>read meta January 1, 2014 5:07 PM   Subscribe

In exactly one month, the Third MetaFilter Interactive Fiction Contest will begin!

Happy New Year, folks! I figured a reminder MeTa would be useful, plus people can choose and bone up on whichever method they'll use to bring their story to life over the course of next month. You'll have from February 1st to February 28th to write and submit your entry.

Many different types of interactive fiction were suggested in the previous thread, and they're all welcome: z-machine games, Choose-Your-Own-Adventures, visual novels, and so on. If you're not sure what you want to use counts as "interactive fiction" just drop me a line and the answer will probably be "yes."

Now, this is a contest, so there will be prizes! As the emcee, I'll be picking my favorite of all the entries and offering a prize to be determined. corb has very generously offered a whopping $50 prize for best first-time contributor. There will also be a Player's Choice category that will be voted on by anyone who wants to vote (including contributors.) Everyone is welcome to offer up prizes or suggest categories!

So, here are some links to get everyone started:

Inform (and extensions)
Twine (IMO the best choice for beginners and non-programmers)
Ren'Py (for visual novels)

IFWiki (currently down)
Brass Lantern
Story Generator
The Interactive Fiction Archive
Interactive Fiction Competition
IF quick reference card
XYZZY news
Oblique Strategies
The Dungeon Dozen
Lifehacker's Best Mind Mapping Tools
posted by griphus to MetaFilter-Related at 5:07 PM (39 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

Fun. I'm in. (Though I might not finish.)
posted by cjorgensen at 5:37 PM on January 1, 2014

Maybe, that is if I can decide to have a maze of twisty passages all the same or all different.
posted by sammyo at 5:57 PM on January 1, 2014

I'm not really sure I understand how this works, or is interactive. Can you please explain how the process worked over the last two years?
posted by zarq at 6:56 PM on January 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can use any of the engines that are listed (or even just a pdf that says "If you [thing] go to page 22, if you [other thing] go to page 50" at the bottom of each page) to create an interactive fiction story. Then everyone submits them, they're all posted for everyone else to play, and there's prizes for best ones in whatever categories picked by popular vote or the person who offers the prize.

Check out the if, interactive fiction and twine tags on MeFi; there's some FPPs that can explain the basics much better than I can. There's also the interactivefiction tag on MeTa that has the MeTa posts about the previous two contests. And over at Brass Lantern there's a great Beginner's Guide to Interactive Fiction, but it's mainly on the Inform-based Zork-style IF games, which are the best known type of computer-based interactive fiction/text adventure. However, they require programming whereas newer engines like Twine let you create IF in a much more user-friendly manner.
posted by griphus at 7:14 PM on January 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thanks, man. Will check them out.
posted by zarq at 7:51 PM on January 1, 2014

A country road. A tree. Evening.

1. Wait
2. Quit
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:52 PM on January 1, 2014 [11 favorites]

Fun. I'm in. (Though I might not finish.)

Me too...though the above will probably be my epitaph.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:54 PM on January 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm in.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:30 PM on January 1, 2014

I'm in.

I'm in a corridor. Exits lead east and west.

There is an interesting Interactive Fiction contest idea here.

> Get idea

Did you really think it was going to be that easy?

posted by davejay at 9:53 PM on January 1, 2014 [10 favorites]

I pledge what remains of my imagination and creativity to this contest. Rose Estes, give me strength.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:32 PM on January 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm in! No idea what I will write yet but it will probably make everyone uncomfortable. You're welcome in advance.
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 11:57 PM on January 1, 2014

I'm in.
posted by man down under at 12:43 AM on January 2, 2014

I'm in - I have never done this before, but it sounds like a fun project.
posted by motdiem2 at 2:14 AM on January 2, 2014

A country road. A tree. Evening.

1. Wait
2. Quit

-> GO ON

You can't go on.

You go on.

posted by gauche at 4:58 AM on January 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

So, just so I totally understand this, there's going to be a MeTa at the end of February where we all link to our projects, and then the community will play them and vote online for the different categories?
posted by Think_Long at 6:16 AM on January 2, 2014

I was hoping everyone would email me a link to their submission (or just the files and I'll host them) by the end of February, and then ~March 1st there would be a MeTa featuring them all in the content and then voting. That might be easier than having people dig through a thread for the actual games.
posted by griphus at 6:58 AM on January 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

ah okay, cool. Thanks for putting this together
posted by Think_Long at 7:17 AM on January 2, 2014

You are not so much in as on.

> I try to get off.

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:24 AM on January 2, 2014

I say we also have an interactive fact contest, in March. Basically you just live your life as normal, making whatever real-life choices you want to make, and at the end of the month we upload our lives and see who won. I'm betting that a rich and powerful white guy will win, so if you see any powerful, rich, white men in your travels - say, a billionaire CEO of an arms-manufacturing company - please run up to them and give them a great big hug from me, and whisper in their ear: "I believe in you".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:50 AM on January 2, 2014 [9 favorites]

This sounds interesting enough that I will try it, in spite of the overwhelming probability that I will fail spectacularly.
posted by Mooski at 8:03 AM on January 2, 2014

A sepulchral voice intones: "Cool!"
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:06 AM on January 2, 2014

I really want to do this. Is it appropriate to start planning & storyboarding now, and do the actual writing in February (a la NaNoWriMo)?
posted by Elly Vortex at 12:24 PM on January 2, 2014

I will gamely attempt this as well! Hopefully the encouragement keeps us all on track. :)
posted by corb at 1:13 PM on January 2, 2014

I've been looking forward to this. I had been working on a CYOA gamebook a couple of years ago and it fell apart. Been thinking recently that I'd like to try and tackle it again, so this is a good excuse.
posted by curious nu at 1:21 PM on January 2, 2014

Is it appropriate to start planning & storyboarding now, and do the actual writing in February (a la NaNoWriMo)?

Yep, that's why I wanted to remind everyone now, so that when the clock starts on Feb. 1st, people who want to participate can already have a grasp of what they want to do and how they want to do it and spend the month actually executing it.
posted by griphus at 1:28 PM on January 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wait wasn't the alphabet thread interactive fiction? I always thought it was...
posted by Namlit at 1:36 PM on January 2, 2014

I, for one, am looking forward to reading/playing MeFi interactive fiction, and hereby offer a prize, the details of which I shall endeavour to work out with the excellent, highly-interactive and not-at-all-fictional Mr griphus.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:22 AM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I spent way too much time yesterday learning to use Twine, so I guess that means I'm in.
posted by maurice at 5:46 AM on January 5, 2014

I'm thinking sadly Twine can't do what I want it to - I know Inform can, but I'm going to need to track down some of the cool stuff that's been done with it. At least I can storyboard and dream for now while I look around!
posted by corb at 8:33 AM on January 7, 2014

Loving those Resources links. Found a few interesting articles on Brass Lantern.

Ridiculously optimistic hostage-to-fortune time. I presume multiple entries would be OK? I ask mainly because I envision myself working on something in twine, getting bored/stuck then jumping back and forth between writing that and something else entirely, hopefully finishing both, but quite possibly neither.

Anyhow, plotting my everything-including-the-kitchen-sink adventure attempt in broad strokes has supplanted FruitlessWorryingAboutNothing(tm) as my preferred activity in the two minutes after my head hits the pillow, so roll on February!

griphus: I was hoping everyone would email me a link to their submission (or just the files and I'll host them)
I see an internet high-five in someone's immediate future!
posted by comealongpole at 4:24 PM on January 7, 2014

Someone got a jumpstart.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:57 AM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is a dumb question maybe, but is the one-month length hard and fast itself, or is it just the deadline that's strict? I.e. can we start thinking about / working on a project now?
posted by threeants at 7:10 PM on January 19, 2014

The "thinking about" part is fine, as is some basic planning and so on, but the actual sitting-down-and-knocking-it-out part should be done in the one-month period.
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on January 20, 2014

Okay. I've decided the rough outline of my story, though it's going to be a nightmare to implement. Hopefully if the deadline runs out on me, you guys will enjoy playing the partially finished game. :)
posted by corb at 8:44 AM on January 24, 2014

Oh SHIT this is happening soon.
posted by Think_Long at 10:19 AM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah that's what I said earlier in the week when I downloaded Twine for the first time and broke open the wiki.

It turns out the basics are really basic, and there's already plenty of well-documented libraries for extending Twine to do stuff like make text fade out or keep an inventory and so on.
posted by griphus at 10:24 AM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm comforting myself with that there are a lot of tips on Inform too, though the problem is I've played so many IF games that I'm doing that "Oh and I want it to have X like Y game too..." But there's really a community of resources. Is anyone else doing Inform, or am I the lone masochist?
posted by corb at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2014

Well guys I just finished my first twine story. Here's the premise:

There is a locked door. The door needs 3 keys. There are three rooms. Each room has 1 key.

What happens next will blow. your. mind.

I think I'm a shoe-in for this contest.
posted by Think_Long at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is it a javascript error because you can't steal my ending
posted by griphus at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

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