[IFBeginnersComp] Discuss "Germania" by Vicente Munoz (SPOILERS)

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Victor Gijsbers

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Feb 20, 2008, 9:18:31 AM2/20/08
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BRIEF OVERVIEW

This is a bad game. Not, I should say, a really really bad game, of the
"I'll out something together in 5 minutes and laugh at everybody stupid
enough to play it"-variety. Just a bad game, with terrible writing,
under-implementation problems, guess-the-verb problems, lots of missing
synonyms, underclued puzzles, and so forth.

Which is a pity, because the author obviously wanted to create a fun
puzzle game. I think that a round of beta-testing would have solved most
problems and would have increased my score dramatically.


A BIT MORE DETAIL

Let's start with the writing. It is awful. There are the kind of
mistakes that a non-native speaker would make, but there are also the
kind of mistakes that could have been avoided with careful thought. An
example:


A brutal howl hits the cave as wind strikes from the outside.

It creates a dust cloud that reveals a small hole on the ground.


The first sentence makes little sense, but I assume it is the kind of
thing that can happen when you are none too sure about correct English
idiom. But the second sentence is just carelessness: how can a dust
cloud reveal anything?


Then, there is the implementation. This kind of exchange should not
happen, and could not have remained in the game if it had been
beta-tested by even a single person:


>put pyramid in hole
You can't put anything in the square hole.

>put pyramid on hole
(first taking the small glass pyramid from the leather pouch)
Once the pyramid is set on the hole it produces a mechanical noise and
begins to rumble.


You know, you don't put things ON holes, generally, you put them IN
holes. Presumably, the hole was defined as a supporter rather than a
container; this is a mistake, and testing would have revealed it.

There are more such implementation/writing problems, and they can make
solving the puzzles a real ordeal. For instance:

>attach rope to crank
You can't attach that to the crank.

>attach spear to crank
You impale the spear on the rotating piece of circle wood. It complains
making some grinding noise but it falls silent after a while.

>attach rope to crank
You tie the rope to the crank and throw the other end into the hole.


So after all I CAN attach the rope to the crank. The first message was
misleading, and testing would have revealed it.


I could go on, but the main point should be clear by now: this game was
released without testing. The author forgot to implement a lot of
responses and synonyms that are essential to making this a smooth game,
fun to play. What it really needs is testing, and a post-comp release
that fixes these problems. (I have a transcript available for the author
if he wishes to see it.)

That would still leave us with a short and generic adventure, but at
least it wouldn't be frustrating.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Regards,
Victor

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Feb 20, 2008, 10:25:56 AM2/20/08
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On Feb 20, 8:18 am, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
> What it really needs is testing, and a post-comp release
> that fixes these problems. (I have a transcript available for the author
> if he wishes to see it.)
>
> That would still leave us with a short and generic adventure, but at
> least it wouldn't be frustrating.
>
> Score: 3 out of 10.

I have almost nothing to add to what you said, except "Ditto, ditto,
ditto". I wish no one would ever release a game without betatesting.
And I also have a transcript for the author.

I haven't assigned a score yet, but I think mine will be lower than
yours. Besides the issues you mentioned, I didn't like the ending, or
rather, the lack of an ending. I don't have any faith that the author
knows what's coming up next. He's setting up a series, specifically
the kind of series where you have to play them all, like Earth and Sky
(as opposed to Frenetic Five, where each game is self-contained).
However, the Earth & Sky series (and similar books I've read) have had
at least a temporary resolution, something tangible that said "we're
done with this section now". This felt more like "I wrote until I ran
out of time, so I stopped".

--
Daphne

Emily Short

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Feb 20, 2008, 4:49:53 PM2/20/08
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On Feb 20, 10:25 am, Daphne Brinkerhoff <cend...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Feb 20, 8:18 am, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
>
> > What it really needs is testing, and a post-comp release
> > that fixes these problems. (I have a transcript available for the author
> > if he wishes to see it.)
>
> I have almost nothing to add to what you said, except "Ditto, ditto,
> ditto".  I wish no one would ever release a game without betatesting.
> And I also have a transcript for the author.

Funny, I had the impression -- and now I'm not sure where I got it --
that this did list some testers or affiliates of some kind.

But yeah, it wasn't very playable as it stands. I didn't play all the
way through, in fact, because I just got too tired of struggling with
it.

Emily Boegheim

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Feb 21, 2008, 8:09:30 AM2/21/08
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Emily Short <ems...@mindspring.com> wrote in
news:cbb9c465-c6ba-4fbd...@u72g2000hsf.googlegroups.com:

> On Feb 20, 10:25 am, Daphne Brinkerhoff <cend...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> On Feb 20, 8:18 am, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
>>
>> > What it really needs is testing, and a post-comp release
>> > that fixes these problems. (I have a transcript available for the
>> > author
>
>> > if he wishes to see it.)
>>
>> I have almost nothing to add to what you said, except "Ditto, ditto,
>> ditto".  I wish no one would ever release a game without betatesting.
>> And I also have a transcript for the author.
>
> Funny, I had the impression -- and now I'm not sure where I got it --
> that this did list some testers or affiliates of some kind.

CREDITS lists three testers. I'm guessing they just aren't very familiar
with what's expected of modern IF.

Emily

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Feb 21, 2008, 8:44:58 AM2/21/08
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On Feb 21, 7:09 am, Emily Boegheim <emily.boegh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> CREDITS lists three testers. I'm guessing they just aren't very familiar
> with what's expected of modern IF.

Whoops. I guess I missed them because they weren't listed in "about",
nor did "about" mention "credits". Although, I guess "credits" is
pretty standard, so it's mostly my fault.

(Still, if the author does another version, sticking a message like
"Read 'ABOUT' and 'CREDITS' for more info" at the beginning wouldn't
hurt. This release doesn't list the title/version at all, but that's
the usual place for such messages.)

--
Daphne

djmeister

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Feb 21, 2008, 9:38:09 AM2/21/08
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I have to admit: I really like:

A brutal howl hits the cave as wind strikes from the outside.

Although i understand why you see this sentence as weak writing ;-)

lg, stefan

vicos...@gmail.com

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Feb 21, 2008, 4:24:25 PM2/21/08
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On 20 feb, 06:18, Victor Gijsbers <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote:
> BRIEF OVERVIEW
>
> This is a bad game. Not, I should say, a really really bad game, of the
> "I'll out something together in 5 minutes and laugh at everybody stupid
> enough to play it"-variety. Just a bad game, with terrible writing,
> under-implementation problems, guess-the-verb problems, lots of missing
> synonyms, underclued puzzles, and so forth.

Ouch. But I can understand where that is coming from.

Yeah, I would like to see the transcript, you can send it to this e-
mail
or to the one posted on the IF game.

I would also like to add some notes, might explain why the game
became so hard in the end and also why the quality of the writing is
so bad.

First, the reason as to why this game lacks in several fields is
mostly because
this is the first time I program an IF game. I used TADS 3 because the
way
you had to program everything caught my eye, unlike Inform 7 which
became
a horrible pain to use at one point although that could be because of
my broken English.
I am a programmer after all and to be honest grammar and me have never
been
friends, we fought a lot back since Elementary so you might get the
idea.

Note that nobody helped me code. I didn't ask anyone from the IF
community to
assist me with anything, why I don't know, and I didn't fully read any
books regarding TADS3.
It bores me to death to read a book that looks like the bible so I
just jump to whatever I'm
looking for and if that still doesn't work, or if I can't find what
I'm looking for, I just hack someones else code.

Thus the game lacked a lot of things, which Victor pointed out, like
synonyms, the Pyramid puzzle which I couldn't get
to work properly with a container so I had to recur to a surface (you
were correct on the surface Victor).
I didn't knew you had to put a \ after a ' or a " in certain sections
and it only came to me
because I have programmed in PHP/C++ and this looked a lot like it.
Sometimes the programming would become a pain, almost coming to a
complete halt, when I had an
idea I couldn't implement because I didn't knew how to do it or I
simply couldn't figure out the correct
way to code it and had to recur to whatever I had at hand.

If anyone checked the code they would see what kind of mess it was and
even that the cloth found
at the top of the cave is in fact a fixture not an item. Thing which I
never fixed because it took me a
while to realize how the moveInto command worked and I ran out of time
in the end.

Originally I was going to add a small boot camp for beginners to get
an idea and a feel of how the
IF game works but that was left out because I ran out of time and the
"final product" had to be
rushed badly into what it is and I am not happy with the end result
but I wished to see some
feedback so I could work on whatever I was lacking.

In the end it was unfortunate enough I couldn't make this as I wanted
to and also make it more
beginner friendly but anyway, I thank everyone for their feedback and
hope I can fix all the
issues present in this version of the game.

Regards,
Vicente "Vico Surge" Muñoz

Victor Gijsbers

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Feb 22, 2008, 2:34:16 AM2/22/08
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vicos...@gmail.com wrote:

> In the end it was unfortunate enough I couldn't make this as I wanted
> to and also make it more
> beginner friendly but anyway, I thank everyone for their feedback and
> hope I can fix all the
> issues present in this version of the game.

Yes, I think you can radically improve playability with relatively
little work. That is certainly worth doing, and with a bit more polish
in the areas I mentioned, Germania will not be a bad first effort. :)

Regards,
Victor

craigjo...@aol.com

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Feb 27, 2008, 3:06:37 PM2/27/08
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This one came out of the hat second, and really it wasn't a fun
experience at all.

It started off fine, investigate a blood trail into a cave, digging a
pyramid out of the ground from beneath a bush (except don't use "dig",
and why on earth would it be there at all), but finding a square hole
which then disappeared from the description of the room, and having to
use PUT PYRAMID ON HOLE instead of IN, sent up warning signs....seeing
glass shards in the room, yet GLASS and SHARD and SHARDS don't exist
when you try to pick them up....having a bulge in a room, hey, I have
a sword, I must be able to prick it or poke it or do something with
the sword? No, I have to PULL BULGE to get it into the light...grrrr.

I appreciate the comments from the author that it's an early work in
not his first language, but there must be more than enough people
prepared to give a transcript a once over, even if not to play test,
to pick up some of these basics. Another one - the tribesman had a
small pouch tied to his belt...I had a leather pouch with some coins
in, but could I work out how to differentiate between the two - tribe
pouch, tribeman pouch, tribesman pouch, etc etc....why not just use a
thesaurus and pick a different word for the guy's pouch?

Couple this is a non-existent HELP facility, and it got a generous 2.

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