World of the Season Competition!

FBG is happy to announce the World of the Season Competition!

We want to recognise and promote the best community-created StoryNexus worlds, so we’re launching the World of the Season competition.
This will happen once a season – four times a year. So this first competition is the Autumn 2012 season. We’re looking for the best StoryNexus worlds to share with the world. To enter, you need to create an original StoryNexus world and reply to this thread with the world’s name.
The panel of judges will pick the World of the Season Autumn 2012 from the entrants.


We’re delighted to have the assistance of mighty figures from the games industry to help us judge the entries. The Autumn 2012 World of the Season competition will be judged by:

  • Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director of BioWare’s Dragon Age series.[/li][li]Susan Arendt, Managing Editor of The Escapist.[/li][li]Jonas Kyratzes, noted designer of splendid story-driven indie games.[/li][li]A panel of Failbetter folks.

What we’re after

We’re looking for quality rather than quantity. To have a chance of winning, a world must be complete and playable, but it doesn’t have to be big. We’ll be looking at writing, design and originality.


The prizes for the winning world are:

  • The creator of the winning world gets ‘Accredited Architect’ status. This means that Failbetter recognises the winner as a reputable and skilled creator. You’ll get a fancy badge showing your status when we get the profile pages live. It also opens the possibility of commissions and collaboration with FBG on things like Kickstarter projects. We’ll announce your new status on these forums. We’ll also give you the option of doing an interview with us about your world. If you want to do this, and we’re both happy with the results, we’ll put the interview up on the Failbetter blog.[/li][li]The winning world gets added to the list of promoted worlds, at least until the next season’s winner is announced, and possibly longer. The world also gets permanently added to the list of recommended worlds. We’ll also do a forum post announcing the winner, and stating what we liked about the winning world.[/li][li]Our artist, Paul Arendt, will draw a banner for your world! This will be a 655 x 150 pixels picture displayed at the top of your world’s StoryNexus interface, where the ‘welcome to the StoryNexus World Builders’ Beta’ banner currently is. You can ask for a particular subject, but final word on the banner rests with Paul.

Two runners up will also win:

  • ‘Accredited Architect’ status for the second and third prize. This has the same benefits as for the winner - the badge, possibility of commission and collaboration, announcement on the forums and the option of an interview.


Entries must be in the form of StoryNexus Worlds.
To enter, you must reply on this thread with a link to your world before midnight GMT on the 30th September 2012. You can enter multiple worlds if you like.

  • Any world that you enter must be playable, playtested, finishable (i.e. have at least one [GAME_END_EFFECT] event and/or a storylet that marks the end of an episode) and original. It can be an episode of a larger work, as long as what you submit is narratively coherent on its own. There’s no problem if your intention is to expand the work after the competition. It can’t be fan-fiction or set in someone else’s universe (including FBG universes). Your world must be written in English.[/li][li]Your world must have at least 12 storylets, and at least 20 branches. There is no maximum size, but larger worlds aren’t necessarily better than smaller ones.[/li][li]Worlds will be judged by FBG and any guest judges we appoint, and our word is final. Worlds will be judged on writing, design and originality. We’ll announce winners as soon as we can after closing.[/li][li]This competition is subject to the rules covering all Failbetter Games competitions, which can be found here:

Note: the competition is now closed! - we’re in the process of judging.
edited by Goatdance on 10/1/2012

I think all I have to say is ‘Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy’! Now to brainstorm.

PS: I am somewhat concerned entering this will distract me from the good progress I’m making on City of Phire (which isn’t suitable for entering itself) but fingers crossed, right?

Lily: why do you think City of Phire won’t be suitable?

If it’s because it’s in someone else’s world, then fair enough.

But if it’s because it’s not finished (or likely won’t be finished by the deadline), you can work around that. You can submit a world that’s basically an episode of what you’d eventually like to do - something that works on its own, but could be expanded later. Perhaps ‘finishable’ would have been a better term. Actually, I’ll make this clear in the first post. Thanks for the prompt.
edited by Goatdance on 8/7/2012

No, it’s my world. The problem is it is intended to be a sprawling region/story in the scale of FL. The prologue (tutorial/introduction) I’ve been developing doesn’t have any GAME_END_EFFECTs. I considered that I could (temporarily?) add one at the end and call it a Demo but that seems disingeneous.

It’s not going to stop me entering. I’ve just pinned down a setting called Maelstrom that I want to use, which I’d created a few weeks back and until now didn’t have a use for. Thinking, it might be better actually to write a specifically new world for the competition, as it can be designed with its limited length in mind. It can be a full experience, not just a tutorial episode.

When you say at least 12 storylets, do you mean Always cards, Sometimes cards or a combination of the two? And I assume that’s 20 branches spread across the 12 storylets, and not 20 on each of the twelve cards, right?


A Sometimes card is a storylet - an Always card is also a storylet. So a total of 12 Sometimes and Always cards gets you in the game. And yeah, at least 20 branches, spread across those 12+ storylets. Twenty each would be more than we need. I mean, if you want to write 240 branches, go right ahead. But we don’t need that much.

According to my email we non early beta testers should be able to start around the end of August. Assuming we can finish before September 15th, will we be able to compete as well?

Yes indeed, if you get into the beta far enough before September the 15th that you can create a playable world, you’re welcome to enter.

One month to get it to a “complete for now” point, huh? Great incentive for those of us working on games! You guys have been nothing short of amazing with the support you’ve given us. Thanks for the opportunity to submit our games!

Very exciting!

For those of us creating larger worlds and planning to submit episodes instead of complete games: we won’t need a game end effect, yes?

Yes, you will need a game end effect. Any world submitted to the competition must be finishable - you must be able to get to the ‘game over’ screen. So, if you’re submitting part of a larger world, that part must be narratively coherent and have some sort of conclusion.

Nigel: thanks for the reply! In light of it, I’m not sure I understand your point to Lily about episodic/expandable worlds being allowable. We intend to have the first ‘episode’ of Iced Oolong ready before Sept 15, but it won’t come with a game end effect precisely because it’s episodic – we want to write lots more episodes!
We’ll certainly have a “that’s the end of this week’s installment!” bit, but we won’t be wiping characters.

Is there any chance that’s allowable, or are we out of luck?

Yeah, I admit I’m not understanding this either. Not really a problem, as I’m not in the beta but…maybe an example would help?

Goshdarn it! I knew I should have trolled for facebook friends (or indeed friends) more effectively. I assume then that, all things beign equal, the next opportunity is likely to pop up around Christmas or early January for the rest of us?


We’ve discussed this, and we’re changing things slightly. We’re now going to require a game end (the [GAME_END_EFFECT]) or a conclusion storylet (a ‘that’s the end for now, hope you enjoyed it affair’) that’s part of a coherent episode end. So you’ll be able to submit worlds without having to make them delete characters.

I’ll alter the first post accordingly.

Huzzah! Now it looks like I’ll be entering two stories then! Pretty sure I can get City of Phire and Maelstrom: The Voyage of the Pioneer ready in a month. Look out for City of Phire entering beta-testing soon!

I tried to reply earlier, but I think the forum ate it.

Thanks for broadening the rules, Nigel! We’re jazzed to be able to submit. :)

Competition entry: City of Phire - Prologue

Play it here:

Storylets: 24
Branches: 61

The kingdom of Rael was the greatest that had ever arisen upon the world of Niam. Between desert sands and the endless ocean, it was a grand metropolis famed for works of art and invention. What war or insurrection took it, against whichever foe or for whatever cause, only students of history now remember. All that remains is the crumbling city of Phire inhabited by scavengers and ghosts in equal measure.

Thrust into this harsh, apocalyptic realm of fantasy and all-pervasive corruption, how long will you survive? Will you uncover the secrets of the rise and fall of Rael? Will you be a hero to the survivors, or just another nightmare in the desert? The choice is yours.

Experience the opening chapter of City of Phire. Explore the town of Ketai, meet its people and learn something of its past. When push comes to shove, will you side with Ketai or betray it?

Written by Lily Fox and set in a world created by Graham Wellard, Andrew Cook and Lily Fox.

With special thanks to Mike Grace, Katastrophe, Erik Harrison, Ashton Whitney, Brandon Linton, Little The, Crownoflaurel and Leokhorn for testing, feedback and helpful discussion.

EDIT: Removed odd formatting errors.
edited by lily on 8/14/2012


We’ve extended the closing date by two weeks. It is now the 30th of September. This will allow more content and/or polish in the entries. But also - if matters technical go to plan - it will allow the next set of beta testers enough time to create entries for the competition.


We’re entirely thrilled that we have two splendid judges from the industry joining us for the first World of the Season competition. These two fine folk have agreed to help us look at your worlds on StoryNexus. They are:

Susan Arendt, Managing Editor for The Escapist
Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director for BioWare’s Dragon Age series.

They’re generously giving their time to help us out. Many thanks, Susan and Mike!