More Comp 06 Reviews

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Reiko

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Nov 21, 2006, 12:32:03 PM11/21/06
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Here are my comments on the games I played, which was probably about
two-thirds of them. The only game I deliberately cherry-picked was
Floatpoint, because I knew I'd play it eventually anyway, and I wanted
to start out the competition on a good note. I know how much dross
accumulates in comps usually, and I was not disappointed on either
account (the dross, or Floatpoint). After that I just went through
semi-randomly and played most of the z-code and tads games, and all of
the windows games. I didn't seem to have anything that would run either
the hugo or quest games, so I didn't end up playing those. I would have
gone and gotten the terp for them, but it wasn't really worth it to get
a new terp for one game. I didn't play the adrift games either because
the adrift programs don't like the way my computer is set up, and it
requires changing an option and completely restarting my computer to
get it to run, and that makes some of my other programs not work right
also. So it's a huge pain to run adrift games.

Oh, and I beta-tested Moon-Shaped, so I didn't play it during the comp,
but I'm definitely going to go back and play the final version, because
apparently the final version has a lot more stuff in it than I ever
saw. I'm only slightly spoiled by reading the comments and reviews, but
in the alpha version I played, I didn't see *any* hint of the
connection between the wolf and the PC, or of the second fairy-tale
tied into the story (I still don't know what it is, in fact).

Scoring is fairly subjective, although a few times to make a point I
explicitly state what each point I've given is for (usually for the
lower-scoring games). Each point level corresponds to a relative level
of quality. I almost never give 10's, and I felt that none of the games
in this particular competition were worthy of a 10, because each one
could certainly be improved in some significant way for a better play
experience. 8's and 9's are for quality games that I also enjoyed
significantly. 6's and 7's are for games that are either lower quality,
or I didn't enjoy them as much, or they weren't as deeply implemented.
5's are for average games that might have had few bugs, but had major
pacing or implementation issues, or just weren't terribly captivating.
3's and 4's are for games that weren't fun at all, or had major bugs.
1's and 2's are for joke games or really bad games.

Other general comments:
The comments/reviews are in the order I played the games (yes, I
gritted my teeth and went through all of the windows games at once).
Spoilers shall ensue, although some of the bigger ones I avoided
mentioning. I spoiled Geometries, for instance, but not Legion.

Top five games (all with scores of 8 or 9):
Legion
Delightful Wallpaper
The Primrose Path
Floatpoint
The Elysium Enigma

Floatpoint - 8
Emily Short
Somewhat short, but intriguing sci-fi political strategy story.
Well-done, quite polished. I found no bugs, although there was one
curious oversight where it appears that a person has just said
something and is still in the room, but trying to talk to or interact
with the person results in nothing. That was just after I had received
the sweater from the scientist. Looking at the room again revealed that
the scientist had, in fact, left the room, but it didn't seem that way
before.
There are multiple distinct endings, but this does not actually improve
the replayability because each ending is the result of a single
decision point. Fascinating description of the new race and the variety
within it though. One thing I didn't quite understand was how they
floated. Is this a technological innovation implanted within their
bodies, or a biological one, or what? If technological, why can't
ordinary humans get implanted as well? Cultural exclusivity?
The email system is also very well done. Some of the email replies were
quite amusing, although one of them I wasn't sure was warranted and
didn't send it immediately because it wasn't at all what I would have
said had I actually had the flexibility to write the email myself. I
think this is similar to how some games use "talk to" for conversation,
and each time the command is used, the PC is given one preset thing to
say to move the conversation along. The email system in this case
worked very much like that, which meant it was quite constrained. It
would have been a lot more work to give it any more flexibility though.
Overall, good effort, and technically quite good, up to Emily's usual
high standards, but due to the political nature and the fairly short
plot, the story didn't quite grab me as much as it might have. I would
have liked to see more exploration of the culture and the interactions
between humans and the new race.


Labyrinth - 6
This is a modern puzzle-fest. With almost no plot, from the beginning
you're thrown into this crazy cube thing with nothing to do but stare
at the (brightly-colored) walls and solve puzzles. I'm not too dumb,
and the nim-puzzle was pretty good, as was the amulet, but I'm not much
of one to stare at truth-statements and such. Some people will probably
like this more than I did. It's quite a clever idea, and a
competently-made game, with no errors that I saw. It's just not quite
my thing, and so I didn't end up finishing it. The rooms were also
somewhat cookie-cutter; with more interesting and detailed
descriptions, I would have scored this a 7.


Moebius - 5
The Sergeant at the beginning totally made me laugh. Too bad he stays
at headquarters. But wow, did that mission go funky. The time loop is
excellently done, with the "previous self" mirroring most of what you
actually did during the previous loop. Once in awhile whatever the
previous self is trying to mirror doesn't quite work. The hints and
comments at the end of each loop are well-done too. It's somewhat
annoying to pick something up and then not be able to use it during the
next loop though. That alone decreased the fun because I kept fiddling
with objects, having my attempts at solving the puzzle not work, and
then having to wait through an entire loop to try something else with
the object. What has to happen gradually becomes clearer after some
fiddling, but actually getting it to work is somewhat time-consuming. I
didn't actually bother to finish it.

Star City - 5
Usually darkness means you have to find a lit object so you can see,
so you don't fall into a pit or something. But not this time. Nope,
this time you have to venture into it to find a different way to light
up the area. That's not clued at all. I guess on a space station you
don't really have to worry about falling into pits as much, but still.
I found out later that the lights on the spacesuit actually exist, but
(1) they don't work, which I guess is the clue to go find another way
to light up the area, and (2) they only respond to the plural "lamps,"
not "lamp" or "light" or anything else I was using to try to activate
them, which means I completely missed that clue anyway.
Also, this game is disappointingly thin on description and
implementation. A number of objects and possible actions are not
described. Some actions don't work as they should, either. The worst
one: near the end, "drop railing" doesn't work, but "let go" does.
Well, the real problem with that is that by that time, I was using the
walkthrough rather extensively, and it said to let go of the railing.
Well, usually, "let go" isn't actually a command, but is usually just
shunted to "drop." But instead of doing that, "drop" just gave me a
standard refusal that to let go of the railing would be suicide. Which
is not at all what you want to say when a more specific "let go"
command is what you're looking for. Because apparently, losing my grip
on the railing blows me out of the space station, but letting go of it
allows me to fall onto a landing platform. What? And *then* the
walkthrough says to push the joystick to control the little plane, but
"pull joystick" and "push joystick" both result in "You are unable to."
(!!)
Sadly, the end of the walkthrough is rather incomplete. After a few
tries, I managed to get the glider to the landing sequence, but then no
matter what I did, I kept crashing. There's no detail in the
walkthrough about how to manage this part. The walkthrough isn't even a
real walkthrough, but just a list of things to be done in normal
English. The landing approach is pretty cool, although it's a little
too long, so it's worth an extra point. But overall, while I wanted to
like this game, it just wasn't polished enough to get a very high
score.
After-comp comments: I ended up emailing the author, and he set me
straight about how to get the landing sequence to work. On one level, I
admire a sequence that keeps my interest long enough for me to play it
ten times just to figure out how to get it to work. On the other hand,
*please* include a walkthrough (with actual commands) that works. That
goes for some other games in this comp as well (Fight or Flight,
Initial State).


Sisyphus - 1
I spent all of five minutes on this one and couldn't find anything to
do. There's just one room and one object, each described with a single
sentence, and no apparent way to go anywhere or affect the
surroundings. The PC is even naked, carrying absolutely nothing. The
responses to attempts were quite sparse, with a few errors: "wonder"
instead of "wander," for instance. I couldn't find any programming
errors, but I didn't exactly do anything, either.


The Tower of the Elephant - 7
Pretty cool, although not at all "nice" in terms of winnability.
Movement and actions are well-done, with the athletic PC performing
climbing and even ordinary movements with a smooth grace that is
well-rendered. The interaction with the thief is smoothly handled, with
a choice to kill him or let him help you. The solution to the spider
isn't at all obvious or clued, however, and the conversation sequence
that allows the ending is even easier to overlook. It is definitely
possible to make the game unwinnable. Even with the walkthrough, I
overlooked the critical conversation piece the first time through, and
then the rest of the conversation didn't work. The keywords don't
trigger a response until the critical conversation action is carried
out. The game itself is fairly short, but the branch near the beginning
adds to the effect. It was a nice effect that you start out being wary
of the NPCs, but aside from the main villain, the hostile NPCs are all
creatures.


Legion - 9
Excellent work, although from a very different perspective:
first-person plural. The effect is so total that the revelation of
figuring out who and what "she" is really supposed to be is
fascinating. I've never seen a game with this perspective before, so
it's a really unique effect, one that is carried out very well. I
didn't see a single default parser response: everything was rewritten
to maintain the intended voice. Also, descriptions of locations and
objects change as the PC-consciousness understands more about what
things are from the host's perspective. The host, once acquired and
woken up, actually helps the PC accomplish the goal, which is really
fun.
The special ability of entering things is used to great effect in
accomplishing the goal, which is clearly defined from the beginning.
There are four different endings, one of which is somewhat suboptimal,
but all of them accomplish the overall goal in different ways. Two of
the endings even have multiple different ways to reach them. I'm being
deliberately vague about all this because the experience of discovering
the goal is something I don't want to spoil for anyone.
Overall, this is a very memorable, well-polished game. I can't remember
seeing any errors. While the experience of directing the
PC-consciousness is not always intuitive, it is fascinating just to
wander around and play with the possibilities because the PC is so
unique.


Geometries - 5
I'm not sure this author knows what a comma is. The writing is fairly
vivid, but there are many run-on sentences and general errors scattered
throughout to serve as a bit of a distraction from the story. Which is
really bizarre. Apparently the world in the story is 2D? And there are
weird things coming from the third dimension, and...yeah. Bizarre. It
wasn't at all obvious what to do some of the time, so better pacing
would be good. There was an oddity with the circle and the ashes, too,
where it was pretty obvious that the writer thought that the player
would get the ashes before doing anything else with the circle, like
trying to open it. It could use some cleaning up, and maybe a bit more
explaining, but on the whole, not too bad. Just sort of...average.


Fetter's Grim - 2
This game has two strikes against it going in. One for being written by
Panks, and one for being an original parser rather than created with
one of the standard languages. We'll see how well this game can
overcome those two strikes.
The prose is remarkably fleshed out, more than I expected. At the same
time, there are a number of spelling/grammar errors. The location
descriptions also swerve into drunk-sounding ramblings at times, which
is somewhat disturbing. The descriptions sometimes describe actions
which shouldn't happen more than once, and are sometimes not accurate
about the directions to adjacent rooms, either. And...now it crashed
when I asked to read something. Hmm. I think that's an indication that
it's time to move on. Glancing at the walkthrough, I notice that one
necessary action is something that is completely repugnant to me and
something I would never do under any circumstance, so obviously this is
not the type of game that I would get to the end of anyway. I don't
think it has overcome the strikes against it at all. A point for a
program that runs, and a point for the detailed descriptions. That's
about it.


Greenfl/Eldor - 4
This game has the same two strikes as Fetter's Grim. However, it looks
to be even more simplistic. It doesn't even understand "x" as a
shortening of "examine," where Fetter's Grim did. Since the same author
wrote both, there's no excuse for that. On the other hand, this one
understands "talk to," but Fetter's Grim didn't. Another oddity is that
the village seems to be laid out the same way as the village in
Fetter's Grim, with a tavern to the north, and a church to the west
containing a room to the north with a priest and an altar visible from
the main room.
In another place, a table is noted having atop it "some useful items,"
but the game doesn't even seem to understand the word "table." So I
guess there's not actually anything useful there.
Well, I was able to finish the game without any help. Not that there
was any help to be had, of course. And I was wandering around literally
blind for awhile when I couldn't figure out how to relight the lantern.
But somehow I stumbled across the artifact that would give me light, so
that worked out okay. So, this game gets an extra point for being
finishable, and another point for being a pseudo-rpg, which is a type
of game I personally like quite a lot. As simplistic as it was, it was
fun for about ten minutes.
After-comp comments: Of the three windows Panks games, Eldor is the
best one, with the most detail, so he should have just entered that one
and dropped the other two. It would have been better received by itself
rather than next to its more poorly implemented siblings.


Initial State - 5
While it may be an original parser, this game has been written with an
elegance of prose that deftly sidesteps some of the limitations of its
parser. For example, there is no way to "examine me," which is
something I tend to try near the beginning of most games. However, in
the first room there is a mirror which shows a description of the
character's appearance, obviating the need for such a command. Also,
some of the descriptions, while definitely written in a normal
paragraph style, have an air of poetry about them, down to subtle
rhymes here and there. It's a very interesting effect, and one that I
really haven't seen before.
Alas, I have become stuck, and without a walkthrough or even hints, I
think I will remain stuck. Nice writing and nice try, but I need a
little more direction and interaction in my games. Also, no save
function, so anything I may have done so far will not be kept. Oh well.


Simple Adventure - 2
Yet another Panks game, modeled on the same world. This is sort of
ridiculous, really. There's no need to submit this one, when Eldor was
a scaled up version of this game with about twice as much to do. This
one took me all of about five minutes to beat, mostly because I knew
the layout of the place. The objects were in different places, and
there weren't as many objects, but it was still easy. I didn't even
bother turning on the lantern. Apparently I can fight in the dark
perfectly well.


The Primrose Path - 9
At first, I thought the description of the bedroom that involved waking
up was going to be a problem. But then when I stood up, the description
shifted to a static one. And then I ran into the door. Which was only a
problem because I didn't realize that running into it opened it for me.
At least it was amusing. That doorbell sure got me downstairs in a
hurry. Now that's direction for you. Oh, and by the way, it's written
in first person present tense. Nice shift. There were some snarky
comments thrown in about a voice or impulse controlling the main
character, too. Sometimes, Matilda just wouldn't do what I had entered
due to her own strength of character. That's tricky to pull off, but it
was handled really well here.
And then, I couldn't stop playing until I got to the end. Fascinating
use of scenery and time-travel and a multiplicity of keys...good stuff
here. The hint system was well-done, as well, with two levels, one of
which would keep track of what had been done so far, and the other of
which would either give a hint or an actual bit of walkthrough for the
current step. Multiple endings are icing on the cake. Very well done,
and I know I didn't see everything there was to see because I didn't
use all the keys.
There was one scene that I think I managed to trigger out of order. At
the end, when I was looking around for how to stop Irene, I ended up
entering her painting, and one of the people there took an object from
me that I was pretty sure Leo had never given back after taking it
away. I think that scene was intended to be reached much earlier. It
was a dead-end anyway, so it didn't matter much, but it was an odd hole
in the strong continuity that had been maintained up to that point.


Pathfinder - 5
Somewhat interesting story of a corrupt corporation controlling people
to hide their own crimes, but the presentation is a bit lacking. I
found that there were a number of places where I had to go an
undescribed direction or do an unprompted action to proceed, and I had
to resort to the hints and even the walkthrough several times as a
result of that. Descriptions of objects were sometimes too specific and
did not update based on the condition of the object. And sometimes an
action would have to be taken at a specific time to succeed, and would
result in death otherwise. Not really an incentive to keep trying that
action to find the correct time to use it. There were a few
grammar/spelling errors as well. On the whole, pretty average.


Elysium - 8
Nicely detailed backstory that is gradually fleshed out throughout the
game. Multiple ways to do things, although it becomes clear fairly
early on that everything must be searched to find all the useful
objects. Excellent conversation system with a topics command and
multiple responses for many topics, giving a flow of conversation. The
characters themselves are well-done, too.
There are only two things that could really be improved. One would be
the cluing for some actions. I had no idea that a few things were even
possible until I read the hints. Part of that was not being aware that
the game had enough depth to permit them. The second thing would be to
provide more of an ending. There are multiple endings, which is good,
but each ending is little more than a paragraph or so, which gives very
little resolution to the problem. What happened to the spy afterward?
What happened to the planet and the settlement? The story just ends.


A Broken Man - 3
It's just a very short quest for revenge, so it's really not my cup of
tea. The first puzzle was simple enough. But there was nothing to make
me identify myself with the main character at all, so when I got stuck,
I immediately turned to the hints and found that the necessary actions
ended up being a rather unlikely-sounding series of things. I mean, who
keeps superglue locked up in a little box? And then who would think to
use that superglue in the ways that are required? The hints also
mentioned something at the very beginning that I didn't see at all.
Either that was one of those dummy questions used to trick people who
are reading the hints (but they normally say so by the end of the hint
sequence), or I managed to bypass a puzzle somehow. Also, multiple
learning-by-death episodes are required in order to solve this without
hints. That's usually not a good sign. Anyway, terse language, no
character development, and a paper-thin puzzle plot made me not bother
to go very far in it.


Hedge - 6
Hmm, the first puzzle was pretty cool, although it involved finding the
right things to ask about first, and it was more a "think outside the
box" sort of thing than a real puzzle. I found two deaths in the
process of getting in. The next area is more confusing, with several
objects, one of which I took, but I'm not sure I should have been
allowed to take, since the description basically includes how it was
connected to its surroundings. I found another death already, but I
haven't managed to do anything useful. The help (which comes in a
rather amusing form), isn't really very much help, either.
I turned to the walkthrough and found the next useful action, which in
retrospect ought to have been obvious, except that object wasn't really
handled very well. When I did the action, it sounded like another exit
was supposed to open up, but it didn't, probably because I wasn't in
the correct room (as a result of being able to take this object that
ought to have been fixed, I think). When I tried the action again in
the correct room, I got a non-fatal run-time problem, and then the exit
appeared. Strange.
Overall, the game appeared to be a matter of knowing what to do, rather
than solving puzzles. There seemed to be many possibilities, except
that I couldn't figure out how to use most of them. This is another
case where the game (or the author) is too clever for me.


Ballymun Adventure - 3
Sigh. Another adventure set in an ordinary school. A sprawling school,
to be sure, and one that appears to offer subjects that my school never
offered, but it is still an ordinary school and a very ordinary
scavenger hunt game. The strategy is simply to go in every room and
search every object mentioned in red. Once in awhile, an object that is
not in red will be implemented, but most of the time not.
This game also suffered from the problem of promising more than it
delivers. One of the features is supposed to be a clickable map as an
in-game object that, once it is found, will take you instantly to the
room you want. When I tried it, the game translated my click into a
command such as "transport to Room 1." However, then it gave me an
error message saying "I don't know the word 'transport.'" That is quite
a problem.
I'd give this game points for being realistic, but the map problem
kicks it down a notch, and it wasn't even really fun, just somewhat
tedious, searching upwards of forty rooms for four particular objects.
I found two of them, but then I ran into the map problem and got bored
and stopped.


Madam Spider - 7
This appears to be a game consisting of two unrelated parts, but one
particular optional command during the first part gives the connection
between them. That said, this is sort of a trippy metaphorical
dream-game that is pretty simple to solve and doesn't take very long.
It does contain the message that it is important to cherish and visit
one's family though, because they can be taken from us suddenly, and
even our own mortality is shakier than we usually realize. Nice message
and nice simple puzzles. The connection between the parts could have
been made slightly clearer, though, as I was left at the end of the
first playthrough very confused as to what exactly happened.
I didn't notice any particular errors, although one object was
described in such a way that it made me misinterpret how it was
constructed, and so I didn't think to use it the way it was supposed to
be used.


Fight or Flight - 4
This is a rather bloody story. A mutant bear-like thing is loose and is
killing people. The game is supposed to have two paths, but I couldn't
even win on the flight path, which is probably the simpler one, so I
didn't even try the other path. I ended up trying to follow the
walkthrough as closely as possible and still ended up dying, so I have
no idea how this game is supposed to be won. People kept dying so often
that I really didn't get into the story much at all. On the other hand,
I ended up replaying the thing about five times trying to win, so it
kept my interest for that long, but it was quite disappointing not
being able to win.


Carmen Devine - 5
Short little supernatural mystery that comes together pretty well at
the end, but requires some unclued actions. Specifically, at the
beginning, I didn't have any idea I needed to read the report multiple
times to continue. So I was left sitting in the jeep waiting to get
somewhere useful, and nothing was happening. Second, the knife is so
well hidden that I only found out about its existence from the hints.
Once I knew it existed, I tried searching everything I could think of
in the room, but I still couldn't find it. Examining and taking it
directly worked, however. Having a hidden object that is directly
takable but can't be found by searching isn't very nice. Since
searching didn't work there, and wasn't necessary to find anything else
in the village, it wasn't at all obvious that I needed to search in a
different room to find another important object.
Conversation felt a bit patchy, as well. After I got confused and
looked at the hints, I realized I need to know about something, so I
asked, but the response was what I needed to hear to know about the
thing in the first place, instead of finding out about it from the
hints. In other words, I couldn't find the right things to ask about in
order to get the information I needed. Asking about things I shouldn't
have known about yet gave me useful responses. Asking about other
things gave no response at all.
Third, the effect of the change seemed to be mostly a disadvantage. I
seemed to be able to smell trails in either form, but I couldn't carry
anything when I was changed. The only disadvantage to normal form
seemed to be in vision. At any rate, there should have been more of an
effect of changing. This could have been made much more interesting.
Overall, the game is interesting, but pretty short, and could use some
polishing.


Delightful Wallpaper - 9
Bizarre, but extremely well-done. I have never seen a puzzle executed
this well that involves only moving around. Actually, I don't think
I've ever seen a puzzle at all that involved only moving around (other
than mazes - I guess this is sort of a maze except you're not lost). In
the first part of this game, there is only one required action that is
not a movement command, although there is a notebook containing useful
information that should be consulted periodically in order to solve the
puzzle. Very ingenious.
The second part is even more interesting, because it adds a story to
its puzzle weaving, as people take actions in various places that all
come together in the end as a coherent whole. I envisioned the people
as being somewhat shadowy, as they are a vision of the future, in a
sense. When an intent is completed, the action's results are also
shown. The notes change to a fragmentary poem that serves as a series
of hints about how to complete the actions. The people will come across
the method of completing their action in one room, and then will carry
it out in another. So the rooms form an overlapping series of
time-slices that interweave to form a tapestry of actions.
All this probably makes more sense than it sounds here, but at any
rate, this is an extremely well-done puzzle story. There's no real plot
or backstory; the puzzle is integral to the story, and the story also
forms the puzzle. I only got stuck twice, and in each time, I had
basically just overlooked a room. There are quite enough hints in-game;
everything is very logical, so a persistent player should be able to
win through without help.


Polendina - 4
Kind of...generic, with a rather strange twist at the end. If there is
an end. Not too much to say about this one, except that the few puzzles
are pretty simple, of the "search scenery, find object, use object"
sort of thing. The dog is cute, but there's an attempt to make a moving
scene with it that doesn't really work. Oh, and the parser is extremely
snarky, and swears at you if you're doing something it doesn't like. A
point for the story gimmick, a point for not crashing, a point for
non-guess-the-verb puzzles, and a point for the dog. That's about it.
It might have been two points for the story gimmick, but the snarky
parser wasn't really necessary.


I only played Aunts and Butlers after the comp, so I didn't score it
and I didn't write comments the way I did for the other games. But I
thought that while the story itself was rather disjointed, and it was
quite possible to make it unwinnable a couple times, the prose was
quite amusing, and the butler was great.

~Reiko

Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 12:44:07 PM11/21/06
to
"Reiko" <tel...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1164130323....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...

> Here are my comments on the games I played, which was probably about
> two-thirds of them. The only game I deliberately cherry-picked was
> Floatpoint, because I knew I'd play it eventually anyway, and I wanted
> to start out the competition on a good note. I know how much dross
> accumulates in comps usually, and I was not disappointed on either
> account (the dross, or Floatpoint). After that I just went through
> semi-randomly and played most of the z-code and tads games, and all of
> the windows games. I didn't seem to have anything that would run either
> the hugo or quest games, so I didn't end up playing those. I would have
> gone and gotten the terp for them, but it wasn't really worth it to get
> a new terp for one game. I didn't play the adrift games either because
> the adrift programs don't like the way my computer is set up, and it
> requires changing an option and completely restarting my computer to
> get it to run, and that makes some of my other programs not work right
> also. So it's a huge pain to run adrift games.

You could install Gargoyle, which will run all the games that weren't
home-brewed (except Quest). Or you could install the Hugo runner itself:

http://www.sidneymerk.com/hugofree.shtml

A few of us are just going to keep on writing in Hugo, and I can think of
no good reason not to be prepared. :)

---- Mike.


quic...@quickfur.ath.cx

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 2:03:35 PM11/21/06
to
On Tue, Nov 21, 2006 at 09:32:03AM -0800, Reiko wrote:
[...]

> Polendina - 4
> Kind of...generic, with a rather strange twist at the end. If there is
> an end. Not too much to say about this one, except that the few
> puzzles are pretty simple, of the "search scenery, find object, use
> object" sort of thing. The dog is cute, but there's an attempt to make
> a moving scene with it that doesn't really work. Oh, and the parser is
> extremely snarky, and swears at you if you're doing something it
> doesn't like.
[...]

The reason for the snarky parser is, of course, the same as the twist at
the end. But, like you said, that was probably not necessary.


QF

--
It said to install Windows 2000 or better, so I installed Linux instead.

dgen...@hotmail.com

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 2:30:32 PM11/21/06
to

I wasn't able to run FloatPoint on either Gargoyle or Frotz. I'd like
to play it, of course, since it won, and because I have a lot of
respect for Emily Short's past works of IF.

Do I need additional software to run Glulx?

Dave

Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 4:17:19 PM11/21/06
to
<dgen...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1164137432.6...@f16g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

>
> I wasn't able to run FloatPoint on either Gargoyle or Frotz. I'd like
> to play it, of course, since it won, and because I have a lot of
> respect for Emily Short's past works of IF.
>
> Do I need additional software to run Glulx?

What I've heard is that Gargoyle uses "GIT" as its Glulx interpreter by
default. If I recally correctly, I didn't change my Gargoyle settings let
Floatpoint ran fine for me. I didn't play it in Gargoyle -- I was mainly
just curious as to whether it'd work for me or not. So, I don't know if it's
because I'd installed an earlier version that'd already done the right
mappings, or what.

I'm not even sure how to fix it. There have been several posts, though. You
either copy glulxe.exe to git.exe (to fake it out), or manually change the
association, or something.

That it plays Adrift games is a big boon to many people. But again, I play
Adrift in the Adrift runner, because I love the auto-mapping (and because I
changed the font size/colors to be more comfortable to me than the Adrift
default).

--- Mike.


Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 4:20:02 PM11/21/06
to
"Mike Snyder" <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote in message
news:p1K8h.4507$mP4....@newsfe23.lga...

> I'm not even sure how to fix it. There have been several posts, though.
> You either copy glulxe.exe to git.exe (to fake it out), or manually change
> the association, or something.

Somehow, I don't even *have* git.exe in my Gargoyle directory. No wonder
there's not a problem. This version must be a little older, and maybe I just
didn't try it on my computer at home.

---- Mike.


Reiko

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Nov 21, 2006, 4:22:24 PM11/21/06
to

Mike Snyder wrote:
> You could install Gargoyle, which will run all the games that weren't
> home-brewed (except Quest). Or you could install the Hugo runner itself:
>
> http://www.sidneymerk.com/hugofree.shtml
>
> A few of us are just going to keep on writing in Hugo, and I can think of
> no good reason not to be prepared. :)

I probably will pick up Gargoyle or the hugo terp eventually, if only
to check out what all the hype is about TTS. I've been spoiled a bit by
all the discussion, but that's okay.

I am still curious to see if anyone has any response to some of the
questions that I (sort of) raised in my comments. In particular:

In Carmen Devine, is there any way to find the knife without knowing
about it first?

Was Initial State supposed to be finishable, or was the point to get so
bored that you try to kill yourself anyway? That is, I got totally
stuck, not having any hints or anything.

In the Primrose Path, did anyone use all of the keys?

In Fight or Flight, did anyone succeed in finishing the 'flight' path?

~Reiko

Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 4:45:32 PM11/21/06
to
"Reiko" <tel...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1164144144.8...@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...

>
> Mike Snyder wrote:
>> You could install Gargoyle, which will run all the games that weren't
>> home-brewed (except Quest). Or you could install the Hugo runner itself:
>>
>> http://www.sidneymerk.com/hugofree.shtml
>>
>> A few of us are just going to keep on writing in Hugo, and I can think
>> of
>> no good reason not to be prepared. :)
>
> I probably will pick up Gargoyle or the hugo terp eventually, if only
> to check out what all the hype is about TTS. I've been spoiled a bit by
> all the discussion, but that's okay.

I have to give credit to people who have intentionally *skipped* the
discussion (or parts of it), to avoid spoilers. I was concerned about it at
first, but not so much now. The bulk of players went through during the
competition, and those that come later won't even see this discussion. So, I
think only a few potential players will see all these spoilers.

If I were a player instead of the author, I don't know how anxious I'd be to
play after the spoilers. I'd probably be thinking "man, I wish I didn't
already *know* that." Not that I'm backpedalling about the ending -- just
that it's the kind of thing that is probably best experienced instead of
spoiled. You'll like it or you won't, but at least it would be your gut
reaction. :)

> Was Initial State supposed to be finishable, or was the point to get so
> bored that you try to kill yourself anyway? That is, I got totally
> stuck, not having any hints or anything.

Were there no hints? I forgot. It's finishable, yes. Afterwards, I peeked at
the data files (which are not encoded) and saw that this ending was the
final ending. It *seemed* liked it would be, but it poses a question that
isn't quite answered.

It's been criticized for being overwritten, but this didn't bother me too
much. I really got into the story. If anybody is interested, I could
probably write a walkthrough for it.

> In the Primrose Path, did anyone use all of the keys?

I don't think I did, but then again, I was a little confused on the keys.

--- Mike.


Maureen Mason

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 4:38:50 PM11/21/06
to
Nice reviews. I especially liked the description of Delightful
Wallpaper:

In article <1164130323....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>,
"Reiko" <tel...@gmail.com> says...


> The people will come across
> the method of completing their action in one room, and then will carry
> it out in another. So the rooms form an overlapping series of
> time-slices that interweave to form a tapestry of actions.

I could well have missed out on the pleasures of this one because, when
I tried to jump to the mid-point like the author suggested, I got the
impression from his walkthrough that the second half was more of the
same, a color maze of some kind. When I kept making typos in the
walkthough and getting stuck, I just put the game aside (got back to it
later).

I bet if I'd seen moves in the walkthrough like "get toxic" instead of
the more generic "get <color>", I would've been intrigued, and
persisted.

Of course now that the game's officially released and people are
familiar with the reviews (not to mention the author), I don't imagine
many players will bog down like I did.

> Fetter's Grim - 2

> Glancing at the walkthrough, I notice that one


> necessary action is something that is completely repugnant to me and
> something I would never do under any circumstance, so obviously this is
> not the type of game that I would get to the end of anyway.


Ok, I have to ask. Was it behaving badly towards a certain supreme
being?

Maureen

Reiko

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Nov 21, 2006, 6:35:26 PM11/21/06
to
> > Fetter's Grim - 2
> > Glancing at the walkthrough, I notice that one
> > necessary action is something that is completely repugnant to me and
> > something I would never do under any circumstance, so obviously this is
> > not the type of game that I would get to the end of anyway.
>
> Ok, I have to ask. Was it behaving badly towards a certain supreme
> being?
>
> Maureen

Yep, if I remember correctly, that's indeed what it was doing.

On a separate note, hints or something for Initial State would be quite
nice. I liked what I saw of the game. Although one room was
particularly disgusting, the prose quality I thought was quite good and
I'd like to see the rest of the story. I'm just not that good at
puzzles, or I missed something that's critical, and I got stuck after
opening one door and getting only a couple objects. I actually thought
a walkthrough or at least hints were required for comp games, but I
guess not.

~Reiko

Emily Short

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 6:46:22 PM11/21/06
to

Reiko wrote:

(Re. Floatpoint)


> One thing I didn't quite understand was how they
> floated. Is this a technological innovation implanted within their
> bodies, or a biological one, or what? If technological, why can't
> ordinary humans get implanted as well? Cultural exclusivity?

The floatpoints themselves are technological (sort of -- I envisioned
them as involving an odd matter state that required technology to bring
into being, not as having moving internal parts or anything like that;
just as extremely high-numbered elements are not themselves
"technology", but you can't currently get them without considerable
technological resources). But they also require some biological changes
to be controlled by the owners.

It would be possible to introduce this innovation to (mostly) normal
humans, but would probably be seen by most Earthlings as creepy
tampering with nature. And to install the feature in an already-born
human would require a lot of painful surgery at a minimum, even if the
person wanted to go through with it. Nonetheless, that's part of what
the little man made by the scientist was meant to demonstrate.

Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 6:55:29 PM11/21/06
to
"Reiko" <tel...@gmail.com> wrote in message

> On a separate note, hints or something for Initial State would be quite


> nice. I liked what I saw of the game. Although one room was
> particularly disgusting, the prose quality I thought was quite good and
> I'd like to see the rest of the story. I'm just not that good at
> puzzles, or I missed something that's critical, and I got stuck after
> opening one door and getting only a couple objects. I actually thought
> a walkthrough or at least hints were required for comp games, but I
> guess not.

Recommended, but not required.

I'm going to try to write a walkthrough for that game tonight, and upload it
to the archive (maybe post here too, if that seems appropriate).

--- Mike.


Mike Snyder

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Nov 21, 2006, 6:59:35 PM11/21/06
to
"Mike Snyder" <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote in message
news:CkM8h.1$Hj...@newsfe17.lga...

> I'm going to try to write a walkthrough for that game tonight, and upload
it
> to the archive (maybe post here too, if that seems appropriate).

Argh. Or maybe not tonight. I forgot that my transcripts are incomplete,
because I was cut-and-pasting from DOS scrollback, and hadn't bumped it high
enough. I missed some bits. Well, maybe in the next few days, at any rate.

--- Mike.


Rob

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 6:41:37 PM11/21/06
to
Reiko wrote:
> In Carmen Devine, is there any way to find the knife without knowing
> about it first?
>
When you're in the forge, the room description lists "scattered remnants
of a blacksmith's work".

Examining them gives the following response:
"Some horseshoes, a number of farming implements, and a knife lie
scattered through the ruin of the forge."

Regards
Rob

Reiko

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 7:37:33 PM11/21/06
to

Argh. Thanks. I didn't think to >X REMNANTS. This is why I suck at
puzzles. I thought I examined everything possible in that room because
I knew there was a knife due to the walkthrough and I wanted to find
where it was, but I missed the one thing that actually led to three
examinable objects. Also, the timbers and ashes mentioned previously in
the description are not implemented ("You can't see any such thing."),
nor is there any response to >X WORK. I'd also tried doing things like
looking under the anvil, which was not fruitful either. Actually, I
think the description of the remnants probably should have just been
placed in the body of the room description. There's no real reason why
those things have to be invisible unless the correct thing is examined.
They aren't really hidden, as is evidenced by the fact that the knife
can be taken without examining the remnants first. And, even worse,
"search remnants" results in "You find nothing of interest." That's
pretty misleading; it should return the examine response if it's not
going to give me the useful item that's there. It's even possible that
I searched the remnants the first time through and didn't find
anything, so I assumed there was nothing there.

~Reiko

Mark Tilford

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 10:16:34 PM11/21/06
to
On 2006-11-21, Reiko <tel...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> In Fight or Flight, did anyone succeed in finishing the 'flight' path?
>

I managed to; the ending isn't very satisfying.

Reiko

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 10:22:14 PM11/21/06
to

Okay, just wondered, because the walkthrough's broken. Unless getting
your own head ripped off after watching everyone else die is your idea
of an ending that "isn't very satisfying"?
~Reiko

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Nov 21, 2006, 11:27:52 PM11/21/06
to
Here, Reiko <tel...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Rob wrote:
> > Reiko wrote:
> > > In Carmen Devine, is there any way to find the knife without knowing
> > > about it first?
> > >
> > When you're in the forge, the room description lists "scattered remnants
> > of a blacksmith's work".
> >
> > Examining them gives the following response:
> > "Some horseshoes, a number of farming implements, and a knife lie
> > scattered through the ruin of the forge."
> >
> > Regards
> > Rob
>
> Argh. Thanks. I didn't think to >X REMNANTS. This is why I suck at
> puzzles.

No, I missed at least two such hidden things myself. (And found them
only because of the walkthrough.) The game was far from the norm in
searching procedure -- although I haven't analyzed the difference
move-by-move.

> And, even worse,
> "search remnants" results in "You find nothing of interest." That's
> pretty misleading; it should return the examine response if it's not
> going to give me the useful item that's there.

I agree.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
It used to be that "conservatives" were in favor of smaller government,
fiscal responsibility, and tighter constraints on the Man's ability to
monitor you, arrest you, and control your life.

Maureen Mason

unread,
Nov 22, 2006, 3:17:05 AM11/22/06
to
In article <1164152126.6...@j44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Reiko" <tel...@gmail.com> says...


> On a separate note, hints or something for Initial State would be quite
> nice. I liked what I saw of the game. Although one room was
> particularly disgusting, the prose quality I thought was quite good and
> I'd like to see the rest of the story. I'm just not that good at
> puzzles, or I missed something that's critical, and I got stuck after
> opening one door and getting only a couple objects.

I revisited this one tonight, because I got stuck in the same place as
you and so scored this game lower than I would now.

If you check the sink in the bathroom, and then look carefully at the
vending machine in the cafeteria, you'll get what you need to continue.
It should move pretty quickly from there.

It helped that I read Mike Synder's review at
http://www.sidneymerk.com/comp06/journal.shtml where he says the game
uses only the most basic verbs: look, examine, get and "use x on y".
That stopped me trying to do things the parser couldn't understand.

I have to credit the author with making me really want to see how this
story came out. The prose is ... odd. But if you don't scrutinize it
too critically, it sure carries you, and in places is quite eloquent.
If you can handle the old-style parser (including no saves), you'll find
a solid game in there.

Maureen

David Goldfarb

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Nov 22, 2006, 6:54:02 AM11/22/06
to
In article <1164130323....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>,

Reiko <tel...@gmail.com> wrote:
>Floatpoint - 8
>Emily Short
>Somewhat short, but intriguing sci-fi political strategy story.
>Well-done, quite polished. I found no bugs, although there was one
>curious oversight where it appears that a person has just said
>something and is still in the room, but trying to talk to or interact
>with the person results in nothing. That was just after I had received
>the sweater from the scientist. Looking at the room again revealed that
>the scientist had, in fact, left the room, but it didn't seem that way
>before.

I got that same behavior, and I'm fairly sure that it *was* a bug,
because I had a chunk of conversation with the scientist pop up later
on, when I was in a different room entirely. I assume that somehow
that cutscene got suspended, and then something released it onto
the screen.

--
David Goldfarb |"Come on, characters with super-strength don't
gold...@ocf.berkeley.edu | *do* inertia! Or leverage."
gold...@csua.berkeley.edu | -- Dani Zweig

Emily Short

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Nov 22, 2006, 3:37:24 PM11/22/06
to

David Goldfarb wrote:
> In article <1164130323....@m73g2000cwd.googlegroups.com>,
> Reiko <tel...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >Floatpoint - 8
> >Emily Short
> >Somewhat short, but intriguing sci-fi political strategy story.
> >Well-done, quite polished. I found no bugs, although there was one
> >curious oversight where it appears that a person has just said
> >something and is still in the room, but trying to talk to or interact
> >with the person results in nothing. That was just after I had received
> >the sweater from the scientist. Looking at the room again revealed that
> >the scientist had, in fact, left the room, but it didn't seem that way
> >before.
>
> I got that same behavior, and I'm fairly sure that it *was* a bug,
> because I had a chunk of conversation with the scientist pop up later
> on, when I was in a different room entirely. I assume that somehow
> that cutscene got suspended, and then something released it onto
> the screen.

It was possible to cut this scene short and have it not terminate
properly. (The popping up later thing is a bit more mysterious, but I
haven't had time to investigate thoroughly; I'm hoping it will turn out
to be clear once I have a look at it.)

Mike Snyder

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Nov 22, 2006, 4:47:49 PM11/22/06
to
"Emily Short" <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:1164227844.2...@h54g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

> It was possible to cut this scene short and have it not terminate
> properly. (The popping up later thing is a bit more mysterious, but I
> haven't had time to investigate thoroughly; I'm hoping it will turn out
> to be clear once I have a look at it.)

I don't remember if I sent you my transcripts or not, but I had some
confusion in the same area, where an NPC kept saying things, but she was
already gone. Should be in my transcript.

--- Mike.


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