Friday, 5 May 2017

2017 Mini-comp Announcement

The AIF community is having a mini-competition of small adult games. The Mini-comp is intended to inspire authors to write small, simple games for community to enjoy. The rules of the Mini-comp are designed to limit the scope and sizes of the games to make it easier for both new authors and experienced authors to finish their games.

Here are the rules of the 2017 Mini-comp (they are somewhat modified from the previous 2014 Mini-comp):
  • To limit the sizes of games, the more interactive characters that your game has, the fewer rooms it can have.
    • If your game has 4 interactive characters, including the player-character(s), your game can have up to 2 rooms
    • If your game has 3 interactive characters, including the player-character(s), your game can have up to 4 rooms
    • If your game has 2 interactive characters, including the player-character(s), your game can have up to 8 rooms
    • If your game has only one interactive character (the player-character), your game can have up to 16 rooms 
    • In some cases, the room limitations are quite generous. Do not feel obligated for your game to have the maximum number of rooms allowed
  • No playable part of your game can have been released to the public before the deadline. You are free to discuss the game publicly before the deadline. As a convenience, you can do so at this design discussion blog post, or feel free to do so elsewhere.
  • Multimedia is permitted (images and sounds), but try to keep the size of the game small so that it is easy to e-mail and download
  • Your game must be winnable (or at least it must have an ending the the player can reach)


The submission procedures are as follows:
  • The deadline is July 31, 2017, August 31, 2017 at the end of the day. This deadline will likely be extended to the end of August.  (July 17, 2017: deadline was changed to the end of August)
  • Send your entry by e-mail to losttrout AT gmail DOT com . In the interest of avoiding viruses, it is preferred if you send game interpreter files or HTML files instead of binary executable files.
Submitted games will be judged by an online vote. The voting procedure will be determined after the submission deadline, but the games will be judged in these categories:
  • Concept: Is it a good idea for a mini-comp game? Does it work well with the set limits? Does it feel complete or more like a game fragment?
  • Writing: How well-written is it? Do the settings have the atmosphere that the author seems to be after?
  • Characters: Do the characters 'come to life'? How sexy are they?
  • Sex: How hot are the sex scenes?
  • Technical: How many bugs are there? What neat tricks did the author invent?
  • Enjoyment: How much did you like the game?

43 comments:

  1. I'm going to let these rules sit here over the weekend for feedback. If there are no strong objections, I will make announcement posts about the Mini-comp at other venues next week.

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  2. I have a small game that is 3 interactive characters (Including player) over two rooms that I should be able to finish in time. Can you put a clear definition around what is an interactive character so I know if i can use it or if I should start fresh?

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    1. To me, an interactive character is one that most or all of the usual sexual verbs work on. A full player directed sex scene. A non interactive character is just that, someone you don't interact with. Maybe there's a sex scene, but the player just watches it unfold.

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    2. The definition of an interactive character is a little loose. If you directly interact with a character, then they are an interactive character. Then there is the in-between zone of characters you watch in the distance but have no influence over. Unless the game blatantly disregards the suggested limitations, I'm inclined to accept the game into the contest, and let voters penalize the game in the concept category if they see fit to do so.

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    3. Other in-between zones are implied interactions. In the game, you might order a drink from a bar--it's implied that you get the drink from a bartender, but such a character doesn't appear in the descriptions. Another in-between zone is characters that you might influence indirectly but never directly interact with. For situations like these, I don't have an answer, so unless it's really blatant, I'm inclined to let games such as these in to the contest and let voters penalize the game in the concept category if they feel it is necessary.

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  3. Seems reasonable to me. I notice the elimination of the restrictions on the number of sex scenes and "sexually-interactive" characters, as opposed to "generally" interactive. Otherwise, they don't impact me this time round since my idea only uses one NPC, one or two rooms and one sex scene in total.

    My TADS has gotten rusty recently, so this is a good chance to get back into the swing of things.

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    1. I always found the rules about sexually-interactive characters to be complicated. I hope trading off rooms for interactive characters will work as an alternative for limiting scope.

      The rule about sexually-interactive characters was also intended to prevent authors from trying to make a threesome game because people thought that it would be too much work and too popular. In CYOA games and parser games with simpler sex models, threesomes might not be that much work. And the last mini-comp showed that a well-written romance/seduction has a lot of appeal, so it's not a given that a game with the most sex will win the minicomp.

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    2. There was also the rule about the number of sex scenes themselves, which I'm glad to see has been dropped. This is AIF, there should be as much sex as possible, within the bounds of the other rules.

      The game I wrote for 2014's comp would have benefited from splitting the sex scene in half, with one at the start and one at the end, but that would have fallen foul of the as-then rules.

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    3. That goes to show how complicated the old mini-comp rules were. My understanding of the old rules was the opposite. I thought that they allowed unlimited sex scenes between two people. My original plan for the minicomp version of the Nat Dewey game involved four sex scenes between the protagonist and the roguish villain, plus a sex cutscene between the protagonist and her boyfriend.

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  4. I'll see to participate! Will this be cross-posted to all other AIF forums as well?

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  5. Hm. So "Orgy in a Phonebooth" or "Masturbation in a Five-Bedroom Beach House"...

    I'm kidding! I keed...I'm a keeder.

    Are there any specifics for a choice-based game where physical locations aren't really a thing?

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    1. CYOA authors should keep to the spirit of having the games take place in a limited number of locations. I suppose a CYOA location is a story setting where the player has to make a decision.

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  6. Everything seems good, except... what the hell kinda AIF game has 16 rooms and 1 character?

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    1. I don't know myself, but I wanted to leave that possibility open because having only a single character can save so much programming time that can be spent on other aspects of the game that I'm sure the result will be interesting.

      The category could fit a traditional puzzle game with a non-interactive sex scene at the end. Or possibly a voyeur game. The mini-comp has already had a game about sex with dogs, so the next step might be a game about sex with inanimate objects. Or an artsy exploration of the memories of a character's past with some non-interactive sex scenes. The category might actually work well for CYOA games.

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    2. Alright. I see a bit better what the idea is. Cool. I still think the only accurate measure of the size of a game is the wordcount.

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    3. Thinking about it a little more, if I were to write the rules, I would, say, remove the scale, and just have a max limit of X rooms and X characters, or even better, just have a limit of X interactive characters. Here is my reasoning:

      1) Room counts don't really measure a size of a game anymore. A lot of games use time rather than place, splitting their game into days and such. This can make games a lot larger than room counts might suggest.

      2) In AIF number of characters usually signify how big something is. About a new game we usually ask: how many romanceable characters are there, rather than how many rooms there happens to be.

      The most direct way to limit the size of a game is by wordcount. 20,000 words, I think, makes a small game. But I understand why people would be hesitant to use this measure.

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    4. You may be right about the best way to measure size, but my motivations are different.

      My personal motivation for entering the minicomp in the past is that I've had lots of ideas for over-ambitious AIF games sitting around, and the minicomp has given me motivation to try to take one of these ideas off the shelf, whittle it down to minicomp size, and try to finish making it. For me, chopping up an ambitious game idea to have fewer characters and rooms is part of the fun of the minicomp. I don't have a good feel for wordcount, so I would have a hard time chopping up an ambitious game idea to fit a wordcount, so I would end up having less fun, so I'm not going that route.

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  7. How many games are we allowed to enter? I have ideas for two small games that are mechanically very different, and I'd like to submit them both if it's possible. If not I'll enter whichever I think is stronger and release the other just for fun.

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    1. Traditionally people were allowed to enter more than once, but I can't speak for this specific comp.

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    2. If you have enough free time and motivation to make two games, that's fine. I would personally recommend focusing on one and saving some ammo for next year though.

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    3. I agree, but there are two things I have in abundance and that's ideas and free time. With such a long deadline it'll be June and I'll have nothing left to do. May as well go for broke.

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  8. Rules are a little bit unclear. What constitutes a character? What if that character only has 2 lines of dialogue, is that person still a character? In my contribution you can talk to some people a couple of times but I definitely don't consider them as characters (and they aren't treated as such in the engine). There's only one character with which you can actually have a sexual encounter. And about rooms, does hidden rooms count? We use those a lot in Adrift (e.g for character walks). Anyway, I think I'll submit the game regardless of the rules. I would rather see more entries than less because they might violate the rules by having a non-significant extra room or two. Also, who came up with these rules. Lost trout? Does that also mean you're "in charge" of this competition or are there other people involved? That's in no way an accusation, just wondering who the organizers are. All the best and thanks for the initiative!

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    1. I'm "in charge" in the sense that I volunteered to set a format, set a deadline, gather the entries, and run the vote on behalf of the community. You can follow the discussion about that in a previous Minicomp blog post.

      The rules are intended to get authors to limit the scopes of their games. As long as you try to keep to the spirit of that goal, it should be fine. In previous mini-comps, the point of limiting characters was to save authors from creating lots of "character" objects with descriptions and verbs. The usual way around this issue is to have some sort of short cut scene that includes a conversation with someone else, but that person never appears as an object that can be interacted with in the game and the player has no control over the conversation.

      Rooms are more tricky because some game systems don't even have a concept of a room. I'm leaning towards the idea of a room being a story location where the player can make choices or decisions in the game. If your game has story locations, but the game never stops there to allow the player to do something in that location, then it doesn't count as a room.

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    2. Thanks for your reply! I'd be happy to send my entry to you in advance to see if it conforms to the rules. If that's something you'd be interested in, please get in touch with me at palmer_aif@hotmail.com or leave your contact information as a comment. Thanks again for doing this!

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    3. Since this isn't really a competitive contest, does it really even matter that much if the rules fudge a bit? I know they're to prevent people from feeling they need to make a huge game, but isn't the point to solicit as many new games as possible?

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    4. @palmer
      There's no need to send me anything. If you think it qualifies for the Minicomp rules, then I'll throw it in the pile of games and let the voters decide whether they think it does or not.

      @Hanon
      The minicomp isn't particularly competitive but it's still a competition with a winner. Some people may feel righteously angry if they think someone has abused the rules. It's like someone cutting in line in front of you at the grocery store.

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    5. @trout
      If I don't abide by the rules, i'd like to still participate even if I'm technically disqualified.

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    6. If your game is too big for the rules, I think it would make more sense for you to release the game separately so that people can enjoy it separately. The mini-comp does bring some extra attention, but it's easy for games to get lost too. But if you insist, I can include arbitrary games with the mini-comp release of games, and they simply won't be included in the voting.

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    7. if im making something in twine it wont have rooms... so how many people can i have in it?

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    8. The intention is that CYOA authors keep to the spirit of the rules. For CYOA games like Twine, a room is defined as a location in the story where the player has to make a choice. So if the story goes through a park and a bar, but the player never is given the option to make any choices there, then those don't count as rooms: they are just non-interactive cutscenes. If the story involves a park and a bar, and the player has to choose what to do in the park, and there are a few optional link available when they pass through the bar, then both the park and the bar will count as rooms.

      Also note that the mini-comp rules refers to interactive characters. You can have as many non-interactive characters in the game as you want.

      It might be easier if you just tell everyone what your idea is in the design discussion blog, then people can help you get your game idea to fit. These sorts of vague discussions often cause more misunderstandings.

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    9. well i got these shitty books about mario doing stuff and at the end of the page it gives you options and you gotta turn to a page. and one of those books has a chapter that's impossible to reach, i checked. misprint in the dutch version. oh well. anyway it's like that. no variables, just pages. and an ending near or at the end. basically that but it has 20 potential outcomes. 20 static outcomes. perhaps more if i get inspired. perhaps less if i get lazy.

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    10. If one of the pages takes place in a garage, then the garage counts as one of your rooms. If five of the pages takes place in a bedroom, then the bedroom counts as one of your rooms. If eight of the pages take place in a park, then the park counts as one of your rooms.

      Various workarounds you can use to get "more rooms" are:

      - a studio apartment where the living room, kitchen, and bedroom are all a single room

      - if at the end of a page, it tells you to go to another page, and you don't have any other choices for pages that you can turn to, then the page doesn't count towards your room count (it's considered a non-interactive cutscene)

      - It's a bit of a gray area for Twine games, but you can sometimes pretend that a whole movie theater counts as one room or a whole shopping mall counts as one room depending on how you write it up.

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  9. If you have 3 characters in one playthrough, but switch one in another playthrough (giving you a max of 3 characters in a playthrough), would that count as 3 or 4 characters ?

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    1. I would have to imagine that would still be 4, even if you can't see them all in one go. That would be like having an option at the start where you were going - say the mall or the school.

      Even if each one fit within the confines of the rules, simply adding that option so you couldn't play them both the same time wouldn't give you less rooms, just more plays required to see them all.

      Trout thus far has seemed pretty lax in the rules, giving the 'judges' the final say as they vote, and of course I can't speak for him. But I'd say it would be fudging the rules at best.

      Perhaps you could consider doing what some others have done for minicomps in the past - releasing a game for it that fits in the rules - thus only a single playthrough possible, fitting the number of rooms/characters fairly.

      Then as soon as it is finished, release an extended version with more rooms, characters, endings or whatever else you had in mind. Of course you could finish it well before the deadline, working on it all the while, but just don't release it as part as your minicomp game.

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    2. Thanks, that helped to clarify it :-)

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    3. I concur with SpikeTheGoat. In all previous minicomps, that would count as 4 characters. The character count refers to all possible playthroughs.

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  10. Looking at some of the older stuff, it seems as if some submissions have been 'lost' in the minicomp. Can anyone speak to that? - and to clarify, I mean that submissions that might have otherwise got more traction were instead overlooked mostly because of the favorable competition.

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    1. Yes and no. It does bother me that some games get released to the minicomp and no one ever talks about them, and the games disappear after the voting. This also happens with games outside the minicomp too though. It's not unusual for good games to go unnoticed. Often, slightly buggy games garner the most discussions because people ask for hints, which spikes people's interest in the game, which causes more people to ask for hints, ... Minicomp games also tend to be so short that they don't make a lasting impression on players anyway, so even if they were released outside the minicomp, they would also quickly fade away.

      The advantage of the minicomp is that
      a) most minicomp games would never have been written if it hadn't been for the minicomp
      b) authors don't have to run around advertising that they've released a game, which some authors fail to do and results in no one playing their game. The minicomp does attract a large audience of players
      c) even if no one talks about a game, a large number of people *will* play it because they play all the minicomp games

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  11. Am I to assume that I can also make a game with 1 room and up to 8 characters?

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    1. No. A game with 8 characters would be too large for the minicomp. Having those extra characters wouldn't allow for many more types of games than just having 4. A minicomp game can have 4 interactive characters and 4 non-interactive characters though.

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  12. Ok so this minicomp is going to grab my attention enough to take a crack at making my first game. Only question on the rules I have is if I say have a male character and a female character and she cheats or I dare her to go sleep with someone do the other characters count as non interactive as long as I can only order her to do it but not control the scene that follows?

    Velsomnia

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    1. If the scene that follows is just one long block of text, then that should be fine. If the scene is spread out over multiple actions then it's a little more iffy. I would still allow it into the minicomp, but some of the audience/reviewers might penalize it during the judging.

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