IFComp 2019: URA Winner!

Last year, I entered the Interactive Fiction Competition with an “edu-tainment” parody game that had an odd technical implementation. Unfortunately, it didn’t place very well in the competition. So when I sat down to write URA Winner, the edu-tainment parody with an odd technical implementation that I’d be submitting this year, I had a couple of goals in mind:

Firstly, the game’s interface needed to be better. Rather than use an existing piece of educational software to build my game, I thought it’d be fun to try and re-create the experience of using one of those really old websites. You know, from the era when glossy buttons looked cool, people used the .GIF format to store still images, and JavaScript didn’t exist yet so you had to reload the whole page to do anything. I like how it turned out in the end:

A screenshot of URA Winner!, showing the mathematics section of the practice test in the URA Examination Center.

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On the technical side, I implemented the “reload the whole page to do anything” part by creating a separate HTML file for each different state the game could be in. This meant that I submitted a zip file of 25,000 HTML files to the competition, which caused… some technical issues. In particular, the downloadable version of the game didn’t work on Windows or macOS because I had a few files with names like file.html and FILE.html that differed only by whether the letters were uppercase or lowercase. The Linux computer I used to make the game considered those to be different filenames, but Windows and macOS treat them as the same file. Oops! Thankfully players could try the game online on the IFComp website even if they didn’t have a Linux computer handy.

Just like last year, the IF community was really nice and supportive and provided a lot of helpful feedback. I’m glad I entered IFComp 2019, and not just because I won twenty bucks for placing 45th!

I’ve uploaded the game to ura-winner.duodecima.technology if you’d like to give it a try.