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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:11 am 
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Location: Burlington, VT
[Following post my personal views only, not being said in mod voice--which is the default for all my posts, unless I say otherwise]

I'm pretty sure the reason ParserComp was a one-off was because the organizer had other commitments the next year and couldn't do it, and no one picked up the ball. In fact there's some posts from the next year where she was planning it, and got enthusiastic responses.

So if someone wanted to pick up the organizing mantle and do ParserComp again, I'm sure you'd get an enthusiastic response. Be the change you want to see in the world!

As for running down the top 10, it does seem like it'd be nice if the Results page included the story formats and play online links instead of IFDb links, so you could easily see what stories were in what format and--perhaps more to the point--play the games directly from there. I had the same issue when trying to figure out which games were parser. Maybe someone should suggest this to the organizers! (Um, I guess I'm not being the change I want to see here. I'll write the organizers myself.)

Another historical note is that a lot of IF discussion used to take place on a Usenet group called rec.arts.int-fiction, many of whose participants eventually came here because of familiar issues with Usenet... and, as I understand it, raif was started by aficianados of hypertext fiction long before Twine who were, much to their annoyance, completely swamped by people talking about parser games.

(FWIW I'm someone who basically only ever works in parser when he does anything, partly because I've never been able to figure out how to do anything in Twine beyond straightforward branching and checks based on whether a certain passage has been visited.)

Brian--who was that? I didn't know the author of Diddlebucker was a previous entrant.


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 10:59 pm
Posts: 314
Author of one of those two parser games that placed in the top ten here. I also played and reviewed (on the authors' forum) all the games in the competition.

If you're searching for good parser games to play, I strongly recommend looking at the raw scores rather than the rankings: There are a lot more games in IFComp now, and the raw scores are more comparable across competitions. In 2013, Machine of Death had a 6.00 raw score and earned 8th place in the competition. In 2018, Diddlebucker! had a 6.00 raw score and earned 30th place.

To make it easier for those looking for top-scoring parser games, here's a list of all parser games in IFComp 2018 with a 6.00 score or better:

Alias 'The Magpie'
Junior Arithmancer
Basilica de Sangre
Terminal Interface for Models RCM301-303
The Origin of Madame Time
The Temple of Shorgil
Tethered
Charming
Dynamite Powers vs. the Ray of Night!
Ailihphilia
Diddlebucker!

If you like parser games, every one of these is worth playing. You can go even further down and find some good parser games, too. I could hardly put Six Silver Bullets down, for example.

(And, of course, there are plenty of truly excellent choice-based games in this competition.)


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 07, 2016 5:57 pm
Posts: 418
As a parser game author, also, I would find it a welcome challenge to get a parser game high on the list.


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:32 pm
Posts: 22
I agree that choice-based games have always been with us, I'm not saying they shouldn't be part of the comp. What I am saying is the two should be split into categories. One for parser and one for choice-based. For the first Interactive Fiction Competition Inform and TADS were considered different enough to have there own categories. I would say parser and choice-based are different enough to rate there own categories.


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:21 pm 
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Posts: 1401
What's the long term goal here?

It seems to me that many people (including myself) would like to see more good parser games.

It seems to me that many people (not including myself) want to do this by having less choice games or putting them in a corner.

But is this the best method? One of the absolute best parser authors of this decade is Chandler Groover, who produced Midnight. Swordfight., Eat Me, and many others.

He started in Twine, and began writing in parser once he saw that parser games were getting a lot of attention (he can correct me if I'm wrong). If there had been a division, he would be gone.

And as an author, there is very little difference in writing the two. The idea that one is more 'low effort' than another is silly. Lynnea Glasser, Emily Short, Hanon "The Hanon" Ondricek, Andrew Plotkin, CMG, and many others have moved seamlessly back and forth between the two genres. It inspires greater creativity and cross-pollinates between two fertile fields. Think of Detectiveland!

I think it would be a shame to try to grow parser games by decreasing choice. So why not find other ways to support the parser, like reviving parser comp? That would take just as much work as coming up with rules for splitting up the current comp.

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-@MathBrush on Twitter. This account was formerly known as craiglocke. The intfiction mods are the best.

The rough draft of my book on IF history and criticism is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/xd2isl3tk7dxt97/learning-text.pdf?dl=0


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:38 pm 
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Quote:
For the first Interactive Fiction Competition Inform and TADS were considered different enough to have there own categories.


But then everyone realized they *weren't*, and we've stuck with that view ever since. This is not an argument in favor of categories.

Quote:
So if someone wanted to pick up the organizing mantle and do ParserComp again, I'm sure you'd get an enthusiastic response


I agree with this view. (Probably unsurprisingly.)


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:21 am 
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Posts: 163
Wait, what exactly is the objection here? A parser game won the Comp. The last time a *non*-parser game won was Detectiveland, and before that, uh... Photopia, in 1998? (Which obviously was a parser game, though choice-based “in spirit.”)

I’m as concerned as anyone that the Nelson-esque grand parser opuses are becoming a lost art. But I’m not seeing cause for panic in the results of this or previous years’ comp results.


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:59 am 
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craiglocke wrote:
He started in Twine, and began writing in parser once he saw that parser games were getting a lot of attention (he can correct me if I'm wrong). If there had been a division, he would be gone.

I write parser games just because I get ideas for parser games, not because they get more attention. But you're totally right that I wouldn't be here if there were a division. I never played Infocom. I discovered IF through Porpentine. Choice brought me to parser.


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:28 am 
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evouga wrote:
Wait, what exactly is the objection here? A parser game won the Comp.


I can tell you my problem with this. It centers on the game that won the competition. In this comp, the parser games I scored a 7 ended up down around 16. It used to be, if you took the 7s, you got 4th place. Because I knew something like this would happen, I didn't even feel I could score Alias 'The Magpie'. I played it for 2 hours 45 minutes, wrote a review, and still didn't score it. Because I knew if I scored lower than a 10 it would drop the score. I also knew it was good enough to win the competition. I didn't want to hurt its chances because of the way things are weighted right now, so I didn't vote on it and I don't like that. It kind of puts me in a bind, I'm not really sure what I should do going forward, I might have to quit playing the comp. :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: IFcomp 2018 reviews
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:38 am 
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Posts: 422
DrkStarr wrote:
evouga wrote:
Wait, what exactly is the objection here? A parser game won the Comp.


I can tell you my problem with this. It centers on the game that won the competition. In this comp, the parser games I scored a 7 ended up down around 16. It used to be, if you took the 7s, you got 4th place. Because I knew something like this would happen, I didn't even feel I could score Alias 'The Magpie'. I played it for 2 hours 45 minutes, wrote a review, and still didn't score it. Because I knew if I scored lower than a 10 it would drop the score. I also knew it was good enough to win the competition. I didn't want to hurt its chances because of the way things are weighted right now, so I didn't vote on it and I don't like that. It kind of puts me in a bind, I'm not really sure what I should do going forward, I might have to quit playing the comp. :cry:


Even if you had scored the game a 1, its score would only drop to a 8.13, which is still well above the #2 game at 7.82. In fact, you would need to add five additional 1 votes for it to lose the top spot.

I suggest that going forward you vote your honest opinion.


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