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

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”.


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.


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.


I am happy to see so much discussion on this topic with many good points as well. Since I have not be able to reply to anything yet I might as well start from the top:

This is a very valid point and is one of our major worries when it comes to implementing a system like this. Spam like that is the main reason we are hesitant to implement something like this.

I agree here, the most optimal solution would be a dedicated site. I know for the main site I have been exploring allowing users to embed web projects like you see on flash game sites which would work well for this. The main thing is the plugin is more of an immediate solution till a better one can be made available.

It is but funny enough it is quite popular. Twitch bots popularize this method where the chat can control one PC. That being said I am not sure if one PC is a restriction or not with this plugin.

In the end how collaborative something is depends on how the project is structured and setup. Also, with community based projects a strict test release cycle does not really need to be followed. This can also be helped with automation of certain tasks like smoke testing. Really depends on the setup though.

This is what I think we could support quite easily mainly due to the wiki topics that discourse supports. It is possible that the forums could maybe do something writting.com out of the box but I do not know enough about it to be able to say for sure.

This is not outside of the realm of possibility. I have had an idea for a discord bot for a small dungeon crawl game where the community can craft encounters and add npcs into the game by using data driven design methodologies. My original idea is more to allow for users to be able to setup such things through configuration then crafting the systems per say. This limits the systems flexibility but does make it more accessible to allowing anyone to add content to it.

I think a similar concept could be applied to a twine like application, and maybe we should consider pursuing the discord bot as a prof of concept instead of the IF bot for the forum.

The curated project category is kind of supposed to fill that role for larger projects, and unfortunately something like that is a bit of an admin nightmare as we have to set those groups up manually. We could write a plugin to help automate that but I do not really feel it would add enough benefit to justify the time investment. That admin nightmare is also one of the reason why the curated projects category is restricted.

In reality maybe we should look at setting up open source projects to try to encourage more open source development. That may be more effective.

These are good points that I think we should take into consideration.

That is also a good point, maybe what we should be considering further is the interactive stories aspect of the question.

Our main concern at the moment is impacting the user experience of the forums and that may be the deciding factor.

You are not wrong but you forget to take into account the poll up above. Until that closes we do not know what the interest actually is at least among those who have participated.

That being said you are right which is why we made this post to gauge interest before moving forward with anything.

The browser does tend to be the more popular option mainly due to the convenience of it.

I have to disagree with you a bit here just due to the fact that bots on discourse work a lot like discord bots and they tend to be very popular with the users on those discords. Due to this I think there is a lower barrier to entry here then you might think. A valid point for consideration though.

Ya I can get that. We depend a lot on tagging to organize content by those categories. Right now I think more IF falls under the text adventure tag but the system is quite under utilized we believe. It is possible that it is a UX issue though since the tag video game has to be added to gain access to these tags and discourse is not very clear about that.

That being said you are right about there being so many so a separate category may prove useful on its own.

Thats really cool! I would love to talk with you about what you did just to see how you set it all up.


@grotlover2 Yeah, spam could be a problem. Assuming it’s easy to implement, perhaps consider allowing access at certain trust levels? That would weed out most potential spammers? Perhaps allow reading at a low level and then more access at a higher level?

Completely forgot the poll was a thing when I got into the technical side of it :sweat_smile:
I guess that is another complaint people often lever towards devs. When we get into the technical details, we forget everything else.


I’d love to show you, even though I don’t have much done right now in the web side yet.

As I said, I really suck at web development. After I left uni I started working mainly with data science and nlp, so I am taking this more as a chance to learn the ropes of web dev than anything else. You will probably be much more knowledgeable than I am.

Since we were all thinking of doing something kinda towards the same end, if @dingotush wants to hop in too, we might as well put our heads together into one single project. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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I appreciate the reply, the feedback, and all, and I especially appreciate the kind words in response to my own input. Thank you, and best wishes!

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I must admit I’m curious about what you’ve done @Ano. Did you get as far as writing any of the theory up? You may have missed it, but there was another topic: Your preferred engine for public I.F. which may have had some bearing on this one. It would be cool to be able to help out with something, and thrash out ideas. I’m not sure how much direct help I could be - it’s been a while since I did any real server side web development (and by a while I mean Java EE was a big deal, and PHP still stood for Personal Home Page), and I’m not exactly flush with time as I try and keep my head above water in these times (Yaffaif will remain my major dev project).

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a long time but never got around to it so I’ll just leave a little preview here. Writers, consider using ink script for interactive fiction. You wouldn’t be able to incorporate them seamlessly into the forum but writers can easily make exe files for users to play on their web browser or computer. It’s way more flexible than writing.com although it’s not collaborative but the script is built so that you can avoid an exponential number of branches while still making the story interactive. Check it out here Writing web-based interactive fiction with ink

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When I raised the question of if the site could host IF content, it was not done with the expectation that the forum itself would be the location of the content. There are limitations to forum software and platforms that might be best avoided by having them on the weightgaming domain but not necessarily embedded in the forum itself.

Interactive Fiction can be fun and I would love to see this community help people making site-related content migrate ‘here’ from less accommodating platforms (eg; writing dot com), but there are limitations and design questions such as those dingotush raised that would need to be asked first.

Not exactly.

There are two main types: text-adventure and choose-your-own-adventure.

The text-adventure is played by typing in commands to progress through the story, akin to “The Oregon Trail”.

Choose-your-own-adventure type is played by choosing a pre-determined option from the others. Like a click-and-play game. Instead of typing it out, there will be prompts or highlighted text, or just plain buttons that have certain options.

I am no expert, but from what I have seen those are the two major types that I have come across. The choose-your-own-adventure type could be a welcomed addition to the game jam.

The games are developed using a program, not just forums. I am using Twine 2.0 for mine, while others have used Ren’py, Quest, and there are a few others that I cannot think of at the moment, so there isn’t a “community playthrough”, it is per-person.

I hope this helps shed some light on the IF topic!

Regardless of game type, I think all games should be welcomed to the game jam. As long as it plays like a game and has a story to tell, why not?