The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

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The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

I entered along with Mike Sousa. (The same game.) (We worked together on it.) (We partnered up.)

This thread can be for all the other things that happen with the competition between now and November 15th.
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Here are this year's PRIZES.

https://ifcomp.org/about/prizes
A short (up to 30 minute) audiobook of a short story by the author
Includes pre-production, narration (by the donor), and post-production of your story, with music intro & outro, suitable for sale on a platform of your choice. Must be claimed within one year.
Donated by Matthew Warner

A short (~30 minute) game based on the author's work.
Must be claimed within two years. Details to be worked out with the winner.
Donated by mathbrush

A sonnet based on the winner's game
See the link above for examples of the donor's work. Two copies of the prize are available.
Donated by Victor Gijsbers

Content editing or proofreading of up to 2000 words
Donated by Alison De Almeida

Hour-long episode of the podcast "Verb Your Enthusiasm" devoted to the winner's game
The episode will break down the game in detail and may involve playing a section of it live on air.
Donated by Ian Michael Waddell and Elizabeth Smyth

Inclusion of winner's game in a digital studies course at Davidson College
The game will be included on the donor's syllabus and taught as part of his class on video games, electronic literature, or digital culture.
Donated by Mark Sample

One piece of commissioned music by Wade Clarke
Can be for almost any purpose. See the link for conditions, last year's commission, and music samples.
Donated by Wade Clarke

Games
Lost Treasures of Infocom II, 3.5" disk version for Macintosh
Box includes manual, some feelies, and flyers and other material
Donated by Peter M. J. Gross

Myst, CD-ROM version for Macintosh
Box includes disc, jewel case, journal, and (opened) envelope with hints
Donated by Peter M. J. Gross

One-year subscription to P&A Magazine, a bimonthly puzzle hunt by Foggy Brume
Delivered as PDFs
Donated by Doug Orleans

Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls and Spellcasting 201: The Sorcerer's Appliance, by Steve Meretzky
IBM-compatible versions in good condition
Donated by Rebecca Mason

The Eye of Borrack, a text adventure
Distributed through Steam. Ten copies of the prize are available.
Donated by Dave Hawkins

Unlock! The Island of Dr. Goose, a tabletop escape game
In very good condition
Donated by Sarah Wilson

Books and magazines
Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling, by Chris Crawford
First edition. In very good condition.
Donated by Bill Maya

Inform Design Manual, by Graham Nelson (4th edition)
Hardcover copy in excellent condition
Donated by Jack Welch

Lianna Fled the Cranberry Blog: A Story in Cootie Catchers, by GennaRose Nethercott
Donated by Jedediah Berry

One-year subscription to "Juiced.GS", the quarterly Apple ][ journal
Donated by Ken Gagne

Ready, Okay!, by Adam Cadre
Hardcover copy, in very good condition
Donated by Nathan Simpson

The Book of Word Games, by David Parlett
Paperback copy
Donated by Sarah Wilson

Money and gift certificates
Unless otherwise specified, cash prizes are expressed in U.S. dollars and delivered by PayPal.

0.3 ETH (Ether, the Ethereum cryptocurrency)
Valued at approximately 113.72 USD at the time of the donation announcement. Delivered to the recipient's cryptocurrency wallet.
Donated by Diogenes

Other stuff
Choice of one tea and one honey, in flavours of the winner’s choice, from Ivy’s Tea
This prize ships only to addresses within the United States.
Donated by Anonymous

Custom-made Infocom-style feelies based on the author's work
The prize will include about three or four items such as in-universe documents, maps, printed booklets, etc. The link above shows some of the donor's feelies for other games.
Donated by Robin Johnson

Felt cockatrice doll
Sewn by the donor. Approximately 8 inches tall and 10 inches long.
Donated by Ryan Veeder

Three 8-oz. bags of coffee, in flavours of the winner’s choice, from Chicago French Press
This prize ships only to addresses within the United States.
Donated by Anonymous

Up to $400 worth of jewellery, pottery, sculpture, or other selections from NDN Silver by Wings
Donated by Anonymous
PRETTY COOL.
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

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Based on the quality of these prizes, I (don't even) look forward to entering the 2021 IF Competition. Or maybe I'll release something now, what 'ts the website? Oh, wait, it's https://ifcomp.org/
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

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I wish someone had said the contest opens for submissions in July and closed in September. I figured it opened October-November. Oh well, that gives me ten months to work on The Librarian, or additionally something else. And since I have storage on OneDrive I can move the Git repository for it there.
"And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain."
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Tdarcos »

Tdarcos wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:47 am Based on the quality of these prizes, I (don't even) look forward to entering the 2021 IF Competition. Or maybe I'll release something now, what is the website? Oh, wait, it's https://ifcomp.org/
"And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain."
- Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Tdarcos »

Please excuse, I did not mean to post the same message twice. I thought I was correcting the original item. I also was not aware, this is one of the bases that does not allow editing of saved messages.
"And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain."
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Tdarcos wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:01 am I wish someone had said the contest opens for submissions in July and closed in September. I figured it opened October-November. Oh well, that gives me ten months to work on The Librarian, or additionally something else. And since I have storage on OneDrive I can move the Git repository for it there.
Is there something wrong with GitHub?
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Tdarcos »

Ice Cream Jonsey wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:07 pm
Is there something wrong with GitHub?
1. Don't have an account on it. Or not sure if they provide private commits without having to pay for an account.
2. Not sure how to get Atom to commit to GitHub. Since GitHub, Inc. is the developer of Atom I'm sure it's included, but...
3. Works released to the public before the contest are ineligible to be entered.

If I don't have an account on GitHub I'll create one; same for Sourceforge.
"And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain."
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by RealNC »

You can have private repositories on github for free.

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Tdarcos »

RealNC wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:25 am You can have private repositories on github for free.
Yes, you can. And I have done so. Apparently I have had repositories on Github but forgot them, as two attempts to create accounts failed as already present. I finally got disgusted, looked at the wall, and created the account name electric-socket
and the was able to create a private repository calked the_librarian, thhen I was able to figure out, with a couple of hiccups, how to clone my existing repository onto Github, then got TortoiseGit to clone it to github. A check on the website confirms the files are there.

I'm also going to clone the stories I write. I've been using a practice in which, for the document "marnie.odt", I copy it to the same directory. Explorer creates a copy called "marnie - Copy.odt" i the rename it to "marnie - Bsckup 068.odt" (this being the 68th revision). Then I edit "marnie.odt". Now I won't have to do that any more, I can just commit to the repository after saving.
"And if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain."
- Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

I disagree with the assertion that the prizes aren't "good." First off, the fact that there are prizes at all is amazing. People are donating their stuff for this. They are great.

I'd be all over the Spellcasting boxes. The gal that does the proofreading is amazing. The Lost Treasures II box has a wealth of info. (I borrowed the Lost Treasures I box from former dial-up poster Satan and feel bad that I never saw him again to return it.) And so on.

They're good prizes, Commander. What do you take issue with?
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Games are out - https://ifcomp.org/ballot - I'll start a new thread for the game I made with Mike Sousa.
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by bryanb »

By my count, there are THREE TADS games entered into this year's competition: Jay Schilling's Edge of Chaos, Captivity, and Deelzebub. I don't believe a single TADS game was entered in either the 2019 or 2018 competitions. What is going on here? Is this the dawning of the age of TADSquarius or something? This exposure is long overdue and very good to see of course...it's just a little surprising and yet another weird thing that has happened in 2020.

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by bryanb »

So the first Comp 2020 game I chose to play was Captivity (TADS). The content warning in the beginning almost made me quit: "This story approaches the traumatic and often tragic business of abduction and rape in a tone that can only be described as light-hearted and whimsical." That's really what you want to lead your game with? Attention everyone, there's a cheery rape game coming up! Also, the author managed to imply that abduction and rape aren't always tragic. Since the warning did proceed to mention that the point of the game was to escape your potentially rapey fate, I with some reluctance decided to give it a try despite my unfavorable first impression. It turns out you play a girl who is being held by an evil duke for a ransom which your parents can't possibly afford to pay. If they don't pay up, you expect to be ravaged by the duke so you need to break out of the castle pronto. Unfortunately, a wizard in the employ of Duke Douche has placed a magic necklace around your neck that will strangle you if you leave the castle so you need to get that thing off first before you can make your great escape.

I was surprised to find out that this is actually a quite entertaining game if you do give it a chance. There's a castle full of interesting things to explore and quirky characters whom you can freely interact with. At this point, I haven't encountered the duke and no one seems to much care that I'm wandering about instead of being confined to my locked room. Similar to Edge of Chaos, you're informed of some basic topics you can talk to characters about, but there's a lot of hidden dialogue you can discover as well. This is probably going to remain a hidden gem of this year's competition. The cavalier way rape is mentioned in the game seems out of step with the current climate, and the content warning in the beginning is likely to only intrigue rape fetishists who will end up disappointed by the lack of explicit content.

Download link: Captivity by Jim Aikin

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by bryanb »

Next up I tried Deelzebub (TADS). I had a couple of reasons I wanted to try the TADS games first. As I mentioned before, I'm intrigued by the number of TADS games entered into this year's comp. That's not the main reason I played them first, though...sadly. The main reason is I found a bug while beta testing Edge of Chaos and Mike discovered it was applicable to many different TADS games. It no longer crashes EoC, but I now feel compelled to test it in every TADS game I play. So far, the score is 1-1: it crashes Captivity, but not Deelzebub.

Deelzebub is a thoroughly weird game. Even the ZIP file is a little weird. It wants to create a Deelzebub directory and then For Mac or Linux Users and For Windows Users subdirectories? There are four files total -- two readmes, the TADS game file, and a Windows executable. We don't need three directories to sort that many files. The game experience continued to be weird because my Avast flagged the executable as a rare file and took a few minutes to give it the all-clear so I ended up just opening the TADS game file using the TADS interpreter. All I needed was one freaking file and zero directories.

In Deelzebub, you're a voice in a character's head. Everything is presented in the third person because you're watching everything from a distance, including the character you theoretically control/influence who is named Reginald. Reginald is part of a strange community which claims to offer its residents protection against demons. It is lead by a mysterious, charismatic man named Balthazar. People work, eat, and live out their lives in the community. Armed guards seem to let newcomers in but don't let anyone out. This is clearly a cult, but for the burned out deadheads who live in the sanctuary it just feels like home. What I don't know yet but can't wait to find out is if the demons are real and what exactly Balthazar's relationship with them is. Things are clearly not as they seem.

The game map -- the compound -- feels surprisingly big and there's an unhurried, loosey goosey feel to the early gameplay. At one point, Balthazar tells you to go behind a tapestry and begin work on a task he has assigned to you. My first thought was this tapestry must be in the room we were talking in and I spent a while trying to find it. It turns out the tapestry is actually in the church and you have to wander around for a while to find it.

I feel like Jizaboz in particular might enjoy this game and not just for its Luciferian qualities.

Download link: Deelzebub by Morgan Elrod-Erickson, Skyler Grandel, and Jan Kim

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

These are great. Thanks for doing this. I can't vote this year so this will help me target some Bryan B. approved games to try out in the early goings.
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Commodork alert! Nick Montfort made a text adventure on a Commodore 64 for this year's competition.

https://2234.play.ifcomp.org/content/intro.html
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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

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Game: Sage Sanctum Scramble by Arthur DiBianca (Inform -- Glulx)

This game has a very thin narrative, but it isn't really interactive fiction. It's actually just a collection of puzzles, most of which seem to be word games. I prefer to have a story and an immersive atmosphere along with my puzzles so this wasn't really my favorite thing. I suppose you could use this game to boost your puzzle solving skills or boost your ego since the puzzles for the most part don't seem to be too difficult. Or it could serve as an alternative to doing crossword puzzles or playing Tetris. I'm not sure how big this game actually is since every time I completed a puzzle a new puzzle was made available.

I noticed a bug in the 4th puzzle which tests your ability to fill in the missing words of a poem. If you guess a wrong word for the missing word in the third verse, you get the following error messages: *** Couldn't read from entry 3 of a list which has entries numbered from 1 to 2 *** *** Run-time problem P50: Attempt to use list item which does not exist. After the error messages are displayed, you can go back to guessing and if you go on to guess the right word the game continues as intended so at least it isn't a game breaking bug.

Download link: Sage Sanctum Scramble by Arthur DiBianca

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Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by bryanb »

Game: For a Place by the Putrid Sea by Arno von Borries (Inform -- Glulx)

This game is a mixed bag. It's dark and pretentious and interesting and aggravating at the same. It is set in the fictional town of Gotomomi in a future or alternative Japan. You are Ayako, a resourceful young woman returning to town after some unspecified adventure in Manila that requires her to lie low for the time being. Von Borries has used Gotomomi in at least one previous game, and it's a highly diverse, grubby kind of place. I think of it as being less like Tokyo and more like Gangs of New York meets Hong Kong.

A good test to see if you can enjoy this game is to check your inventory early on. You find that you are carrying a 100 yen coin and a sensu, and wearing a grège dress, a pair of canvas top-siders, and a jipijapa. This is a good illustration of both von Borries' multicultural game world and one of the aggravating aspects of his writing. If he had said you had a Japanese fan, a raw silk dress, and a Panama hat, that would provide a reasonably clear picture to most Western readers, but he deliberately wants to take players out of their comfort zones and make them feel like they're in a foreign environment. Anthony Burgess undoubtedly did it better, but I do have some respect for von Borries' ambition as a world builder. I have less respect for some of his creative capitalizations that pop up occasionally: Tokyo bay, Seng Heng fish packing co ltd. There's nothing new about that and it gives the game some angsty teen vibes that don't really fit the atmosphere.

that said, it did remind me of michelle, someone i knew on a bbs a l0ng time ag0. she never capitalized anything, and she always used a zer0 instead 0f that letter between n and p. n0t 0therwise l33t as far as i can remember. she was c00l, though. i'd like to invite her to jc, but i have n0 contact inf0. i wonder if the writing style is the same after all these years.

d0wnl0ad link: For a Place by the Putrid Sea by Arno von Borries

MSousa

Re: The 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition

Post by MSousa »

Hi Bryan!
bryanb wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:02 pm The main reason is I found a bug while beta testing Edge of Chaos and Mike discovered it was applicable to many different TADS games. It no longer crashes EoC, but I now feel compelled to test it in every TADS game I play. So far, the score is 1-1: it crashes Captivity, but not Deelzebub.
The bug resides in the Adv3Lite library (from Eric Eve) and not the TADS library. Captivity uses Adv3Lite so the bug is in there, but Deelzebub uses native TADS and works just fine.

-- Mike

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