ParserComp 2021 - The Main Post :)

I would do everything you can to encourage and support him in the way of suggestions. “Hmm, I wonder what would happen if…”

As a piece of fan fiction, you’re usually okay. If it’s based on an existing script, then it would be regarded as a derivative work, then things start to get a bit murky.

I would suggest an original story based on the same characters in the cartoon and provide something in the credits like “Based on characters from ‘Loud House’ by Nickelodeon”. Otherwise, he can base it on the same personalities and rename them, as you suggested and there should be no problem.

It would be no less than super-awesome if your ten year old son would join the Comp. There’s been discussion and chit-chat about the existence of these “young people” for years now. It seems that we may get the opportunity to welcome one of their rare breed in our midst…

I like Loud House. My favorite is the metal/punk sister.

Here is a game that uses the “thinly veiled”-approach: Toonesia - Details (ifdb.org). I liked the game but I got really frustrated because I kept misspelling the characters’ names. (Elmo Dudd and Baggs Binny or something like that.)

Like others have said, if your son were to put a shout-out to Loud House in the credits, or better, on the title page, he’s gonna be ok, even when using the original names.

Probably…

Almost certainly…

Yeah…

(Also: Hi, son of Captain Edgecase. Really cool you’re writing a parser-game. Loud House certainly offers enough opportunities for crazy situations in your game. Have fun creating!)

1 Like

Haha! Yes, the response has been nothing short of fantastic and i’m very pleased and somewhat humbled that so many people have signed up. Better yet, I had in my head a rough idea that we might be able to interest around 30 people to register and then 10% of that would physically submit a game - so 3 entries; which I know possibly feels low but this is the first time that ParserComp has ran for a number of years. As we already have 3 submissions i’m allowing myself to hope that we’ll get a good few more but hey, even at 3, i’m happy.

Thank you everyone. :slight_smile:

Adam

3 Likes

Absolutely - 100% - YES!! Please do encourage him! For Inform 7 there are a ton of resources and knowledgeable people here and i’m sure they will support him!

I think this is nothing short of fantastic! As the “Chair” please pass on my thanks for his interest :slight_smile: I have two young sons myself, 10 and 8, so I couldn’t be more enthusiastic for your son to give this a go!

Adam :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Quick Updates! :slight_smile:

Update 1 - Personal/Medical Update. I’ve been a little subdued over the last two weeks due to a bout of “unstable angina” (i’m only in my 40s, oh well) and a trip to the hospital. This sadly overlapped with ParserComp’s submission window opening (April 1st) so you may have noticed a slight lack of fanfare. Mercifully I think we collectively promoted it and talked about it sufficiently that people were aware. I will however post reminders over the coming week across social media. That said, that brings us to Update 2…

Update 2 - As noted earlier in this thread the response of registrations and also submissions (even at this early stage) has been brilliant so thank you. I need/want to promote that the submission window is open.

Thanks!!

Adam

6 Likes

There have been years where competitions didn’t run because of lack of submissions. It seems this won’t be the case for ParserComp.

Please give your angina a good stern talking-to and get it to stabilize. We need our organizer in tiptop shape for this Comp.

5 Likes

I hope your angina wasn’t brought on by the stress of preparing ParserComp. Anyway, you look after yourself and your family.

I just realised that there’s only 1 month 23 days to the submission deadline. Holey dooley. That snuck up quickly. I thought I had another month. I’d better get started.

1 Like

Hoping not to give anyone else’s heart a hard time, I do want to say this:

Started?! You should be finishing by now!

4 Likes

I’m happy to say that I might not be working right up against the deadline, for once. Now if only I could translate that motivation to my university coursework, that’d be great…

3 Likes

I guess it depends on the size of the game. How big should the games be?

If nothing else, put it into the next ifcomp.

I’ve been nervous to upload my game since I don’t know if we can edit it before the deadline. If I put my game into the competition now, will I be able to make changes and fixes before the deadline?

If my understanding of the rules is correct, the minimum game size is 1 room. However, you may not be able to complete your vision of the game in an entry so small. (There also does not appear to be a maximum size).

2 Likes

If I keep both room and object count to about 20, verb count to 10 or so, and parsing limited to VerbNoun construct, then the amount of coding I have to do is only about 200 or so. I think that’s doable in one week. It may not be the greatest adventure, but a short game is no worse than a short story.

That said, when I design things, I only use these verbs: Wait, Look/eXamine, Get/Drop, Use, and UseWith. 6 verbs, or 5 since I’m not using Use NOUN1 With NOUN2 construct. 4 if you skip the Wait command.

There is the verb “use”, which parser games tend not to employ, but it’s use in design is invaluable. So, taking care of 100 or so use case isn’t too taxing.

Although that raise a question: How do you feel if you run into a parser game that only recognize Use, instead of the various verbs as per usual?

Edit: Also the verb “Go”. Note that ScottKit default Actions are Go, Take, and Drop. As well as Score, Inventory, Look, SaveGame, Quit. LoadGame is unspecified, so only available when at start.

I have played several parser games that use USE. I wouldn’t find that unexpected at all.

1 Like

I have to make some pretty big adjustments to my expectations and playing style. It tends to push me into mindless USE [every single thing in my inventory] in every single room of the game. More verbs give a bigger possibility space that is harder to navigate mechanically.

Still, if I prepare myself before diving in (by mentally linking the gameplay to point’n’click games) I’m fine. Not superduper yaay okaay, but fine.

1 Like

Please don’t use ‘USE’ as a verb. There are several very good reasons why parser games tend not to use this:

  1. USE is a really vague verb. It could mean just about anything. I recall a Facebook post where I gave an example of a response to USE BROOM. “How would you like to use the broom? Sweep the floor, remove cobwebs from the ceiling, ride it to the shops, hit someone over the head with it, use it to vault over the back fence or stick it up your nose and stir your brains?”
  2. Parser-based games are generally about exploration and solving puzzles. The whole idea of puzzles is that it gets you thinking. Is this a puzzle? What am I supposed to do here? How do I solve it? What happens if I try xxx? If you use USE for everything, then it becomes a boring mechanical process. Just use USE with every object in every location. If you take away the puzzle-solving aspect, then you take away the adventure and you take away the fun.
  3. USE is always the last thing I think of. I normally only use USE when I’m getting desperate.
  4. USE indicates laziness on the part of the game author. If the game author has been too lazy to think through all the scenarios in his/her own game, then why should I bother?

As a rule of thumb, you need at least 100 verbs in any half decent adventure. Mine usually have around 200. Many of these will be synonyms. Most of the standard actions (open, close, lock, unlock, wear, remove, push, pull, eat, drink, light, extinguish, enter, exit, climb etc.) are very easy to implement.

4 Likes

I’ve been thinking about it. Regarding puzzles, when was the last time you did anything other than unlock and open doors? How about a torch? What else do you do with it other than to use it as a light source and maybe burn things? Regarding the broom example, yes to all of those, just not all at once. Context sensitive action.

Maybe you want to see funny responses for EAT FIRE, or CUT HOLE INTO THE DOOR, but doing so only on some items makes the game feels incomplete. Having to write funny responses to all possible verbs, however, will require large amount of time, for basically niche players.

I think it really depends on the game. There will still be puzzles, for sure, but in a different form. Rather than traditional moon logic based puzzles, it will be more of resource management types.

Should I feed the dog the bone? Or cheeseburger? Should I eat the food now or wait until a better character comes along? What weapon do I want to take with me? The sword, the club, or the bow?

The gaming experience will be different, too. Rather than one pass, solving every puzzles once, you end up with playing the game multiple times, trying different strategies each time. I think this gaming style has merit.

I suppose I can note down different verbs to use with USE, but then to fully implement each verb separately will take tremendous amount of time. In the end, the game will either end up half baked, filled with boring stock responses, or worse, not finished at all. I just don’t think the audience is there. YMMV.

Should this game style be considered parser, rather than point and click? Well, there’s the rub. This is ParserComp, so I don’t know. Just because you type things in line input, doesn’t mean the puzzles aren’t PnC types. But that’s why I asked for your opinions. Thank you.

I want to be able to
—>SLIDE NEWSPAPER UNDER DOOR
—>POKE IN KEYHOLE WITH EAGLE’S FEATHER
—>PULL NEWSPAPER
—>GET RUSTY KEY THEN SCRUB IT WITH CHAINMAIL
—>UNLOCK DOOR

—>USE NEWSPAPER just doesn’t scratch that itch.

2 Likes

I don’t want to discourage you, but the reasons you give for not implementing something are exactly the reasons why you are better off using an existing authoring system, rather than writing your own from scratch. Expect to take two years, not two months.

It might be worth playing some of the recent games that are out there to see exactly what you can do with parser-based games nowadays. See, for example, the recent Cryptex Jam, Text Adventure Literacy Jam (one of the games uses a home-grown engine) and the current PunyJam #1. There are some exceptional games amongst these.

Me personally? As it happens, my current game ‘Captain Cutter’s Treasure’ has all of these - doors and keys and locks and a broom - and none of the usages are what you would consider ‘normal’. It would be impossible to write a game as rich and complex as this with USE as the only significant action verb. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

1 Like

Having said that, it is possible to write an engaging adventure with a very restricted parser (Arthur DiBianca has done it more than once), so USE is not categorically a bad idea. It would just require careful puzzle design to make it work satisfactorily (and satisfyingly).

3 Likes