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Annual IF Comp 2018

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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:24 pm

There's just over 1 week to play and judge the games in IFCOMP.

I thought I'd list my top five, having now played every game in the comp...though a few for only a couple short minutes. I might reproduce this post in a few other places



#5: Re: Dragon
So I'm in law school right now. This was a pitch-perfect marriage of three wonderful things: Legal absurdities, Interactive Fiction, and Hair-splitting literary criticism. Several laugh-out-loud moments, and a very clever interface.

#4: Alias 'The Magpie'
I am nowhere close to finishing this game, but I will be playing it quite a bit more when I have free time. It reminds me of Jeeves and Wooster, which I loved growing up.

#3: Bascilica De Sangre
Major points for creativity, in spite of some sparse and eccentric writing. I've tried to make games contingent on this sort of "body-swapping"mechanic before, and it's challenging. A lot of work went into making the interactions between the characters entertaining to explore

#2: Flowers of Mysteria
I am an easy critic because I'm a huge sucker for nostalgia. It's easy to appeal to me by making a game that looks and feels like a mid-80s text adventure game. This might be the closest thing I've seen to a perfect recapture of the old ways.

#1: The master of the land
This is one of those games that's so good, I'm kinda upset I didn't think of it. Very hard to describe/summarize, but exactly the sort of thing that fulfills the promise of interactive fiction: there's a whole world going on around us, and the most difficult decision is simply trying to figure out which parts of it to see...just like real life.

I have played the other two adrift entries, Anno 1700 and the Stone of Wisdom. I might post longer reviews later...but I want to make serious attempts to finish both games. I am pleased to see that entries this year were (I think) longer than other years, and that the adrift entries this year were some of the longer ones in the com. I don't like distraction. I like immersion. I like games that make me feel like I'm living somewhere else for hours and hours...also, I like projects people have clearly spent a ton of time on.

Nice work everyone! :welldone:
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:59 pm

P/o Prune wrote:@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.


That's kind of positive news, I guess. On the down side, though, if Campbell is handing over design of the website to someone else, does this mean he really is finished with ADRIFT?
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby P/o Prune » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:19 am

David Whyld wrote:
P/o Prune wrote:@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.


That's kind of positive news, I guess. On the down side, though, if Campbell is handing over design of the website to someone else, does this mean he really is finished with ADRIFT?

That's not the impression I got when I talked to him on messenger.
My problem is that I need to work out the mechanisms behind the website and then go on from there…
I have a few people in mind here in Denmark that might be able to help me, though.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby dfabulich » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:24 am

P/o Prune wrote:@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.


I would like to suggest a small change to be done right away: remove the link to the Mono build on the downloads page. It doesn't work right now, and so it will only lead Linux/Mac players into despair.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby dfabulich » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:13 am

The0didactus wrote:I set out to make a game that would be full of what I guess I'd call "antifun"


I'm one of the critics (though, as you say, not the only one) that reacted negatively to your game's description. "antifun" did come across in your description. But I don't think your game is actually designed not to be fun. Herr M. had fun, and that seems to be what you intended.

They basically started playing with the assumption that the designer was a complete turd.


For my part, I never thought you were a "turd," and still don't. At the end of my last post on intfiction, I suggested concrete constructive changes you could make (still can make!) to your game's description and walkthrough to make it more appealing. I hope you adopt at least some of my suggestions. I don't offer constructive criticisms to "turds."

Instead, I think you're starting with an assumption that players should normally engage with IFComp games assuming that the designers probably know what they're doing, and withdraw our good faith in the author only if we think the author is especially bad (a turd). In a competition with 77 games, that's not how we engage with it. Most of the designers are still figuring out their craft. I wouldn't say that most designers are "turds," but they don't deserve hours of my time, and if their game's description implies "this designer doesn't know what he's doing," then I'll assume that.

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


But that's exactly what you wrote in the description! You wrote that the game has "arbitrary death" and that it "is very unfair. Such is life." If you honestly have no idea how I reached that conclusion, and indeed how more than one person reached that conclusion, then you're not listening to what we're telling you.

I've played my fair share of NetHack in my day. NetHack has randomized combat, but it doesn't have "arbitrary death." It is not "very unfair." The language you used doesn't mean, "this game is roguelike," it means "this game is unfair, a bad roguelike."

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


That's a good hint! Write that down in the walkthrough, instead of what you actually wrote, which is to "Wander aimlessly. Revel in uncertainty."

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


The sparseness of the hintfile was, and still is, under your control. One of my strongest pieces of advice is to make your hintfile bigger, to include way more hints. You can still do this; you can do it right now.

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


You've taken the wrong lesson. The right lesson is that you haven't figured out how to wordsmith a content warning; you haven't learned how to write well about your game.

Here, allow me to suggest a rewrite of your content warning, like so:

Content warning: Violence, foul language. This game is a roguelike (a "procedural death labyrinth"). It is heavily randomized, including randomized combat. The randomizer is harsh, but fair. You'll learn more about the game each time you die, allowing you to develop sophisticated tactics to survive and win.


Your content warning says, "you'll hate this game." Mine says, "if you like roguelikes, you'll love this game."
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:08 am

dfabulich wrote:I would like to suggest a small change to be done right away: remove the link to the Mono build on the downloads page. It doesn't work right now, and so it will only lead Linux/Mac players into despair.


I'll add another: reduce the number of downloads as much as possible. v4 and v5 are the only versions of ADRIFT people are likely to use these days (v2 and v3.9 are ancient and no one is writing games with them), so just have two downloads. All the v4 files in one download and all the v5 files in another.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby P/o Prune » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:29 am

David Whyld wrote:
dfabulich wrote:I would like to suggest a small change to be done right away: remove the link to the Mono build on the downloads page. It doesn't work right now, and so it will only lead Linux/Mac players into despair.


I'll add another: reduce the number of downloads as much as possible. v4 and v5 are the only versions of ADRIFT people are likely to use these days (v2 and v3.9 are ancient and no one is writing games with them), so just have two downloads. All the v4 files in one download and all the v5 files in another.

That's not a bad idea...
Are anybody playing 3.9 (or earlier) games anymore, anyway? (Apart from the AIF games that are out there.)
I'm thinking about the possibility of making a folder or something like that, called previous Adrift (still on the drawingboard) where earlier versions of Adrift will be stored.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Lazzah » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:37 pm

Point of order, Mr. Administrator PO Prune, Sah!

Shouldn't chat about the possible re-vamp of the website be conducted in the ADRIFT 5 forum???? :roll: :wink: :offtopic:

P.S. Absolutely fantastic that someone is doing something positive about the future of ADRIFT at last! :bravo:
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:44 pm

dfabulich wrote:
P/o Prune wrote:@David:

I would like to suggest a small change to be done right away: remove the link to the Mono build on the downloads page. It doesn't work right now, and so it will only lead Linux/Mac players into despair.


I second this. It has mislead quite a few brave and noble souls. And me. Also me. When I released my last game, one despondent fan wrote to tell me they had tried for more than 2 hours to get things running on their linux machine. I felt terrible.

Older versions should probably get a second page as well, but maybe lazzah's right that this needs it's own thread in voterspace? Unless Pune wants to institute a monarchy or a theocracy or something. Anything's possible.

I'm one of the critics (though, as you say, not the only one) that reacted negatively to your game's description. "antifun" did come across in your description. But I don't think your game is actually designed not to be fun. Herr M. had fun, and that seems to be what you intended.


Oh you definitely weren't the only one. And the Hintfile and warnings were clearly a problem, the difference between the feedback that mentions these, and does not is....stark. This is also not the first time I've had issues like this, so the constant variable in the equation is clearly me.

I definitely don't think it's a good idea to change major presentation aspects of a game halfway though a contest, so your suggestions,while appreciated, are probably going to have to be lessons moving forward for next year's entry (which is going to be pretty much the converse of this game in terms of kindness and mental quietude).
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby David Whyld » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:40 pm

P/o Prune wrote:That's not a bad idea...
Are anybody playing 3.9 (or earlier) games anymore, anyway? (Apart from the AIF games that are out there.)
I'm thinking about the possibility of making a folder or something like that, called previous Adrift (still on the drawingboard) where earlier versions of Adrift will be stored.


It's hard to know. If they are, no one is talking about it, and considering the v3.9 games are buried so far back in the list of games (page 22(!) is the first page I saw a v3.9 game on) it's quite likely no one's played any for years.

Which is a shame really as I remember a few good games from back then, but I doubt anyone is playing them now. Hopefully with a site revamp, it'll be easier to find the old games if people want to play them (though what kind of issues they'd run into if they played them with the v5 Runner, I hate to think).
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Denk » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:13 pm

So far there have been 12 IFcomp ADRIFT reviews this year. You can find the reviews through the following document:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12iblRqujPaYchZaH1Vyhwg3_HdFcxLpaUzQSofdBEps/edit#gid=0
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:54 pm

Couple-a-days left 'till the contest ends.
What were everyone's favorite games?
How do you think we did?
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby ralphmerridew » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:05 pm

Six Silver Bullets has a decent shot at the banana.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby The0didactus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:46 pm

ralphmerridew wrote:Six Silver Bullets has a decent shot at the banana.


I can think of no more fitting prize in the whole of creation, and I concur. Given the emails I've gotten it may join the fabled ranks of games like Leadlight and The Gostak

I was hoping to have finished both Anno 1700 and the Stone of Wisdom by now, so I could post lengthy reviews. However, real life intervened.
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Re: Annual IF Comp 2018

Postby Denk » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:22 pm

The0didactus wrote:What were everyone's favorite games?
I have far from played all games but there have been several good games. My top 5 favourites are (in no particular order):

Junior Arithmancer
The Temple of Shorgil
Tethered
Terminal Interface
Basilica de Sangre


The0didactus wrote:How do you think we did?
Based on the far too limited available data (2 public ratings for each game) the scores might be:

Anno 1700: 6
Six Silver Bullets: 6
Stone of Wisdom: 5,5

Resulting in 30th, 30th and 37th place respectively compared to last years result. I'm probably completely wrong but it is fun to guess.
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