IFcomp 2018 reviews



I mean, yes and no. Shade was written in less than a month, Photopia in about six weeks, to pick two well-known and acclaimed games. (Both of these I’m pretty sure were written in Inform 6, but if anything that would probably slow down the process.

(Hanon Ondricek) #82

Oh, yes, it certainly can be done - it just requires intelligent pre-scoping and pre-planning. Also, I’d say it helps to have an experienced and thorough understanding of the engine and how to do things without a trial-and-error process. Speed and ability to write code with low possibility of breaking somehow over the course of an entire game both come with experience and doing it wrong a bunch of times.

Both Shade and Photopia are mostly linear and run about thirty minutes, being great “quality over quantity” experiences which are a perfect length for IFComp. Speed-IF in parser is a legit format. I especially really enjoy that for Ectocomp Petit Mort that reviewers generally relax their expectations for full airtight implementation.


I did this a few years ago, and it caused significant controversy, including rather nasty accusations being directed my way. In the end an anonymous donor matched my pledge for a choice-only prize and so the whole gesture was moot. In short: it’s been tried and it’s not a good idea.


Russian IFComp had an additional conditional prize pool for 6 years, so one can study the effect. There are prizes for best parser games, best RPGs, weird conditional prizes and a small-scale engine-specific prize war.

(Linus Åkesson) #85

Which brings us back to the whole issue of voting for effort vs. voting for a good story.


I guess I should respond to +=x coming first in the alphabetical list. Many reviews fixated on that, and now it’s still a point of contention even though the comp is over. The title arose naturally from the story, but I did have the thought: “Huh, I bet this’ll be near the top.” However, it was a low enough concern of mine that I was actually surprised to see it at the top when the comp started!

The fact that its title has become the game’s most talked-about aspect makes me think there’s something broken with how games are listed. People are preoccupied with the list on a meta level. If the list was random, and randomly refreshed with every page visit, then it wouldn’t be an issue. Although it would admittedly be harder to navigate if you wanted to find a specific game.

(Linus Åkesson) #87

For next IFComp, I would suggest (is there a better thread for this?) that the default view, i.e. the first time a judge views the list of entries for the current comp year, should be the personalized shuffle. The alphabetical list would still be just a click away, for when you need to find a specific game.


I had similar worries with Ailihphilia. The original title was “Put it Up,” which was further back in the alphabet. So while I enjoyed the new title more, part of me was wondering if I was just also trying to sneak a bit of publicity. Thankfully, several testers assured me this was okay, because Ailihphilia seemed to work better, but it was a distraction for a bit.

I think this is a good suggestion so that authors don’t need to worry about stuff like “Should I call my game 12 Angry Men or Twelve Angry Men?” I mean, we haven’t had any wise-guy (successfully) submitting works called something absurd like “(A-1/A++/AAA) IFComp Experience,” and we aren’t going to, but it’d be nice to put this to rest once and for all.

Though now I’ve said it, I’d actually like to see someone try and make something actually good from one of these titles.

If you’re on Github, you can maybe report this as a feature request, if it’s not in there already.


To get this thread back on topic… I’m posting reviews of the games here. They’re slightly updated versions of what I wrote on the author’s forum.


[rant=hidden by Mod]Last post forever in this forum ran by people with no connection to IF/Text Adventures, which their only response is censoring and banning for expressing what other people also think.

Few points :

  • Each time a valid point for the big difference between parser games and low effort CYOA ends up with a cliche " Organize your own parsercomp". Really pityful.

  • Each time someone mentions that it is not fair, since prizes are included, you are ignored of course. Imagine at the Olympics that athletes of Tae Kwon Do and GrecoRoman would eventually share the same league with a “they are both “fighting” why split them up” … ARE YOU THAT BLIND the people who have taken over the comp? And who are you ? WHO DECIDES ? Any sense of fairness ?? Or is it today everything sold out ? … Pityful …

Bottom line :

Nobody knows who and under what circumstances he/they decided to mix apples with oranges.
Nobody can actually object in this also run-by-unknowns forum when you get censored/ban simply for telling the obvious, Text Adventures and CYOA don’t match/are different categories. You can not even make an argument. So much for your democracy… This forum really TRICKS people thinking it has something to do with real Interactive Fiction-Text Adventures when it’s used as a mean to promote CYOA and hyperfiction stuff.

In the end aftrer 20 years we’ll be looking back and wonder who the fuck were the snakes that turned this from our comp into a mixmash of CYOA - hyperfiction stories…

The solution is simple and great for all : SPLIT THE CATEGORIES in the comp the prizes. You want to keep your CYOA just to have some more outreach ? GReat (… or whatever) but DON’T MIX apples with oranges.

I mean, are people so blind or are they doing it on PURPOSE ?

p.s. Yeah random irrelevent mod, censore and ban me, but 6 pages worth of good posts from other people show that THERE IS A PROBLEM. This forum should be renamed btw you don’t deserve the IF title.[/rant]


But the people who donated the prizes donated with the understanding that there would be a mix of choice and parser games. You seem to think that the prize pool is being unfairly awarded to favor choice games since they dominate the competition and that the competition attracts a disproportion of choice game voters, but I think the prize money is donated proportionately by those that favor choice vs. parser. Therefore, it’s fair or at least fair enough.

If the competition were limited to just parser games, I think that the prize money would shrink proportionately and there would paradoxically be less prize money available to award to parser games. In fact, I think there is a good chance that choice games subsidize parser games in the competition (if parser games are in fact “better” than choice games, as you claim.)

I haven’t actually run the math on this, but sometimes it pays to be careful about what you wish for.

A mixed competition also has the benefit of introducing people who haven’t tried parser IF to the genre and that’s good for parser IF, too.

Personally, I like to think of choice games as parser IF with hinting turned up to the max. A command is a command regardless of whether you click on it or type it in. Playing IF is like interacting with an operating system and arguing that typing in a command console is better than interacting with menus in Windows seems like a waste of time to me.

(Andrew Plotkin) #92

The reason people keep suggesting this is that, last time someone ran one, it was really popular and it motivated people to write and play new parser games.

(Daniel Stelzer) #93

[mod voice] Please keep comments in this thread focused on IFcomp 2018. Personal insults don’t add anything to this conversation.

(Daniel Stelzer) #94

ManolisG13 has been banned for another 5 years or so, and I’ve rant-tagged all the insults I saw on a quick read-through, from both sides. MTW, I get where you’re coming from, but responding in kind doesn’t help anything here.

(Sorry for the late response! Moderation’s been slow lately, but we’re working on fixing that.)

Edited by [Hanon] - removed everything after the post that derailed the topic. There was no point leaving all that up there, though [Draconis] did a nice job tidying it.

ManolisG13 promised several times that he was done posting here (for “5 years or so” as [Draconis] noted above) so the [Moderators] gave him a little help keeping that promise.

(Marshal Tenner Winter) #95

You’re right. I apologize.

(Hanon Ondricek) unpinned #96