Spring Thing2006
Or Fall Fooferall, for our Southern Hemisphere friends.



I made a few changes to the 2006 rules as compared to the 2005 rules. The changes are in blue.

For the most part, the rule changes made things a bit easier for authors, except that entrants had to submit their intent to enter in by March 1 instead of March 15.

Rules for Authors
  1. The Spring Thing is a competition for interactive fiction. If you have any doubts as to whether your game qualifies as interactive fiction, please contact the organizer before entering the competition.
  2. To enter the competition, you must first submit an initial intent to enter, no sooner than noon EDT on September 30, 2005, and no later than noon EST on March 1, 2006, to the organizer at the email address at the bottom of this page. It must include your real name (and pseudonym, if so desired), a brief description of your game, a working title, and the country you live in (so I can give you appropriate payment instructions; see below).
  3. There is no limit to how many authors will be accepted, as long as they follow all the rules. (I think most judges would most like to see fewer than twenty games, and I agree. But for me the administrative headache of enforcing both the "20 slots" rule and the $7 rule [see next rule] was more than I wanted to deal with. And anyway, I predict the $7 entry fee will naturally limit the number or entrants. If I'm wrong, I'll consider reinstating the "20 slots" rule in the future.)
  4. Your intent to enter will not be complete until you have submitted a non-refundable entry fee of $7 US to the prize pool. After your initial email stating your intent to enter, wait for a reply from the organizer, who will tell you where to send your entry fee. This fee will not be refunded, even if you withdraw from the competition or are disqualified.
  5. If you are submitting your entry fee electronically (such as by PayPal), then your entry fee must be received by noon EST, March 15, 2006. If you are submitting your entry fee by any other means (such as by mail), then your entry fee must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2006, and received by March 31, 2006. (There will be ABSOLUTELY NO exceptions to this. If I receive your payment envelope in the mail on April 1 or later, your game will be disqualified, and I will either refund your entry fee or contribute it to the prize pool, at my discretion. I am drawing a hard line here, because the rules are already a lot easier for authors than they were before, and there will be no further backsliding. If you are concerned about the slowness of your local postal service, you are advised to pay by PayPal before March 15, or else send your money by mail with lots and lots of time to spare, or else find a sponsor [perhaps on rec.arts.int-fiction, for instance].)
  6. You may submit only one intent to enter, and one game.
  7. Entrants may submit their games to the organizer no sooner than noon EST, March 1, 2006, and no later than the final deadline: noon EST, March 31, 2006.
  8. All games must be finishable by the organizer. Therefore, you must submit a walkthrough with your completed game, so that the organizer may ensure it is finishable. If you want the organizer to withhold the walkthrough from the judges and/or the public, just say so.
  9. You may enter the competition anonymously or under a pseudonym, but your real name will be revealed at the end of the judging period.
  10. Games may not be based on works currently under copyright without permission from the copyright holder.
  11. No shareware, commercial software, etc. may be entered. All entries must be playable for free, both by judges and by the general public. While you retain the copyright to any games you enter, by entering you grant the competition and the Interactive Fiction Archive the non-exclusive right to distribute your game for free, forever.
  12. All entries must be previously unreleased at the time of voting—that is, they must never have been publicly downloadable or otherwise publicly available. Obviously, this does not prevent you from having your game beta-tested, which is very much encouraged.
  13. I have gotten rid of the previous non-bugginess rule ("games may not hang, crash, or generate errors of the [** Programming error **] or [TADS-1234: description of error] variety"). (I have gotten rid of this rule because I just don't have the time to enforce it. Checking games for finishability takes enough time as it is.)
  14. I have gotten rid of the previous multi-platform rule ("games must be playable on at least Windows and MacOS"). (In spring 2005 this rule turned out to be more problematic than I thought, and besides, it doesn't seem necessary to me. If future Spring Things are swamped with substandard BASIC games, and if all the judges seem to really hate this, then I could consider maybe reinstating the multi-platform rule.)
  15. Also bear in mind the rules of judging: judges are encouraged to spend as long on your game as they want, and are encouraged to try to finish it, but are not required to, especially if your game requires more than one or two evenings to complete.
  16. If your game is in the competition, then you may not publicly discuss either it or any competitors' games during the judging period. If you need to correct a public misstatement of fact about your game, please contact the organizer, who will relay the message.
Rules for Judges

The deadline for voting is 11:59 PM, EDT, April 23, 2006.

  1. The judging period will be announced when the games are released. It will likely require judges to play about two to three games per week.
  2. Judges are encouraged to spend as long as they want on each game, and are encouraged to try to finish each one. In the end, however, they are not required to finish before voting (especially if the game takes more than an evening or two to complete). Nor, for that matter, is there any particular minimum time length that must be spent on each game.
  3. Judges must vote on at least seven of the games for their votes to be counted (or as many as they can, depending on how many games there are, and perhaps depending on their computer's compatibility).
  4. Anyone who is not an entrant or the organizer may judge.
  5. Judges should score each game on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being best.
  6. Judges are allowed to discuss the games during the judging period, but are requested to clearly mark posts which discuss the games, for the benefit of those who want to avoid spoilers and having their scores influenced.
  7. Beta-testers ARE allowed to vote on the entries they beta-tested. (I'm making this change in the interests of increasing the number of votes on each game. Adam Cadre thought it was a good idea, and why not.)
  1. There will be several prizes, including the cash taken from the pool of entry fees, but also including donations. The first-place winner will have first pick of any one prize, the second-place winner will have the next pick, and so on. For more information, including the current list of prizes, see the prize page. You may also donate a prize.
  2. Note that cash prizes are handled differently from other prizes, as explained on the prize page.
Enforcement of Rules
  1. If a rule is breached once, the organizer reserves the right to decide whether to warn the person or kick them out of the competition. If a rule is breached twice, the organizer will very likely kick the person out of the competition.
  2. The organizer will have final say on all judgment calls, but may consult others in making decisions. (And, for the record, just as Adam consulted others extensively in formulating the initial version of these rules, the present organizer did the same with these slightly modified rules.)

[Note: On this page I have stolen plenty of phrases from Adam Cadre's original rules, plus one or two phrases from the IF Comp's rules—e.g., as involves copyright—without necessarily using quotes, which would have been awkward. Since this is all in the service of Adam's original idea and the IF community, I hoped nobody would mind. If this does bother anybody, please write to me.]

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