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2003 IFComp Award Winners Announced

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the thorin's-vocal-chords-positively-nodular dept.

Classic Games (Games) 11

An anonymous reader writes "The 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition has now announced its winners - the start of the judging was previously covered on Slashdot." There are a number of sites with reviews of the competing text adventures, which are all freely downloadable, and winner 'Slouching Towards Bedlam' ("a game of multiple paths... set in a steampunk universe with Lovecraftian overtones"), and runner-up 'Risorgimento Represso' ("on a par with most Infocom games, and exceeds them at many points", but paradoxically too long to be played through within the 2-hour judging period), both get plenty of kudos from judges.

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no time limit (5, Informative)

LeninZhiv (464864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7503213)

although paradoxically too long to be played within the 2-hour judging period

It's not actually a requirement that the game be playable within two hours; the rule is that the judges only will play the game for two hours before scoring it, whether they've completed it or not. (And now that the comp's over, it's so much the better to have two such high-quality games that go above and beyond in terms of length.)

Congrats to the winners.

Re:no time limit (2, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7503495)

I'd even tend to think that it would be in the creator's best interest (with respect to the competition) to make it go over the 2hr length.

I (and a lot of other people I've talked to) usually get "final boss apathy" when playing games. Once I get towards the end of the game, and I know it, I just don't really care anymore and end up not even finishing the game. If I do finish games, it ends up being almost disappointing because, well, it's over...

Compare that "It's over..." disappointment to the "Man, I want to play moooooooore..." feeling from being in the middle of a great game, and it might help them out by having games go past the 2hr length.

Re:no time limit (0, Offtopic)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#7504867)

although paradoxically too long to be played within the 2-hour judging period

So I guess Halo would qualify for this contest?

Although, I'm TOLD it's harder/takes longer when you don't set the difficulty level to "Tenderfoot Girl Scout" mode...

Why not use Z-Code / TADS? (2, Interesting)

BobTheJanitor (114890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7503407)

I'm not surprised that the games are Z-Code and the next 10 are all either TADS or Z-Code. I don't understand why anyone would enter a Windows-only (or other proprietary formatted) game. If the home judges can't play the game, they're not going to rate it (highly or otherwise).

Re:Why not use Z-Code / TADS? (4, Insightful)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7503885)

I don't understand why anyone would enter a Windows-only (or other proprietary formatted) game.

Because some authors are familiar with a certain programming environment, and lack the time / skill to learn a new one?

As an extreme example, a couple of games over the years were submitted in HTML (+Javascript).

I'm not saying it's the best way to go about it, just offering a motive.

Besides, it's enough if only half the judges (or less) play your game, since the results are based on average scores, not popularity.

And in fact, some judges may enjoy trying out new engines. Yes, so far none of them even came close to Inform or TADS, but one day they may face competition.

Re:Why not use Z-Code / TADS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7506054)

I write all my games in lisp.

Its slow, but there are neat things you can do.

Re:Why not use Z-Code / TADS? (2, Informative)

jonadab (583620) | more than 10 years ago | (#7507314)

> Because some authors are familiar with a certain programming environment,
> and lack the time / skill to learn a new one?

This is a FAQ. The short answer is, it would take more than 50 times as long
(that's a conservative estimate) to write a moderatley decent parser (in *any*
language, even Perl) as it would take to learn e.g. Inform, which is quite
easy and has the additional benefit of coming with a more than merely
moderately decent parser. (The Inform standard library parser is the best
natural language parser I have ever seen, by a significant margin.)

The only real reason to write IF in a general-purpose language is if you
specifically want to spend most of your effort writing the parser, as an
exercise. Yes, there are people who do it for this reason.

Every year there's somebody who enters the competition who wrote in a non-IF
language for some *other* reason (usually, the one you gave). Every time the
reviews of that game concentrate on how the parser sucked so badly that the
game was basically unplayable; seldom is very much said about the story or
the characters or the atmosphere of such a game, and what is said about the
puzzles is generally dominated by parser issues, of the "I knew what I had
to do, but I couldn't figure out the $@#! syntax" sort.

You can read the DM and teach yourself Inform in a week. If you write a
decent natural-language parser in less than a year, you need to win a much
larger prize than the IF competition is giving out.

Lojban would help here. (3, Funny)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7503928)

It can be parsed like any computer language! Ah, English..."Get in the right lane". "The correct lane?". "NO! The right lane". CRASH.

Slouching Towards Bedlam (4, Interesting)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7504347)

I started playing "Slouching Towards Bedlam" yesterday evening and I'm quite impressed. The way it handles computer interfaces is quite innovative although it might fall a tiny bit short of realistic.

So far I'm intrigued enough by the concept to try to beat the puzzle(s); other works of IF often seem far too contrived. My only annoyance is that some idiot posted a spoiler of what I'm guessing will be a major plot point on r.g.i-f with no warning. I've declared a personal moratorium on reading anything related to games I haven't played to my satisfaction yet.

The final results: (1)

Quintin Stone (87952) | more than 10 years ago | (#7514219)

Slouching Towards Bedlam, by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto
Risorgimento Represso, by Michael Coyne
Scavenger, by Quintin Stone
The Erudition Chamber, by Daniel Freas
Gourmet, by Aaron A. Reed
Shadows On The Mirror, by Chrysoula Tzavelas
The Recruit, by Mike Sousa
Baluthar, by Chris Molloy Wischer
Cerulean Stowaway, by Roger Descheneaux
The Atomic Heart, by Stefan Blixt
Episode in the Life of an Artist, Peter Eastman
A Paper Moon, by Andrew Krywaniuk
Sardoria, by Anssi Raisanen
CaffeiNation, by Michael Loegering
Temple of Kaos, by Peter Gambles
Sophie's Adventure, by David Whyld
Adoo's Stinky Story, by B. Perry
Domicile, by John Evans
Internal Documents, by Tom Lechner
Sweet Dreams, by Papillon
The Adventures of the President of the United States, by Mikko Vuorinen
No Room, by Ben Heaton
Delvyn, by William A. Tilli (writing as Santoonie Corporation)
little girl in the big world, by Peter Wendrich
Bio, by David Linder
Hercules First Labor, by Bob Brown
Amnesia, by Dustin Rhodes (writing as crazydwarf)
Curse of Manorland, by James King
The Fat Lardo And The Rubber Ducky, by Somebody
Rape, Pillage, Galore!, by Kristian Kirsfeldt

Some links for the lazy (1)

crapulent (598941) | more than 10 years ago | (#7518557)

If you're a lazy windows user like me that's never played one of these before and don't know exactly what to download but you'd like to just play the winning entry, download and install WinFrotz [] and then grab the winning entry. [] Run the program, open the slouch.z5 file and you're on your way.
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