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IF / CYOA ?

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IF / CYOA ?

Postby P/o Prune » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:35 am

Now this should be interesting.
There has been quite a hubla over at the IntFiction.org whether or not CYOA games are actually to be considered IF: https://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewto ... 1&start=20

Apart from the fact that the poster totally goes off on the deep end and F's pretty much everybody I find his point of view interesting.
Should the IF Comp be divided into separate sections with all the hassle it brings, or is CYOA to be considered IF like any other parser game?
And what about point and click IF?
Should the whole IF concept be revised, perhaps?

Personally I prefer the old parser, but then again, I'm old school way back from the 80's :wink:
I've never really thought of CYOA as genuine IF.
I did consider the (very) early Sierra On-line games (Space Quest etc.) IF, since you had to write your commands in order to get the character to perform some kind of action.
So what is IF nowadays?
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby David Whyld » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:13 am

I was following that discussion and yes, it’s quite interesting. Shame the guy started off with the F bombs and insults and got shouted down for it because he had a valid point.

I'm a fan of CYOA games but at the same time I don't consider them to be ‘proper IF’. If it hasn’t got a parser, it’s not IF. I've heard all the arguments for and against and I still don't consider them to be IF in the traditional sense. Browsing through some of the IFComp entries, it’s pretty depressing that a competition which started off aimed at parser games now has more CYOA than parser games (I think someone said 8 of the top 10 were CYOA games), and this is the viewpoint of someone who actually likes them. God knows what the crowd who hate them think.

I seem to recall suggesting years ago on Int.Fiction that parser and CYOA games should be put in their own comp but no one seemed much in favour of the idea, which is odd because there's not much in common between your average parser game and your average CYOA game. Sure, they're both a case of reading words off a screen, but how you interact with those words is different in each. At the very least, having the games in separate comps or separate divisions of the same comp – Best Parser Game or Best CYOA Game – would make it easier separating out the games you want to play from the ones you don't.
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby The0didactus » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:45 pm

I tend to be pretty skeptical of community gatekeeping, so I understand why ifcomp is so keen on an inclusive definition of interactive fiction...I also like, and make, games with pretty significant choice components...and my next game will be an all out CYOA...i feel like the contest should be open to as many gametypes as possible, it makes it all the more glorious to place and win.

Master of the Land, Animalia and Boogeyman were all very, very good stories that I could interact with. they were interactive fiction. Its true its hard to "compare" them to parser games...but truthfully its hard to compare parser games. Look at Denk's Stone of Wisdom. Denk set out to make a straight dungeon crawler and made a very good one. Is it really fair to compare a straight dungeon crawler to "Alias the Magpie?"


I do think the CYOA style allows for more...I don't know what to call it...games where you basically click through a bunch of text, make 2 irrelevant choices, then see an ending. These games are often but not always sad in tone...we had a few of them this year.


I don't think it's productive to say these aren't IF but they certainly aren't games I like playing
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby Denk » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:54 pm

First, I don't mind calling choice-based games IF. We need a word for the group (Choice-based + parser). And when it comes to parser-IF I usually call it text adventures.

Though I primarily play parser-IF, and can see the point of separating the competition into two categories, perhaps we should consider the long term goal.

I believe that parser-IF is slowly dying because people new to IF are rarely interested in learning how to play parser-IF, whereas choice-based games are straightforward and will live on. However, I would like if we could postpone the death of parser-IF by introducing parser-IF to as many new IF-players as possible. IF-comp is one way of doing that. But if we divide the comp into parser and choice-based categories, people who only knows choice-based games will probably not bother to play parser games.

So I think, at least for now, that IFcomp should not be divided. Of course, if we at some point end up with a situation where parser-games on average do much worse than choice-based games it should be considered.

But I don't think we are there. There are just more choice-based games than parser games in the comp, so naturally there will be more of them in the top 10 than parser games. Still a parser game won.
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby P/o Prune » Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:34 pm

Wow…
How do you reply to all these posts? :|
@David
I agree with you, David, that the guy started off by turning most of the community against him but F bombing every one in sight.
Like I said earlier, I don't care much for CYOA games. To me they lack the challenge of solving puzzles, thinking about solutions etc. Like you, I don't consider them proper IF.
I would like to see a strictly IF parser game competition and then just like they have in the Forum "Other development systems" there could be an "other IF genres" or whatever you'd like to call them.

@TheOdidacus
I don't mind having the competition open to as many game types as possible. But why call it the IF Comp when CYOA or point and click really isn't IF?
Your comment that "games where you basically click through a bunch of text, make 2 irrelevant choices, then see an ending." pretty much says it all. In my opinion, they are very good at books you buy in the bookstore and read with your kids / grandkids. But I don't feel they have a place within the IF genre.

@Denk.
I can't agree on your point that Parser-IF is slowly dying. There's no doubt that there are still lots of people out there enjoying playing a "real" Parser-IF game. The trick is, as you celarly state to get more people involved in playing AND making such games.
You mention that there are more choice-based games than parser games inthe competition. Why is that? Are people getting lazy? Is it easier to create a CYOA (Never done it myself. Have no idea what it takes!) then a IF- Parser game?
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby David Whyld » Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:20 pm

I agree that parser IF isn't dying. It might be quieter now than it's been for some time, and the rise of Twine and all the other CYOA systems certainly hasn't helped, but at the end of the day people still like IF enough to vote it the number one game in the IFComp. If it one day reaches the stage where CYOA dominates the IFComp and IF games struggle to hit the top 30, then I'll admit it's on its last legs, but hopefully we're a long way away from that yet. Even if it does die off one day, there's no guarantee it won't make a comeback in the future the way it did once the commercial IF scene of the 80's died off. If it had never come back, we wouldn't be having this discussion now.

As far as which is harder to write, I've written both and my experience is that CYOA is light years easier. You don't need to worry about putting in descriptions for scenery and items, no real puzzles, no interaction with NPCs beyond the basics. It's just sit and write and occasionally figure in a few variables for covering which things have been done and which haven't. Sure, there can be a lot more to it than that if you're going for one of the more complex CYOA games, but even they are significantly easier to write than most IF games.
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby The0didactus » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:17 am

P/o Prune wrote:@TheOdidacus
I don't mind having the competition open to as many game types as possible. But why call it the IF Comp when CYOA or point and click really isn't IF?
Your comment that "games where you basically click through a bunch of text, make 2 irrelevant choices, then see an ending." pretty much says it all. In my opinion, they are very good at books you buy in the bookstore and read with your kids / grandkids. But I don't feel they have a place within the IF genre.


I am not sure why it's self-evidently true that CYOA "really isn't IF"...I think it is. Animalia for example was very choice-based but definitely felt "interactive"...a story that changed depending on the choices I made. Interactive Fiction, almost by definition.

The "click through some text and maybe make one superficial choice" thing was pretty bad this year, but critically NOT in the highly-ranked games. If anything, I saw an encouraging REJECTION of this style. I found all the 20+ choice based games to be extremely engaging, and I felt like my choices mattered.
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby David Whyld » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:27 pm

We could be here a long time debating "is CYOA really IF?". They've been discussing it on Intfiction for years now and still haven't reached a final decision and probably never will. Some people are convinced it is and some that it isn't. You're better off not going down that road at all.

As for the definition of "interactive fiction", that's always been misleading. Lots of things we don't consider IF are interactive fiction if you go by the simple definition of the words. Reading a novel? It's a work of fiction and you interact with it by turning the pages so it's got to be interactive fiction, right?
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby Gio » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:11 pm

You're more right than you'd think, David. Anyone remember those CYOA paperbacks? Those were interactive fiction. Were they games? No.

What drew me to text adventures wasn't the text so much as the adventure; the difference between Adventure and any CYOA book was that I was inside the twisty little passages, not being told about them! Once they decided to call it "Interactive Fiction" and started making textual art pieces they opened Pandora's Box: CYOA is interactive fiction by definition. The real source of the debate, I think, is one side believes IF is about making games and the other side never included "game" in their definition of "IF" in the first place.
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Re: IF / CYOA ?

Postby Lumin » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:14 pm

I love IF and CYOAs both even though I'm pretty much entirely focused on writing CYOAs now. I do however think they're distinctly different things with different focuses and played in different ways. Both have things that you can and can't do simply as a result of the format.

I remember this exact same debate years ago though and the answer the community decided on was just to lay down and be drowned in a flood of Twine garbage and to silence and push out anyone who didn't care for it. (That was actually the thing that finally really drove it home for me that parser IF was a dying genre.)

I don't see why it would be such a bad thing to have separate contests or at least separate categories, that would do a lot more to put the spotlight on quality works of both types instead of jumpling them all together in a heap. It would also mean that people who are heavily biased toward one type or another aren't voting down the other just because. But IF is pretty stuck on this idea of One Comp to Rule Them All and nothing else mattering, so...
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