Personal Notes about the Competition

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Miron Schmidt

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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Before I go on to what I intend to say about this year's competition, I think
I'll tell you what I did -- so that you see _why_ I hated the competition
this time.

Last year, as I found out that the competition was to be repeated, I felt an
irresistible urge to take part in it. Firstly, because I didn't have any game
released to date; and secondly, because the opportunity to grab a cool prize
somewhat appealed to me.
What I did then was I sat down for about a week and brainstormed (as much as
you can do such a thing alone) until I came up with an idea that a) hadn't
been done before and b) was a nice premise for a short game. Then I sat down
again and wrote a one-page concept for _Ralph_: then I told a lot of my
friends that they would have to beta-test the thing in a rush. Finally, I
learned Inform while programming: working on each problem until I was sure I
had solved or worked around it.

This year, I had another nice idea, sat down to write a five-page concept,
got over-ambitious, realised in time that under no circumstances could I
finish the game in time for the deadline without slurring the detail, and
decided not to enter after all.

You see, it all boils down to this: if you can't offer a decent entry that is
at least bug-free enough to satisfy a one-hour beta testing by the author;
that is fun to play; and that has an interesting premise -- don't enter!
Of the thirty-five games this year, less than ten fulfil these requirements.
I played five games and had a brief look at another fifteen or so. I didn't
play more because what I saw either annoyed me or bored me to death.

It frankly isn't much fun to wade through an angry ream of pre-school horror
rubbish where every move not in the walkthrough causes a run-time error.
If you want me to take a look at your house -- hey, just drop me a note: I
might come over to visit. I've played enough uninspired treasure hunts to
last for two lives; there's really no need to give us more of those -- even
if only _one_ author had done that this year. Ultimately, I'm perfectly able
to write my own three-line program that will cause Frotz to crash.

The following games had me wonder just what made the respective authors think
anyone would like to play them: Cask, Congratulations!, E-Mailbox, Coming
Home, Aunt Nancy's House, Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza, Symetry,
The Town Dragon, Temple of the Orc Mage, VirtuaTech. Personal preference
aside, ten games out of thirty-five are five too many.

The following games were based on interesting ideas and properly translated
into games: Babel, A Bear's Night out, Down, The Edifice, Sins against
Mimesis, A New Day, Sunset over Savannah, The Tempest. Personal preference
aside, eight games out of thirty-five are twenty-seven too few.

Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the
original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
will be the one that most people like best?


--
Miron Schmidt <mi...@comports.com> PGP key on request

WATCH TV... MARRY AND REPRODUCE... OBEY... PLAY INTERACTIVE FICTION...


Suzanne Skinner

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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In rec.games.int-fiction Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:

>The following games had me wonder just what made the respective authors think
>anyone would like to play them: Cask, Congratulations!, E-Mailbox, Coming
>Home, Aunt Nancy's House, Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza, Symetry,
>The Town Dragon, Temple of the Orc Mage, VirtuaTech. Personal preference
>aside, ten games out of thirty-five are five too many.

Seeing VirtuaTech in that list gave me a bit of a jolt. I agree fully
about the rest (well, maybe not entirely on Phred Phontious...it had
its moments). Okay, so it wasn't a stunningly innovative game, but--
mentioning it in the same breath with "Symetry"? Am I the only one around
here who quite liked VirtuaTech?

>Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the
>original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
>will be the one that most people like best?

I wouldn't put it quite this strongly, myself. The IF community is small
enough, especially the actual developers; lets not intimidate novices and
newcomers into staying in the shadows by demanding only "excellent" games.
Still, I agree at least that games like "Coming Home" and "Congratulations"
should never have seen the light of day.

Suzanne

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Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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Miron Schmidt (s59...@tfh-berlin.de) wrote:
> Please let's go back to the
> original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
> will be the one that most people like best?

I see this and I think "yes" and I think "no."

After three competitions, I think there is a standard of excellence among
the top entries. To pick the most objective example -- if the game has a
bug which makes it unsolvable, it's not up to par. The author should have
known better.

But of course usually the author *does* know better, and made a mistake.
You can't tell people to only enter if they never make mistakes.

This goes, more fuzzily, for more fuzzy standards such as writing, game
design, and plot. If you say "Honestly, I can't write worth shit, and
therefore I won't enter this year" then that's good. But if you say "I
can't write worth shit but I still want to jump in," I think that must be
good too. (It's practice, it's feedback, and it's *doing something* as
opposed to sitting on the sidelines.)

And if you can't write but you honestly think you *can*, well, you're not
listening to this discussion anyway.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Steve McKinney

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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And on 5 Jan 98 08:55:11 +0100, Miron Schmidt inscribed across the sky, in
letters of fire a mile high:

>Please let's go back to the
>original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
>will be the one that most people like best?

Interesting idea. And shall we hold a contest to determine which fifteen
games are "excellent" enough to be entered into the IF Competition? --
Steve McKinney <sj...@avana.net>

"Never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right."
--Isaac Asimov

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Roger Burton West

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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In article <34B09FEF.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>
s59...@tfh-berlin.de "Miron Schmidt" wrote:

>[snip]
>Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the


>original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
>will be the one that most people like best?

That implies that there might be a "first round" for the next
competition. Comp97 seemed a fair bit bigger than Comp96, and if it's
going to continue to grow, would it be possible to have some sort of
objective standard for the games to reach for them to be included?

Failing that, how about something like:

Author posts intent-to-enter-competition on newsgroup or to
competition server, and puts up his game for download.

Newsgroup readers (or possibly a selected group of neutral "stage 1
testers") try out the game and see if it meets (fairly minimal)
standards.

If not enough testers like it, it doesn't go into the main
competition.

Would that help matters?

I'd also like to see a relaxation on the rule of authors being unable to
vote. Obviously, not for their own games, but why not for anyone else's?
To deny a "you rate mine high if I do the same for yours"? How many
total votes are there in the competition, and would this be enough to
distort the results?

Just my meanderings,

Roger

--
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\__/~\_/ FILKER ``` _| ro...@firedrake.demon.co.uk
Vote Chris Bell for TAFF in 1998 http://www.firedrake.demon.co.uk/


FemaleDeer

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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>I've played enough uninspired treasure hunts to
>last for two lives; there's really no need to give us more of >those

I thought this was very "strong".

My game (when rereleased) will appear to be an ordinary treasure hunt, but
actually is not. Curses is a treasure hunt. Most IF is a "treasure hunt" of
some sort, this subgenre of the genre is still quite acceptable. There is still
plenty of room "out there" for good, "standard" if adventure games.

>The following games had me wonder just what made the >respective authors think
anyone would like to play them: >Cask, Congratulations!, E-Mailbox, Coming
>Home, Aunt Nancy's House, Phred Phontious and the >Quest for Pizza, Symetry,
>The Town Dragon, Temple of the Orc Mage, VirtuaTech. >Personal preference
>aside, ten games out of thirty-five are five too many.

I think Pizza is quite fun. I also thought Town Dragon, for a first-time
author, was not bad at all. It had a cute twist of a dumb volunteer (that kept
dying) being replaced by another dumb volunteer.

Everyone has to start somewhere, so let's not be snooty, let's encourage new
authors instead. And everyone needs feedback.

I do agree that for this contest (never having participated in one before), the
judging did feel like a lot of WORK, because there were so many games. I played
half, postponed the second half to my Christmas vacation and then got sick and
couldn't play them after all. But I did postpone them because after playing
half I felt overloaded. I think somehow there might be a better way to do it,
limit the number of entries, but I am not sure.

It was a lot of work judging, but we should be glad that a lot are at least
TRYING. Because it is also a lot of work to learn a new language (Inform, Tads,
etc.) and write AND program a game. I appreciate the fact that people TRIED, I
appreciate even those authors of games that I personally thought stunk.

FD Come down off that high horse, before you fall off.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Femal...@aol.com "Good breeding consists in
concealing how much we think of ourselves and how
little we think of the other person." Mark Twain

Mark J Musante

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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Miron Schmidt (s59...@tfh-berlin.de) wrote:
> Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the
> original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
> will be the one that most people like best?

Actually, I think the original idea behind the competition was to encourage
people to write games.

A long while back I read an article by Isaac Asimov in IASFM (or whatever
it was called back then -- now it's just "Asimov's") encouraging people
to write SF. He explained that although they got plenty horrible
submissions every day that had to be picked through, finding the gems
inside was well worth the trouble. *Discouraging* people from writing
has the effect of dissuading the people who *can* write, but don't know
it, from even submitting their work. [I imagine there's more than one
reader of "Asimov's" out there -- can anyone confirm I'm not making this
up?]

At any rate, I'd like this opportunity to echo Asimov's words: *please*
continue to write IF, everyone. Even those who are only *thinking*
about writing it -- pick up that editor & start designing. Keep on
testing & debugging & coming up with those strange and wacky ideas. My
IF appetite was barely whetted from the cornucopia of submissions this
past October. I wanna see more! Please?


-=- Mark -=-

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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Speaking only for myself:

I really enjoyed the monsterous pile of games. I was having
a difficult month in October, and 35 wildly assorted IF games
was *exactly* what I needed to keep from being depressed. I
was sorry when I finished the last one.

Yes, some of the games were awfully bad, but somehow the fact
that I was *judging* them made this much more bearable--I could
get the ire out of my system by writing a cutting review, and
then go on to the next game. "Coming Home" was the only one
that I was actively sorry I tried to play.

And the best games were astonishingly good. I'd hate to
say anything to discourage entries if it runs the risk of
discouraging the next "Babel", "Bear" or "Savannah". I'd
even hate to discourage some of the more flawed but still
enjoyable games--"Madame L'Estrange" was a personal favorite
of mine, and it *can* be finished (though I think I got lucky).

So, myself, I'd be happy with a Comp98 not too different
from Comp97, though I certainly wouldn't say no to a bit more
playtesting of the bulk of the entries beforehand. Problems
like the one in "A Good Breakfast" would be easy enough to
prevent with a single round of quickie testing, but obviously
Whizzard can't do it by himself.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Daryl McCullough

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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femal...@aol.com says...

>I do agree that for this contest (never having participated in one before), the
>judging did feel like a lot of WORK, because there were so many games. I played
>half, postponed the second half to my Christmas vacation and then got sick and
>couldn't play them after all. But I did postpone them because after playing
>half I felt overloaded. I think somehow there might be a better way to do it,
>limit the number of entries, but I am not sure.

One possibility is to make the voting in two (or more) rounds. During
the first round, judges play as many or as few games as they like, and
then if they like any of them, then they can nominate them for a prize.
In the second round, judges would be giving relative rankings among
those that were nominated. In this way, the number of games that the
judges needed to play to be fair could be controlled by the nomination
procedure---perhaps requiring x number of nominations to be considered
(where x would be adjustable). The authors of games that fail to be
nominated might never know whether it is because their games stink,
or just because nobody happened to play them in the first round, but
that's okay, I think.

Daryl McCullough
CoGenTex, Inc.
Ithaca, NY

David A. Cornelson

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Jan 5, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/5/98
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In article <34B09FEF.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>,

"Miron Schmidt" <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
>
> Before I go on to what I intend to say about this year's competition, I think
> I'll tell you what I did -- so that you see _why_ I hated the competition
> this time.

<slap>

I believe the competition originally was brought into existance as a
motivator. Some people, including myself, have had trouble completing a
game, boring or not. The fact that we have 35 new games to me is amazing.
The fact that only a handful are really good is inherent. Those authors
have a better feel for the process and were able to translate their
creativity into a workable and entertaining game.

However, many of us still feel uncormfortable with the process and are
still learning how to translate our ideas into an Interactive Fiction
format. If we stood by your theory, no one would ever complete a game
because we've just been told that unless it's a great game, you don't
want to see it. How does a person get feedback then? If you drop a new
game into the archive in the middle of the year, place a notice in RAIF
or RGIF, you're lucky if anyone plays it and likely to get very little
feedback.

Here is where the competition is awesome. You submit your game, whether
it sucks or not, and you get real (sometimes too real) feedback. My game,
the Town Dragon, as you noted, was boring and uninspiring. I agree! But I
now understand so much more about the process and my audience that my
second game will be much better and the third even better than that!

Your comment reminds me of grade school when someone would raise their
hand and answer a question with a dumb answer. All the other children
would laugh and that child no longer felt comfortable answering
questions.

This is simply wrong. We're adults! We should support each other's games,
not deride them! If you feel the need to criticize a game, do it
constructively. why is it boring...which characters or portions of the
game did you feel needed work and what may have helped? Report bugs,
offer suggestions.

I received wonderful criticism from Mary Kuhner and several other RAIF
regulars and I appreciated it very much. Mary wrote detailed analysis of
my game, knowing from my HELP section that I was a novice game writer and
needed encouragement. I really didn't know a lot of things where game
writing is concerned. Her help made TDRAGON better than it originally
was, which from your estimation, would have been unforgiveable.

I do not appreciate people that raise their hand and blindly say, "Your
game sucked and you shouldn't be in the competition!"

We want MORE Interactive Fiction. Not LESS. Your comments will likely
scare others into believing that they don't belong and should give up. Is
that what you want?

David A. Cornelson, Chicago

Mark Stevens

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On 5 Jan 98 08:55:11 +0100, "Miron Schmidt" <s59...@tfh-berlin.de>
wrote:

>Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the
>original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
>will be the one that most people like best?

I think we can all live with a bit of chaff, just as long as there's
some tasty wheat amongst it all. I know what you're saying though --
it's a bit of a problem for those playing the games in order to cast a
vote. There's only so many bad games you can sit through before the
whole process becomes tiresome and you lose any enthusiasm you may
have had for the real gems.

The competition currently exists as an advertisment to the IF scene,
helping keep the genre alive whilst at the same time encouraging
newcomers to get involved. In its present form, the competition isn't
a means of encouraging people to write an *exceptional* piece of IF,
simply *a* piece of IF.

Of course, a few people do write exceptional entries, but for the most
part the games contributed to the last two competitions have been a
bit lacking. Still, practice makes perfect. Hopefully many of this
year's entrants will be encouraged enough to further their ambitions,
develop some skills and eventually release something quite special.

Personally, I'd like to see more original works of IF. For the most
part, this year's crop were pretty derivative. If I had been bothered
enough to play enough games to justify voting, then Graham's (I had my
suspicions it was him the moment I went into the help menus) 'The
Tempest' would have won my Golden Grue. The presentation and execution
were first class -- and The Tempest has always been my favourite
Waggledagger play anyway. The only criticism I'd draw would be its
level of difficulty -- even if you knew exactly what was going on (or
what was being said) in each scene, it did turn into a "guess the
verb" battle. But full marks to Graham for attempting something fresh.

There were quite a few technically outstanding games -- such as
Glowgrass and Sunset Over Savannah, although they seemed to be lacking
in the content department. The only game (for me) that managed to
combine form and technique was 'The Frenetic Five vs. Sturm und
Drang'. The humour did grate a little at times, but for the most part
it was well handled.

This year's competition was quite a revelation for me, because I've
previously been more of an Inform person than a TADS person, but
having played quite a few of this year's entries, I found that all my
favourites were TADS-based.

I'll still be writing my first piece of IF in Inform though. I've got
a full-length Z8 game that should be ready this time next year (and
goodness knows I've been working on it long enough!) -- I'm being a
bit of a perfectionist, aiming for the Jigsaw/Trinity/AMFV/Curses
accolades. I'll also release two shorter works, one for Easter and one
for the 1998 IF competition. Trust me, I won't release any old shite
and I look forward to everyone playing and enjoying them. I've been
playing IF for far too long now and it's about time I contributed
something to this wonderful genre.

/\/)ark


remove underscore when replying John Kean

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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Howdy all,

An idea for voting in next years competition: once you've played a game for
say 15 minutes, if you don't think it's worth persisting with then register a
"pass" vote. Those you don't want to pass on, you continue to play for the 2
hours and give them a proper vote out of 10. Somehow "pass" votes could be
worked into the scoring (I haven't figured this out yet).

Having the option to "pass" on a game and have this registered in the scoring
system would achieve 4 things:
1. Ease the burden of having to play 40+ games in such a short time.
2. Encourage imaginative, attention-grabbing games
3. I won't feel I have to play a boring game for a full 2 hours (just waiting
for something to finally happen) so I can vote on it
4. Those who want to can still play all the games all the way through

Good idea? Bad idea?

Cheers,
John K

\\\\ John Kean
OO | ~~~~~~~~~
< ) keanj@ag_research.cri.nz
\/ | (remove underscore when replying)
`--

Christine Simoes Tilden

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On Tue, 06 Jan 98 03:54:20 GMT, keanj@ag_research.cri.nz (remove
underscore when replying) (John Kean) wrote:

>
>Howdy all,
>
>An idea for voting in next years competition: once you've played a game for
>say 15 minutes, if you don't think it's worth persisting with then register a
>"pass" vote. Those you don't want to pass on, you continue to play for the 2
>hours and give them a proper vote out of 10. Somehow "pass" votes could be
>worked into the scoring (I haven't figured this out yet).
>
>Having the option to "pass" on a game and have this registered in the scoring
>system would achieve 4 things:
>1. Ease the burden of having to play 40+ games in such a short time.
>2. Encourage imaginative, attention-grabbing games
>3. I won't feel I have to play a boring game for a full 2 hours (just waiting
>for something to finally happen) so I can vote on it
>4. Those who want to can still play all the games all the way through
>
>Good idea? Bad idea?

Interesting idea...I'll have to think about it, because I'm afraid
some good games might get ignored if we do this...but maybe not.

Christine Tilden

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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remove underscore when replyingJohn Kean (keanj@ag_research.cri.nz) wrote:

> An idea for voting in next years competition: once you've played a game for
> say 15 minutes, if you don't think it's worth persisting with then register a
> "pass" vote. Those you don't want to pass on, you continue to play for the 2
> hours and give them a proper vote out of 10. Somehow "pass" votes could be
> worked into the scoring (I haven't figured this out yet).

In effect, this is just what I did. Except with a limit more like five
minutes than fifteen. It works into the scoring system as "don't vote on
it if I pass".

Really, this is just equivalent to changing the "Play as many games as
you can" rule to "Play as many games as you want to." Is that a change we
want to make? It might be more honest, if nothing else.

Mark Stevens

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On 5 Jan 1998 22:17:42 GMT, mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu
(Mary K. Kuhner) wrote:

>Yes, some of the games were awfully bad, but somehow the fact
>that I was *judging* them made this much more bearable--I could
>get the ire out of my system by writing a cutting review, and
>then go on to the next game.

This raises an interesting point -- the context within which all this
IF is being played. The vast majority of IF releases arrive as part of
the competition and are thus largely played in that context. We're all
playing these games purely to judge their strengths and weaknesses,
pitting game against game and author against author as we try to
decide what score to give them, albeit in total secrecy so as not to
inflict a biased opinion on any other player/voter. This is
undoubtedly a very different context to that in which we played the
Infocom/Mag Scrolls/<insert fave developer here> games of yesterday.

The question is, is the emphasis on the competition's context a
healthy one for the genre?

Mark Stevens

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On Mon, 05 Jan 98 18:51:06 GMT, Roger Burton West
<ro...@firedrake.avertspam.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>Failing that, how about something like:

> Author posts intent-to-enter-competition on newsgroup or to
> competition server, and puts up his game for download.

> Newsgroup readers (or possibly a selected group of neutral "stage 1
> testers") try out the game and see if it meets (fairly minimal)
> standards.

> If not enough testers like it, it doesn't go into the main
> competition.

>Would that help matters?

Hmm, I'm not too sure. It sounds as if it's just delaying the
inevitable. Besides, would it be fair on a newcomer, getting to grips
with Inform/TADS for the first time, to be told that the game over
which they've been slaving for the past four months isn't worthy and
thus won't be distributed for everyone else to judge?

I think we've just got to live with the fact that there's always going
to be exceptional IF, average IF and embarrassingly awful IF. I can
still see the problem though -- if the competition continues to grow
as fast as it has done, then we're going to see voters/players
struggling to vote fairly when they've got 50+ games to wade through,
90% of which you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

Still, I think veteran IF players can usually get a pretty good idea
of a game's worth just by reading the first screen's worth of text.
This is what I did with the 1997 entries -- anything that grabbed me
on the first screen earned my curiosity. (A Bear's Night Out, Frenetic
Five, Babel, Tempest, Sunset over Savannah, She's Got a Thing for a
Spring, etc.) Anything else was largely ignored.

(Well, I did eventually wander back to a few others, but my initial
hunches were always usually correct.)

Mark Stevens

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On 5 Jan 1998 13:17:17 -0800, da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough)
wrote:

>One possibility is to make the voting in two (or more) rounds. During
>the first round, judges play as many or as few games as they like, and
>then if they like any of them, then they can nominate them for a prize.

My preferred method of awarding accolades is to get together at the
end of the year and assess every piece of IF that has been released in
the previous 12 month period. Every single reader of the newsgroup is
allowed to nominate their favourite piece of IF. A votemaster compiles
these nominations and arranges them into a shortlist of, say,
half-a-dozen, from which a second, final public vote is made. This is
what happens on the IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) mailing list and
it's worked very well.

Of course, just to make things interesting, you could have various
categories -- representing all the major development languages.
Perhaps a 'Best Short IF' and 'Best Full-Length IF' for each one.
Other categories could include 'Best Debut', 'Most Original Concept',
etc.

Such a competition would allow 'entries' to be evenly spread out
across the year and doesn't put authors under any sort of pressure. It
also solves the problem of having 50+ entries arriving all in one
lump, where voters are required to play *ALL* of them in order to case
a fair vote. And with 80% of those entries being pure garbage, a
colossal amount of will-power and endurance is required on the voter's
part.

Mark Stevens

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On Mon, 05 Jan 1998 18:52:08 -0600, David A. Cornelson
<dcorn...@placet.com> wrote:

>If you drop a new game into the archive in the middle of the year,
>place a notice in RAIF or RGIF, you're lucky if anyone plays it and
>likely to get very little feedback.

I'm not so sure. Given that the February-October period is virtually
devoid of new IF, any major new release (especially one from a 'big'
name, such as Nelson or Plotkin) during that period gets everyone's
attention. During the competition period, you've got 35 games
competing for everyone's attention, and not all of them are going to
win it. Some fans will play everything, but I'm a bit more picky -- I
guess I only played about 10 of this year's entries to any significant
depth.

I'm reminded of the time when 'Time' came out. This newsgroup
literally turned into rec.games.int-fiction.time -- everyone was
talking about it. The same with 'Lost New York'.

Sure, the crappy little bits of IF will get forgotten about over the
course of the year, but the cream always rises to the top and remains
there. I do take your point though -- people are more likely to
respond to a good game rather than a crap game outside of the
competition, so the newbie author is going to be at a loss. But then
that just emphasises the importance of proper beta-testing.

Christine Simoes Tilden

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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On Tue, 06 Jan 98 03:54:20 GMT, keanj@ag_research.cri.nz (remove
underscore when replying) (John Kean) wrote:

>
>Howdy all,
>


>An idea for voting in next years competition: once you've played a game for
>say 15 minutes, if you don't think it's worth persisting with then register a
>"pass" vote. Those you don't want to pass on, you continue to play for the 2
>hours and give them a proper vote out of 10. Somehow "pass" votes could be
>worked into the scoring (I haven't figured this out yet).
>

>Having the option to "pass" on a game and have this registered in the scoring
>system would achieve 4 things:
>1. Ease the burden of having to play 40+ games in such a short time.
>2. Encourage imaginative, attention-grabbing games
>3. I won't feel I have to play a boring game for a full 2 hours (just waiting
>for something to finally happen) so I can vote on it
>4. Those who want to can still play all the games all the way through
>
>Good idea? Bad idea?
>

>Cheers,
>John K
>
Well now that I think about it, that is more or less what I did. I
started judging using the Comp97 system - but then found myself
cheating a lot. When a game came up that didn't hold my attention or
seemed too buggy or just didn't work for me, I would put it off and
try another. Some of these I did come back to later, but others I just
never got around to (Erden, Tempest, Edifice). I did vote on an awful
lot of entries and it was exhausting, esp. as I did not know about the
competition 'til late October.

CST

Kenneth Fair

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <68s6cq$99o$1...@wnnews1.netlink.net.nz>, keanj@ag_research.cri.nz

(remove underscore when replying) (John Kean) wrote:

>Howdy all,
>
>An idea for voting in next years competition: once you've played a game for
>say 15 minutes, if you don't think it's worth persisting with then register a
>"pass" vote. Those you don't want to pass on, you continue to play for the 2
>hours and give them a proper vote out of 10. Somehow "pass" votes could be
>worked into the scoring (I haven't figured this out yet).
>
>Having the option to "pass" on a game and have this registered in the scoring
>system would achieve 4 things:
>1. Ease the burden of having to play 40+ games in such a short time.
>2. Encourage imaginative, attention-grabbing games
>3. I won't feel I have to play a boring game for a full 2 hours (just waiting
>for something to finally happen) so I can vote on it
>4. Those who want to can still play all the games all the way through
>
>Good idea? Bad idea?

I don't know that it's a necessary idea, and I'd prefer not to make the
voting system any more complex. I viewed the 2 hour limit as an upper
bound; if it only took me half an hour to decide how I felt about a game,
I voted on it then.

The two-hour time limit should be viewed more as an attempt to get the
game writers to create works that can be reasonably examined in a short
enough period of time so that they can be reviewed.

--
KEN FAIR - U. Chicago Law | <http://student-www.uchicago.edu/users/kjfair>
Of Counsel, U. of Ediacara | Power Mac! | CABAL(tm) | I'm w/in McQ - R U?
"Any smoothly functioning technology will be
indistinguishable from a rigged demo." Isaac Asimov

David A. Cornelson

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <68rikt$2...@drn.zippo.com>,

da...@cogentex.com (Daryl McCullough) wrote:
>
> One possibility is to make the voting in two (or more) rounds. During
> the first round, judges play as many or as few games as they like, and
> then if they like any of them, then they can nominate them for a prize.
> In the second round, judges would be giving relative rankings among
> those that were nominated. In this way, the number of games that the

Note: Mary Kuhner also wrote that she loved having so many games to play.

Let's be positive about this. We want people to enter their games. We
also want playable games. I think the major issue is entries with too
many bugs. I can understand this and I can understand that some games may
not come close to meeting minimal standards in many peoples eyes.

I propose we move the entry date back to August 1st. Also, all authors
must have a "sponser", a regular of RAIF that will help make sure that
the game meets minimal standards. This way, we get novices involved and
in effect, bring them up to speed faster than if we left them alone. All
of the entries will benefit from some quality control.

Another rule might be to "waive" the sponsership clause for anyone that
can prove they don't need it. We could set up up a web page that displays
entries and sponsers, along with the "waiver" reason, such as...

Author Sponser Waiver reason
-------- ------- ------------------------------
G Nelson waived Um, wrote compiler and parser
A Plotkin waived don't know

It's great that everyone can have discussions on RAIF about problems, but
each author needs some direct assistance at some point. Beta-testing is
priceless, so let's "force" entrants to accept it unless they've proven
they don't need it.

In my own case, I still would need a sponser because I haven't proven to
anyone that I have any talent for coding or writing. That's okay. I would
be happy to have someone watch over the development and testing of my
game.

Frederick J Hirsch

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

> I believe the competition originally was brought into existance as a
> motivator. Some people, including myself, have had trouble completing a
> game, boring or not. The fact that we have 35 new games to me is amazing.

This was good to hear after reading comments about how my first effort
sucked, even
though I was trying to create a simple, short game with some humor
(Congratulations).

I actually put some stuff into the game nobody discovered - my fault since
I didn't
force people into it. I had one playtester, but now I've had a friend try
it who gave
my some constructive advice. This combined with the general positive
comment
(that the premise is good), along with the slew of negative comments on how
it was a dissapointment gives me motivation of sorts to try again. I am
aware
of the quality of Infocom games, but once I was writing it was amazing how
the
complexity built up with only a few rooms and not that many actions. I did
put a
lot of effort into getting the baby to do things (which apparently nobody
tried)

Somehow I thought it would be interesting to make a game which is easy to
win, but had many other possibilities to lose if you don't try. I guess
that isn't
such a good idea.

The game was intentionally short (Which made people happy since it was so
bad!), and meant to be humorous (in a slightly sick way, I admit, although
that
really doesn't say much about the author per se, but rather started with
baby
jokes one day).

Well, I was rushing to write the game because otherwise I would never do
it.
Now I have a version out there which people think is a waste, and a new
baby and
a whole lot of new material (game was written before the birth). I'll work
on version 2, and with about a year, you might actually like version 2,
then again, maybe it
will also be terrible.

Regardless, my blender is disconnected and in a cabinet.

Thanks for the feedback.

< Frederick

Baby Cries! (was actually meant to be terse and annoying).

How about entering games into categories: Novice, Advanced,
Super-Genius-Game-Writers-And-Players-only :)

then the authors and reviewers know what to expect from each other

Roger Burton West

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <884107949...@dejanews.com>

david_x_...@amoco.com "David A. Cornelson" wrote:

>Let's be positive about this. We want people to enter their games.

Yes! I do hope I wasn't being excessively discouraging in my earlier
post...

>Also, all authors
>must have a "sponser", a regular of RAIF that will help make sure that
>the game meets minimal standards.

I think this is a good idea; apart from obvious and soluble difficulties
(e.g. how do you choose the list of valid sponsors?), I think it could
well be made to work.

>Another rule might be to "waive" the sponsership clause for anyone that
>can prove they don't need it.

Well, probably. Is it really _worth_ making an exception like that?
Anyone who sponsors Graham is going to have a pretty easy job... :)

>It's great that everyone can have discussions on RAIF about problems, but
>each author needs some direct assistance at some point. Beta-testing is
>priceless, so let's "force" entrants to accept it unless they've proven
>they don't need it.

Oh, hang on a minute - are you saying this is a long-term relationship?
I assumed you were talking about something like "I want to submit a game
for the competition, so I send it to my sponsor, and he decides whether
to put it in". Are there enough r.a.i-f regulars who are prepared to be
helpers on something like this?

Cheers,

Miron Schmidt

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

Steve McKinney <sj...@avana.net> wrote:
> And on 5 Jan 98 08:55:11 +0100, Miron Schmidt inscribed across the sky, in
> letters of fire a mile high:
>
> >Please let's go back to the
> >original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
> >will be the one that most people like best?
>
> Interesting idea. And shall we hold a contest to determine which fifteen
> games are "excellent" enough to be entered into the IF Competition? --
> Steve McKinney <sj...@avana.net>

Of course, the quoted paragraph only makes sense when it concludes the rest
of the text. What I'm saying is not that every single game should be regarded
as excellent by every single judge (there'd be hardly any sense to a
competition in that case, would there?), but that *the author* should try to
make a game which he/she/it regards as excellent.

In the 1995 competition, all of the eleven games were based on original
ideas, and all were technically playable. That's about all I'm asking for.

Miron Schmidt

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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FemaleDeer <femal...@aol.com> wrote:
> FD Come down off that high horse, before you fall off.

Actually, the short explanation of my own competition background was to saw
off my high horse's legs: not to prove what a cool author I am, but to show
that I try to abide by my own rules.

There's no denying it: I didn't enjoy the competition this year. If I'm
sitting on a high horse there, I feel pretty much glued to its back.

Miron Schmidt

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
> But of course usually the author *does* know better, and made a mistake.
> You can't tell people to only enter if they never make mistakes.
>
> This goes, more fuzzily, for more fuzzy standards such as writing, game
> design, and plot. If you say "Honestly, I can't write worth shit, and
> therefore I won't enter this year" then that's good. But if you say "I
> can't write worth shit but I still want to jump in," I think that must be
> good too. (It's practice, it's feedback, and it's *doing something* as
> opposed to sitting on the sidelines.)

There's an, as you say, fuzzy line somewhere. What I think musn't be good
anymore is if I say "Honestly, I can't write worth shit, have no idea about
any plot, and don't care about design -- but I still want to jump in."
The line is somewhere before that.

Mistakes are tolerable. A (purely hypothetical) competition entry that
consists mostly of a series of mistakes is not.

Stu042

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <68rm66$pab$1...@nntp5.u.washington.edu>,

mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu (Mary K. Kuhner) writes:

>Problems
>like the one in "A Good Breakfast" would be easy enough to
>prevent with a single round of quickie testing, but obviously
>Whizzard can't do it by himself.

It actually *was* picked up before the deadline, but my brother didn't see the
report in his email :(

Stuart

Stu042

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <erkyrathE...@netcom.com>, erky...@netcom.com (Andrew
Plotkin) writes:

>And if you can't write but you honestly think you *can*, well, you're not
>listening to this discussion anyway.

But I *am!* :)

Stuart

Stu042

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
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In article <34b193d6...@news.demon.co.uk>, ma...@sonance.demon.co.uk (Mark
Stevens) writes:

>My preferred method of awarding accolades is to get together at the
>end of the year and assess every piece of IF that has been released in
>the previous 12 month period. Every single reader of the newsgroup is
>allowed to nominate their favourite piece of IF. A votemaster compiles
>these nominations and arranges them into a shortlist of, say,
>half-a-dozen, from which a second, final public vote is made. This is
>what happens on the IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) mailing list and
>it's worked very well.
>
>Of course, just to make things interesting, you could have various
>categories -- representing all the major development languages.
>Perhaps a 'Best Short IF' and 'Best Full-Length IF' for each one.
>Other categories could include 'Best Debut', 'Most Original Concept',
>etc.

You mean like the XYZZYnews awards? :)
http://www.xyzzynews.com

Stuart

Dylan O'Donnell

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

In article <68r9ee$hup$1...@csu-b.csuohio.edu>,
Suzanne Skinner <tr...@dominion.cba.csuohio.edu> wrote:

>In rec.games.int-fiction Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
>
>>The following games had me wonder just what made the respective authors think
>>anyone would like to play them: Cask, Congratulations!, E-Mailbox, Coming
>>Home, Aunt Nancy's House, Phred Phontious and the Quest for Pizza, Symetry,
>>The Town Dragon, Temple of the Orc Mage, VirtuaTech. Personal preference
>>aside, ten games out of thirty-five are five too many.
>
>Seeing VirtuaTech in that list gave me a bit of a jolt. I agree fully
>about the rest (well, maybe not entirely on Phred Phontious...it had
>its moments). Okay, so it wasn't a stunningly innovative game, but--
>mentioning it in the same breath with "Symetry"? Am I the only one around
>here who quite liked VirtuaTech?

From final.sav of my copy of comp97.z5:

24: "VirtuaTech" 7

Maybe my never having played "The Legend Lives!", the opening scene of
which some people appear to have been comparing with VT to the latter's
disadvantage, has something to do with that.

(The rest of that list were all in the 1-4 range in my scorelist)

>>Well, that pretty much sums it up for my part. Please let's go back to the


>>original idea of the competition: Out of fifteen excellent games, which
>>will be the one that most people like best?
>

>I wouldn't put it quite this strongly, myself. The IF community is small
>enough, especially the actual developers; lets not intimidate novices and
>newcomers into staying in the shadows by demanding only "excellent" games.
>Still, I agree at least that games like "Coming Home" and "Congratulations"
>should never have seen the light of day.

What I _would_ like to see is some assurance that the competition release
isn't an alpha, but has had at least someone other than the author play it
and comment on it before it's thrown at the judges. Maybe go back to the
old scheme of assigned beta-testers? There'd be no way of _forcing_ the
author to listen to them, but it might cut down on the number of "it
compiles, submit it" games.

--
: Dylan O'Donnell : "What scourge, what scourge I bear, from :
: Southend Slave Deck, : what red star/ So near to happiness, :
: Demon Internet Ltd : and yet so far?" :
: http://www.fysh.org/~psmith/ : -- Andrew Plotkin, "So Far" :

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

In article <34b18ef5...@news.demon.co.uk> ma...@sonance.demon.co.uk (Mark Stevens) writes:

>This raises an interesting point -- the context within which all this
>IF is being played. The vast majority of IF releases arrive as part of
>the competition and are thus largely played in that context. We're all
>playing these games purely to judge their strengths and weaknesses,
>pitting game against game and author against author as we try to
>decide what score to give them, albeit in total secrecy so as not to
>inflict a biased opinion on any other player/voter. This is
>undoubtedly a very different context to that in which we played the
>Infocom/Mag Scrolls/<insert fave developer here> games of yesterday.

>The question is, is the emphasis on the competition's context a
>healthy one for the genre?

Anything that led to the production of "Bear's Night Out", "Babel",
and "Sunset Over Savannah" is not doing half badly, if you ask me.

Maybe I'm weird, but I felt that the judging process enhanced my
enjoyment of the games. In particular, if I'd simply picked up
"Madame L'Estrange" from the archives, after a couple of screens I
would have muttered "buggy" and given up on it. I didn't feel
free to do that, since I was judging, and I actually enjoyed the
game quite a lot. Judging strikes me as a nice balance between
simply playing (where I tend to give up quite easily) and beta-
testing (which is work, if you want to do it conscientiously--
I wasn't pleased with the amount I did on any of the games I
tested. Sorry, authors.)

I was looking for the good points, as well as the bad ones, of each
game: looking for both good and bad things to say about it for
my reviews and for the authors. I found this a fun way to approach
them, though I can easily see that other players might find it
too competitive or too stifling (as I recall, FemaleDeer doesn't
like the "judging" aspect at all).

I'm afraid that back when I was buying Infocom and Scott Adams games
as an undergrad, I'd always ask myself "Was this worth the money I
shelled out for it?" I think that was a lot more stifling than
the competition judging is.

And I appreciate being prodded into playing all the games--there are
several fun ones that I would probably have ignored if they were
just advertised on the newsgroup. "Sins Against Mimesis" in
particular is in a genre I don't like, but I loved it.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Michael Straight

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to


In article <34B09FEF.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>,
"Miron Schmidt" <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
>
> Before I go on to what I intend to say about this year's competition, I think
> I'll tell you what I did -- so that you see _why_ I hated the competition
> this time.

Simple solution. If you're not enjoying yourself, don't be a judge. Wait
until the ratings come out and play the games in the top ten. Or read the
reviews and only play the ones that sound interesting.

The contest doesn't exist for the judges' pleasure. It exists to
encourage people to write IF.

If only Michael Straight had time for all the *good* IF in the archive.
FLEOEVDETYHOEUPROEONREWMEILECSOFMOERSGTIRVAENRGEEARDSTVHIESBIITBTLHEEPSRIACYK
Ethical Mirth Gas/"I'm chaste alright."/Magic Hitler Hats/"Hath grace limits?"
"Irate clam thighs!"/Chili Hamster Tag/The Gilt Charisma/"I gather this calm."


Stephen Griffiths

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

David A. Cornelson <david_x_...@amoco.com> wrote:
>
>Let's be positive about this. We want people to enter their games. We
>also want playable games. I think the major issue is entries with too
>many bugs. I can understand this and I can understand that some games may
>not come close to meeting minimal standards in many peoples eyes.

I don't think the serious problem is the volume of buggy or plain-bad
games entered because the judges don't need to spend much time on them. If
a game is awful just stop playing it, score it 1 out of 10 and move on to
the next game.

The problem is the number of worthwhile, good and even truly excellent
games entered which deserve all of the requisite two hours judging time.
This is, given that the aim of the competition is to promote the creation
of IF, a welcome problem.

Actually even the first problem is welcome if its seen as a symptom of
encouraging novices to try writing IF.

This year's judging procedure - where each judge is given a list of the
games in random order (via the comp97 'game') and asked to work their way
through their list until they run out of time or enthusiasm - seemed to
handle the problem ok.

I only got half-way through my list of 35 games by the deadline. I
haven't played about half the 'good' games yet as they were in the second
half of my list. If there had been some weeding-out process so I only had
a list of 15 'good' games I probably would still only have judged half the
list as each game would've deserved the full two hours playing time. So I
think any weeding-out process would not be worth the added complication it
would add to the administration of the competition.

------
SteveG.

mailto:Stephen....@moc.govt.clean.greennz
(delete clean.green from address)

Graham Nelson

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

In article <Snews.980106.18...@firedrake.demon.co.uk>,

Roger Burton West <URL:mailto:ro...@firedrake.avertspam.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Well, probably. Is it really _worth_ making an exception like that?
> Anyone who sponsors Graham is going to have a pretty easy job... :)

As the author of the most instantly off-putting work in this
year's contest, I'm not so sure. My playtester seemed to get on
with Tempest well enough, but then my playtester was that paragon
of playtesters, Michael Kinyon, who turned out to know a lot more
about the play than I did...

--
Graham Nelson | gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk | Oxford, United Kingdom


Graham Nelson

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Jan 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/6/98
to

In article <884107949...@dejanews.com>, David A. Cornelson

<URL:mailto:david_x_...@amoco.com> wrote:
>
> Author Sponser Waiver reason
> -------- ------- ------------------------------
> G Nelson waived Um, wrote compiler and parser
> A Plotkin waived don't know

...Just imagining Andrew and I in the Royal State Carriage, being
drawn by horses down Birdcage Walk and into the Mall, waiving to
the crowd...

...no. I think a second round for the competition might be a
good idea, myself; use a first round to narrow the field down to,
say, the top five games. In a second round, ask people simply to
rank these five 1,2,3,4,5; this will pick up some of the people
who have already voted, and some new voters who didn't previously
judge because they couldn't face the number of games involved.

ct

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98010...@login5.isis.unc.edu>,
Michael Straight <URL:mailto:stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote (in context, but
I'm sure we'll survive):

>
> The contest doesn't exist for the judges' pleasure. It exists to
> encourage people to write IF.

I'm not sure this can be supported at all; the aim of the competition may
have been (was) to encourage new IF, but people are hardly writing in a
vacuum! Without judges the competition is nothing, and judges are simply
people enjoying playing through the games. Sure, there's a slight element
of "I'm going to be a judge, I'm going to be fair, and I'm _going_ to give
Aunt Nancy's House[1] its two hours if it kills me", but ultimately, if the
majority of games stink, people will lose interest, not vote, and the
competition dies a slow death. Bad outcome.

To be honest, I think the only reason this seems to have come up this
year (and several people have commented on it) is the increased number
of games overall means there will be more having less aestheic attraction[2]
for whatever reason than previously. Apart from the poor people from who
comp97 threw up all of this lower quartile up initially, I don't really see
this as a problem, more an inevitability. Perhaps the rules on discussing
games before voting is over could be (carefully) relaxed to encourage people
to continue on towards the good games?

regards, ct

[1] I'm not picking on ANH particularly, I've not even played it. It just
seemed to be one which other people had commented on in a less than entirely
positive sense[2].

[2] I'm trying really hard to be PC here, I really am!

John Francis

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <34b18ef5...@news.demon.co.uk>,

Mark Stevens <ma...@sonance.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>On 5 Jan 1998 22:17:42 GMT, mkku...@phylo.genetics.washington.edu
>(Mary K. Kuhner) wrote:
>
>>Yes, some of the games were awfully bad, but somehow the fact
>>that I was *judging* them made this much more bearable--I could
>>get the ire out of my system by writing a cutting review, and
>>then go on to the next game.

>
>This raises an interesting point -- the context within which all this
>IF is being played. The vast majority of IF releases arrive as part of
>the competition and are thus largely played in that context. We're all
>playing these games purely to judge their strengths and weaknesses,
>pitting game against game and author against author as we try to
>decide what score to give them, albeit in total secrecy so as not to
>inflict a biased opinion on any other player/voter. This is
>undoubtedly a very different context to that in which we played the
>Infocom/Mag Scrolls/<insert fave developer here> games of yesterday.
>
>The question is, is the emphasis on the competition's context a
>healthy one for the genre?

It's not really a yes/no situation. There are definite advantages;
a contest deadline does at least mean the games do get released,
and we are seeing a distinct growth in the number of games, and in
the number of authors! Well over half of the games in this year's
competition appear to be from first-time authors. (20 of 34, if I
count correctly. That's twenty new authors. Wow!)

On the downside, though, we have games rushed out too early, when
a little more testing would definitely help. But with any luck
the author will take the comments to heart, and the second version
will fix (most of) the problems. And with the judges being urged
to play as many games as possible, most games will get a pretty
good amount of testing.

So the competition does seem to be good for the genre, as a whole.
But it isn't as much fun for the judges as playing a game at a
more leisurely pace. Resorting to hints (or, even worse, a walk-
through) after less than two hours of play? Shame on you/us!

So, every year, I try to save one or more games for later play.
I'll play enough to give it a score, but I won't use any hints.
Last year it was "Sherbet". This year I've got "Edifice" and
"Frenetic Five" put aside, and a couple of other games I'll be
revisiting (No names. Not necessarily my high-scorers, either).
--
John Francis jfra...@sgi.com Silicon Graphics, Inc.
(650)933-8295 2011 N. Shoreline Blvd. MS 43U-991
(650)933-4692 (Fax) Mountain View, CA 94043-1389
Unsolicited electronic mail will be subject to a $100 handling fee.

HarryH

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <34B09FEF.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>, s59...@tfh-berlin.de
says...
[snip]
>What I did then was I sat down for about a week and brainstormed (as much as
>you can do such a thing alone) until I came up with an idea that a) hadn't
>been done before and b) was a nice premise for a short game. Then I sat down
>again and wrote a one-page concept for _Ralph_: then I told a lot of my
>friends that they would have to beta-test the thing in a rush. Finally, I
>learned Inform while programming: working on each problem until I was sure I
>had solved or worked around it.

Exactly what I did, except that none of my friends are willing to playtest
text adventure games.

>You see, it all boils down to this: if you can't offer a decent entry that
is
>at least bug-free enough to satisfy a one-hour beta testing by the author;
>that is fun to play; and that has an interesting premise -- don't enter!

So you wrote _Ralph_, eh? That was a lame game about a dog. And I LIKE MY
GAME. You don't see any bugs on my game with the walkthrough, right? No
run-time errors and all. Besides, you don't have to worry about container and
supporter problems in Inform. I do.

[snip]


>The following games had me wonder just what made the respective authors
think
>anyone would like to play them: Cask

Cask was designed as a proving ground. If you've read the included text file,
you'd know that. I deliberately avoided the cheesy puzzles of "You are Mr.
Fish battling Giant One-Eyed Yak from Planet Elsinoor" and this is the thanks
I get? (Well, I admit that battling Giant One-Eyed Yak is much more fun than
battling an angry elephant) Next time you critize something, please give good
examples of what you think is good.

Some games feature great stories, but puzzles stink. Some have great puzzles
but story stinks. Which one do you prefer? Those are subjective, BTW.

Maybe some people will complain of "Instant Death", but I actually have
completely eliminate them. I mean, what kind of a sane person would touch a
bare wire hanging from the ceiling when the nearby switch is on? The hints
are all there, buddy. You just have to look for them.

Yes, my puzzles are crappy. Stories well too short. No betatesting whatsoever
(except by myself, and I spent a *lot* of time). But give me a break. This is
my first game. But the story is original and the puzzles were not as tired as
they are now when I first conceived them (which was about ten years ago).

And one more thing (might as well put this here while I'm ranting), for those
of you who think that a good game is necessarily long and funny, stay away
from my second game. It will be extremely short and not at all funny.


If you've read this far, please realize that this is a ranting, and that I'm
not usually this angry. So please, don't rant back. I still welcome
suggestions (Thanks). If you've ever wanted to battle a Giant One-Eyed Yak,
now's your chance! E-mail me.
-------------------------------------------------------
Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
- successful applicant


Daniel Shiovitz

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
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In article <%MCs.43$QE6.5...@news1.atlantic.net>,

HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:
>In article <34B09FEF.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>, s59...@tfh-berlin.de
>says...
>[snip]
>>What I did then was I sat down for about a week and brainstormed (as much as
>>you can do such a thing alone) until I came up with an idea that a) hadn't
>>been done before and b) was a nice premise for a short game. Then I sat down
>>again and wrote a one-page concept for _Ralph_: then I told a lot of my
>>friends that they would have to beta-test the thing in a rush. Finally, I
>>learned Inform while programming: working on each problem until I was sure I
>>had solved or worked around it.
>
>Exactly what I did, except that none of my friends are willing to playtest
>text adventure games.

What? You mean _we're_ not your friends? Seriously, if you post a
message on r*if saying "beta-testers wanted", I guarantee you'll get
at least three responses, even if I have to send 'em all myself.

And that goes for anyone else, too. Especially for people entering the
comp, more beta-testing is never a bad idea (unless you have 70
beta-testers, in which case there'll be no one left to vote).

--
(Dan Shiovitz) (d...@cs.wisc.edu) (look, I have a new e-mail address)
(http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~dbs) (and a new web page also)
(the content, of course, is the same)

HarryH

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <68vh82$r...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>, d...@coyote.cs.wisc.edu says...

>What? You mean _we're_ not your friends? Seriously, if you post a
>message on r*if saying "beta-testers wanted", I guarantee you'll get
>at least three responses, even if I have to send 'em all myself.

Thank you for the kind words. Never to old to learn, I guess.

Say..., you don't mind hopping over to GMD, look over my source code, and
send me some comments, do you? It's one of the reasons why I provide CASK
source code.

Thanks

Carl Klutzke

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <68uo32$6q...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,

John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
>On the downside, though, we have games rushed out too early, when
>a little more testing would definitely help. But with any luck
>the author will take the comments to heart, and the second version
>will fix (most of) the problems. And with the judges being urged
>to play as many games as possible, most games will get a pretty
>good amount of testing.

This brings up something I've been wanting to ask: do people want to see
second releases of the competition games? Given the choice between
putting out a second version of Poor Zefron's Almanac (that, for example,
let you know very quickly when you put the game in an unsolveable state)
and working on a new game, I'm having trouble deciding which is the better
place to invest my time.

All feedback on "Almanac" is certainly still welcome in either case, since
it will help me with future games as well.

Carl Klutzke


Magnus Olsson

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

In article <34B283DB.MD-...@tfh-berlin.de>,

Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
>In the 1995 competition, all of the eleven games were based on original
>ideas, and all were technically playable. That's about all I'm asking for.

And that's really quite a tall order.

OK, I think we can all agree on the "technically playable" bit. There
already is such a rule; perhaps we simply should enforce it in the way
that somebody goes through all the games with their respective
walkthroughs before they are released, and those that aren't winnable
with a walkthrough are deleted from the list.

However, the "original ideas" part is really quite subjective. Do you
really think you - or anybody else - can come up with an *objective*
definition of what's an original game? If we can't, it's just a matter
of arbitrarily rejecting games that *you* (or somebody else) think
remind you too much of something else.
--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------
Not officially connected to LU or LTH.

Andrew Plotkin

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

Carl Klutzke (cklu...@iquest.net) wrote:

> This brings up something I've been wanting to ask: do people want to see
> second releases of the competition games?

Yes! Absolutely.

Regardless of how well you scored, your game has now gotten far, far more
testing than it had before the initial release.

(I'm speaking to all authors, of course, not just Carl.)

The competition is an arena with limited testing and feedback. It's good
at getting games out, but it's *not* optimized for getting games as
polished as they could be. The post-voting release season does that.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Dan Schmidt

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Jan 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/7/98
to

har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) writes:

| And, please, grammar errors aren't bugs.

Whyever not?

--
Dan Schmidt -> df...@alum.mit.edu, df...@thecia.net
Honest Bob & the http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/
Factory-to-Dealer Incentives -> http://www2.thecia.net/users/dfan/hbob/
Gamelan Galak Tika -> http://web.mit.edu/galak-tika/www/

John Francis

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to
>>It all boils down to this: if you can't offer a decent entry that is

>>at least bug-free enough to satisfy a one-hour beta testing by the author;
>>that is fun to play; and that has an interesting premise -- don't enter!

Good advice, but probably impossible to follow. I can't count the number
of times that I've released code that I've tested thoroughly (I thought),
only to have it fall apart the first time somebody else touched it.
The author of any piece of code will only use it the way he intended it
to be used, so it will work (for him). A one-hour (or even a ten-hour)
beta-test *by the author* won't do very much good.

>So you wrote _Ralph_, eh? That was a lame game about a dog. And I LIKE MY
>GAME. You don't see any bugs on my game with the walkthrough, right? No
>run-time errors and all. Besides, you don't have to worry about container and
>supporter problems in Inform. I do.

But this is an overly sensitive over-reaction. Admittedly it is hard when
your brain-child is criticised - it is very easy to take the criticism as
a personal attack, and to respond in like fashion. But that doesn't help
at all. You might not have liked Ralph - fine. But it wasn't really a
lame game. Throwing insults around doesn't help anything (except possibly
your feelings). And it certainly won't encourage other people to treat
you as anything but a brat.

Now, to the other points.
You like your game. I hope so - it would be stupid to release a game
that you thought was crap. It doesn't stop Rybread Celsius, mind you.

There are no bugs on the walkthrough path. Again, I would hope not.
But that isn't the point. There *are* bugs (lots of them) for a player
who deviates from your path. And playing "Guess-the-verb" to try and
find out exactly which synonym you had in mind isn't really the kind
of puzzle that endears your game to players.
(Actually, there *are* bugs on the walkthrough path - the descriptions
of the rooms. Look at the description of the Wine Room again:
"Although not quite bare, it still has relatively few noteworthy.")

Containers & supporters - yes, these can be a little bit tricky. But
you aren't the only first-time game author to have to deal with them.
The others don't seem to have your problems. You seemed to be aware
of this problem, too, as you mentioned it in the accompanying docs.
Did you really think it wouldn't influence your final score?
Maybe if you couldn't get the feature to work, you should have been
a little less ambitious.

>Maybe some people will complain of "Instant Death", but I actually have
>completely eliminate them. I mean, what kind of a sane person would touch a
>bare wire hanging from the ceiling when the nearby switch is on? The hints
>are all there, buddy. You just have to look for them.

You don't understand. That *is* "Instant Death" - you haven't eliminated it.
The game would work just as well if the response was something like:

> PULL WIRE [which, incidentally, doesn't work]

You reach for the wire. As you touch it a jolt of electricity
runs through your outstretched arm, knocking you to the floor.

The player still needs to solve the puzzle properly in order to get the wire,
but you don't have to kill the character to get the point across. Especially
when you explicitly mention that the chair is a wooden chair - wood is a very
good insulator. And, as you describe it as a "coil of wire", it would be
plausible for there to be insulation on the wire.

Killing the character should be a last resort, after persistent stupidity.
It usually doesn't add anything to the storyline - there are other, less
fatal, ways to discourage the 'wrong' actions. This is particularly bad if
the "Instant Death" occurs as part of a tricky timing-specific puzzle.
Not that CASK was the only (or even the most blatant) game in this year's
competition to have "Instant Death" situations. In one case there was no
way (or at least none that I found) to know which was the correct course
of action except trial-and-error.

>Yes, my puzzles are crappy. Stories well too short. No betatesting whatsoever
>(except by myself, and I spent a *lot* of time). But give me a break. This is
>my first game. But the story is original and the puzzles were not as tired as
>they are now when I first conceived them (which was about ten years ago).

But you didn't enter the game in the 1987 competition - you entered it in the
1997 competition. As such, it got judged by 1997 standards. Still, by 1998
you should have become more familiar with some of the trickier constructs
in Inform games. With that, and with genuine third-party beta testing,
you may very well get the rating you hope for. Good luck!

Gerry Kevin Wilson

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

In article <6905nv$sr$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se>
m...@bartlet.df.lth.se (Magnus Olsson) wrote:

> However, the "original ideas" part is really quite subjective. Do you
> really think you - or anybody else - can come up with an *objective*
> definition of what's an original game? If we can't, it's just a matter
> of arbitrarily rejecting games that *you* (or somebody else) think
> remind you too much of something else.

Next year's wording on the rule will be more careful. It will state clearly
that the rule is there to protect the contest in the event of copyright
violation. End of story as far as I'm concerned.

---
G. Kevin Wilson: Freelance Writer and Game Designer. Resumes on demand.


HarryH

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

In article <6916l9$7r...@fido.asd.sgi.com>, jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com
says...

>But this is an overly sensitive over-reaction. Admittedly it is hard when

Well, I was ranting. I certainly hope that I make that clear. But to put this
into perspective, what kind of a game feature extremely limited actions and
let you carry only one thing at a time?

>Containers & supporters - yes, these can be a little bit tricky. But
>you aren't the only first-time game author to have to deal with them.
>The others don't seem to have your problems.

Are you sure? I originally copied the code from Graham Nelson's example. It
was buggy there. Then I found out that the library was buggy. Graham released
the updated version shortly before the contest deadline, but I didn't get to
use it. Please realize that I'm streching the capabilities a bit farther than
usual. I'm really tired of seeing the same set of trivial puzzles over and
over again. And, please, grammar errors aren't bugs.

And other programs *do* have my problems. I have a log file of my encounter
with Babel. All kinds of errors. If you're interested let me know and I'll
mail you a copy. I don't feel like posting it in public. Especially since my
own game is so lowly rated.


>The game would work just as well if the response was something like:
>
> > PULL WIRE [which, incidentally, doesn't work]
>
> You reach for the wire. As you touch it a jolt of electricity
> runs through your outstretched arm, knocking you to the floor.
>
>The player still needs to solve the puzzle properly in order to get the
wire,
>but you don't have to kill the character to get the point across.

And all you have to do is type "u" for undo. Presto! No death! Or was it
faulty like pull?

I don't believe in punishing players for playing my game. PULL doesn't work
because, dammit, I don't know which word to use! Beta-testing is supposed to
cure that, but, hey, that's my problem. You don't suppose you keep a log of
your game session, do you?

>Killing the character should be a last resort, after persistent stupidity.
>It usually doesn't add anything to the storyline -

Ah, there in lies the problem. You assume there is a story. CASK isn't a
story IF, it's a puzzle IF. Please read "Comments on CASK" for details.
Even if there is a story, I'm sure I would have killed the character outright
if he jumps off the cliff, rather than having him go to hospital multiple
times before eventually killing him.

>In one case there was no
>way (or at least none that I found) to know which was the correct course
>of action except trial-and-error.

If you're talking about the switch (not the button) for the machinery, the
hint was buried under the scrambled writings (did you wipe the dust off?).
Admittedly, the message was coded (and like everything else, was loaded), but
the game was too easy anyway. Besides, what's a little (and I do mean little)
trial-and-error in an Adventure game? The puzzle is supposed to make you
think. This particular puzzle (unlike fixing it) does not kill you, so I
think a little trial-and-error is justified here. You solve that in less than
five minutes, right?


>But you didn't enter the game in the 1987 competition - you entered it in
the
>1997 competition. As such, it got judged by 1997 standards. Still, by 1998
>you should have become more familiar with some of the trickier constructs
>in Inform games. With that, and with genuine third-party beta testing,
>you may very well get the rating you hope for. Good luck!

Yes, it does get judged by 1997 standards. Furthermore, I'm competing with
all of these monster games with dozens of locations and extremely verbose
text that's supposed to be solvable in under two hours. Maybe next time, I'll
write games with trivial puzzles and large expanses of land. This way you
don't have to think, I don't have to suffer programming it, and we all live
happily ever after.

Gunther Schmidl

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

Graham Nelson wrote...

>As the author of the most instantly off-putting work in this
>year's contest, I'm not so sure.

I didn't think it was off-putting. I hated it, but in a positive way, i. e.
I really wanted to get through it because found the idea so intriguing.

--

+------------------------+----------------------------------------------+
+ Gunther Schmidl + "I couldn't help it. I can resist everything +
+ Ferd.-Markl-Str. 39/16 + except temptation" -- Oscar Wilde +
+ A-4040 LINZ +----------------------------------------------+
+ Tel: 0732 25 28 57 + http://gschmidl.home.ml.org - new & improved +
+------------------------+---+------------------------------------------+
+ sothoth (at) usa (dot) net + please remove the "xxx." before replying +
+----------------------------+------------------------------------------+

Stephen van Egmond

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

In article <6905m0$57v$1...@news.iquest.net>,

Carl Klutzke <cklu...@iquest.net> wrote:
>This brings up something I've been wanting to ask: do people want to see
>second releases of the competition games? Given the choice between
>putting out a second version of Poor Zefron's Almanac (that, for example,
>let you know very quickly when you put the game in an unsolveable state)
>and working on a new game, I'm having trouble deciding which is the better
>place to invest my time.

I think you're probably the best person to answer this. Myself, if it
were my games that I had released, I'd want the feeling that came with
polishing a work. Most games go through a few public releases -- look at
Infocom's, and they had lots of testers.

>All feedback on "Almanac" is certainly still welcome in either case, since
>it will help me with future games as well.

I'll see what I have in my notes...


Richard Stamp

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

In article <ant062343d07M+4%@gnelson.demon.co.uk>,

Graham Nelson <gra...@gnelson.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>
>As the author of the most instantly off-putting work in this
>year's contest, I'm not so sure.

It wasn't the most instantly off-putting work. Many of us found it
impossible to get into, but at least we _tried_.

Now, the games with badly-spelled title pages, over-long introductions,
an obviously tired concept -- _they_ were instantly off-putting, and I
didn't play them at all. (I have limited time and I wasn't judging,
so I'm allowed to make snap decisions like that.)

Cheers,
Richard
--
Richard Stamp
Churchill College, Cambridge

Miron Schmidt

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote:
> Miron Schmidt <s59...@tfh-berlin.de> wrote:
> >In the 1995 competition, all of the eleven games were based on original
> >ideas, and all were technically playable. That's about all I'm asking for.
>
> And that's really quite a tall order.
>
> OK, I think we can all agree on the "technically playable" bit. [...]

>
> However, the "original ideas" part is really quite subjective. Do you
> really think you - or anybody else - can come up with an *objective*
> definition of what's an original game? If we can't, it's just a matter
> of arbitrarily rejecting games that *you* (or somebody else) think
> remind you too much of something else.

Yes, that's getting hazy. What I meant was (though this point probably didn't
come across, since I'd mixed up personal opinion and generalisations in a
somewhat confusing way) "original ideas, as judged by the author."

Now in the mean time I've learned that most authors *did* believe their games
were original. OK, then that's fine.
My initial impression, however, of many of the games was that the author had
finally managed to write a game (no sarcasm here, mind you -- I know how much
work that is) and decided to enter it regardless of the flaws.

To come back to my original point: the question an author should pose himself
(ideally before starting to work past the premise) is, "if I *weren't* the
author of this game -- would I still want to play it?"

And *that* again isn't too much to ask, is it?

Michael Straight

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to


On 7 Jan 1998, Carl Klutzke wrote:

> In article <68uo32$6q...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,
> John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:
> >On the downside, though, we have games rushed out too early, when
> >a little more testing would definitely help. But with any luck
> >the author will take the comments to heart, and the second version
> >will fix (most of) the problems. And with the judges being urged
> >to play as many games as possible, most games will get a pretty
> >good amount of testing.
>

> This brings up something I've been wanting to ask: do people want to see
> second releases of the competition games?

Yes! I don't know for sure, but my guess is that the group of people who
were able to play through and vote on the competition games is only small
subset of all the people who play IF. I discovered and enjoyed Uncle
Zebulon's Will several years after the competition in which it was
entered.

> Given the choice between
> putting out a second version of Poor Zefron's Almanac (that, for example,
> let you know very quickly when you put the game in an unsolveable state)
> and working on a new game, I'm having trouble deciding which is the better
> place to invest my time.

I'd say it depends on the feedback you got. I've seen several reviews of
games that were largely positive but pointed out a few flaws (sometimes
fatal ones). If your game got reviews like that, I'd think it was worth
fixing for all the people who will discover it in the archive a year from
now or for people like me who didn't get a chance to play all the contest
games (I'm still waiting for release 2 of Small World from last year).

If the reviews were just overall negative, or it seemed few people like
the idea behind your game, then maybe working on a new one would be the
best use of time.

SMTIRCAHIAGEHLT


Dennis of Iniquity

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

My views on the theoretical Comp 98...

I don't think there's any need for a two-stage voting process and if
people want to 'pass over' games that don't hold their attention, that's
entirely up to them - there's no need to formalise it. Even if there are
40+ games, the whole point of Comp97.z5 was to allow people to rate as
many games that they had time for and do so as fairly as possible. I get
the impression that people felt 'rushed' to review as many as possible,
which is quite understandable (especially as immediately after the judging
closes the newsgroup is full of spoilers ;) but one should remember that
it's not all that important to judge as many as you can unreasonably
devote all your free time to; Comp97.z5 is there to even out any
shortfalling in the review department.

Any other thoughts?

--
Den


Michael Straight

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

On Wed, 7 Jan 1998, ct wrote:

> In article <Pine.A41.3.95L.98010...@login5.isis.unc.edu>,
> Michael Straight <URL:mailto:stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote (in context, but
> I'm sure we'll survive):
> >
> > The contest doesn't exist for the judges' pleasure. It exists to
> > encourage people to write IF.
>
> I'm not sure this can be supported at all; the aim of the competition may
> have been (was) to encourage new IF, but people are hardly writing in a
> vacuum! Without judges the competition is nothing, and judges are simply
> people enjoying playing through the games. Sure, there's a slight element
> of "I'm going to be a judge, I'm going to be fair, and I'm _going_ to give
> Aunt Nancy's House[1] its two hours if it kills me", but ultimately, if the
> majority of games stink, people will lose interest, not vote, and the
> competition dies a slow death. Bad outcome.

Well, maybe I shouldn't talk. I didn't vote this year or last year
because I didn't have time to play enough games and I'd rather play at my
own pace than rush through a game in two hours with a walkthrough. But I
do send feedback to the author of each game I play.

The way I read Whizzard's rules, the judges are agreeing to do a service
for the contest, which exists to encourage more people to write IF. Sure,
if the task is so onerous that no one will do it, you have a problem. But
haven't got the impression that all the judges felt that way. Personally
I'd rather 20 judges were scared off than one IF author.

I'm grateful to every one of the authors who put all that time into
writing a game and putting it out there for everyone to play free of
charge, and it irked me to see someone saying "don't enter unless your
game is good." I'd say if judging is no fun for you, don't do it. If so
many people feel that way that we can't have a contest, I'm sure Whizzard
can modify the contest to fix things. But don't discourage people from
writing IF.

Michael Straight says "thanks" to all the judges and authors. R.G.IF is great!

Christine Simoes Tilden

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

On Thu, 8 Jan 1998 09:39:15 -0500, Michael Straight
<stra...@email.unc.edu> wrote:

>
>
>On 7 Jan 1998, Carl Klutzke wrote:
>
>> In article <68uo32$6q...@fido.asd.sgi.com>,
>> John Francis <jfra...@dungeon.engr.sgi.com> wrote:

>>
>> This brings up something I've been wanting to ask: do people want to see
>> second releases of the competition games?
>
>Yes! I don't know for sure, but my guess is that the group of people who
>were able to play through and vote on the competition games is only small
>subset of all the people who play IF. I discovered and enjoyed Uncle
>Zebulon's Will several years after the competition in which it was
>entered.
>
>

>I'd say it depends on the feedback you got. I've seen several reviews of
>games that were largely positive but pointed out a few flaws (sometimes
>fatal ones). If your game got reviews like that, I'd think it was worth
>fixing for all the people who will discover it in the archive a year from
>now or for people like me who didn't get a chance to play all the contest
>games (I'm still waiting for release 2 of Small World from last year).

I agree on this point. After some people here told me where I could
find the entrie's from '95 & '96's competitions, I checked some of
them out recently...and found quite a few problems in one or two
(admittedly, some of them minor) that surprised me. I would've thought
they'd look a little cleaner after knowing how much critique goes on
in this newsgroup.
Christine Simoes Tilden

(SPAM-block in effect; you will need to REMOVE a portion of my email address to reply)

Christine Simoes Tilden

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

On Thu, 08 Jan 1998 19:22:02 GMT, CSTi...@REMOVEerols.com (Christine
Simoes Tilden) wrote:

>I agree on this point. After some people here told me where I could
>find the entrie's from '95 & '96's competitions, I checked some of
>them out recently...and found quite a few problems in one or two
>(admittedly, some of them minor) that surprised me. I would've thought
>they'd look a little cleaner after knowing how much critique goes on
>in this newsgroup.

oops...meant "entries" of course...better proofread my own work more!

;-)

Linards Ticmanis

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to Carl Klutzke

On 7 Jan 1998, Carl Klutzke wrote:

> putting out a second version of Poor Zefron's Almanac (that, for example,
> let you know very quickly when you put the game in an unsolveable state)
> and working on a new game, I'm having trouble deciding which is the better
> place to invest my time.
>

I'd say, definitely do a bugfix release (i.e. sorting out those problems
that aren't inherent to your game design in some way.) About redisigning
things, changing puzzle solutions around, etc., probably time is invested
a lot better in a new game. IMHO.

Linards Ticmanis

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
to

>har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) writes:
>
>| And, please, grammar errors aren't bugs.

Do you remember people yelling when "Heist" came out, about comma splices?
If a grammar error isn't a bug, it's one thousand times worse.

>>BKNambo
--
http://come.to/brocks.place | World Domination Through Trivia!
oah123 (in chatquiz, 12/27/97): "did you guys know during the SPIN cycle the
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Heiko Nock

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98