IntroComp

Last updated: September 11, 2016

***** IntroComp 2016 is now HISTORY! *****

2016 Results
Where to Find the Introductions
Voting and Judging Rules
The Rest of the Rules



2016 IntroComp Winners:
1st Place  Spellbound, by Adam Perry
2nd Place  Some Exceptions for Reasons Unknown, by Thomas Mack
3rd Place  Grubbyville, by Andrew Schultz
  
Honorable Mentions:
(In random order)
  *Astronomical Territories of the Great British Empire by G_G
  *Deviled Kegs by Moira
  *Narrows by G_G
  *BestieFone by Mark C Marino and Rob Wittig



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Where to Find the Introductions

This year's introductions can be downloaded as a single zipped file, or individually.

Click HERE to download the intros for Mac.

Click HERE to download the intros for Windows.

In that zip file, you will find seven introductions:

Astronomical Territories Of The Great British Empire, by G_G

[Click here to play online]

BestieFone, by Rob and Mark

WELCOME TO YOUR NEW BESTIEFONE, THE ULTIMATE DIGITAL PERSONAL ASSISTANT, YOUR NEW SMARTPHONE BEST FRIEND.

[Click here to download]

Deviled Kegs, by Mo

[Click here to play online]

Grubbyville, by Andrew Schultz

A story of intrigue and loopholes in a high school's race for valedictorian.

[Click here to download or play online, including a walkthrough]

Narrows, by G_G

Blurb

[Click here to play online]

Some Exceptions for Reasons Unknown, by Thomas Mack

A do-it-yourself guide to crime.

[Click here to download the game, map, and readme]

Spellbound, by Adam Perry

You still remember well the moment that the professor shocked the orthographic community by announcing that there were, somewhere out there, 26 letters in all. Harness the alphabet's power to find the 23 letters that no living human has ever seen.

[Click here to download or play online]


***** 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 Was

Intent to Enter Deadline:July 10, 2016
Introduction Submission Deadline:   July 31, 2016
Voting Deadline:Sept 10, 2016

PRIZES

1st Place: $200
2nd Place: $150
3rd Place: $100
Honorable: $50

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). 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 Jacqueline

ALL official competition correspondence will be done by email. 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:
interactive.fiction.introcomp@gmail.com


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS*

* 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.


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.


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. This isn't Kickstarter.

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 interactive.fiction.introcomp@gmail.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 interactive.fiction.introcomp@gmail.com

Thanks!