Fivebyfivia postmortem

I hope other competitors have something to say, too.

The full deal is long-winded, because I had a lot of Good Moments (big and small) throughout the whole process. I hope others got a lot from ParserComp, too.

But the super short version, condensed for intfiction, is …

ParserComp seemed to come at a good time for me. And while IFComp’s been very good to me, I don’t think I’d have initially considered submitting such a game there. I’m pleased I was able to pull something together in two weeks, though really, it was something on my mind for a while. When I was a kid, I imagined how tricky it must be to write a chess game, so I always had the idea. But I wanted it to be more than just stenography or a programming exercise.

And once it was, I was a bit worried it might drive prospective testers/judges up the wall. I’m grateful to my testers, who all gave great advice even if it was “this is confusing. Can it be clearer?” It was confusing, and I hope it motivated me to be clearer.

I also think worked very well for people to share ideas, etc. (more public feedback than I expected) and just seeing which games needed votes helped push me to play them.

I’m glad I submitted Fivebyfivia instead of the longer more traditional game I had planned. I recognize it’s something people might just say no to, but I didn’t want to shut out anyone who might be interested. And I hope even someone who might not have enjoyed it can take away that they should write that thing they always meant to, even if there’s clearly going to be a certain type of (perfectly decent) person for whom it’s not their thing.


The long version is a fascinating read. Thanks for sharing these detailed insights into the making of your game. I confess I haven’t actually played it yet (my coverage of the games was a bit patchy; I’m a slow player and didn’t get to yours in time) but I will do. I know nothing at all about chess, so it will be interesting to see to what degree that hinders (or helps) me to get through it.


Thanks for sharing this development insights. I wrote you some time ago that as a chess and IF player I liked the game very much.

Best regards.

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@ChristopherMerriner, glad you found it interesting! It was fun to write and do minimal research for.

I think I got more than the mean and median votes for this comp, so that was nice. Plus I’ve had games get lost in the shuffle judging IFComp so I understand!

@Jade, your comment on itch was a big boost to me while I was a bit frustrated about the technical terms I missed. I hope/think I replied to it, and if I didn’t, I’d feel very silly.

Just getting a bunch of likes to the thread also helped push me to do significant work on release 2. I’ve had fun, but I want to get the GO TO feature and miscellaneous bug-hunting out of the way for my next project.

I think one thing I would add to the postmortem is – I wish I had time to use Zarf’s regression scripts to break down the features into more manageable bits. They’re a great technical tool to help me say “Ok, yeah, I’m not overlooking anything.”

Speaking of Zarf’s regression scripts, I just pushed them to GitHub.

(Hopefully) within the bounds of ethical self-promotion, I think the walkthrough file is a good example of a big-picture way to test alternate endings. In this case, it checks ubj znal fgnyrzngrf lbh frg hc and the alternate text based on that.

I recommend his to anyone who wants a bit more than the (still very handy) "test this-test with “n/s/e/w/etc”. If only because you don’t have to recompile to tweak any of the regtest scripts.