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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:22 pm 
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@busterwrites

Boogle
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Quote:
My intention wasn't to write a persuasive satire, but looking at it through a different lens, perhaps I was naive to think it wouldn't be viewed that way. The idea came from how Google offers a suggestion (Did you mean?) when you make a mistake in the search field.

I guess I missed the point entirely. I was getting a lot of Twine errors after a search, where it looked as if there should have been links or something. Images that were mentioned weren't shown. Twine errors on the sidebar too. As a result, I took it for a joke entry...


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:49 pm 
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maga wrote:
Wisp
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This looks to be one of those figure-out-the-navigation-trick not-actually-a-maze things. I didn't figure out what the trick was.


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To my surprise, I did.


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Following the will o' the wisp gets you nowhere.


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Neither will running away from it.


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You have another problem.


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Check your inventory.


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Eat the bread -- yeah, that's not it.


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Look at the watch.


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What does that suggest you need?


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Won't find your bed anywhere...


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But you can sleep anyway.


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And wake up.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:12 am 
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maga wrote:
matt w wrote:
That wasn't my take on it:

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I thought it wasn't "satire on Twine" so much as "goofing around without meaning to mock anything except itself." I realize this resembles the "It's only a game, why are you reading so much into it?" move, which is the most annoying move ever, but it comes closest to being justified with a three-hour game whose express purpose was to be really terrible in order to bolster the confidence of an eight-year-old who was submitting a game to the same comp.

Also FWIW I was able to get a grasp on the world in many ways. To do so I had to lawnmower the choice tree by trying and dying, but in a game of this length that's a reasonable possibility.

It's entirely possible that I've become over-alert to this general line of argument (as a result of hearing versions of it a dozen times in the last few weeks), and am overreading.

Yeah, you're definitely overreading here.
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If there is a message to You are a Blob!, it's that creatures (and people!) can see the world in ways that we might view as very strange but make perfect sense to them. Or something like that, it's been a while since I checked my node and moral statement map.

Anyway, if I have a problem with Twine games, it's that they tend to be too linear, not too arbitrary. If a Twine game is poorly made it can often feel like I'm being railroaded through someone else's story, like all I'm needed for is to click the buttons to progress through the story. (There's a lot of non-Twine games like that that I actually enjoy, so I'm probably being unfair here.) Still, it's one of those cases where a little bit of gameplay can go a long way. And I have liked a lot of ultra-linear Twine games too. I dunno, really.

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Does the camera man filming Friday the 13th warn the teens that Jason is about to stab them? Is his failure to do so criminal negligence? Of course not, he's the camera man.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:42 am 
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busterwrites wrote:
Fish Dreams

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Why would you not make this a hypertext game? It’s perfectly suited for that format, and the additional CSS styling options could have really added to the mood. (Contrast this with the author’s other entry, Chemistry and Physics, which was a Twine game that could have easily been a parser game!)


Authorial commentary on Fish Dreams and Chemistry and Physics (two for one!)

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It was rather serendipitous, actually.

When Colin and I collaborate, our typical process has been: 1) we come up with an idea, 2) we plan out our strategy, 3) I take lead on the code and 4) he takes lead on the writing. We wanted to swap roles this time, and since Colin knows Twine far better than I do, it was the natural way to go! That's our original reason for writing Chemistry and Physics in Twine.

Then I got inspired for Fish Dreams, which I whipped off on the afternoon of the due date. Slowing down to learn Twine on the way by was not going to happen, so it was I7 all the way.

With that said - I actually think both games worked better this way.

As a parser game, Chemistry and Physics would be somewhere between 8 and 13 rooms big (depending on whether the intro/outro were implemented as cut scenes or as rooms). With only 3 hours to code the game... ouch. I like to think I'm good, but I'm not that good. (Side note: I'm super impressed by the people who are that good.) Ectocomp carries a certain forgiveness level, but a parser version of C&P would have been badly implemented to the point where I felt sad about it. Using Twine allowed us to pare the interaction options down to what we could feasibly implement in that period of time.

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.

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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:28 am 
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Posts: 8
Disclaimer: I did no entry for this ectocomp. According to the competition rules, I already sent the official judging form to jj guest. Hope it's ok to put my mini-reviews in this dedicated thread as well, as every post till now has been from authors :)

The Nessa Springs Slasher
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8

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Playing multiple victims (a dog also!) is an interesting take on the serial killer subject. Well thought.
Overall I enjoyed it and the execution is not that bad (the hallway has not even a sparse description, for example, but some rough edges are to be expected, given the strict time limit).


Crater Creek
SCORE: -
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Well, I must confess I wasn't able to complete it.
It would be unfair to judge this entry because I didn't see much of it.


The Cenric Family Curse
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9

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Very good one!
Although the story is a classic, the solution of the skeleton puzzle is quite entertaining.
I liked the difference in what happens when the PC tries and take the holy water with and without wearing the signet. Nice touch.


The Hallway Phantom
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5

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A really short CYOA featuring (very) juvenile humor.
Not my cup of tea, to be honest, although it's an appreciable (author's first one, I guess) try.


Personality Rights
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6

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A peculiar story, about the consciousness of being a ghost.
Not what I personally expected from an ectocomp entry, but related anyway; it wins a few points for being quite original.


Trick Or Treat
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7

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Some of the scenes show a good amount of fantasy (say, the monkey and Kate Perry). It's not a bad work overall...indeed, it's quite elaborate for the author's age. Keep it up next year as well, young lady and dad!


Hill of Souls
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1

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According to "about", this entry is supposed to be "An experiment in shifting light and setting". It seems to me it is just that, indeed.
For example, if the PC goes to a given direction, and then comes back, the starting room has a different description for the omnipresent fog and lights.
I'm almost feeling bad for the low rating, maybe I'm missing the whole point or something, but I didn't find anything that can, at least, be related to the spirit of the competition. The occasional web or gust of wind just aren't enough, sorry, as they are part of the random messages and cannot be interacted with.


Blackness
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8

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The closet could have been implemented slightly better (say, "search closet" instead of "go closet"), but the vivid descriptions more than make for it. Quite scary!


Jack
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7

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The image of a walking scarecrow with a pumpkin head, wearing a machete and a shotgun sure is fascinating.
The end leaved me a bit perplexed, though.
Not a brilliant story, but not terrible either.


A Slight Problem with Zombies
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6

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A just-one-path-is-right CYOA, with some surreal moments (the old teeth-launching lady, the fantasy weapons).
Not a big issue in itself, the story being quite short, but be ready to start from the beginning again and again if you happen to choose a wrong path.
I feel the conclusion is arguably not effective enough, as it is in a sense "ruined" by the general light tone of the story (as said above), although the final explanation is more or less adequate.


ZombieDating.zom
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7

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Well, it made me chuckle. Both some response to player's answers, and the dates.


You are a Blob!
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2

Comments:
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Although I generally am open to experimental works, well, this game is just too much idiosyncratic for my taste. Sorry.


The Voodoo You Do
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8

Comments:
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The writing is engaging enough, and the presence of a loa deity and his veve shows the author did some research.
I also appreciated the presence of at least two ways to deal with the doll to end the game. Puzzles with multiple solutions are always wellcome!


Ice House of Horrors
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8

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A different point of view on an usual human activity. Interesting experience.


Boogle
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7

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It's a nice diversion for a few minutes; the theme is interesting: dating random persons may be frightning, as you never know who s/he really is, and the automated data collection phase of profile creation is a bit disturbing.
It has sufficient appeal to score ok, IMO.


The Horrible Pyramid
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8

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Judging by the title, I was expecting a pharaoh's curse or something.
Well, I was pleasantly disappointed. Multiple endings, both are good enough for the PC.


Wisp
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6

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A false maze in a marsh, and an untangible companion. A dreamlike experience.


Chemistry and Physics
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8

Comments:
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A survival CYOA. Bonus points for the being educative.


The Tale of the Cursed Eagle
SCORE: -
Comments:
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I have never been a fan of IFs with a very short in-game time limit to find the next good move. Others may find, with reason, it makes a game more engaging and/or challenging, but I don't. I choose to not vote, for to allow a pet peeve of mine to penalize the author would not be fair.


Fish Dreams
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4

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Do fishes dream? If you think so, this game could disturb you; in this hypothesis, I'd give it a 6. The lower rating is due to the fact that the "interactive" part of "interactive fiction" has not been developed almost at all. A static short tale could have been a better medium for this particular
story.


The Profile
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8

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A mistery IF with an unusual point of view, the one of the murderer. Quite enjoyable.


Faithful Companion
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8

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The companion of the title is a ghost, who repeats the PC actions after a short delay. This mechanics is used in the few, although interesting, puzzles implemented.


The Argument-Winner's Ghost
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6

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Revenge is a dish to serve cold, they say. This story features a (tomb)stone cold one. A decent plot, I guess.


Dead Pavane for a Princess
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8

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As the author states, anyone familiar enough with Maurice Ravel would find the title amusing. If you are wondering, Ravel's original work is "Pavane pour une infante defunte", which translates to "Pavane for a dead princess".
In this one room game the player impersonates Ravel, unsurprisingly, who is trying to escape before a zombified collegue and friend catches him.
Fittingly, also the descriptions of the objects are filtered through musician eyes.
Nice game.


Headless, Hapless
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7

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A treasure-hunting game, where the treasure is...the PC head, who is an headless ghost horseman. The PC, being a ghost, can potentially go everywhere, although the possible world interactions are essentially limited to look at and open things.
An ironic little game, play it if you can spare a few minutes
.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:35 am 
Boogle is rather fascinating. One person has seen it as a cautionary tale/satire about the ever-present modern day Big Brother; another person has seen it as being about online dating and how frightening it can be; and I saw it as manipulation by a crazed Shodan-like AI.

Fascinating.


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:48 am 
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busterwrites wrote:
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I'm going to pull the "not what I intended" defense, though maybe it doesn't have much weight. I mean, if I made a game where Michele Bachmann is actually a blood-thirsty vampiress of chaos and destruction, it'd be hard for me to argue the game isn't a political piece and I just happened to think she's creepy looking. But if it helps, I'm personally fine with big data.

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Oops. Yeah, the Bachmann analogy is a pretty good one - it's difficult to say that Google's creepy without implying that that creepiness might have some serious basis. (Particularly if you think that creepiness is a big enough deal to make a game about it.)

I sympathise! It's distressingly easy to make a game that says something that you really didn't intend. This is why, when making things without a three-hour limit, you get testers who you can trust to say stuff like 'hey, so isn't that kind of racist?' or 'you realise that the PC is the worst parent ever, right?'


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:26 am 
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Boogle
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Boogle is rather fascinating. One person has seen it as a cautionary tale/satire about the ever-present modern day Big Brother; another person has seen it as being about online dating and how frightening it can be; and I saw it as manipulation by a crazed Shodan-like AI.

And I took it as just a joke entry, due to all the Twine errors and missing images. :-/


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:40 am 
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who wrote "Boogle" off as a joke entry. Sometimes I see reviews people have written of games and they seem to see all these about the game that I never picked up on, which was the case with "Boogle".


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 Post subject: Re: Ectocomp reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:21 am 
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Boogle
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So here's the difference. I just did a test to find out. It doesn't work right in Internet Explorer, which is my default .html association. I tend to use Chrome for the web, but didn't really give it a thought because Twine's compatible with either. What's apparently not compatible is the additional scripting in Boogle. As a result, I never got past the "Man or Woman" selection due to a page of errors and no other options. And that's also why the "submit" button is so tall (almost like a big box) rather than the button it's supposed to be. The result link in Internet Explorer is even an awkward series of individual letter links, which seemed buggy to me.

All this, despite the "Internet Explorer" warning on the very first screen. For me, I had looked at the first screen or two of all the games before starting any of them (and I remember reading that... now), and the day or two later when I played Boogle, I just skipped the first screen, forgetting about the MSIE warning entirely.

Well, I guess it wouldn't be a competition unless my take on at least two games was polar opposite of everybody else -- one high, one low.


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