It's almost time (for IFComp Games)!

I’m crossing my fingers that a busy work schedule won’t keep me from playing and writing reviews for all the soon-to-be released IFComp games.

Sargent, if you’re willing to say, about how many “intents to enter” were there this year? The 1/3rd rule seems to hold true, and I’m curious about how big a set there’ll be for 2007.

It’s funny, but I’m pretty excited too. I played most of the games last year (my ‘first IFComp’) and I’m looking forward to it again this year!

It has been really low-key (still), so I’m wondering if submissions are going to be way down this year. IMO, last year will be tough to beat.

I’ve done a pretty good job of playing games released this year – Adventurer’s Consumer Guide, Lydia’s Heart, Blighted Isle. If I go ahead and play at least most of the comp games, I’ll be in a good position to vote for XYZZY nominees, and that’s a goal worth pursuing. So that gives me an extra incentive to try to play most of the comp games, maybe even all of them. Looking forward to it!


The e-mail I received recently stated 94 intents to enter but I can’t remember if that’s a high or low amount. If about a third of them do enter, we’re looking at about 30 entries which is a bit down on last year.

So the 1/3rd rule holds up pretty well another year. There are 29 entries this year.

Wow, 2006 really stands out then for its number of entries (though 2002 was closer). I guess we’re back to some kind of average.

There might be a bunch of pseudonyms, but it also seems like there are few games from ‘known’ authors this year.

It doesn’t seem like the ‘I7 effect’ has kicked in yet.

Speaking generally (since we can’t discuss specific entries publicly), I think a few will probably go quickly. I’m not as worried about playing and reviewing them all this year – I think I’ll make it with time to spare, even as I begin another several months of 50-hour work weeks.

A few names are obvious pseudonyms. There are also a few I recognize from past competitions (not just the Adrift authors – Bill Powell from 2006 and Brian Rapp from 2004 are back). Some of the games sound particularly intriguing. Even with fewer entries, I have high hopes that I’ll come across a few first class winners. [emote]Smile[/emote]

Should we start a thread/forum this year for discussing games before the voting period ends?

It could be set up as a private board, requiring a request and validation before being added to the group. It would have to be run by Sargent first, though, just to make sure it’s within the judging rules. I’d love to chat privately about the games, but at the same time I like to play through them all before talking about any of them (and before being influenced by the opinions of the other judges).

There’s a spoilers room in the IFMud (go up, then west, then southeast). Usually, there is pre-result chatter in there. In prior years, I’ve been excluded from the IFMud game channels (as a participant), but a channel for each game is usually set up there. By the time I’ve played them all, though, I think most of the chatter has died down (at least, I’ve always assumed it has – it’s possible it never really got started).

Would anybody be interested in a private discussion board here for pre-result chatter and spoilers? I’m not sure it’d be okay even to set up (would have to check), but if there’s enough interest, I’ll find out.

There’s one other thing to consider. I’m pretty sure the authors themselves can’t participate (when this came up in prior years, I checked into that). It’s tough to go six weeks with only a couple of emails from a couple of judges to hang your hopes on, when there’s chatter going on about your entry and others that you can’t be a part of. Good thing is that all the private messages could be made public after November 15th. Bad thing is, it’d be rough on the authors who either couldn’t take part, or would sneak in through somebody else’s membership…

Since no one else has pointed out the obvious yet, this was discussed last year:


Anyway, it seems clear to me that a private forum already has the a-OK. However, I’ve never really checked out IFMud, so maybe during the Comp judging would be a good time to do so.

Oh yeah – and it probably comes up every year, somewhere. [emote]Smile[/emote]

I do like the idea of posts about the IFComp games being available after judging ends (where chat on the IFMud is presumably lost unless somebody logs it). I’d have loved to read chatter about my past entries after the competition, and I bet other authors probably would too. I tended to look for anything I could find about my games.

Just brainstorming about this for a minute –

Maybe topics could be limited to JUST the name of the game, followed by a simple and neutral topic. For instance…

Game XYZ - Spoilers
Game XYZ - Opinions
Game XYZ - Hints

…and so forth. Maybe these should even be pre-defined (it should be possible to set up a sub-board for each game, within the private board). I’d want to avoid toipcs like…

Game XYZ - I loved it!
Game XYZ - Hated it!
Game XYZ - Too buggy.

…or basically anything that isn’t completely neutral.

I prefer to see all the threads in one board – but this has the disadvantage of automatically ranking the most current threads on top, right? So maybe sub-boards would be the most neutral way to go about it. I don’t particularly relish going through that many sub-boards to follow all the discussions, though I guess the private forum will still show up in the active topics list?

Also, I think on IFMud some of the conversation isn’t actually chat, but more in a forum or bboard format. At the mud it seems like they use the term channel to describe both chat channels and bb’s, but I could be wrong about that.

Yeah, I think there is a bulletin board and chat for each channel. It may not be a strict 1-to-1, but I’ve noticed the same thing. I don’t think there has been much on the bulletin boards for the IFComp games, though. I can’t subscribe during judging, but I’ve peeked afterwards before.

Seeing which topics have the most activity isn’t necessarily a spoiler. It could be good, or it could be bad. I guess it might give people the idea that “something” is up with a particular game, though. Not sure if that would matter. It would definitely be easier to have everything in one place, you’re right. Hmmm. I can give it some more thought.

ifMUD’s channels have an associated bulletin board, and I set it up so that there’s one channel (and bb) for each game. In practice people chat about the games on the channel, and the bb is only used to mention bugs that people might run into, or suggested interpreters for the game – in other words, the kind of information that everyone might need when playing it.

As for a discussion bulletin board, hang on a day or so. I’m fine with a board, but would like to mull over a day or so how you might should set it up.

Some things that would be nice, as this is considered:

A setup that would encourage people to only post after they’ve played (and possibly even decided on a score) for a particular game.

A setup that minimizes the chance for spoilers in games people haven’t yet played. Having a good idea of who “Edgar O. Weyrd” was before I played “Delightful Wallpaper” last year probably played a part, for instance.

A setup that minimizes having your opinion swayed by the opinions of others before you’ve played. Even the most harmless of comments can have an impact on people (me, in particular). For instance, I had doubts about a game that people had posted a bug discussion in the newsgroup, last year. Even if I hadn’t read the details, just seeing ongoing bug discussions (maybe it’s Labyrinth I’m thinking about here) put certain thoughts in my head.

Yikes. I’m not sure any pre-result discussion can really avoid these things.

I guess it’s up to each individual judge whether or not they would even want to participate, and if so, at what point in their judging. From the start, not really worried about being influenced by other opinions or spoilers? For each game, after playing and forming their own opinion? After playing them all and submitting votes?

I like the idea that every IFComp judge can post votes that are right – even if drastically different than anybody else’s scores. For whatever reason, I’m not a big fan of the “decide-my-opinion-based-on-what-everybody-else-says-first” kind of thing – at least, not when it comes to the IFComp. There was some chat about this last year, and some people felt that they would prefer reading other people’s opinions before deciding on a score, in case they were being too generous with an intended score, or not generous enough. My fear is that more discussion might lead to more of that, and to me, that kind of ruins the “fun” in thinking that it’s all completely objective…

I’m rambling. Anyway, thanks for putting some thought into it, Sargent. I can see some good coming from a private discussion that can be un-hidden for public consumption after the voting deadline. There would be a wealth (potentially) of comments written while everything was still fresh on the posters’ minds. But I would hope that people could practice restraint, and try to play each game before reading and/or writing about it.

Is anybody else out there? What do others think about this?