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Are We Too Positive?

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Are We Too Positive?

Postby David Whyld » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:23 am

A recent thread on the IF Fiction forum raised what I thought was an interesting point: that the ADRIFT community as a whole generally sings the praises of new ADRIFT games while quietly overlooking any flaws in them. This is done to a) give the impression that said games are actually better than they really are and b) not to discourage people from writing games.

Do you think this is a fair point? Do we say positive things about ADRIFT games solely because they're ADRIFT games? (For example, if the same game was written with TADS or Inform, would we say such nice things about it?) Do we deliberately miss out negative aspects from any reviews we write of ADRIFT games because we don't want people outside the community to see how flawed some of the games are? Or because we don't want to discourage people from writing games?
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:24 pm

I have followed the thread in the IF Fiction with interest.
Personally I don’t think that drifters tend to “sweeten” the reviews. Why it could seem like this is the case could be that fellow “Drifters” know and have learned to live with the “limits” of the Adrift generator and are therefore more forgiving. I think that was one of your comments too, if I’m not mistaken.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby Lazzah » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:30 pm

Speaking as a programmer, I would expect and welcome anyone reviewing (or playtesting) one of my ADRIFT games to point out the bad things about it as well as (hopefully) the good things. It is only by acting on the criticisms that one can improve one's games.

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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:59 pm

P.S. Where can I see this forum?


Here: http://www.intfiction.org/forum/index.php

I guess that goes for all (most) of us.
But the question was whether you believe it to be true when people claim that rewievs done by fellow Drifteres are "sweetened" and that "we" tend to overlook the flaws to promote Adrift games.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby Campbell » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:20 pm

I've put a link to this on the main forum and requested a reciprocal link back from intfiction.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby ralphmerridew » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:44 pm

A link to http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewtop ... =23&t=2974 (page 5 and on) would be more helpful.

Some of it can be related to the fact that people experienced with other IF languages have higher expectations; they know what's possible, and that affects their views. Drifters, not realizing exactly what's possible, may simply not notice those problems.

(For example, imagine a player finds a quarter and takes it with "TAKE COIN". S/he later encounters a vending machine and tries "PUT COIN IN MACHINE", and gets a response of "That doesn't fit in the slot." A person used to Tier 1 systems would expect "PUT COIN IN MACHINE" to be equivalent to "PUT QUARTER IN MACHINE", and so wouldn't try the latter after that failure. A person used to ADRIFT 4 might not have such an expectation, and being used to having to enter multiple syntaxes, might try it.)
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby Duncan_B » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:19 pm

*sigh* I just wrote a big, long post spelling out what I meant by my original comment to Juhana, and just lost it. So let me try this again, a little shorter.

ralphmerridew, our constant gadfly, is right as usual, but I would also like to add that it doesn't just have to do with not realizing what's possible. There's essentially a literacy issue at work here. Those comfortable reading in ADRIFT may not even run into the frustrations that others will undoubtedly encounter with more frequency. As said, different expectations.

[rant]As to my comment to Juhana, I was griping about a few things. The idea that ADRIFT just rewards completion sort of came and wrapped up these complaints. One was the lack of players and reviewers in the community, such that any schmuck who gives himself a 5 star review goes unchallenged. This makes us look bad.

In its original context, I confess, the comment was also a jealous one. I couldn't (and still can't) see how Po. Prune's works have consistently ranked above those of Tiberius Thingamus. Was Camelot really better than Pirate's Plunder! (I'm not shouting, that's just part of the title)? Imagine my surprise when Ghost Town took Game of the Year over Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort, despite the former being still broken, full of GTV, and grammatical errors? How does that warrant a review like "An epic adventure featuring a captivating story and some wonderful use of art. If you’re looking for a long, engaging Adrift experience, it’d be harder to find a better place to start than this."?

I do think we have handed out some "A's for effort." Remember when "The Foggy Banana Adventure" was on the popular adventures list? Why is "The Angel, the Devil, and the Human" still up there? Haven't we made anything better since 2007? I've moaned before about how we need to justify what makes adventures popular so outsiders (and, indeed, insiders) know why certain works are up there.

At any rate, it seems a bit pointless to me to go on debating the issue since the members of our community who gave the reviews I was complaining about don't seem to be around anymore. If they are, I have neither seen them on the Forum, nor heard from them in the form of PMs. Also, it hardly seems fair for Mr. Whyld to involve himself in the discussion of whether or not "we," the ADRIFT community, are too rosy or not when his own participation in that community over the past years has been the exception rather than the rule.

My apologies if I sound like a giant door handle right about now, but this is what I think.[/rant]
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby David Whyld » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:58 pm

Admittedly, I have been more of a spectator than actual participator over the last few years, but I did write reviews of the Summer Comp games last year which probably means I've written more reviews of ADRIFT games in the last 12 months than pretty much anyone else here.

And I'm also entering the IFComp this year with an ADRIFT game. Does that qualify me to count myself as part of the ADRIFT community? :)
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:12 pm

I believe that Duncan hadn't had his morning coffee when he wrote the above... :wink:
In my opinion everyone who register with Adrift has the right to bring up a topic as long as it fits the rules of the forum.
I must say that this topic you brought up David, has been one of the most relevant and interesting topics in a long time and as I see it, you speak from your long experience of working with and being around the Adrift Community. So it's not a matter how active you are or have been.

I see that there are people online right now... It would have been interesting to have this discussion in a "chat forum" (Hint, hint Campbell :wink: )
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby Duncan_B » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:00 pm

I believe that Duncan hadn't had his morning coffee when he wrote the above... :wink:

I don't drink coffee, but I was awakened early by a rather incessant jackhammer outside my apartment this morning. So.

And I'm also entering the IFComp this year with an ADRIFT game.

I'll believe it when I see it.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby David Whyld » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:18 pm

Me too. I mean, it's not like I've ever entered the IFComp before, is it?
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby rotter » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:46 pm

I have to admit for once I'm agreeing with that other bunch. You know the "coders". I haven't play much IF recently let alone any ADRIFT stuff. So, I pick a game from the last couple of years to have a look at and what do I get? Rubbish, that is what. I shouldn't pick on a particular game but I'm going to. I thought we had left games like Escape From Camelot behind us years ago. It really shows that not only do we not have many players here, but authors can't even be bothered to play their own games! It is not the only one as well, I've played others recently from the last couple of years and it is very depressing. Yes, before you attack me, some good stuff is being created. Well done you. But the cr*p in Adventures should be booed out of existence. As it is not shows that no-one is playing.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby Duncan_B » Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:11 am

the cr*p in Adventures should be booed out of existence

In this light, is it potentially problematic that the default sorting order is chronological?

Also thought I'd point out, the "we" in the question of whether or not "we" are past works like Escape from Camelot is unduly damning, since the work came from an obviously inexperienced outsider rather than an established member of the community.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby KFAdrift » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:29 am

I think there is a difference because, within our small community, each game - whatever the quality - is highly visible because there is little competition. If it is a poor game perhaps we are less judgemental because it is one of ours and all had to begin somewhere. In a larger community there is probably more focus on the better games because there is real competition and players have more choice to ignore what comes out.

The Adrift community does have the problem of trying to grow writing and playing communities and it is sad when an author writes their first my home adventure and gets torn to shreds never to be seen again. The problem is that trying to be constructive rather then destructive can look like the author is being let off lightly.
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Re: Are We Too Positive?

Postby rotter » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:06 am

For my part I am not flaming a new game it is one from a while ago. I would never want to discourage new talent, if a little raw. But, if you publish a game and someone plays it and doesn't like it - well learn to be thick skinned. They are entitled to comment so new authors beware. I speak from some experience on this matter. Way back in the mists of time I released a game far far far (far far far) too early. It was a dear little treasure hunt called Where are my keys?, my second game. It is fair to say to say that I recieved a right bashing on the forum for it. See what use to happen - And the moral of the story is? As you can see it left such an impression on me I kept a copy! But it does mean that people did play it.

So, we really need to be giving good honest comments for the best games in the archive and write damning reviews the chaff. And that means we need to play them. If you write in ADRIFT you should play ADRIFT.
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