ParserComp 2021 - The Rules for Participants (Draft; may change!)

Thank you, that’s appreciated. :+1:

Hopefully will still be the case when then dust settles at the end :smiley::pray:



The bit I was responding to was “or maybe until judging closes”.

I don’t want to make my source code public before the comp, but if someone’s using a public github repo because that’s what you can get for free, and not publicising it, I don’t see a reason to hold it against them. If it turns out to be a problem this year, the rules can always be changed next year.


Private GitHub repos are free. (Unless you need the Teams features, which an individual writing an IF game probably doesn’t?) However, I agree that releasing the source code concurrently with the game, even to beta testers, is no problem at all. It’s up to the author whether it’s acceptable for players to “cheat.”


I am all for source code along with a game’s release. (That is one of the meanings of my user name in most places: Free Open Source / Far Out Science) :wink:

However, I am not so sure source code should be available during a competition.

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Sorry, i don’t understand this source code thing. Are we talking rule change to mandate the availability of source code?

As i understood it from the draft rules there are no source code requirements, only the ability to get a copy of the game.

If authors wish to give source code, it’s up to them. And when they want to give source code it’s up to them. And if they don’t want to give source code, but instead walkthroughs or hints or even nothing at all, that’s also up to them.

of course, if that means impeding judges, then that’s the way it is, and may well reflect the score.

Or have i got the wrong end of the stick?


The gist I’m getting is that very early on in the conversation, someone said they’d love to have a competition where they can finally program their code in a public github repository, since IFComp doesn’t allow it.

So allowing github development was put in as something allowed.

Then others complained that this would be a form of advertising.

Later on, someone said it shouldn’t even be allowed during the comp, since seeing source code is cheating.

Now I think people are pushing back on that a bit and saying that releasing your source code is okay. This still hasn’t gotten back to the original point of whether or not a public repository for development is okay. It’s almost certainly going to have to come down to a decision by @Adam_S, and I’m not sure there’s a solution that will satisfy everyone.


I think I can help bring the discussion to a close at least in terms of ParserComp specifically, the discussion has been great and I’ve appreciated the time people have taken but I can also see a few topics going back and forth. So…

When I write the final draft of the rules it will include the following…

  1. Walkthroughs, guides, hints and any other support documentation is not mandatory and submissions of game only are accepted. However please be aware that these documents are extremely useful to players/judges/voters, many people have expressed the view that if these additional support documents are not provided then they are less willing to play and judge/vote on games. This is entirely their prerogative. As such we very much recommend that you consider making these support documents available as part of your submission.

  2. You are not required to submit source code along with your game, but may do so if you wish.

I’m aiming to release the updated rules by the end of this week.


Adam :slightly_smiling_face:


I really appreciate the way you are handling this, Adam: Listening and decisive. I’m sure it will be an excellent ParserComp!


Thank you Stian, that means a lot, very much appreciated. :+1:



While there’s no rush, it’s good to have the rules finalized as soon as possible. I suppose the details can be hashed out later.

I just want to make sure I’m 1. not doing anything out of line and 2. not missing anything I could’ve done. I suspect other people’s motivations for asking questions were similar. This whole topic has been an interesting read, the sort that encourages and motivates me to visit this site more often. So thanks, everybody.


On that front don’t panic :slightly_smiling_face: Essentially the rules listed here hold water but just need rewriting to make clearer, then we have additional rules to add in such as the walk-through and source code ones.

In the background I’ve also actually created an email address specific for the competition, created an account, created the competition page (although at this stage it needs populating with the rules etc) and also created an accompanying YouTube channel so I can do some video content along with the written content here and elsewhere.

Should be a fun week! :slightly_smiling_face::+1:



Updated (Final Draft) rules are now available in this new post:


With regards to source material and repositories, it looks like you have decided it must not be publicly available before hand. Is that right?

I have a game under development, but it is already on GitHub, and anyone can look at the source code right now. Is the game therefore disqualified (assuming I do not move it, and is not that close to completion)?

Why is a github repository necessary for the development of a parser game? I have never been clear on this issue.

I do all of my development work on my personal computer and store backups on fobs. Git will run on personal computers as well.

Just curious.


Hi Pixie,

Quite the opposite! It’s eligible providing it hasn’t been released, and by released I mean finished and published to the masses.

If your game is still in development and sat on a GitHub server, publicly available to anyone who knows that it’s there, then this is fine to enter it.

Have a look at the updated rules I’ve just shared in the new post (link above) and let me know if you feel that any of the rules seem to indicate otherwise. I don’t want people feeling they can’t enter when they can.

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face::+1:



Strictly speaking, it’s not. But I think most people new to source control will start with a website like Github. It’s how I started. I know for A Roiling Original, I didn’t even commit any source for a while. I just wrote up issue reports. Then slowly I started making commits saying “This fixes issue #X” and so forth. Having that interface helped me get my feet wet, and looking back, if I’d paid attention, I’d have been able to learn even quicker.

I misunderstood the original question as Why Source Control At All

For instance, if I am trying to fix a bug, I can, before committing a change to source control, see what source I changed. I can make sure I didn’t add in any debug code the player didn’t see.

I also really like being able to see how often I’ve made commits. It’s a non-emotional, nonjudgemental way to say “OK, this is how much you’ve done lately” or “you haven’t committed anything for 2 weeks.”

On the flip side, even small commits boost my morale, e.g. finding a response to a default verb.

Source control is definitely not necessary. Backups such as you mention are great practice.

But source control allows for that and so much more, with potentially less work once you learn it. It allows you to try that odd feature without having much penalty if you need to back out or delay your code change or whatever. And it allows you to go back to a previous version if need be.

To me the best part was finding I didn’t have to know a ton of commands: just “add” and “commit” did so much. With “reset” if I made mistakes. For the rest, I just searched on I was amazed how many people had the same questions as I did.

This is a tangent from the actual rules, and it’s something I’d like to discuss more if anyone is interested. I’m tempted to split this off into its own topic elsewhere so as not to derail things.


I understand the reason for using a Git repository. If using Linux, it is an easy install and your source code is available for anyone to see. I would rather keep my source private until the game is released.

If you are using collaborators, it makes more sense but I would still want the code to be restricted access.

Great initiative!
Has the following question been clarified?

…just in case I’d exercise poor judgement and include a diddley bow solo or two in my contribution. :slight_smile:

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I believe the new final rules allow that:

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Quite the opposite! It’s eligible providing it hasn’t been released, and by released I mean finished and published to the masses.

Thanks. I asked because of the discussion early on source code as much as anything, and wanting to be sure one way or the other.

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