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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:40 am 
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Posts: 642
Re the comment about starting over again and again in my game: you can use the browser's back button to return to the previous page and try a different option. There's no need to replay it from the start each time.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:37 pm 
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With some persistence, I've come up with a (the?) winning solution for The Nessa Springs Slasher.

Spoiler: show
STIR SOUP. READ NOVEL. Z. N. N. ATTACK FIGURE

As far as I can tell, only the dog makes it out alive. It looks like the goal is less about defending yourself, and more about setting up a situation in which scene 4 is winnable. I like the concept, but as with many (all?) of the entries, it could have used maybe twice the time for implementation and polish.


(Edit)
@busterwrites:

Spoiler: show
Quote:
There were no glaring technical issues to speak of

Looks like we found the same solution!

As for technical problems, I found a few things that I noted in the comments for the voting form. These might help for a post-comp update:

Quote:
The woman's body is only listed in scene 4 if you read the novel. The dog is able to examine the novel and see its title. When you spill the soup, it's still there in the room description in scene 4. If you get off the chair in scene 2, you're still described as getting out of the chair when the killer attacks. You can go north from the living room in scene 4, into basically an undescribed hallway. Even if I pick up the poker in scene 2 and it drops when the killer attacks, it's once again leaning against the fireplace in scene 4. It would be nice if "figure" could be called "stranger" in scene 4 too (because that's what I kept typing). "Out" or "get out" should imply going south, in scene 3.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 154
Reviews done here; scores undisclosed and to be submitted directly to the organizer later.

Blackness
Spoiler: show
Pretty standard horror environment. I poked around for a bit before failing to find the janitor's closet and dying a lot. I ended up seeing very little content.


You Are a Blob!
Spoiler: show
Well it's cute, and I could see reading this aloud to a kid being really fun, but the jollity and silliness felt sort of forced and I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have.


Boogle
Spoiler: show
I am amused. I like the flavor and attention to graphical detail. There's no real gameplay, but it's a creative use of format and I appreciate that. I also dig the cheerfully morbid feel of the thing.


Crater Creek, 2013
Spoiler: show
This prose is exceptionally purple, which works well with the fact that this author loves them some color-based descriptions. I got stuck quickly, climbing up a hill and then watching a man cuss at an unlit lantern for five minutes. Gave up.


Dead Pavane for a Princess
Spoiler: show
I'll admit, I never anticipated having to escape from zombified Claude Debussy, but wonderful things can happen. This game was brief, the puzzle was simple and well-executed, and I liked the flavor. Also, Claire de Lune was playing in my head the whole time, which was great.


Faithful Companion
Spoiler: show
"You see nothing special about the ghost."
Is that right.

The atmosphere and language of this game didn't quite make the grade but the puzzles were well-implemented and I enjoyed the premise.


Hill of Souls
Spoiler: show
I had a considerably easier time with this than with the author's other piece in this comp, and I actually rather liked the strangely-generated room descriptions. Some stuff was a little broken but I'm inclined to be forgiving because I was able to get through. Eerie, evocative, and while the prose was intricate it wasn't too forced.


Ice House of Horrors
Spoiler: show
The perspective of a caught fish, made genuinely horrifying through evocative language. There wasn't too much to the game and I ran into a couple of bugs, but it was fun to play and the sense of urgency was well done.


Jack
Spoiler: show
I like a good slasher game, and this one started out reasonably fun to play, but the ending was so abrupt and left enough unexplained that I was sorta let down by it.


Profile
Spoiler: show
This game was lots of fun to play several times, but it was really frustrating to keep getting an unsatisfactory ending just because I couldn't figure out what to do to prevent tracking mud in the house. A small flaw in an otherwise really clever game.


Personality Rights
Spoiler: show
Oh hey a Ren'Py game. Well it's pretty, though I'm not sure that the images actually improved the experience. I played through this several times and honestly I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to take away from it. Some kinda musing on death I guess.


A Slight Problem with Zombies
Spoiler: show
I'm not as sick of zombies as a lot of people are. I'm not even sick of zombie-themed comedy, and this game is clearly going for that. Thing is, the language that A Slight Problem uses is so casually flippant and loaded with colloquialisms that it almost seems bored with its own theme. Sadly, so was I. Also, the "it was all a play and you are arrested for murder" ending is ... not plausible.


The Cenric Family Curse
Spoiler: show
Aaaah! Why did I wait until my birthday to read this note that my dead dad just kinda left out? Also, where's the undermoss! Classic style parser horror. A lot of unimplemented objects, but that comes with the SpeedIF territory. Well done, all things considered.


The Hallway Phantom!
Spoiler: show
Between sloppy multi-page HTML, numerous breakages of the fourth wall, and a bizarre obsession with the number 'googolplex', this game plays like something I might have written in middle school after registering a Geocities account. Cute but definitely not a contender.


The Horrible Pyramid
Spoiler: show
Functional, implemented parser gameplay with relatively straightforward and unlethal lock-and-key gameplay for the most part. I enjoyed the deadpan, dry humor of the game and was happy at how not-buggy it was for parser SpeedIF. Pretty solid entry!


The Nessa Springs Slasher
Spoiler: show
The IF equivalent of a slasher flick -- you play a bunch of people who get offed one by one after taking a single action. The last character you play is a dog and the dog dies too, which made me cranky. Maybe it's possible to solve this game but there's a lot of unimplemented stuff and winning this one would be a guess-the-verb affair that I am not going to struggle through.


The Tale of the Cursed Eagle
Spoiler: show
I enjoyed this game and played it multiple times. Like our entry, it involves being stalked by a murderous creature, but the framing for this one was very different. Add a compelling story and few bugs, and this one may be my favorite of the comp.


The Voodoo You Do
Spoiler: show
A simple little story about a guy trying to get revenge on his girl. I'm not totally sure I'm comfortable with the use of Voodoo here, and the ending isn't particularly insightful, spooky, or hard-hitting. Still, it's decently implemented and the writing is good.


The Argument-Winner's Ghost
Spoiler: show
I ran into a lot of bugs, both in terms of implementation and in terms of guess-the-verb. I like this theme and the humor and I would love to see a cleaned-up version of this game but it's not very playable as it is.


Trick Or Treat
Spoiler: show
This is clearly meant to be an homage to old-school CYOA books for kids. I'm not sure about this framing: The writing clearly targets a young audience, but they won't care about 'turning to pages' because they grew up with hypertext CYOA already being around. Anyway, like classic CYOA, the results of your choices very rarely have much to do with what you decided to do, and endings are abrupt and nonsensical. At least the writing's pretty good.


Wisp
Spoiler: show
In its own words, "a morsel of a game." A single, conceptual puzzle that I was able to get after not-too-long. Not too remarkable but decent implementation for what it is.


zombiedating.zom
Spoiler: show
Definitely more 'internet quiz' than game, but still good for a mild subvocal chuckle. More interactive than Boogle but not as funny.


EDITED to fix formatting mistakes.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:18 pm 
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@inurashii (re: Trick or Treat)

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Her only real exposure to IF so far has been honest-to-goodness CYOA books (most recently, #27, The Horror of High Ridge). That's where the "turn to page" stuff comes in. For a time, I'd read her one play-through before bed, sometimes stopping in the middle if it was long. Now that she's becoming old enough to do her own reading, she's going for other stuff -- A Series of Unfortunate Events, for instance. Like any dad, I'm proud of her regardless, but she's in third grade with reading test scores equivalent to 5th, so I'm pretty happy. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:20 pm 
cvaneseltine wrote:
Spoiler: show
And, in Fish Dreams, I hoped that voluntarily typing 'eat human' each time would be creepier than clicking on an equivalent link. I always feel more complicit in my parser decisions than my hypertext decisions. Your mileage may of course vary.


Quick heads-up, though I agree with you, you should also be aware that "g", "again", and in some interpreters pressing the UP key will bypass that entirely, and if the game encourages you to repeat the same action again and again...


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Haha, I was about to post "Oh, an eight-year-old actually wrote this!" -- I hadn't read up adequately and only just saw that it was a collaboration with a kid as I started looking at other reviews.

All things considered, this is some pretty great storytelling. I would have been happy to put something like this together at her age. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Quote:
The Voodoo You Do
Spoiler: show
A simple little story about a guy trying to get revenge on his girl. I'm not totally sure I'm comfortable with the use of Voodoo here, and the ending isn't particularly insightful, spooky, or hard-hitting. Still, it's decently implemented and the writing is good.


The insight I was hoping to provide was: whose soul are you really damaging when you decide to take revenge? idk I was high.

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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:37 pm 
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inurashii wrote:
Jack
Spoiler: show
I like a good slasher game, and this one started out reasonably fun to play, but the ending was so abrupt and left enough unexplained that I was sorta let down by it.



Yep, I wasn't happy with the ending either...hopefully fixing that in a post-comp release.

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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:24 pm 
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@MTW:

Spoiler: show
I think this would have come through if we had a clearer picture of the protagonist's mental state. Because they were so blankslateish I found myself bearing pretty much no ill will toward the ex we were supposed to hurt.


@JasonLautz

Spoiler: show
I think that injecting more of the mythos around Jack Halloween and maybe providing a few more meatsacks to kill would make it a really fun romp; I'll look forward to the post-comp release.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:36 pm 
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inurashii wrote:
Ice House of Horrors
Spoiler: show
The perspective of a caught fish, made genuinely horrifying through evocative language. There wasn't too much to the game and I ran into a couple of bugs, but it was fun to play and the sense of urgency was well done.


Spoiler: show
Oh, there are plenty more bugs where those came from. The true horror of Ectocomp is seeing the bugs, knowing how to fix them, having time in your day to fix them, but having already used up your three hours.

Thanks very much for the kind words. I've only played a handful of games so far, but Chemistry & Physics is among them, and I think it's excellent.


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