Hello, everyone, and happy (slightly belated) start of July! With a new July comes a new season of the Interactive Fiction Competition!
From now through September 1st, 11:59pm Eastern (23:59 EST), the IF Comp website will be open for authors to declare their intent to enter this year’s competition!
(Final entries are due on September 28th, 11:59pm Eastern, but you must register by September 1st! You may back out from the competition at any time. )
As with the previous iterations of the IFComp, authors will be allowed to participate as judges, vote, and review entries other than their own.
If you have any questions about the competition or its rules, you can contact us at email@example.com
In addition to entries, we are also accepting prizes to award contestants! If you would like to donate a prize for this year’s competition, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org — no prize is too humble or too grand.
If you would prefer to donate money, our Colossal Fundraiser will be begin in August. Another announcement will be made then.
I assume there is a file size limit. If you register an intent you can access the submission page on the IFComp website and upload your game and art to it way early (I highly recommend doing this way before the deadline!) and preview exactly how your entry will be seen by the public (it won’t be publicly visible no accessible to anyone else until the comp starts and games are released; you can still delete and reupload and retest your art and your game or delete everything and drop out if you need to all the way up to the competition start date.)
Classically IF game art tends to hold to a square format similar to a CD case cover that ideally reduces to a nice thumbnail, although that is not a hard and fast rule. I have seen art in both portrait and landscape orientation.
I wouldn’t pay anyone to test your game - IF testing is a weird beast and some random civilian making five bucks might not give knowledgeable feedback you can use. One important requirement is that you don’t share any public link to your game as IFComp requires no public release before the competition. You will want to communicate with your testers via Private Message here or private email, and make sure your game resources are private and non searchable. Don’t put your game files on public GitHub or post a link in a public Discord channel or a public message here. I have posted my pre-release IFComp game in private Draft mode on itch where you can specifically invite testers with a non-public secret URL.
You can post a request in the Beta Testing category, and soon you’ll probably see other entrants offering to swap testing there.
I went to the ifcomp.org website and did ‘inspect’ on some of the images. It looks like they display most of them at 700 pixels tall, with 700x700 being the most common size. There are also wider and skinnier examples, but they are all 700 pixels tall except for on 600x600 I saw (The Only Possible Prom Dress).
I’d say 700x700 would be nice. Inform 7 documents suggest 960x960 as an alternative size. But that should give you a general gist of things.
Also cover art needs to have credits to ensure it’s not copyrighted. I’m the one currently checking this for IFComp, and it’s a big hassle to track down art when someone doesn’t credit it, so please put the art credit either in your blurb (when you enter) or in the credits section of your game. If using AI art (which was allowed last year and I don’t think currently has any new rules about it), please say which ai tools you use.
(Speaking now from a purely personal voice and not officially, I’d avoid AI because its copyright status is up in the air, and whatever it comes down to legally IFComp will have to enforce in the end. I’ve used AI for one previous game’s cover art but will change it just in case).
I think the largest that Inform 7 will let you do is 1024x1024 (or thereabouts), which gives some room for the image to be displayed in a larger-than-thumbnail form without looking noticably low-res on a modern HiDPI display.
There was a thread about AI art on here recently that you can look up if you want to increase your blood pressure, I guess. Let’s just say that using generative AI (be it for images or text) in your game would invite controversy bordering on outright hostility.
Just like to chime in and say I’d like to volunteer to do cover art for peoples’ entries. Not sure how many I’ll be able to do, or if it’s against the rules to do covers for more than one entry, but I’d be up for it if anyone is interested!
One thing that’s also been done in the past is a bunch of thumbnail-size images, one for each of the, say, top 45 games. Obviously this is for after the end of the comp, and you probably will not want to do this.
I don’t intend on submitting to 2023 but for the future - we announced the title and synopsis of our game + a few not-in-the-game drabbles for a bit on tumblr before switching tack. would that make us ineligible to submit to ifcomp in the future? no gameplay has been released
My general feel is yes, though you may wish to write Jacqueline to make sure.
From what I remember of the rules, you can even compilable source code provided, and there, people could pretty easily comb it for important events/clues (and even, if it’s in Inform 7, test commands that provide a walkthrough–or, in fact, just a walkthrough.txt). You just can’t have a binary that people can download and run, or a webpage people can open and start clicking through.
I’ve seen people share details about their entries beforehand, and it did not violate the spirit of the competition.
Publicly shared source code does not count as a release. The competition considers translations of previously-released works into another written language as new works. Therefore, this rule does not disqualify such translations from entry.
I’d like to see more clarity on situations or examples where someone is pretty sure they’re not violating the rule, such as: does having a public repo with a tweego game in it count as public exposure? Does an actual HTML file? But I think you’re well clear, if you’ve discussed general ideas and no big plot points.
But as @ArdiMaster says, I’m not affiliated with IFComp!
Oh IFComp, how I (will) miss thee. I won’t be able to complete my entry on time, however this motivates me even more for next year. Also, I look oh-so forward to playing and rating everyone’s submissions. Yay!