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>have fun February 1, 2014 7:30 AM   Subscribe

It is February first, which means the Third MetaFilter Interactive Fiction Contest has begun!

Thanks go to the quidnunc kid for the copy.

Do you DARE to enter the Third Metafilter Interactive Fiction Contest???

The Third Metafilter Interactive Fiction Contest, a.k.a. the Garden Show of Forking Paths (wiki) - is an interactive fiction contest in which YOU are, or at least have the potential to be, the HERO.

The contest was announced in MetaTalk, and is being organised primarily by griphus with the assistance of his highly-trained team of interactive ferrets (hereinafter, the "Organisers").

Any Metafilter member can enter by creating an original work of interactive fiction. Interactive fiction includes, without limitation, e.g. z-machine games, Choose-Your-Own-Adventures, visual novels, and anything else that is interactive and fictiony (and in the case of doubt contact griphus for an authoritative ruling on the matter).

A Beginner's Guide to Interactive Fiction and a number of online IF engines are available via the links in MetaTalk thread 23065. Note that IF-works in any form (e.g. text files/PDF/word document for Choose-Your-Own-Adventures) are perfectly acceptable, so long as they are playable without any significant assembly by the reader.

Entrants have from from February 1 to February 28 to write and submit an entry. Entries should either hosted somewhere on the internet, with the relevant link emailed to griphus, or the file(s) emailed to griphus for him to host - in either case by February 28, 2014. On or about March 1, 2014, griphus will post a MetaTalk thread with links to all the entries.

Various prizes are offered by various MeFi members. Please add your own prize to this page of the wiki if you are so inclined, and set out the criteria for that prize. Also, feel free to give the prize a silly name.

Prize-winners may be decided by the person offering same or be put to a popular vote, at the option of the person offering the prize. We suggest a "maximum-one-prize-per-entrant" rule, unless the number of prizes is greater than the number of entries.

For voting, the polls will open date of the March MetaTalk thread and will stay open for 2-3 weeks. Votes should be made by email or memail to griphus.

We suggest that all prizes (including those picked by those who have sponsored the prize) are announced at the same time, and another MetaTalk thread will be created for that purpose (i.e. in late March or early April).

IF, then Prizes
  1. The Organisers offer the Forchette d'Or player's choice award, as chosen by popular vote (with voting open to anyone, even contributors). Note: not an actual golden fork. That is just a silly name for the prize. The prize is the recognition of the community and whatever prize anyone sees fit to offer up.
  2. griphus offers the griphus prize for excellence in entertaining griphus (as chosen by griphus), The prize is a vintage copy of any three interactive fiction/Choose Your Own Adventure books of your choice, assuming they reasonably priced and locatable.
  3. corb offers the corb award for for best first-time contributor (as chosen by corb). The prize is a $50 in an Amazon gift certificate (or format of winner's choice.)
  4. The quidnunc kid offers (a) the quidnunc medal for best NPC in an IF game; and (b) the quark cup for best location or setting for an IF game (both chosen by popular vote). Each prize is a $25 Amazon voucher, rather than an actual medal or cup. Again with the silly names.
posted by griphus to MetaFilter-Related at 7:30 AM (40 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

Hooray for this!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:35 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


>have fun

I don't know how to have fun.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:54 AM on February 1 [11 favorites]


By which I mean, I can't write worth a damn but am looking forward to what people make!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:54 AM on February 1


Can we use this space to workshop some technical problems? Some of us, I am not saying who, may be having a little trouble with the way Twine is treating them.
posted by Think_Long at 9:18 AM on February 1


Oh, absolutely! Tech support, encouragement to keep going, progress reports, all that stuff is totally welcome!

This got brought up in the previous threads, but this is like a NaNoWriMo thing as much as it is a competition.
posted by griphus at 9:22 AM on February 1


here's my entry -

one of you has had your chair connected to 50,000 volts of electric frying power - you may save this person's life in 24 hours by writing the magic word in this thread, or by figuring out which mefite is the unfortunate target

better get going or ZZZZZAAAAPPPP!
posted by pyramid termite at 10:05 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


legerdemain
posted by winna at 10:35 AM on February 1


Wait no how silly it's XYZZY.
posted by winna at 10:36 AM on February 1


rumpelstiltskin.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:36 AM on February 1


nikstlitslepmur
posted by nobody at 11:52 AM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I'm headed to the corner store to get a sandwich and when I get back I'm starting.
posted by steinsaltz at 1:11 PM on February 1


I started first thing this morning!
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:52 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Right! Rendered all my five-eyed fancies and hilariously over-complex multi-narrative constructs down to one simple, internally-consistent idea. Downloaded the latest Twine (1.4.1, not preview). Whatever else it may be, it is most definitely on!
posted by comealongpole at 3:21 PM on February 1


Looking at a blank Microsoft Word file and trying to get focused to do a multi-act treatment like I heard Steve Meretzsky used to do.
posted by steinsaltz at 3:25 PM on February 1


I am counting on mine to be a complete mess. I hope it's a least a fun mess, until you get sick of the syntax errors.
posted by Think_Long at 4:41 PM on February 1


plugh

(It's not quite worth the five dollars to register "a_hollow_voice" as a sock puppet for this post, but almost.)
posted by jferg at 4:41 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Ok. I know what I'm doing on my lunch breaks this month. This will be far more interesting than fighting with SAML.
posted by jferg at 4:43 PM on February 1


There doesn't seem to be any fun here.
posted by idiopath at 7:26 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


aahhh I've wanted to write something like this for a while, but am not sure how to translate this many-years-old plotbunny into an IF format. Are there resources that talk about the storybuilding end of things? There's stuff about the tech, and stuff about how to write a conventional linear narrative, but not so much about how to have your story branch out.
posted by divabat at 7:56 PM on February 1


A trick we used in the world of MUD development was to make hidden "objects" that only existed to track plot events / narrative sequence. Bonus sometimes if you can make the narrative event actually carry the token, and thus have it be a meaningful object (and not just a pseudo-item).

For example if Grandpa sees that you are wearing the family wedding ring that means you had a positive resolution to your conflict with your cousin which means he is inspired to share with you a postcard he got from his brother... etc. Or alternately create invisible object cousin-conflict on start of game, destroy object if player resolves said conflict, check if it exists at certain interactions to potentially open up new narrative directions...
posted by idiopath at 9:43 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


nobody: "nikstlitslepmur"

I think you meant "Ifnkovhgroghprm". *shakes fist at Sierra On-line*
posted by barnacles at 10:41 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I'm giving this a shot. I wasn't planning on doing so, and then I started writing, and...jeez, I apparently have a lot of feelings that go well into a format that lets you click around and explore.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:29 AM on February 3


Yeah, there's some cool stuff with inform that lets you X "in the presence of", which I'm toying around with. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to handle allowing two possible romantic options for different sexual preferences - I think possibly creating two and destroying one object may actually be the soundest - I was trying to have one object which switched, but you make it sound nice and simple..

Also if we get to come up with cool names for our prizes, let's rename mine the Skilled Virgin award.
posted by corb at 12:19 PM on February 3


Does anyone know of online interactive fiction jawns one might use to plan and build such a chumpie?
posted by Mister_A at 12:49 PM on February 3


Are any of the entries from past contests still hosted anywhere? This was all I could find.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:16 PM on February 3


yay
posted by threeants at 5:58 PM on February 3


Ok. Several hours of trying to do simple-seeming things with Inform7 later, I have a room and some objects created. It's all downhill from here, right? ;-> (I've actually really missed the joy of just learning a programming language for fun...I don't spend enough time doing things like that anymore.)
posted by jferg at 6:18 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


So for Twine users: is there an easy way to drop in and out of a test mode without losing your variables? If I try to leave the browser open, even if I refresh, it's not going off of my latest rebuild. But if I close it and reopen after the rebuild, then I have to start at the beginning so that my game-long variables* are correct. Am I doing this wrong?

*variables like player health, player name, etc. etc.
posted by Think_Long at 1:44 PM on February 4


Can we submit more than one entry per person?
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:55 AM on February 5


Sure, but you'll have to pick which one goes into the official running. Not because I'm particularly worried people will submit ten entries apiece, but because I really can't think of a good way to enforce "one prize per entrant" if there's multiple entries. Suggestions are welcome.

Also, does anyone have a good library for keeping track of inventory?
posted by griphus at 9:08 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


(Twine library, that is.)
posted by griphus at 9:19 AM on February 5


I'm so bad with Twine. But if anyone figures out in inform how to unfix the gender kind in order to allow for gender switching, please let me know.
posted by corb at 9:28 AM on February 5


Bollocks. I really want to submit something but I'm busy all month!

(Well, I'm just going to have to unbusy myself then.)
posted by popcassady at 10:28 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Gender in inform is changeable, but the man and woman kinds are not. So you can do
Chris is a person. Chris is male.

To change gender: now Chris is female.
But not something like "now Chris is a woman." I don't think this controls anything beyond the pronouns the player can use to refer to the person; the standard library messages don't use he/she or mention gender in any way as far as I know. You would have to test for gender in any text you want to output.

You could also use the trick of creating two versions of Chris, one a man and one a woman, and moving them into and out of play at the appropriate times.
posted by eruonna at 6:32 PM on February 6


Just realised that Players' Choice Award should be the Fourchette d'Or. Sorry, France.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 9:39 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]


Wow! This one actually appears to be well organized! Somehow this slipped under my radar. Might as well see if I can scrape a few hours to write something worthwhile.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:32 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Would everyone agree that Twine is the easiest tool for this job?
posted by craniac at 2:01 AM on February 24


Well it's certainly easy enough. The only programming experience I have is on the TI 83 in calculus class, and I understand Twine just fine.

Also wow did I way underestimate how much time I would need to do a complete story.
posted by Think_Long at 6:21 AM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Oh god, don't tell me about it. I'm going to wind up showing you all a half-done monstrosity if I don't get my ass in gear.

Twine is definitely the easiest to put together quickly, I'd argue.

Maybe we can also have a thing where after the contest is over, we can offer a 2.0 version of the games.. :)
posted by corb at 11:44 AM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I suppose I'd better get started.
posted by Zed at 3:40 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


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