SpeedIF Contributions

SpeedIF is a peculiar practice of ifMUD denizens, who at unpredictable times gather to write, usually in the space of two hours or less, a workable IF game centered around some premise. The premise often involves bringing together improbable objects; silliness and in-jokes are encouraged, since in all likelihood the only people who will ever play your entry are the other speedIFfers and a few onlooking MUDizens.

In spite of which, I offer the ones I've written for general perusal. One shouldn't expect much from them; they are not paragons of game design brilliance, both because brilliance of any kind is pretty hard to manage in the time period allotted, and because simply covering most of the bases of the premise usually turns out to be a plentifully difficult task as it is. What these games do have going for them, besides a breezy disregard for the finer points of implementation and a kind of general aura of zaniness, is focus. You can't, in two hours, mess about a lot; you have to march from end to end of your plot at the quickest possible speed, and usually the plot itself needs to consist of no more than a single event. So there's a kind of elegant self-discipline about this, if done right.

Or maybe I'm just babbling. Whatever. If you're bored, here they are, and they take about 5 minutes to play, on average.

Crescent City on the Edge of Disaster is a work of SpeedIF, which means that it was written in the course of two hours to include a series of ridiculous and semi-random objects. It is about, um, some outsized hamsters threatening the utter destruction of the French Quarter. (crescent.z5, available as part of SpeedIF 2001 on Gunther Schmidl's SpeedIF page.)

The Last Sonnet of Marie Antoinette. Neither Marie nor poetry of any kind are present in the game, but since they were part of the SpeedIF premise I threw 'em into the title by way of apology. Mostly notable, if at all, in that it uses the simulationist library materials of Metamorphoses -- allowing me to get a fair amount of depth of implementation despite the two-hour time limit. (See also "Experimental", below.)

A Day for Fresh Sushi. This has little or nothing to say for itself, library-wise. Oddly enough, though, I'm really pretty fond of it. Its main feature/character/bug is an evil talking fish.

Experimental stuff

Not Made With Hands, more generally known as Peacock, is an undertested beta game released as demonstration of some principles under discussion on rec.arts.int-fiction. It's not much of a game, but it does have an ending (just one!), and if you can avoid crashing your interpreter, all should be well. It does (attempt to) demonstrate timed burning routines that go at different rates for different substances; breakable objects; and a Polaroid camera that records the state of the thing pictured.

Fractured Metamorphoses: This time, you can open the cages! This is a reworking of some of the code into a rather sillier rendition of the original. Nonetheless, the bare bones of implementation of the original remain visible. Designed as a way to release some of the source without giving the whole game away.

Source code: Contains spoilers.
Locks library: Goes with the above.

Last Sonnet, Version 2: After I finished the speedIF version of this game, I went back and cleaned up a bit, and put in burn routines as well. The result is not timed burning as described in my notes on simulation, but fairly straightforward stuff that still attempts to handle problems like the consumption of objects inside other objects. You can look at the revised source, too.

Little Games

Marble Madness is my contribution to the if-arcade, released Jan. 1, 2001. It's essentially a prose recasting of that old arcade game where you play a little blue ball rolling around on a landscape full of sinister enemies.

A Dark and Stormy Entry is my contribution to Mark Silcox's LOTECH Comp. A CYOA-style exploration of the trials and tribulations of writing ... something. (Somehow or other I got the idea that I ought to try writing an entry that would also have been a valid entry in a number of other recent minicomps, including SeussComp [which had no actual entries], SmoochieComp, ChickenComp, ToasterComp, HaggisComp, and a couple of the SpeedIFs. I didn't really mean to submit it, just to poke around, but sometime near the deadline I went back and played with what I'd written and a particular bit made me laugh out loud. So I thought, okay, if it amuses me, maybe it will amuse someone else a little.) Despite its extreme injokiness and frivolity, it somehow or other placed second in the competition.

Not sure I find this medium particularly satisfying on the whole, though (the CYOA style, I mean), though perhaps it would've worked better if I'd taken it more seriously. From my point of view by far the most entertaining entry in this competition, though perhaps not as beautiful as Kingdom Without End, was Papillon's "One Week" -- mainly because of its cohesiveness and replayability.

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Last updated April 7, 2001. All text and images on these pages copyright Emily Short, 2001.
Contact me at emshort@mindspring.com with any questions or comments.