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[Introcomp] Brief comments, and the scores I voted

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Anonymous
August 4, 2004 2:17:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Auden -- Well, that was short. Very short. So short that I didn't
really have time to do anything. What I saw seemed tidily written, if
whimsical. 6.

On the Cross -- The writing needs work. The dialogue in the opening
text has too few taglines for me to follow it easily; it swaps between
different ways of referring to the same people; and is stubbornly
vague about what is going on. The descriptions use metaphorical
language with abandon, and at its worst the effect is both florid and
confusing. ("Kenneth's lips oscillated" has to be one of the less
felicitous descriptions of facial expression I've read: I'm not sure
what it would look like, but I'm sure that it's hilarious. Which is
not, I think, the effect the author was going for.) Both dialogue and
descriptive prose could be cleaned up, but I think the author might
benefit from working with a book on conventional fiction techniques,
as I sense that there are interesting ideas here which he is not
expressing clearly.

A few moves in, I did something that seemed perfectly intelligent and
reasonable, and it resulted in my death. I would need a stronger
opening hook to be willing to put up with instant death actions.
(Note: the actual *plot* of the beginning, as far as I understood it,
is fine: being left in the desert to die would be a compelling
motivation to get myself out of there, assuming that I cared about the
character in the first place. Unfortunately, the prologue left me
extremely unclear on who I was, let alone what I was doing there and
why I should feel sympathy for my PC.)

This needs more controlled writing and better design to work for me.
2.


Herbalist/Runes -- Hm. Lots of comma splices. I am not as much of a
punctuation stickler as some, and I believe that there are times when
a comma splice can be justified as a stylistic choice, but here it
mostly comes across as sloppy. And then, whoa, the room descriptions
go away entirely and there's nothing to do but wander an undescribed
map picking up various plants, which seem to have no features aside
from their names.

This is not really an introduction; this is the unfinished
very-beginning of a game. Don't take this too hard, author: your idea
might be just fine. You simply haven't written enough of it yet for
me to tell. 1.

Jabberwocky -- This feels a little like "For a Change", or a more
accessible form of "Gostak", in that you spend a lot of your time
wandering around interacting with objects and creatures that don't
exist in our world. The envisioning is pretty well done, though, with
some neat imagery and a subtle sense of building menace. The
implementation is also pretty sturdy, and there are some nice touches
to let you know when you've made progress. I like using the poem as
both hint source and scoring system. Would I play more? Sure. 8.

Passenger -- Lots of little touches missing here. Line breaks are
erratic. Critical actions are underclued. You can search something
after you've taken it, but if you haven't yet taken it, >SEARCH THING
produces a misleading "Not useful." response. This might be going
somewhere good -- I feel moderately interested in the plot, but I
really don't quite have enough information to be deeply invested
therein. Still, if it does get made into a complete game, that game
will need to be more thoroughly tested than this entry, I think. 5.

A Bet's A Bet -- Pacing seems a little off. I didn't mind replaying
the scenario once or twice, but having to do so over and over in order
to take care of problems I had no way to anticipate... that was a
pain. Nor did I like having to examine the sleigh twice in order to
find out critical information about where the presents were. Spent a
while stuck on that one. And what's up with the trivia questions? I
mean, okay, they're fine, but they do interfere in my sense of
engagement with the game. I should confess, though, that I really
don't like the legend o' Santa very much, and feel something between
exasperation and deep weariness at trailers for kiddie Christmas
movies. This reminded me of that. Not the target audience, sorry. 4.

The Homework of Little Carl Gauss -- At the start I'm a little annoyed
by the aggressive railroading: it's pretty much impossible to do
anything during the first few moves, and any attempts to change that
are met with pretty flimsy excuses, such as "Not yet..." *Why* not
yet? Work with me a little here. And then it's all a virtual
reality, and I've seen that before, and why does our crewmate have to
be named Scotty anyway?

Things open up soon, and none of this is really damning, but I am not
feeling hooked. Sometimes I can't justify as well as I'd like why
something doesn't grab me. But this didn't. 3.
Anonymous
August 5, 2004 12:41:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

"James Bond" <wildblinker007@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:10h2q676pb3qf11@corp.supernews.com...
> Oh, and just in case anybody is horribly offended by this:
>
> S
> P
> O
> I
> L
> E
> R
> S
> P
> A
> C
> E
>
>
>
> Not to mention that--I mean, they're freaking lions! If you
> don't already see "lions+me=bad" in the first turn then you have no
business
> playing adventure games. There's no subtle building of unease here,
> rather--especialy with the sounds--you are more akin to grabbing the
> unpuspecting player by the lepells and screaming "BE AFRAID! BE VERY, EVRY
> AFRAID!" into his face while punching him or her repeatedly in the
stomach.

Much snipped but I have nothing to add, I just like saying: "LIONS!"

ObIF: Cattus Atrox.

--
Daphne
Anonymous
August 5, 2004 12:43:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

> If there's truly not anything to do for the first five or seven moves,
> why not have the game start eight moves later?

Ambience. See "Rameses" by Stephen Bond.

Cheers,
jon
Related resources
Anonymous
August 5, 2004 3:25:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Michael Roy wrote:

> If there's truly not anything to do for the first five or seven moves,
> why not have the game start eight moves later?

it's a intro... to the intro. And then of course you can
examine/touch/push the portal, the lions, the meat, try to escape, smell
stuff... and the description changes continuously (with sounds) since
the lions are closing on you... why don't you just download it and give
it a try? :) 

ciao
S
Anonymous
August 5, 2004 3:25:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Stefano Gaburri wrote:
>
>
> Michael Roy wrote:
>
>> If there's truly not anything to do for the first five or seven moves,
>> why not have the game start eight moves later?
>
>
> it's a intro... to the intro. And then of course you can
> examine/touch/push the portal, the lions, the meat, try to escape, smell
> stuff... and the description changes continuously (with sounds) since
> the lions are closing on you... why don't you just download it and give
> it a try? :) 
>
> ciao
> S
>

Unfortunately I was off doing other things during the voting period and
as far as I can tell, the Intro Comp games are no longer hosted at
www.xyzzynews.com/introcomp/ and not yet archived at
http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXgamesXmini-...,
but I'll take a look at it as soon as I can find a copy.

Until then I'll have to be vague in my comments, but from your
description of the above, it sounds as if there is *something* to do,
whether or not it ends up being fruitful in terms of game progress.
However, I feel that the mainstream fiction rule "start with action, not
exposition" applies to IF as well (though possibly not to your game
intro specifically, as I haven't seen it). If Melville had started Moby
Dick with one of the cetology chapters the chances are that I would have
dropped it on page one and by the same token, the chances are that I'd
do the same with a work of IF if my first few commands respond with
messages similar to "You can't do that."

Now, I wouldn't mind an intro-to-the-intro for ambiance if I have
something to be doing in it, but I do mind if I realize on turn two or
three that I might as well just type "z.z.z.z.z." That is, if you're
making me stay somewhere for a while, make sure it's an interesting
place to be. :-)

Michael
Anonymous
August 6, 2004 3:35:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

I would be particularly interested to hear from the author of "Runes".
I did not enjoy the game overmuch, as it felt too unfinished to me to
provide a proper introduction, and I have no real understanding of the
premise or point of the game. Still, something about it roused my
curiosity. What _were_ we going to do with all those plants?

Carolyn
Anonymous
August 8, 2004 4:20:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

I didn't get a chance during the introcomp, and just tried to download the
introcomp games, but they weren't on the xyzzynews page, and they weren't
on the archive. Where can I get them?

--
------------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
tilford@ugcs.caltech.edu
Anonymous
August 10, 2004 1:02:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Heya.

Mark J. Tilford wrote in message ...
>I didn't get a chance during the introcomp, and just tried to download the
>introcomp games, but they weren't on the xyzzynews page, and they weren't
>on the archive. Where can I get them?
>
>--
>------------------------
>Mark Jeffrey Tilford
>tilford@ugcs.caltech.edu

See the message of Dan Shiovitz - [Reviews]IntroComp2004, dated 5-8-04.

Greetz, Katzy
Anonymous
August 11, 2004 3:20:31 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 21:02:51 +0200, Katzy <katzy@noname.at.all> wrote:
> Heya.
>
> Mark J. Tilford wrote in message ...
>>I didn't get a chance during the introcomp, and just tried to download the
>>introcomp games, but they weren't on the xyzzynews page, and they weren't
>>on the archive. Where can I get them?
>>
>>--
>>------------------------
>>Mark Jeffrey Tilford
>>tilford@ugcs.caltech.edu
>
> See the message of Dan Shiovitz - [Reviews]IntroComp2004, dated 5-8-04.
>
> Greetz, Katzy
>

I saw one URL in that article, and it pointed to a place where his reviews
were stored, not the games.

--
------------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
tilford@ugcs.caltech.edu
Anonymous
August 11, 2004 4:50:15 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.int-fiction (More info?)

Michael Roy <invalid@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> Unfortunately I was off doing other things during the voting period and
> as far as I can tell, the Intro Comp games are no longer hosted at
> www.xyzzynews.com/introcomp/ and not yet archived at
> http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXgamesXmini-...,
> but I'll take a look at it as soon as I can find a copy.

Sorry 'bout that - a bit of an oversight on my part, and I'm *very* glad
someone pointed it out. I've uploaded IntroComp04.zip to the 'incoming'
folder of the archive just now.

Regards,
Jacqueline A. Lott

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