Only introductions to games slated for non-commercial release may be entered in the competition.
Can you clarify the meaning of this rule?
Choice of Zombies, for example, is available for free online, but you can also pay to download it on iOS/Android/Kindle. Would a game like Choice of Zombies be ineligible if it's intended for both a non-commercial release and
a commercial release?
Is a game still commercial if it's available at no charge, but includes in-game advertisements? Would the "Available on the App Store" button at the bottom of Choice of Zombies be considered a commercial advertisement?
Okay, sorry for the delay in replying. Part of it was that things have been crazy both at work and in life, but also I needed to give this some more thought to better articulate my reasoning for this new rule.
I never vote in IntroComp, but I am the one who donates the money for the winners (who are chosen by the people who vote) who go on to complete their intro. This isn't Kickstarter, and I don't feel like kickstarting commercial endeavors that I personally haven't weighed in on.
That said, I have decided on some middle ground. I'll back off this rule a little, but with a caveat: if someone wins a prize and then goes on to market their game and earns more than the prize money they were awarded, they should re-contribute the prize money back to IntroComp for a future year. This is a rule applicable beginning now, going forward, and commercial games which have already entered and placed (regardless of whether or not they've finished their game from last year and been awarded prize money) need not refund their prize money to the comp unless they like the spirit of this rule and choose to do so. This will only apply to people who enter an intro in 2012's comp, going forward until this rule is changed or rescinded.
Thanks for asking for clarification: I'm not out there to nix Choice Of Games entries, as you know I'm very supportive of choice-based narratives being in IntroComp. But I must admit that finding out I'd paid out prize money to a game that was going to go on to earn more money just didn't sit right with me. It didn't seem the right venue, or in the spirit of this competition. Of course, I'm not going to fault Heather for that, but I wanted to address it as we move forward with our tenth year of the comp.
Another thing that I have an issue with, though I have yet to articulate this in the rules, is that this is a comp for trying out ideas and getting people to write things they might not otherwise write. It's not a venue for dropping the first part of a game you've already got mostly written that you know darn well you plan to finish regardless of how it fares in IntroComp. Cryptozookeeper did that, and it didn't sit well with a lot of people, but there wasn't a rule against it and so of course I didn't hold that against Robb. But that's not really in the spirit of the competition, either. If you're doing this, and then on top of that you know you're planning to make money off it... well, maybe you should avoid IntroComp.
And then there's the issue of whether or not people should be using IntroComp, intentionally or otherwise, as a way to promote work they intend to later sell. IntroComp is not a venue for free advertising for commercial works.
None of these things are very enforceable, though. I would love it if someone entered an intro they weren't sure about, then it did well, they said to themselves, "Well, okay, I guess I'll write this thing then," and then as things went on they realized that they had the next 1893 on their hands and decided to distribute it. That *is* in the spirit of IntroComp.
Hopefully I'm making sense here. Authors should weigh their intentions and ask themselves if they feel right entering the IntroComp, given those intentions.
PS - Please note that I would prefer to discuss all rules and questions by e-mail, as I am often traveling or working, and can't hit this site a lot of the time. If you have thoughts on this post, please follow up with me by e-mail, and I promise you that if something substantive comes out of the conversation that affects the rules I will post them to the main IntroComp site and post an update here.
PPS - I'm going to sit on the non-commercial, game-you-aren't-sure-you're-going-to-write verbiage for a few days, try to boil it down a bit more succinctly, and update the rules on Monday when I'm back in town. If anyone has thoughts on ways to word what I've circuitously tried to articulate here, I'd love to hear from you by e-mail. Thanks!