What is IntroComp?
IntroComp is an annual competition where participants develop excerpts of interactive fiction, gain feedback from audience reactions, and (hopefully!) use this feedback to release a fantastic final product.
This Year’s Winners
Congratulations to this year’s winners! They are:
This Year’s Stories
All the 2023 entries can still be played here. They are:
- Black Street Market
- The Blossom
- Chronicles of Kyrathaba
- Jimin, Ari, and Shush
- Loose Ends
- Luna Gardens
- The Picton Files: The Peter & Paul Case
This Year’s Schedule
- Intents to Enter Accepted:
June 5, 2023
- Intent to Enter Deadline:
June 30, 2023
- Submission Deadline:
July 31, 2023
- Voting Deadline:
September 9, 2023
- [Probable] Posting of Results:
September 10, 2023
IntroComp is done for 2023. See you in 2024!
How IntroComp Works
Entrants must submit an excerpt of a new, never before seen work of interactive fiction that is not yet complete. This excerpt can be a short or as long as the developer wishes, as long as 1) the submission is a working, playable game and 2) interactive fiction / nonfiction.
Projects submitted must not be intended / promoted as a prelude to a commercial release. IntroComp is an opportunity to build an audience for your work, gather feedback, and improve as a creator – not to promote a Kickstarter, for example.
What is Interactive Fiction?
We define Interactive Fiction as including any title where written narrative is the core of the experience. However this narrative is communicated, written storytelling needs to be the primary focus of your IntroComp game. Same goes for game mechanics. As long as the written word is the core of your title, feel free to wrap it in any glorious layer you can imagine – from shootybangs, to kinetic hypertext, to typing into a parser, and beyond. Platform neutrality is strongly encouraged.
Once the competition is over, we screen all the feedback submitted about your game (to prevent abuse) and send it your way. Want direct, polite feedback on how you might improve an aspect of your game? Worried about how an experimental portion of your title might be received? Wonder whether folks would even want to pursue your story to its end? IntroComp is a welcoming environment to address all of these concerns and more.
If you finish your game within a year of the competition’s close (and tell us), you might also be eligible to win a cash prize.
Speaking of PRIZES —
Prizes / Terms & Conditions
- 1st Place:
- 2nd Place:
- 3rd Place:
- $ 50
Placement is determined by player votes during the voting period – the game ranking highest-overall receiving first place, and so on. All prizes valued in US funds, minus any currency conversion fee that might be required. Void where prohibited by law. Do not remove this tag from your mattress, some assembly may be required, etc.
To win, you not only have to state your intention to enter, and submit your game by the deadline, but finish it within a year of the competition (by August 31, 2024) as well. You also have to let us know that you finished said game – we’re not omniscient (yet). If you complete your game outside of the deadline, we will still be thrilled to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS WITH YOU, but it is unfortunately no longer eligible for a cash prize.
For those wondering what ‘Honorable’ means: anyone who took the time to submit their game, but didn’t place in the top-three entries, falls into this category. We really want to encourage folks to finish their games, so the first Honorable project to be released in a complete form will be granted the $50 Honorable prize, provided the title isn’t buggy or just sort of slapped together. We reserve the right to personally determine whether the ‘completeness’ of an entry is adequate. No questions asked. No complaining.
Submit your finished, polished product in the spirit of the competition, and if eligible, whatever category you may fall within, the money is yours. Prizes are funded by the IFTF, a charitable organization that exists with the help of your donations.
Voting & Judging Rules
- Entering authors/developers may not vote
- Beta testers are allowed to vote, but only for titles they did not test
- Players are free to discuss entered titles in any reasonable form during the voting period
- Authors must refrain from discussing any entries in a public forum during the voting period
- Authors may not canvass for votes (though they may announce their participation in IntroComp and/or the start of the competition itself)
- No one may canvass for votes on a developer’s behalf
Voters will be asked to vote with a rating reflecting how much they’d like to see the game in question finished. Voters will also be asked to submit anonymous feedback with at least one positive thought and one constructive criticism for each title voted upon. This feedback will be held, screened, and distributed to authors immediately following the conclusion of the competition. Meaningful feedback has always been considered the true prize of IntroComp, and we aim to keep it that way.
It goes without saying that we also hope all votes / feedback submitted are done in good faith and on the individual excerpt’s merit, versus as a show of support for a particular author, genre, or framework.
All official IntroComp correspondence will be conducted through email (though quick questions may be asked through Twitter – we’re @IFIntroCom). If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email us at:
introcomp at introcomp.org
This is the same email you’ll need to use for submitting news of finished entries and/or intriguing baking tips, so keep that in mind!
WAIT, WHAT’S THIS ‘WE’ BUSINESS? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JACQUELINE AND XALAVIER? ARE THEY SAFE?! DOES THIS MEAN NO ONE IS THREATENING TO SEND US SMELLY FISH THIS YEAR?
Worry, not, they are both safe. In fact, Jacqueline is helping with the transition to a new steward. This new steward is Eric W. Brown, aka Feneric. He has promised to uphold his solemn duties as the fourth IntroComp organizer and not to immediately steer it over a cliff.
Sadly, we can’t promise that she won’t still figure out a way to send smelly fish to people. It’s just that now it’s more of a hobby than a sacred duty.*
- Xalavier Note: There is no difference between those two things in this situation.
- Eric Note: Once all the work has been done to ensure continued smelliness through slow long-distance shipping, it’d be a waste just to give up on it.
HOW LONG/SHORT SHOULD AN INTROCOMP ENTRY BE?
IntroComp doesn’t have any particular length requirements. You could submit a hefty portion of your game, or a title screen alone. Just keep in mind the time voters may (fairly or not) take to judge your work as a result.
I ALREADY HAVE A WORK IN PROGRESS – IT’S EVEN HAD SOME BETA TESTING! CAN I STILL SUBMIT AN INTENT TO ENTER?
Some people actually plan / develop their excerpts far in advance of the competition. As long as your game hasn’t been released publicly in any form prior to IntroComp, you should be good to go!
WHAT LANGUAGE CAN I USE? ON WHICH PLATFORMS CAN ENTRIES BE RELEASED? CAN I RELEASE A GAME THAT ONLY RUNS ONLINE?
Since you asked so many questions at once, we’ll break our answer into three parts: 1) Any language you wish! However, it is worth mentioning that the majority of IntroComp’s audience speaks English. 2) Can this platform for your interactive fiction be used by a human / three-dimensional being? Then feel free to release your title on it. Just remember to provide instructions / requirements for play – especially if you’re releasing on a platform that is somewhat atypical. 3) Sure!
WHAT’S TO STOP ME FROM JUST ADDING “AND THEN THEY ALL DIED – THE END!” TO MY ENTRY AND THEN CLAIMING MY PRIZE? BWAHAHAHA!
In the darkest recesses of your eyelids, just beyond the edge of your blackened vision, there is a Beast. It has no name. It has no needs. It has only a purpose.
It will find you, and deal with you accordingly.
...oooooor you could just act in the spirit of the competition! That sounds like a cool idea. Yeah. Let’s do that.
WHEN I FINISH WRITING MY GAME, CAN I SUBMIT IT TO IFCOMP?
Unfortunately, IF Comp’s similar “no prior release” rule makes taking this route impossible. However, you still might be able to enter other competitions – check with each comp organizer as appropriate!
CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE ENTRY?
You can submit as many entries as you wish (keep it reasonable, please), but only the highest-ranked title will be eligible for any cash prizes. If you want to know which of your narrative ideas is most enticing to a wider audience, IntroComp is a great way to find out.