IF COMP rule suggestions

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HarryH

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
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Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:

1. Only one entry per contest. This should force those who aren't disciplined
to focus on one game only, rather than testing multiple games and picking the
best one. This also prevent the contest from being swamped by bad games in
hopes of getting prizes.

2. Make beta-testing mandatory. This should reduce the number of bad games
due to carelessness.

3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.
Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are buggy
and prone to crash the machine.

4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session. There are several reasons
for this:
a. It will show whether judges are really evaluating the games or that
they're just cruising around with walkthrough.
b. It can be used to verify condition three.
c. Authors can benefit from having feedback on their creation.
d. Comments can refer to specific recorded passages than from memory.

All these rules should help beginners in competing against the experts,
weed out bad games (mine included), and make judging more fun for everyone. I
understand that keeping the game's log is not always possible, but I think
this can really be beneficial and therefore should be pursued whenever
possible.

Comments?
-------------------------------------------------------
Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
- successful applicant


Ola Hansson

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
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In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net>,

HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:
>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>
>3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.
>Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
>hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
>walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are buggy
>and prone to crash the machine.

If I, after playing a game for an hour, has found that I like the game very
much... but then get stuck on a problem - should that mean that I have
to use the walkthrough, and thus (possibly) spoil parts of a good game.
I don't think so.

#4 seemed to
a/ enforce too much recordkeeping on the judges.
b/ for the logs to be of any use, somebody would have to
read through them... 35 games x 70 judges... that is a whole
lot of logfiles!

>Comments?

The only one of your rules that I think looked ok was #2 (enforcing
beta-testing), and for this, I think the proposal of sponsors
discussed earlier sounds good.


--
-------------------------| \ _, "Search for the unicorn in
Ola Mikael Hansson | /*.\___ your heart, believe - and you
-------------------------| ` ( __ )\ shall find true beauty!"
dat9...@ludat.lth.se | (l (l '

Neil Brown

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
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At 03:59:25 on Thu, 8 Jan 1998, HarryH wrote:
>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>
>1. Only one entry per contest. This should force those who aren't disciplined
>to focus on one game only, rather than testing multiple games and picking the
>best one. This also prevent the contest from being swamped by bad games in
>hopes of getting prizes.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. One game to be entered (surely
not!) or one game per entrant? There was only one person this year who
entered two games.

>2. Make beta-testing mandatory. This should reduce the number of bad games
>due to carelessness.

Beta testing should be strongly encouraged, certainly.

>3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.
>Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
>hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
>walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are buggy
>and prone to crash the machine.

How would it? Some of the games that crashed machines this year were
roughly two hours in length, or perhaps less. But then, defining two
hours is problematic - a game could take one judge over two hours, and
another judge half an hour. If a judge is a particularly slow player
(like I imagine I will be if there is a contest next year and I choose
to vote rather than enter), then it could be that s/he could take more
than the time limit for most games. On the other hand, some games are
clearly too large and shouldn't have been entered.

>4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session. There are several reasons
>for this:
>a. It will show whether judges are really evaluating the games or that
>they're just cruising around with walkthrough.
>b. It can be used to verify condition three.
>c. Authors can benefit from having feedback on their creation.
>d. Comments can refer to specific recorded passages than from memory.

That would take a heck of a lot of effort on the part of the judges -
and who gets to check through all these transcripts? Most people here, I
imagine, have jobs or something else to occupy a lot of their time, and
have had trouble playing 34 games as it is.

- NJB

Heiko Nock

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
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In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net>,

har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) wrote:
>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>1. Only one entry per contest.

One entry per contest ? You mean per participant, do you ?

With only one entry per contest I would have a hard time to find out
what to vote for :)

--
Ciao/2, Heiko.....

Brock Kevin Nambo

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Jan 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/8/98
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HarryH wrote in message ...

>1. Only one entry per contest. This should force those who aren't
disciplined
>to focus on one game only, rather than testing multiple games and picking
the
>best one. This also prevent the contest from being swamped by bad games in
>hopes of getting prizes.

Dunno.. if someone can come up with two or three really good games for the
competition, they should be Allowed-- BUT, if they could have been released
during the rest of the year instead of HOARDING them till comp time to earn
LOTS of FABULOUS PRIZES ;) weel then..

>2. Make beta-testing mandatory. This should reduce the number of bad games
>due to carelessness.

How will you judge this? I, for example, would only ask people I know
personally to beta my games (which should be coming along any millenium
now); mainly because they're not the kind of people who would
vote--beta-testers wouldn't vote for me and I'd need all the votes I could
get <eg>

>3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.
>Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
>hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
>walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are
buggy
>and prone to crash the machine.

Whoa whoa whoa HOLD UP HERE...
The purpose of the comp is to Get Games Written. It's not the size that
counts here-- it's how you use it. If you write a five-hour game that is
just as fun (or "scary" or "inspiring" or whatever the point is) as a
10-minute game, then you should be Allowed! The two hours is a /judges'/
limit-- it is to keep the /judges/ from having to play forever in a game
they are stuck in, or really hate, or that is exceptionally big. (That
doesn't mean they can't be big games!!! and !!! and !!!)

>4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session. There are several reasons
>for this:
>a. It will show whether judges are really evaluating the games or that
>they're just cruising around with walkthrough.
>b. It can be used to verify condition three.
>c. Authors can benefit from having feedback on their creation.
>d. Comments can refer to specific recorded passages than from memory.

This is a Good Idea. :)

Nice ideas, all--'cept #3 :)

>>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
clothes are like being spun really fast? LOL i just found that out!"

ct

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <tZVt0sRO...@rhein-neckar.netsurf.de>, Heiko Nock

<zif...@rhein-neckar.netsurf.de> wrote:
> In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net>,
> har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) wrote:
> >Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
> >1. Only one entry per contest.
>
> One entry per contest ? You mean per participant, do you ?
>
> With only one entry per contest I would have a hard time to find out
> what to vote for :)

yeah, but its gonna make my life just /so/ easy...

regards, ct


HarryH

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <tZVt0sRO...@rhein-neckar.netsurf.de>,
zif...@rhein-neckar.netsurf.de says...

>
>In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net>,
>har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) wrote:
>>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>>1. Only one entry per contest.
>
>One entry per contest ? You mean per participant, do you ?

Whoops!

So that's why Ola Hansson didn't agree with number one.

I was wondering why...

Yes, I meant one per participant. Thank you.

HarryH

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <691rpj$g58$1...@news.lth.se>, dat9...@ludat.lth.se says...
>
>In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net>,

>HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:
>>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>>
>>3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.
>>Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
>>hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
>>walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are
buggy
>>and prone to crash the machine.
>
>If I, after playing a game for an hour, has found that I like the game very
>much... but then get stuck on a problem - should that mean that I have
>to use the walkthrough, and thus (possibly) spoil parts of a good game.
>I don't think so.

I don't know about you, but for me, a rating carries with it an implicit
assumption that it is for OVERALL feel of the game, not just the beginning.
It is as unfair to give a bad game high rating for good beginning as it is to
give low rating for a good game with bad beginning.

I can easily make a large game and work on it very hard for the beginning
part. Then before you get to the bad part, I'll just put a couple really hard
puzzles on it, hoping that my game get as good a rating as a game that is
consistently great.

As a player, you can pick and choose, and play only the part you want. But as
a judge, it carries with it authority, and impartiality. As a judge, you have
to deal with "what is", not "what is possible"

If you think being a judge is no fun, being a beta tester is no fun, too.


>#4 seemed to
>a/ enforce too much recordkeeping on the judges.
>b/ for the logs to be of any use, somebody would have to
>read through them... 35 games x 70 judges... that is a whole
>lot of logfiles!

Rules 1-3 should cut down on the number of entries and judges. Even assuming
that there are that many games and judges, not all judges will be able to
finish all the games.

Of course, if recordkeeping is a great hassle, then I don't recommend it. But
I'm thinking into the line of turning the script recording on (for Inform and
Tads games) or perhaps just jot down the commands entered, forgoing the
game's result.

Also, you don't have to submit the WHOLE log (although as an author, I'd like
that), just the pertinent parts.

Think of it this way: As a judge, you have to send AT MOST 35 recordings. As
an author, I get 70 VALUABLE information how gamers think. Maybe the veterans
already know all this stuff cold, but not only am I a beginner, this
competition is supposed to bring on new people (and therefore beginners),
isn't it?

>The only one of your rules that I think looked ok was #2 (enforcing
>beta-testing), and for this, I think the proposal of sponsors
>discussed earlier sounds good.

sponsors are a hassle and it doesn't cover the need for beta testing. I'd
prefer mentoring system, but let's assume for the moment that we'll use
sponsoring system.

This will definitely weed out bad games, but it may also weed out good
potential game. What happens if the sponsor prefer atmospheric stories, while
the entrant is keen on pure puzzle game? Furthermore, sponsorship doesn't
make good game better. It just ensure that it isn't bad anymore.

Therefore, whether or not we use sponsors, we still need beta-testing. This
will help make good game even better. The question is, who should beta-test?
Definitely not me. I'm not qualified. I may be willing, but I'm not
qualified.

This despite the fact that it's pretty difficult to see who is the veteran
and who is not. Some people obviously are. However, there are a lot of people
who is located in the gray area. I don't want to see this newsgroup turned
into bickering war on who is qualified and who is not.

HarryH

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <e0Vz4DAU...@highmount.demon.co.uk>,
ne...@this.address.is.fake says...

>
>At 03:59:25 on Thu, 8 Jan 1998, HarryH wrote:
>>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>>
>>1. Only one entry per contest.
>I'm not sure what you're saying here. One game to be entered (surely
>not!) or one game per entrant? There was only one person this year who
>entered two games.

Only one entry per contest, but I like your idea better. :)
So, do we agree that it's not a problem to have each person submit only one
game?

>>2. Make beta-testing mandatory. This should reduce the number of bad games
>>due to carelessness.
>

>Beta testing should be strongly encouraged, certainly.

Mandatory. Strongly encouraged will let some unintentionally bad games slip
through. I don't think this will hurt the beginners' chances of entry since
they can freely ignore beta-testers' advice. It will help a lot if
beta-testing procedure is standardized and convenient.

[snip]


>a game could take one judge over two hours, and
>another judge half an hour. If a judge is a particularly slow player

[cut]


>On the other hand, some games are
>clearly too large and shouldn't have been entered.

But there will be more than one judge. I'm sure the two hour game limit is
intended for the *average* judge, and not the extremes. Keeping log will slow
the judging process even more. Keeping the game small will only help
beginners, don't you think?

>>4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session.

[cut]


>and who gets to check through all these transcripts?

Me, the author of the game, will check them.
Maybe not all at once, but I'll check them all out.
I have a full time job, too.

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <xaYs.75$QE6.9...@news1.atlantic.net> har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) writes:
>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:

>3. Forbid judges to send rating for games they do not finish in two hours.

>Judges can use walkthrough to finish the game, and explore further if two
>hours aren't up. But games that takes longer than two hours (with/without
>walkthrough) should be disqualified. This will eliminate games that are buggy
>and prone to crash the machine.

I would refuse to judge under these circumstances. I am more happy
as a player when I am playing to enjoy the game than when I am
racing through to see the ending, especially under the threat of
having my ability to vote taken away if I don't finish.

I didn't finish a *lot* of the competition games; some because they
were not finishable, some because I didn't enjoy them, some because
they were too long to finish. I don't regard any of my votes as
inappropriate, however: I did play each game that I rated long enough
to know clearly how I felt about it.

I would hate to be blocked from rating a game just because I, say,
made a typo or a stupid move and had to go back to start. I missed
one minor point in "Frenetic Five" and never saw the endgame. I
spent a long time in "Babel" reading the background information in
the computer, and overran my two hours to finish (no way I was going
to stop playing midway! though I did give the rating at the end of
the two hours). Draconian rules are just going to make judging less
fun, and honestly, it's a lot of hassle if it's not fun.

I'd feel the same way about requiring the judge to produce and mail
a transcript to the author. I'm a judge, not a beta-tester. It's
a fair bit of work doing this thirty-five times, especially since
I often play in 15-minute work breaks, not two-hour blocks. And some
of the authors' addresses bounce, as poor Whizzard is discovering.

(Besides, pity the poor author who gets transcripts for Sylenius'
second half! Or Madame L'Estrange, for that matter. Instant mailbox
overflow.)

I quite like the competition as it stands. There were, I guess, more
sloppy games than in previous years. But I don't feel that people are
taking adequate note of the fact that (at least in my opinion)
there were more *good* games than in previous years. And they were
good in a wide variety of ways. The language puzzle in Edifice is
an amazing tour de force.

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

Dennis of Iniquity

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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Re: HarryH's request for full transcripts of the judging session...

Well, I think that it would be a bad thing to demand a full transcript
(could put judges off, costs more money to judge for many people) but if
the author _requested_ a full transcript, I'd be happy to oblige.


--
Dennis


Trevor Barrie

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Jan 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/9/98
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In article <dHht.15$9p.1...@news1.atlantic.net>,
HarryH <har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com> wrote:

>So, do we agree that it's not a problem to have each person submit only one
>game?

Err, that seems like sort of a backwards way of looking at it. IMO, it's not
a problem to have somebody enter more than one game, so why bother banning
it?

John Francis

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Jan 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/10/98
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>Some suggestions for future IF COMP rules:
>
The *last* thing we need is draconian rules for judging.
(Personally I think the judging is already too restrictive;
with over thirty games, it seems unreasonable to bar authors
from voting on all the other games. But I digress).

It was hard enough, this year, to give a fair amount of time
to all the games (or even just the 31 TADS and Inform games).

Introduce new restrictions (mandatory transcript logs, etc.),
and you will reduce the judging pool considerably. I know
that if I were forced to show that I had spent two hours
on every game, and had played to the end all those that I
had ranked, I would not have voted.

I didn't play some games all the way through (in fact I've
got a couple where I didn't even look at the walkthrough,
because I wanted to play them properly after the contest).
And there were at least three games I bailed out of long
before two hours were up. But I don't think doing this
made any difference to my final scoring.

Nor, in my mind, do we need more restrictive rules on
entries. If an author chooses to ignore the guidelines,
or is unable to betatest the game before the deadline,
this will presumable be reflected in the final score.
What purpose is served by disallowing the entry?
--
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.

Neil Brown

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Jan 10, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/10/98
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At 04:27:53 on Fri, 9 Jan 1998, HarryH wrote:
>>>4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session.
>[cut]
>>and who gets to check through all these transcripts?
>
>Me, the author of the game, will check them.
>Maybe not all at once, but I'll check them all out.
>I have a full time job, too.

I don't like the sound of this. I had a hard enough time ploughing
through the transcripts of one or two of my beta testers. If I was faced
with the prospect of being sent over forty of the things, it would scare
me off entering...

- NJB

Paul Francis Gilbert

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Jan 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/12/98
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har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) writes:

[..beta testing discussion..]

>Mandatory. Strongly encouraged will let some unintentionally bad games slip
>through. I don't think this will hurt the beginners' chances of entry since
>they can freely ignore beta-testers' advice. It will help a lot if
>beta-testing procedure is standardized and convenient.

I'm not so sure about making this mandatory myself. The only way a game is
going to get good beta testing is if enough people play it enough to give it
a good workover, and the problem then arises of whether or not having played
the contest entry so much may biase them for or against it, considering the
fixed time playing limit placed on the other games. The game may thus get an
unfair advantage over others which are played less.

>[snip]
>>a game could take one judge over two hours, and
>>another judge half an hour. If a judge is a particularly slow player
>[cut]
>>On the other hand, some games are
>>clearly too large and shouldn't have been entered.

>But there will be more than one judge. I'm sure the two hour game limit is
>intended for the *average* judge, and not the extremes. Keeping log will slow
>the judging process even more. Keeping the game small will only help
>beginners, don't you think?

That's my opinion as well. I certainly don't think a longer game should be
penalised... a person may invest a lot of work in a piece, and it shouldn't
be barred from entry just because some (or maybe all judges) couldn't finish
the game in the time allotted.


>>>4. Have judges keep a log of the game's session.
>[cut]
>>and who gets to check through all these transcripts?

>Me, the author of the game, will check them.
>Maybe not all at once, but I'll check them all out.
>I have a full time job, too.

>-------------------------------------------------------


>Of course I'll work on weekends without pay!
> - successful applicant


--
Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au (The DreamMaster)
Bach App Sci, Bach Eng | The opinions expressed are my own, all my own, and
Year 4, RMIT Melbourne | as such will contain no references to small furry
Australia | creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Daniel Shiovitz

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Jan 14, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/14/98
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In article <69bu5k$iam$1...@goanna.cs.rmit.edu.au>,
Paul Francis Gilbert <p...@yallara.cs.rmit.EDU.AU> wrote:
>har...@iu.net.idiotic.com.skip.idiotic.com (HarryH) writes:
>
[..]

>>[snip]
>>>a game could take one judge over two hours, and
>>>another judge half an hour. If a judge is a particularly slow player
>>[cut]
>>>On the other hand, some games are
>>>clearly too large and shouldn't have been entered.
>
>>But there will be more than one judge. I'm sure the two hour game limit is
>>intended for the *average* judge, and not the extremes. Keeping log will slow
>>the judging process even more. Keeping the game small will only help
>>beginners, don't you think?
>
>That's my opinion as well. I certainly don't think a longer game should be
>penalised... a person may invest a lot of work in a piece, and it shouldn't
>be barred from entry just because some (or maybe all judges) couldn't finish
>the game in the time allotted.

So why bother making a rule about the game size then, if we don't plan
on enforcing it? Although in a sense it's "unfair" to not allow
_Curses_ to be entered in the comp because it's a big game (but then,
the comp isn't really the only way to release a game, is it?), it
seems to me it's at least as unfair if my game doesn't get played
because there are six other _Curses_-sized games in the competition
that take up all the judges' time. To put it another way, I think
entering a game that's too large is as rude as taking up two seats on
an airplane or theater when you've only paid for one, and the place is
full. Big games have enough of a PR advantage as it is -- they don't
need to get special privileges in the comp as well.

>Paul Gilbert | p...@yallara.cs.rmit.edu.au (The DreamMaster)

--
(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)


Magnus Olsson

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Jan 14, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/14/98
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In article <69habt$7...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>,

Daniel Shiovitz <d...@coyote.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>So why bother making a rule about the game size then, if we don't plan
>on enforcing it?

The rule is not about game size, it's about the judging process. The
game can be how large the author likes; it's just that the judges
must rate it after two hours of playing time.

>it
>seems to me it's at least as unfair if my game doesn't get played
>because there are six other _Curses_-sized games in the competition
>that take up all the judges' time.

Exactly what the time rule is supposed to prevent.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------
Not officially connected to LU or LTH.

Jason Anthony Melancon

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Jan 14, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/14/98
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Magnus Olsson (m...@bartlet.df.lth.se) wrote:

> In article <69habt$7...@spool.cs.wisc.edu>,
> Daniel Shiovitz <d...@coyote.cs.wisc.edu> wrote:
>
> >So why bother making a rule about the game size then, if we don't plan
> >on enforcing it?

> The rule is not about game size, it's about the judging process. The
> game can be how large the author likes; it's just that the judges
> must rate it after two hours of playing time.

I don't understand why people keep saying this. What I read in the rules is
this: "1. Any text adventure you enter must be winnable in under two hours.
(etc.)" (YMMV for "winnable," but it was *there;* I think it was only not
enforced because it's impossible to. :)

There was *also* a rule for judges: "You have 2 hours in which to rate each
game. At the end of 2 hours, if unfinished, you should stop and rank the game
immediately."

(Of course, it goes without saying that Whizzard will do all interpretation and
enforcement, so it's academic. "We" don't plan on anything.)

Jason Melancon

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