IntroComp

Last updated: July 21, 2014

***** IntroComp 2014 Voting is Now Underway! *****

Voting and Judging Rules
How to Vote
Where to Find the Introductions
The Rest of the Rules


Voting and Judging Rules

Authors may not vote.

Beta testers are allowed to vote, but only on games they did not test.

Everyone else in the entire world may vote on as many or as few entries as they like, on the usual 1-10 scale (10 being the best). However, they are asked to judge games with one thought in mind, and one alone: "How much do I want to play more of this entry?" It is hoped that you'll vote in good faith and on an introduction's merit, as opposed to a show of support for a particular author, genre, or platform.

Reviews may be posted during the voting period, but authors must refrain from discussing any entries in a public Internet forum during the voting period and may not canvass for votes. It is also expected that no one will canvass for votes on the authors' behalf. Once the competition has begun, authors should refrain from posting their thoughts on any entry until the deadline for voting has passed. (If you're worried about a blog or forum post, just run in it past me before posting it and I'll let you know whether or not it violates the spirit of the rules.)

When voters vote, they'll be asked to not only vote with a rating reflecting how much they'd like to see the author finish the entry, they'll also be asked (but not required) to enter anonymous text with (at least) one positive thought and one constructive criticism on each game. These will be held privately by the admins and then distributed to authors immediately following the awards ceremony. This is a great suggestion from the 2011 competition that we hope will provide authors with even more feedback … because feedback has always been considered to be the true prize of IntroComp.


How to Vote


VOTING DEADLINE IS
MIDNIGHT EASTERN, AUG 15

LOGIN TO VOTE
(Click here!)


Where to Find the Introductions

This year's introductions can be downloaded (either separately or as a single zipped file):

http://www.allthingsjacq.com/IntroComp14

In that file folder, you will find ten introductions:

1st and the Last of the Ninja, by nmelssx

You are an orphan. You do not know anything about your parents. You have never even met them before the hand of fate swept them away from you. All you know is that they died on October the 10th, the day the monstrous creature struck your village...


Bridges and Balloons, by Molly Geene

"Just the sight of bridges and Balloons makes calm canaries irritable," said the mouse-merchant.


The Cuckold's Egg, by Veronica Devon

The occupied territories. Faith, but this has been worse than you could have imagined. You gave no thought when you left the capital; the promise of escape was too tempting and the intention of Jumahtís letter was too clear...


The Devil in the Details, by Jerry Ford

Welcome to San Francisco. Match wits with the devil in a quest for fame, fortune, power, or is it personal happiness?


Going Down, by Hanon Ondricek

Seven reveling passengers, going down on New Year's Eve. One malfunctioning elevator none of them can leave...


Hornets' Nest, by Jason Lautzenheiser

You can hear the orc crashing through the underbrush searching for its prey, you. Eluding them since they attacked your village, you hoped to lead them away from the others while trying to keep out of their cooking pot yourself...


Mount Imperius, by kaleidofish

Introduction to a story about climbing a mountain.


The Scroll Thief: A Tribute to the Enchanter Trilogy, by Daniel M. Stelzer

Not a single spell! After two full years of study! And now something is wrong. Magic is failing, and there are rumors that GUE Tech will be closed. That would end your dreams of magic forever. There is only one solution...


Tales of the Soul Thief, by David Whyld

Foreshadowing. Youíve travelled a long way to reach this place. A cursed city, some call it, others a city of the unliving. A city where the Fallen One holds sway and certainly not a place visited lightly by those without great need to come here. But you have a need, and a great one at that...


The Terrible Doubt of Appearances, by Buster Hudson

The hour is late, and you sleep--or you would be, if this woman wasn't in your bedroom. Who is she? Why is she here so informally at such an hour? And why is she no taller than your hand? Perhaps if you do as she asks, she'll leave you alone.


***** The Rest of the IntroComp Rules and FAQ *****

The General Idea

The requirements of IntroComp are deceptively simple: All entrants must submit the beginning of a new, never before seen work of interactive fiction that is not yet complete and for which the ending is somewhat uncertain. The introduction can be as short or as long as the author likes, so long as it is 1) a working, playable game and 2) interactive fiction. Only introductions to games which are slated for non-commercial release may be entered in the competition.

This Year's Schedule

Intent to Enter Deadline:June 15, 2014
Introduction Submission Deadline:   July 20, 2014
Voting Deadline:August 15, 2014
[Probable] Awards Ceremony Date:   August 17, 2014


PRIZES

1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $75
3rd Place: $50
Honorable: $25

All values in US funds, minus any currency conversion fee that might be required. Void where prohibited by law. Some assembly required. No other warranty expressed or implied. Although the bag does not appear to inflate, rest assured oxygen will be flowing to the mask.

Oh, and in order to win you not only have to enter, but also finish your game (and tell Jacqueline you finished it). You will have one year (until July 16, 2014) to do so. No completed game? No money - and somewhere in the world, a fairy dies.

An explanation of the 'Honorable' category: anyone who enters but doesn't place in the top three will fit into this category. We want everyone to have an incentive to finish their game, so the first Honorable to complete their game will receive the $25 Honorable prize, provided that the entry isn't incredibly buggy and just sort of slapped together. (Since the money will be coming out of my pocket, I have the final word on that bit. No questions asked, and no complaining. Submit your solid, finished game in the spirit of the comp and you'll get the cash; submit something you obviously wrote for a SpeedIF and I shall mock you and keep the $25 for the next person who finishes their game.)


REALLY IMPORTANT: Contacting Jacqueline

ALL questions should be sent to my e-mail account. I am not a terribly frequent visitor to rec.arts.int-fiction or intfiction.org , so please don't post questions there and then complain when I don't reply. :)

So, to reiterate in very large font:

ALL COMPETITION CORRESPONDENCE
should be done by e-mail to
this gmail.com account:
jacqueline.a.lott


Thank you!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS*

* for moderately small values of "frequently"

SO HOW LONG/SHORT SHOULD AN INTROCOMP ENTRY BE?
There are no strict length requirements. If you want to enter a complete game, or merely an opening screen or just a title, there's nothing technically stopping you - though given the voting rules, this may not be the best strategy.


I JUST HEARD ABOUT INTROCOMP, AND I ALREADY HAVE A WORK IN PROGRESS. IT'S EVEN HAD SOME LIGHT BETA TESTING... CAN I STILL SUBMIT AN INTENT TO ENTER?
Sure! Some people actually do plan for IntroComp in advance, and start their work ahead of time. Simply because you're just now hearing about it doesn't mean you couldn't enter the project you've been working on as long as it fits the other rules. And the more beta testing, the better! As long as it hasn't been released to the general public, you should be good to go.


WHAT LANGUAGE CAN I USE? ON WHICH PLATFORMS CAN ENTRIES BE RELEASED? CAN I RELEASE A GAME THAT ONLY RUNS ONLINE?
So long as your work is interactive fiction, there are no restrictions. Interactive fiction, in this case, is broadly defined as things that are (1) interactive and (2) either fiction or non-fiction, and include any and all languages and platforms, parser-based, choice-based, whatever. Inclusion of graphics and multimedia is fine, unless such inclusion is so excessive that a reasonable player would look at the work and call it a graphic adventure.


WHEN THE TIME COMES FOR ME TO FINISH MY WORK, COULD I INSTEAD CHOOSE TO JUST RELEASE A SEQUEL INSTEAD?
As long as the sequel picks up where the introduction left off, continues the same story, and comes to some sort of solid narrative conclusion, sure.


WHAT'S TO STOP ME FROM JUST ADDING "AND THEN THEY ALL DIED -- THE END" TO MY ENTRY AND THEN CLAIMING MY PRIZE? BWAHAHAHA!
Nothing... except the ridicule and ostracization of your peers. Also, keep in mind that you have to send me your address in order to get your prize, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to acquire smelly, rotten salmon here in Alaska. Oops, wait, strike that — I moved from Alaska to Washington state recently, but I still have a pretty solid supply of salmon. I live but a short walk from Pike's Place Market, so this portion of the FAQ has not changed considerably.


CAN I SUBMIT A SECTION FROM THE MIDDLE OF MY GAME INSTEAD OF THE BEGINNING?
No, that would be ExcerptComp.


HOW ABOUT THE ENDING OF MY GAME?
Next question, please.


WHEN I FINISH WRITING MY GAME, CAN I SUBMIT IT TO IFCOMP?
No go, my friend. It would run afoul of the spirit of IFComp's "no prior release" rule. You may be allowed to enter it in other minicomps, though - ask your local minicomp dealer.


CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE ENTRY?
You may enter more than one entry, but only your top-voted entry will be ranked and eligible for a prize. So, have more than one game you're working on right now and you're not sure which one to focus on? Find out which premise will be the best received by the community by entering them here.

Of course, unless you wish to incite the wrath of the IF community and, more importantly, the competition organizer, any and all entries you enter should be well-tested and created in earnest. Please don't spam the competition with lots of half-baked entries. Need I reiterate that, as someone living near the waterfront in Seattle, it is really easy for me to acquire a high volume of fresh salmon at Pike's Place Market and mail it to you (and it won't be fresh by the time it arrives, trust me on this). Please, don't tempt me.


WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY 'A NEVER BEFORE SEEN WORK OF IF THAT IS NOT YET COMPLETE AND FOR WHICH THE ENDING IS SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN?
Pretty much what it says on the label. If your game is already complete, please don't chop the front end of it off, submit it to see if you win, then tack on the back half and release it. I would hope that you intend to finish the game, but that it not yet be close to being finished when you submit the introduction to IntroComp. IntroComp is for seeing whether or not a game idea is well-received before you invest the energy in writing the whole thing, and that the feedback you get from voters in the competition will help guide you as you work toward completing it.


WHAT ABOUT "SEASONED" AUTHORS? CAN THEY ENTER? DO THEY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING EXPERIMENTAL OR VERY NEW (TO THEM) TO ENTER?
IntroComp is about floating an idea. It can be experimental, but it need not necessarily be experimental. Anybody can enter, authors new or veteran. So, if Graham Nelson would like to enter, he may do so. He should submit a work of IF that is the kernel of an idea, an introduction to a game for which he has not yet fully conceived the ending. But it need not be a major departure in scope or language or approach for him.
(SIDE NOTE TO GRAHAM: This said, if you'd like to submit a simulationist introduction to a choice-based time management game written in TADS 3 about how a crazy cat lady deals with her her three dozen fluff bundles and give us a glimpse into the floor layout of your flat, I would welcome your intent to enter.)


WHY CAN'T I SUBMIT AN INTRODUCTION TO A GAME SLATED FOR COMMERCIAL RELEASE?
Because the prize money comes out of my bank account, and I'd prefer to give my money to non-commercial ventures. I never vote in IntroComp, but I am the one who donates the money for the winners (who are chosen by the people who vote) who go on to complete their intro. This isn't Kickstarter, and I don't feel like kickstarting commercial endeavors that I personally haven't weighed in on.

However, I would love it if someone entered an intro they weren't sure about, then it did well, they said to themselves, "Well, okay, I guess I'll write this thing then," and then as things went on they realized that they had the a great game on their hands and decided to distribute it commercially. That *is* in the spirit of IntroComp. If that happens organically, that's fine, but I would ask that the author consider (this part isn't enforceable, but I ask that the author at least consider) donating their prize money back to IntroComp if they end up making at least that amount in game sales.


YOU KEEP GOING ON ABOUT HOW YOU FOOT THE BILL ON PRIZES; CAN I MAKE A DONATION?
You know, I appreciate that, but the prize payouts are somewhat sporadic and I really don't like keeping track of who donated what. At least for now, I'm good with being the sole source, but thanks for your offer! If you have a non-monetary item you'd like to donate, that would be welcome, but I'll ask that you hold onto it until the time comes to award the prize, because I'd prefer to not have to keep track of such items, and there's really no point in things going through the mail more than once. Drop me a note if you have something cool you'd like to see go out to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or as an Honorable.


WHY DO YOU ONLY REVEAL THE RANKING OF THE TOP THREE GAMES?
WHERE ARE THE SHINY HISTOGRAMS? I'LL WANT TO KNOW HOW WELL I REALLY DID!
While not a competition reserved for new authors, it's meant to be a competition that's kinder and less brutal to that crowd in particular. The real prize is feedback. Hence the concealment of who comes in last, or how poorly the entries near the bottom of the pack did. It's also the reason why, as of 2012, we began requesting that people leave a line or two of feedback when they vote for each entry.


WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK ONE OR MORE OF THESE RULES IS REALLY ASININE?!
First off, you should know that that is fine. It's your right to think that, and you have some options. You can start your own competition with the perfect set of rules (or no rules at all!). But that's quite a bit of work. You could start a flamewar thread about how IntroComp sucks and shouldn't be a competition at all. But hmm... that's already been done and would be so very 2005 of you. My best suggestion is to write a professional-tone email to the competition organizer's gmail account (jacqueline.a.lott) which points out your concern(s), explains why that/those issue(s) is/are of concern, and propose one or two alternatives for the organizer to consider. Send that e-mail expecting a reply, possibly a bit of back and forth discussion, and make peace with the possibility that the rule might change, or it might change but not until next year's comp, or it might not change at all.


WAS THAT LAST ANSWER REALLY NECESSARY?
Sorry, no. That was probably passive-aggressive of me. Sorry about that.


BUT I STILL WANT TO KNOW MORE!
That wasn't exactly a question, that was more of an exclamation... but I get your point. Maybe you should take a look at the ifWiki to learn more on previous years' IntroComps.

If you still have a question after that, drop an e-mail to my gmail.com account: jacqueline.a.lott

Thanks!