2016 Interactive Fiction Competition


I wonder.

What if updates were allowed until a certain date?

I don’t remember whether I suggested this in all the previous discussion. I probably did. Could it be a good enough middle ground?

If people then said “Then no one would play the games before the updating round was over”… then isn’t that an argument in itself that updating during the whole comp is equally unsavoury?


I wish there was more empirical data either way.


Well, there was no empirical data for updates to be allowed. There couldn’t be.

Sometimes you just have to do something and see what happens. That was the consensus on the author gag rule. THAT was another elephant in the room, and it caused zero uproar now, which probably means lifting it was a good thing. There were very good arguments either way, but the only way to get empirical data was to actually do it.


I think that was the motive behind allowing these mid-comp updates, to test the waters and see how the overall response would be. How many years has it been since this rule started running? Maybe it warrants some adjustment now given the kind of reactions people have.


If so, I totally agree.


I suggested this on the Int.fiction forum but Andrew Plotkin pissed on the idea and that pretty much killed discussion of it.


Was this Zarf’s reply?

Doesn’t sound great for anybody. It adds an extra deadline in the middle of the competition for authors and voters. It gives the impression that the first half of the competition period “doesn’t count”, and voters might want to do all their voting in the last month – which is not anybody’s recommendation, and is in fact a terrible idea, given how many games turn up.


Thing is, it’s all true. Another thing is, the logic that makes it true also makes in-comp updates a bad idea.

I mean, we have judges who are actively ignoring updates. How great is that for everybody? What kind of system even allows a judge to choose between updated and non-updated version? What incentive do authors have to update, knowing that some judges will rate the non-updated version? The current system IS the one that doesn’t sound great for anybody.


Not to mention, nobody wants to go back and play the updated version and re-evaluate their vote. (At least I know I wouldn’t.)


I can see how updates are nice for authors, and I can also see how updates could be frustrating for a player who plays early on and then finds the game has undergone a bunch of improvements after it’s too late to be able to enjoy them. (I mean, players could technically play the game a second time anyway, but that’s more of a time investment than people may be able to easily make.)

But I think this argument makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t seem particularly fair to have a no-updates rule if that rule is only enforceable against some games and not others. In practice it would basically be penalizing parser games.


From what I could understand of that argument (which, admittedly, wasn’t much), it seems outdated because online games are downloadable now. And if they’re all hosted at the IFComp website - and if that is made mandatory - authors can’t invisibly update themselves, so you immediately have an enforceable rule.

As for the really “out there” games, like AlethaCorp, no, you couldn’t enforce it. But the point is moot, because there are people that don’t like playing games they can’t download anyway, or don’t like playing web-based games. Games like that already have a handicap, just like homebrewed parser engines. I’m not terribly bothered they might get a slight advantage by updating without anyone knowing.


There is a hard limit on the size of a downloadable game to keep the comp zip a manageable size. If you want to have many sounds and graphics or video you must use an external web host.

Regarding the new rules: We won’t know the effect until the votes are counted.
I personally no longer assume diplomatic relations with the ifcomp authors.


sure not, it’s not even IF proper, but rather an implementation of the game it parodies in an IF tool, not unlike, say, zarf’s Freefall. It still is loads of fun in the way it makes fun of pretty much the state of mainstream gaming industry today…

that I can agree with. I was supposing updates were just to correct typos, polish some bugs. Not adding more content or replacing controversial content.

this is something I hate about current gaming communities: that they think they are entitled to have gaming experiences personalized for them based on their own tastes, rather than an author’s personal vision. Hence the popularity of an authoring tool and playground disguising as game such as Minecraft. Hence all the rage about No Man’s Sky for it not being a massively galactic multiplayer paintball. Hence update of content based on feedback…

the lone artist meticulously crafting their vision is a lost figure… has starved to death while people watch themselves watching themtube


Asking someone about what they intended by what looks like a race/gender-motivated insult is arguably the most polite way of dealing with such a remark: it opens the opportunity for them to clarify and doesn’t immediately leap to conclusions. I am sorry that Wes was upset by the exchange and its aftermath (and it seems like that all happened quickly and partly in private) but I don’t see how it can be characterized as bullying.

Conversely, characterizing people in another group as e.g. buffoons and attention whores is aggressive, personal, and the kind of phrase that carries a lot more sting for women than for men. It is also not the setup for a rational conversation.

I know that intfic was made to allow for people to avoid following intfiction’s code of conduct. But in a previous conversation some people expressed confusion about why I don’t find this board welcoming and why I feel that I should not be here. This kind of language is a good example of why.

Obviously, the rules here are what the participants make them, and equally obviously I’m free not to participate, and I expect to return to that practice shortly. However, I’m here at the moment because I’ve had multiple questions from multiple people about this board, the IF community, this thread specifically, and why I promote the IF community in light of this kind of interaction.

So I’d like to say, for anyone who’s read through to this point, that I disagree with the language used here, that I do not think the things said here are representative of the IF community as a whole, that I don’t think anyone is in fact voting all 1s to updated games; that Lucea is not a bully; that I don’t think Wes meant any malice either; that many of us aren’t calling any other groups idiots, fools, lazy, buffoons or attention whores; and that failing to make an IFDB news item about your game does not inherently characterize you, your authoring, or your promotion skills as “shitty.” (Most people probably don’t even know how that feature works; lots of people do other things to promote their games, such as e.g. submit them to festivals, which I know is the case with Synfac.) It’s easy for what is said most loudly to be heard most clearly, on every side, but that doesn’t make it the majority view.

Again, apologies for entering this space; I did so only because I felt it was necessary to put some context here for people I know are reading. If you have things you’d like to discuss with me about these issues, please feel free to email and I’m happy to discuss further.


BTW, this is part of my quibble with gaming communities in my previous post: that they end up being more relevant than the games itself. We should be promoting games, not communities of rabid fans.

but it’s a dumb age of social engineering and we’re only allowed to enjoy what everyone else is enjoying too and strongly oppose communities that say otherwise…


While looking for something yesterday, I came across a different thing that may be of interest to everyone:

“Short Game Podcast”

Maybe these folks are well-known, but I’d never heard of them before. They seem like a general audience rather than IF insiders, and thus their opinions are somewhat interesting for a “man in the street” perspective.

We’ve often before introspected on the issue of “What is Interactive Fiction?” and I’m reluctant to raise that issue again because, like the “updates” issue, the most likely result is that we all just go around in circles repeating things that have been many times said before.

Yet the issue eventually seems likely to demand attention this year regardless due to the nature of some of the entries. I tend to judge very harsly against technical problems, and reward quite liberally for that enigmatic quality called “fun.” I very much enjoyed Detectiveland, Pogoman, Game of Worlds Tournament, and some of the other entries. In particular Detectiveland merits some thought, even though I couldn’t shake the haunting feeling of

Deja Vu

The game is quite entertaining, and even though it has a few minor bugs I’ll probably be scoring it favorably because the fun outweighs the problems. On the other hand, this entry could perhaps be more effectively described as a graphical adventure than a work of interactive fiction. This is course presumes we don’t take the trivial view that “fiction with interactivity” is what we mean by the hobby that gathers us here.

Does anyone have strong feelings on this issue?

Let the historical record properly reflect that it was not I nor anyone else here who started this nonsense.

emshort wrote

My commie friends and I are Really Mad, blablabla

We’re here to discuss gaming. Clearly, you are not. Your shameless attempt to inject your asinine identity politics ideology into this discussion is pathetic. This is the reason why you ideology-obsessed folks get no respect from reasonable people. I will not be intimidated by your veiled threats to start calling any of us here some vacuous names that you think are so important but are in truth no more than the meaningless rantings of spoiled children.

Have a nice day. :slight_smile:


Erm… I’m at work right now, and have a lot to say in reply to Emily’s post, and I will, later when I’m home, but right now I have to chime in just to say that that seemed a bit much.


I have no patience with sanctimonious nonsense from ideologues.

I’ll also add, however, that I don’t claim to represent other participants of this discussion or forum, and only speak for myself.


[quote=“Endosphere, post:79, topic:300, full:true”]I’ll also add, however, that I don’t claim to represent other participants of this discussion or forum, and only speak for myself.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were quite alone in your opinion.


That’s fine. I’m used to it.

I do feel that if someone wants to discuss something, they should get to the heart of the matter instead of using coded language to imply whatever.