The First Annual Lime/Coconut IF MiniComp!

What the heck is this?

It’s a contest! You can win real money, and a stupid trophy.

What do I have to do?

You have to design a test chamber for an Interactive Fiction game in TADS 3. When the object you designate as the Lime is placed in the object you designate as the Coconut, a door opens and allows the player to leave. That’s the short version, there are details in the source code.

That’s it? Put a lime in a coconut?

In theory, yes. In practice I expect to see everything from Rube Goldberg machines to conversation-driven puzzles. Some will be simple but hilarious, others will be complex and devious.

How do I enter?

  1. Read through the code and think about what you would like to do. Don’t rush it.
  2. Allow inspiration to strike.
  3. Design a test chamber in TADS 3 that can be added to the bottom of the existing code (as Testing Room 3) without breaking anything.
  4. Send the source code to me at sodhner at gmail by December 31st.
  5. If I reply and say there’s a problem with the code, try to fix it.

Then what?

I will make each entry available to the public as compiled game files, listed in a random order. People can play, and give each room two ratings: Awesomeness and Difficulty. Awesomeness can be that it is humorous, or clever, or whatever. This is the score that determines the winner of the contest.

Wait, what is ‘Difficulty’ for then?

That’s because after the contest I plan on stringing the rooms together from least difficult to most difficult. Not all rooms are guaranteed to end up in this version - some might be too similar (in which case the one with the higher score will get in) or maybe everyone hates a room. Then, if this goes well, I’ll do the same contest again next year to get a new set of rooms.

Did you say real money earlier?

I did! It’s not a lot, sadly, but enter the contest anyway. First place gets fifty dollars and a stupid trophy, and second place gets ten dollars and a stupid certificate. If you make multiple entries, you can’t win both first and second place. The next best person who is not you will get second place. Speaking of multiple entries, if you send a billion entries I may ask you to pick your favorite three or something. As an important final prize-related note: if I get less than five humans with valid entries I will cancel and re-launch at another time of year. Any entries sent in can be re-submitted when I try again.

I’m trying to do something that requires modifying the core code.

Don’t do that.

It’s okay though, because it cannot possibly hurt anyone’s room in any way. This can’t break the game, it can only grant it more flexibility. I swear.

Oh. Well, I guess let me know what you want. I’m not making any promises though. If you can do it in a stupid clumsy work-around kind of way do that instead, and then I’ll update the code with the better way after the contest is over.

Can I share my code prior to the voting?

That’s fine but I don’t want to hear anyone saying “so-and-so stole my idea!” because quite frankly there are going to be lots of similar ideas out there for a contest like this and I can’t tell when it was ‘stolen’ and when it was just thought of independently. So if you are worried someone might steal your idea, either don’t share or share but be sure that you implement your concept better than anyone else.

Link time!

Here’s the main contest page:
Here’s the basic source file:
Here’s the TADS 3 website:
Here’s a picture of a cat:

I love it!

You don’t even have to drink them both up?

I’m taking that to mean: “I’m absolutely going to submit an entry for this!”

I see you have figured out the inspiration.

Well, honestly, I suspect the inspiration was that my friend was playing too much Portal 2. But that’s fine. He had me code up some basic game stuff to get him started, and then decided he wasn’t going to use it. So I added more, and more, and made it all cool and modular…

I left in that it says “drink them both down” rather than “up”. I argued with him about that, but he insisted he got it right and, looking at the lyrics, it does say down one time. Of course it says ‘up’ about a million times, but whatever.

I’m on my second run through that, myself … I’m almost to Chapter 6 again, which is my favorite (with the first wave of “Cave Johnson” levels).

I was looking around for the +1 button and then I remembered there isn’t one.

Guh. Had to make a super-minor change to the source code file. One line (the entry event trigger in the door code) was a few lines above where it should be, which wouldn’t matter for most situations but would make it so if you wanted to move the exit you couldn’t do it with the entry event because it would move right back. Fixed now.

Also, one person reported that Google Docs was asking him to log in to download the file. It shouldn’t do that (and doesn’t for me) but if you have any trouble at all I have also put the file here:

As a TADS 3 programmer, I am willing to do this! Expect my entry sometime… or… another… but yes! I’ll enter this!

Question: do you allow custom verbs?

I think custom verbs should be fine. Either they’ll be common ones and multiple uses of them will mesh together without too much fuss, or they’ll be odd ones and won’t have an occasion to clash between rooms. I don’t think the middle case of them being common but implemented in a problematic way will come up.

Super minor update!

Someone requested that the code be changed so they could customize the open/close messages for the door, which is super reasonable and in fact I thought about doing it in the first place and almost did. Not sure why I didn’t then, but I did now.

As with any other code updates, this will have ZERO impact on rooms created prior to this update. If you don’t specify a message it will default to what it always was.

It’s December!

That means you have the rest of this month to send in an entry to the First Annual Lime/Coconut IF MiniComp! Right now, while a number of people have expressed interest only a few have sent actual entries in.


It means you have less competition than you may have been previously expecting! How exciting for you! If you haven’t started yet, you can probably do something pretty cool in a month. It’s possible that you will be a little distracted due to the various holidays taking place around this time of year, but even so I have faith in you, hypothetical person! Get going!


If I don’t get more people participating, then as promised in the original announcement the contest will be called off and no prize will be awarded. I will re-announce the contest at some later date and notify you via email, and you can let me know if you want to re-enter. Your code will not be used or released in any way if there’s no contest. The details of the contest are not guaranteed to remain exactly the same when re-announced, but are highly likely to do so.


Nothing, really. You can just carry on with your day. But hey, since you’re reading this there must be some small spark of interest. Think it over again, this time remembering that the odds are (at least for the moment) pretty favorable. I mean, yeah, it won’t be determined by random so it’s not just about how many people entered but don’t sell yourself short! You’re talented and have good ideas, you can totally compete with the others!


It’s a pretty safe bet to say that if you are a lime or a coconut you can’t read, or even ask someone to read this to you. In fact, most studies indicate that neither limes nor coconuts have brains and wouldn’t be able to comprehend or participate in this contest. Although coconuts do have some things in common with mammals. I mean, they have fur (of a sort) and produce milk (of a sort). Anyway, I remain fairly confident that what is needed here is a central nervous system (of a sort). And even then, not all things with brains are up to the task. Lemurs, for example, make terrible text adventures. Always a “guess-the-verb” situation with those guys.

It’s official!

There aren’t enough people in the contest. That’s okay! This is still a thing. I’m trying to decide the timeline for the next iteration of the contest, which will be essentially identical to this one. I don’t want to give too much or too little time, or have it overlap too much with other contests.

Any entries submitted thus far will not be released in any way. They can be resubmitted when the contest goes live again, either with a fresh version or a “hey, remember that entry? Yeah, that.” if you want me to just search through my Gmail and use the old version.