Competitions, is that what it's all about?

5 views
Skip to first unread message

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 4:26:25 AM5/13/05
to
I've been editing a few Games Released By Year articles over at the
IFWiki (http://www.IFWiki.org), and saw an odd pattern. Check this out:

In 1996 there were 37 Zcode games released, 20 of which were English
games not released as part of a competition.

In 1997 there were 38 Zcode games released, 18 of which were English
games not released as part of a competition.

In 2003 there were 85 Zcode games released, 9 of which were English
games not released as part of a competition.

In 2004 there were 59 Zcode games released, 11 of which were English
games not released as part of a competition.

This far, I've just been working with the Zcode games, but I still
think it says something about the community as a whole.

Why are competitions so incredibly important in IF? Is the chance of
winning the only driving force powerful enough to make an author finish
his work? Or is it perhaps a lack of discipline - is a deadline
actually the only thing that can make an author finish his game?

What are your thoughts on this? All you active authors, who are in fact
finishing games every now and then, why do you (almost) only finish
games for competitions?

What this means, is that the available competitions dictate what kind
of games we get. If there were only competitions about survival horror
and Swiss singing nannies, would that be the only kind of games
released?

/Fredrik

Rexx Magnus

unread,
May 13, 2005, 4:33:05 AM5/13/05
to
On Fri, 13 May 2005 08:26:25 GMT, Fredrik Ramsberg scrawled:

> Why are competitions so incredibly important in IF? Is the chance of
> winning the only driving force powerful enough to make an author finish
> his work? Or is it perhaps a lack of discipline - is a deadline
> actually the only thing that can make an author finish his game?
>
> What are your thoughts on this? All you active authors, who are in fact
> finishing games every now and then, why do you (almost) only finish
> games for competitions?

I think it's probably because there are more definite targets with regards
length etc. which may help to inspire people to work on a game. If I have
no such target set, I'd probably write horrible sprawling rubbish.

Sure, the possibility of winning is an incentive, but not the only one -
exposure is quite a good motivating factor too.

--
http://www.rexx.co.uk

To email me, visit the site.

Eric Eve

unread,
May 13, 2005, 4:47:27 AM5/13/05
to
"Rexx Magnus" <tras...@uk2.net> wrote in message
news:Xns96556129EB0...@130.133.1.4...

Quite so, where "exposure" means not simply that quite a few people
will play it, but also that quite a few people will play it, which
means you're almost guaranteed a fair amount of feedback from a
reasonably wide spectrum of players. This may be particularly
important for new or relatively new authors who want to know how
their games are received, what people like and don't like about
them, how they might improve as game authors (or whether they have
done so since the last time they entered a game) and so forth.
Conversely, there may be a secret (or not-so-secret?) fear among
some game authors that a game they release outside a competition
will be ignored or overlooked.

-- Eric


J. Robinson Wheeler

unread,
May 13, 2005, 4:58:05 AM5/13/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:

> What are your thoughts on this? All you active authors, who are in
> fact finishing games every now and then, why do you (almost) only
> finish games for competitions?

I think that having the deadline is a pretty big factor. Lately, I've
been working only on large-scale projects (too big for the Comp)
with no deadlines to rein me in, and they're sprawling wildly out
of control with no end in sight.


--
J. Robinson Wheeler Games: http://raddial.com/if/
JRW Digital Media Movie: http://thekroneexperiment.com/

Graham Holden

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:25:06 AM5/13/05
to
On 13 May 2005 01:26:25 -0700, "Fredrik Ramsberg" <f...@mail.com> wrote:

<statistics snipped>

>
>Why are competitions so incredibly important in IF? Is the chance of
>winning the only driving force powerful enough to make an author finish
>his work? Or is it perhaps a lack of discipline - is a deadline
>actually the only thing that can make an author finish his game?

I suspect that it's a very strong motivator in many people's case. I've
not actually completed a "real" work of IF, but in other programming, both
work and personal, "this must be done by Friday week" _forces_ you to
complete something, whereas "I'll release this when it's finished" often
results in an endless of stream of creeping-featurism... "I'll just add the
option to do XXX and it'll be finished"... "if I just rewrite THIS bit,
THEN it'll be finished"... ad nauseum.

Another reason that appears to be the case from postings I've seen is that
entering a game in IFComp almost guarantees that a sizeable proportion of
the IF community will get to see your work for at most two hours (if the
judges stick to the rules).

If you release it at another time, you've got a far less guaranteed
audience: an announcement to raif/rgif can be missed by many, who therefore
never know there's a game to be played; of those that see it, even if
they're attracted by whatever "teaser" you put in the announcement, they
might not download AND play[**] it for many reasons.

Of course, the truly good, monumental works (for me, the Anchorheads,
Mulldoons etc.) will generate sufficient discussion in the groups that they
_will_ be noticed by many, but I suspect many "good, decent, but not
_outstanding_" works have slipped under many people's radars.

** There are several games (and other things quite separate from IF) that
I've gone to the trouble to download, but for various reasons have never
got around to playing. It says far less about the quality or otherwise of
those games than it does for my ability to be completely disorganised.

Just my 2 cents.

Regards,
Graham Holden (g-holden AT dircon DOT co DOT uk)
--
There are 10 types of people in the world;
those that understand binary and those that don't.

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:32:51 AM5/13/05
to
Magnus,

Thank you for your thoughts. Lots of comments below.

Rexx Magnus wrote:
> On Fri, 13 May 2005 08:26:25 GMT, Fredrik Ramsberg scrawled:

> > What are your thoughts on this? All you active authors, who are in
fact
> > finishing games every now and then, why do you (almost) only finish
> > games for competitions?
>
> I think it's probably because there are more definite targets with
regards
> length etc. which may help to inspire people to work on a game. If I
have
> no such target set, I'd probably write horrible sprawling rubbish.

And yet, authors of novels seldom write for competitions, and not all
of them produce horrible sprawling rubbish. Granted, most novels which
are being written aren't very good. It's true for novels, and I think
it will always be true for IF as well, but I think that's okay. It
doesn't bother me that there are 1000 novels about nurses falling in
love with doctors in exotic locations, or that Remo is back to melt
steel with his bare hands. I don't have to read it. The number of good
books that get published is more important, but not the ratio.

Also note: The 20 non-comp games which were written in 1996 weren't all
horrible sprawling rubbish. Writing good IF without a comp can be done.

(Side note: If no one gives you contraints, you can make them up
yourself. I personally enjoy doing that. See The Dragon and the Troll.)

If it's all about the constraints, could we create "classes" of games,
which authors could aim for their games to fit into if they wanted?
Something like - if you write a game which can be finished in 30
minutes, we'll add it to this web page, and people have a chance to
review it if they want to etc. There could be many classes, there
wouldn't have to be a numeric rating system, maybe a bunch of the best
games could be promoted even more etc?

Another related point: If I'm to choose a game to play, I'm interested
in what genre the game is in, perhaps if the game has some odd plot,
and a general idea of whether this is a great game, a good game or a
game with room for improvement. I don't care if it's absolutely
apalling or just not very good. I also don't care if it's 9.7 or 9.8
points out of 10. People could well rate it from 1 to 10, but I'm not
really interested in seeing a rating that specific. Also, as an author,
I'd be a lot less discouraged to hear that my game has room for
improvement than to hear that it's an utter piece of crap.

> Sure, the possibility of winning is an incentive, but not the only
one -
> exposure is quite a good motivating factor too.

Could we ensure exposure by some other means?

At the same time as it's a little fun to compete, it's not really all
that fun for the bottom 20% or so. Many newbies obviously get the
impression that entering a competition is the best way to start their
career. How long does that career last if their first six months of
work is awarded with say placing as number 33 out of 35 in a
competition, with 20 reviews all telling them what they've produced is
crap? Admittedly, there are many good reviewers who make very
constructive critizism, and aren't cruelly slaughtering a game just
because they can, but when anyone can review and a lot of people try to
review *all* games they play in the comp, then there's bound to be a
bunch of mean reviews too.

We keep comparing IF to other forms of writing and art, but when a new
author starts writing poetry or a short story in some sort of club, I
can't imagine all the others telling him/her to start by entering a
competition. Anyway, even if you're not a newbie, I bet it's pretty
discouraging to end up way down the list if you've really tried to make
a good game. How many authors who could have become good, or who could
have kept being interested and contributing members of the community,
do we lose each year because they get slammed in a comp?

/Fredrik

Rexx Magnus

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:41:41 AM5/13/05
to
On Fri, 13 May 2005 09:32:51 GMT, Fredrik Ramsberg scrawled:

> And yet, authors of novels seldom write for competitions, and not all
> of them produce horrible sprawling rubbish. Granted, most novels which
> are being written aren't very good. It's true for novels, and I think
> it will always be true for IF as well, but I think that's okay. It
> doesn't bother me that there are 1000 novels about nurses falling in
> love with doctors in exotic locations, or that Remo is back to melt
> steel with his bare hands. I don't have to read it. The number of good
> books that get published is more important, but not the ratio.
>
> Also note: The 20 non-comp games which were written in 1996 weren't all
> horrible sprawling rubbish. Writing good IF without a comp can be done.
>

Just to turn this on it's head - perhaps it's not a case of there being
few games that are written with the intent of releasing them outside of
the comp, but simply that people are more confident to enter their works
into it?

When I started writing Mingsheng, I had no intention of entering it into
the comp at all - but when I thought about it for a bit, I decided that I
really didn't have anything to lose by entering it into the comp. Perhaps
it's simply a case of that - more people putting their works into the
competition simply because (percieved) general standards have risen?

Rexx Magnus

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:45:18 AM5/13/05
to
On Fri, 13 May 2005 09:41:41 GMT, Rexx Magnus scrawled:

> Just to turn this on it's head - perhaps it's not a case of there being
> few games that are written with the intent of releasing them outside of
> the comp, but simply that people are more confident to enter their works
> into it?
>
> When I started writing Mingsheng, I had no intention of entering it into
> the comp at all - but when I thought about it for a bit, I decided that
> I really didn't have anything to lose by entering it into the comp.
> Perhaps it's simply a case of that - more people putting their works
> into the competition simply because (percieved) general standards have
> risen?

Just to add - what I'm implying here, is that perhaps if there are no
competitions, there may still be a similar number of (total) releases in a
given year, anyway.

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:35:12 AM5/13/05
to
Rexx Magnus wrote:
> Just to add - what I'm implying here, is that perhaps if there are no

> competitions, there may still be a similar number of (total) releases
in a
> given year, anyway.

I'm sure the total number of releases would drop dramatically if we
were to remove all comps. Specifically, a *lot* of games are produced
for Speed-IF comps, and I doubt any single one of them would be
produced if it weren't for Speed-IF comps. Anyway, I don't think
there's any harm in this kind of competition - if you've tried to
produce a game in two hours of coding with say a toaster and an
elephant in it, you're not likely to quit writing IF because the
reviewers didn't seem too thrilled. Secondly, it's just a fun diversion
for an evening, not something that takes all your time and energy and
thus effectively stops you from producing any non-competition games.

When it comes to competitions for larger games, and I do include the
annual IF Comp in this, it may well be that the lack of deadlines,
predefined goals and attention would cause fewer games to be released,
if the comps were just to be suddenly removed. But what if we change
how the competitions work, or replace them with somehing better?
Something which gives deadlines, constraints, attention and rewards,
but doesn't point out any games as shitty or try to rank works of art
as if they could all be boiled down to numbers? What if we just
announced "These games are great, these are also really good, and these
need some more work?". We could also let all competitors choose what
kind of reviews they want to see - they could at least have the option
of saying "If you intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd
rather not see the review published for all to see."

About the numeric ratings: Has anyone heard a comp winner announce: I'm
glad my game is the best, that it's better than #2 and #3 etc? I would
think a comp winner is happy that his game was really well received,
but he also realises that a lot of people though #2 or #3 was in fact
better. Would he be less happy if he just got the result "Your game was
one of the five games which people thought was great". With works of
art, it seems absurd to say that the comp winner is a little better
than the runner-up, when both are in fact great games. And are you
happier knowing that you finished fifth from the bottom out of 50 games
than just knowing that your game was considered to be below average
quality?

Of course, we can't force anyone to drop or even alter any of the
competitions, nor can we stop anyone from publishing any kind of
review. But what we can do, and must do if you ask me, is ask ourselves
what kind of community we would like, what message we would like to
send to new authors. The more people that are enjoying themselves in
the commmunity, the more fun I think we'll all have, and the more
people will join the community. This will, in itself, lead to more
games being produced, and this will also mean more good games.

I know I write a lot of text in this thread. It's because I think it's
an important issue. I also know I sometimes refer to authors and comp
winners as male. This is because they usually are and it's more
convenient to write his than his/her etc, but I'm very happy to see so
many women putting out high quality works of IF, and new women joining
the community.

/Fredrik

Ian Haberkorn

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:35:18 AM5/13/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg schrieb:

> If it's all about the constraints, could we create "classes" of
games,
> which authors could aim for their games to fit into if they wanted?
> Something like - if you write a game which can be finished in 30
> minutes, we'll add it to this web page, and people have a chance to
> review it if they want to etc. There could be many classes, there
> wouldn't have to be a numeric rating system, maybe a bunch of the
best
> games could be promoted even more etc?
...

> Could we ensure exposure by some other means?

Yes, please!

Initially I found it hard to find the games I like on the cluttered
shelves of the ifarchive. If there was a more detailed searchable
scoring system maybe the games would be easier to find after its
initial release.

I know that part of the categories are used already, but not thoroughly
and for most/all games and searchable.

Examples for a database that a player could fill out after playing: (my
english is too bad for subtle nuances)

Theme: Slice of life etc...
Prose: Terse - ... - Rambling
World Size: One location - 2-10 - 11-30 - 31-50 - Sprawling
Mapping: Unnecessary - ... - Vital
Mood: Depressing - ... - Hilarious
Playing time: Lunchbreak - Evening - Week - Summer vacation
Puzzle factor: just choices - ... - hard puzzles
Setting/Plot: static - ... - extreme development
PC Mimesis: steering a robot - ... - total immersion

Fatal Errors: yes/no
Verb searches:
Synonym searches:
Unexaminable objects:
Map errors:
Spelling/punctuation errors:
...

Some of these would help me find e.g. good games for my handheld while
commuting.

The bottom items could be combined to result in a "craft" score, to
weed out horrid bugfests.

Does this sound too utopian?

Ian

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:46:57 AM5/13/05
to
J. Robinson Wheeler wrote:
> I think that having the deadline is a pretty big factor. Lately, I've
> been working only on large-scale projects (too big for the Comp)
> with no deadlines to rein me in, and they're sprawling wildly out
> of control with no end in sight.


Here's an idea:

Arrange a comp with a deadline, a size limit and perhaps a theme or a
genre. Let everyone judge the games between 1-10. All games that get an
average of at least 7.0 are then put together in a package and sent to
various magazines to try to get them to put it on their cover disk.
Providing we have a size limit, the package won't get ridiculously big,
and the voting will make sure all games that are promoted this way are
really good games. This means the magazines would hopefully get some
positive feedback from their readers, and maybe the comp organizers
could start a long-term cooperation with a big magazine for each
platform, where they publish a new package each year. Would that be
enough of an award to make you join the comp, despite the fact that
there's almost a zero chance of any single game being declared the
winner?

*If* it's possible to get games published this way, this would of
course also attract more people to the IF community on the Net.

/Fredrik

Sophie Fruehling

unread,
May 13, 2005, 7:32:00 AM5/13/05
to
"Ian Haberkorn" <haber...@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Initially I found it hard to find the games I like on the cluttered
>shelves of the ifarchive. If there was a more detailed searchable
>scoring system maybe the games would be easier to find after its
>initial release.
>
>I know that part of the categories are used already, but not thoroughly
>and for most/all games and searchable.

Maybe I'm missing the point completely here, but have you (Ian, that
is, not Fredrik) heard about Baf's Guide to the IF Archive or the
IF-Ratings website?

http://baf.wurb.com/if/

http://www.carouselchain.com/if/

This might help you find the good stuff.

And if you haven't visited it yet, PARSIFAL is a great starting point
to find all sorts of IF-related stuff:

http://www.firthworks.com/roger/parsifal/index.html

--
Sophie Frühling

"El arte no viste pantalones."
-- Rubén Darío

Quintin Stone

unread,
May 13, 2005, 9:52:23 AM5/13/05
to
On Fri, 13 May 2005, Graham Holden wrote:

> Another reason that appears to be the case from postings I've seen is
> that entering a game in IFComp almost guarantees that a sizeable
> proportion of the IF community will get to see your work for at most two
> hours (if the judges stick to the rules).
>
> If you release it at another time, you've got a far less guaranteed
> audience: an announcement to raif/rgif can be missed by many, who
> therefore never know there's a game to be played; of those that see it,
> even if they're attracted by whatever "teaser" you put in the
> announcement, they might not download AND play[**] it for many reasons.

I think this is the main reason. The competition provides a structure for
playing and reviewing the games, so people are more likely to sit down and
give them a try. You're far more likely to get people playing the game
and submitting feedback if you release in a competition. Because that's
the least an author hopes for; someone plays the game. All too often a
game is released outside the comp and is never heard from again.

==--- --=--=-- ---==
Quintin Stone "You speak of necessary evil? One of those necessities
st...@rps.net is that if innocents must suffer, the guilty must suffer
www.rps.net more." - Mackenzie Calhoun, "Once Burned" by Peter David

PJ

unread,
May 13, 2005, 9:52:33 AM5/13/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:

> ... we can't force anyone to drop or even alter any of the


> competitions, nor can we stop anyone from publishing any kind of
> review. But what we can do, and must do if you ask me, is ask
ourselves
> what kind of community we would like, what message we would like to
> send to new authors. The more people that are enjoying themselves in
> the commmunity, the more fun I think we'll all have, and the more
> people will join the community. This will, in itself, lead to more
> games being produced, and this will also mean more good games.

The publication of a large (relatively-speaking, of course) number of
independently developed, noncommercial IF games has been vastly
influenced by the existence of the IF Comp and its imitators and
variations. On the other hand, its possible to envision that the
culture of independent IF development might have evolved differently --
and perhaps even more prolifically -- if the Comp had never existed.

Since you can't go back and do the experiment all over again, it is
difficult to say what would have happened without the Comp.
*Something* would have had to be there as the catalyst or spark around
which the community coaslesced. I don't think Inform or Tads 2 alone
would have done it. So given the existence and continuing impact of
the Comps, right now, I think it's only safe to say that the Comps will
go away *only* if the IF population shrinks drastically and loses
interest in developing/playing IF games.

Which may, in fact, be happening. Analyzing traffic on this message
board (assuming Google's stats are reliable), we seem to be not only in
a bit of a lull right now, but rather on the downside of a rather
marked interest curve. Posts to this site peaked between 1998-2000 and
have been in a gentle but noticeable decline ever since. Likewise, if
you look at the ADRIFT message boards or the Quest message boards of
late, the discussions there sound more and more like a collective death
rattle than healthy, thriving communities.

While pruning off the less viable IF branches might make the whole tree
more healthy, the question is whether the disease is more widespread
than most of us would belive. Is the apparent drop in IF interest only
temporary, or are we reaching an inflection point on the IF population
curve at which there will soon be a race to the bottom? Will more and
more talented people bail out of the community until only the dregs or
the truly hard-core are left? I would hesitate to predict that, but
looking at the output and commentary of the Quest community shows one
possible fate for r.a.i.f's versions of mainstream, independent IF.

So, all of this is a rather long-winded way of saying, ask not what is
wrong with using Comps to generate games, but rather, what more can we
do with the Comps to sustain interest in IF and the production of IF
games? Perhaps we actually need fewer, but differently structured
Comps. If there were different divisions -- genre, length, timed
production, etc. -- in the IF Comp, would that make developing IF more
or less popular? Would better publicizing the Comp, or finding a
sponsor for it, add interest, press coverage, new players, new authors,
etc.? Would adding significant prize money (from a sponsor or
increased entry fees) raise the profile of the event and attract more
extra-community interest? Should we hold an actual physical IF
convention to announce the winner of the Comp (or XYZZYs) to promote
them and sustain interest? And so on.

I certainly don't think having a Comp where everyone is ensured a
prize, like 5-year old kids at a touchy-feely field day, is what will
motivate people to produce games. But to undersell the motivational
aspect of the Comp(s) -- or something like them -- is also fruitless.
If the old adage that writers write not because they want to, but
because they have to, is true, the corollary that they publish their
writing only because they get paid for it is also equally true.

IF authors have to have some reason to develop *and* distribute their
games. For the last 10 years or so, one of those reasons has been the
prestige, the play, the reviews, and the standing within the community
that doing well in the Comp provides. The continued viability of the
independent IF community, at least from the standpoint of advancing
towards the future of IF rather than circling the wagons around a
faithful few (see ifMUD), is quite dependent on the existence of the IF
Comp and its more humble relations.

Whether the Comp itself is a perfect vehicle for this or not is another
question entirely. Right now, it's the only one we've got, so if it's
broken (as you seem to imply and as it may well be), then let's fix it.
But I'm afraid fixing it by saying "everyone be nice to the newbies"
will be somewhat less than Diocletian in its impact. Personally, the
rather tepid response to Spring Thing this year and the dearth of new
games or even game reviews so far this spring has surprised. So this
thread is timely. Better to act now, in some fashion, before the
problem gets too big to solve, than to wait until the Comp and r.a.i.f.
are on there last legs.

PJ

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
May 13, 2005, 11:13:40 AM5/13/05
to
Here, Rexx Magnus <tras...@uk2.net> wrote:
>
> Just to add - what I'm implying here, is that perhaps if there are no
> competitions, there may still be a similar number of (total) releases in a
> given year, anyway.

I doubt that.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
May 13, 2005, 11:20:28 AM5/13/05
to
Here, Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
>
> But what if we change
> how the competitions work, or replace them with somehing better?
> Something which gives deadlines, constraints, attention and rewards,
> but doesn't point out any games as shitty [...]

I am not seeing how this pair of constraints makes sense. :/

> or try to rank works of art as if they could all be boiled down to
> numbers?

I've been running a (non-IF) comp where the votes and outcome are
non-numeric -- objects are placed on an ordered ranking. However, it
doesn't change the feel of the thing much. The bottom of the list is
still the bottom of the list.

> We could also let all competitors choose what kind of reviews they
> want to see - they could at least have the option of saying "If you
> intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd rather not see the
> review published for all to see."

This has to be attacking the problem from the wrong end.

Daphne Brinkerhoff

unread,
May 13, 2005, 11:54:32 AM5/13/05
to

Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> But what if we change
> how the competitions work, or replace them with somehing better?
> Something which gives deadlines, constraints, attention and rewards,
> but doesn't point out any games as shitty or try to rank works of art
> as if they could all be boiled down to numbers? What if we just
> announced "These games are great, these are also really good, and
these
> need some more work?".

This sounds remarkably like the IF Art Show:

<http://members.aol.com/iffyart/gallery.htm>

Although the Art Show does have "Best of Show" etc. awards, it is very
different (IMHO) from winning #1 in the IF Comp or the Spring Thing. I
guess I feel that way because it's a small jury of people voting on
these games, so it seems to me the author would be more able to take
their opinions with a grain of salt, rather than dealing with an
overwhelming avalanche of "This path is supposed to go northwest, not
northeast! Your game sucks!" or whatever.

There are also a couple of things called "comps" which have actually
released only reviews. The SmoochieComp, the SwashComp, and the
TelegramComp, as I recall, are examples of this (well, again,
individual reviewers sometimes chose to rate the games or rank them,
but the comments above about "a small jury" definitely apply). Also no
one rates SpeedIF on a scale, AFAIK.

Notice how I've completely avoided addressing your substantive issues,
and mentioned tiny facts instead. Well, hopefully they will help
anyway.

--
Daphne

Agnes Heyer

unread,
May 13, 2005, 12:10:58 PM5/13/05
to
"Fredrik Ramsberg" <f...@mail.com> skrev i melding
news:1115980512.2...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>We could also let all competitors choose what
> kind of reviews they want to see - they could at least have the option
> of saying "If you intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd
> rather not see the review published for all to see."

Well, I've found those reviews to be the most helpful (especially those of
Paul O'Brian). Not because I've written a substandard game which got that
kind of reviews, but I can read through them and not make those mistakes
myself because others already have. I wouldn't be happy if someone were to
rob me of that, regardless of what the authors themselves may think. Of
course, I could just find some poorly rated games elsewhere and read their
reviews, but in the IFComp you have a small collection of games each year
ranging from excellent to shoddy, and it makes it easier to tell what it
takes to get your game a particular ranking.


Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 12:36:28 PM5/13/05
to
Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Here, Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
> >
> > But what if we change
> > how the competitions work, or replace them with somehing better?
> > Something which gives deadlines, constraints, attention and
rewards,
> > but doesn't point out any games as shitty [...]
>
> I am not seeing how this pair of constraints makes sense. :/

I notice the smiley, but still need to comment: One thing I really want
to get away from are reviews and scores that say a game is so appalling
that the author totally loses interest in writing IF. We're all
hobbyists here. We're all in it for the fun. Getting your first game
ranked extremely low probably isn't much fun. Maybe we don't need a
strict ranking of the games? Maybe we don't need to specify that this
game is even worse than that game, which is also horribly bad?

> > or try to rank works of art as if they could all be boiled down to
> > numbers?
>
> I've been running a (non-IF) comp where the votes and outcome are
> non-numeric -- objects are placed on an ordered ranking. However, it
> doesn't change the feel of the thing much. The bottom of the list is
> still the bottom of the list.

I'd rather see my game as one of twenty games that "need more work"
than to see it in place 49/50. This is what I'm talking about.

> > We could also let all competitors choose what kind of reviews they
> > want to see - they could at least have the option of saying "If you
> > intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd rather not see
the
> > review published for all to see."
>
> This has to be attacking the problem from the wrong end.

Why? Maybe I'm aware that my game isn't fantastic or maybe not to
everyones tastes, but I hope at least *some* people will enjoy it. In a
perfect world, games that not even the author believes in would not be
entered into competitions, but we're not in a perfect world. We're in a
world where the Interactive Fiction community has turned into the
Interactive Fiction Competition community. It's all about competing,
and I think that's wrong. New members of the community evidently get
the impression that the best thing they can do when starting to write
IF is to sign up for IF Comp. If they're lucky, their first IF game
turns out great, they do well in the comp and feel encouraged to go on.
Chances are, of course, it doesn't turn out so great, and they end up
getting their efforts thrashed in public by the 20 or so people who
feel they want to publish reviews of every game they played for the
comp, even if they hated the game. Where's the fun in that for the
author?

I want to believe there's a way to stop this from happening. If you
want to compete, but you don't want public humiliation (which it may be
perceived as), why shouldn't you be allowed to? Maybe you prefer
getting opinions by mail, or maybe you prefer not getting them at all.

/Fredrik

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 12:49:51 PM5/13/05
to

Agnes Heyer wrote:
> "Fredrik Ramsberg" <f...@mail.com> skrev i melding
> news:1115980512.2...@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> >We could also let all competitors choose what
> > kind of reviews they want to see - they could at least have the
option
> > of saying "If you intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd
> > rather not see the review published for all to see."
>
> Well, I've found those reviews to be the most helpful (especially
those of
> Paul O'Brian). Not because I've written a substandard game which got
that
> kind of reviews, but I can read through them and not make those
mistakes
> myself because others already have. I wouldn't be happy if someone
were to
> rob me of that, regardless of what the authors themselves may think.

Paul O'Brian is a poor example, because he's a really good reviewer. He
remains constructive throughout and finds something good to say about
every game. He's still honest, but treats every author with respect.
He's not the kind of reviewer I think new authors need to be protected
from, even if there may of course be authors who don't want any
extremely low-rating public reviews at all, and I think we should
respect that. Also, if this kind of system were to become reality, we
couldn't have a list of reviewers that are allowed to publish any kind
of review, so Paul O'Brian would have to abide to the same rules as
everyone else.

Anyway, this system would not be intended to make you as a
non-competitor happy, but to prevent public humiliation of authors who
don't want it. Many would still allow public reviews I'm sure, so you'd
get your share of reviews anyway.

/Fredrik

Agnes Heyer

unread,
May 13, 2005, 1:00:24 PM5/13/05
to

"Fredrik Ramsberg" <f...@mail.com> skrev i melding
news:1116002991.0...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

>
> Paul O'Brian is a poor example, because he's a really good reviewer. He
> remains constructive throughout and finds something good to say about
> every game. He's still honest, but treats every author with respect.
> He's not the kind of reviewer I think new authors need to be protected
> from, even if there may of course be authors who don't want any
> extremely low-rating public reviews at all, and I think we should
> respect that. Also, if this kind of system were to become reality, we
> couldn't have a list of reviewers that are allowed to publish any kind
> of review, so Paul O'Brian would have to abide to the same rules as
> everyone else.
>
> Anyway, this system would not be intended to make you as a
> non-competitor happy, but to prevent public humiliation of authors who
> don't want it. Many would still allow public reviews I'm sure, so you'd
> get your share of reviews anyway.
>
> /Fredrik
>

Ah, yes. Good point. But why enter a competition where you run the risk of
getting such reviews in the first place? You'll probably get them anyway,
once the competition is over. You can't censor the Internet, after all.
Perhaps we also need a reviewer's competition to encourage constructive
criticism? The beta-testers have their BetaComp, after all.


PJ

unread,
May 13, 2005, 2:00:47 PM5/13/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:

> Paul O'Brian is a poor example, because he's a really good reviewer.
He
> remains constructive throughout and finds something good to say about
> every game. He's still honest, but treats every author with respect.
> He's not the kind of reviewer I think new authors need to be
protected
> from, even if there may of course be authors who don't want any
> extremely low-rating public reviews at all, and I think we should
> respect that. Also, if this kind of system were to become reality, we
> couldn't have a list of reviewers that are allowed to publish any
kind
> of review, so Paul O'Brian would have to abide to the same rules as
> everyone else.


The flaw in your argument so far is that the reviewing system isn't
really connected to the IF Comp. Reviews are posted mostly on
r.*.i.f., on SPAG, or on individual websites, and they are posted
whenever and in whatever form the reviewer feels appropriate. The
Comps only publish the order of finish as rated by the judges.
Reviewers will slag any game they dislike, no matter where it finished
in the Comp, high, low, or medium.


> Anyway, this system would not be intended to make you as a
> non-competitor happy, but to prevent public humiliation of authors
who
> don't want it. Many would still allow public reviews I'm sure, so
you'd
> get your share of reviews anyway.

Public humiliation is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.
Certainly I think some folks never finish their games and never
distribute them because they don't want to get slagged. But there is
also personal pride involved: if you value your association with the
community, you don't want to release a game which you *know* is poor
and have everyone realize how hopeless you are at writing a game.
Whether the comments are gentle or harsh, you still lose a bit of
standing. So many of us who write and write but never release are
probably doing so because our works don't measure up, and we know it.
Do we really want to see a lot of these sub-standard games
released/distributed? It's common in both the ADRIFT and Quest
communities to see a TON of junk, way more than what you see at the
bottom of the IF Comp. But that doesn't encourage players or authors
to take those tools seriously.

Also, while I think that it is certainly worthwhile to discuss changing
the Comp, which has been going on long enough to do a little rethinking
about it, it's not just the Comp you are talking about, but the culture
here on r.*.i.f. I lurked on the site for years & years, practically
back to its earliest beginnings, searching for games & reviews, and
never posted.

When I did start posting, on some interesting topics, I got scorned and
sneered at repeatedly by some of the top authors & contributors here,
who basically said, "don't participate or give your opinion so strongly
until you've written a game that proves how good you are." Needless to
say, "proving myself" just in order to be allowed to post here is not
exactly the motivating force behind my attempts to develop the game
ideas I have in mind. I don't mind the challenge and I'm not going to
whine about it; I have exceedingly sharp elbows, myself. But it's that
culture that leads to flaming the dregs of the Comp, and many folks
love the culture of these newsgroups.

So easing "newbies" along may not just a product of a gentler Comp, but
a different IF culture altogether. Bottom line: it's a huge stretch
to think that creating a different Comp scoring system will
automatically make for a kinder, gentler IF community rather than the
competitive one which has grown up around the Comp and the r.*.i.f
newsgroups. Good luck trying, though.

PJ

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 2:17:13 PM5/13/05
to

Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:

> We could also let all competitors choose what
> kind of reviews they want to see - they could at least have the
option
> of saying "If you intend to give my game a rating of 3 or less, I'd
> rather not see the review published for all to see."

Perhaps you're right, but from the people I've talked to about why they
are losing interest in writing IF, the response has usually been not
"because someone said bad things about my game", but "because no one
reviewed my game". (Or not enough people, or whatever -- at any rate,
there wasn't enough attention to reward the huge amount of work that
had gone into it.)

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 2:55:20 PM5/13/05
to

Agnes Heyer wrote:
> Ah, yes. Good point. But why enter a competition where you run the
risk of
> getting such reviews in the first place? You'll probably get them
anyway,
> once the competition is over. You can't censor the Internet, after
all.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting cruel reviews outside the comp.
I examined the nine non-comp games from 2003, and this is what I found:

AAS Masters (author: Stephen Granade, porter: Adam Biltcliffe).
- No reviews This is a joke game of sorts, so that's to be expected.
Medusa (Jim Fisher).
- This is a code example, not a game. No reviews.
Robodud (Ian Waddell).
- A coding exercise with a single trivial puzzle. No reviews.

Causality (Hugo Martay).
- Capsule review on Baf's guide
Dragon Adventure (William Stott).
- Capsule review on Baf's guide
The Ghost Train (Paul T. Johnson).
- Reviewed by Daphne Brinkerhoff on r.g.i-f
Insight (Jon Ingold).
- Capsule review on Baf's guide
- Reviewed in SPAG
- Reviewed by Gadget and much discussion on r.g.i-f
Mountain (Benjamin Penney).
- Capsule review on Baf's Guide
- Reviewed in SPAG
Shapes (Radical Al).
- No reviews

All in all, unless you've previously won the IF Comp, you don't have to
worry about a lot of people reviewing your game outside the
competition.

This also showed that there were actually only six "real" games
released outside the comps in 2003, not counting non-English games.

> Perhaps we also need a reviewer's competition to encourage
constructive
> criticism? The beta-testers have their BetaComp, after all.

I like the idea. Giving good criticism certainly isn't easy.

/Fredrik

Eric Eve

unread,
May 13, 2005, 3:07:52 PM5/13/05
to

<ems...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:1116008233.3...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

> Perhaps you're right, but from the people I've talked to about why
> they
> are losing interest in writing IF, the response has usually been
> not
> "because someone said bad things about my game", but "because no
> one
> reviewed my game". (Or not enough people, or whatever -- at any
> rate,
> there wasn't enough attention to reward the huge amount of work
> that
> had gone into it.)
>

I can see that would be pretty dispiriting. Whether it's more
dispiriting than "someone said bad things about my game" depends on
the context, I think. If someone releases their first attempt at IF
and various criticisms point out what's wrong with it, the author
may feel "Okay, I now know what to do better next time" and not be
discouraged from having another go. If, on the other hand, someone
felt that they'd put their best shot into a game, had had it
thoroughly beta-tested, had generally followed all the good advice
they felt capable of following, and had spent countless hours
polishing a piece, and then it got a large number of negative
reviews, I think they'd feel even more inclined to move on from IF
than someone who's game failed to attract any notice (disheartening
though that would also be).

But perhaps your experience (of people you've talked to) reflects
the fact that there are rather more authors whose games are ignored
than authors whose sincere best efforts get totally rubbished.

-- Eric


Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 3:18:03 PM5/13/05
to

I believe you. The lack of feedback for non-comp games is depressing.
Odd really, when there are so few of them. The review conspiracy is a
good initiative, even though I have no idea if the conspiracy is in
fully working order.

Still, I don't think it's unrealistic to think that a newbie, who
hasn't proven himself before, forgets what's so fun about writing IF if
he gets only negative reviews for a game he's worked on for several
months. I'm sure I would start looking for something more rewarding to
do in that situation.

/Fredrik

Quintin Stone

unread,
May 13, 2005, 3:25:36 PM5/13/05
to
On Fri, 13 May 2005, Agnes Heyer wrote:

> Ah, yes. Good point. But why enter a competition where you run the risk
> of getting such reviews in the first place? You'll probably get them
> anyway, once the competition is over. You can't censor the Internet,
> after all. Perhaps we also need a reviewer's competition to encourage
> constructive criticism? The beta-testers have their BetaComp, after all.

There have been, in the past, reviews of reviews. For instance, Mike
Sousa's review of the Comp 02 reviews:

http://tinyurl.com/9qn86

Adrien Beau

unread,
May 13, 2005, 3:53:29 PM5/13/05
to
On Vendredi 13 Mai 2005 21:07, Eric Eve wrote:

>
> <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote:
>
>> Perhaps you're right, but from the people I've talked to about
>> why they are losing interest in writing IF, the response has
>> usually been not "because someone said bad things about my
>> game", but "because no one reviewed my game". (Or not enough
>> people, or whatever -- at any rate, there wasn't enough
>> attention to reward the huge amount of work that had gone into
>> it.)
>
> I can see that would be pretty dispiriting. (...)

This euphemism from someone who has announced a new game on rgif,
to a stunning, week-long silence. :-/

--
spam....@free.fr
You have my name and my hostname: you can mail me.
(Put a period between my first and last names).

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:01:36 PM5/13/05
to

Eric Eve wrote:
> If, on the other hand, someone
> felt that they'd put their best shot into a game, had had it
> thoroughly beta-tested, had generally followed all the good advice
> they felt capable of following, and had spent countless hours
> polishing a piece, and then it got a large number of negative
> reviews, I think they'd feel even more inclined to move on from IF
> than someone who's game failed to attract any notice (disheartening
> though that would also be).

Yes, maybe. I don't very often see crushing reviews of noncompetition
games; stuff that's really dire but released out of comp usually just
gets politely ignored -- along with some stuff that isn't bad at all,
leaving the authors with no idea where their work falls. And a lot of
the really really bad games in the IF comp tend to strike me as minimal
efforts: things where the author a) was submitting a joke or b) was
deliberately not putting a lot of work in. I don't know how many are
honest attempts that still got severely slammed.

I do suspect that if someone has had their game thoroughly beta-tested
by testers with some IF experience, they will already have identified
whether it's bad enough to draw only fire, or whether it has some
redeeming qualities.

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:12:03 PM5/13/05
to

Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> Agnes Heyer wrote:
> > Ah, yes. Good point. But why enter a competition where you run the
> risk of
> > getting such reviews in the first place? You'll probably get them
> anyway,
> > once the competition is over. You can't censor the Internet, after
> all.
>
> I wouldn't worry too much about getting cruel reviews outside the
comp.
> I examined the nine non-comp games from 2003, and this is what I
found:
...

> This also showed that there were actually only six "real" games
> released outside the comps in 2003, not counting non-English games.

I know you said this in your original post, but it seems worth pointing
out again: you're still citing z-code-only stats here, and the numbers
involved are sufficiently small that I'm not sure that z-code can be
taken as representative. In any case, there were several other
non-competition games released in 2003, some experimental and some not.


I agree with the idea that there could be *more*, but still, you're
deflating the numbers a bit.

dwh...@gmail.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:13:41 PM5/13/05
to

Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
>
> The lack of feedback for non-comp games is depressing.
> Odd really, when there are so few of them.
>

Maybe the reason there are so few non-comp games is precisely because
people realise how poor the feedback is for them. What's the point in
releasing a game if you don't think anyone is going to play it?

dwh...@gmail.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:16:43 PM5/13/05
to

Agnes Heyer wrote:
>
> Perhaps we also need a reviewer's competition to encourage
constructive
> criticism? The beta-testers have their BetaComp, after all.
>

The problem with encouraging people to provide constructive criticism
is that you run the risk of discouraging them from wanting to review at
all. If you entered the reviewer's competition and were told that your
reviewing style sucked, you're not very likely to go ahead and review
games after that. (Of course, if your reviewing style *does* suck
that's probably just as well.)

Dan Shiovitz

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:18:39 PM5/13/05
to
In article <1116010520....@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
[..]

>This also showed that there were actually only six "real" games
>released outside the comps in 2003, not counting non-English games.

Note that you're confusing Z-code games with all games. 2003 also saw
the release of Narcolepsy, To Hell in a Hamper, and The Curse of
Dragon Shrine, to name a couple that got some attention and weren't
r*if comp games. The latter two appear to have been included in some
ADRIFT comps, but that's not why they got attention on r*if.

>> Perhaps we also need a reviewer's competition to encourage
>constructive
>> criticism? The beta-testers have their BetaComp, after all.
>
>I like the idea. Giving good criticism certainly isn't easy.

Perhaps people who want to see more or different reviews should, like,
start writing and posting them instead of griping about things in the
hopes of convincing other people to do it.

Seriously, folks, there is no cabal. The community is us. If you want
to see something changed, the most effective way to accomplish that is
to do something yourself to change it. If you want to see more games,
write a game. If you want to see more reviews, write a review. If you
don't agree with the current state of IF theory, come up with your own
analysis, find some evidence, and post it.

I've been reviewing more or less every game I've played for a year or
so now, and it's way more satisfying than complaining about games not
getting reviewed enough. More satisfying for me, anyway; but if anyone
else doesn't like it should be obvious what to do.

>/Fredrik
--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW

Eric Eve

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:22:13 PM5/13/05
to
ems...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:1116018096.1...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

> Yes, maybe. I don't very often see crushing reviews of
> noncompetition
> games; stuff that's really dire but released out of comp usually
> just
> gets politely ignored -- along with some stuff that isn't bad at
> all,
> leaving the authors with no idea where their work falls.

That's true -- I was thinking of all games rather than just non-comp
games when I was postulating the effect of a negative review.
You're right that it's dire comp games, especially dire IF-Comp
games, that get the most negative reviews. Still, I recall seeing
somone of rgif a few months ago posting reviews of all the non-comp
games of 2004, so even the ones that weren't much appreciated (if
there were any such) would have eventually got at least one review.

> And a lot of
> the really really bad games in the IF comp tend to strike me as
> minimal
> efforts: things where the author a) was submitting a joke or b)
> was
> deliberately not putting a lot of work in.

That's my impression too, if you're talking about games that end up
scoring less than 4, at any rate.

>I don't know how many are
> honest attempts that still got severely slammed.

I think there are some honest attempts that end up around the 4 or 5
mark with some pretty negative things being said about them, at
least that was my impression from the last IF Comp. I'm not saying
that these games ought to have scored more necessarily, just that
they may have been honest efforts that didn't turn out too well.

> I do suspect that if someone has had their game thoroughly
> beta-tested
> by testers with some IF experience, they will already have
> identified
> whether it's bad enough to draw only fire, or whether it has some
> redeeming qualities.

One would certainly hope this would be the case, to be sure. So
maybe I was imagining a purely hypothetical case!

-- Eric


Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:27:01 PM5/13/05
to

emsh...@mindspring.com wrote:
> Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> > This also showed that there were actually only six "real" games
> > released outside the comps in 2003, not counting non-English games.
>
> I know you said this in your original post, but it seems worth
pointing
> out again: you're still citing z-code-only stats here, and the
numbers
> involved are sufficiently small that I'm not sure that z-code can be
> taken as representative. In any case, there were several other
> non-competition games released in 2003, some experimental and some
not.
>
>
> I agree with the idea that there could be *more*, but still, you're
> deflating the numbers a bit.

You are of course right. My statement is untrue. It should have said
six "real" Z-code games.

/Fredrik

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:29:28 PM5/13/05
to

That's not a "maybe", it's a generally agreed-on observation. The
IFComp has created a feedback loop, both generating more games and
drawing people to preferentially release games in the Comp, since it
got started ten (?!) years ago.

The Review Conspiracy, the SpringComp, the speed-IFs, the IF Art Show,
and various other projects have sprung up in response to this loop.
They're all trying to generate more games, but with different rewards
and attractions -- for precisely the reasons Fredrik is talking about.
I think they've all had some degree of success, although none of them
has approached the level of the Comp.

BTW, I think Fredrik (or possibly someone else) started this thread by
measuring the activity on this newsgroup over the years. That isn't an
ideal way to sample interest in IF. The newsgroup regulars and the
frequently-seen IF authors are partially overlapping sets, at best.

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 5:55:01 PM5/13/05
to
Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> Perhaps people who want to see more or different reviews should,
like,
> start writing and posting them instead of griping about things in the
> hopes of convincing other people to do it.

My initial thought wasn't "I wish everybody else would start posting
good reviews of non-comp games". It was "IF is supposed to be an art
form, but the IF community has been reduced to a forum for competition.
Why is that so, and what can we do about it?". I started the thread to
alert people and make them think about where we are and where we're
heading, and gather ideas for how we can change it, if we do indeed
want to change it.

> Seriously, folks, there is no cabal. The community is us. If you want
> to see something changed, the most effective way to accomplish that
is
> to do something yourself to change it. If you want to see more games,
> write a game. If you want to see more reviews, write a review. If you
> don't agree with the current state of IF theory, come up with your
own
> analysis, find some evidence, and post it.

And if you want more cathedrals, build a cathedral yourself...

While I agree that the community is us, I don't necessarily agree that
the best way to change something is to just change your own ways and
shut up. We can accomplish more together.

It may well be that we're rapidly approaching the second death of IF,
as PJ guesses elsewhere in this thread. In that case, many people need
to change attitude and perhaps one or more comps need to change form to
change that trend. No single person can do that on their own.

> I've been reviewing more or less every game I've played for a year or
> so now, and it's way more satisfying than complaining about games not
> getting reviewed enough. More satisfying for me, anyway; but if
anyone
> else doesn't like it should be obvious what to do.

Great. It would be good if more people did that.

I don't play much IF these days. The last time I finished an IF game, I
sent a thank-you note to the author, briefly telling him what I thought
about the game. It was very easy to do and appreciated.

/Fredrik

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:01:08 PM5/13/05
to
dwh...@gmail.com wrote:
> The problem with encouraging people to provide constructive criticism
> is that you run the risk of discouraging them from wanting to review
at
> all. If you entered the reviewer's competition and were told that
your
> reviewing style sucked, you're not very likely to go ahead and review
> games after that. (Of course, if your reviewing style *does* suck
> that's probably just as well.)

No, if your reviewing style sucks, you can be told so in a constructive
way to help you improve.

Good criticism provides encouragement. That goes for good critisism of
critisism too. Mike Sousa showed a good example of that in the link
Quintin provided.

/Fredrik

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:09:34 PM5/13/05
to

Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> > Perhaps people who want to see more or different reviews should,
> like,
> > start writing and posting them instead of griping about things in
the
> > hopes of convincing other people to do it.
>
> My initial thought wasn't "I wish everybody else would start posting
> good reviews of non-comp games". It was "IF is supposed to be an art
> form, but the IF community has been reduced to a forum for
competition.
> Why is that so, and what can we do about it?". I started the thread
to
> alert people and make them think about where we are and where we're
> heading, and gather ideas for how we can change it, if we do indeed
> want to change it.

To play devil's advocate for a minute, I think the IF Comp -- and to
some extent the most successful of the smaller competitions, especially
the IF Art Show -- *do* contribute to the development of IF as an art
form. One reason there's less discussion of non-competition games is
that not everyone plays them at the same time; frequently players will
shelve a new game for weeks or months before they get around to it, if
there's no playing deadline. Which means that there isn't ever a single
moment where a critical mass of players have a fresh, recent experience
of a game, from which to draw observations and compare notes. (The IF
Bookclub thingy was supposed to work on that, I think, but it doesn't
survive either. It's hard to generate momentum for something.)

After a competition, there *does* tend to be some discussion, not just
of the overall quality with rankings, but of perceived trends in IF,
and how the various contributions advance the art form. Dozens of
people have all just played the same set of thirty-odd games, so the
discussion tends to be reasonably grounded in specifics, and reasonably
thoughtful about the mechanics of IF. That's a useful kind of
conversation to have, and I would enjoy seeing more of it. I'm not sure
it can be trivially replaced by having people individually post
reviews, though individual reviews are good too.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
May 13, 2005, 6:16:29 PM5/13/05
to
Here, Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
>
> While I agree that the community is us, I don't necessarily agree that
> the best way to change something is to just change your own ways and
> shut up.

Dan didn't say "shut up".

> We can accomplish more together.
>
> It may well be that we're rapidly approaching the second death of IF,
> as PJ guesses elsewhere in this thread.

Is this something you're seeing, or something you're assuming? Yes,
Comp size has decreased slightly in the past few years. But I see you
posting a lot of "maybe some authors are reacting like this". That's
not even indirect evidence.

> I don't play much IF these days.

That's direct evidence. What would get you to *play* more IF?

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 7:00:43 PM5/13/05
to
emsh...@mindspring.com wrote:
> To play devil's advocate for a minute, I think the IF Comp -- and to
> some extent the most successful of the smaller competitions,
especially
> the IF Art Show -- *do* contribute to the development of IF as an art
> form. One reason there's less discussion of non-competition games is
> that not everyone plays them at the same time; frequently players
will
> shelve a new game for weeks or months before they get around to it,
if
> there's no playing deadline. Which means that there isn't ever a
single
> moment where a critical mass of players have a fresh, recent
experience
> of a game, from which to draw observations and compare notes. (The IF
> Bookclub thingy was supposed to work on that, I think, but it doesn't
> survive either. It's hard to generate momentum for something.)

And when a new non-comp game comes out, why aren't there enough people
wanting to play it right away? Could it be that the number of players
on r.g.i-f is not large enough compared to the number of authors, so
the market for IF games is actually saturated until we get more players
(or fewer authors)?

> After a competition, there *does* tend to be some discussion, not
just
> of the overall quality with rankings, but of perceived trends in IF,
> and how the various contributions advance the art form. Dozens of
> people have all just played the same set of thirty-odd games, so the
> discussion tends to be reasonably grounded in specifics, and
reasonably
> thoughtful about the mechanics of IF. That's a useful kind of
> conversation to have, and I would enjoy seeing more of it. I'm not
sure
> it can be trivially replaced by having people individually post
> reviews, though individual reviews are good too.

Checking the download stats, it looks like there are enough people
playing the popular games to hold a discussion. Galatea was downloaded
142 times in March, not counting the mirrors. If anyone had started
talking about Galatea in April, there should be plenty of people with a
fresh memory of it, right? Or maybe most of the downloads don't
actually lead to someone playing the game seriously. Or maybe most of
the downloaders don't visit r.g.i-f frequently. I don't know.

What if I set up a calendar with a "game of the week" suggestion? If
you want to be able to talk to others about the game you're playing on
r.g.i-f, consider playing the game of the week to increase the chances
of someone else playing the same game and wanting to talk. Sort of like
an IF book club but without obligations. The web page is there, check
it if you like, no need to get an account etc.

How about changing the way the competition results are presented then?
Do authors care about winning the comp, or would they be equally happy
just getting all the reviews they're getting now and the result "Great
game", shared with several other games? Or do authors think it actually
means their game is better because they got 9.5 while #2 only got 9.3?
I think a decreased focus on numbers would be healthy, both for the top
games and the bottom games. Instead of getting an exact placement near
the bottom of the list, you could get "Your game, and x others, have
room for improvement." That's enough information to say that your game
wasn't among the best in the comp, and I think a more specific
placement than that can only help to make authors less happy, while not
making anyone else more happy. There would also be a group of games in
between, called "good" games or something like that.

I believe authors enter the comp to have many people play their game,
receive reviews and get a feel for if people generally thought it was a
great game or just a good game. They don't enter to hear that it was a
lousy game, and I don't think they enter to hear that their game was
slightly better or worse than some other game. Therefore I don't think
an exact ranking serves any purpose.

/Fredrik

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 13, 2005, 7:18:57 PM5/13/05
to

Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Here, Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
> >
> > While I agree that the community is us, I don't necessarily agree
that
> > the best way to change something is to just change your own ways
and
> > shut up.
>
> Dan didn't say "shut up".

No, you're right. He said "quit griping".

> > We can accomplish more together.
> >
> > It may well be that we're rapidly approaching the second death of
IF,
> > as PJ guesses elsewhere in this thread.
>
> Is this something you're seeing, or something you're assuming? Yes,
> Comp size has decreased slightly in the past few years.

Neither. I say *maybe* it's happening. I use the word "guesses" to say
I have no evidence for this.

However, the fact that very few authors put out games except for in the
competitions isn't a sign of a healthy community around an art form, if
you ask me.

> But I see you
> posting a lot of "maybe some authors are reacting like this". That's
> not even indirect evidence.

I remember C.E. Forman being extremely discouraged by the lack of
positive reviews to The Windhall Chronicles. I don't think he said it,
but I believe he stopped writing IF because of this. Maybe more
constructive reviews would have changed that, but I can't know for
sure.

I know something about what makes *me* tick. If I spend a lot of effort
doing something which I don't get paid for, I have to get something
else out of it. If all I get is nagging, I quit. Maybe I'm unique in
this sense, but I doubt it.

> > I don't play much IF these days.
>
> That's direct evidence. What would get you to *play* more IF?

A less chaotic life, resulting in a more peaceful mind. Less kids, less
wives, less work. But at the same time, I kinda like the kids, and the
wife. And having a job lets me keep them.

/Fredrik

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
May 13, 2005, 8:31:27 PM5/13/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> And when a new non-comp game comes out, why aren't there enough
people
> wanting to play it right away? Could it be that the number of players
> on r.g.i-f is not large enough compared to the number of authors, so
> the market for IF games is actually saturated until we get more
players
> (or fewer authors)?

Possibly.

> Checking the download stats, it looks like there are enough people
> playing the popular games to hold a discussion. Galatea was
downloaded
> 142 times in March, not counting the mirrors. If anyone had started
> talking about Galatea in April, there should be plenty of people with
a
> fresh memory of it, right?

It's hard for me to interpret those statistics. Galatea is assigned
reading (playing? interacting?) in some college new-media courses, and
has gotten displayed outside the community in other ways. Possibly that
artificially inflates the number of downloads without increasing the
number of rgif visitors who've played it lately. And then lots of
people download games without playing them.

Still, yes, I suspect that if someone started a conversation about
Galatea there would be enough able respondents -- but Galatea is not
really the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's five years old; it was
released as part of the art show, bundled with reviews; it has already
been talked about more than its fair share. *And* it's so short that
anyone wanting to participate in an analysis could go away, play it,
and come back fifteen minutes later with an opinion.

Instead, take something like "Return to Ditch Day": large game,
released independently last year, with a number of technical
innovations, chatty and active NPCs, and interesting puzzles; and
demonstrating cutting-edge T3 abilities. It got three XYZZY nominations
and is rated pretty high on the IF scoreboard, so clearly some players
did think it was doing something right. If it didn't get discussed as
much as might be productive (as feedback for Mike Roberts, but also as
part of the community's ongoing study of design), then why didn't it?
And I suspect the answer is partly this issue of timing and critical
mass.

> What if I set up a calendar with a "game of the week" suggestion? If
> you want to be able to talk to others about the game you're playing
on
> r.g.i-f, consider playing the game of the week to increase the
chances
> of someone else playing the same game and wanting to talk. Sort of
like
> an IF book club but without obligations. The web page is there, check
> it if you like, no need to get an account etc.

No idea.

> How about changing the way the competition results are presented
then?
> Do authors care about winning the comp,

This at least is easy: yes.

No comment on whether rating-obsession is healthy, but it's out there,
and for some the thrill of competition is an actual incentive.

PTN

unread,
May 13, 2005, 8:54:14 PM5/13/05
to

"Fredrik Ramsberg" wrote:

> Why are competitions so incredibly important in IF?

Well, I think the IF Comp does foster a sense of community here and is
incredibly important as an annual event in which everyone sort of virtually
gets together for a moment to play a bunch of games and have a shared
experience. That said, the shared experience frays somewhat with the longer
playtime we now have to finish all the games, but it still works.

I don't think removing the scores or moderating the reviews, as you
suggested in other posts in this thread, would be helpful. But I also feel
vaguely dissatisfied by the comp environment, and this thread has helped me
tease out those feelings. On reviews, I find it helpful to put them into two
groups: "reviews," which are consumer reports designed to help potential
players decide whether or not a game is worth their time to play, and
"critiques," which assume that the reader has played the game as well and
explores the game in great detail, focusing on what works and what doesn't,
and usually having more spoilers.

In the case of games released out of comp, what they really need are
reviews, not critiques. The reviews will draw more players to the game.
Certainly, when I released 1893, this is what I wanted to see. A good review
= more players, and a bad one typically less, but either way they let people
know the game is out there and what you think of it. Critiques for non-comp
games are much less worthwhile, except to the author of the game if they are
looking for that kind of feedback; but I'd say if an author is looking for a
critique, he'd be better served entering the game into the IF Comp.

Post comp, then, the reviews can be harsh, but that's because they are meant
to be critiques -- most readers have played the game and this is the perfect
time to hash out the details. Unfortunately, I think conversation is
somewhat limited, and instead, individual critics simply post their
post-comp lists (as I have done in the past as well), and that's it. It is
hard to frame a discussion out of these points, and indeed, the critic is
hardly inviting discussion by posting his material that way, they feel more
like a declaration. I think it would be very cool to create a thread for
each game, and each critic would then post their comments about each game in
each thread. Each game would have its own sprawling discussion that way.
But, it would be a heck of a lot more work for each critic to do it that
way, so maybe this is a bad idea.

Anyway, I think the IF Comp is absolutely vital. But I agree with the idea
behind this thread -- I'm not crazy about comps in general, and I would love
to try and put together a thematic game designing non-comp sort of thing
which would be, say, "Sci Fi games," and then they would all be released
together in a package online.

That said, as long as the IF Comp has a $500.00 prize for first place, I see
very little reason to release any game outside of the IF Comp, ever. That's
a mighty fine incentive.

-- Peter Nepstad
http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/1893


Graham Grant

unread,
May 14, 2005, 3:30:16 AM5/14/05
to
Fredrik Ramsberg

> Checking the download stats, it looks like there are enough people
> playing the popular games to hold a discussion. Galatea was downloaded
> 142 times in March, not counting the mirrors. If anyone had started
> talking about Galatea in April, there should be plenty of people with a

> fresh memory of it, right? Or maybe most of the downloads don't
> actually lead to someone playing the game seriously. Or maybe most of
> the downloaders don't visit r.g.i-f frequently. I don't know.

Galatea is an interesting case in point. Short not only made a
dazzlingly original, well-crafted game, she also gave birth to an
entirely new genre: conversationalist IF. The fact that the
conversation itself is rather dull is beside the point. The point is
that she cleared a path for others to follow. A courageous pioneer.

But wait, did she really start a new genre? It seems that the only
thing Galatea spawned, except extatic reviews, was Kallisti, a game
everybody loves to hate, including its author. So here we are, a
community that prouds itself on being "artistic", "non-commercial" and
"anything goes", but what we're *really* interested in is Zork clones
and collegiate humour.

Tommy Herbert

unread,
May 14, 2005, 9:28:56 AM5/14/05
to
Graham Grant wrote:
> Galatea is an interesting case in point. Short not only made a
> dazzlingly original, well-crafted game, she also gave birth to an
> entirely new genre: conversationalist IF.

[snip]

> But wait, did she really start a new genre? It seems that the only
> thing Galatea spawned, except extatic reviews, was Kallisti, a game
> everybody loves to hate, including its author.

Well, there was Shadows on the Mirror and Whom the Telling Changed.
Also Emily Short's own Pytho's Mask.

Fredrik Ramsberg

unread,
May 14, 2005, 10:20:08 AM5/14/05
to

emsh...@mindspring.com wrote:
> Fredrik Ramsberg wrote:
> > Do authors care about winning the comp,
>
> This at least is easy: yes.

Then the answer to my original question is simple too: Yes, IF is all
about competitions.


/Fredrik

Kevin Venzke

unread,
May 14, 2005, 10:20:11 AM5/14/05
to
Hello,

"PTN" <peterdelete...@gmx.de> wrote in message
news:W_bhe.1955$Lu6....@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...


> That said, as long as the IF Comp has a $500.00 prize for first place, I see
> very little reason to release any game outside of the IF Comp, ever. That's a
> mighty fine incentive.
>
> -- Peter Nepstad

One thing I wonder is whether it would be helpful to have several such
prizes. If 6th place could win $100, that would be helpful in obtaining more
IFComp (or Spring Thing) entrants, wouldn't it?

If we were to decide that that's so, then I bet we could easily and
quickly find a half-dozen more prizes.

(Someone will say there are enough IFComp entrants as it is, but I think
that if competitions are the only thing encouraging the production of
new games, we may as well go with that.)

Does anyone think it would help to move the Spring Thing a month
back?

Kevin Venzke


Ian Haberkorn

unread,
May 14, 2005, 11:13:35 AM5/14/05
to

Sophie Fruehling schrieb:
> "Ian Haberkorn" <haber...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Maybe I'm missing the point completely here, but have you (Ian, that
> is, not Fredrik) heard about Baf's Guide to the IF Archive or the
> IF-Ratings website?

Yes, that's where I went first. In many cases looking and reading about
the game took longer than actually playing it. I am just advocating
more concise "profiles" of games, so qualities other than comp laurels
gain in importance.

Ian

Dan Shiovitz

unread,
May 14, 2005, 2:26:19 PM5/14/05
to
In article <1116026337.7...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,

Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
>
>Andrew Plotkin wrote:
>> Here, Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > While I agree that the community is us, I don't necessarily agree
>that
>> > the best way to change something is to just change your own ways
>and
>> > shut up.
>>
>> Dan didn't say "shut up".
>
>No, you're right. He said "quit griping".
>
>> > We can accomplish more together.

What I said specifically was that it's more useful to do the thing you
want to see done than to try and get other people to do it. As another
example, elsewhere in the thread you talk about setting up a
game-of-the-week board to encourage people to talk about particular
games. I agree that saying "hey, let's talk about game X" may
encourage some people to do so -- but what would encourage way more
people is if you actually start talking about game X and get a
discussion going.

>> >
>> > It may well be that we're rapidly approaching the second death of
>IF,
>> > as PJ guesses elsewhere in this thread.
>>
>> Is this something you're seeing, or something you're assuming? Yes,
>> Comp size has decreased slightly in the past few years.
>
>Neither. I say *maybe* it's happening. I use the word "guesses" to say
>I have no evidence for this.
>
>However, the fact that very few authors put out games except for in the
>competitions isn't a sign of a healthy community around an art form, if
>you ask me.

Well, it's the sign of a small community in which producing stuff is a
lot of work and so extra incentive is needed, I think.

[..]


>I know something about what makes *me* tick. If I spend a lot of effort
>doing something which I don't get paid for, I have to get something
>else out of it. If all I get is nagging, I quit. Maybe I'm unique in
>this sense, but I doubt it.

No, certainly, I agree with that. But, look, I think part of the
problem with this thread is you haven't been clear about the problem
you're seeing, and then you haven't explored all the options for
dealing with it. Like, we started out with "Most games are being
entered in comps, what's up with that?" and ended up with, I think,
"Newbies are being discouraged from sticking with the IF community
because they're getting mean reviews in the comp." Yeah? So if it's
really the last one we're interested in, it seems like we can do some
analysis to see if it seems true/untrue, and then we can talk about
ways we could try to fix it.

On the other hand, if the problem you really want to talk about is "I
find it displeasing that people get mean reviews in the comp/that the
comp is scored" then, ok, you're welcome to talk about it, but this
seems like basically a philosophical argument that is going to be hard
to convince people with, without turning it into a more specific form
like the previous problem.

Dan Shiovitz

unread,
May 14, 2005, 2:32:42 PM5/14/05
to
In article <vOnhe.212495$cg1.1...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net>,

Kevin Venzke <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote:
>Hello,
>
>"PTN" <peterdelete...@gmx.de> wrote in message
>news:W_bhe.1955$Lu6....@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...
>> That said, as long as the IF Comp has a $500.00 prize for first place, I see
>> very little reason to release any game outside of the IF Comp, ever. That's a
>> mighty fine incentive.
>>
>> -- Peter Nepstad
>
>One thing I wonder is whether it would be helpful to have several such
>prizes. If 6th place could win $100, that would be helpful in obtaining more
>IFComp (or Spring Thing) entrants, wouldn't it?

It seems like even $500 is still a pretty crappy per-hour rate for
writing IF, but maybe it does make a difference. Nobody seems to be
writing IF-Reviews for Mark Musante and he pays $10 for those, but
possibly it's a matter of the lump sum being smaller even though the
cost/time amount is much larger.

[..]


>Does anyone think it would help to move the Spring Thing a month
>back?

Hmm, why do you suggest this? To make it easier to move things from
the main comp to the spring thing?

>Kevin Venzke

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
May 14, 2005, 6:03:25 PM5/14/05
to
Here, Kevin Venzke <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote:
> Hello,
>
> "PTN" <peterdelete...@gmx.de> wrote in message
> news:W_bhe.1955$Lu6....@newssvr19.news.prodigy.com...
> > That said, as long as the IF Comp has a $500.00 prize for first place, I see
> > very little reason to release any game outside of the IF Comp, ever. That's a
> > mighty fine incentive.
>
> One thing I wonder is whether it would be helpful to have several such
> prizes. If 6th place could win $100, that would be helpful in obtaining more
> IFComp (or Spring Thing) entrants, wouldn't it?

I've never been comfortable with the top prize being on the order of
$500. Money is cool, but if people are really entering *primarily*
because of the prize money, then the competition would be better off
with more and smaller prizes.

markm

unread,
May 14, 2005, 7:55:05 PM5/14/05
to

Dan Shiovitz wrote:

> [snip] Nobody seems to be


> writing IF-Reviews for Mark Musante and he pays $10 for those, but
> possibly it's a matter of the lump sum being smaller even though the
> cost/time amount is much larger.

The reason for the $10 was to serve as an incentive. Although a
handful
reviews were in fact written for the payment, I'm fairly certain that
the majority would have been written regardless.

There are probably a few factors that could be at work here:

1/ $10 is too low, or

2/ People don't want to feel as though they're writing for money as
opposed to the love of the medium, or

3/ Not enough people know about the site, or

4/ Interactive Fiction Barbie says, "Writing reviews is hard!"

I've taken a stab at writing a review or two and, while the feeling
of having accomplished something is not half bad, it really can only
be done in my increasingly rarer free time. When it comes to deciding
whether to write a review or spend time on my WIP, the WIP has to
take precedence.

Having said all that, I'm going to raise the payment for reviews to $20
and hope that helps to make a difference. It's hard to do that without
feeling as if I'm being unfair to all those people who already wrote
reviews for $10, so please accept my apologies.


-markm

Kevin Venzke

unread,
May 14, 2005, 9:59:58 PM5/14/05
to
Hi,

"Dan Shiovitz" <d...@cs.wisc.edu> wrote in message
news:d65g8a$uer$1...@drizzle.com...


>>One thing I wonder is whether it would be helpful to have several such
>>prizes. If 6th place could win $100, that would be helpful in obtaining more
>>IFComp (or Spring Thing) entrants, wouldn't it?
>
> It seems like even $500 is still a pretty crappy per-hour rate for
> writing IF, but maybe it does make a difference.

I think it's not about the money, but about the ability to tell people
that you were awarded $100 for a game you wrote.

Still, I can't sneeze at $500 (maybe others can); if there were three
$500 prizes I am sure some authors would come out of retirement
(etc.) *partly* in hopes of snatching one up.

> Nobody seems to be
> writing IF-Reviews for Mark Musante and he pays $10 for those, but
> possibly it's a matter of the lump sum being smaller even though the
> cost/time amount is much larger.

(I didn't know about this, myself.)

> [..]
>>Does anyone think it would help to move the Spring Thing a month
>>back?
>
> Hmm, why do you suggest this? To make it easier to move things from
> the main comp to the spring thing?

I'm not sure I understand your thought. To be clear, I meant to make
the Spring Thing a month later. Although the spring submission deadline
is six months away from the fall one, the fall one seems to take up a
lot more time. Possibly this drains some possible participants for the
Spring Thing. Also, the spring comp theoretically is for larger games,
so it would be odd if practically there is less time to write for it.

I wonder how many people intended to enter the Spring Thing, but
ran short of time for whatever reason? I've got a half-done WIP for
it. I bet Mike Snyder does too. I wouldn't be surprised if Eric
Eve's "All Hope Abandon" was intended to be a submission.

Kevin Venzke


Kevin Venzke

unread,
May 14, 2005, 10:22:09 PM5/14/05
to
Hello,

"Andrew Plotkin" <erky...@eblong.com> wrote in message
news:d65sjd$qjt$1...@reader1.panix.com...


>> One thing I wonder is whether it would be helpful to have several such
>> prizes. If 6th place could win $100, that would be helpful in obtaining more
>> IFComp (or Spring Thing) entrants, wouldn't it?
>
> I've never been comfortable with the top prize being on the order of
> $500. Money is cool, but if people are really entering *primarily*
> because of the prize money, then the competition would be better off
> with more and smaller prizes.

I don't think this would work, since once you drop below $100 or so
it's not easy to brag about how much you won. But with large prizes,
you can count on the fact that many people will (falsely) believe that
their entries are very competitive, and that they'll be contenders for
the big prizes. Then they don't actually win anything big, and the
community gets their submission for free.

I think it's a gorgeous model: The community pays for IF to be produced
without having to buy specific works.

Kevin Venzke


Adam Thornton

unread,
May 14, 2005, 10:55:10 PM5/14/05
to
In article <1116026337.7...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
Fredrik Ramsberg <f...@mail.com> wrote:
>I remember C.E. Forman being extremely discouraged by the lack of
>positive reviews to The Windhall Chronicles. I don't think he said it,
>but I believe he stopped writing IF because of this.

I remember C.E. Forman being extremely discouraged by a *lot* of
things. And this wasn't the only newsgroup it happened to him in. I
think, in general, that external factors may not have been the primary
reason he stopped writing IF.

Adam

Mike Snyder

unread,
May 14, 2005, 11:16:35 PM5/14/05
to
"Kevin Venzke" <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote in message
news:y2yhe.214138$cg1.1...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> Hi,

> I wonder how many people intended to enter the Spring Thing, but
> ran short of time for whatever reason? I've got a half-done WIP for
> it. I bet Mike Snyder does too. I wouldn't be surprised if Eric
> Eve's "All Hope Abandon" was intended to be a submission.

I started on a Spring Thing entry -- even sent in my $7. I just ran out of
steam, and didn't get far at all in development (got stuck, in fact, working
out the basic storyline). I've been mulling over a renewed interest in an
old idea -- The Oxygen War (granted, it would be the follow-up to a
below-average DOS game, scrapping that in favor of Hugo). So, yeah, you're
pretty much right. :)

In theory, it should take longer to wrong a medium-to-long-sized game, than
it should take to write a two-hour game. Moving the Spring Thing deadline
back a month -- even two -- might be a benefit. I think it all comes down to
how motivated we are, though. I just lost my motivation, else I could have
made it work in the time available. :-/

---- Mike.


Mike Snyder

unread,
May 14, 2005, 11:19:48 PM5/14/05
to
"Mike Snyder" <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote in message
news:W7zhe.8776$Ri4.7901@okepread07...

> "Kevin Venzke" <step...@yahooo.frr> wrote in message
> news:y2yhe.214138$cg1.1...@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...
> > Hi,

> In theory, it should take longer to wrong a medium-to-long-sized game,
than

That's the freakiest thing... did I really write "...longer to WRONG..." ? I
must be tired. REALLY tired.

--- Mike.


Eric Eve

unread,
May 15, 2005, 5:40:09 AM5/15/05