Wednesday, July 23, 2014

IntroComp Introduction

So there are ten games in IntroComp, which is the second-most behind 2011. Thanks again to Jacqueline Ashwell for organizing this and for regular communication with prospective authors--and for extending the deadline--and congratulations to those who entered. I had an idea for a game this year, but I didn't write enough for people to look at. It's the same game as last year, but fortunately, the reason it was delayed was...other games.

TL/DR: I want to make time to play and judge these games, and I hope you can, too, even if you cannot hit them all!
I see some familiar authors and some new authors, and there seems to be a good variety of genres, and the blurbs all look pretty strong.

I managed to test 4 of the games, and I'll discuss them with minimal comment, because I want to avoid seeming like I am canvassing for votes in the authors' places. I will review them once IntroComp is over. The usual vanilla things about authors getting back to me and improving stuff apply here--I think the process went well. These games are:

* Going Down, by Hanon Ondricek
* Hornets' Nest, by Jason Lautzenheiser
* The Scroll Thief: A Tribute to the Enchanter Trilogy, by Daniel M. Stelzer
* The Terrible Doubt of Appearances, by Buster Hudson

The last two were with people I hadn't worked with before, which is a valuable and good experience. I wasn't able to give Scroll Thief as much attention as I hoped, but that was more due to my managing time poorly. GD is an inklewriter game, originally written in Inform 7 (from a very early draft,) and the other three are Inform 7. I will have general evaluations after August 15th.

The six I plan to review during the contest are

1st and the Last of the Ninja, by nmelssx
Bridges and Balloons, by Molly Geene (Greene?)
The Cuckold's Egg, by Veronica Devon
The Devil in the Details, by Jerry Ford
Mount Imperius, by kaleidofish
Tales of the Soul Thief, by David Whyld

That leaves a review every five days.

When I test for an author, it often opens up ways to make my game clearer, or things to check on. And that helps, long-term. So I encourage anyone to make time to test at least one game for IFComp, or for sending feedback to anyone whose work supports scripting. For instance, TRANSCRIPT on an Inform game gives a transcript. For the InkleWriter game, you can cut/paste the entire text from the web browser. Authors (the ones serious about improving) do appreciate things, and the more feedback they get, the more IntroComp is likely to spawn a cool game.

One other thing about feedback--it helps you with your own stuff. To indulge in minor self-promotion. After the deadline, I cleaned up a lot in each of Shuffling Around, A Roiling Original and Threediopolis. (I've still got stuff to do. If anyone is interested in general abuse testing, I'd be grateful, and I'd be glad to trade testing efforts. I have a tester for ARO who is finding neat stuff and spurring a lot of features, but there can always be one more. You don't have to be terribly technical or adept to test things.)


  1. Betatesting parser IF has been an interesting analytical experience, the handful of times that I've done it.

    I think I'll run through IntroComp. Thanks for announcing.

    1. Yeah. There's a lot to learn from testing. I've learned a lot of empathy for others' mistakes, and also it's been a relief to get forgiveness from my testers for my own bad mistakes.

      (Belatedly) glad to see you reviewing, too. Your post in intfiction helped nudge me back to this, which I wanted to do.