It’s interesting to see what authors prioritized with the four hours given, but I’m curious: if you had 30 more minutes to work on your game, what was the next thing you would have included?
I personally wanted to add a color-blind mode (and still plan to once the competition is over and editing is allowed), since I fear some may struggle to differentiate between the reds and the pinks and the greens that make up the MARTYR ME color scheme.
Some screen-reader-friendly alternative to the ASCII-art map. It’s not necessary to beat the game—all the information on the map is also provided in room descriptions and the like, since the conceit is that the player character is updating their map as they explore—but even if it’s just a convenience feature, my goal is to have every part be as accessible as possible.
The problem is, I can’t think of a good, readable way to indicate which doors are open and closed without a headache-inducing paragraph of “The door between the Study and the Library is closed. The door between the Library and the Sunroom is closed. The door…”. So I just gave up on it for now.
I also got a handful of bug reports that I ran out of time to fix. My favorite one is that the lantern isn’t actually lit, even when you turn it on. I’m not using Inform’s default lighting system, because I want some things to be described even when you don’t have a light source; instead, if you can see the lantern and it’s turned on, the description changes. But this means if you manage to get some actual Inform darkness (e.g. by shutting yourself in the wardrobe) the lantern is no help, and it’ll be pitch-black no matter what.
Also, I haven’t tried MARTYR ME yet, but I’ll let you know how the colors feel. Pure red and pure green usually aren’t a problem for me, but telling the difference between yellows, light oranges, and light greens is tough; I’ve been on a little crusade at work to change red-yellow-green indicator lights to red-blue-green on all the control panels.
An English translation (and include it in the English comp too). Though I would prob would have needed an hour and not 30min. Otherwise: notifications when you pick up something, have a limited amount of item you can carry with you, more rooms to explore (more lore), … So many ideas unfinished
Honestly, I should have asked ahead of time. But I would wager it would need to fall under the original 4h. The story/mechanics is the same, just in a different language. The game would essentially stay the same.
What’s really important is which rooms you can reach, but figuring that out means a good half hour of hacking, because the one big weakness of I7’s route-finding code is that you can’t specify which sorts of doors you want to look through. You can specify “no doors”, “unlocked doors”, or “all doors”, but can’t care about “closed doors” or “jammed doors” (where that’s a new adjective I defined in my code).
Right right right (I began playing it yesterday and couldn’t quite remember in the moment which details were in the text and which were in the map). That kind of route-finding does sound like something that might require some low-level I6 fixes.
I would have implemented everything better. I HATE writing an unfriendly parser game, but 4 hours is 4 hours. Last year I tried to bite off way too much, and this year I made much smarter choices-- like keeping it to one room with minimal objects-- but I didn’t have time to implement all the commands or get the testing, all that stuff. I finished the game I set out to do and I’m proud of that, but it could be SO much smoother with more time.
I spent about three hours on the actual game making part, since I figured it was a nice enough place to end it where it was with the time I had, and though I had pre-painted the cover art for another project ages back, I usually take about a hour to paint, so I figured it’d be fair to shave off some time for hypothetical cover making and whatever fiddling around I had done with the colour scheme selection in the past. With thirty extra minutes, I guess I might have gone in and added another poem snippet on the click-y buttons? Not much, really… half a hour feels like so little time!
If I had all of the extra time I’d like- I might have attempted to add some divergences / follow the braiding branch structure, but a mostly linear format works okay for the kind of poem I set out to write, I think. I’m quite happy with the little chunk I managed to put together… though in an ideal world I would have tested the font sizing in the itch.io frame. The main text is a wee bit small in there on my screen, though still legible.
I’m the same, which is why I never entered another speed IF comp after my first one (Ghosterington Night, which I was excited to find David Welbourn just released a walkthrough for). That said, what you can do if you end up liking what you’ve done enough, and what I did, is go back and inject some of the missing niceties, or nicety-nesses, in a post-comp release.
My game had time criticality (sorry, it’s one of those posts). And being able to add code so that not all actions took a turn, especially looking, made a huge difference.
I made a conscious decision of what to leave out that will be addressed in a post-comp release. So it was a technical/planning exercise–there was a lot of code produced with the help of Python scripts or cut/pasted from my Grand Guignol game (Civil Seeming Drivel Dreaming) or my IFComp game (Low-Key Learny Jokey Journey).
Looking back, maybe I should’ve put my time into giving the reader a bump for good guesses, because I had code to generate that.
I also had to hide the hint item.
I instead went with saying, okay, you got 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4 right in this room, and that’s good enough. It was something I hadn’t done before. Of course, I had no time to implement a WHAT YOU MISSED command.
I figured anything that could be covered with the walkthrough would be passable not to detail too much.
One thing I meant to put in but forgot was the description of one of the enemy NPCs: I meant to have the Sham Sheik having a nametag saying “sham sheik” just to show that he knew he was a sham, and you knew he knew, but there was no way to call him out on that directly, so he thought he was being cleverer than he really was.
Update: the red, green, and pink are all very different levels of brightness, so I have no difficulty telling them apart. The main issue for me is the light text against the light background; an option for a darker background might help. But I can read it just fine.
My first instinct was to say I would have added one more letter, but maybe it would be better to get some playtesting and use the hypothetical half-hour to implement the feedback (especially regarding the ease or difficulty of getting various endings). I didn’t get playtesters lined up in the first place because I wasn’t sure it was allowed, but even if I had, I wouldn’t have had enough time.
Oof. 30 minutes isn’t long. I’d have liked to add a story branch where you can refuse to abandon Maria to the sea, but the crew would revolt; I had that planned but then spent way too much time on the intro trying to get the host’s dialogue to rhyme.
You’d be amazed how much thirty minutes can help with that! My understanding is that finding playtesters, recruiting them, waiting while they play through it on their own, reading the transcripts and messages they send back, making a list of bugs to fix, and triaging them by priority does not count against your time. (Fixing the bugs, of course, does.)
…if any of that stuff does count, then I’m way over the four hours. I had a lot of people play through the game and report back to me on it. Oops.