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The First Annual MetaFilter Interactive Fiction Contest
February 26, 2009 11:18 PM   Subscribe

Announcing the first ever MetaFilter Interactive Fiction Contest, March 1st-31st. During the month of March all MeFites are encouraged to try to write an interactive fiction game or play games submitted by fellow MeFites. If you want to vote on the games or you want to submit a story, please visit the contest website and register.

During the month of March, write your own interactive fiction story (also known as text adventure games). Make sure to get it in by the deadline of midnight of March 31st (MetaFilter time, PST) and it is in the running.

The recommended platform is Inform, a relatively easy-to-learn language designed for writing interactive fiction. However, if you want to roll your own that's acceptable, but you have to host the program or story on your own website.

The only strong rules are that you must be a MetaFilter member in order to participate, and it must be a work that you created only this month. Further rules are on the "official" site.

Good luck, and may the best storyteller win!
posted by Deathalicious to MetaFilter-Related at 11:18 PM (100 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

Although this contest is limited to MeFites only, I want to make it clear that it is not affiliated with MetaFilter in any official fashion. The mods appear to be cool with it taking place, however.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:19 PM on February 26, 2009


Oh, and you might guess it from the domain name, but the webspace has been graciously donated by our very own Brandon Blatcher. Much thanks to him for helping me get set up on his server.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:27 PM on February 26, 2009


Wow, I look forward to seeing what comes out of this. I dinked around with Inform a couple years ago and thought it had a reasonably steep learning curve (but I have pretty much zero experience with that kind of thing). Figuring it out from scratch AND writing something by the end of March might be a pretty tall order.
posted by nanojath at 11:57 PM on February 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh boy oh boy. Time to finally get into Inform like I always wanted to.
posted by flatluigi at 11:59 PM on February 26, 2009


You had to do this while I'm in grad school, didn't you?

I've had a text game bouncing around my head for a long while. Someday...
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:21 AM on February 27, 2009


I dinked around with Inform a couple years ago and thought it had a reasonably steep learning curve (but I have pretty much zero experience with that kind of thing). Figuring it out from scratch AND writing something by the end of March might be a pretty tall order.

Were you looking at Inform 6 or Inform 7? The new version of Inform reads very much like English. See this piece of code, for example.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:25 AM on February 27, 2009


Also, the point is not to write something great.The point is to get something, anything out, as a jumping off point. At least, that's how I always conceived of these sorts of things.

For inspiration, you might look at the "Making of" notes for "Bronze" by Emily Short. She describes a game that she wrote in just 2 hours (alhtough, granted, she knows the language very, very well) during a speed competition. When I finally hunkered down and played with it, I found you could start getting some real puzzles going after just a few hours. I think if you can manage to devote 3-4 hours per week, you could have something nominally playable by the March 31st deadline. Everyone who enters is a winner!

Incidentally, February was supposed to the month for learning Inform. I announced the contest back in late January, but all I did was make a MeTa post and it was promptly buried by the MeTa posts of a hundred other crazy people. So the few who did know about it will hopefully be rested and prepared to compete.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:31 AM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


And handsome.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


I haven't used Inform for around 10 years. I think Inform 6 (or maybe 5?) had just been released. I tried writing a few games, but never finished any of them. The furthest I got was one I was working on for that year's IF Comp, thankfully no one but me ever saw it, or it would be mentioned along with The Erotic Adventures of Stiffy Makane as one of the worst pieces of IF ever. It was sort of a Cheech and Chong style drug humor thing. It was really awful. Maybe I'll give it a try again, I remember Inform being pretty fun to work with.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:50 AM on February 27, 2009


Excellent. Let's see if I can get beyond the "I would like to do this" stage this time.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:06 AM on February 27, 2009


You are standing in a light drizzling rain in a rail yard, a quarter mile away, you see a figure in a cape and top hat with a handlebar mustache hunched over a set of railroad tracks moving back and forth.

>examine figure

The figure is too far away to make out clearly.

>i

In your possession is a closed pocket watch, some unstable ordnance, and an open steamer trunk containing a telescope, three biscuits, an old newspaper, a blow up doll, and an empty cardboard box with the words "common sense" printed on the side.

>take telescope from trunk; examine figure with telescope

The figure, as you suspect, is the dastardly ParisParamus, tying a rasher of your breakfast bacon to the tracks in the path of an oncoming train. You gasp and take the telescope away from your eye, only to realize there was a ring of black grease around the eyepiece.

>look at — command interrupted as unstable ordnance blows up, you lose. Undo, Restore or Can't be arsed?

>C
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:31 AM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, I'd be really excited if this weren't the middle of tax season.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:35 AM on February 27, 2009


I love interactive fiction and can't wait to see what you come up with! I can't code for shit but I am definitely going to be playing. (And I'm slowly learning Inform 6 so if this happens again next year maybe I'll actually be able to write something playable. Right now all I have is an extremely detailed map of my apartment.)
posted by lysistrata at 6:00 AM on February 27, 2009


Oh! And for those of you looking to play pretty much any IF game you can think of without having to have a separate interpreter for each I can't recommend Gargoyle highly enough. I have it installed on my Archlinux box and it runs beautifully and looks great. It's capable of running all of the major IF formats (Agility, Alan 2 and 3, Frotz (glk port), Glulxe, Hugo, Level 9, Magnetic, Scare, Tads 2 and 3.)
posted by lysistrata at 6:08 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yay!
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:21 AM on February 27, 2009


[SPOILER ALERT]

Prepare to be eaten by a grüe!
posted by Mister_A at 6:23 AM on February 27, 2009


Sounds like a lot of fun.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:48 AM on February 27, 2009


Spoiler Alert: I'm absolutely going to dominate this.
posted by Damn That Television at 6:57 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I'm slowly learning Inform 6

May I recommend Inform 7? You might fastly learn it instead.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:59 AM on February 27, 2009


[SPOILER ALERT]

I promise that, if I actually get around to this, the phrase "Get Lamp" will be used.
posted by Mister_A at 7:05 AM on February 27, 2009


The figure is too far away to make out clearly.

> MAKE OUT SLOPPILY!

We mentioned this on the podcast, hope it turns out some fun stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 AM on February 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Everyone who competes is a "winner"

So this is like field day in elementary school? Is everyone going to get a popsicle at the end, except I'll drop mine when I get stung by a bee and have to go to the nurse's office?

Anyway, thanks for setting this up, it should be fun. I've only half-learned Inform at this point, and I'm terrible at coming up with decent puzzles, but I should be able to put something resembling IF together by the end of the month.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:18 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finally, I'll have an outlet for my interactive furry Cylon/ Dalek slash fanfic. Mefites, prepare to be soul scarringly disturbed "entertained".
posted by quin at 7:30 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


In theory I'd like to enter this but in practice I don't know if I'll actually get up to speed with Inform and implement a game in time. If I haven't made progress by the middle of the month and someone needs someone else to write descriptions and interactions with objects and characters try emailing me. I did a bit of this for Guess the Verb! and Degeneracy (I believe my title for Degeneracy was "VP in charge of pig development").
posted by mikepop at 7:33 AM on February 27, 2009


You are standing on a field of blue. To the East is a tunnel that will take you to a place of obscure Icelandic Poetry read by obscure Panamanian Jazz Musicians. To the South is a tunnel that will take you to gallery of naked breasts and the Christians who lick them. To the West is a tunnel that will take you to a public debate on American Politics with two lawyers and a buffoon. To the North are two buttons: Brown Button. Green Button.

>Push Brown Button

You are standing on a field of Brown. To the East there is a tunnel that will take you to the tar and feathering of a troll who pretends to act like a confused fellow traveler. To the South is a tunnel that will take you to a local bar where you will be forced to wear a name tag and drink until you are filled with passionate feelings about Canadian politics. To the West is a tunnel that will take you to a public exhibition of taters. To the North there are two buttons: Green Button. Blue Button.

>Push Green Button

You are standing on a field of Green. To the East there is a tunnel that will take you to a man with a smelly girlfriend who wants to know of a romantic restaurant in Trenton so he can propose. To the South there is a woman who can't remember the title of a scratch-n-sniff book she read in the fourth grade because she wants to know where to buy a perfume that duplicates the smell. To the West there is a person with a tub of potato salad made with baconnaise and left in the back seat of a car for 14 hours with a de-clawed cat. To the North are two buttons: Blue Button. Brown Button.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:39 AM on February 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


You have died of dysentery.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:46 AM on February 27, 2009


You wake alone in room. In the room is table. On the table is a tater. Using the tater, figure out how to get out of the room.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 AM on February 27, 2009 [5 favorites]


Damnit Blatcher, you stole my idea.
posted by flatluigi at 8:00 AM on February 27, 2009


Your use of the "grue" tag is commendable, sir or madam.
posted by Mister_A at 8:08 AM on February 27, 2009


Hmm. And I've been meaning to learn Inform 7 for a while now.
posted by Spatch at 8:19 AM on February 27, 2009


May I recommend Inform 7?

I knew it was out but avoided it for some reason but I'm downloading it as we speak and going to give it a go this weekend. Thanks!
posted by lysistrata at 8:34 AM on February 27, 2009


I put on my robe and wizard hat.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:36 AM on February 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


Paging user 8586.
posted by lysistrata at 8:37 AM on February 27, 2009


Hurm. Let's see if Inform is like MUSH coding.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:42 AM on February 27, 2009


This sounds like fun. I wonder if I can fail less hard than I did with NaNoWriMo.
posted by erpava at 8:55 AM on February 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


[Spoiler alert]

You are likely to be eaten by Yoda's mom.
posted by Mister_A at 8:57 AM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like it's a bit different. If I wanted a puzzle where you have to manipulate certain objects in a certain way in a certain order, how would I do that?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:05 AM on February 27, 2009


nanojath: "Figuring it out from scratch AND writing something by the end of March might be a pretty tall order."

Yeah, no shit. Does starting to learn Inform 7 for the purpose of entering this contest count as "beginning the project"? Or are we allowed to familiarize ourselves with the language before March 1 as long as we don't develop any game ideas to be used later?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:19 AM on February 27, 2009


If I wanted a puzzle where you have to manipulate certain objects in a certain way in a certain order, how would I do that?

Three answers for three interpretations of the question:
  1. If I wanted a puzzle where you have to manipulate certain objects in a certain way in a certain order, how would I do that?
    You can do this in Inform. "One room" games where the focus is a puzzle in a single room are not uncommon. It's fairly simple and straightforward to create objects in Inform that affect one another, and to create puzzles where the objects interact with one another. So if you don't mind doing a text-based version Inform is still an option.
  2. How do I submit a piece of interactive fiction that isn't an Inform file?
    Any game that isn't an Inform game will have to be hosted on your own webpage. That's because, basically, I do not want to open up the can of worms of supporting multiple submission types. You will have to host the story file and provide links to interpreters or instructions on how to run it.
  3. I'm thinking more along the lines of a point-and-click game. Is that an acceptable submission?
    This poses an interesting discussion question. What should be the "boundaries" of the contest? I guess my gut feeling is that there has to be some actual written words in order to qualify, but maybe we should just let people submit whatever they want and let the votes and judges settle the issue.

posted by Deathalicious at 9:27 AM on February 27, 2009


are we allowed to familiarize ourselves with the language before March 1 as long as we don't develop any game ideas to be used later?

I think familiarizing yourself with the tools early is obviously kosher for any project of this nature. And, uh, March starts day after tomorrow.

I guess also length being no object this isn't that high of a pinnacle (looking at the example Deathalicious posted above). Maybe I'll tackle "The Quest for Tators" after all. I'm pretty busy failing to complete my RPM album right now though.
posted by nanojath at 9:28 AM on February 27, 2009


Yeah, no shit. Does starting to learn Inform 7 for the purpose of entering this contest count as "beginning the project"? Or are we allowed to familiarize ourselves with the language before March 1 as long as we don't develop any game ideas to be used later?


Actually, I posted a MeTa on this in January with a planned contest in February, but people felt that March would be better, and February was for learning the language. So yes, please download Inform now, start playing with it and do whatever you want. Just don't start officially working on your game until March 1st.

If I had developed this earlier, and had already set up the contest website and, I guess, posted it to Projects maybe more people would have learned about the contest in time. It happened that the day I posted the MeTa was one of those days that everyone in the world had something to share, so my post disappeared from the front page in less than 24 hours. I didn't want to post it again on the grey, so I made 2 additional posts in MetaChat and that was it. I am surprised and pleased to hear that it was mentioned on the podcast, and hopefully that will drum up more interest as well.

I am sorry that there's not enough time but I feel if we keep extending the deadline this will keep on happening anyway, so the deadline will stay March 31st. I can see how learning the language and writing a story might be a tall order for a month. Just do what you can and post it even if it isn't perfect. I think you might be surprised by what you can do. I encourage everyone interested in ever writing an interactive fiction game to start now just to get started; that was the point of this competition: not to create perfect games, but to get started in playing around with making your own interactive fiction.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:34 AM on February 27, 2009


I should have been more clear. I was asking along the lines of 1, but the built-in help text on Inform doesn't seem to help much. If I have a puzzle whose solution is to spin the idol three times, place the jewel on the pedestal, and sacrifice the red chicken (in that order), I'm not sure where I can begin. So far, I can make it so you can't run off with the idol (too big) and can put the jewel on the pedestal, but that's about it.

Everytime I try to change the state of an object, I get compilation errors.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:47 AM on February 27, 2009


Use the newsgroups to look for answers. When I started playing around with Inform 7 I usually found paralell problems/puzzles to my own.

I am totally going to try to complete this. I have about three half-games I hate, so this gives me an excuse to start a new one that's completely ridiculous.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 9:54 AM on February 27, 2009


If I have a puzzle whose solution is to spin the idol three times, place the jewel on the pedestal, and sacrifice the red chicken (in that order), I'm not sure where I can begin.

Basically you need to define actions/verbs and describe how the world changes when they happen. This chapter in the Inform 7 manual should help you get started.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:55 AM on February 27, 2009


Try setting flags, robocop. One for turning the idol three times, one for putting the jewel on the pedestal while the first flag is set, and a third for sacrificing the chicken once the second flag is set.
posted by flatluigi at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2009


Correct link.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:56 AM on February 27, 2009


NaNeWriMo: National Nerd Writing Month

Man, I gotta book a day off...
posted by GuyZero at 9:57 AM on February 27, 2009


I've never even heard of this type of writing, but I'm totally going to try!
posted by ORthey at 10:58 AM on February 27, 2009


Okay, here is one way to write the idol->pedestal->chicken scenario:
"The robocop_is_bleeding scenario" by Deathalicious

Turncount is a number variable. 

There is a carcass. The description of the carcass is "The limp carcass of a
once happy chicken. Hopefully its death was for a greater cause than soup."

Before turning the idol:
	if turncount is greater than 2:
		 say "The idol is stuck and won't turn any further.";
		stop the action.
Instead of turning the idol:
	increase turncount by 1;
	if turncount is 3, say "As you turn the idol for the third time, it makes
an odd click.";
	otherwise say "You turn the statue. It makes a grinding noise as it scrapes
across the floor.";

The Scary Room is a room. "This is scary". In the scary room is a golden idol,
a pedestal, a ruby, and a chicken. The pedestal is a supporter. The chicken is
an animal. 

Before putting something on the pedestal:
	if turncount is less than 3 begin;
		say "The idol sees you approaching the pedestal. Its eyes turn firery
red and white-hot beams shoot out of its eyes towards the pedestal. You quickly
move away before you get burned.";
		stop the action;
	otherwise;
		 say "Fortunately, the idol's face is now facing the corner of the
room, so it cannot see you approach the pedestal.";
	end if.
Before touching the pedestal:
	if turncount is less than 3 begin;
		say "The idol sees you approaching the pedestal. Its eyes turn firery
red and white-hot beams shoot out of its eyes towards the pedestal. You quickly
move away before you get burned.";
		stop the action;
	otherwise;
		 say "Fortunately, the idol's face is now facing the corner of the
room, so it cannot see you approach the pedestal.";
	end if.
	
Understand "sacrifice [something]" or "slaughter [something]" as attacking. 

After putting the ruby on the pedestal, say "The ruby begins to glow with a
fearful brightness." 
Instead of taking the chicken while the ruby is not on the pedestal, say "The
chicken resists your attempts to grab it." 
Instead of taking the chicken while the ruby is on the pedestal:
	now the player has the chicken;
	say "The power of the ruby makes the chicken strangely docile. It hops into
your arms as soon as you near it.".
Instead of attacking the chicken while the player does not carry the chicken,
try taking the chicken.
Instead of attacking the chicken while the player carries the chicken:
	say "With your sacrificial knife you (gory details removed).";
	remove the chicken from play;
	now the player has the carcass.
Just a note: notice the way I enforced the action was by making steps undoable unless the other steps had been done first. This is generally considered good form in IF. The idea is you don't want gamers to arrive at an unwinnable state simply because they didn't know the order you wanted things done in. It works better for the gamer if you block them from doing something out of order.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:10 PM on February 27, 2009 [14 favorites]


find Nero Wolfes' bottlecaps



im on to something
posted by clavdivs at 1:07 PM on February 27, 2009


Oh cool. I was scared by others' comments on how hard Inform is, but it looks like basic pseudocode!
posted by naju at 1:33 PM on February 27, 2009


This is the most mindbending IF game I've seen recently:

Gostak

It's old, but it's pretty brilliant.
posted by empath at 1:50 PM on February 27, 2009


Just a note: the most infuriating thing about Inform (or at least for someone familiar with curly braces like me) is the control structure formatting in Inform.

Here is a quick cheat sheet.

Pseudocode:
if (cow=red)
    echo('Your cow is red');
becomes
if the cow is red:
	say "You cow is red."
For one line statements like this, you can also replace the colon, return, and indent with a comma (if the cow is red, say "You take the cow".).

Note that the period can act as the end of of a statement, as it does here. Adding a period at the end of a phrase automatically adds a paragraph break at the end of the response. If you had not wanted the period for some reason, you could write this:
if the cow is red, say "You take the cow".
Here the period is outside of the quote, so it does not get output and no additional linebreak is output.

Pseudocode:
if (cow=red) {
    cow=blue;
    echo('The cow was red, now it is blue.');
}
becomes
if the cow is red:
	now the cow is blue; 
	say "The cow was red, now it is blue.".
Pseudocode:
if (cow=red)
    echo('You take the cow');
else
    echo('Not now, the cow is not red yet!');
becomes
if the cow is red:
	say "You take the cow.";
otherwise:
	say "Not now, the cow is not red yet!".
Note the semicolon in line 1; this lets the program now the whole statement isn't done yet. The period in line 2 ends the statement.
if (cow=red) {
    cow=blue;
    echo('The cow was red, now it is blue.');
} else if (cow=purple) {
    cow=green;
    echo('The cow was purple, now it is green.');
} else {    
    cow=brown;
    echo('Just to be safe, I made the cow brown.');
}
becomes
if the cow is red:
		now the cow is blue;
		say "The cow was red, now it is blue.";
	otherwise if the cow is purple:
		now the cow is green;
		say "The cow was purple, now it is green.";
	otherwise:
		now the cow is brown;
		say "Just to be safe, I made the cow brown."
The most important thing is indentation. Basically, Inform is not white-space blind, similar to Python. If you use this indentation format, use tabs only. Assuming you are using the Inform IDE, the best way to ensure proper indentation is to use the "Shift Selection Right" and "Shift Selection Left" options in the "Format" menu (command-] and command-[, respectively).
posted by Deathalicious at 2:51 PM on February 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


For those wishing to play Gostak. Incidentally, this system, Parchment, is the same one I'm going to deploy on the competition website, so you will be able to play games without having to download a interpreter.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:53 PM on February 27, 2009


It'd be great to have an official panel of judges, or a rating system that the players can use.
posted by Pants! at 4:09 PM on February 27, 2009


There is a plate of beans here.

> EXAMINE BEANS_
posted by blenderfish at 4:41 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


It'd be great to have an official panel of judges, or a rating system that the players can use.

My plan was to have a star rating on the page, ala Youtube.

I am totally open to using a panel of judges in addition/instead. Does anyone want to nominate themselves/someone else as a judge?
posted by Deathalicious at 5:07 PM on February 27, 2009


Is this a winner take all thing (crush my enemies), or are there going to be categories (we are all special snowflakes)? e.g. most immersive world / most compelling single narrative / best matrix storyline / best dialogue / best character / best [genre] story ...
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:13 PM on February 27, 2009


Does anyone know if there's a way to do Robb Sherwin dialogue trees in Inform, or do you have to do "Ask x about y"? 'cause the language I use is probably going to depend on that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:55 PM on February 27, 2009


Dunno, but most of his games are in Hugo.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:07 PM on February 27, 2009


I don't know what a Robb Sherwin dialogue tree is, but you might want to look at the source code for "Glass" by Emily Short that focuses on conversation. Although probably not exactly the same thing.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:10 PM on February 27, 2009


Sherwin's a guy who writes really interesting Hugo-language IF like Fallacy of Dawn and Necrotic Drift. He's largely known for the fact that his characters are mostly the desperate and the scummy, but conversations in his games that I've played have used dialogue trees, which I'd way rather write than various permutations of "ask x about y".
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:53 PM on February 27, 2009


I hate to doublepost, but when can we start? Midnight local or midnight some particular time zone?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:48 PM on February 28, 2009


It ends midnight PST per the post, I'd think it'd start midnight PST as well.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:56 PM on February 28, 2009


Awesome, I'll be up anyway. :D
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:07 PM on February 28, 2009


Yes, the contest officially begins 12:00 AM PST, so you can begin after around 2 hours of this comment.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:04 PM on February 28, 2009


I don't really have an idea for a game of my own, but I'm interested in collaborating with someone else, if anyone needs help writing, programming or playtesting.
posted by empath at 10:31 PM on February 28, 2009


I'm having the worst time trying to figure out how to get NPCs to respond to ask, tell, or talk requests. The Inform 7 documentation doesn't cover it very well. Anybody?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:33 PM on March 1, 2009


I'm in as long as I can get Inform 7 installed on either Ubunty Hardy or a broken Windows 98 machine.
posted by randomination at 2:03 PM on March 1, 2009


Pope Guilty: I'm having the worst time trying to figure out how to get NPCs to respond to ask, tell, or talk requests. The Inform 7 documentation doesn't cover it very well. Anybody?

I think you might have to create a response table, but you'll probably have much better luck looking at the source code example games on the site
posted by flatluigi at 3:06 PM on March 1, 2009


I think it's probably a long shot that someone is already trying to submit a story, but just in case:

Story submission isn't ready just yet, but it should be soon. This evening, hopefully. If not, definitely by tomorrow evening.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:48 PM on March 1, 2009


Seen it.

Done it.

Been there.

Critics said, "Meh!"

OK, actually, I think this is a pretty cool idea and wish I didn't have 20 other irons in the fire this month (and every month).
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:46 PM on March 1, 2009


The first stories are up!

Okay, so they're mine, I wrote them before the competition, and as such they're not eligible for the competition (they'd probably score in the low beans anyway).

But they do show that the submission system appears to work, as well as the built-in interpreter, which is pretty cool.

Please everyone, sign up and submit a game! Look at the crappiness of my games and be inspired! Remember: the only way to win the game is not to play.

To sweeten the deal: all participants will get a personally signed certificate of completion.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:29 AM on March 2, 2009


Thanks for organising this. Is it possible to see a list of registered users on the contest site?
posted by paduasoy at 10:31 AM on March 2, 2009


all participants will get a personally signed certificate of completion

Do you realise what you are getting yourself into here?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:56 AM on March 2, 2009


I've turned an idol and gained a ruby and still have no points. Deathilicious is mean.
posted by misha at 11:06 AM on March 2, 2009


MetaFilter: Examine beans.
posted by Mister_A at 11:40 AM on March 2, 2009


Do you realise what you are getting yourself into here?

Woah. Right. Better amend that:

All participants who submit stories to the competition will receive a personally signed certificate of completion.

And really, yeah, I mean it. I would rather have too many submissions than too few.

Voting gets you nothing but the satisfaction of giving mad props to your favorite if-ers.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2009


I've turned an idol and gained a ruby and still have no points. Deathilicious is mean.

So vote my story down already.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2009


Thanks for organising this. Is it possible to see a list of registered users on the contest site?

I've set up this list of registered participants that is available to registered users only.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:04 PM on March 2, 2009


I am going to try really hard to actually finish this; I might succeed only because it's something I can work on during lulls in my day job.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:07 AM on March 3, 2009


I've been trying to register, but I just get a blank page. Refreshing gives me the registration page again with a message saying that I didn't fill in the captcha.

Speaking of, good on you for using recaptcha. That's a worthy program.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:02 AM on March 3, 2009


Thanks, Deathalicious. :D
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2009


I've been trying to register, but I just get a blank page. Refreshing gives me the registration page again with a message saying that I didn't fill in the captcha.

Okay, this should be fixed. MeFiMail to follow.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:31 PM on March 3, 2009


Speaking of, good on you for using recaptcha. That's a worthy program.

Yeah, whenever I see people using hand-rolled captchas I always think, "Why? It's already been set up for you, it's better than what you could make, and it actually does something." I actually would prefer it anyway, simply because I'm crap at recognizing scrambled random letters but excellent at recognizing words.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:34 PM on March 3, 2009


Thanks to all who have signed up so far (around 20). If can think of anyone on MetaFilter who would be interested in this please let them know. I especially want to encourage people who normally think of themselves as "right brained" to try their hands at this.

Once 10 stories are up (or March 24, whichever comes sooner), I will post the site to Projects. Once the contest is over, I'll post a followup.

If you run into any problems submitting, please let me know right away by sending me a MeFi Mail and I will try to get it fixed within a day or so.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:39 PM on March 3, 2009


I've added a discussion board and comments for user and story pages. The discussion board is for discussing Inform questions since I think it'd be better to put them there than clutter up this MeTa. Discussions are open to all registered users.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:42 AM on March 4, 2009


Hey, Deathilicious, I was just giving you a hard time, don't take me seriously--I really respect what you're doing with this software, the competition--it's just a huge undertaking!

I was just feeling a little like I'd stepped into the old Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game again (I sucked at that one, too).
posted by misha at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2009


This sounds great. I have every intention of doing this. And if, like Metafilter's other writing based contests, I don't have the follow through, I look forward to reading the brilliant work of others.

Maybe I should have the story revolve around the fact that I finally got around to posting something original after years of commenting and more years of lurking and it turned out to be an unanswerable AskMe post -- about an interactive fiction game. How Meta Meta Meta would that be?

(Note to potential players of my game or reader of my story: I am not going to do that, so put your encyclopedias away and take your boredom faces off.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:58 AM on March 4, 2009


I lied, I do have an idea now.

Now to figure out how to handle scuba diving in IF.
posted by empath at 10:33 AM on March 4, 2009


You are staring at a grey screen, littered with comments. You are not getting any work done.

>

posted by not_on_display at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


I might win the award for most "get x, give x to y, get z" puzzles in one game.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:49 AM on March 4, 2009


What with moving this month, I probably won't be able to do this, but I had a blast with this in college. Maybe I can get in a jokey entry at least!
posted by ignignokt at 2:33 PM on March 5, 2009


Agent Howie, your recovery of the Magnetic Entropy Device from the craven Dr. Ming has gone awry! Zoldara, his deadly assassinatrix, has foiled your infiltration of Ming's armored hovercraft. You must escape her clutches and destroy the Device before Ming's ship reaches Hong Kong Harbor!

You awaken in a small closet. The thrumming of a powerful engine can be heard somewhere far below you. You have been firmly tied with stout rope.

> look

It is too dark to see anything here.

> leave closet

You have been trussed like a roast goose. You cannot move even a bit.

> cut rope

What do you want to cut the rope with?

> break rope

The rope is far too strong to be broken.

> cut rope with teeth

I see no teeth here.

> inventory

You are empty-handed.

> fuck

Such language in a high-class establishment like this!

>

posted by killdevil at 10:13 PM on March 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


How did I just discover this metatalk thread? This is awesome.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:12 AM on March 6, 2009


Well, I've already got a nice concept, half a map, and a few ideas for puzzles. I'm farther along creation-wise than I've ever been, so this is a big success for me already. Thank you!
posted by flatluigi at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2009


Shii makes the 40th participant/signup for the contest!

Good luck to all of the contestants, I'm looking forward to everyone's contributions.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:08 PM on March 8, 2009


Ides of March, everybody! The time for the contest is halfway over. Hope you all have at least started on something, if not htis is your nudge to get going!
posted by Deathalicious at 11:08 PM on March 14, 2009


Just noticed this thread on Saturday. I've never worked with Inform (or written IF at all), but I do have an idea... Dunno if it's possible to do it in the remaining time, but I'm definitely giving this a shot.
posted by rottytooth at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2009


I've set up a reminder thread here.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:16 AM on March 26, 2009


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