Spring Thing 2007

The announcement for this all formats competition has just been made and you can find the competition website at http://www.springthing.net/2007/.

Last year there were only four entries and some pretty large prizes to be had.

I’m entering. Anyone else feel like it?

Ah, I missed it (I removed the news server section from Outlook Express – I’m not really following the newsgroups now). Thanks for posting! Usually, it’s not announced until after the IFComp voting begins (I thought).

Probably hoping to get more publicity early on and, as a result, more people entering. It’s disappointing that it got so few entries the last two years, but hopefully next year all that will change.

I wonder how many people are put off by the $7 entry fee? A really trivial amount, but I remember the fuss it kicked up on RAIF a few years back.

I submitted intent last year, but of course, I6 brought me to my knees and I didn’t end up entering (or paying.)

I think I’ll give it a go this year. Plenty of time to get started and develop a good game once I’m finished with my IF Comp entry.

I think $7 is fine. It wouldn’t matter if it was $1 or $20 (go much higher, though, and it’d probably start to bother people). The idea is to encourage people to enter seriously.

I think if there was no fee, and the competition was for short (2-hour) games like the annual IFComp, it’d get a lot more entries. Then again, I get the feeling that the annual IFComp is really the only competition most people take seriously. So it might not matter that much.

I paid the fee for the 2005 comp, but I ended up not sending a game. I’ve thought about it for 2007, but I was really discouraged by the near-total lack of enthusiasm expressed by the community in this year’s competition. I guess there’s only so much that can be said about only four games. I also wonder if players/judges are turned away by the “medium to long sized” rule? I know I was worried that I’d be spending hours and hours playing even just four entries (didn’t turn out that way), which was an initial concern.

To be honest, I would have thought that the small amount of entries in the Spring Thing would have worked to its advantage. Ample time to play and replay (if necessary) each of the games, without the feeling that you have to get through each one as quickly as possible in order to get them all played by the deadline.

The IFComp I always find a little daunting due to the sheer number of games submitted to it. Even when you’ve weeded out the troll games and the ones by people who just plain don’t have a clue (of which there seem to be more and more every year unfortunately), you’re still left with between 20 and 30 games. All of which you need to get through in the space of something like 6 weeks. Roughly a game every 2 - 3 days! Normally I might play half a dozen games in that time frame, yet now I’m trying to get 20 - 30 games played and get reviews written of them. If half the people planning to enter the IFComp entered the Spring Thing instead, it would help matters immensely.

Of course, I don’t see that happening. As you said, most people don’t seem to rate the Spring Thing that highly and only a handful of people wrote reviews or even commented on the games. Maybe one day that will all change but I’d be surprised if next year’s Spring Thing hit 10 entries.

The fact that there were only four games is probably why I went ahead and started playing/reviewing, even though I expected to spend a lot longer on each one. I’m not sure why there weren’t more judges, though. There were what… 17 total voters? I remember it was a really low number. For all the effort that the four of you who did enter put into your games, that’s a pathetic return on the investment.

I will say, though, that competition is about the only thing that really spurs me to get my games done. And, it’s possible that those 17 voters in the Spring Thing are more people than would have played the same games just released out into the open, non-comp style.

It’s always disappointing when you enter a comp and get so little feedback, but then neither of the games I entered in the last two Spring Things were games I’d written specifically for the comps. A comp was looming, I had a game ready, and so I entered. If the comp had never happened, the games would still have been written and released. While feedback was pretty sparse, my game did get 4 reviews in total (2 positively glowing, 2 less so) which was more than it would have got if I’d never entered it in the comp and simply released it. So in that respect, entering the comp made more sense for me than not entering. And the prizes are an added incentive, of course. [emote]Smile[/emote]

Unfortunately the problem seems to be that more people these days are interested in writing games than playing them (as evidenced by how much more active RAIF is than RGIF). Sometimes, it even seems like the majority of RAIFers would much sooner debate the aspects of game writing rather than the games themselves. How often does a genuine game discussion take place on either RAIF or RGIF that is more than simply a hint request? (Of course, it’s not just limited to RAIF and RGIF. The Adrift forum sees a proper game discussion only a couple of times a year, generally straight after a notable game has been released. The discussion will last a few days, or a week at the outside, then die down. Nice when it happens, but I can’t help thinking that it should be happening all the time and not just once every blue moon.)

I don’t intend to enter the Spring Thing 2007, my gam will hopefully be ready earlier. Also, it’s rather short, so the Spring Thing might not be the best place for it.

Maybe we could start something like a ‘game of the month circle’? Eg. recommend a game, give everyone two (or three) weeks to finish it and then start an open discussion about it during the following week(s)? There’s not much incentive to digg up a three year old game, just to find out nobody else knows or cares about it.

However, if we could make sure enough people play a certain game, a decent discussion is far more likely. As an added bonus, this could also help getting to know more games, eg. older games, overlooked gems as well as games from other IF systems.

For example, I mostly play ADRIFT games (plus some competition games, ususally in Inform), so every opportunity at discovering other games and systems would be very much welcomed by me.

I’d certainly be in favour of a game of the month idea. The majority of what I play tend to be either Adrift games (as it’s system I use to write games with) and then occasional games entered in competitions.

I can think of two times something like this was started in the past (probably more, but two come to mind). It always seems like a good idea, but for whatever reasons, it never takes off. I don’t know if people just forget, lose interest, aren’t interested to begin with, don’t have time, or what. I’ve never participated myself, and then later I complain that there isn’t enough game discussion. [emote]:)[/emote]

Timing might be an issue, too. Usually when I’m in an IF mood, I’m writing instead of playing. If enough people would do it and stick to it, it would probably be fun. Maybe it needs a few twists. Like, a name is drawn from everybody who participated the last round, and that person gets to pick the next game. Or the best/longest review gets to pick (although that might end up being dominated by the same people time after time if you’re not careful). Or… I don’t know. Something to make it fun, and something to get a lot of different opinions on games of different types, on different platforms.

I like that game of the month idea. Sounds like it’d be a good way to get some discussion going here, and also play some games and get some reviews done. Certainly it would be helpful to the community at large, reviewing older games that other people may not have paid attention to.

And picking a random person to choose the next month’s game would be a good way to make sure we’re not always playing the same type of games written with the same system over and over.

I’d be interested in talking about the design and technical aspects of the game, but also the writing and story. It would be interesting to really explore and discuss it all.

Does someone want to pick a game then? A game from the past few years that we can then all discuss and write reviews of?

Only probably not in this thread as it was supposed to be about the Spring Thing next year. [emote]Smile[/emote]

It’d probably be good in the “Game Discussion” forum (which currently has no posts). It’s mid-way through the month now, but I could probably find the time to play and review something by the end of the month. Well, I shouldn’t say probably – I might. [emote]:)[/emote]

I was so free to start a new thread in the Game Discussion forum: http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=29&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a. Feedback and suggestions are highly welcome.

People play games, but never discuss them most likely (I think) because they’re not really into that kind of “meta” discussion. They probably think they haven’t played enough IF to say anything of merit.

It’s easier to just sit back and play through the game, if they can manage going through the puzzles and get to the end. Eventually, if they don’t like any aspect of the game, well, they can push it to the backburner for a while - or worse, to the Recycle Bin [emote]:)[/emote]

I admit, I don’t get involved too much in discussions like these in RAIF mostly because I haven’t played enough games to make good comparisons or impressions. I toyed with the idea (back in 2001) about writing some IF reviews but gave it up because of that particular reason.

Or maybe it’s like what David Whyld said - more people are interested in writing games than playing them.

This is probably better discussed in another thread than here, but that’s my 2 cents [emote];)[/emote]

I’m not going to guess why there were fewer voters last year, but I do think we’re due for a rebound – unless something weird happens, like there being only two games or something.

This is the first time I announced the comp without yet having any donated prizes. We’ll see what happens with that. I probably won’t donate, since hosting and domain registration cost me enough already. But if anybody here feels like donating, give me a shout.

Thanks to David Whyld for announcing the comp in the Adrift group, by the way. I always mean to do that, but I don’t always get around to it.


Well, I’m planning to enter the Spring Thing, so I wanted it to get the maximum publicity possible. I haven’t heard that anyone on the Adrift forum is planning to enter the comp but at least they’re aware of it and the possibility’s there.