IFComp 2024 planning to enter

I’m planning to, and I need artists. It’ll be a crazy fun ride.


I have a general concept for 2024, some stats, a couple of plots that may or may not be subplots, certain characters, magic-related problems to overcome, and a general sense of the world and setting. It’s a suitable locate for a claw-footed tub, which pleases me. And an optional cat for the discerning reader.

The title is “Miss Duckworthy’s School for Magic-Infested Children”.

Which I thought was the best title ever until I saw “Squidworthy”.

This will be the first time I started writing more than two months before the deadline :slight_smile: Except for that time I missed the deadline (which doesn’t count since I then disqualified myself the following year, lolz). Will it be my most amazing game ever???

Well, I suspect what I’ll actually do is absolutely nothing from now until exactly five weeks before the deadline, followed by a mad scramble.

But I’ll still be THINKING about it, which 100% counts as writing.



But the whole point of the clawfoot-bathtub/boat phenomenon is that it emerges organically from the swamp of shared subconscious vibes of the authors. A reflection of the underground activity of the interconnecting mycelium between all authors in a given year, giving rise to a reverberating thematic mushroom harvest of motifs.

I’ll shut up now. I might end up in a linguistic swamp myself.

  • The Misadventures of the Knights of the Eight Spittoons;
    a collection of farcical vignettes set in the Land of Dwindeldorne

The bumbling trio is just begging for a spin-off. Each with their own skillset, they must work together to overcome a series of increasingly improbable obstacles in the quest to prove their worth to the Lord of Thymeleigh Manor.



But thanks for the alert about it being a month earlier next year; I was not aware of that.


Hi all,

Now that I have a bit of IFComp participation experience under my belt, I feel confident I can participate next year as well.

I plan to submit the entry I was working on for Spring Thing 2023 (where have I heard that before, missing deadlines by a mile???) for IF Comp 2024:

Pack Rat


  • “traditional” parser game (with some additional custom verbs)
  • Story mode as featured in my One King entry of IFComp 2023
  • Quest system to keep track of the puzzles players are working on
  • Possibly narrated undo if I can manage it (working on some test cases now)
  • Some visual elements (playing with vorple now)

Special mention (my new hint system and also my new “parser voice”):

A tall, thin man suddenly appears, seemingly out of nowhere. “Hey there!” he says, grinning broadly. “My name is R; I beta-tested this game. I am here to offer guidance if you need it. Have you played interactive fiction before?

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual entities, living, dead, undead, or immortal, or actual events is purely coincidental.


… either that or any sufficiently large number of works of IF is bound to have some recurring motifs. :wink:


Critical thought and a basic understanding of statistics trump mystical woo-wah every time. You are most correct, dear sir.


Given that I started my reflections thread with two paragraphs about Jung, I’m not in a position to complain about anyone positing unconscious shared vibes, to be honest. :smile:


Yes, I read that. Mighty interesting.

I’ve never read anything by Jung, though I remember a copy of Man and His Symbols in my parents’ library. (Obnoxious title really.)

I am very interested in what I know of Jung through other sources. (Many of which probably garbled and distorted Jung’s original meaning.)

Archetypes, universal symbols, and how these appear in varied forms throughout human folklore and mythology, and actually in just about every story humans tell.
Reminds me of a great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal cartoon.


I have the impression that Jung is a thinker (I hesitate to call him a philosopher or psychologist) who nimbly navigates reason, intuition, poetic thought, thorough observation,… and often sacrifices hard logic and consistency in the search for deeper-felt, intuited meaning. (Again, from what I know about him, without having read the original works.)

I have read Nietzsche’s Jenseits von Gut und Böse and Zur Genealogie der Moral. Nietzsche, too, writes in a very poetic and literary style. Nevertheless, he does employ hard logic as a tool too.
(I remember an argument in which he demolishes Kant’s Kategorischer Imperativ by exposing it, over the length of only two or three paragraphs, as an immensely elaborate excercise in circular reasoning. I’m not qualified to judge the quality of his argument, but the obvious pleasure, the exalted language Nietzsche uses in building what is in essence a hard logical rebuttal argument was very enjoyable and challenging to read.)

I like reading the writings of thinkers such as these, who follow a flow of poetic, literary intuition, while still trying to adhere to reason to structure their thoughts, prevent their arguments from dissolving into mad disjointed ramblings.
(Levinas has a knack for this style of writing too. I read his Totalité et Infini and not only did I have to translate it into Dutch while reading, I also had to rephrase his poetic/literary langage into something that approached an understandable text. Loved every minute of it.)

I’ll dig Man and His Symbols out of my parents’ library and see if I can pick up a copy of Psychologishe Typen from the public library. (Or the university library in Gent.)

(EDIT: Wow. Every paragraph in this post starts with “I”. Sorry about that. Must be my unbridled egocentrism shining through.)


Probably not, but who knows.


So we’re all doing mushrooms next year, got it.


The Lord of Timely Manor. Subtle, but clever.


Description copied from How Prince Quisborne the Feckless Shook His Title:

<> Thymeleigh Manor <>

You’re on a lane wending through the grounds of the pleasant Thymeleigh Manor. The manor hall stands well away from the lane on a rise northeast of you, and the lane is bordered on that side by a low sod-topped stone wall. One particularly massive spreading tree shades the sunken roadway where you stand.
The lane goes northwest or southwest, and a faint foot-track passes the tree and crosses the field to the west.

Over near the manor, the Knights Arrogant can be seen parading around, dallying with the elegant daughters and nieces of Lord Myrgweth.

The Knights of the Eight Spittoons are in the area, patrolling around on their horses and trying to seem important.


If we’re looking for rigorous explanations, there is also the human tendency, once a pattern is noted, to try to broaden its significance. The “boatiness quotient” is a constructed concept including boat games, space games, and almost anything set near a navigable body of water.

But we’re being spoilsports. I prefer the magic explanation.


I’m hoping to enter! (But I have been hoping to enter for a couple of years now.)


I love it, @rovarsson ! Unsurprisingly, I’ve had thoughts of spinning stories off of the different characters in Dwindeldorn, but as of yet, my brain is mostly a limp, soggy noodle, and I have not put forth any effort to generate new story or puzzle ideas. It is fun, though, to feel like the world of Dwindeldorn is waiting to have more stories written about it!


I was very happy with Codename Obscura getting ranked so high up in the competition :innocent:

It kind of boosted the feeling that I might understand something little about game design after all. And this was a retro work of art, with a clumsy parser, 8-bit limitations, which definitely lost some points.

So, with a more modern approach, and with some creative new ideas, who knows what might happen?

Anyway, just getting involved in this amazing competition has been a joy, and produced many exciting moments & opportunities for getting experience :pray:

So, I cannot guarantee it yet, but I’m more than extremely tempted to enter again next year.


I entered To Sea in a Sieve into IFComp rather prematurely, which is most unlike me. It could have done with another six months of testing. The hint system in particular. I would normally have let another year roll over and entered it in the next one - without a second thought - but I was determined to honour the 20th anniversary of To Hell in a Hamper. It was a deadline that only really mattered to me, and I regret it now.

I started writing To the Moon in a Microbus in 2010, long before To Sea in a Sieve was conceived of, but it just wasn’t working. I now understand why - I needed to write To Sea in a Sieve first, the game which provides the framing device for all three. To the Moon in a Microbus is about halfway finished and I now have a much better idea of how to proceed with it, but I won’t make the mistake of rushing it out for IFComp 2024. I like to give a full-sized parser game about nine months of testing, so if I get it finished by the end of November next year, it’s just possible it might make IFComp 2025.

But that doesn’t mean to say that I won’t have something in next year’s competition. I really enjoyed writing Buck Rockford Heads West for the Neo-Twiny Jam, and I’m excited by the possibilities of Ink. Gross generalisation here, but a choice-based game generally speaking has far fewer moving parts than a parser game, and I think you can write a good one much faster than you can write a good parser game. So who knows? An odd thing happens when I write in choice-based formats. It brings out my surreal, experimental side, and I would really like to explore that.

I have two Gruescript games on the go, one of which is a gift for my nephews and probably won’t be entered into any competitions (maybe Spring Thing?) The other I’d like to get finished for next year’s ECTOCOMP. As someone used to working with I7, writing games in Gruescript is just a delight. You don’t have to worry about what happens when the player tries to insert the octopus in the toaster, because you simply don’t give them the option to. Unless you want to! But you can still make parser-like puzzles! Consequently these two games have the largest maps of any I’ve created. Gruescript is liberating in a different way, it lets me focus on the game side of things rather than the literary side of things, and it’s just fun.

I’ve always assumed that one day I’ll write another game about the Magpie, but the character simply hasn’t come knocking. He’s receded into my subconscious, and is hiding in there somewhere, probably in disguise. I did have a skeleton of an idea for him, but I don’t think it really works. If and when the game does emerge, it probably won’t be a traditional parser game. To the Moon in a Microbus is currently the only I7 game I’m working on, and I suspect it will be the last. The one thing that could change that is if Graham releases his new dialogue system. What I’m hoping for is the best of both worlds - a choice-based system like Ink, but with all the environmental modelling capabilities of Inform - rooms, objects, inventory. It has the potential to be incredibly powerful. If that’s the case then I suspect that’s when the Magpie will pop his head around the door and say “hello old fruit, remember me?”


Gruescript maybe? Maybe not the best for what you’re doing.

I had an idea for the magpie (I admit I never finished the game) which I will PM you. (You probably won’t use it but…)