I took the time to update the IFWiki statistics page for IFComp with the latest IFComp years, adding a separate column for web-based games, er, I mean works, and one for Quest too.
Then I put the numbers in a spreadsheet and replaced the Glulx/Z-code distinction by the orthogonal Inform 6/Inform 7 distinction, which I think is more useful:
Here is the percentage breakdown, with Inform 6 and 7 lumped together:
Obviously IFComp is not necessarily representative of all IF in existence so I’m sure it would be premature to draw a conclusion like “TADS has died”. No, not many TADS games have been entered into IFComp recently but maybe TADS games are being released elsewhere. I thought IFDB might have this information but I can’t see a way to sort by authoring system.
I don’t think there are any blindingly useful insights here, but I thought I’d share the graphs anyway. Inform 6 was replaced by Inform 7 faster than I thought it was, and the growth of web was slightly later than I thought, apparently only taking off in 2012, but saw rapid adoption. The IFComp itself remains strong. Nothing overly surprising. I would be interested in splitting the web category into different web-based systems but that will probably be more useful following future IFComps.
I don’t intend to spark more parser vs web “debates” which I don’t find very helpful. As you can see in the final graph below, Inform apparently suffered a year-on-year decline from 2000 to 2003, reaching the same level as we have in 2014, but then rebounded. So I don’t think it’s going to just cease to exist. In fact, I’d say that the web games are supplementing - not supplanting, not threatening, not killing off - but supplementing the Inform games, giving us a more diverse landscape than the apparent hegemony that Inform enjoyed in the 2009-2011 period - in IFComp. Which is great
(I think this will cause the page to scroll for most people, so I put the images in spoiler tags.)
Graphs and table have been corrected since original post.
Ifwiki statistics isn’t correct in some details, in 2014 there are 4 “others” (2 Quest games, 2 windows games), 1 win packed TADS as said above and 24 web games by my counting. Of course, there are some even commercial web CYOA experiments since Steve Jobs’ mobile revolution, most of them I don’t feel confident. We’ll see, I’m excited about this trend that of course should condense in if comp.
Ah, yes. The IFComp entries page has been updated since the comp started: now, the two Quest games are marked as “web” with their web versions available, and Milk Party Palace is also marked as web. I did not realise that One Night Stand was actually Quest, nor that Slasher Swamp is actually TADS. I’ll update the statistics soon, but I don’t know what to do about MPP. It’s made in Unity?? I suppose it should count as “other”, then.
Why would you do that? That means I can’t play it. TADS 3 works on all OSs, I thought.
I kind of feel like Twine entries should be categorised separately, and then all the other web ones should be categorised as Other (unless they are from a significant development system too.) The web is more like an OS than a development system.
If you want to slice the data a lot, you could have one chart for “development tool” (which would distinguish Inform 6, Inform 7, Twine, etc) and another for “playing tool” (which would distinguish Z-code, Glulx, HTML+JS, Windows .exe file…)