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 itch.io 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.

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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.

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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 regtest.py 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.

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