Potential Speed-IF Jam ideas (Cloak of Darkness Jam?)

Why would you want to share the source if everything is going to be different, anyway?

How about:
Someone roll a StoryCube, write IF, share source.
Other people get inspired, and implement the same thing using a different platform. That’s fine.

But if you’re going to have “Blue Onion IF jam” without maps or even specific puzzles, then I fail to see the point. If that’s what you want, then feel free, but I don’t see why sharing the source will be beneficial in that case.

Or you can write a specific Design Document, and say “Implement this game.” and see various approaches to the same problems. This is what I suggest.

You need locations and objects, as well as story, at least for source code comparison to be worthwhile. Specific verb implementation is optional and you can certainly implement them in “broad strokes” style using CYOA engine. It doesn’t have to be parser.

Does anyone want to reimplement Daddy’s Birthday using Twine? :pray:

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What might be cool is a speedIF/jam/light comp where everyone gets the same short scenario to implement in however way they’d like to in whatever engine they feel like, with the stipulation that code must be also provided so people can review/learn from it.

It wasn’t originally presented as a comparison. A comparison is only useful if you’re trying to determine which engine to use when choosing between multiple engines that are basically the same thing (ie. parser engines).

A twine user doesn’t give a @#& about how you implement something in Inform 7, but seeing how others using twine implement things would be really helpful. Same with choice script, and Ink. None of these work well trying to emulate parser games. Sadako sort of does, but I wrote it that way. But either way, it’s better to write to the strengths of an engine than try to make it do something it wasn’t designed for.


This may be true, but somebody having a lot of troubles with I7 may be inspired to implement the game using Twine, or Sadako since it’s optimized for it.

If you just want to feature tutorial games, then it doesn’t have to be community effort. Story Cube works fine.

I was hoping for a comp so maybe my engine would get a bit of recognition, if I’m being perfectly honest.

Also, what’s a story cube? I tried googling and all I find are dice with pictures on them.

Yes. :+1:That’s Story Cube.

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Oh. Then I’m not sure how it relates to the topic.

It was exciting in 1993! Of course the goal was not to make them work "the same as each other; the goal was to make them “as good as Infocom”. The fact that you could achieve this at home was the driving engine of that era, the start of IFComp, etc.

That was twenty years ago. We have more ideas of how a narrative game model can behave, now.

I submit that the interesting problem is to specify a scenario, literally. Not a sequence of events or actions or objects or nouns. Take good old Queneau as a role model:

Someone walks out of the opera house. An attendant rushes out of the door after them, claiming that they took the wrong cloak with them. The opera-goer insists that they are wearing their own cloak and disappears into the park. Two hours later, walking home past the opera house, an elderly actor mentions that the cloak is missing a button.

Now, what is the interactive “adaptation” of this anecdote? Could be lots of them! Is the protagonist the opera-goer, or the attendant, or the actor? (Or the cloak?) Is the point to implement the dialogue interactions or the experience of wearing and noticing the cloak? Can the base scenario end different ways or not? (If there is one ending, can there be different middles?) Is the park an interactive location? Is the opera performance relevant?

These are the interesting questions, I’d say. Requiring a specific set of objects and interactions for a parser game is a solved problem.


Yes, exactly! This is what I was hoping the comp would be like. :slight_smile:


The theme of Punyjam1 that everyone was required to start with:

The name of the initial room is Broom Closet

The description of the room, when the game starts, is:

You’re in the rather dirty broom closet of The Red Anchor. Various cleaning appliances line the walls. There’s a pile of fabric in a corner.

A note has been fixed to the wall with a knife.

The pub lies beyond the closed door to the east.

It was a fun open ended theme. Each game was very different from the others.


All of the Adventuron jams have so far been extremely beginner friendly, with it being a relative new system. In fact, several beginners have gone on to become really interesting creative voices since participating. There are lots of outlets for people starting out in adventure writing… There are usually several jams similar to the Punyjam and Adventuron jams each year. I wouldn’t say that the competition element was particularly important, but the focused timeframe with access to a community of like-minded creators, all using the same tools, is the thing that is valuable if you’re a new author.


How about saying e.g. “the gameplay/story must meaningfully involve an angry gorilla and a sheet of sandpaper” :laughing: it’s up to the author whether there actually is a gorilla object in the code. As for verbs … well verbs represent player intentions, so it might be interesting to restrict the story in that fashion: “the player must be attempting to rescue the newt.” or something.

As for the point of publishing the code when all the systems are different – I think that such a jam would begin to provide a body of evidence for one of the most commonly asked questions on this board, by demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of different systems when set a common task.

Mostly, of course, it should be fun.


this sounds perfect to me. when does the first one start? :stuck_out_tongue:

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I agree. That’s why I think that unless the tasks are common, there’s little reason to share source code.

My suggestion of nailing down the locations and items is to help people save time in implementing the boring parts of IF creation. Boring, yet time consuming.

If you don’t believe me, just try it yourself. Write a short story, then map it out. Time yourself doing it. Now, armed with those map locations with items placed, code them in whatever language you like. Compare the times. The Coding time should be much, much less than Design times.

If you stay within the bounds of standard actions (LOOK, TAKE, DROP, USE, GO) then writing the game should be exceedingly quick. Games should be doable in one afternoon, at least the general framework. Finished games in a weekend (24 hours). Any longer and it’s not Speed IF anymore. This, of course, has different feel if you use CYOA engine such as ChoiceScript. But still valid since so many CYOA games I played do feature mapped out locations.

Then you can concentrate on implementing a complex object/NPC behavior(Parser) or alternate scene interpretation(CYOA) , which is where the fun is.

There is always a reason to share the source code.

Unless you are opposed to others learning how to make games that you can play in the future.

All of your suggestions are still hung up on every entry having to interact with a game world. Not all IF involves putting objects inside of objects. That’s why having a broader concept for the theme is better.


I don’t believe that’s me. Not all parser games involves complicated object manipulation. And I have played CYOA games with clearly mapped objects and locations.

Rather than inventory, objects get translated into flags. I believe that’s a rather common CYOA convention?

How about walking simulator? No object manipulation there, just traversing the map. Can you agree that that’s a CYOA game?

Or how about games with clearly escalating narrative tension. Can you agree that that’s a parser game?

Engine choice doesn’t really limit artistic expression. I seem to be able to get many people to agree to that point, but in practice … rarely happens. Sigh.

I just want to respond to say that I’m going to drop this debate/conversation thread/whatever you want to call it.

It’s not that I’m angry at you or even think that you’re wrong, just that I’m having a hard time coming up with a way of phrasing what I mean without it sounding like I’m trying to start a CYOA vs parser game debate, which I’m definitely not. Even my comments last night about how all parser games look the same almost sparked one (even though I’m still not sure how you can deny that they all look identical visually, but whatever).

So anyway. Peace. :v:


Personally, I find I can’t “map” until after I’m partway through coding, which is going to cause me problems in determining the timing. Especially since on Ren’Py, an object can be coded in as short a space as 3 words and a character (assuming minimal implementation - each extra thing to implement is likely to be another 3 words and a character), and action times are largely defined by whether each creator thinks it’s worth employing coding shortcuts (standard actions are only faster to code because the words are short - non-standard actions spelt with as many letters take as long to code).

It also depends radically on how the short story was written. A short story written with an intent to convert to IF is likely to take far less time to implement than a short story written for release as a standalone item (the latter situation is the one I have with Budacanta. Writing it took me 2 weeks, converting it will likely take me 2-5 years, but mapping is part of the conversion process because IF is not a short story).

(Budacanta uses flags to represent inventory objects, although many CYOA games don’t use inventories at all because they wouldn’t make sense for the objectives/plot. Of course, it’s also possible to make parser games without inventories or even objects.

Walking simulators mostly aren’t CYOA, as far as I can tell, because most of them don’t have choices.)


This topic seems to have two threads running in parallel. Let’s deal with them separately:

The idea with SpeedIF is that you are given a theme and a short time frame. You must write a game using that theme and finish it within that time frame. Mini-comps are exactly the same thing, except that the time frame tends to be a bit longer than SpeedIF. This principle is no different to modern-day game jams.

The theme can be a few keywords or an idea. For an example of keywords, the keywords could (hypothetically) be pumpkin, bobby pin, green and tarantula. You must write a game that incorporates those words (or concepts) in some way. The story cubes concept works very well for this.

For a theme, this could be just about anything. Past themes have included dinosaurs, Douglas Adams tribute, New Years Eve and so on.

Both approaches would work equally well for parser-based games and choice-based games, so no one would feel left out.

For the time frame, the very first SpeedIF organised by David A Cornelson in October 1998 gave you only 15 minutes. This was immediately extended to 30 minutes, then 1 hour and finally 2 hours. I think this is a ridiculously short time frame and authors clearly agreed, as there was only one entry.

The very first mini-comp organised by Lucian Paul Smith in May 1998 had a time frame of 4 weeks. I feel that two weeks is the shortest acceptable time frame. For recent examples, the first Adventuron game jam was two weeks and PunyJam #1 was 3 weeks. I entered both and, believe me, it was a real struggle to get something decent done in that time.

The whole point of ‘Cloak of Darkness’ is that it allows potential authors to compare different authoring systems when producing exactly the same game. The game itself is not a very good example, as it tests very few features of each system and, let’s be honest, the original game is a bit buggy. ‘Cloak of Darkness’ has already been done for all the major systems. Doing it again serves no purpose whatsoever.

So, let’s hear no more talk of ‘Cloak of Darkness’, unless the theme is to extend ‘Cloak of Darkness’ into a full-featured game. This could then include choice-based games.

Any game jam should be fun. If it’s not fun for both the author and the player, then don’t bother.

I think that PunyJam #1 was the perfect example of SpeedIF or mini-comp. It was promoted beforehand, but the theme was not revealed until a set time and date. The theme itself was very inspiring and resulted in a lot of very different games. The time frame was just about right. The itch.io platform worked very well, except for the voting, which was done offline.


IMHO, Warrigal hit the nail on the head.

Thank you.


If that’s what you want, then feel free, but I don’t see why sharing the source will be beneficial in that case.

Actually, does anybody want to share their code for their previously published games? I’m sure people will appreciate it.