This jam is now over. It ran from 2022-03-21 09:00:00 to 2022-05-02 22:59:59. View results

The second annual TEXT ADVENTURE LITERACY JAM is here:

Create a parser-based TEXT ADVENTURE or INTERACTIVE FICTION game suitable for players with no prior experience.

Rules  - See section Below

Prizes -  Over $500 of cash prizes available, in addition to Raspberry Pi computers and more.

Press - To learn more about this jam concept, check out the podcast here (from 2021). Room Escape Divas podcast interview here (from 2022).  Follow on Twitter for news / announcements.

Game Design Tips

  • Teach beginners how to interact with a parser game and provide interactive tutorial. 
  • Provide a fast-paced puzzle box or narrative, with a minimum of disorientation. Small but fun-packed rather than large and sparse.
  • Constant rewards for player creativity (anticipate inputs + instant positive feedback for solving puzzles).
  • ... more on game design here.


Treasures of Hollowhill by John Blythe (implemented in Adventuron)

Why?

Put a classic text adventure game in front of a young person and they will be mystified.

The TALP (text adventure literacy project), launched in 2019, challenged authors to create a text adventure game that you would teach absolute beginners how to play text adventure games, using the game itself as the initial lesson, then following up with a fun game with fast paced constant process.

This jam encourages text adventure authors to write a fun game such absolute beginners can play unassisted.

What Are Text Adventure Games?

A text adventure game  is a type of game where a situation is presented to the player in text with optional graphics then the player interacts with the game (usually) by typing or possibly even speaking commands.

Text Adventure games can also commonly referred to as INTERACTIVE FICTION, and this is very popular in North America. Traditional text adventure games were puzzle centric, later text adventure games were narrative centric, and this fits the alternative genre name very well indeed.

Verb Noun

Basic text adventure games expect commands in the form of VERB NOUN, such as GET LAMP, THROW ROPE, TALK WIZARD. 

VERB NOUN games tend to be faster paced and less error prone for players as they know the exact format of expected commands and commands are shorter to type. They are also easier to develop.

Barry Basic and the Quick Escape (TALP), by Dee Cooke. Winner of the "Scott's Choice" award, in TALP 2021, and 2nd place winner overall.

Barry Basic and the Quick Escape (TALP), by Dee Cooke. Winner of the "Scott's Choice" award, in TALP 2021, and 2nd place winner overall.

Complex Parser

More sophisticated text adventure games can take complex sentences as commands such as ASK RANGER ABOUT THE BEAST.

Both types of game are permitted in this jam however one of the rules of the competition is that the player must be made aware if the game only handles two words, or if the game expects more than two words. This is the responsibility of the author.

Interactive Fiction games are actually a wider set of games that include other genres (such as multiple choice), but in the context of this jam, they can be thought of as story-driven parser-based text adventure games.

General Rules 

These rules are designed to (a) Limit technical ambition (b) Increase the pace of the game. (c) lower complexity for new players. 

This jam is organised by Adventuron, but any system may be used to a game that adheres to the rules.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the #gamejam channel in the Adventuron discord.

  1. Game to be developed using any text adventure authoring system or programming language. The in-game text (and/or dialog) should be presented in the English language.
  2. Games should state at the beginning of the game if they are using a two word parser (VERB and NOUN), or if they are using a COMPLEX PARSER. If your game is a TWO WORD parser, make sure no part of your game depends on additional words other than a verb and at most one noun.
  3. Game must have a minimum of 6 puzzles, excluding disposable pre-game tutorial "puzzles". Your game should have a puzzle that is typically solved  very quickly immediately guided via the tutorial (a disposable puzzle). 
  4. Location descriptions should ideally be one sentence or two sentences (not including object list and exit list sentences/sections). It may be that too much text may overwhelm younger players, but this is a guideline not a hard rule.
  5. Response/incidental messages should ideally be one or two sentences (for each category). Two tutorial sentences are additionally allowed (per turn) but they should aim not to contain additional information beyond tutorial guidance. You should aim to minimize incidental messages whilst displaying tutorial messages.
  6. Diagonal location connections are not permitted (northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest). All location connections should be bidirectional (except for conditional barriers).
  7. The primary means of interaction of the game should be the keyboard, and not be multiple choice, additional touch or mouse or gamepad or voice inputs are permitted but game must be completable with the keyboard  (or software keyboard) alone.
  8. Multiple choice dialogs are accepted for certain actions in the game, but primary means of input will be keyboard, all multiple choices should be able to be selected via keyboard, even if mouse click or voice is available for selecting those options too.
  9. Sudden death is not permitted unless your game supports auto-save, and quick restore.
  10. If your game contains a SEARCH verb that is different to LOOK or EXAMINE, then a tutorial must be given to instruct the user to use this verb the first time.
  11. Games will be rated on  TUTORIAL, STORY, PUZZLES, CHARACTERS, GRAPHICS (optional), CHEAT SHEET (optional), and ENJOYMENT (not an average of other scores). The ENJOYMENT score will be used for the purpose of declaring the winner. You don't have to aim for top marks in every category, but any game with an average tutorial rating of below 2.7 (out of 5)  is not eligible for the participation or placement prize draws.  The jam will be open for public vote for plays with Itch accounts.
  12. Must additionally adhere to the content rules and (if using Adventuron) the Adventuron specific rules.
  13. Games must not be shown publicly (on social media or or otherwise) until the end date of the jam. Providing to beta testers is ok, as long as it is in private.

Content Rules

  1. All games names (in Itch) should include (TALP) as a suffix. The purpose of this is to make the beginner level games discoverable via search engine / itch search.
  2. Games should be solvable with clues placed within the game together with common sense. Outside "meta-games" are not permitted, as these will age badly.
  3. All games should be safe, except those flagged as "scary", to be played by younger children.
  4.  For this jam, all games should not have any foul language,  realistic violence, offensive, political, or explicit content even if the game is not targeting younger children in terms of tone.  Age-appropriate scary content is accepted but a warning must be displayed if a game has scary elements. 
  5. Games with fantasy violence (e.g. killing monsters or non-human fantasy characters or beasts with a sword/magic/special item/etc), should state this in a warning at the start of the game. No realistic description of violence or gore is permitted, nor is gun-violence permitted.
  6. Your parser must declare if it is verb noun, or features a complex parser, and explain sample acceptable inputs, before the game starts, or in the first location of the game.
  7. All information required to solve the game should be available in the text of the game. No placing clues solely in the graphic.
  8. Do not use copyright assets or base your game upon copyright material. Public domain material is ok.

Tagging

The competition requires entrants to display the following badges for their game, on their game page (itch), and displaying (with explanation) prior to displaying the first location in their game:

  1. Add VERB-NOUN or COMPLEX-PARSER tag - should also self identify and explain this at start of game.
  2. Add VERY-EASY, EASY, MEDIUM or TRICKY tag - should also self-identify this at start of game.
  3. Add HISTORICAL if historical.
  4. Add SCARY if scary.
  5. Add EDUCATIONAL if educational.
  6. Add HAS-GRAPHICS if has graphics.
  7. Add HAS-MUSIC if has music.
  8. Add HAS-SOUND-EFFECTS if has sound effects.
  9. Add HAS-MAP if has map (inside or outside the game).

In Game Tutorial Checklist

Your in game tutorial should  teach at least the following concepts and possibly more , you decide the order in which to teach these concepts.

A tutorial mode can (more or less) be thought of as a more experienced player leaning over your shoulder and the advice they would be giving you so you don't get bored - but presented in-game.

You can optionally ask the player if they want to disable the tutorial. A reference implementation for a text adventure literacy project (TALP) tutorial can be found in the TALP version of Excalibur

  1. Describing the parser type (e.g. VERB NOUN parser, or COMPLEX PARSER), is easy to understand beginner terms (see Excalibur's intro as an example of how this could work for VERB NOUN).
  2. Getting an object
  3. Dropping an object
  4. Examining an object
  5. Checking inventory or pockets
  6. Navigating the map  - NORTH IS OPPOSITE OF SOUTH, EAST IS OPPOSITE OF WEST).
  7. The tutorial should also help (hint or give answers) the player solve at least two puzzles.

Additional Guidance

  1. All nouns (objects or things) in your game should ideally have a custom response to an EXAMINE (or LOOK) noun (action or custom text).  e.g. LOOK FENCH, EXAMINE CHURCH, EXAMINE (THE) DESK.
  2. Check out this opinionated article on text adventure game design: Text Adventure Game Design in 2020. NOTE: This guide is puzzle-centric.
  3. You can start working on your submission once the jam is announced, you do not have to wait for the "start date". You can only submit your entry between the start date and the end date of the jam (inclusive).
  4. Per location graphics are optional but recommended , even if very simple and low resolution. There is no "pixel art only" requirement. Do not be tempted to use automated tools to create the blocky style - this rarely works well.  Animations are fine if your engine supports it.
  5. Sound effects + music + animations are permitted.
  6. Treasure hunts are permitted, but rules must be explained via tutorial.
  7. Player freedom should be limited to restrict putting the game into obvious unwinnable states (e.g. allowing the player to eat an apple that is required for a puzzle, without a way to re-acquire the apple).
  8. (Optional) The game should optionally allow the player to switch off the tutorial. 
  9. (Optional) A cheat sheet containing coded puzzles to solutions is an optional extra. See the TWO page for an example of how this can work.
  10. (Optional) Create a play-guide or map to your game as a PDF document alongside your entry. This is an additional judging category, but should not be used for final score.
  11. (Optional) Check out Excalibur as a reference implementation of TALP.
  12. (Optional) If your engine supports it, reward progress with some kind of (optional) sound cue (such as a beep or applause sound effect). Adventuron supports this via the ": success" or ": fail commands.
  13. (Adventuron Only) Try your best not to let text flow off the screen, use "clear_screen", "print_graphic", "print", and "press_any_key" for cut scene text flow.
  14. (Adventuron Only) If you want to add a custom font, a guide exists here. Note that modern fonts are supported by Adventuron, and games with a modern look and feel are very welcome. A guide for using Google Fonts is provided (not for beginners).
  15. (Adventuron only) If you want to use high resolution images, follow this guide - https://adventuron.io/documentation/cookbook.html#LinkingExternalMedia





Coding with Adventuron Classroom

Getting Ready

NOTE: You are free to use other systems to make adventure games in this jam, but step 2 onward assume you are using Adventuron.

Step One - Play an Existing TALP implementation

It is strongly recommended that you play Excalibur (up until the point that you enter the castle), in order to learn how to play text adventure games.  Excalibur can be used as a reference TALP tutorial game, but do not copy the game outright.

Step Two - Make An Adventure Game without a TALP Tutorial (60 minute tutorial)

(Adventuron Only Step)

Click here to follow tutorial A (on how to create a text adventure).

The tutorial is built into the system, in the left hand panel, and it remembers your study progress. This tutorial takes three to four hours.

Step Three - Study The TALP Source Code

(Adventuron Only Step)

Check out the source code for Excalibur TALP (download at bottom of page).

Detailed Documentation

Detailed documentation for Adventuron can be found here .

Other systems to consider are Inform 6 / 7, Puny Inform, DAAD / DAAD Ready, PAWS, TADS, TAB Adventure Creator, Lantern, or more.

Documentation for other authoring systems will be linked here soon ....

Graphics (Optional)

The Wizards Tower by Nathan D'Silva, Graphics by Errol Elumir

Recommended Graphic Specifications

Graphics / game art can be any style you wish, and does not have to be "pixel art / blocky" style.

Graphics should ideally be in super landscape format (16 : 5 aspect ratio). 

Sample resolutions (at this aspect ratio) are 1024 x 320 or 512 x 160, 256 x 80 pixels or 128 x 40 pixels, 64 x 20 or 32 x 10. 

Other resolutions are fine, and slightly different aspect ratios are fine, but the advice is to have your images to be much wider than they are tall - to leave space for text beneath the images.

Incidental graphics can be in different aspect ratios.

Tools

The following tools are recommended for basic artists (for pixel art style);

Keeping it simple is the best approach, and not making too many "empty" locations in your game is also a good idea. You can also re-use graphics in multiple locations.

Placement Prizes (PL)

------------------- NOTE :: More prizes to be added, follow on Twitter for announcements  ---------------------------------

PL1 - 1st Place Prize - $200 USD 

The first place prize is $200 USD.


(Many thanks to the ifMUD community for donating the majority of the cash prizes, with additional donation by Adventuron Software Limited).

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).


PL2 - Second Place Prize - Raspberry Pi 400.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is a standalone Linux desktop computer, with integrated keyboard, wifi, bluetooth, 4GB memory. 

Donated by Adventuron Software Limited
(Subject to export restrictions - see rules).

PL3 - Third Place Prize - $100USD

The third place prize is $100USD.



(Many thanks to the ifMUD community for donating the majority of the cash prizes, with additional donation by Adventuron Software Limited).

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).

Participation Prize Draw (PA)

The participation prizes are distributed via prize draw at the end of the competition. Players that chose a placement prize will be excluded from the prize draw competition unless there are more prizes than players. (See full rules in rules section)


PA1 / PA2 / PA3 - $50USD (Three  prizes of $50 USD)

Three participation prizes of $50.

(Many thanks to the ifMUD community for donating the majority of the cash prizes, with additional donation by Adventuron Software Limited).

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).


PA4/PA6/PA6 - $20USD (Three prizes of $20 USD)

(Many thanks to the ifMUD community for donating the majority of the cash prizes, with additional donation by Adventuron Software Limited).

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).

PA7 - The Classic Adventurer - Special Edition (x 1)

Classic Adventurer - Special Edition - physical copy (donated by Mark Hardisty)

Classic Adventurer - Special Edition - physical copy (donated by Mark Hardisty)

Classic Adventurer is the premier text-adventure bookazine. Ideal for the coffee table of classic adventurers.

Features interviews with classic text adventure and new text adventure authors, beautiful layout and artwork, and interesting features on the subject of text adventure games.

Thanks again to author Mark Hardisty for this donation, and all prior donations.

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).

PA8 - Raspberry Pi 4 2GB 

The fourth revision of the famous single board computer (2GB RAM version). Compatible with Adventuron Classroom.

Donated by Adventuron Software Limited

(Picture by Michael Henzler, Wikipedia Commons, License: CC BY-SA 4.0. NOTE: Pictured Raspberry Pi 4 is representative but may not be the 2GB model.)

(Subject to export restrictions - see rules).


PA9/PA10  - Raspberry Pi Pico (each prize is one Pi Pico)

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a powerful microcontroller, newly released in 2021.

Fun because there is 'only' 264 Kilobytes of RAM, and 'only' two 133Mhz ARM cores. Super useful for learning Python / C or for working with hardware projects.

Donated by Adventuron Software Limited

NOTE: This is two individual prizes of one RPi Pico each.

(Prize subject to FX rates at time of transfer, and subject to export restrictions - see rules).

Community

Call For Donors

If you would like to contribute prizes to the prize pool,  it would be much appreciated.  

Contact info@adventuron.io with subject "Prize Donation".

Prize Terms

NOTE: Draft rules - to be finalized before  March 20th 2022.

  • Placement will be decided to in order of "OVERALL ENJOYMENT" score.
  • To be eligible to receive a prize, you must enter the jam with a game that meets all the rules posted for this jam.
  • Only entries scoring 2.5 or above in the tutorial AND overall enjoyment categories  will be eligible for participation prize draw..
  • There may be a delay between winning and receiving prizes if prize availability is low.
  • Placement prizes (PL prizes) will be offered in order of placement in the competition.
  • Where there is a tie, a random winner will be chosen to receive the prize. This process will be done using random draw, and details of the draw will be made public.
  • Placement prize winners may refuse to take a prize, and in that case, the prize will be offered to the next highest placed entrant, and the placement prize winner is eligible to be entered in the participation competition..
  • Participation prizes (PA prizes) will be drawn for entrants that have not won (or accepted) a placement prize.
  • Participation prizes may also be rejected by winners (if not wanted).
  • Winners of participation prizes, may, by mutual consent, trade their prizes prior to shipping.
  • If all participants have received a placement prize, then all participants are also eligible for the participation prize prize draw.
  • Some prizes may be substituted for other prizes (or cash) of similar value if import restrictions or tariffs make shipping unviable. 
  • If your country is under international sanctions, then regrettably, you are not eligible for physical or cash prizes in this competition. In order to receive any won prize, you will be asked to declare your country of residence before a prize will be shipped or sent.
  • Winners will be contacted or can contact info@adventuron.io themselves. If some prizes are left unclaimed 30 days after announcement, they will be rolled over to the next jam.
  • Best efforts will be made to ensure everyone is treated fairly.

Jam Artwork

  • Banner image by Mark Harrison .
  • Jam Thumbnail adapted from artwork by Ricardo Oyon.

Submissions(16)

All submissions
·
Browser playable (13)
·
Windows (4)
macOS (3)
Linux (3)
Android (3)

No submissions match your filter

Shipwrecked. You must discover the hidden secrets of this strange island or die trying.
Adventure
Play in browser
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Help the cute CC become an idol in this text adventure!
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
A text adventure for younglings and oldsters. Play online: https://d3525rdp.play.borogove.io
Interactive Fiction
A vampire has been killing children in a village in the Carpathian Mountains. The villagers have hired you to kill it.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Defeat the Speed Daemon before he ruins your game!
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
A little text adventure underwater.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
A Sci-Fi Text Adventure for beginners on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android or through a browser.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
When faced with reformatting, you, a robot, turn to prayer. Espiritu Roboto answers.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Text-adventure placed in the Literacy Jam.
Adventure
It's Kenny Koala's turn to be the bushfire warden. Help Kenny to complete all the tasks on his checklist.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Find your lost dog in this mansion haunted by ghosts, monsters, and skeletons!
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
An small text adventure about making raspberry jam.
Interactive Fiction
Enter the library and solve the puzzles.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
You never expected where your grandmother's golden slippers would take you before your first ball.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser
Text adventure game. Navigate the city and hide from the humans to reunite with your kobold family.
Interactive Fiction
Play in browser