New IFComp website is live

Howdy y’all,

I’m pleased and proud to announce that the new Interactive Fiction Competition website is now live at its long-time home:

While the 2014 IFComp won’t start accepting entries for a couple more months at least, I did want to launch a redesigned informational website right after this year’s XYZZYs wrapped up, something that I hope will build interest in the comp (and in IF in general) even during the off-season.

As you can see, I’ve tried to bring new focus to the comp’s history – and, indeed, its longevity – by creating a browsable gallery of all past entries, with new links to their individual IFDB pages to make finding and playing them easier. I’ve also written some new articles about the IFComp and comp-authorship, extended some of the history articles from from site’s previous version, and (with the guidance of various long-time community members) revisited and revised the comp’s rules a bit.

I consider the new website a work in progress that will continue to unfold as the year progresses. But I’m very happy with what’s there today! I invite you to explore the site at your leisure, and would sincerely welcome any feedback from the community.

Wow! Looks fantastic - a lot of hard work plainly went into this. Great job!

One question: is it no longer possible to play competition games online at I have always been fond of sending people to for later play, as it was much easier to find the “Play” button on than at the IFDB.

I see as the new one.

Nice! (And, for what it’s worth, both with and without the www leads me to the new site.)

This is indeed a feature I plan to reexamine and reintroduce when the new games roll in for 2014. support was a bit spotty with the past games (and, AFAIK, totally absent with games more than a few years old), so I wanted to begin by linking prominently to the IFDB in the case of every entry, all the way back to 1995.

I agree that that page layout on IFDB could be improved. However, between knowing that its maintainer is very responsive to suggestions, and observing the IFDB’s growing embrace by the things like the XYZZY Awards and the Twine community, I wanted to have reinforce that site’s position as the single most prominent web-based clearinghouse for IF stuff.

Thanks for the info! I see your perspective and it makes good sense to me.

Rules changes! How does allowing fanfics work with the archive not allowing them?

The Archive has always allowed fanfic. The Archive contained fanfic when I joined RAIF in 1994.

Oh. Hmm. I thought that wasn’t the case, but I can’t see anything on the archive website that would have made me think that, so okay.

I’m guessing I don’t quite understand what you mean by fan fiction, but wouldn’t Balances by Graham Nelson count?

Activision’s always been pretty okay with Zork fanworks, as long as folks asked permission first. Balances falls into that sort of thing, probably?

Anyway, I’m not entirely happy with the re-worked fanworks rule, if only because I sorta dread there being a rush of poorly implemented games based on Batman, Robocop, Game of Thrones, The Avengers, et al. I guess there are always pretty bad games in every Comp, though.

I am not, generally, much in favour of fanfic. It rubs me entirely the wrong way. At heart, and demonstrable exceptions notwithstanding, my prejudice is that fanfic is a thing that authors should have mostly got over before the age of twelve, or else do mostly as a comedy or meta thing. I think it can be a useful stage for authors to go through, but almost never an end in itself.

But I think that this is a Good Thing nonetheless, because the comp shouldn’t be arranged around the satisfaction of my aesthetic preferences, and a lot of people who are writing are writing fanfic, and the comp’s such a central event that it really needs to be big-tent. (For my personal tastes, I am in favour because fanfic authors often end up using their fanfic-honed skills to write non-fanfic things that I really, really enjoy, and if they’re already in the IF fold by then…)

I, personally, am being cranky about the new fanwork-friendly rules because I worry that in a few years the Comp will consist completely of folks’ Homestucks and Sonics and what-have-you. I suppose the maintainers will change the rules if things appear to be getting out of hand, but what if they don’t. WHAT IF?!?

Then the IFComp will be destroyed. DESTROYED.

Another thing that bothers me about this new arrangement, come to think of it, is that games like last year’s The Paper Bag Princess and Machine of Death may not get made anymore, derivative works that were made with the permission of the original author(s) in question. (PBP would still need permission under the current rules, I think, but Machine of Death doesn’t directly adapt any of the short stories, so it could possibly go without, if it were entered this year.) There’s nothing stopping you from just asking, of course, and with the bigger properties it’s much easier to ask forgiveness than receive permission, but it would be nice to have a line added to the rule stating that it’s nice to ask the creator’s permission for a derivative work if you can.

Is this going to be my thing now? Complaining about this new rule? Am I becoming a grumpy old guy in my mid-twenties?

I don’t entirely follow your argument. How exactly do the new rules prevent that kind of game getting made?

PBP is essentially an adaptation, using material directly from the original book, so yes. The original Machine of Death is licensed under Creative Commons, so neither the rules-change nor the specific permission of the author make any difference.

Well… so what if that happens?

Seriously. People can (effectively) publish anything they want on the Internet, and a great deal of fan fiction has resulted. Have people stopped writing original fiction?

Also: a good game is a good game. A bad game is a bad game. Being set in one universe or another doesn’t really affect whether it’s a good game or a bad game.

Would I find it frustrating to play a My Little Pony* game and then discover that the key to solving it is based on knowing some obscure bit of lore about Twilight Sparkle? Sure would. I am not a MLP fan and I’d be rather frustrated to find MLP games in the comp in the first place, let alone ones that I couldn’t win because of not being an MLP fan. And I would rate accordingly.

But there are quite a few original games released that I don’t like, either. I don’t think that a fan fiction game is going to be automatically worse than an original universe game.

If Lynnea Glasser wants to put out an MLP game, competition or not, I’d play it. Because after Coloratura, I’d play pretty much anything she’s putting out, confident that it will be good. Even if I don’t like the franchise it’s based on.

I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.


  • MLP is the example that comes to mind because several of my friends have tried to get me to like MLP, and it just didn’t work out. My apologies to any MLP fans who are dismayed by this example.[/size]

I’m digging the Bootstrap look n feel. I feel some AngularJS love coming to the site maybe?

David C.

Thanks for recognizing and appreciating the Bootstrap use! It’s a really lovely toolset for helping hackers design websites that don’t look like they were designed by hackers.

Dave and other technically inclined & curious folk might be interested to know that the site’s source is on GitHub:

An aside: I appreciate the discussion, and all statements I do not respond to directly I nonetheless absorb while leaning back, contemplating my screen over steepled fingers.