I intend on entering, probably regardless of the mechanics!
For my tastes, though, two months is a little long for the writing period. With competitions I prefer shorter writing times resulting in shorter, more focused games. I’d vote for a month. It’s not a dealbreaker for me if everyone wants longer to write, however.
I think it would be good if people can start writing their ParserComp game ASAP and if people can submit a game they have been working on for a long time.
But I guess that depends on the purpose of ParserComp 2021. Is the comp about getting a lot of high quality parser games out there or something else/more?
If the writing period is small, there may not be enough time for testing, which I think is important. However, as I am probably not going to enter (“only” judge), I think you shouldn’t give my opinion too much weight here
I am completely fine with that! Got a game stashed away from 2016 that fits the criteria and no one aside from yourself knows about? Enter it!
It’s a good point actually. Do I need a period specifically for game creation? If I just set the deadline for registration and then game submission, followed by judging period and results announcement respectively, do people need a period?
Let me know people, I will create the system accordingly.
There isn’t much point in an explicit writing period unless you have a rule that games must be written during that time and existing WIPs aren’t allowed. Larger comps have a separate registration phase to discourage people entering on a whim, e.g. someone just discovers IF, notices that there’s a comp deadline next week and whips up a low-quality game just in their excitement to enter. Having to commit a month or two earlier makes sure that the authors have at least that amount of time to work.
If you have a registration phase, the time between the registration deadline and submission deadline works as a natural game creation period. If you don’t have one the creation period is practically the time between announcing the comp and the submission deadline. The first ParserComp didn’t have registration but it did have a theme, so the writing period effectively started when the theme was announced.
Note that separate registration also means more work for organizers so unless there’s a specific reason to have one it’s simpler for everyone involved to skip it.
Ah, the theme! I think that was an important part of what made the first ParserComp feel the way it did, which I really liked. I’d be in favor of a theme being announced at the beginning of what is intended to be the writing period for two reasons: I think it’s easier to write a piece of IF with some sort of guiding constraint, and I think it’s more interesting to consider a grouping of works with the same theme (even if its vague).
You could do what Ectocomp does, which is just have two categories (games written in a small time period [4 hours] vs unrestricted games).
So you could have a category for games written in one month and games that were made in a longer time period. If only one category ends up being popular, you could just make that the only category the next time the comp runs.
I’m split on the idea of a specific theme and/or categories.
On one hand yes I agree it would give a bit of structure, I believe the original ParserComp had this.
I’m worried though that if we don’t get the numbers in terms of people taking part then it might not work too well. Additionally, we’ve had a number of people already show an interest in submitting their game but if I introduce a specific theme it may immediately exclude them.
My gut feel is to run this years with a very broad criteria and then, once I get a feel for the interest, look to introduce themes and categories next year.
I’m sure not everyone enjoys/needs constraints of theme and time-frame like I do – but with no theme and no time limit I often don’t have the motivating spark I need to get started. Maybe you could provide an optional theme? (Now that I look back, I remember that the theme for the first ParserComp, “sunrise,” was optional.)
No intention of that, don’t worry I might build in a little bit of “fat” between registration start and finish to allow a defacto development time for anyone who is starting from scratch. But it won’t matter whether the game has been in development for one week or one decade.
I intend to enter, as it gives me a reason to finish some of my unfinished games.
I think the development time should be unlimited, just as it is for IFComp. If ParserComp is a success and becomes an annual event to supplement the other comps, then you can start on the next year’s entry as soon as the comp is finished.
I don’t mind the registration (or intent to enter), but I personally don’t like to register until I’m damned sure that I’m going to get it finished on time. In game jams on itch.io, you can register right up until the submission time.
Regarding a theme, that could be optional. If the theme is compulsory, then you need a greater lead time to think about and design a game to match the theme. That might put some people off. I’ve had to do that for five Adventuron game jams, so I’m used to it, but I would prefer an open slather for the first ParserComp so that you can gauge interest for future ParserComps. In my case, it means that I’d have to start something new, rather than finish one of those unfinished games that I hinted at above.
One factor that you haven’t mentioned is playing time. IFComp has a judging rule whereby you must judge the game based on the first two hours of playing. You don’t have to finish the game in that time, but you should be able to judge it in that time. As a consequence, I think most IFComp entries tend to be written with the idea that you should be able to complete the game in two hours. Spring Thing is less restrictive on this.