In a vast room hung with strange tapestries and carpeted with the skins of animals unknown to modern science, the members of an obscure and exclusive club,, are huddled together in the gathering shadow. Outside a storm rages, and the boundless jungle of outlandish plants that surround the castle thrash and toss as though animated by some spectral presence. A chilling and awesome silence falls upon the assembly as their host, J. J. Guest rises from his chair to address them.

'I suppose you know why I have brought you all here. The hour of ECTOCOMP is once again upon us. But this time around, things will be a little different.

'This year there will be two categories for entry. For those of you who enjoy a challenge, ECTOCOMP: La Petite Mort is for games written in three hours or less.

'For those who don’t manage to complete their games in under three hours, or who would like to take a more relaxed approach to the competition, there will be ECTOCOMP: Le Grand Guignol. The two categories will be judged separately.

'But a word of warning, despite the rule change, the spirit of speed-IF still haunts this competition. We are here to have fun, and woe betide any who take the contest too seriously!

‘The entries must have a spooky, supernatural, weird menace or horror theme, and may be serious or comical. Though this is a Hallowe’en competition, it is not necessary for your entries to be set on All Hallows’ Eve. They should be submitted by email to jason.guest[AT] with the words ECTOCOMP 2015 and the entry category in the title.

‘Good luck! I will see you here again at the appointed hour of the DEADline: midnight on Friday 30th October, GMT. Beware the wolves on your way home…’

I have questions

1)Coding can be started anytime, as long as less than 3 hours are used (for the ‘Petit Mort’/traditional category), correct? So one could start now?

2)Is it ok to start coding game with the intent of finishing it in 3 hours or less, but then switch to the second, no-limits category later?

3)Does one have to officially register as a contestant and in which category, or can we just ‘do our thing’ and send the game before the deadline?

Organizer can elaborate further, but the short answers are: yes, yes, and “do your thing!” [emote]:)[/emote]

Also this year, it’s a “spirit of 3 hours” rule, not an exact allotment of 3 hours. So it would be okay to go a little over.

Unless something has changed, you can also “chess-clock” your time. Use an hour today, then an hour in a week, and an hour for betatesting at the end.

Mr. Bowsman and Hanon0 are quite right on both points.

Glad to see this around. [emote]:)[/emote] I didn’t get a chance to enter last year and I look forward to doing it this year.

I’ll definitely participate this year! Thank you for hosting this comp!

Sounds awesome! Terrifying on multiple levels, of course.

Looking forward to trying my hand at SpeedIF. Count me in for this year!

Useful for chess-clocking: I track my work time (rather compulsively) here, and recommend it highly.

Does time other people spend playtesting count for the three hours?

People doing Grand Guignol (3+ hours): are you still doing a Speed IF approach with a time limit of more than three hours, or taking it more as a thematic challenge? Wondering about my approach here. Feel free to PM.

It’s still within the spirit of the 3-hour rule if you do some outlining (on paper, say, or daydreaming on the commute) before you sit down to do the actual writing and coding, yeah?

What if you work on something for 2 hours and then decide to do something completely different instead? Does the clock restart or has that sand already run through your hourglass, so to speak?

I can’t speak for Mister Guest, but I believe it’s three hours per project. I come to this conclusion because the 3 hours is how much time you have on a project before you submit it. If you changed to something different, you should have three hours on that project.

That being said, if you go back to your other one you originally started, then your time picks up where you left off. [emote]:)[/emote]

I do believe people are taking this too seriously. [emote]:)[/emote] Possibly because of the IFComp, which does (by necessity) enforce a strict set of rules.

Ectocomp, like every other small comp, was always about the fun of getting a game out there - hence the “spirit of 3 hours”. In this spirit, if you have to start over because you made a general blunder and need to re-design your game overall but it still remains the same game… well, no one’s counting, and you COULD reset the clock, but that defeats the “getting a game out there by hook or by crook” bit.

And if you decide to completely scratch the one you’re designing and go for a completely new one, wouldn’t it be petty of anyone to point the finger at you for restarting the clock?

Let me finish by quoting the most important bit of the original post of this thread.

I am experiencing a terrible case of scope creep [emote]:D[/emote]

Somebody climb into my subconscious and tell the muse to scale it back a bit because it’s going all hog-wild up in there.

See? That’s the main reason the 3-hour rule is there for; not to chastise you, but to force you to prioritise. [emote]:)[/emote]

After the comp you can creep all the features you want. Promise. Cross my heart.

EDIT - And I’ve seen expressed in other similar comps at other times the sentiment that the timer starts when you are actually coding your game. Pre-coding ideas don’t count for the timer. I haven’t seen anyone say this time isn’t the same.

The comp’s intended as a bit of fun so I wouldn’t worry too much about the 3 hour rule.

It is very much a learning experience to compress concept, design, coding, and testing into such a short span. It forces you to deal with scope creep, and makes you understand how to prioritize when you have a longer time to write. Everyone should try it! Who doesn’t have 3 hours?