[POLL] The Next Game Jam & Considering Adding an IF Category

Good day everyone! I hope everyone is doing well in these current times. I am happy to let you all know that we have decided on when we are going to be holding the next game jam! Right now we are planning on holding the next jam sometime in August.

Now we do have some changes planned for this Jam. The largest of these changes is a new name. We know that the name “Fat Fortnight” was causing some confusion among our users with the popularity of Epic’s Fortnite. Due to this feedback from the community we have decided to change the name, but we have hit a small problem. We are horrible at coming up with names!

We figured that community may have better ideas then us on what the new name should be so we plan on holding a small competition next month to come up with a name for the game jam. Its not much, but along with bragging rights we plan on giving out a small reward of $20 for the winning name. More details will be posted in competitions & events next month.

The next thing we wanted to talk about is we have been considering adding a category for Interactive Fiction. It turns our there is a plugin for Discourse that handles Interactive Fiction and due to the better organization of this forum platform compared to the old platform we used we are considering adding it in for the users to play with. Also, the plugin supports playing IF type games via the sites DM system so that is also an option. We wanted to get feedback from the community first though.

So that brings me to our poll. How do you all feel about us adding a IF system to the forums with it being restricted to a single category and/or DMs?

  • I would love to have an IF category
  • I am fine with an IF system if limited to DMs only
  • I do not care either way
  • I do not want an IF system added to the forums

0 voters

Feel free to discuss any comments or concerns as we would love to hear them!

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I should state this is the plugin we are looking at for the IF system:

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OKAY SO IMAGINE A GAME JAM MADE FOR FAT/EXPANSION GAMES WITH THESE NAMES

  • Gain Jam (by itself)

Prefix ideas: (to replace the FF in FFGJ)

  • Snackathon (instead of hackathon) (one of my favs)
  • Battle of the Bellies (probably my personal fave, and choice)
  • Chonk Challenge
  • Tummy Tournament (my 2nd choice fav)
  • War of the Waists
  • ??

I can come up with lots more I was just so excited and wanted to get these ideas out!


As far as the IF system goes, it’d be a nice way to be inclusive for people that want to make games like this, providing them with everything they need, but it’s also easy enough to avoid that part of the forum if you’re not interested.

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Man, I just want to say that I JUST made an entire thread discussing IF like a week and a half ago. Wild.

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I’m a little unclear on what this Interactive Fiction plugin stuff is about. Is it just like a text adventure built into the forum where you have to post every time you input a command? That sounds pretty unwieldy, and I don’t understand how that would work with multiple people trying to play the game at once in the same forum thread.

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I have not had time to look further into the plugin yet but to my knowledge it seems to work like a discord bot. We do not expect that it would be the best solution but its an immediate solution for people who may want a system like that since we do not have the time to custom code a solution ourselves atm.

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So this plug-in allows users to play z-machine games on the forum? I take it they still have to be authored in Inform or similar and then sent to the admins to install, and it’s not something that allows collaborative creation of IF games (or collaborative story telling, to distinguish that from IF games, like @Resop was discussing elsewhere)?

Like @Korota, I’d like to know more about how it works with multiple users outside of DMs - does each user create their own topic to play with the 'bot?

Would the IF category be the new home for IF style projects or is it just for this bot? Are you thinking of new categories for other styles of games?

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These are some good questions and I can not say if I can answer them satisfactorily as, tbh, I am not very familiar with Interactive Fiction or sites that are meant for collaborative story telling, but this is why we wanted to start this discussion.

That is currently our largest sticking point with the plugin. We are not very sure about the install process for this plugin when it comes to adding new stories. It seems like we can pull them from github or other repos/sites if we want but the setup may be more involved then we expect as some of the docs suggest it is as easy as putting the scripts in a folder to as complex as fully restarting the site. Really I do not think we will know till we test this on a dev instance but we need to see there is interest before we move forward with that.

That all being said maybe a dedicated system for the main site would be more appropriate to consider.

To my understanding each topic is a new game and I think multiple users can interact with the same topic. I do not think it is limited to one user per topic but once again we do not know for sure till we begin testing.

Probably both mainly due to the fact that IF seems a bit more collaborative then other projects in the general case. That being said we would like further feedback on this assumption.

Not at the moment though a good argument could be made for other game styles or projects that lean themselves more towards collaboration. I could see a category dedicated to open source projects be useful since people can contribute to them and since they are open source they can be used as reference or bases for other projects. Really depends though as we want to be careful to not to go category crazy.

Name, name name name.
Uhhhhhh

The Weight Gaming Jiggling Jelly Jam

Gain Jam.

It’s a shoe-in. Succinct, clear, simple, straightforward and on-brand.
With extra emphasis on the “on-brand” part. Makes it easily identifiable by people who are part of the forum and easily traceable for people who want to know the source, by which I mean both the creator of the game as much as the forums themselves. And considering discoverability is what drove a lot of people into this forum to begin with… I’d say it’s a perfect fit.
If that, for some reason, is too short, perhaps Weight Gaming’s Gain Jam. It might be very on the nose, very obvious, but I think that’s why it works.

As for IF, I don’t really have strong feelings one way or the other. Sounds interesting, though, and could likely result in some neat ideas here and there. Not sure how much usage it would get, I feel like folks would have to kinda learn more about it before actually jumping in or making a decision, but, look, something real sweet might come out of it. I ain’t gonna be saying “no”.

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gain jam sounds perfect imo. That just rolls off the tongue

lol remember the naming competition starts next month

IF outside of DM’s would probably be annoying because the IF threads would get new comments often but there wouldn’t be a discussion. even if you mute a topic the “see x new or updated topics” still shows.

If the goal is to host IF game works, then there’s probably a much easier solution: both Inform and TADS (I think some others do as well) can spit out finished web pages where the interpreter runs client side in JavaScript (Parchment, Quixe etc). I’m assuming that you are considering WG focused games here (ie. new games), rather than existing non-WG works, so targeting HTML as the output is something the author(s) can do. Then you just need a web-server to host the files - which would also work for Twine and the like. This would probably work better with the future “marketplace” ideas I suspect.

If the idea is to be able to watch a player play a game, or have multiple players control a single PC (which sounds chaotic TBH), then not so much.

I’m not sure how collaborative IF game development is. Obviously it is possible for development to be done with Git or an equivalent, as it is with (almost) any kind of game, and for many people to work on one game (Flexible Survival springs to mind), but there’s a compilation/test/release cycle with most of these things, so it’s not done “live” to the players.

Contrast that with what I’m choosing to call collaborative writing (like writing.com and the like) where there isn’t (or is very limited) use of variables and the choices are all down to an ever-branching narrative that’s designed for anyone to edit (indeed, that’s part of the joy of it). Changes can go live as soon as they are done because each part is a new web-page.

Ideally, there’d be something Twine-like that can be edited live, which would combine the variable handling of a classic IF game with the collaborative live editing, but I don’t think that exists. Twine can’t do it itself because being built on TiddlyWiki everything is in one page. Though it might be possible to use Tweego with some kind of CI/CD tooling - so, say, authors publish changes to a git repo which automatically compiles the story and updates the playable page.

I’m kind of split here: the big advantage of writing.com and the like is anyone can add to it as long as they can write, but only allowing dendritic branches is a nightmare for actual interactive fiction. But, introduce any kind of variable, and authors have to have some at least rudimentary coding knowledge which limits the appeal. Of course you can write an ever-branching story in Twine… so maybe that’s not so much of a restriction. Short of building a new web-based application I don’t see a way to do it; I haven’t come across an open project that does this.

What might help for collaboration in general is for there to be a category for “teams” where developers working together can communicate in their own sub-category for their game (writeable by the dev team, readable by anyone) - I’m not at all sure if discourse can handle that sort of permission though, or how much admin effort would be required if it did.

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Clever names! (I’m a sucker for puns) Sadly, I can’t think of anything offhand that fits the format…Also appreciate the support for something that helps people with a different aptitude. I never knew the term for IF’s, but they’ve always held a certain appeal for me. I guess it comes with being from the beginning of the gaming generations…

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As far as I can tell, and take this with a grain of salt-I’m a total amateur in the fields involved-the best way for a collaborative effort to work would be to share ideas in some way, presumably in a private chat system or something. Not necessarily something forum-like, but I don’t know if (there was a real example of this recently, where someone suggested doing so) the use of email is entirely appropriate-it feels overly intimate, to me, and the recipient can basically plagiarize the sender’s ideas-so a small group in a closed forum would likely be ideal. Like I said, I’m not experienced at this sort of thing, so this is purely from an outside perspective, but I hope it serves as a contribution in some way.

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I think TADS and Inform and similar engines are the wrong thing to put into a forum unless you are just trying to entertain users and make games accessible without leaving the website. The discussion about interactive stories on Writing com is probably what sparked you to consider this and is deceptively quite different. Interactive fiction is often like an adventure game or RPG explained purely or primarily through text while the interactive stories on Writing were like visual novels that anyone could decide to contribute in.

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my suggestion for the Jam’s name is " Gauntlet of the Gluttons’

I’m not really a fan of IF, personally, but if it enhances the site without causing too much extra work for the mods, then adding it can only be a good thing?

My own two cents on the proposition:

As all we devs are painfully aware, there is no point in implementing a neat feature that doesn’t help anyone. I haven’t seen much interest in the idea so far, but for my own two cents, it doesn’t sound helpful at all. My guess is that most people would just rather download a file or play on the browser itself as @dingotush has mentioned instead of going through the hassle of learning to play in the forum itself.

This however, I find it very helpful. I’ve been wanting a forum category for IF for a while. Currently I find it too difficult to remember which project is which just by their names.

Personally, I keep an archive of games and separate them by engine(Unity, GameMaker, RPGMaker, Flash, Quest, Other, Custom, etc). This way of organizing things is helpful to me. I get many people would rather be more easily searchable in the forum, but at the very least I think an IF category would be helpful, since there are so many of them.

As a side note, it is a gigantic coincidence that you mention this, because this is exactly what I was working on yesterday.

Part of my thesis was a game engine that exemplified my collaborative game development model. It focused on the absolute layman dev with no coding required, and as text adventures are the simplest forms of game to make, that is what my proof of concept engine was built for. Since I was already running out of time for my thesis, I never got to finish the web player/server side of my engine(also because I suck at web development), then life got in the way an I ended up never finishing it. Then yesterday, after reaching new levels of boredom in the Covid crisis, I finally got to working on it again.

Basically what I am working on right now is a web app through which people can play IF games, kinda like Quest’s. Play would go on normally until the person inevitably hit the content barrier(say you click to “push down the door” and the game doesn’t have content for that option yet), then the web app informs the player that what happens when he does that hasn’t been written yet, and asks if he wants to write that themselves for other people to play from that point on. If they decide they want to “contribute”, the app switches to editor mode and they can write the new branch and publish it, then it becomes instantly playable across users.

Of course, there are a lot more things going on in the background(making sure different game mechanics are compliant with one another[like health] at runtime, deciding what is the canon route if multiple people submitted for the same branch, actually implementing editing tools that are easy to use on f**king javascript, so on, so on), but that is the gist of it, and it motivates me to see that more people want that.

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