IFComp 2010 - Open for Business, and You?

Hi forum,

“Neues Jahr, Neues Glück”, as we say in Germany. It’s a new year in the competition and a new chance for CYOA to take over the world! No, don’t panic, I was just kidding about the last point. CYOA won’t take over the world and I would fail again if I submitted another half-translated CYOA game to the comp this year. [emote];)[/emote]

But let’s not speak about me and my crazy ideas. What will YOU do?
Sign up and submit entry, judge the comp, donate prize/s or ignore?
Take your time and vote in the poll above…

This poll ends September 1st when authors must have signed up by this date, according to the competition schedule.

P.S. Please note that I myself do not vote in this poll.

Well, I have three WIPs (one of which only exists on paper) plus another simple game concept that I haven’t started implementing at all. If I can finish any one of these, the Comp would be the ideal place for me to release it, with the exception of the one WIP that would probably be too long.

Included among these unfinished projects is the short CYOA game that I originally intended only as an exercise to learn Node-X. However, I decided to make the implementation slightly more thorough than I was going to initially, and to release the game, if I ever finish it. There were two periods of time when I was actively working on this little CYOA – back in March, and just a couple weeks ago. I’ve laid the project aside again, since I’m sort of stuck. But maybe I’ll manage to find away to reach my planned ending, come September. This is probably my best chance of being able to enter the Comp. My other works in progress are not CYOAs.

If I don’t enter, I’ll surely judge the games, unless an unforseen tragedy or disaster of some sort prevents me from doing so (which happened in 2008).

Since I like to read mainstream high fantasy novels and some science fiction, I’d consider donating a gently-used paperback, if I had the money to ship it.

So, I could vote in most of the categories. I guess I’ll vote for entering a CYOA, but there’s a very good chance that it won’t work out. And there’s a very small chance that I might enter a non-CYOA game. [emote];)[/emote]

If your project is only an exercise to learn how to build CYOA adventures for my Node-X system then you should NOT submit it to the IFComp in my humble opinion, unless you want to take all the heat, ridicule and criticism for it, as I received in 2008 and 2009.

After all, it was me who orginally came into this community and presented the Node-X project. So it’s my job to convince this community that one can design cool CYOA games/adventures with Node-X, not yours. Don’t expect people to like your Node-X based CYOA game, just because you are not me! They will hate your game the same way they hate my games, simply because your game will run on a WIP-state (Work In Progress) engine. Node-X has already some very bad reputation in the IF scene. As I mentioned, it’s my job to make Node-X get a better reputation and prove the judges wrong… It’s my challenge, not yours! I started this, so now I have to finish it. And I usually work alone on projects that I started.

If you intend to submit a CYOA game, I recommend to write it in Inform. Some author did this in the last competition and gained some good votes.

Again, just a good advice of mine: DO NOT write a CYOA game for my system Node-X at this stage of its development! It’s still work in progress and you will get only bad/low votes for your game. Just so you know.

However, you can do whatever you intend to do. I don’t care. But don’t expect people to get excited about your Node-X based game, as I said, unless you believe that you can do a better job than me in writing a convincing CYOA game for my own system. [emote];)[/emote] That’s really strange, you know. I don’t know if I should feel flattered or pissed off by your intentions.

I’ve considered entering my WIP - IF, not CYOA. It was originally intended as an Art Show entry, but since the Art Show hasn’t run for a few years now, the IF Comp seems as good a way as any to release it. However, since the IF Comp deadline is just about the same time as the deadline for my honours dissertation (and probably a couple of other university assignments as well) I suspect it won’t happen. Not unless I get a lot of work done on it during the winter holidays, but my plans for the winter holidays mostly involve study, theatre, and more study…

The last couple of IF Comps, I’ve been too busy with university stuff to do more than check out the games, but since I have no exams this year, maybe I’ll be able to judge the thing properly for a change.

I suggest flattered.

Almost every technology in the IF world is still a WIP to some extent. As long as the engine will run people will try it. Your problem before was with the works you submitted, not Node-X.

It was ADRIFT rather than Inform, actually (“The Ascot” by Duncan Bowsman); which actually stopped me from playing it because the ADRIFT plug-in for my interpreter didn’t seem to run any of the games. For what it’s worth, in the past a lot of IFComp judges seem to have been very critical of ADRIFT when reviewing ADRIFT games.

I’d say that people ought to write games in whatever system they’re interested in working with, but different systems may produce games that are more or less accessible to people. No one’s going to play a game that won’t run on their computer. z-code is probably maximally accessible; not only will most people interested in IFComp have some interpreter that plays z-code games, they’ll be playable on the web. I don’t know how many other people play ADRIFT games, but if you publish a game that’s only playable in Windows then people who don’t run Windows won’t play it. (I’m not specifically thinking of Node-X here; there were a bunch of game in TWIFComp that didn’t run on OS X, I think some of them CYOAs, and I didn’t play them. Actually for TWIFComp I only played online.) And then there’s ChoiceScript, which I think only runs online, which would probably turn off a lot of IFComp folk – but the “Choice of” games are probably the most broadly popular of all!

You can play a ChoiceScript game locally with your browser.

Agreed that ADRIFT unfortunately has acquired a bad reputation over the years, despite some very good ADRIFT games out there.

Systems aimed at beginners tend to be used a lot by… beginners. Which results in more bad games than good games. Which in turn results in the system itself getting the heat.

I’d say the bigger issue with Adrift is that it’s aimed at beginners, but it takes an expert at the system to overcome the parser’s limitations. “You push, but nothing happens.”

Actually I think my works were okay, except the fact that Project Delta was unfinished and Trap Cave was partially translated into english. As always, my only problem was time. I found a nice poem about time which describes my situation perfectly:

Exactly what I meant… unfinished half-translated games are not okay.

I can’t agree with you on that statement.
Adrift is not aimed at beginners. Adrift is just so easy to use that almost anyone can write a game using it. Which, unfortunately, also means that a lot of crap is being released.
Adrift is aimed at people, like myself, who haven’t got the time, or interest, in learning a programming language, but would rather concentrate on the story and puzzles.
I agree with you totally, that Adrift 4 has its flaws, but I have the feeling that when people are judging an Adrift game, they often attack Adrift, rather than judging the game. It’s like “if I can’t find anything on the game, I can always shoot at the generator.”
I’m looking forward to see what Campbell gets out of the V.5. Hopefully people will change their attitude towards Adrift when the V.5 is released, but that remains to be seen.
Oh, and by the way … The “You push but nothing happens.” can easily be overcome by using the ALR (Adrift Language Resource) [emote];)[/emote]

I’m neither for nor against ADRIFT. I have a lot of respect for the community, the program and Campbell. However, you can’t deny that any system which yields the following result is still lacking in very important ways, and in some levels not as robust as it should be.

From the new game Aegis.

I say again, I’m not against Adrift. I point these issues so that they can be ironed out.

I’ll be entering the Comp with an I7/Glulx game again this year. It’ll be nice to be able to offer a Quixe web-play option this time!

Does anyone know if there is going to be a central repository for web packages, or are we on our own for hosting? I hope there’s going to be central hosting – my game requires custom CSS for proper display and I’m unsure whether hosting it on my home web site will be feasible or not from the perspective of providing good download speeds for players.

Also, I notice that the authors’ forums from last year seem to be down. Is there any plan to replace these? If not, I can set up phpBB on my server and give it a whirl.


In ADRIFT’s defense, Inform 7 games certainly struggle with this problem, too. (See the notes in the latest release about changing how pronouns works with regards to inventory listings.)

They do? When the string of commands is as simple as “saddle oxblood/mount it”? Anyway, that’s not the only problem. ADRIFT, in this case, first misconstrued my command then misconstrued my meaning. It turned “mount it” into “mount Oxblood’s whistle”, and it replied to “Oxblood’s whistle” with the reply for the command “whistle”. That’s the really odd bit.

It says very clearly in the text: mount oxblood. English is not my native language, so pardon me if I’m wrong here, but by saying “Saddle oxblood and mount it” doesn’t that mean you mount the saddle, rather than oxblood?

I have just run the game, very briefly. Oxblood is a male in the character setup and when you read the text it clearly states that he is a “he.” So it would be apropriate to refer to it as a he, instead of an “it”
I tried “Saddle oxblood” and then “mount him” and it worked just fine.

…which is a recurring theme in ADRIFT. Gamers try pronouns, they backfire, gamers give up, and then they learn that they had the right idea but the pronoun wasn’t being picked up properly. This has happened to me SO often. And then the authors say “it said in the text what you had to type”. To which I reply “But what I typed in was equivalent, and should have worked.” And you can say that it’s the author, not the system, who is to blame. Not so. Often did I “>examine dresser” and “>open it” to be treated to a “You can’t open that” message, and then went to type “>open dresser”, which worked.

In this particular case - I admit I was just skimming over the game, just before I called it a night and went to bed, and in skimming over the text Oxblood looked like an animal - and really, you can’t blame me. He acts like one. I wouldn’t saddle and mount a person. He didn’t say anything yet, just snorted. And in this case, it would be, indeed, more of the author’s responsibility to allow “it” to be referrable to Oxblood.

But let’s make one thing clear. Ok, the text says “mount Oxblood”. But if I type something equivalent, which I did, and the game doesn’t recognize it, that’s a problem.

And you’re also missing the major point. Even if I HAD typed “mount Oxblood’s whistle”, the game’s reply, which is the reply to “whistle”, is woefully incorrect. It’s replying as though I’d typed “whistle”. It picked up a noun in the command and interpreted it as a verb. That’s the really major point.

One final thing - if I have to run over the game code to see how a character is defined in order to know what pronoun to use… well, something is wrong.

EDIT - Took me this long to realize what you meant by “mounting the saddle”. Well, no, not at all. If “saddle ” and “mount it” meant “mount the saddle”, then it would all have to be redefined, in a nightmarish way, all the pronouns in all IF environment. THe structure is verb-noun. If the noun is “it”, it refers to the last noun.

Also, to be honest, no, it doesn’t sound as though it can really be interpreted as “mount the saddle” at all.

As a native English (USian) speaker, that’s not the most natural reading. “Saddle” is a verb and pronouns almost always refers to a noun that has been mentioned. Incidentally I’d think “mount saddle” ought to work if the saddle is on Oxblood, but that would be something for the programmer to take care of. (And the confusion with Oxblood’s gender is also the author’s responsibility, I think.) But “Whistle” certainly seems like the built-in parser’s fault.