Ectocomp 2012

Gather 'round, ghasts and ghouls… do you hear a whisper in the chill wind this October night? Does the mewling of a black cat or the sight of a stranger in shadow seem more suspicious now than ever? Across the world, a terrible magick is in the air, the ghost of wicked deeds and monsters most mortifying, which will grow again into a three-hour scream the ancients knew as… ECTOCOMP!

Ectocomp, Interactive Fiction’s Official Hallowe’en Speed-IF, is a competition for Hallowe’en-themed works written in three hours on any platform to terrify and delight the tortured minds all who dare speak its name. This year J.J. Guest returns from his dark tower to the mortal realm, that he might oversee this darkest of IF rituals. Summon your tales of the weird and the wicked, the funny and the fatal, all are welcome!

The DEADline for entries will be October 30th at midnight, so that audiences might witness these horrors on Hallowe’en. The length of the judging period will be determined by the number of victims-- I mean, entries we receive.

Authors may feel free to sacrifice more than one gruesome game, but no more than three. As has been determined in previous incarnations of the Ectocomp spirit, an author may spend as much time as he or she wishes in preparation for their three-hour fest of fear, but once your developer (whatever you use) is opened, start the clock. Your three hours also need not be consecutive.

Let the terror of Ectocomp 2012 begin!

Does the three hour limit include betatesting, or just editor time?

My understanding of it is that the three hour limit includes beta testing.

Would be interesting if the beta testing itself was free of the time limit, but the corrections wasn’t…
We’d get games with less bugs.

Ahoy there,

I did text message Duncan from Italy saying I’d take over the running of this comp as soon as I got back, and then I got back and found a faulty cable had denied me internet access of any sort, but normal service has now been restored. I’m not sure I will find the time to enter a game myself but yes, Ectocomp 2012 is officially on, and I will now be logging on daily to answer your questions, etc.

In answer to the beta testing question, this is essentially a speed-if type of comp, so beta-testing? I’d imagine that most people would just set a timer and go for it for three hours and submit. I think Duncan’s right, but I’ll take a look at the rules from previous years and get back to you.

Best wishes,



my question is this: How much planning is allowed? My game will consist mostly of a conversation tree. Would I be allowed to plan the whole conversation out on paper before I code? And I would need an extension for that. Would my looking at this exentsion’s documentation count towards the time limit?

Be well,


Yes, Lester.

The 3 hours start as soon as you begin your coding on the computer. You can plan and write as much as you want on paper (or text editor)

Is there a website or submission instructions?

The wiki isn’t up yet this year, but previous Ectocomps have a page at IFWiki. As for submissions, please send to J.J. Guest. You can find his contact information through the link to his website on his profile, under “Contact.”

Send games to me at jason.guest[at]

I’ll have a page up on my website when judging begins!

I’ve done a game. I’ll send it as soon as I decide what to call it.

  • Wade

Got inspired last night! Now, if the hurricane doesn’t knock out my power or Internet (I’m in Massachusetts) then I should have something to send in tomorrow.

You say the deadline is midnight on the 30th, but what timezone is that?

Hi all,

The deadline is usually midnight on 30th October GMT, but since I’ve made such a hash of running the comp this year, and given the weather conditions you US East Coast fellows are suffering, I’m extending it to midnight, Pacific Standard Time, GMT-7. That’s an extra 7 hours. Hope this helps!


If you need more time, let me know.

[emote]:lol:[/emote] GMT…
I have just now submitted through email! Thanks!

For those playing, if you need help, type walkthrough.


Just submitted via email as well.

Experienced a fairly weird problem with Inform’s release mechanism where it reported a perfect build, but didn’t ever move the .zblorb into the Materials folder or rename it away from “output”. Gave up and built as a .z8, which appeared to be building more normally, and hoping the file is OK despite this.

Submitted my entry by email.

It’s… a little buggy, but only in regards to lack of polish. Should be able to play through it just fine!

Hi all,

I think everyone who expressed an interest in entering has submitted their entry, so I’ll declare the competition officially closed and upload the games shortly! Well done to our four entrants! If there are late entries and the entrant has a valid excuse, such as power outages, I’ll amend the list and add the game, so please keep watching this board.



So, um, mine did arrive, right?