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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:05 pm
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Does anyone have any advice for first-time entrants?

My favorite advice I got was from Andrew Schultz. He said that it doesn't matter where you place as long as you enjoyed all the games that place above you.

My personal advice would be that beta testing and bug fixing is a lot more important right now than adding content. Longer, buggy games tend to place in the middle of the competition, while really well-tested, shorter games often place in the top 15.

Anyone else have anything else to add, or something they wished they knew the first time?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:14 pm 
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If you get a bad (specifically snarky or disdainful) review, DON'T respond to it in anger or haste. At least wait until you've had a week or so to think about it. Often there is good advice buried in the snark. Resist the overwhelming urge to compose a point-by-point rebuttal publicly or privately to the reviewer on a forum or in email.

(On Edit: Don't actually feel the need to respond at all. We all have witnessed how news stories and any social media thing dies out in radio silence, but an acknowledgment of it can keep it smoldering.)

DO, if the reviewer has available contact information, and you feel comfortable doing so, send a reviewer a private thank-you email for the review (without defending your game against it) because any feedback to you in almost any form is a gift. I've had very good luck writing politely and asking for additional feedback on what I might have done to improve things the reviewer didn't like. Make sure this is at the reviewer's discretion - not all of them have time or wherewithal to expound beyond the review about your game, but many are happy to do so. Don't demand more feedback.

Even if you don't agree with feedback, accept it and use it to improve your game and writing in the future, or let it quietly go if it is truly not valid.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:23 pm
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Location: Scotland
Possessive "its" has no apostrophe.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:34 am
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I'd say it's important to understand that public reviews are not feedback. Authors can use them as feedback, but they're not written for that purpose. They're written for a wider audience who might be interested in reading about the games. It's sometimes hard not to take them personally, but whether good or bad, they're almost never intended to be personal, which it helps to keep in mind.

Here's a pretty nice blog post that Sam Ashwell wrote about expectations for entering the comp. It talks a little about old regulations that don't apply anymore, but for the most part it's still good advice.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:25 pm
Posts: 225
robinjohnson wrote:
Possessive "its" has no apostrophe.


...which is especially good advice this year because my vote will count this time! (Someone will surely troll me not only with their "it's" but also by using an apostrophe in every plural. Can't wait. :D )

Man, look at all these heavy hitters in here. It's all great advice.

I'm not sure this counts as good last-minute advice, but mine is: embrace the venue. IFComp isn't perfect, but for most purposes it's best to think in terms of synergy for the event. Proper length. Walkthrough available. Work hard to make the game start strong, to get people into it. Judges who don't like the beginning won't ever see the end. But if they do like it, they'll be more forgiving later on.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:03 pm
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Location: Somerville, MA, USA
Don't apologize in your blurb! Also don't be too vague, too verbose, or too misleading. Just give a brief, accurate, enticing idea of what to expect from your game.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:07 pm
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If you're doing a parser game, include a walkthrough that is not just a list of commands, *and* some sort of in-game hint system. Lots of people new to parser games or who consider themselves "bad at parser games" will give up on you game VERY quickly if they don't feel catered for.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:10 pm
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And here's an IFComp advice thread from last year: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=20203


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:21 pm
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Honestly.....don't read the reviews until after the competition is over. Most of them are not good or thoughtful, especially if you're doing a Twine which has a built-in spite audience (think: Not A Game crowds). I spent last IFComp refreshing several sites multiple times a day waiting for a review of my game to pop up, and it wasn't healthy.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:56 pm
Posts: 5451
IFComp is debuting an anonymous feedback feature this year:

http://blog.ifcomp.org/post/16554895238 ... 7-feedback

Game authors will see the collected voter comments after the comp ends.


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