Comp06: Labyrinth

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Sami

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Nov 17, 2006, 9:54:17 AM11/17/06
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I just wanted to thank everyone who has provided constructive feedback.
I am truly sorry for the implementation problems that diminished the
experience of those who would otherwise have enjoyed this game. (I
knew at the outset that there were many people for whom the game would
not be to their taste; I am not apologizing for that. I suppose the
most you can expect of an author is that they write a game that they
themselves would want to play, and that's what I did.)

I also have some answers to the questions that Mike Snyder posed in his
review.
1. Labyrinth actually was originally inspired by the movie _Cube_. I
had originally planned on having a larger cube, with some trapped rooms
(although I never planned on having a bunch of NPC's - this is my first
game, and I had enough problems implementing the maze itself, and I
didn't want to get in over my head. I figured no NPC's was better than
a bunch of crappy ones). Then I read, er, somewhere (can't remember
exactly) that death traps for no reason tend to piss people off. So I
took them out. Left with a bunch of empty rooms, I decided to go with
a smaller cube rather than adding more puzzly stuff, in consideration
of the two-hour time limit.

2. The scents were arbitrary. I tried to have an equal number of good
and bad scents, just to satisfy my own sense of balance, but there is
no meaning behind any of the scents.

Please keep the constructive criticism coming. I am working on a new
release, this time written in Inform 7, which will hopefully clear up
all the problems I find out about. You'll know when it's ready,
because I'll be posting here looking for beta-testers. A LOT of
beta-testers. :)

d...@pobox.com

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Nov 17, 2006, 11:11:16 AM11/17/06
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I really liked Labyrinth, it was just the sort of thing that I like to
see the competition produce. I think I placed it second or third (I
find myself not having complete notes on what scores I gave).

It's really hard by the way (I have a degree in maths so I would hope I
have a suitable background too!). Way to hard to be scoring highly in
the comp, but I didn't mind and pleasing all juges was clearly not what
you had in mind. Part of the reason that I found it hard was that I
was overthinking it. There are a large number of possible
transformations (there's no reason to exclude non-realisable ones for
example) that the two magic words could have and it's quite a lot of
work to check that they do have the effect that one naively thinks (at
least for the first magic word). Similarly with the arrangement of
coloured walls. Basically what's _actually_ going on is a lot simpler
than what _could_ be going on.

I had to write a program (albeit a small one, in Unix shell) to help me
solve the cipher. That's an example of being very hard. I could've
solved the cipher using pen and paper alone but not in the time-limit.

I really liked the smells, partly because it just seemed obvious that
whatever effect the magic words would have they wouldn't be swapping
smells around so they were a sound basis for mapping, but also partly
because I think smell is an underimplemented sense in text adventures.
It was neat the way that they were used to occasionally reinforce the
PC's character: "The room smells rather strongly of wet dog. You
reaffirm your decision never to acquire a pet.". I'm a little bit
disappointed to hear you say that the smells are arbitrary.

"drawing a map would be helpful" is, it occurred to me about 30 minutes
in, the most hilarious piece of advice I've ever read in the ABOUT
text.

The interpreter problems were unfortunate, but at least I didn't have
to spend several days compiling (and fixing) a new interpreter to play
Labyrinth.

Sign me up for beta-testing for sure.

drj

Sami

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Nov 17, 2006, 11:50:32 AM11/17/06
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d...@pobox.com wrote:
> I really liked Labyrinth, it was just the sort of thing that I like to
> see the competition produce. I think I placed it second or third (I
> find myself not having complete notes on what scores I gave).

Thank you!

> There are a large number of possible
> transformations (there's no reason to exclude non-realisable ones for
> example) that the two magic words could have and it's quite a lot of
> work to check that they do have the effect that one naively thinks (at
> least for the first magic word). Similarly with the arrangement of
> coloured walls. Basically what's _actually_ going on is a lot simpler
> than what _could_ be going on.

It seems like some people thought the individual rooms were rotating.
Also, not everyone realized that the whole arrangement was a 2x2x2
cube. The cube rotates as a whole. (spoilers about exactly how the
rotations work follow)
.
.
.
.
.

.
.
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.
"Tertius" rotates it by 120 degrees around the axis from the upper SW
corner to the lower NE corner. "Quartus" rotates it by 90 degrees
around a vertical axis (this is why you don't fly into a wall for that
one). Those two transformations are generators of the group of
symmetries of the cube (meaning, you can get to any of the 24 possible
cube orientations using just those two transformations).

> I had to write a program (albeit a small one, in Unix shell) to help me
> solve the cipher. That's an example of being very hard. I could've
> solved the cipher using pen and paper alone but not in the time-limit.

I was thinking about removing the cipher from the post-comp release and
replacing it with, I don't know, maybe a riddle or something. The
cipher seemed to bother a lot of people who otherwise liked the game.
(One person even said he felt "betrayed" by it.) Would it bother you
to see it go? You and QF are the only two who didn't say anything
negative about it.

> Sign me up for beta-testing for sure.

Will do! It probably won't be ready for 2-4 weeks though.

By the way, did you figure out how to get full points?


- Sami

d...@pobox.com

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Nov 17, 2006, 12:01:31 PM11/17/06
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On Nov 17, 4:50 pm, "Sami" <hbaf...@yahoo.com> wrote:


> d...@pobox.com wrote:
> (spoilers about exactly how the
> rotations work follow)

Yes I'd worked all that out, I was just being very careful in working
it out. I'm so glad you chose a fairly simple element as your second
basis.


>
> > I had to write a program (albeit a small one, in Unix shell) to help me
> > solve the cipher. That's an example of being very hard. I could've
> > solved the cipher using pen and paper alone but not in the time-limit.
> I was thinking about removing the cipher from the post-comp release and
> replacing it with, I don't know, maybe a riddle or something. The
> cipher seemed to bother a lot of people who otherwise liked the game.
> (One person even said he felt "betrayed" by it.) Would it bother you
> to see it go? You and QF are the only two who didn't say anything
> negative about it.

Not sure what I'd think about seeing it go. My initial reaction on
seeing it was a bit of a groan, but in the end it was a bit more
satisfying to solve than I thought it would be.

>
> > Sign me up for beta-testing for sure.
> Will do! It probably won't be ready for 2-4 weeks though.
>
> By the way, did you figure out how to get full points?

Nope, haven't even got to the end yet. More on that later.

drj

dgen...@hotmail.com

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Nov 17, 2006, 1:12:02 PM11/17/06
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Yeah, I really liked this game as well, and would be happy to play test
a similar version. I knew that the game would get a wide distribution
of scores. The games strengths are genuine strengths, and its
weaknesses are genuine weaknesses, which means that the scores will be
distributed based on individual judges opinions about what criterion to
use in judging.

What I liked about it was the completely novel puzzle it presented,
which must have taken some effort to implement. I have a strong
spacial sense, so once I figured out how to map the darn thing, I was
able to navigate it very easily. The colors of the walls really DO
matter, and I'm glad you didn't try to make it any more difficult than
it already is.

I got all the points. I solved the cryptogram (with a little help from
code breaking tools at Simon Singh's website www.simonsingh.net), but I
needed an additional hint to figure out what to do with it once I
solved it. I forget if I used I hint to score the extra bonus point.
I think I discovered that on my own.

I forget what score I gave this game. I scored it pretty high, knowing
that it didn't really have a chance to win the competition.

Dave

Michael Martin

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Nov 17, 2006, 4:44:31 PM11/17/06
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Sami wrote:
>(spoilers about exactly how the
> rotations work follow)

And I comment on them, so similar spoiler warnings.

>
>
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>
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>

This was the bit I was generically squeeing about in my reviews.
Something I particularly liked was the fact that I shifted my mapmaking
twice:

- I started with a normal map, which served me well for, uh, two rooms.
- After Tertius, I made three maps and maintained them in parallel
depending on my "Current State". The rotation looked complicated and I
never bothered deducing exactly what it was, just that T^3 was I.
- After Quartus, I had complete control, and so redrew my maps in terms
of colors instead of directions..

Navigation difficulty thus ended up increasing slowly as I progressed,
despite the fact that the map was the same.

-Michael

lsatte...@gmail.com

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Nov 17, 2006, 8:28:11 PM11/17/06
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Loved this game! Loved it! Love it!

Can't help it; I'm a puzzle addict and I find it so rare to find such
logical and challenging puzzles in an IF game. I can't wait to see
more of your work!

I'm a cipher-aholic, so I actually found the cipher exactly at my level
and was able to solve it without too much time. I found the spatial
aspect of the puzzle just simple enough to be intriguing, even though
I'm usually not fond of spatial puzzles. The colors really made the
cube easy to deduce and made the entire thing rather straight-forward
to navigate once you got the hang of it.

My absolute favorite part was the logic puzzle, though. The logic
puzzle was elegantly written. In fact, the only thing that gave me
trouble was realizing to go to the GREEN room to search the wall. I
kept trying to go the room that was the direct reflection inside the
cube.

I'd happily help beta-test any of your future games. Can't wait to see
what you come up with next!

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