Ten Room Game Competition

After playing with the various web-based samples and working through my own experience with these new paradigms in IF technology, it occurs to me that there’s a sort of “sweet-spot” for small IF games.

Some might say it’s the “everything on one screen” paradigm, but in order to accomplish that, you need a fairly small set of locations to implement this well. So I’m thinking ten rooms is an unusually interesting number. With ten rooms, we can develop a single theme with several puzzles, a focused plot, multiple characters, and a reasonable number of objects. It might just be the “Sudoku” of IF design.

We may even be able to narrow the parameters down at some point (10 rooms, 3 characters, 7 portable objects, 3 puzzles), but for now I’m thinking ten rooms is the only real restriction for an interesting investigation.

So with that preamble, I’d like to announce a small competition. It’s still early in the year and I think there’s some in-between time to put together a smallish game with a very specific focus.

Competition Details:

  1. Create a new and original Interactive Fiction game.
  2. The game must have exactly ten rooms.
  3. The map of all ten rooms must be visually accessible in 2D format or if you’re a snappy graphic artist, some sort of 3D imagery is acceptable. You must provide a graphical map.
  4. Use any tools you wish, but see #5.
  5. Game must be playable in a browser.
    6. Hosting Requirement *** REMOVED ***. You can send your games to me to host on Linux or Windows Server 2008 (IIS), or you can host them yourself. I’d still like to authenticate players completing each game somehow, possibly through an AJAX call with a game-embedded password or something.
  6. Bug fixes will be allowed at all times after games are “released”.

Competition Deadlines:
February 1, 2012 - Sign up deadline. This gives you time to think about it, play around with some ideas, and decide if you want to proceed. See textfyre.com/tenrooms/ to enter.
March 15, 2012 - Beta submissions.
April 30, 2012 - Final submissions, voting begins.
May 15, 2012 - Voting Ends, winner announced.

Competition Voting:
Open web voting from people proven to have played through all of the games. Since all of the games need to be playable online, I’ll rig up an authentication system to allow voting once a user has completed all of the games.

Competition Prizes:
I’m not sure what anyone will be interested in as a prize, so I’m open to suggestions. Textfyre can donate cash or an otherwise appropriate prize. Donations and suggestions welcome.

David C.

I’m not a comp guy myself, but this sounds like it’ll produce some games I’d like [emote]:)[/emote]

Interesting about the web-authenticated voter qualification.

Why rule 6?

I love maps! I might want to do this just for the maps!


Can the map be variable? E.g. how much can it change during play, or can it be decided randomly at the beginning of play?

Rule 6 is that I need to host it…this is just a way to force everyone to submit their games to me so I can control the contest. If people prefer I use tenrooms.plover.net instead of textfyre.com, that’s fine.

I want all of the games in one place.

David C.

As long as you stick to 10 rooms and the map can be displayed on a single web page, that’s in the spirit of the contest.

David C.

Yeah, that was my reaction, too.

Are you able to host ASP.net apps with AJAX? Otherwise this rule would exclude ADRIFT.

They don’t necessarily have to all be on the same server tho, that’s what links are for, no?

One negative to rules 5/6 is that the ADRIFT standalone interpreter has a very nice mapping feature, but I don’t think that’s supported by the browser interpreter.

Side comment: How well does the Glulx web player support Glimmr? (Anybody using I7, consider using the Automap or Glimmr Automap extensions.)

I can host on Debian or Windows Server 2008, but…

I guess the hosting rule is, at this time, not really practical. Let’s drop the hosting rule. If you complete a game, you can host it wherever you want. I’d still like to figure out a way to authenticate players completing games.

I’ll revise the rules in the original post.

David C.

Quixe and Parchment do not yet support graphics, so Glimmr’s not compatible. Until great advances are made in javascript/hardware performance, though, I don’t see Glimmr as being a good option anyway. The better option for graphics in the javascript terps will be to implement them in javascript/HTML and trigger them from the game.

I don’t feel like an auto-generated map is really in the spirit of this comp, though. As a player, anyway, I’d much rather see an emphasis on designed maps that express something specific about the spaces they depict and the games they illustrate…

I agree–there may be too much emphasis on creating an automapper if someone wants to do something clever–and one problem I see is that we may have 2 rooms that go non-opposite directions back to each other. This may seem like an edge case, but I’d guess that someone might have a creative moment based on, say, a passage leading east then back northwest–it’d give a different map shape.

Now it’s possible to create a map of this sort of thing by hand without Mark Tilford’s extension, but it’s grossly inelegant.

This might be more work than the author needs, or it might distract from the general creativity. I have part of an example here. Am I nitpicking too much?

Many thanks.

Maps in ADRIFT 5 are preconceived rather than being auto-generated. But it’s a moot point anyway unless I can get them working in a browser by the competition. And given that I’m expecting a baby in a couple of months, I’d say the chance of that is pretty slim…

Oh, and one other nitpick – do you mean ten traversible rooms? I’m guessing yes, but…

| … |
| … |

For instance a game with the map above might have a fountain in the center, but also have an inform-style rule:

[code]fountain is a room. fountain is west of east bank. palace entry is east of east bank. throne room is east of palace entry.[etc.]

instead of going to fountain:
say “You don’t want to get wet. Maybe you can find someone or something that doesn’t mind?”[/code]

There are other ways to do this, like with scenery and defining actions, but here this seems simplest…

…also, placing an item in an inaccessible room called “the void” for a bit can be handy.

From what I’ve seen, the Adrift mapper is a cool tool–but I place them in the same category as autogenerated maps, because what I’m really talking about wrestling free of the box-and-whiskers paradigm. Anyway, though, congratulations on the offspring!

I think the map should show ten distinct locations…so if someone wants to bend the rule and have a “location” have one or two internal proximity locations, that would seem to meet the criteria of ten locations. You’d just have one location with extra spacing features…but the map should show this…

David C.

My Zifmia system assumes images are already posted to the website. References are in the game code. I plan to implement this down the road as being able to upload a blorb file, images contained, and unpacking everything and placing the images in the image directory and the game in my OO database.

I would assume that anyone using a javascript interpreter will need to learn to do something similar.

There’s no doubt that contest entrants will need to know or learn some rudimentary html and javascript. That’s really part of the point of this competition.

David C.

When you say “You must provide a graphical map”, do you mean in-game (i.e. only games that can be played in a browser and support graphics are valid options), or do you just mean there must be an image of the map?

Maybe you could assemble a list of some standard IF tools and whether or not they support the requirements?

I’m guessing these should all be ok

  • Inform7
  • TADS3.1 (but not TADS 3)
  • ADRIFT 5.0
  • Undum

At least if you’re not going overboard on this Ajax business (which seems pretty random). I think maybe you should specify what that means really, are you setting up a REST backend or what?

I think all of those tools will suffice. The system I’m building uses Inform 7 and a customer I/O extension and yes, I use extensive AJAX for my games. This is not necessary for everyone else. The basic Z web interpreter and “release as web page” should work for most cases in Inform 7. I am familiar with the other systems only in so much as I read blogs, so I can’t help with those.

The map should be a part of the game. If the deployment requires copying files, this should include the map. The game should play with the map either on screen or available on screen at any time.

David C.