QuestComp 2013

We've been discussing the idea of a Quest-only Interactive Fiction competition for some time now, and it's beginning to take shape! Everyone is still working on making this happen, and there's a long way to go, so don't get too excited just yet. This post is to let everyone know so that anyone who wants to participate will have plenty of time to work on their entry should they decide that they want to compete. None of this is set in stone, but with any luck the rules will be solid very soon.

For now, scroll down to the post by TriangleGames to get the most in-depth info on rules for you entry. Be sure to express any interest you may have in competing or judging to help us make early estimates!

Currently the rules are:
[*]You must use Quest to run your game.[/*]
[*]You must implement 2 to 3 features of Quest in an "interesting" way. You will be allowed to explain how you've done this, I wouldn't sweat too much over it.[/*]
[*]The theme of this year's competition might be Plague. This one is subject to some change, but if it's still looking that way in a week, I'll edit the post to reflect that.[/*]
[*]Tentative submission deadline is around the beginning of June, be ready to submit by then![/*]
[*]There will be no prizes, except honor, glory, and bragging rights. Maybe you can put it on a resume.[/*]
[*]When the competition is over and the winner has been announced, you may be expected to release the source code of your game, to help others learn to use the software. So don't put your bank info in the comments and don't put your unpatented turbo-code if you want to keep it secret.[/*]

So far, that's it! If you'd like to get a more in-depth look at all that, or especially if you would like to show support for the competition or offer help, since we're still in need you can do so on the QuestComp? topic in the Quest 5 forum.
I'll edit this post to reflect any changes in the rules, and I'll probably post to the topic about updates in the progress of the competition is well. Thanks, and good luck!

The following is a preview which should be enough for entrants to start declaring their intent to participate and begin work on their games. I am currently waiting for some feedback from Alex on a couple of administrative points, and I still need to write up the rules for judging. I want to keep things moving, however, and I have most of the official announcement prepared. For any other mod who might feel comfortable providing me these assertions, what I still need to know is:
whether I have official permission to tell entrants that the prize includes a custom forums title, and
where the official contest thread should be posted (I was thinking "Site Announcements and Feedback").
If you just want to use THIS thread, I'll edit the "preview" out of this post and send the full version to homeeman so he can edit it into the starting post.

QuestComp 2013

Welcome to QuestComp 2013, the very first Quest exclusive IF competition!
With v5.4 (beta) up and running, Quest has more to offer designers than ever,
like scripts for gamebooks, a new text processor, and script specific code viewing.
So, join the adventure, and be a Questing hero!

Competition Overview
The primary goal of authors entering the competition (aside from making a quality game)
is to use the features and capabilities of Quest in exciting and innovative ways.

Since IF is a text-based game medium, good writing is key to a good game. So, there is also
a creative theme (Plague), to inspire and challenge your writing skills.
Details are in the "Rules For Entrants And Submissions" section, below.

Like the classic hero, your reward will be honor, respect and glory.
Fortune smiles upon thee! There is also no entrance fee.

March 31: Deadline for declaring intent to enter
I also ask that anyone interested in judging please volunteer by this date, as I will be using the ratio of entrants to judges in finalizing both the game length and judging period, should they need to be changed.
May 31: Deadline for submitting finished games
June 31: Date for completion of judging
This date may be extended after entrants and judges have been counted.
NOTE: To allow for time-zone differences, exact cut-off for deadlines is 12 noon GMT (8am EDT) of the following day.

Rules For Entrants And Submissions
With the exception of beta testing (which is strongly encouraged), entrants are not to discuss the contents of their game with anyone until after judging is completed and a winner is announced.

[list][*] All entrants must declare their intent to compete no later than March 31.[/*:m]
[*] Each entrant will submit one(1) game only, no later than May 31.[/*:m]
[*] The creative theme is Plague. You are encouraged to use the theme in any way you like, and you may stretch your personal interpretation as far as it is still recognizable. Just for reference purposes: Plague[/*:m]
[*] Each submission is to focus on 1 to 3 specific features of Quest selected from the following list. MAKE SURE to state which feature(s) you selected when you submit your game.[/*:m][/list:u]

[list][list][*] Auto-mapping
[*] POV switching[/*:m]
[*] Light/Darkness[/*:m]
[*] Multimedia content (use it well, not profusely, IF is text based)[/*:m]
[*] Inserted links within main text body ("ObjectLink" "ExitLink" etc)[/*:m]
[*] Panes and/or UI customization
[*] Direct html text processor[/*:m]
[*] Gamebook scripts[/*:m]
[*] Scope controlled object/exit hyperlink activity[/*:m]
[*] Enhanced list and dictionary attribute types[/*:m][/list:u][/*:m][/list:u]

[list][*] Submissions must be made using Quest 5.3 or 5.4 beta.
Your use of Quest's features will be judged individually based on the feature(s) you selected.[/*:m]
[*] EXTRA CHALLENGE BONUS: Include "reviving Bob with the defibrillator" from the Quest tutorial game. As long as the person's name is a derivative of Bob or Robert, this idea may be reinterpreted however necessary to suit the genre you are working in (i.e. a spell named defibrillaticus, or a steam-punk device similar to a defibrillator). [/*:m][/list:u]

Again, this is a preview designed to let people start working on their entries.

So my game, WAKE, is a plague-themed IF. Since i've already started it, would I be unable to enter the competition?

Alex wrote:Thanks, those rules sounds good to me. I'll put a page up on the main website in the next day or two, assuming nobody wants to make any modifications.

So, Alex has my complete write-up for the comp and will be putting it up soon. In the meantime, the full rules are listed in the original discussion topic, over here, and people can get started on their games. If anything's unclear about how to declare intent to enter after the new page goes up, I'll explain it then.

Asyranok wrote:So my game, WAKE, is a plague-themed IF. Since I've already started it, would I be unable to enter the competition?

How long have you been working on it?

EDIT: I got a pretty good look at your game while trying to help you fix the problem with reverting to 5.3 (I hope that works out. If not, I would try going to 5.4 again and try to fix the problems there). That game has a lot of work put into it already. You should really make a different one if you want to enter the comp. My suggestion would be to either A) think of a diferent interpretation for "plague" so you don't feel like you're re-hashing the same thing, or B) make some kind of sequel/prequel to WAKE.

OLD wrote:I'm a little torn on that. To me, it mostly depends on exactly how long ago you started it. I know it's been at least a few days, but frankly with the way we rushed from coming up with the idea for the comp to actually "starting" it, I sort of expect people may have already begun working on submissions.
I wish we could've gotten it set-up a little earlier, so people had more time to work, and I hope to provide at least a little more time next year. Also, since this is the first year (and because it was put together very quickly) there's no real prize beyond bragging rights, so I don't expect people to be real touchy about who started when. I'll let you give me some idea how far into it you are before I make a final decision, and if people want to weigh-in their opinions, I'll hear them out. Also, keep in mind that submission games are to be "approximately" movie length (1-1/2 to 2 hours), must be complete and submitted by May31, and will be freely distributed on the site when judging starts. So, if you wanted to make WAKE a bigger game and take more time to work on it, that might be something to consider.

Ok, cool. Also, who is "OLD"?

If my game does end up being allowed for consideration, I will throw it into the mix. Although I don't know if it will be 100% done by the end date. Also, the game may end up being much longer than a 2 hour adventure. If things fall into place, I will be happy to work it into the competition, but I'm not going to mold it around the competition. Thanks for the info.

Asyranok wrote:Ok, cool. Also, who is "OLD"?

OLD is what I had written before my edit. I don't like to rip out large portions of my own posts when I edit them, because it seems "dishonest." I wouldn't want someone accusing me of trying to "hide" a previous statement.

I have created a page here:

Let me know if anything needs changing.

I'm away for the next few days - back on Tuesday 12th March. I'll post a blog announcement and create links from the main website when I get back, presuming everything looks OK.

Looks solid to me. I notice the "Rules For Judges" are not there, but that shouldn't really matter for another month or so.

Wow. So is there anyone who intents to enter?

Well, I'm hoping to. :)
I have started getting e-mail from users on intfiction. Well, "a" user, so far.

And nobody from over here? Come on guys!

Also, TriangleGames you need to send an email to yourself. :D

I will not be entering. Here's my thought process, if it helps understand (possibly) a small demographic of potential entrees.

I am working on a game that I've spent dozens of hours on already. I have a 9-5 job as a software QC engineer. My time, therefore, is limited. I am not keen on the idea of working on two projects at once, especially when the second one is under the pressure of a deadline.

First, the possibility of doing two at one time, for someone with my personality, reinforces the idea that I don't need to finish one before starting another. I have a history of starting things and not finishing them - therefore I force myself to complete things before I get started on a related project for fun. That is how I have finished writing my novels and short stories, and is the only way I can make something high quality.

That being said, I have helped teach myself how to finish things at this point - I can potentially do two projects at once and complete both of them at a quality level. But not when I have a limited time. For me, I need to make a quality story in a game. A few rooms with a barely coherent plot and a couple puzzles is an unacceptable result to me. With that in mind, I have spent about 24 hours or more on WAKE, and it has yielded about 1 hour of gameplay.

This contest requires about a two hour gameplay experience. For me, that would equate to 40 or more hours of work put into my entry. I have two and half months to put in 40 hours of work to something that is merely a hobby - as it is done after work.

So for me, It isn't possible unless my current entry qualifies. I feel like quite a few people will have similar reasons for not wanting to enter, since they want to focus on their current projects. And not only that, but the reward of bragging rights is no more juicy than being rewarded with tons of five star reviews and having your game listed in the "Top 10" category. In fact, that seems like a more desirable goal that being able to put "Winner of QuestComp 2013" under my game's title - because, if I was a new member to the website, or someone that isn't paying attention to the news and forums and only playing games - that would have a lot less meaning that "A Top Ten Rated Game".

Hope this is some useful insight. I'm still excited for you guys!

I can totally relate to what you're saying about "finishing projects." I think part of the reason it gets hard for creative people to stay focused is that there's just always "shiny new ideas" to distract them. Maybe you'll be in a better position to enter next year, and hopefully we'll have more of a reward. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing WAKE when it's done.

I'm quite determined to follow through on my "main game," so my plan for making an entry without "dropping" my main game is to just make sure I do a few minutes of work on it every day. I find that if I can just keep a thing on my list of dailies than it's less likely to fall by the way side, even if progress slows down for a while.

@sonic102: I'll be sure to e-mail me. :) BTW, I don't think I have an official e-mail from you yet, either.

Looks good, except you may want to include exactly what criteria you would like to see in the intent to enter. You can refer to this page for how SpringThing did it (which is how I sent mine). Good luck to everybody!

Just a thought about the contest page: it says at least twice that an entrant must declare intent to participate, but I'm not seeing anything that says *how* to declare intent. I had seen mention in this thread about mailing someone, but I think it might be good for someone who has only seen the contest page to know how to actually enter! :)

Yeah, that's a problem I hope to sort out when Alex gets back from ... whever he went until Tuesday. I posted my e-mail on intfiction and people have been contacting me.

Another thought: are we going to stipulate which player (online web or offline) will be used to judge the games? Even if it's both, I think it would be good to mention what the target platforms are.

My preference: given the known bugs with the web player, as well its overall sluggishness and the fact that the game will time out and you'll lose all your progress if life calls you away for a certain period of time (which has been a point of contention with Quest games in other IF comps in the past), I'd prefer that for this comp we target the offline player. I think generally features work well enough in both, but I'd like it where if something works well in the offline player and either is broken in the web player or buggy, that we can go with the more stable offline environment as the official judgment platform.

Edit: I just saw this was mentioned in the *other* QuestComp thread. :) So consider this a "ping" about the subject.

Someone said something about apple users potentially wanting to judge. I couldn't really think of a smooth way to handle that though considering some entrants definitely would need their games played off-line for full function. So, I'll make sure that goes into the Rules For Judging on the comp page when Alex gets back. Thanks for reminding me, I had actually forgotten about that point!

The *other* QuestComp thread suggested that a message be put in the intro warning of the online player bugs.

EDIT: A message from the past for the present:

Try to reach as many people as possible. Ideally, players should be able to choose whether they play your game in an online browser or offline. Not everybody can be online all the time, or wants to be; not everybody wants to bother with getting the right interpreter. Of course, this is not possible for every platform; but if it's possible, you should do it. Similarly, a game that runs only in Windows is not the best idea.

It's an IFForum post from 2012, and it is a word of warning for us. (I think it was meant for Inform, because of Parchment, but it applies to Quest as well. )

I think Gargoyle can run Quest, because Geas, a part of Gargoyle is a Quest Runner duplicate, but haven't tried it out yet.

Yep, I've read that stuff before. :) I was just hoping that in this case, for a Quest-only comp, we might be able to relax things a bit, at least for the first go around, so that we can focus on getting the gameplay right and worry less about what feature will work online or will trip up which browser bug. I think notification of which games don't play well in the browser is a good idea if it allows the game author some freedom from a strict online play requirement.

I have an idea for a prize: The game turns into an Android app.

(Not that it is a good prize - Alex will turn any good game into an app if the author wishes.)

It would be cool if it just turned into an Android... :lol:

I suppose if someone wanted to, and they were confident in the quality of their game, they could sell the app, for say $1 or $2, and then honestly mention in its description that it had won QuestComp 2013... :wink:
Obviously, the game would be free here on this site, but not as an app.

TG, I don't think you should be both a judge and a competitor. Or atleast, you shouldn't judge your own game, but that's obvious.

Do people usually do both? I was kind of hoping I wouldn't need to judge, but I guess that'll kind of depend on how many entrants/judges we end up with. If I really had to I could drop out of competing to be a judge. And yes, I would hope its obvious that no one should judge their own game.

Alex wrote:


...There's still about two weeks left until the cutoff date for intent to enter, so I'm hoping to see things pick up. A comp of 2 to 4 people would be a little ... adjective

Agreed. I think I'll send a mini newsletter to the mailing list, to see if that captures more interest.

Thanks! I've gotten several more responses already.
We now have 4 confirmed entrants, plus myself (if I don't have to become a judge, instead), and two other hopefuls.
So, that figure has changed from 2-4 then to 4-7 now!

We are going to need more judges! The one(1) confirmed judge I have now will only be able to use the web-player. One of the "hopeful" entrants might drop back to judging (I'm not expecting that), and I am willing to drop out to judge if I have to. That's still not much to work with though.

There is one other person I know of who would make a good "professional judge." He's very honest and very direct; you know, kind of like Simon Cowell. I'm not going to ask anyone to participate directly, it's strictly volunteer. However, members of the community may certainly feel free to make suggestions to one another.

Does every judge have to focus on all aspects of a story.

What I mean is, can a judge focus on the gamplay and mechanics of a story, while another judge looks and the code and inclusion of required functionality?

If that is true, I can be a judge focusing on gameplay/story/mechanics. I am not good enough at quest, nor do i have enough time to go through the code and back end of a game though.

Asyranok wrote:Does every judge have to focus on all aspects ...
... can a judge focus on the gameplay and mechanics ...
... I am not good enough at quest, nor do i have enough time to go through the code and back end of a game ...

I hadn't really thought about this before, so I had to consider it carefully. Ideally, judges (or at least a judge) would be able to actually review each game's code and examine exactly how the features were implemented. I know that the reality is a good programer can put extremely complex concepts into place, with amazing benefits, that are so seamless a player wouldn't even know about it. However, things being what they are, I can't count on having enough judges with enough programming knowledge to really look at the games' codes with that kind of in-depth scrutiny.

So, I'm hoping that by having a familiarity with a "baseline" (i.e. how a "standard" Quest game looks and performs "by default"), the inclusion of various features will be relatively plain and obvious to the judges. In other words, I expect that games will be judged almost entirely based on the play experience they provide, and not their actual code. If need be, judges should take a brief review of the features in use by reading the wiki entries about those features, so that they can recognize what effect they've had on the gameplay and mechanics.

Based on how Quest works and the ways in which the features affect the games, I believe this will be enough. If any entrants take issue with this "plan," I shall have to strive to find at least one judge who can examine the code more closely, but I can't force anyone to be a judge, so I can't promise that that will be possible. Fortunately, again, I don't believe it would be necessary anyway.

Therefore, while anyone with the time and ability to judge the code itself is encouraged to volunteer and fill that "gap,"
my official answer is that such an ability is not a requirement of being a judge.

Additionally, it is my intention to provide judges with a more thorough "guideline" on how to judge the games, simply to ensure that everyone is working with same ideas in mind and that judging is handled in a consistent and even-handed manner. In my opinion, it would do no good to have some judges critically examining code and others not, especially since there is a fair chance that not every judge will play every game

TriangleGames wrote:Based on how Quest works and the ways in which the features affect the games, I believe this will be enough. If any entrants take issue with this "plan," I shall have to strive to find at least one judge who can examine the code more closely, but I can't force anyone to be a judge, so I can't promise that that will be possible. Fortunately, again, I don't believe it would be necessary anyway.

For fairness, all judges should have an equal knowledge. So however the game is 'scored' it's not biased with a coding expert compared to those who won't know if the code is impressive or not. It might be important if there is a tie-breaker situation because a 'fancy' bit of coding (with a poorer story) might win over a better written story (with no 'fancy' coding) and that might be unfair if the point of text adventures, in truth, is the story not the 'gift-wrapping'.

So the best way to judge it is by the perception of a player so all judges are on equal-footing.

If coders wan't to know how it's implemented then leave it to the end of the competition and a tutorial thread could be given on it.

Yeah, I'm not sure scoring the game based on code quality is a good idea. You could theoretically have someone who made an amazing game that's super fun to play, but they could lose tons of points because on the code side it's the most convoluted, horribly implemented mess of spaghetti code you've ever seen.

I think the idea of having the code available for people to look at and learn from is a great idea, but I don't think it should be a judging criteria for the competition.


Many thanks to Phillip Zolla for sponsoring a first prize of £100 in the QuestComp!

Well, I was thinking of 'having a judge who could judge the code' as a thing I was failing to provide, so if the consensus is that it would be a bad idea anyway ... then huzzah! :lol:
I'll just say that judging is to be based on the play experience and not the code as a rule. Makes things easier for me!

Also, I've just noticed Alex's announcement! So, huzzah again! Thank you very much Phillip!

BTW: For any silly Americans (like me) who don't already know, that's apx. $151 in U.S. currency.

I've been meaning to ask about how people usually "measure game length" for text adventures. In other words, what exactly does "two hours" mean?
A couple of things have occurred to me that leave me unsure what the general view on that is. One is the fact that many games have a lot of "flavor text," which could use up a person's time reading scenery descriptions or fiddling with "throw-away" items. The second is that it takes much longer to finish while trying to figure everything out. Where as, if a person already knows what to do, they could blast through the game in a fraction of the time.
So how do I, as the designer who already knows what to do, estimate how long it will take a player to complete the game? Is there a rule of thumb, like "each room should take apx. 2 minutes," in the same way that screenplay writers expect 1 page to be roughly 1 minute of screen time?

TriangleGames wrote:I've been meaning to ask about how people usually "measure game length" for text adventures. In other words, what exactly does "two hours" mean?
A couple of things have occurred to me that leave me unsure what the general view on that is. One is the fact that many games have a lot of "flavor text," which could use up a person's time reading scenery descriptions or fiddling with "throw-away" items. The second is that it takes much longer to finish while trying to figure everything out. Where as, if a person already knows what to do, they could blast through the game in a fraction of the time.

There is no way anyone can write a game to be sure that it can be solved in 2 hours. The judges own personal time management should be considered to play the games not the length it takes to play a game.

A suggestion, therefore, is that each game is played for exactly 2 hours for example. If the game is finished before that then good. The game's story will have been assessed from beginning to end and can be judged on that score. If the judge is still playing it at the 2 hour mark then obviously they save their position and request a walkthru to the game (which our esteemed organizer should have copies of from each entrant). Then with this walkthru they can quickly finish the game and assess the story like the more quicker solved games.

So all games are NOT assessed by length of play but by their story, playability, presentation, etc. What do you think?

That's pretty similar to what you see in the Spring Thing competition, and I think that would work fine. If the judge hits the two hour mark and doesn't feel like playing through the rest of the game, they can legally and with free conscience use the walkthrough.

For some reason, I thought I had included a statement in the Rules For Entrants that suggested a requirement on game length. Looking back over the official comp page however, I see that is NOT the case. After considering the comments above, I would agree it's better left out. A related question which I'm open to opinions on is whether the judges should be required to spend any particular amount of time on each game. The way the rules are presented now, judges are encouraged to try and complete each game, but they are not required to play each game any longer than they want.
QuestComp wrote:Judges are encouraged to play each game as long as they want and try to finish each one. However, they are not required to finish before voting (especially if the game takes more than about 1-1/2 to 2 hours). There is no minimum time length that must be spent on each game.

I looked to other well known comps when considering how to write up our own, so I'm looking back at them again now. Spring Thing makes it clear that judges are not required to finish the games, and are not required to play any minimum length of time.
Spring Thing wrote:Judges are encouraged to spend as long as they want on each game, and are encouraged to try to finish each one. In the end, however, they are not required to finish before voting (especially if the game takes more than about two evenings to complete). Nor, for that matter, is there any particular minimum time length that must be spent on each game.

IF Comp actually goes so far as to say that judgments must be made on "at most the first two hours," leaving it to be assumed that judges may stop sooner.
IF Comp wrote:Judges must base their judgement of each game on at most the first two hours of play. If a judge is still playing a game at the end of a cumulative two hours of playing time and wishes to continue playing it, the judge must rate the game and not change that rating later before continuing play. Authors may write a game of any length they desire, but should keep this rule in mind when determining the length of their entry.

Although "catching the audience's attention" is an important part of good writing, I personally would prefer if judges actually were required to play a certain amount of time, to make sure each game gets a fair chance to impress them. If a game starts off slow but improves as it goes along, it would be a shame for a judge to only play the opening piece. Clearly that's not usually the case in other comps, though. So, what are your thoughts on it? Is the rule we're using fine the way it is, or should we consider modifying it?

EDIT: To be clear, making the judges play a minimum time would be my personal, emotional, preference, but I'm not sure it's actually appropriate for this kind of comp, especially since neither of the "big name" comps do it that way.

I would side with Spring Thing for time limits, in my opinion.

I sympathize with your sentiment, but I think a big part of the reason the rules are set up this way is because judges are scarce, and it works best to make things work for their schedule, and not assume that they'll approach the responsibility of judging in a juvenile sense and give unfair ratings.
It's very hard to be strict about something that's so casual and community driven, but because it's set up that way you don't really have to. The people that agree to judge are hopefully agreeing to do so for the right reasons, and even if they aren't, they can't do too much damage. Especially not if there are a lot of judges.

Okay then, I think I can leave the rules as they are for judging. Next question!

Based on comments from a few potential entrants, I'm wondering if people would like more time for game design. The only real reason I made the deadlines as short as they are was to minimize overlap with IFComp, which I expect to start relatively soon based on the timeline of previous years. However, if a consensus shows that participants would like the deadline for game submissions pushed back by a couple of weeks or even a month, I'd be willing to consider that. So, raise your hand if you want the game submission deadline extended...and then also post something, since I can't actually see your hands.

More time is always a good thing, in my view.

There's no waving smiley, so you can use your imagination. :D

I would agree that more time is a good thing. It's too early for me to be sure whether or not I would need more time, but if I don't need more time and I get more time, I won't complain.

More days to make? What do you mean? There are 61 more days and an extra 10 if you secretly start working now. :D

Is there any rule against collaborations for QuestComp? Or does it have to be a completely solo effort?

sgreig wrote:Is there any rule against collaborations for QuestComp? Or does it have to be a completely solo effort?

I would say historically there's no reason not to. After all, Colossal Cave Adventure was a collaboration.

So was Zork

The only rule I would give is maximum collaboration limit 10.

You may collaborate.

We now have 10(ten) intending contestants! (if you count me)
We also have ... 1(one) judge! (unless I drop out of competing to judge)

So, if you have any friends that might enjoy playing some text games, feel free to point them in this direction...
I am very open to suggestions on enticing more judges. Fortunately, there's still a little over two months until the game submission deadline.

The Pixie
I would have no problem with authors also being judges, though obviously they cannot judge their own. You might want to normalise a judge's score before adding them in though (easier said than done I admit). You may well find some people fail to complete their game and could then judge too.

You do need more than one judge though!

I'm up for judging if you're allowing authors to enter.

I am in an awkward position. I'm having trouble with something relative simple (in theory) in my game, but we're not supposed to "talk about" our games during the contest, and it seems weird to ask for help from people who may potentially be in competition with me. To make it worse, the best person to respond to this dilemma would be the competition's coordinator ... which is me.
... I am at a loss for words ... suggestions? :oops:

EDIT: I decided on a solution. I'm gonna try to make it work in a different game. Perhaps that will help me figure out what's wrong. If not, I can ask for help with the game that is not for the comp. If anyone has a problem with this policy, PLEASE LET ME KNOW, otherwise anyone else in this situation should apply the same method.

As for the asking for help thing, this is a community of people that are here to help you with your games: when I made the game I'm submitting to Spring Thing, I found several posts in the Quest 5 forum that had been answered by sgreig, who has turned out be competition in the Spring Thing competition. My point being he has helped me (perhaps without knowing it) and I'm sure that there are no ill wishes there. Just the same, I would do the same for him were I to find that I could. What's more, I'm sure everyone here would gladly help you with your issue, despite the circumstances. Good sportsmanship dictates that we must help you, or else we're sabotaging the competition; even though there's a prize now, most of us started for the prize of honor, and I doubt we'll cast that aside so easily.
So, my wordy rant aside, I would suggest that you subtly make a post regarding your problem, and quietly neglect to specify that this problem is for your QuestComp entry (if possible) for the sake of some discretion. The textadventures website is by far my favorite community that I've found to be a part of, and that's what community is about, right?

Whew! That's good to hear, thank you. That sounds quite reasonable.

I have an idea for more judges: Everyone who wishes to enter must vote on atleast one game. So then judges will = real.judges +
entr.ants (12 right now)

The Pixie wrote:I would have no problem with authors also being judges, though obviously they cannot judge their own. You might want to normalize a judge's score before adding them in though (easier said than done I admit). You may well find some people fail to complete their game and could then judge too.

You do need more than one judge though!

Yeah, we may have to move in that direction. What do you mean by, "normalize a judge's score before adding them in?"

I had to pull out of Spring Thing at the last minute. I got too busy with a couple of other game projects I had going on at the time. :(

Aww, that sucks. I hope our comp didn't distract you from it. You sure there's no chance of using this weekend to "wrap up" your entry? Had you already paid the entrance fee?

Nope, hadn't paid the entrance fee yet. And it's possible I could get it done this weekend if I forewent sleep entirely and did nothing but work on the game for 48 hours straight but with it being Easter weekend and all, I can't dedicate that kind of time to it.

Seeing as how all I've managed to implement so far is an elevator, would anyone have any objections to me doing this game as my QuestComp entry?

I say go for it. We're a few weeks in (or maybe less, depending on when you started), and that elevator could open up to reveal a lot of plague-riddled environments. Plus, the busier you are, the more that head start will help you to make a good entry!

I assume this is the case, but just to confirm I'll ask. You've never put out any kind of public demo, right?

Nope. There's nothing much to demo, lol. :)

Yeah, use it then.

I don't know if anybody has pointed this out before, but the "date for completion of judging" is June 31, which isn't actually a day. June only has 30 days.

Oh ... well ... that's because ... you see ...
Congratulations, you found the Easter Egg!
So, now that that's done, we can fix it.

Well there is a discontinuity there. Perhaps it's the limit as approached from the left. lol

I bet a bunch of people figured it out before I did, but didn't say anything because it would give them more time to judge. :lol:

Actually, that date may yet be extended, as judges are scarce. I'm going to officially invite the entrants to also be judges. So far, sgreig has expressed a willingness to do so. If anyone else is willing to judge, including entrants, please let me know in the next week or so. Next Monday I will call it quits for judge hunting and start planning how to best use what we have. Following that, I'll let everyone know whether any dates are going to be changed (extended). I'll also e-mail everyone on the contest mailing list to make sure everyone knows.

On the judging itself, I've started thinking about exactly how to format the process. I've read a lot of stuff online, and it was mostly confusing because it didn't really apply. Right now I'm thinking of asking for two scores: "overall" theme & fun, and technical, wherein the technical score would include both how well Quest's features were used and more mundane details such as how consistently objects were given descriptions, how many "bugs" were found, etc. So, everyone should feel free to contribute their thoughts on judging while I'm still making those plans.

While I'm capable, and I trust myself, I would prefer to avoid judging in a contest I'm entering. It just feels wrong, and I don't wanna.
I'm wondering if we've really gotten the word out about judges for this comp or not. I see people on the TA website talking about games all the time, and all you really need to be qualified for this is to be someone who plays text adventures.
Is there anything we haven't tried to reach people who don't look to the forums? Just people who go to the TA website to play the games. Some people just don't like forums, after all. I'd point to that direction if we're starting to fear we won't have judges.

If we were really that desperate, some volunteer could make a text adventure game/gamebook about the competition. People who just come to play would play the game, and maybe volunteer as a judge. The creator would need to specify that we need judges, and not just random people to check it out.

I suppose Alex could post some kind of news or bulletin on the site's main page to invite judges, other than that I'm not really sure what else there is to do. I don't think anyone wants to take the time to make a game which "invites people" to be judges. It would have to be handled well, and most of us don't really have any spare time for another project. We mentioned it on intfiction, but I suppose I could post an "update" of the comp asking again for judges. I looked around the internet briefly, and I really didn't find any other websites that looked appropriate for this kind of announcement. In retrospect I should clarify, I'm not planning to "stop accepting" judges after next Monday, I'm just running out of ideas how to attract them.

BTW: I've had very little free time lately, I would have liked to be on the forums more, and as it is I haven't even touched any of my own game projects in about two weeks. However, I do look in frequently, and I'm keeping tabs on things.

Instead of having a public vote, the entrants should email their games to TG, who forwards them to judges. Judging is then on. In teh end, the first three ranking games are (if author agrees) are "hidden from the public" and sent to IFComp.

Will this work? :D

I don't understand the thinking behind this at all.

To improve Quest's chances of getting a half decent entry into the IFComp?

But nobody has declared an intent to enter this competition while expecting to enter the same game in the IFComp. What's the point in a private competition where games "graduate" to another comp? If people want to enter IFComp then they can enter IFComp themselves without some weird beta competition beforehand.

I can see Alex's point here. In addition to making entrants submit a game with a specific theme on a specific platform to IFComp, it belittles QuestComp's legitimacy as a stand-alone competition.
We've got ten entrants for this thing: that's huge compared to Spring Thing's 3, which seems to be a fairly respected among the community.
I've been thinking about entering IFComp this year, but my QuestComp entry wouldn't be on the table for that for a couple of reasons: one of which is that several elements have been inserted into it specifically to make it fit with the competition. IFComp's only stipulation is that the length of your game is under two hours. That's a lot of extra criteria to have to meet as compared to other entrants. In one sense, it might be cumbersome to make a game that can do well in both environments, and it's probably just completely unnecessary for us to go through all this trouble.

I agree - I got a little confused with the e-mail because I have no intention to enter IFComp yet, and I saw these two as separate competitions, so for anyone entering both, surely they should be making two games.

Luther Beach
Hi Everyone, I just need some clarification, on the Questcomp website it states the requirement of focusing on "1 to 3 specific features", while at the beginning of this thread it states "2 to 3 features". Please say the requirement is a minimum of 1 feature, because it's one feature my game is focused on. :mrgreen:

Okay, I have two completed game entries.
I also have two statements from entrants who were working on games but thought the deadline was a month later. I suspect this MAY be because I brought up the [i]idea[i] of extending the deadline, but it was never actually changed. Since I have reason to believe there might have been some legitimate confusion (and there are only two other entries), I told both these people they could send in what they have and I'll include them in the competition marked as "incomplete."

Before I send out the official list of entries, I'd like to hear other people's feeling on the situation.

On another note, I'm planning to follow up on the comp by ironing out all the details that caused problems and set things in motion to be better sorted out and announced in advance for next year, for the sake of setting up whoever may be going to be organizer next year.

I don't have any problem with letting them submit their games. Can't believe there are only two submitted though. (You did get mine, right?) Hopefully things work out better next time.

Luther Beach
Admittedly it is not much of a competition with only two games, and while it may be preferable to only have complete entries, I would say "in the spirit of competition" we should include these two entries.

I already sent an email to Triangle explaining, but I'll post it on here so everyone knows what's up: I was one of the people confused about the deadline.

I have a very ambitious goal I was going to submit (and intend to finish all the same) and in an attempt to make it more complete at (the perceived) time of submission, I decided to perfect some of the mechanics I was going to make a part of the game before I worked on the environments and the story.

In other words, before I made anything that anyone could actually play through, I set up a combat system and a mechanic in which time progresses as you explore, and some other things. At the time of writing, I'm still debugging those and looking for new features to add to all that instead of making rooms and objects that players could interact with. I really don't have anything that's fit for submission.

I'll be glad to judge, but I am somewhat shocked at how drastically our ranks have shrunk at the time of submission. Surely everyone wasn't as ambitious as I was?

You'll tend to find that's par for the course with comps. One is announced, people fall over themselves to declare an intent to enter, the comp deadline rolls around... and there are just 1 or 2 entries, with everyone else standing around looking embarrassed and saying, "Well, I was definitely planning to enter, but..."

Sometimes I feel that any kind of "targeted IDE" tends to be deceptively simple. Once I get the hang of it, I suddenly come up with all kinds of great ideas that turn out to actually be extremely complicated to pull off properly. I had the same sort of problem starting out with the game I was going to enter. I wanted a "simple" menu based combat system, a short list of spells that functioned uniquely, and dialog that was "skill based" (bluff, negotiate, intimidate, etc.) What I have finished is a somewhat fancy loading screen, an almost functional combat system, and about one room of game content.

Well, if anyone wants to submit a late entry within the next couple of weeks, feel free. I sent out the links for games that are in this morning in an e-mail that follows:

My e-mail wrote:Okay, it's two weeks past the deadline. This is what's ready for judging, so here they are.

1. “Worship the Pig” by Heal Butcher ... ip-the-pig

2. “Pest” by Jonathan Estis ... v2t9w/pest

Score as 1 - 10, mark any discussion threads in the forum appropriately so people aren't led into spoilers accidentally, and I encourage you to post reviews on the game's page.

Since things are already off-kilter, we'll judge until we're done judging, but no more than a month from now.

If anyone else pops in and says, "hey, I got my game finished!" I'll leave it up to the judges whether they want to review the late entries.

So it seems there may be some game breaking errors in my game that are (hopefully) exclusive to the browser version. I updated the description to strongly recommend that people download the game. But I was wondering what the etiquette is in regards to bug fixing? I'm not sure if this is something on my end, or just a web glitch, but if I figured it out, could I re-upload the fixed version of the game? I could see how that might be kind of unfair though.

Luther Beach

My vote would be to let you update. (After all, I imagine this would then apply to all entries. :wink: I suppose it could be limited to bug fixes, however.) But then, TriangleGames is the boss in this matter.

Just occurred to me -- I must be slow this month -- are the entries supposed to be set from "unlisted' to "public", so they show up on the main website?

I think updates should be allowed only if they're fixing something that is out of the author's control (i.e. an issue with playing the game online), but not if they're simply fixing bugs (that's what testing and betatesting is for) or adding extra content.

I know it can be pretty frustrating to not find a bug until after you've submitted your game to comp (even with betatesting and what have you), but I would still vote against updates simply because there is no way to guarantee what gets updated in the new version.

We wouldn't want anyone adding extra content to their games after the deadline, and while it wouldn't be impossible to demonstrate that new content hadn't been added in an update, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle, or the possibility of someone crying "foul play" (I'm attempting to be general enough to maybe help establish rules for future QuestComps as well).

I think you're ultimately right, homeeman. I will refrain from uploading any new versions of the game, at least until the competition officially closes. I wouldn't actually know what to fix anyway. I think it's just something that's incompatible with the web player. Also I'm pretty tired of playing through my own game lol.

The Pixie
I disagree. I think you should upload a new version (but make clear which version it is). This is what happens in IFcomp, and it does mean that the cummunity ends up with better games.

Trust me, Quence, I'm all too familiar with the feeling. There was a bug that was fairly commonly found in Encyclopedia of Elementals (which I submitted to Spring Thing) that I couldn't fix for a very long time, and I never once encountered it until after it had been submitted.

Come to think of it, I'm not 100% sure that it has been eradicated, but I've never been able to recreate the bug myself.

Given that there are only two entries, I would hate to see either win by default for the sake of an overlooked bug. I know some comps allow updates after the judging is under way, and I'll go with the same principle: you can update to fix bugs, but be aware that judges who may have already played your game are not obligated to re-play it (of course if they want to, they can)
That said, I believe some things still don't work as well in the web player as when downloaded, and any judge who CAN download the entries SHOULD, for that reason.

Although I can't speak for jaynabonne, I imagine his situation is similar to mine as we're both working on the same projects but the reason I ended up not submitting anything is quite simply because I have too many projects being worked on at the moment. Jay and I have been busy working on an RPG game using Quest that was recently sent out to some beta testers, as well as an updated version of our 7 Day Roguelike submission called "Skool Eskape" that might be shown in a booth at PAX. Between that and the contract work I have to do from time to time in order to have money means I just couldn't get something put together in time for the competition. It's pretty much the same story of why I had to back out of Spring Thing.

The Pixie
I have now reviewed/judged both games. Two criticisms about both of them:

Neither game had any credits to beta-testers. They seemed pretty free of spelling and grammar mistakes, and I found no bugs, so perhaps they were tested. Always test you games, and always credit the testers - you would be marked down for not doing so in the "big" contests.

The rules require games to focus on a coupe of Quest-specific features, and to state those features up front. I think they both did use some features, but neither made clear what the features were up front, so I felt unable to judge them on how they did it.

The Pixie wrote:I have now reviewed/judged both games. Two criticisms about both of them:

Neither game had any credits to beta-testers. They seemed pretty free of spelling and grammar mistakes, and I found no bugs, so perhaps they were tested. Always test you games, and always credit the testers - you would be marked down for not doing so in the "big" contests.

The rules require games to focus on a coupe of Quest-specific features, and to state those features up front. I think they both did use some features, but neither made clear what the features were up front, so I felt unable to judge them on how they did it.

For the record, I did give credit to my beta-testers... in the credits... at the end of the game. But apparently it's too hard for anyone to be able to finish. >_>

I've collected all the voting data for the games. Unless anyone else wants to contribute any last minute reviews, the winner will be officially announced tomorrow evening.

I forgot to put up my review for worship the pig, I'll get on it now...

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