I'm not trying to subtly say that some games shouldn't have been entered -
I'm genuinely curious ...
I hope this is OK to ask during the judging period - maybe authors might be
self conscious about answering right now. What about entrants from past IF
That sentiment usually doesn't show up "subtly", especially come review
time, but it's generally pretty obvious which games aren't worth
bothering with within 2 or 3 minutes...
>What about entrants from past IF Comps ?
I entered IntroComp because I had two somewhat unusual structural
experiments I wanted to try, and figured that player reaction to them
would show up in the reviews. (It did. One of them worked or was
invisible, and the other kept making people quit prematurely and was
difficult and bug-prone to implement. You may guess which one I
elected to keep.)
The theory was that this would also spur me to finish the game in a
year, but that didn't work out so well, no.
Without talking specifically about my entry, I'd have to say it's all of
the above. In addition, I have a habit of jumping between dozens of
projects, never actually finishing any of them, and the competition
gives me an excuse to see one through to completion.
I mean, I've been working on my novel for years, but my perfectionist
streak always kicks in and forces me to keep rewriting large chunks of
it. Because of that, it's about ninety pages long, and not growing.
There isn't enough motivation, because I know that even if I finish it,
and make it "perfect" to my standards, my chances of it actually being
published and read are slim.
With the competition, not only do I have a reason to skip the obsessive
perfectionism and get it done, but I can be sure that it will actually
be seen. More importantly, I know I'll get some feedback, so even if it
isn't good enough, I'll know how to make my next one better.
I entered the Dream Mini-Comp for several reasons:
a) To kill scope-bloat. No matter how much I try to restrict the scope
of my projects (only one room, no NPCs, very simple plot, short gameplay
period, etc.), I very quickly find a way to make the game enormous. The
short time-period and rigid deadline forced me to get something playable
from front to back.
b) To get somebody that I don't know to play my game, and maybe give
some feedback. I presume _somebody_ played it, but I haven't gotten any
feedback on it yet. (I imagine that this is not least because my work
turned out to be kind of pointless. There is a plot progression sort of
hidden in the thing, but it's not clear what it is, and the game is sort
of rambly. I'm definitely ready to hear what's wrong with it now, so if
anyone's holding back, please don't anymore.)
c) To force me to focus on one project at a time. At the time, I
couldn't keep my brain on any one of about a half-dozen project ideas
(only half of which were even interactive fiction), and this helped me
pick something that I wasn't already so invested in that I'd be
paralyzed for fear of ruining it.
d) To give me the inspiration of constraints. (This doesn't so much
apply to the general IFComp, but certainly to any themed competition.)
There's a lot to be said about the creativity boost provided by being
forced to think _inside_ the box.
e) As you say, for the glory. This is more of a subconscious desire
than a conscious intent. I never truly believed that even if I was able
to acheive everything I wanted in my work, that I would win any
significant amount of acclaim. But just like playing the lottery, that
unreasonable hope is still there. If there's one thing I've learned,
it's that you should try to do things that you've got good rational
reason for (see a-d above), but you'll never do anything that you don't
have an emotional reason for as well. My id (I'm borrowing Freud's
terminology, but not the entirety of his psychoanalysis here) has
occasionally (much to my dismay) managed to get things done by causing
my ego to reverse-engineer "rational" reasons for doing them or just by
ignoring it completely, and occasionally my ego has managed to get
things done by tricking my id into focussing on the emotional plusses
(feelings of accomplisment and progress or absence of guilt), but I
don't really think that anyone can get anything done if they can't get
their id to go along with it. (Well, that was needlessly philosophic.)
I think the prizes are a pretty big draw. It's fun to be recognized for
doing something you love. The top dollar prize in the IF Comp may not
seem like a lot, but it's comparable to what you'd make for selling a
short story to a sci-fi magazine, for example. And the more creative
prizes can be great. The "original song based on your game" prize I won
for Gourmet back in '03 was probably the coolest prize I've ever
received. (You can still find the song by Bloodberries and Cream at
By far the biggest reason, though, is the deadline. Finishing a game
without a deadline seems to be close to impossible for a lot of us.
I've been working on something for a year now without a specific comp
targetted... it's not really suited for any of them, for various
reasons... and it's hard to wrestle it down the long road towards
completion without a looming deadline.
Announcing AaronAReedComp !
Theme: whatever Aaron is working on.
Deadline: kind of soonish.
Prizes: for everyone who is not Aaron A. Reed, a much awaited, cool new IF
game ... for Aaron, a newly discovered species of tree frog named in his
honour (Aaronus A-Reedus).
(Well, Garry Larson got a louse named after him ...
I thought it was a nice touch when somebody donated a copy of Dogs in
the Vineyard RPG in a previous comp. Now someone graciously donated
another RPG (Polaris) and even a set of pre-constructed Magic cards.
If I weren't as loaded as I am with work, I'd have submitted my intent
to enter this year's comp.
Oh, great. Why didn't I hear about this sooner? These comps always
creep up on you... consider this my official intent to enter!
Man, I hope I win!
I just noticed that there are IfWiki entries for the IF Dreams games,
yours is at:
I would guess that the author of the entry played your game...
For me, it was an opportunity to -force- myself to complete a project.
Learning the ins and outs of Inform 7 at the same time was an added
bonus. The result, rushed as it was, is not what I had hoped for, but
the game I hoped for would never be completed without that looming
deadline to spur me on.
Time to start working on next year's IFComp entry...
Erik Wennstrom wrote in message ...
>b) To get somebody that I don't know to play my game, and maybe give
>some feedback. I presume _somebody_ played it, but I haven't gotten any
>feedback on it yet.
You got mail (about a week ago) if the e-mail address is right.