IFComp Judging Period - too long?

I’m not sure that Ectocomp is really comparable.

Second this. Even though Ectocomp is technically a placement competition, it’s still speedIF. SpeedIF is for experimenting and having fun and not worrying what people will think of me being spectacularly bizarre. (See: Fish Dreams, Brain of the Night Guest, Smoochiepoodle and the Bastion of Science.)

By contrast, IFComp is the most serious event we have.

I don’t think so, many of the Ectocomp entries could successfully compete within the IF comp with it’s non-thorough trend. This year’s Ectocomp I would name »shadow IF comp in miniatures«, there are a lot of really good ideas and games that partially I wished to find in the big comp. Nonetheless I needed the six weeks’s voting period. @Alex: The mini peak on 27/10/2013, that was mine [emote]:o[/emote])

I’m a big fan of this year’s Ectocomp entries, but I just don’t think this is an accurate statement. The vast majority of the IFComp entrants worked their butts off. The Ectocomp entrants took a grand total of 3 hours apiece. The difference in size and polish is extremely visible.

I agree. Further, it’s not an issue of quality that we’re talking about here: it’s how much investment and pressure authors feel about their work.

If nobody likes your Ectocomp entry, big deal - you only spent three hours on it, nobody’s expecting greatness. It’s nice if you make something that people will enjoy, but the players are expecting a three-hour game, and they won’t see it as a problem if you create an incoherent mess. Part of the point is that it’s a low-pressure event. If you get hot under the collar because someone didn’t like your Ectocomp game, then you have missed the point - and if you write a 2000-word point-by-point takedown review of an Ectocomp game, you’ve missed the point also.

With IF Comp (and also Spring Thing), the expectation is that you’ve put a lot more thought and work into it - these are meant to be the best game you can produce. Judges are more justified in being tough on games, and authors have more invested in them. If someone really doesn’t like a game that you spent the last year on, that’s going to hurt. You might be inclined to go and try and argue them into liking it.

There’s a rule in print fiction that authors should never, ever respond to negative reviews in public - it’s a battle they can only lose, and they’re liable to make themselves look bad in the process. A big virtue of the no-discussion rule is that it instates this principle for a whole lot of people who may not be familiar with it.

I’m honestly pretty okay with most people finding out about the Comp once it’s over. The comp-judge experience would be pretty overwhelming for someone coming in with fresh expectations - there are a great many games, and a high proportion of them are not very good. If my first contact with the IF world had been the first couple of games on my random list, I’m not sure I’d have stuck around. If people start promoting their games once the comp’s over, then you have a bit of a filter on that - and then if people find the comp that way and want to try their hand at it next year, great.

It would definitely be useful if the comp had a media person. That’d require a long-term volunteer who wanted that job and had the skills for it.

I don’t have much interest in writing reviews and blogs and critiques, so from my own aloof corner of the diminutive 110-souls voting constituency I’d like to say that I feel the current practice of a six-week judging period is entirely adequate, and should continue unchanged. Surely individuals have their own (entirely respectable) reasons for only perusing a few entries, but there are those of us who want to be thorough (and who thoroughly enjoy the process). This year, and last year, I examined and evaluated every single entry in the competition before casting my ballot (with the exception in both years of the respective Quest entry, as I can never get Quest stuff to run for me and thus seem forever destined to score these as “No Rating”). In both contests, I did this by spending about one day per week on the project, and in both cases this endeavor took me about five days-- in other words, five weeks. As others have remarked, gameplay is short in most entries and that trend is unlikely to change. I only actually spent two full hours on a single entry this year (the winner), and only a handful of entries required even one full hour of engagement; in many cases less than thirty minutes is sufficient not merely to explore but to fully resolve cogent play options in any particular entry. I think poorly of this “updated release during the contest” phenomenon of recent times and only play entries in their pristine state (as released on the very first day of the competition), but I can understand why others may be motivated to be more generous and in that case again the current six-week period provides what should be an ample allowance for both play and selected re-plays. In other words, six weeks for voting is just about right.

An empty dancehall is unlikely to inspire fervid footwork, and a delectable performance to a deserted playhouse is as frustrating to a maestro as a cancelled concert is to an anxious crowd of ticket-holders. In other words, I’m quite concerned about the ever-decreasing rate of direct audience participation in the IF Comp. The voters are as vital to the overall project as the contestants and the organizers. My own tastes diverge considerably from the overall consensus of the community, yet with a diminishing pool of judges eccentric viewpoints such as my own thereby gain increasingly disproportionate influence. If each year I’m committed to evaluating and registering a score for every single entry and we have cases such as a few entries this year that received less than fifty scores, I (whose constructive involvement in the community is erratic and marginal) thereby get far too much say in the outcome of the community’s most prestigious competition. I’m savvy enough to realize that however flattering this may be to my opinion of myself, such an occurrence is surely not healthy for the larger community. In this very forum I once investigated the sinister esoteric relationship of Bigfoot and Frosty the Snowman, whilst in another reverie I posted a lengthy I7 example in which Pokemon cards were the sine qua non for saving civilization in a forlorn post-apocalyptic future; do you people really want me wielding the decisive swing vote about who gets to sit at the grown-ups table every year? The point is, we need to arrange matters for the convenience rather than hardship of those who may participate in the affair as judges. As many prospective judges claim they are too pressed for time to give the event as much attention as they would prefer (and we have no reason to doubt their sincerity), shortening the judging period would simply be a bad decision for all concerned.

I very much agree with this sentiment. As with any undertaking, many folks are their own worst enemies without ever comprehending this fact. Many authors apparently have no sound idea whatsoever of the relative merit or inadequacy of their work, and a very profound favor is indeed offered them by requiring them to be silent lest their problem become compounded by personal notoriety. Certainly one ought strive to be impartial and strictly limit one’s evaluation to the substance of the entry under consideration, but if a fellow is currently ranting in public about how anyone who doesn’t appreciate his sublime genius is a buffoon and one is amongst those hardly impressed with the product in hand, restraining oneself from downgrading a “3” or “4” to a “1” as just desserts may be exasperatingly difficult. Quality speaks for itself, and needs no rhetoric.