Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation Announced, Takes Over IFComp

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 30 June 2016—The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) was formally announced today as the first-ever nonprofit formed to support the success and growth of all forms of interactive fiction — text adventures, choice-based games, visual novels, and more. The Foundation’s mission is to ensure the ongoing maintenance, improvement, preservation, and development of tools and services necessary to the creation and distribution of interactive fiction. IFTF also announced today that it will assume stewardship of the prestigious Interactive Fiction Competition (IFComp).

Interactive fiction is a game category where the player’s interactions primarily involve text. Examples run the gamut from classic titles such as as Infocom’s Zork (the bestselling computer game of 1980), to more contemporary work including Zoe Quinn’s controversial Depression Quest (2013), or inkle studios’ 80 Days (TIME magazine’s 2014 Game of the Year).

In order to further support and broaden the reach of interactive fiction, a team of category veterans came together this year to found IFTF. The board of directors includes President Jason McIntosh (principal organizer of IFComp), Andrew Plotkin (the most award-winning interactive fiction author of all time and author of Hadean Lands), Carolyn VanEseltine (founder of Sibyl Moon Games and former Harmonix developer), Chris Klimas (creator of Twine), and Flourish Klink (Chief Research Officer of Chaotic Good Studios).

The Annual Interactive Fiction Competition is the largest and longest-running competition of its kind, founded in 1995 by Kevin Wilson and having taken place annually ever since. In 2015, more than 20,000 people took part in making, playing, or rating the 53 games entered into the twenty-first IFComp. Under IFTF’s stewardship, IFComp will receive long-lacking legal and financial support to ensure its continued presence as a cornerstone of the modern IF community.

“IFComp is just the first of many efforts that we want to help with this foundation,” says Chris Klimas. “People have given so much of themselves to projects like it, not for any external reward but because of their love of interactive fiction, and we want to make sure that work endures.” Carolyn VanEseltine adds, “The formation of IFTF begins a new chapter in interactive fiction history. With input and help from players, authors, and communities, we’ll maintain old tools and create new ones so this unique art form thrives for years to come.”

IFComp is just the beginning: IFTF seeks to support all parts of the interactive fiction community. It is currently considering ways to best support the Twine platform’s growth and development. A project to increase the accessibility of works of interactive fiction is also in planning stages. To learn more, visit IFTF’s website:

I’m on the Advisory Board of IFTF and I’m super excited about it!


This is such exciting news!


Very great news. :smile:


Speaking for the IFTF Board of Directors, we consider Choice of Games players and authors to be a key IF community, and we’re very glad to have @dfabulich on the Advisory Board!


This is wonderful news!

That’s awesome! Can you use ChoiceScript for an entry to this competition? How does that work?

EDIT: Nevermind, I see one of the winners last year was ChoiceScripted!

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Do you know if teams are allowed? So like two people submitting one game?

The IFComp rules are available here: The Interactive Fiction Competition and there’s also an FAQ.

Can an entry be written by a team?

But there are two rules for judges that are a bit onerous from the perspective of folks on this forum.

First, there’s the rule that your entry will always be available for free on the IF Archive.

2. All entries must cost nothing for judges to play, no strings attached. While you retain the copyright to any games you enter, by entering you are granting the competition and the Interactive Fiction Archive the non-exclusive right to distribute your game for free, and granting judges the right to play your game for free. No shareware, donorware, commercial products, etc. may be entered.

Having said that, just because a game was entered in IFComp doesn’t mean that we can’t also make it available via HG or CoG and make money doing so; we’ve done it before.

Normally we’d distribute IFComp entries as free apps with advertisements on mobile. (But Steam doesn’t allow in-game advertisements, so we’d have to figure something else out in that case.)

Second, there’s the rule that you can’t post WIP links publicly:

3. All entries must be previously unreleased at the opening of judging. By “unreleased”, we generally mean that a qualifying entry has never been widely distributed, sold, or made available for public play or download prior to the competition.

Note that this rule does not prevent you from having your game tested by a few beta-testers, as long as you know who each of those beta-testers are. The author must know who has had access to copies of their games before the competition. If you have placed a version of your game on the web, then the link to to play or download the game cannot have been publicly handed out.

The FAQ clarifies rule 3, emphasizing that posting a WIP link to your game on a forum like ours is disqualifying:

I have an unfinished game people have already played. Can I finish it and enter it into the competition?
It all depends on whether or not the game’s earlier version has been released to the public.

If you know that a few friends, family, colleagues or classmates are the game’s only players, then you’re clear to enter it (or an improved version of it). As far as the IFComp is concerned, these people were early playtesters, and the game remains safely unreleased.

However, if the game was available on the public internet, where anyone could find and play it, then the IFComp considers that a release – even if the game wasn’t finished yet. This would be the case if, for example, you linked to the game from a public forum.


Thanks, I did see the link-sharing rules, so “closed beta” for sure, I just didn’t know about the teams. And good to know that CoG can distribute our games if they do well in the competition :smiley:

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Sounds like I have the rules fo CSComp fairly close to this of course they have been at it a lot longer lol. But nice to see I am following in their footsteps in away. :slight_smile:


I like to think that they are following in yours. :wink:


I think were original in our own why but it is nice to see I am not to far from how they handle it. :smile:

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Your prize money is better!


Aw shucks guys, you hear that? We’re a key IF community. :blush:


Of course the CoG forum is a key IF community! Look around and see how supportive, innovative, intelligent, and productive we are!

In fact, there is a lot of discussion at about the risk of accidentally skewing results in the IF Comp, just because this particular community is so huge and passionate.

It’s worth noting that IF Comp is NOT a popularity contest and that people who enter genuinely DON’T want to get maximum points just because they’re writing in ChoiceScript.

It’s a great way to read a bunch of excellent IF ranging from CS to Twine to puzzles, parser, and even experimental. I definitely recommend entering (if you can; I can’t this year), checking out the forum, and picking a random selection of entries to judge (only a tiny number of people will be able to play every entry). And of course telling more people about it - the IF Comp is a wonderful entry point into the wider IF community, and it benefits all of us.


Indeed, IFComp lead to my discovery of CYOA games even existing on PC beyond the old Infogrammes classics. I subsequently then spent a fair chunk of cash grabbing the CoG/HG games I liked :smiley:

It’s a great way as a consumer to discover new forms of entertainment and new authors.


@dfabulich (or @Lordirish ) What happens if a CoG game wins a contest prize? The FAQ said that if a code makes money then some of it has to go to CoG, so how does this process occur?

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To date they have never asked that we do this. They have been very nice towards us on the comp as this is a private comp not sponsored by them in any way. :smile:

Choice of Games LLC is happy to grant a free license to derive de minimis (=too small to worry about) prize money or festival money from games that use ChoiceScript, without any compensation to Choice of Games LLC. In particular, we’re happy to grant such a license to anyone who wins money (or other prizes) in the IFComp competition to allow them to accept the prize money without any payment to us. As a formal matter, you should contact us on a case-by-case basis as it comes up–this statement of our policy does not in and of itself constitute a license or offer to enter into a license, and we reserve the right to negotiate an appropriate license if an author would derive more than de minimis prize money (for example, prizes of more than $1000 USD).

But as a practical matter, you should feel free to enter contests like IFComp with ChoiceScript games and to accept prizes that you win–just be in touch with us after you’ve won and before you formally collect your prize.


Is there anything more I should be doing as the comp is slowing growing I have always try to keep things transparent and up front. I just want to make sure I do not cause problems with CoG and me running the comp, even though you do not have any responsibility towards this. And a special thanks to you all at CoG for everything you do.