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Annual IF Comp 2018

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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby ralphmerridew » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:08 pm

Would you have been using ADRIFT 4 or 5?

(You've said you don't like 5 and I think 4 still works fine with Gargoyle.)
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:50 pm

David Whyld wrote:There's nothing worse than trying your best with a game, only for people to run into problems with the system you wrote it in that are totally out of your control. I hate to say it, but right now ADRIFT is the worst system to write an IFComp game with.


Eh, only if you want to win.

No seriously folks: I want to strongly dispute Mr. Whyld's assessment of feeling like one is standing on the deck of the Titanic. For all the problems I've run into getting this game off the ground, Ifcomp has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I hope MORE people from the Adrift community consider participating next year. It's an honor to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with so many other good games, and to have so many bloggers I respect poking holes in my stuff. :haha:

like Adrift...a lot. It is a shame that certain aspects of it have been neglected, but the problem is fixable. For me, it has to be.

Currently I am more than halfway through two very large projects, both of which would not make sense to re-do under some other system. I think either one would qualify as among the largest games made in ADRIFT. I am, shall we say, pretty invested in Adrift's future. I will probably enter one or both in Ifcomp next year.

Hopefully they'll be playable online at some point.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:54 pm

Herr M. wrote:And just as a hint: If you want some feedback, why not simply ask for it? As you might have noticed there are several people who try to tackle as many games as possible and share their thoughts. And I am only speaking for myself, but whenever someone asks me for my opinion, some feedback and suggestions for improvements I gladly give it to them. It is even a lot more interesting to play a game when someone asked me to do so.


Oh, I should respond to this one.
Thanks for stopping by Herr M.

It feels a bit weird asking for feedback on the general forum, or from bloggers directly...especially since it's not a trivial thing to play these Adrift games, and because I deliberately set out to make a game that makes players feel uncomfortable. (This review nailed what I was going for: "There’s a sense of foreboding and paranoia; your mistrust is often justified, and there’s an overwhelming sense of doom. You constantly need to know things that you don’t know. You are often forbidden to do things because of psychological conditioning." )

All in all, I was hoping to treat the general IFCOMP forums as an experiment and just watch reactions. Perhaps that wasn't a good idea.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Denk » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:14 pm

dfabulich wrote:Hi! I've come here trying to improve the state of affairs for IFComp's ADRIFT documentation.

It's not well known, but the IFComp website documentation is available online on Github. https://github.com/iftechfoundation/ifc ... formats.tt

This makes it very easy for anybody to suggest edits, using pull requests. So I did! I skimmed through this thread and came up with this pull request. https://github.com/iftechfoundation/ifcomp/pull/155 Comments there are welcome.

The differences are listed here: https://github.com/iftechfoundation/ifc ... d112b95315

- Mention .taf file extension
- Link directly to the runner
- Mention the non-functional Linux build
- Link to Fabularium


If y'all have any additional feedback, please go to Github and reply to the pull request thread.
Thanks for doing that :bravo: . Now we know where to go if we are not happy with the instructions on the IFcomp webpage.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:23 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:Would you have been using ADRIFT 4 or 5?

(You've said you don't like 5 and I think 4 still works fine with Gargoyle.)


It was a v4 game, but I planned to convert it to v5 to take advantage of the online play. Considering the ongoing saga of problems with the WebRunner, that would probably have been a bad idea.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Denk » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:33 pm

The0didactus wrote:I want to strongly dispute Mr. Whyld's assessment of feeling like one is standing on the deck of the Titanic. For all the problems I've run into getting this game off the ground, Ifcomp has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I hope MORE people from the Adrift community consider participating next year.
I feel exactly the same.

Though ADRIFT has its problems, I have already received feedback which makes it worthwhile. Last year was the first year in many years with ADRIFT entries in IFcomp. Thus to some extent, people are still learning how to run ADRIFT games. Of course, we should try to make it as easy as possible for the players and hopefully compatibility will increase in the future. Fabularium is to some extent based on Gargoyle, so hopefully, the ADRIFT 5 interpreter in Fabularium can be converted to Gargoyle, making the games playable on Mac too. I'm optimistic.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby ralphmerridew » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:18 pm

David Whyld wrote:
ralphmerridew wrote:Would you have been using ADRIFT 4 or 5?

(You've said you don't like 5 and I think 4 still works fine with Gargoyle.)


It was a v4 game, but I planned to convert it to v5 to take advantage of the online play. Considering the ongoing saga of problems with the WebRunner, that would probably have been a bad idea.


My understanding has been that if you want something to run under the v5 runner, you should write it with v5; the v4->v5 conversion has never been very good.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:07 am

That's true, but the alternative was to write the entire thing in v5 and from past experience I know that's not for me. I don't have the patience and things I find very quick and straightforward in v4 seem needlessly complicated in v5. So my plan was to write it in v4, convert it to v5, test it there and hope I could fix whatever issues there were then enter my game into the comp. As I never got around to finishing my game, it was a moot point anyway.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby P/o Prune » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:01 am

As we’re getting close to the deadline for evaluating the submitted games in the Annual IFComp 2018 I can’t help but wonder how “fair” this competition really is.

No, I’m not ranting or being grumpy. :wink: This is just something I’ve been thinking about as I watched the competition unfold and I thought it would be interesting to find out what other people think.

The Annual IFComp has grown bigger and bigger over the years and there’s no doubt that the organizers is doing a tremendous job in setting everything up and getting things to run as smoothly as possible.
Not to mention the judges who take time to play through as many games as possible in order to evaluate.

But when it comes to evaluating the games I feel that there’s great room for improvement.
Personally I would like to see a standard evaluating form so all games evaluated will be judged by the same standards and not like it is now where the judges gives points according to their own (some use from 0 – 5, others from 0-10)
A scoring sheet of some kind would be great. Just a few columns where the judges could score between certain numbers and then perhaps an “Overall impression” box where s/he could write any comments.

Also, what about games that are “never” even played? With 77 games in this years comp. there are games that are never even touched or at best only played a very few times.

So, what are your thoughts?
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:05 pm

I'm one of those "new critics" that doesn't like when authors comment on criticism or the criticism process. Also I set out to make a game that would be full of what I guess I'd call "antifun", so I was expecting negative reviews...but not the sort that I ultimately got...since you brought it up, I can list a few things that stood out to me...

* For some reason the way I presented my game gave off serious "BAD FAITH" vibes to a few players. They basically started playing with the assumption that the designer was a complete turd. Starkly, one reviewer was utterly convinced that most elements of the game were set at random and that the game was therefore unfair and unbeatable. He was not completely alone. I have no idea how he arrived at that conclusion, and it was a bit jarring because the entire point of the game is finding the (large, prominent, not-exactly-sparse) elements of stability that run through the game...the signal in the noise if you will. I was very conscious of this in playtesting, and it looks like every playtester was able to quickly assess what was going on...not this guy and one or two others.

* The most troubling aspect of that, to me, is that they arrived at that conclusion due to (what looks like) things I assumed were somewhat out of my control. Two reviews drew attention to the fact that my "walkthrough" was not a real "walkthrough" but rather a list of hints, prominently labeled as such. (and I know they were well designed because of email feedback that it 'nudged' people along in exactly the right direction). The sparseness of this hintfile seems to have seriously pissed them off and lead them to believe the game was much smaller than it was. So I should have called it something else? The comp does not allow you to call the file uploaded with your game anything but a "walkthrough"...which I did not want to post. If this is a slight or something, they should change that.

* Similarly, a lot of people seemed seriously put off by the "warnings" I added to my game in the contest's provided "warnings" field. This warning list reads in its entirety: "violence, foul language, extensive ruminations on death and free will. Numerous controversial mechanics: randomized combat, arbitrary death, players are encouraged not to savescum or undo actions" and it seems to account for about 50% of the negative feedback I've gotten. I'll try not to get political, but this is exactly why I hate the obligation to provide "content warnings"...it invariably colors the whole experience. When people ask for this stuff,and communities say it's important, I feel obligated to take that request seriously...and so I said what was in my game, that people might find objectionable. The game has a lot of violence and foul language. Some of my earliest memories are playing IF with my father. I am conscious that many people play games with their kids. This is not a good game for that. A lot of people are triggered by suicidal ideation, depression, and long conversations about life being meaningless. An absolute ton of the IF community has strong reactions to "randomized combat" "arbitrary death" and being unable to Undo, but I felt that was so utterly important to the message I was trying to convey with this game. so I wanted to make it clear that if you don't like that...this game isn't for you. This warning was a mistake because it lead to a lot of reviews like: "[this] creates an impression rather like the kind of alternative comic that eighteen-year-old boys think is deeply profound. That kind of sums this up, actually: this has potential but I don’t know that I trust the author with that potential."

It seems to have also mislead a lot of people into thinking the game was supposed to be EDGY and DEEP and written by a guy who just watches V for Vendetta on repeat all day. You know, a turd.

Sufficed to say, I will not be submitting any content warnings on future games. It is possible that I simply don't know how to wordsmith a content warning, but this in itself is not the greatest thing for accessibility.




Other than that I've had a beautiful experience with IFCOMP, and Have received a lot of positive feedback. Reviews like this one suggest the game is having its desired effect and is still true to the idea as it occured in my head a very long time ago...but i am discouraged that a lot of the negative blowback seems to have been from presentation aspects I misused in subtle ways I do not really appreciate.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Denk » Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:09 pm

P/o Prune wrote:Also, what about games that are “never” even played? With 77 games in this years comp. there are games that are never even touched or at best only played a very few times.
I think the competition is quite fair, everything considered. It is based on the mean value of ratings, thus games who only a few people play can still get a high average rating.

Having said that, there might be a problem with games with very few ratings. Last year the IFcomp organizer tweeted, that they needed more ratings for a handful of games. I got the impression that at least 10 ratings are required to "qualify".

I don't' know what would have happened if a game did not receive at least 10 ratings. Would it be disqualified? If so, I don't think that's fair - 10 is not some magical number which guarantees a representative mean. But I appreciate that the organizers try to get more ratings for those games. Sure, there has to be a limit but I would personally set it as low as 5, trying to include as many games as possible.

Last year the two ADRIFT games got 21 ratings each, so that was sufficient, so hopefully, there will not be a problem.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:12 pm

I think the judging is as fair as it can be in a comp like this, or at least if it’s unfair it isn't obviously so. As for imposing guidelines like a standard evaluating form, I’d be against anything that might discourage people from voting. Right now, the voting system is very simple and straightforward – just a 1 to 10 score for each game – and it’s worked fine for years. Start telling people how they can and can’t vote and the most likely reaction is that they won’t vote at all.

Also, people tend to vote for games differently. Some will down-vote a game because it has typos or grammatical errors in it; others won’t. Some will down-vote if they found bugs; others won’t. Some will down-vote if they found the game too hard; others won’t. (Heck, some will likely down-vote if they found the game too easy.) There's no way of ensuring everyone votes the same way.

At the end of the day, ADRIFT games are likely to get less votes than games written with other systems because of issues with the system itself which we've already discussed: the WebRunner not working (still!), the confusing layout of the main site, ADRIFT being Windows-only so anyone on a Mac or Linux can’t even play the games unless they download an app most people probably aren’t aware of. Add to that the sheer number of games in the comp combined with the short voting time – 77 games in about six weeks, almost two games a day – and it’s unlikely people will persevere with games that cause problems, especially if they're ADRIFT games and ADRIFT hasn’t had the best reputation over the years. Quite a few reviews I've read of the ADRIFT games have mentioned the usual issues with ADRIFT’s parser in the past, which means the reviewers are likely approaching the games expecting them to be bad.

Unfortunately, there's not a whole we can do about any of the above. Campbell’s the only one who can fix the issues and he seems to be absent again – seriously, is he ever not absent these days?
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:20 pm

The0didactus wrote:* Similarly, a lot of people seemed seriously put off by the "warnings" I added to my game in the contest's provided "warnings" field. This warning list reads in its entirety: "violence, foul language, extensive ruminations on death and free will. Numerous controversial mechanics: randomized combat, arbitrary death, players are encouraged not to savescum or undo actions"


I’ll be honest: if I’d seen that warning before playing a game, I’d be seriously discouraged from playing it. I don’t have an issue with violence or foul language in games – though if kids can potentially play them, it’s a good idea to provide a warning – but “extensive ruminations on death and free will” sounds pretentious. I also intensely dislike randomised combat or arbitrary death. And what is ‘savescum’? I can hazard a guess it’s your opinion that anyone who saves their game often is ‘scum’, and if I'm right that’s pretty off-putting. Most authors don’t make a point of insulting their players in the warnings section of their game.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:29 pm

David Whyld wrote:
The0didactus wrote:* Similarly, a lot of people seemed seriously put off by the "warnings" I added to my game in the contest's provided "warnings" field. This warning list reads in its entirety: "violence, foul language, extensive ruminations on death and free will. Numerous controversial mechanics: randomized combat, arbitrary death, players are encouraged not to savescum or undo actions"


I’ll be honest: if I’d seen that warning before playing a game, I’d be seriously discouraged from playing it. I don’t have an issue with violence or foul language in games – though if kids can potentially play them, it’s a good idea to provide a warning – but “extensive ruminations on death and free will” sounds pretentious. I also intensely dislike randomised combat or arbitrary death. And what is ‘savescum’? I can hazard a guess it’s your opinion that anyone who saves their game often is ‘scum’, and if I'm right that’s pretty off-putting. Most authors don’t make a point of insulting their players in the warnings section of their game.



Well that's...unfortunate, because that is not what I mean to convey at all.

savescum is a term of art in some games especially roguelikes. It means basically "defeat a randomized combat system by just reloading over and over again until the random number generator gives you what you want."

I suppose this is another instance where my love of roguelikes betrayed me
Oh well.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby P/o Prune » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:29 am

@David:

I have “talked” to Campbell and with his “blessing” I’m now in the process of trying to find someone who can spiff up the Adrift Main site and get things rolling.
We will probably have to fight the bad reputation of Adrift for a long time still, but at least with a appealing (not appalling  ) main site things will get moving in the right direction.
I’m not sure I can do anything about the web runner. I’m an aircraft engineer not a software buff 
But I’m willing to go a long way to get things going around here again.
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