wide open. Of course, that means it operates on mutual trust – or mutual paranoia, as the case may be. A game writer who creates a game with illegal content – through blatant copyright violation, perhaps – may argue that although the game is illegal he has broken no rules, and that would be true. But in such an extreme case, the comp organizer would also be aware that there are no rules against removing such an entry…

The expectation is that the mutual paranoia/trust scheme will be fully sufficient, and no such intrusion into the comp will be needed.

The Goal

The goal of the Meta-Comp is not just to generate games with in-jokes and games about gaming, although those are considered entirely desirable: but to encourage and stimulate total creativity in game design, both in the creation of the game itself, and in the creation of the contextualization of games. By having game designers define the competition in which their game is meant to be played, Meta-Comp is the first forum for the demonstrative advocation of certain types of games: the Meta-Comp contestant says with his or her entry, “Games like this are cool.”

–Or indeed, the contestant can enter an Uncool Game Comp. It’s entirely open.


ps - Prize Structure

So, let’s say we have 10 entries: some are early, some late, it averages out to $10 per entry for $100. And let’s say that nobody else donates to the prize pool. So we have:

$100 (original pool)
$100 (10 entries x $10 ea.)

$200 prize pool.

We award prizes to those entries that came in first, second, and third, and to two honorable mentions:

1st: half the pool. $100.
2nd: half the remaining pool. $50.
3rd: half the remaining pool. $25.
2 H.M.s: each an equal portion of what remains. So $12.50.

I’d like to get the honorable mention prize up to a more respectable sum, so I’ll welcome donations. – Not yet, but please think it over.

I mean, $12.50 isn’t bad. And it’s hard to predict right now what $12.50 will get you in late July of '09 – at this rate, it might buy you a half a tank of gas or a small house. But I’m hoping we can get a better prize pool than this.

–This is going to be a cash-prize-only system, because it’s too difficult to integrate a highest-scorers-pick-first with this system. But, if you were thinking of donating an item, you can still help – just donate the postage you’d have spent on sending that item. Small donations work together to make a huge influence!


I’m replying to my own thread here to tell you that the Meta-Comp website is online!