IFComp 2009 Predictions

Okay – the games will be released any time now, and before that happens, I’d like to again make a few predictions.

There will be between 24 and 27 games this year – a dip from recent years.

The top-ranking game will feature monkeys in a small way. The lowest-ranking game will feature monkeys in a big way.

Surprisingly, there will be no magic or wizardry of any kind in the entries this year, although several will use science as a psuedo-magic.

There will be what seems like an abnormal number of long game names – five words or more – this year. I’m thinking probably 15 of the entries (at least) will have long names. One will be so long that it’s pretty much a sentence unto itself.

Exactly one game this year will have been beta-tested by me. (Okay – this one will be true for sure.)

There will be no noticeable change in the percentage of games which have not been beta-tested.

The winning game will be from a first-time author, but the next four will be by established authors.

Very few pseudonyms this year. Discounting aliases used by people who’ve never released games before and who have not participated in the IFComp before, there will only be two anonymous or psuedonymed games by established authors.

Merk will regret, for pretty much the whole competition, being too lazy to finish an entry of his own. (Again, this is pretty much a given.)

Two games will be disqualified. One – and perhaps for the the first time ever, I’m not sure – will be because the author discusses his game publicly. The other will be due to copyright issues.

A game that includes a large hole or bottomless pit of some sort will also include some kind of car chase or racing mini-game.

One of the best games in the competition will have some glaring flaw or fatal bug that prevents most people from playing or enjoying it. “Best” is defined as… well, if the game didn’t have this issue, popular concensus is that it might have finished in the top three.

One game will involve the resurrection of dinosaurs, with inspiration clearly being Jurassic Park.

One game will involve the resurrection of people – mummies, probably, but possibly zombies. An extra point for me, though, if it turns out to involve religious themes instead.

One game will begin with a poorly-worded appology for how bad the game is. And really, it won’t be all that bad.

One or more games will have titles in the form of Verb/Verb Noun/Noun. For instance “Running and chasing the wind and the rain” or “Beat Drop Monkey Man.”

There will only be two entries for non-IF platforms (DOS, Windows, Java, HTML, etc). I know there’s a new Node-X game coming up, so that doesn’t count. One of the entries will be pretty good, with a functioning parser that accpets “all” and uses a more realistic object/parsing model. The other will be the good 'ol two-word parser variety, and most IF conveniences won’t work.

Two games will be sequels to prior works of IF, with the originals probably (but not necessarily) being written by the same two authors.

One of the authors will enter two games this year.

Two different authors will have very similar names, or will somehow be confused for each other during the voting and discussion.

There will be three Adrift entries this year, with one being fairly bad, one being passable/good, and one being really good.

There will be no Hugo entries this year.

Most games will be written in Inform 6 and 7. (Yet another no-brainer).

Not many TADS entries this year. Maybe 1 for TADS2, and one for TADS3.

Several games will have colors in the names. The Green Field, or The White Rabbit, or The Tan and Olive Summer. Rainbows don’t count.

At least one game will be co-authored by a child and an adult, basically with the adult (a parent or big bro/sis) bringing the child’s creative vision to life. The game itself won’t be great, but it’ll be hard to criticize it.

One game by more than two authors will appear. I’m thinking a group of people co-authoring a game (ala IF Whispers, but not necessarily with the same blind pass-off).

The exact title of one of the games will be “Dawn of the Monkeys.” (No, I don’t have any insider info on that. Just a wild guess.)

Something about one of the games will really irk people, make them uncomfortable, make them feel used or dirty. It’s going to be a really weird game, and as much social experiement as game.

Something good is going to happen to the author of the game that ranks 14th this year. For instance, while judging is going on, this author wins a million dollars playing scratch tickets. Or maybe he/she finds a pair of socks that have been missing for months, and it turns out the socks contain millions in rare coins.

NPC’s: A robot, a dog, a vampire, an alien, your mom, your sister’s boyfriend. Also, most of these will show up as PC’s as well (with the exception of your sister’s boyfriend, because then it would – strangely enough – be “you”).

Various Plots: A kid trying to save his farm. A sinner’s quest for redemption. A parody of pop culture. Travelling with a circus. A day in the life of somebody who’s completely boring, and without any sort of payoff at the end. Somebody just came into a pile of cash and must decide how to spend it. Trying to find a job. Trying to lose a job or get kicked out of the military. A doomsday plot (at least four of these). Trapped in the mind of a madman. Trapped in the “mind” of a robot.

Various Locations: Fort Knox. The moon. The PC’s apartment or home (quite a few of these). A computer lab. A cloning lab. A lab that defies all explanation. Shrunken and inside another person or animal. Delaware. Australia. The zoo - any zoo will do. A sinking ship. A frozen wasteland. A post-apocolyptic wasteland. A teenage wasteland. Waste Land Pharmacy. Under a bed. In the shower (with water on). Multiple historical settings, such as the Civil War or ancient Greece. On top of a very tall building. A lighthouse. Underwater. Drifting in space.

Nothing says “joke entry” like a game with no command prompt and no buttons to even click! We’ll see one of these.

A troublesome maze and a mis-designed hunger daemon will show up, but thankfully not in the same game. Or maybe we’d be better of if it was, since then two different games wouldn’t give us fits…

In two of the games, it will be possible to win in only 4 moves. In one, this is a due to a bug and is completely accidental. In the other, it’s by design. Bonus for me if the intentional one can be won in 1 or 2 moves.

Two of the games will feature strong and controvesial themes – teen pregnancy, for instance, or maybe euthenasia (sp?).

One game will be heavily political, and will make very few attempts to hide the fact. We’ll be role-playing some radical political viewpoint, and it won’t even be vague enough to avoid comparisons with the political and economic climate of the last several months. My psychic powers aren’t telling me exactly what viewpoint will be represented.

Two games will be abnormally long. We’re talking six hours or more on a fairly straightforward play-through.

Five games will be abnormally short, and they won’t even be joke entries. We’re talking ten or fifteen minutes to see and do everything.

Only one game will take place on a space ship, but two others will take place on alien worlds in which the PC was recently aboard a spaceship or intends to return to one. Two more games will mention space ships, but without any real bearing on the plot (i.e., a modern-day game where an NPC is watching Star Trek).

One author will be extremely mad at me for spoiling the premise of their game in my predictions above. It will be difficult for me to defend myself, because whichever game this is and whatever the prediction was will have been almost spot-on predicted by me. This will lead me to believe that I may indeed posess psychic powers, and for the next few months I will test this theory fruitlessly by playing the lotto and trying to read my wife’s mind.

And… that’s… all I’ve got!

Using the Nostradamus ‘scattergun’ approach to prediction, I take it? :smiley:

I had noticed a slight trend in recent games that I was expecting to become more apparent in the comp, but I can’t remember what it was.

I predict there’ll be a game drawing a lot of inspiration from Blue Lacuna. If we’re lucky it’ll be the more user-friendly approach. If we’re unlucky it’ll be the Myst-ish backstory.

I think I might make this game.

Well, I deserve a little credit for leaving out predictions that directly contradict each other, just so I’m assured of 50% accuracy. :slight_smile:

I need to (and keep saying I need to) expand my horizons and play more non-comp games…

I’ll beta-test!

I predict that this game:

will be one of these games:

and will also be a game where you play as your sister’s boyfriend…

I can believe that - the number of entries has been dropping over the last few years. :frowning:

Well, I don’t expect anyone to argue that one considering the many complaints of lack of quality. I predict the winning game will most definitely have some sort of innovative gimmick. Other predictions, still no westerns, a parody titled Still the Worst IF Ever, and a game revolving around clones (read innovative gimmick).

Score two for Merk: 24 games, of which 3 are Adrift.

I also have a good feeling about space ships, based on blurbs and one-move intro attempts in many of them. There may be a frozen wasteland as well – too early to tell.

I was right that TADS participation was on the decline, but I didn’t take my prediction far enough. None at all? I was shocked.

Also, no sign of any monkeys yet, sadly.

You didn’t play Blue Lacuna yet? Shame on you! :sunglasses:

This years compulsory non-comp games are at least:

  • Blue Lacuna
  • Alabaster
  • The King of Shreds and Patches
  • Make it Good (didn’t play it yet, but much praise has been heaped on it).

Am I forgetting something? The Bryant Collection and Cacophony are certainly worth playing, but not as essential as those already mentioned. And there might be real gems out there that I haven’t had a chance to play yet.

Guilty as charged. I might have played Conan Kill Everything this year, but it might have been last year, and anyway it’s not a very lengthy game. :slight_smile:

I did download version 3 of Blue Lacuna, and I played a few turns. Looked like my kind of thing. Maybe I’ll make it a priority after the competition is over.

I keep spending what little free time I have doing other things. Been doing a lot of console gaming (played through Half-Life and Half-Life 2 for the first time, playing Kingdom Hearts with my daughter, suffering through multiple deaths in Castlevania - The Dracula X Chronicles on PSP, etc). I can usually play those when other things are going on around me, but I like peace and quiet with IF.

Indeed, it’s the lowest number of games since the very first IF Comp in 1995! :open_mouth: And I’m not sure at all that the number of games (in English at least) released outside the IF Comp has progressed enough to compensate…

And you were also right that there were no Hugo entries, but wrong about about entries in non-IF platforms: there was only one. The rest is really just all Inform and (a little bit) ADRIFT.

Whatever Inform’s qualities may be (and they’re certainly great!), I do find it rather sad that it’s now almost a monopoly :frowning: . The main IF systems were all created in the 1990s or late 1980s, but, as far as I know, there was no major authoring system since then (I mean new systems by other authors, not Inform 7 or TADS 3), and all the non-Inform systems seem to be slowly dying without any new ones to replace them… :frowning:

About titles:

“Only” five titles with five words or more:
The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man
The Duel in the Snow
The Duel That Spanned the Ages
GATOR-ON, Friend to Wetlands!
Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort

I admit that The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man and Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort are pretty long titles.

Apparently not…

There’s Earl Grey, but I didn’t find others.

And I don’t understand this prediction:

I can’t imagine why on Earth someone would take somebody else’s socks in order to put their money in it, then give these socks back? :open_mouth:

But if it did happen, my psychic abilities would forever be unquestionable! :slight_smile:

I think one important contributing factor is that a lot of established authors have realised they can get attention for their games outside the competition. My uninformed opinion is that only prolific or first time authors are really going to be motivated to enter IFComp now.

TADS 3 has about as many authors using it at it ever has - Me, Eric Eve, Jim Aikin, Geoff Fortytwo… Inform 7 will always be more appealing to authors because it makes certain things very easy for them. Them’s the breaks.

Still trying to get my head around this.

Maybe (although two authors from your list now also use Inform 7). But it’s certainly much less than TADS 2 had c. 10 years ago. Even then, Inform (6) was definitely more used, but not nearly as much.

I also started wondering about how the number of IFcomp games released related to the total number of IF games released. So: Questionable statistics! Graphs!

Interesting work, Emerald! But…

I confirm! You must know that the “Games released in XXXX” IFWiki pages are, in general, considerably more complete and reliable for recent years (since c. 2005, I think), since the IFWiki itself existed: games have been added (mostly by David Welbourn, and occasionally by me or other contributors) as they were released, and not just arbitrarily when someone thought of adding them, like in pages about older years…

And the XYZZY eligible games have the same problem: maybe you don’t know it, but it’s also David Welbourn who does these lists, and nowadays he mainly uses the lists from IFWiki (why should he do the same work twice, anyway?). For instance, I don’t think most games in French or Spanish I had added myself on these IFWiki pages would have been on the XYZZY lists otherwise! To sum up, the XYZZY lists are also more complete now (but still not totally complete, I guess).

So I think the most reliable of your data for total number of IF releases per year is actually the IFDB, even if it’s less complete than the others for recent years! The IFDB games are mostly from Baf’s Guide, therefore from the IF Archive, which already existed in 1995. OK, I admit that the IF Archive doesn’t contain many ADRIFT, Quest, AIF, or non-English games, for instance… But even ADRIFT and AIF releases have declined in recent years; and the non-English communities have really different histories and should probably not be mixed with the English one in these statistics, in my opinion.

And the IFDB data does show a decline in recent years, very parallel to the decline of IF Comp releases!

(The IFDB data shows a bit more games in 2008 than in 2007, but I think it’s just an illusion, because the IFDB was created in late 2007: recent non-IF Archive games were added to the IFDB when they were released, unlike older years. It’s the same problem as the IFWiki pages, but only for very recent years.)

On the other hand, there’s also something I hadn’t thought about in my previous message: Speed-IF used to be much more popular some years ago. Which means that there were many rushed and very very short games among the games released in these years, more than now… It may well be misleading for our little statistics.

If I ever do another game, I’m going to give it this title.

Regardless of its actual content.

Sounds like we need a Beat Drop Monkey ManComp.

True, and something I hadn’t thought of. If we’re interested in the impact of the IFComp, only communities which generally participate in the IFComp should be included, which rules out the Quest and AIF communities as well as the non-English communities. There has been the odd Quest game in the Comp, but the huge majority of Quest games are apparently released on the Quest website. (I’m not sure whether it rules out the Adrift community, which is somewhat separate from the r*if community, but not as much as the Quest and AIF communities… I think there are enough Adrift entries in the IFComp to justify its inclusion in statistics.)

It would be interesting to break down the released games by competition, including the Spring Thing, Speed-IF, and so on, and see whether games released outside of any comp have increased. I have the impression that entries have declined for most competitions, not just the IFComp. Greg Boettcher was talking about cancelling Spring Thing, since it’s had so few entries in the last two or three years.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to compile those statistics right now. Maybe in a month or two, after uni finishes for the year…

Here are data from the IFWiki; I hope I didn’t make any mistakes:

IF Art Show:

Spring Thing: