Demos as IFComp Entries

Would a demo for a larger game be an acceptable submission to IFComp?

This would be a finalized, beta-tested experience that is self-contained in terms of plot and puzzles, but that ends with the clear implication that the story continues.


My understanding is that that would be fine.

Scarlet Sails by @Felicity_Banks was entered into IFComp in 2015 and later an expanded version was released.

It will definitely be acceptable as an entry, although I think readers (…judges) would prefer to feel like they’re truly finished the story.

Scarlet Sails was always a complete, one-off story with no sequels (I added more options throughout the tale after the IF Comp). Although I can and have set other stories in the same ‘universe’, and so have other writers (at least two in the same year as Scarlet Sails—Brendan Patrick Harris and the Marino Family—off the top of my head).

I hope that helps.


The guidelines for authors suggest to only enter “finished” works. Calling something a “demo” kind of infers that it is not finished. The rules have been relaxed in recent years, but the entire concept of IFComp is that you are supposed to enter a full game with a target playtime of 2 hours.

Submitting a self-contained volume of a larger work with a resolute conclusion is probably fine, but cutting off like a demo and ending on a cliffhanger after suggesting more content with a message “play the full game when released!” might draw some voting ire from the judges.

Spring Thing does encourage entry of demos of larger works, and IntroComp is all about getting feedback for the opening of a larger work which might be considered a demo. Perhaps your entry might be more appropriate for either of these competitions?


One of the responses we’ve been discussing in the “IFComp is awfully large, innit” survey was that IFComp and Spring Thing could be better balanced.

Obviously this isn’t as easy as flipping a switch (for a start, IFComp has prizes) but it’s something to keep in mind.


Brilliant. Thank you for all of the guidance! That was really helpful.

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Agree with HanonO, but I add a little note:

IMVHO is possible (Zarf ?) enter in the IFComp a sort of “prologue” or “side story” related to the full game, but NOT part of the full game, at least as narration.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.