It is the time of year when IF Comp opens intents for new entries — meaning that if you’re an author and want to release a game as part of the October/November competition, you may now sign up.
This year, there’s a new feature: an organized initiative to fundraise prize money, together with running costs for the IF Technology Foundation. In past years, cash prizes for the comp have depended on the generosity of individual donors; usually they’ve ranged from $250-$400 as a top prize down to $15 or so, and usually there’s only been enough for the top-placing authors to receive any financial reward for participating. (The supply of other interesting prizes typically lasts quite a lot further down the list — but those aren’t all equally useful to the potential winners.)
Given that Comp placement tends to feel a little bit arbitrary, and authors are sometimes separated only by a very small score difference, it feels a little unfair to have a really steep drop-off in rewards. And often really novel or experimental work places not in the top three (that position tends to go more to crowd-pleasers), but somewhere in the top 15-20.
The fundraiser aims to help address some of those issues. The money raised will be distributed to the top 2/3 of authors, with a minimum prize of $10. If the fundraiser reaches its target, the top prize will be over $300, but the drop-off will be pretty shallow, with prizes above $100 for everyone down to 19th place. (The math of this is… highly specific. If you’re curious, check out the explanatory blog post.)
And what about the percentage donated to the IFTF? That goes to IFTF running costs. The IF Technology Foundation supports infrastructure for both the comp itself and the IF Archive, as well as sponsoring initiatives to improve accessibility in IF tools, and assisting to provide resources for Twine.