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What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:43 pm
by P/o Prune
With the Annual IFComp 2018 over, I have been reflecting (over a glass of wine) about the games submitted. 77 entries this year, which I would say is quite a lot.
So I asked myself this question:
What would be the ideal game for a competition like the Annual IFComp? (Is there such a thing as an ideal game?)
I am thinking about genre, length, puzzles complexity etc.

Any thoughts?

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:57 pm
by The0didactus
I tend to think that attempts to "maximize" across dimensions tend to produce really poor work product in general. It tends to result in Frankenstein-ian monstrosities that have no soul, just the "best ideas" sutured together in an unworkable mess.

That being said, if one wanted to create a game that got a maximally good IFCOMP score, it would probably have to do all of the following in order of importance

1) Have no bugs: judges don't like bugs and it makes sense. If you can juggle 10 balls but always drop one,you can't really juggle 10 balls can you? The top-rated games that I played had no visible bugs that I could see.

2) Be lighthearted: It's true that this year boogieman swooped in and took #2 despite being a very spooky game,but I think people prefer lighthearted IF to big plodding serious concepts.

3) Be parser-based: while there was a very highly ranked pure choice game, most of the big reviewers seem to prefer parser to choice based games, and in generally I think parser games afford a much better opportunity to showcase virtuosity.

4) have at least some puzzles: similarly, the big reviewers seem to prefer "light puzzely"environments

5) be big: I'm happy to say there seems to be a preference for lots of content over very little. I was worried when I saw the big list of comp entries, at the beginning, that there would be a preference for tiny bite-sized games over large games...I heard that back in the day, judges tend to look very negatively on games that took more than 2 hours to beat, because they felt they couldn't fairly score the game. I personally DETEST small games. I like BIG EPIC STORIES...but fortunately, the Comp seems to prefer them as well. ALL the top games were ambitious, very large games that took a while to play through.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:43 pm
by P/o Prune
The0didactus wrote:5) be big: I'm happy to say there seems to be a preference for lots of content over very little. I was worried when I saw the big list of comp entries, at the beginning, that there would be a preference for tiny bite-sized games over large games...I heard that back in the day, judges tend to look very negatively on games that took more than 2 hours to beat, because they felt they couldn't fairly score the game. I personally DETEST small games. I like BIG EPIC STORIES...but fortunately, the Comp seems to prefer them as well. ALL the top games were ambitious, very large games that took a while to play through.

I'm quite surprised that people prefer large games. I'm one of them, by the way. When I, too rarely I'm afraid, play a game I want it to last. I don't mind having to spend an evening or more to play a good lengthy game. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but it's been like that since I first started playing IF back in the 80's
I will agree though, that I had a feeling that judges wouldn't be able to "fairly" judges a game lasting over two hours. If you have to mess around not feeling that you get anywhere you'd probably be more inclined to score low on a game that might have a lot of good potential.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:08 am
by ralphmerridew
One good, lengthy, game: great. Seventy of them over six weeks: not so great.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:34 pm
by David Whyld
I don’t think there's any key ingredient for guaranteeing you win the IFComp and I think a lot of the things that give you a good chance of doing well are pretty common sense anyway: no bugs, great storyline, great writing, accessibility, etc. A good blurb and a catchy cover image can help as well: unless the players are going to play every game in the comp, and in a comp as big as this one (77 games), it’s fairly certain they won’t, it’s good to have a cover image that catches the attention. Attract people to your game while they're still fresh and eager; don’t let them come across your game when they’ve just played through 50 other games in the last month and they're looking forward to being done with it.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:55 pm
by P/o Prune
I wasn't looking for a foolproof way of winning the IF Comp (although it would be nice :wink: )
I was merely wondering if there was anything that could be done to attract people to play the game. Especially when there's 77 other entries to compeet against.
Maybe it's just me, but I have a feeling that the fact that it's an Adrift game is already giving us a disadvantage to begin with (am I wrong?)
How would you attract people to your game? I mean, you get a slot in the competition and I assume it's up to the judges to choose which game they want to play.

I will start by, gently, kicking Campbell's butt. Trying to get him to clean up the Adrift Mainsite. Making it look more tidy and get the on-line runner up and working.
I'm still searching for someone to spice up the mainsite making it more appealing to visitors. Then we'll have to concentrate on the design of the site and work from there.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:17 pm
by David Whyld
You're definitely at an disadvantage if you're using ADRIFT due to the ongoing issues with the Webrunner. As little fondness as I have for online play, it's the big thing right now and ADRIFT seems to be the only one of the major IF systems that doesn't have working online play most of the time. That's a major disadvantage right there even before you take the dated website design into consideration and the fact that the only person who's ever worked on ADRIFT seems to have abandoned it. Any major bugs that crop up are never likely to be fixed; new features will never get added; changes to existing features are likewise never going to happen... unless Campbell decides to come back one day, which is looking less and less likely all the time. I suppose it's possible someone else come along and take over the running of ADRIFT - like happened with Quest - but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:40 am
by David Whyld
As for encouraging more people play your game, consider the presentation of it. Text adventures are generally bland, dull-looking things. Texts on a colourless background. They don't look eye-catching or exciting and there's nothing about them that really attracts the attention.

Graphics could help if you're artistically-minded, but I've never been able to draw worth a damn and so I’d be forced to either hire someone else to do it – at which point, it turns from being something I'm doing for a hobby to something I'm doing for a job – or find it freely available over the internet. Even then, I've never found ADRIFT’s handling of graphics to be up to much anyway. V5 might handle them better than v4, but I still don't it’s ever been great.

If graphics are a hard way to make your game look better, use text. Add some bold or italics, change font types and faces. A little effort can make a game look a whole lot more appealing.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:01 pm
by David Whyld
Seems a bit weird posting three messages in a row - like having a conversation with myself - but why the heck not?

Considering the popularity of CYOA games these days, one good way to get more people to play the ADRIFT ones might be to consider writing an ADRIFT CYOA game. You'd attract the CYOA crowd, which is always a good idea judging by how many of many them there are, and you'd neatly side-step the usual flaws which people keep highlighting with ADRIFT's parser. It's not completely an original idea as there have been plenty of CYOA games written with ADRIFT before (I've written a number myself).

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:43 pm
by P/o Prune
David Whyld wrote:Seems a bit weird posting three messages in a row - like having a conversation with myself - but why the heck not?

Well, at least you won't have anyone arguing with you. will you? :lol:

Anyways,
I've thought about the presentation of the game.
I remember releasing a game once where I had put the conversation in italics to make it stand out more.
I also remember someone "chewing" me out for doing so, claiming that it was confusing :| and disturbed the game.
Maybe I will try again… One thing I did learn … DO NOT use the command wait xxx command indiscreminitely … It's absolutely suicide :blush:
Oh, and trust me... V.5 isn't handling graphic very well either. I've had D-Day on the back burner, literally, for years now hoping that a certain person would modify the handling of graphics. But until I see better results I'm not going to release anything with a lot of graphics.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:19 am
by The0didactus
David Whyld wrote:Seems a bit weird posting three messages in a row - like having a conversation with myself - but why the heck not?

Considering the popularity of CYOA games these days, one good way to get more people to play the ADRIFT ones might be to consider writing an ADRIFT CYOA game. You'd attract the CYOA crowd, which is always a good idea judging by how many of many them there are, and you'd neatly side-step the usual flaws which people keep highlighting with ADRIFT's parser. It's not completely an original idea as there have been plenty of CYOA games written with ADRIFT before (I've written a number myself).


David, the game I'm working out now is a very, very, very large* CYOA written using adrift. There is a significant amount of state and a dialog system that works differently than a CYOA, but it's a CYOA nonetheless.

I'm planning to make it my entry into the comp next year. Hopefully it will inspire some new 'drifters.

* 170 KB and only half done!

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:25 am
by David Whyld
P/o Prune wrote:
David Whyld wrote:Seems a bit weird posting three messages in a row - like having a conversation with myself - but why the heck not?

Well, at least you won't have anyone arguing with you. will you? :lol:

Anyways,
I've thought about the presentation of the game.
I remember releasing a game once where I had put the conversation in italics to make it stand out more.
I also remember someone "chewing" me out for doing so, claiming that it was confusing :| and disturbed the game.
Maybe I will try again… One thing I did learn … DO NOT use the command wait xxx command indiscreminitely … It's absolutely suicide :blush:
Oh, and trust me... V.5 isn't handling graphic very well either. I've had D-Day on the back burner, literally, for years now hoping that a certain person would modify the handling of graphics. But until I see better results I'm not going to release anything with a lot of graphics.


It wasn't so much italics I had in mind, though they could work I guess, but more just making the text look better. Larger font sizes here and there, some bold and underline, can make things look a lot different. This illustrates what I mean:

ex 1.jpg
ex 1.jpg (124.8 KiB) Viewed 1171 times


ex 1.jpg
ex 1.jpg (124.8 KiB) Viewed 1171 times


Nothing very fancy and not much work either, but the second screenshot looks more pleasing to the eyes. Presentation is important, after all. A picture is worth a thousand words.

EDIT: I must have messed up the attachments because I seem to have two copies of shot 1 and I can't get rid of one without them both being deleted.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:26 am
by Lumin
P/o Prune wrote:Oh, and trust me... V.5 isn't handling graphic very well either. I've had D-Day on the back burner, literally, for years now hoping that a certain person would modify the handling of graphics. But until I see better results I'm not going to release anything with a lot of graphics.


I've been experimenting around trying to accomplish a semi 'stylish' look, and while the way graphics are handled is awful when you just add them from the tab, seems like you can use html within individual locations to control where it winds up.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:50 am
by Lumin
Image

I declare images to be working just fine, @P/o Prune you can go and make D-Day now.

And now that I've got a title screen set up I'm thinking I should actually make a few rooms for this game, if only to shake off a little of the rust.

Re: What would be the ideal game?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:51 pm
by P/o Prune
And my next question would be:
How in the H*** did you do that? :?