Twiny Jam

To be honest, coming off a moderately complicated CYOA-style project, I think that for sufficiently long or complex twines this falls apart. If you’re doing a lot of state-tracking (For instance in what maga calls a “Branch and Bottleneck” story) there’s plenty of room to tangle yourself up in your own world model or introduce bugs. For Spring Thing, I’m releasing an 11000-word Undum project that uses that kind of structure, and towards the end I would have paid money for some kind of unit test system so I could ensure that my assumptions about the story were correct (And especially that it wasn’t possible to get stuck, cause a runtime error, etc). I’d be very curious about how the Inkle and Choice of Games authors handle this; was Creatures such as We just painstakingly tested by hand? Does ChoiceScript have some kind of testing harness system they use? I can’t imagine 80 Days was developed without unit testing, for instance - that thing is a quarter of a million words long.

Even then, though - in Undum, I can get away with manual testing and a good proofread or two. In a parser game, you can’t get away with that; the parser is a finicky, delicate machine, and worse, people’s attempts at interacting with the parser are unpredictable. You need extensive user testing to figure out what people expect so you can do it. Ultimately: IF parsers are not true “natural language parsers” (a Hard Problem that corporations have invested literally billions of dollars into solving, with mixed results at best) but rather an approximation that understands a simplistic dialect of English. Usability for those parsers relies heavily on knowing possible player inputs ahead of time and ensuring that those inputs can work, which in turn relies heavily on playtesting.

I can definitely think of a lot of improvements that could be made to I7 (Like an automated test runner more advanced than the Skein and the test command, for instance, would be great). But I can’t think of a way to make it hugely easier to write a good parser.

Ultimately, players have expectations built up over years of playing games that meet those expectations as a baseline. People expect to be able to refer to objects in room descriptions because that holds true often enough that when it doesn’t, it’s grating. Yeah, QA for a parser game is really, really surprisingly hard, but people keep consistently succeeding at it, so the bar is set at that point.

With regards to reviews, I think the best you can do is just try to recognise when a scoping error occurs and be kind about it. Maybe more comps should include a “back garden” for playable demos of unfinished work; there’s no shame in pushing back a release date on something, even if you miss a competition, so you can properly finish it and release it when it’s done.

I value the discussion, but don’t want to hijack the TwinyJam thread. My reply is linked below, perhaps we could continue there?


Mod-mode cvaneseltine says that is a great idea, and thank you.

I wrote a thing for Twiny Jam: Renowned.

How many people stumbled on the device of writing a cyclical story to save words, I wonder?

I wasn’t trying to “save words” exactly. Roasted Misfits is a complicated tangle simply to make the structure more “exploratory” and maybe last for five minutes as opposed to 30 seconds. When I was returning to an-already visited page I consider it more revisiting a geographic room than a literal plot-cycle.

61 so far, 5 days to go! This is going to be big.

Oh, hey, thanks for the heads up! I never thought to check the page and thought the people who were submitting their games were also posting here.

Yeah, silly me.

I also wrote something for Twiny Jam:

creak, creak

It’s only 111 words. I was using Twine’s word count feature and it was counting the code too, which I didn’t realize until I’d finished the game. Then I didn’t want to fatten back up what I’d been trimming down.

WOW is that creepy. Nice job!

Could someone explain something to me, please? I’m following the submission feed, and I sometimes see that the author has added a .zip file. The game “RPG-ish”, for instance, has been updated in that way. I can’t see any way of downloading that zip file, though…

You have to upload all your games as .zips, even if they’re just one file big. So maybe that’s the confusion?

I guess. So that means that just because someone’s just uploaded a zip, doesn’t mean that zip it’ll be available for download unless the author specifically makes it so.


Wrote a game if anyone’s interested:

Had the daft idea of making my own font and then had the less-daft idea of writing a black metal track. Managed to form a marriage between the two ideas, and doing so was fantastically enjoyable (well, mostly).

And I did not realise twine was counting the coding either! Excised more than I needed too, perhaps.

I liked this a whole lot as well!! I’m not a big poetry person, but this felt like Dr. Seuss trying to scare you!

I actually cringed a bit, expecting there to be a loud sound or something jump out on the sequence of links.

Great combination of twine + poem!

Yeah, it seems to count the code included in passages. Other people might have cut down their text to meet Twine’s false word count too, because a few Twiny Jam entries (like Tomatoes) are noticeably slimmer than the rest.

But I think in my case it might’ve helped. I’m glad that you guys seem to enjoy creak, creak!

Since Porpentine encouraged people to use the word counter, I personally assumed that including code in the word count was the intention, and cut down to 300 with that in mind. (I also lost a whole lot of room because videos take up a whole lot of words.)

I tricked the system by not having any code. But yeah, Chandler, I’m glad you did what you did. In this case “No one would’ve wished it longer” is a compliment.

So which not-us games did people especially like?

I liked: Inventory by Joey Fu which has nice puzzles and is poetic kinda
Frolic RPG by Porpentine so procedural! much generated!
You’re at a ____ by D. Michael Moore kinda like mine taken to the extreme, really huge and economical, I think I may have hit a bug sometime but before that I found some stuff
HAIZARA by Rani Baker nice little hand-held gamey thing. It was pretty hard!
Ech.OS by Dennis Ramirez this isn’t exactly my favorite but did anyone solve it?

yeah when i started this i didn’t realize that the word counter tracks code - i just added a note to the jam leaving it up to people’s discretion. thanks for reminding me!

Twine’s proofing copy function might be helpful there, it’s what I used to get a word count for my submission.