This report summarizes the activity of the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) from January 2022 through December 2022, including a high-level accounting of the organization’s financial income and expenditures. As a public-service organization that many people entrust with their time, attention, and money, IFTF presents this report in an effort to show how it has applied its community’s investments over the past calendar year.
Outgoing IFTF president Jason McIntosh wrote and published this report in April 2023, based on IFTF’s internal financial records, public blog and forum posts, and consultations with IFTF leadership. Jason authored all text except where noted otherwise. All monetary amounts that appear in this report are expressed in U.S. dollars.
The organization spent around $15,000 in 2022 on various services that power its programs, also distributing more than $7,500 in IFComp prize money. The community once again donated generously to cover these costs, and IFTF ended the year with around $13,000 in the bank, about $1,000 less than it held the year before.
A few highlights of IFTF’s 2022 activity:
IFTF adopted IFWiki, launching a new standing program for the ongoing growth and upkeep of this long-lived IF community resource.
The NarraScope conference returned, after taking the previous year off. It was a resounding success, returning the event to an annual schedule.
As detailed later in this document, IFTF paid for expert and consulting services to help with various projects run by four separate programs. This suggests a positive trend of IFTF taking a more proactive stance in community stewardship.
Each public-service program within IFTF is steered by an autonomous committee. This section contains summaries of 2022 program activities, written by the programs’ chairs.
Reported by Justin Bortnick, 2022 Conference Committee co-chair
NarraScope 2022 was a successful online event hosted on the Gather platform. 400 people registered to attend, a new high for attendance. Aaron Reed’s plenary keynote, “5 Lessons From 50 Years of Text Games”, drew 150 live viewers. The conference talks are now permanently available as a YouTube playlist.
We published a comprehensive report of the 2022 event’s finances, including a summary reflection on the successes and lessons from the conference.
The committee was also moderately successful in the goal set after the prior conference to expand itself to more effectively handle a diverse set of tasks and cover a broader range of expertises so as to more robustly address the sorts of issues that arose at NarraScope 2020. This remains an ongoing goal. Planning has now begun for NarraScope 2023, a hybrid live/online event to be hosted at the University of Pittsburgh in June.
Reported by Judith Pintar, Education Committee chair
The main focus for the Education Committee in 2022 was preparation for and the successful implementation of education-related workshops at NarraScope 2022, as well as planning ahead for NarraScope 2023.
We clarified the central mission of the committee as serving IF educators, while acknowledging that in practice, our participation in NarraScope has also involved direct service in education. Reflecting this evolving double mission, some of our offerings at NarraScope were directed to educators, and some were workshops that taught various tools, techniques, and platforms. For the second year in a row, we offered a pre-NarraScope Inform 7 bootcamp. Interest from conference attendees was very high, and our workshops were well-attended. There arose some tension between the need to keep enrollment low for the benefit of participants, and having enough seats for everyone wanting to participate.
During the year, discussion in the committee arose regarding our facilitation of the curation and sharing of resources, especially for educators, but which would also be of use to people self-teaching IF. We took the first steps of collaborating with the IFWiki Committee as a platform for this curation. This project will be launched at NarraScope 2023.
Reported by Andrew Plotkin, IF Archive Committee chair
The IF Archive launched its Unbox service in early 2022. This allows users to browse the contents of ZIP and TAR file packages. Web-playable games (such as Twine) are now fully playable from within ZIP files.
As usual, IFComp was our largest upload event, comprising 75 games and gigabyte of data. Outside of IFComp, we received about 260 file contributions in 2022, totalling about 1.25 gigabytes.
Reported by Jacqueline Ashwell, IFComp Committee chair
The IFComp held its 28th annual competition in 2022, with 70 works of interactive fiction. This was on par with the 71 entries received the year before, and in line with recent pre-pandemic competition participation levels.
The IFComp Colossal Fund raised $10,380, 80% of which was dedicated to the 48 authors who qualified for a cash prize. Twenty-six non-cash prizes were also offered by donors and distributed to authors.
Reported by Dan Fabulich, IntFiction Forum Committee chair
IFDB continued growing in 2022. There are now more than 10,000 member reviews in IFDB, and we’re always looking for more!
We also made substantial improvements to the IFDB API, allowing us to fully automate importing IFComp games into IFDB.
Reported by Jonathan, IFWiki Committee chair
IFTF adopted IFWiki at the beginning of 2022. The wiki was founded in 2004 by David Cornelson to record the history and culture of the IF community, and was managed over the years by Peter Seebach, David Cornelson, and Carl Muckenhoupt. In 2022, IFTF transferred the wiki to a new server, upgraded the underlying software, and added a mobile-friendly skin.
The wiki’s databases now track IF software (authoring systems, interpreters and utilities) and events (competitions, jams, meetings and conferences), and make use of new, easy-to-use data entry forms.
Database queries now automatically update IFWiki’s new-event calendar and IFWiki’s new lists of recommended interpreters.
We took part in IFTF’s “volunteers needed” initiative by identifying dead links and encouraging people to update them.
IFWiki is an ongoing endeavour: we look forward to IFWiki going from strength to strength, and attracting new readers and contributors, as the years progress.
Reported by Dannii Willis, IntFiction Forum Committee chair
The Interactive Fiction Community Forum has had an uneventful year - which is a good place to be in!
We continue to have gradual year-on-year growth, which was helped this year by the release of Inform 10, but also by users of PunyInform and other formerly-niche development systems. The forum also continues to host discussions for competitions across the whole wider IF community, and some new competitions have been created and planned here, which we love to see.
Reported by Chris Klimas, Twine Committee chair
In 2022, the majority of production work on the print edition of the Twine Cookbook was completed.
The Twine homepage, https://twinery.org, was revised, and its Twitter account, @twinethreads, is now dormant.
Most excitingly, an Apple developer account for IFTF was procured and used to sign the Twine 2.6.0 release, which means that Mac users no longer see malware warnings the first time they run Twine. As a nonprofit, IFTF is not charged an annual fee by Apple for its developer account.
In 2022, IFTF took in $24,723.09 and spent $25,764.30, for a net loss of -$1,041.21.
At year’s end, IFTF’s bank accounts held a total of $12,924.76.
The organization did not carry any accounts-payable balance into 2023. (That is, we didn’t owe anyone any money.)
In 2022, IFTF took in $24,723.09, as detailed in the following sections.
Modest gifts from individual donors, both one-time and recurring, continue to act as IFTF’s financial backbone.
Individuals and small companies donated $12,400.73 to IFTF in 2022. Of that total (and with transaction fees subtracted):
$8,304.00 was earmarked for IFComp, via The Colossal Fund fundraiser. (This number is lower than the total amount that Colossal Fund raised, because it rolls the previous year’s unclaimed prize money into the current year’s fund.)
$172.03 was earmarked for Twine, on the donors’ request.
The remaining $3,924.70 went into IFTF’s general fund.
2022 saw the return of the NarraScope conference, and the following income sources:
$5,117.00 from individual conference registrations.
$2,939.12 in institutional donations through conference sponsorship.
$1,200.00 as a refund from the digital venue provider, after IFTF opted for a larger online conference space.
IFTF gained $66.24 from sales of the Inform Designer’s Manual (DM4).
IFTF spent $22,764.30 in 2022:
$7,798.12 covered IFComp Colossal Fund cash prizes and support.
This figure includes a $22.46 reimbursement for shipping the physical Golden Banana of Discord trophy.
$5,585.75 paid for all our programs’ various infrastructure costs.
More than half of this sum paid Gather, who provided the digital venue for NarraScope 2022.
This part of the budget also paid for server hosting, domain transfers and renewals, and the use of online services such as Cloudflare and Amazon S3.
It also paid for the organization’s physical post-office box in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
$5891.43 paid for various professional services:
$250.00 went towards commissioned artwork for IFComp.
$1,483.50 paid for editing and layout expertise with the Twine Cookbook project.
$1,500.00 paid for NarraScope incident-response consulting and availability.
$1,505.00 paid for engineering expertise with the IF Archive Unbox project.
$296.93 paid for consulting assistance with IFTF’s organizational code of conduct project.
$748.00 covered the annual premium of IFTF’s D&O insurance policy.
$108.00 paid for other legal consultation.
$3,489.00 covered NarraScope speakers’ honoraria.