IntroCompLast updated: May 15, 2016
*** Now Accepting Intents to Enter for 2016 ***
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 or nonfiction.
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 30, 2016|
|Introduction Submission Deadline: ||July 31, 2016|
|[Probable] Voting Deadline:||August 31,
|[Probable] Posting of Results: ||September
What's New in 2016?
There is one new thing of note for the fourteenth(!) annual IntroComp: there will be no scheduled awards ceremony.
(One was scheduled for last year, but participation in the ceremony had been dropping off in recent years; I polled last
year's authors and they stated that they were mostly interested in receiving feedback, and didn't particularly care about
the awards ceremony, so it was cancelled. No ceremony also means less work for the organizer, so yeah — no ceremony.)
How to submit your intent to enter
You are encouraged to read all the rules below,
even if you've read them before.Then, once you've read the rules...
COMPETITION LOGIN TO SUBMITYOUR INTENT TO ENTER(Click here!)
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
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
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.
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 31, 2017) 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 $50 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 $50 for the next person
who finishes their game.)
REALLY IMPORTANT: Contacting
ALL official competition correspondence will be done by email (though quick questions may be asked on twitter).
I do not frequent any of the various interactive fiction forums, 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:
* for relatively 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, I
now live in Hawai'i and you'd be surprised how rotten ahi (tuna) will
smell by the time it's traveled through the post. (Yes, I moved yet
again, but this portion of the FAQ has not changed considerably since I
took over in 2002. Fortunately, I've never actually had to mail raw fish
to any IntroComp participants. Let's keep that streak, folks!)
CAN I SUBMIT A SECTION FROM THE MIDDLE OF MY GAME INSTEAD OF THE
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
***** IntroComp 2015 Summary *****
The results of the 2015 IntroComp were as follows:
1st: Beyond Division, by Joseph Geipel
2nd: Walker's Rift, by Hope Chow
3rd: Meld, by David Whyld
(In random order)
Deprivation, by Michael Coorlim
Voltage Cafe: Writing a dissertation is no dessert, by anjchang
Lair of the Gorgonanth, Part 1: "Bring Me the Beard of Nimrod Supertramp", by Andrew Watt
Click here to download last year's introductions.