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The software behind the Interactive Fiction Competition.

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This is the software that runs the Interactive Fiction Competition, a.k.a. the IFComp, an annual celebration of independently authored, text-based video games that began in 1995.

The organization of the IFComp changed hands after its 2013 iteration, and the new organizer elected to come at the role with, among other things, a wholly refreshed, public-facing web application. The software found in this repository resulted. We created its first draft over the course of the 2014 IFComp, and it has served the competition annually since then.

Repository info


This is a LAMP application whose server-side business logic is implemented in Perl, using a modern, Moose-based dialect, by way of the Catalyst web application framework.

Note that the software additionally performs some goofy business involving system calls to a couple of custom PHP scripts (found in the scripts/ directory) based on HTTP endpoints defined in IFComp::Controller::Profile. These are necessary to support a custom API for secure, federated logins used by a handful of other sites in the IF community. This controller and these scripts are otherwise not used by the IFComp itself; forks of this repository may feel free to disregard them.


  • master is what's running at right now.

  • dev is the shared development branch, corresponding to a (restricted-access) project staging server.

Code style

We maintain a standard code style by way of tidyall. Note the presence of a .tidyallrc file at the top level of this repository.

Before pushing up any new work on this repository, whether proposed or hotfix, please pass it through tidyall first.

Installation and setup

Installing dependencies

Perl libraries

To install this project's CPAN dependencies, run the following command from the IFComp/ directory of your cloned repository (the directory that contains the file called "cpanfile"):

curl -fsSL | perl - --installdeps .

(If you already have cpanm installed, you can just run cpanm --installdeps . instead.)

This should crunch though the installation of a bunch of Perl modules. It'll take a few minutes.

If you're planning on contributing to the project, you'll want some additional modules. Use the --with-develop option with the cpanm command. eg.

curl -fsSL | perl - --installdeps --with-develop .

PHP libraries

You'll need to install both PHP and the PHP MCrypt module. Both should be available through your package manager of choice. (E.g. on Debian, sudo apt-get install php5-mcrypt will do the trick.)

Application configuration

Copy conf/ifcomp_local.conf-dist to conf/ifcomp_local.conf and then update the database pointers therein as appropriate.

Database configuration

Run script/ to construct the database tables (having first created the database, user, and password, and set up the application configuration appropriately). Note this script won't fill in the role table, the comp table, or the federated_site table. The last of these isn't required for most operation, but the first two do need to be manually filled in once the tables are created.

Making it go

It's a Catalyst application, and works as any other. See the Catalyst documentation for more details.

The application's central control script is ifcomp.psgi, found at the top level within the IFComp directory. A basic way to launch the application from the command line, for the sake of local testing:

plackup ifcomp.psgi

Assuming that you have all the necessary prerequisites (including the plackup program!) installed and available to your local Perl, this should launch the web application and bind it to localhost, port 5000, and write out access and error logs to the terminal. See the plackup manpage for various command-line configuration options (such as changing the port to use, or having the script automatically reload when it detects code changes).


The project maintainer is Jason McIntosh (

Major contributors to this codebase include:

For a list of contributors to the larger IFComp project, see the IFComp credits page.

Copyright and license information

Except where otherwise noted, the software found in this repository is copyright © 2017 Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation. INTERACTIVE FICTION TECHNOLOGY FOUNDATION, IFCOMP and the IFTF trademarks are property of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation, a Delaware nonprofit corporation.

This repository contains, in whole or in part, a number of third-party open-source IF-related tools. See the file for further information.

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