An idea for reviving speedIF Comps

Everyone involved in coding know the basic exercise “implement your house” (an easy thing, provided that the coder don’t live in an RL equivalent of Burbank Mansion…), so when I stumbled on this treasure trove:

https://archive.org/details/buildingtechnologyheritagelibrary?sort=-publicdate

where many, many files there are .pdf full with scores of house plans, I immediately realised that this gives the mean of rebooting the speedComp, giving one of these myriads of small maps, with a link like, e.g.

whose should put on your screen an one-floor, twelve or so location map. Enough to ensure that the entry is an actual speed code, I suppose…

What one think about this ?

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

8 Likes

Twelve or so locations in one speed IF? I can barely get one or two rooms coded in the 4 hours of Ectocomp. Not sure what the normal amount of time is for speed IF, but less than 4 hours would mean I could not participate.

If you’re not careful with the parameters, you’ll shut out people like me who are slow coders and only get games from the whiz kids.

I love writing speed IF, but I wish it was 4 hours for writing and one hour for fixing problems so I could have them tested. It’s sad to have a seriously buggy or unplayable game after the 4 hours. This would have to be on the honor system, but the whole thing is on the honor system anyway.

What about something more like Cragne Manor in miniature? Where everybody has a room (or a floor if they feel like they can do that in the time limit). Give everyone a goal, like that the player should have the red key when they leave your area. One final room where you use all your keys.

The rooms wouldn’t have to be all put together, either, which eliminates the headachiness of conglomerating them. They could be different chapters played independently with the assumption that you’d played them in order. So chapter 1 could be a multiple room Twine game on floor 1 (multiple rooms for a fast author), with the goal of coming out with the red key and going up the stairs. Chapter 2 could be an Adventuron game of the ballroom on floor 2 with the goal of getting the blue key (one room for a slower author). Chapter 3 could be an Inform game in the bedroom and bathroom of floor 2 with the goal of getting the green key. Etc.

The organizer decides who the PC is, what rooms or areas are available, what order they are in, and what the goal for each area is, and otherwise everyone does exactly as they please. People vote for the best chapter.

10 Likes

I think it’s great idea. Regarding time frame, I humbly suggest 24 hours. There was a small Mummy’s Birthday game that was coded in a weekend? Something like that certainly applies here, IMHO.

4 Likes

Given the time it’ll take to just implement the map, I’m now envisioning a SpeedIF competition that gives you a Trizbort map to start with, which you can export to skeleton code in the language of your choice.

7 Likes

Oh, yes please. That’s a time frame I can work with.

3 Likes

The 2 hour rule was never serious. Use whatever timeframe you want. I think 24 hours or a weekend are excellent alternatives.

4 Likes

yea, a day or two is the timeframe I have mostly in mind, and, BTW, in these house plans .pdf are also very small houses, 4-5 locations.

on Trizbort, is a good idea, but I must note that triz still don’t agree with Wine or mono…

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

5 Likes

Made with only the very best asbestos-cement.

7 Likes

This sounds fun! I want to do more speedIF.

6 Likes

This falls under “fiber reinforced concrete”.

In some applications, reinforcing bars (rebars) are preferred. Most small tension based applications prefers fibers reinforced. Wikipedia has more materials covered.

Asbestos is dangerous in the form of microscopic dust floating in the air, so using sealant paint is a necessity.

1 Like

Map implementation isn’t the time consuming part, even if you include object placements. It’s the object behavior scripting that is a time consuming. So, if you’re just doing a walking simulator type of game with minimal interaction, it should be fine.

Edit: Also Design! Yeah, I just have to include that part. Sorry.

1 Like

Every version of this comp that’s been suggested so far in the thread sounds like a blast to me!

6 Likes

[quote=“AmandaB, post:2, topic:66994”]
I love writing speed IF, but I wish it was 4 hours for writing and one hour for fixing problems so I could have them tested. It’s sad to have a seriously buggy or unplayable game after the 4 hours. This would have to be on the honor system, but the whole thing is on the honor system anyway.

What about something more like Cragne Manor in miniature? Where everybody has a room (or a floor if they feel like they can do that in the time limit). Give everyone a goal, like that the player should have the red key when they leave your area. One final room where you use all your keys. [/quote]

Seed4SpeedComp: create a demo in four hours, then people can select that demo and iterate on it for four days.

7 Likes

:joy:
The Neo gals have been thinking about of how/when to make this happen actually… like opening it to all the IF programs, with a way to link the different entries (Autumn mentioned something with metadata?), and when it would make sense to happen, without going against the main competitions (June, I think is considered the “empty” month?)

6 Likes

I find that writing parser IF in just days only leads to heartbreak.

Players judge unimplemented verbs, objects, default responses… when there is no earthly way to get tgat done in less than weeks.

And grading is generally low with few notable exceptions.

Choose-Your-3-Options stories are hugely advantaged in competitions like this.

3 Likes

I agree and also disagree. The point of SpeedIF is not the games. If it were, it would be a certain waste of time

The point of SpeedIF is to strengthen the coding and writing skills of the participants. And, more importantly, one, overcoming any internal resistances and hesitancies, because there’s just no time for that, two, learning how to triage what, at its absolute barest, a game needs to be to even be a game, and, three, building confidence in yourself that a game can be written quickly, and you can be the one of those writing them quickly!

So so many of us fall into this scope-creep hellscape of starting with a simple sandcastle, yet ending up with a sprawling mass of unfinished foundations years later, and then pressing a stack papers and mad scrawlings with multigenerational and millennial long plans to finishing the Notre-Dame de Paris into one of the unwilling hands of one of your grandchildren as you lay gasping out what you forgot to write down on your deathbed.

I think the short consistent and no-stakes jams held back-to-back year-round by Neo-Interactives dabbles with this. I’ve watched the people consistently joining those jams become better authors just since the discord server was formed. I feel like Speed-IF is simply a more intense version of that.

I guess I think of going through a series of Speed-IF challenges as a form of IF boot camp.

No one’s looking at the SpeedIF version of the three little pigs, “Deep Breathing” as some sort of IF masterpiece, because it isn’t. “speedif zombie”, yes, that’s the name, and, yes, it isn’t capitalized, isn’t quite an artistic gem worth marveling. And then there’s “The Invisible Argonaut” which is… well, it’s a technically a game and mildly amusing.

Let me list three other games:

All Xyzzy prize winners. They are written by the authors of the gems above, respectively.

SpeedIFs were frequent, low-stakes, and allowed some of the best IF authors of a generation to cut their teeth.

The games that come out of SpeedIF are for our collective amusement at best; they never were the point in and of themselves.

12 Likes

I’ve never written a parser speed IF where I had the luxury of days. I’ve only written them for Ectocomp, which has a 4-hour limit. Days to me seems luxurious for speed IF.

But even in those 4 hours, heartbreak is not the right word. Exhilarating is the word. I know for absolute sure I am going to write a disastrous piece of crap that doesn’t work right. But that’s not important, because I can always fix it after the comp, and winning or even placing well isn’t very important. What’s important is that I plan carefully for what I think might be possible to get working, and that I read up on documentation for things I will want to do. It’s an excellent exercise for identifying the scope of a project and coming to terms with the limits of my abilities. I’m not a good planner and always take tortured, circuitous routes to achieve what I want, because when I have unlimited time I fly by the seat of my pants. I’m well aware this is a bad habit, so being forced to manage time is good for me. It’s also an excellent place to see what others, the grownups in the room, can do, and to marvel at that and aspire to it.

Eh. Not everything can or should be a masterpiece. If it’s finishable by even a small subset of players, I consider that a win.

9 Likes

This is something that is often overlooked by people. For example: Nanowrimo. How can you write a good novel in a month? You can’t!

That doesn’t mean that you should give up. I did quite a bit of studying different ways to write a novel, as well as upgrading my equipment. I’m much faster overall than when I first started.

I still can’t do good novel in a month, but being able to write it 4 times faster means that the effort is not wasted. In any case, there’s always edit later on.

If you want to be better, learn new skill.
If you want to be faster, practice old skill.
That’s all.

5 Likes

My 2014 Ectocomp entry (a parser game) has a higher average rating on IFDB than anything else I wrote in that era and many of the things I’ve written since.

Parser games routinely place top 3 in Ectocomp’s Petite Mort division despite competing against choice games. I think they’re doing fine.

9 Likes

Very this! Even with choice speed IF, for me the vibe while writing is “what can I get away with? What can I sneak in under the wire?”

5 Likes