Competition Entries etc. (split from "Genre Suggestions")

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Garry
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Competition Entries etc. (split from "Genre Suggestions")

#1 Post by Garry » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:59 am

The problem with the current genres is that it mixes several concepts into the one grab bag. There should really be separate categories for where the game is set (city, country, planet etc.), when the game is set (year or period, past, present, future etc.), style of game (serious, humourous, murder mystery etc.) and goal (escape, rescue, assassinate, steal etc.). "Escape" naturally fits the latter category.

I know Jacob won't change the database structure, so we're stuck with the hodge podge we've got now. Other genres that come to mind include "set in educational institution", "real life", "werewolf", "vampire" and so on. And why can't we have one genre for "competition", instead of the dozens that we've got now? But I'd also like to sort by a specific competition, not just some wishy-washy genre like "Speed IF" or "Grand Prix". There are lots of competitions that don't fit in with any of the exisiting competition genres.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#2 Post by Alastair » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:45 pm

Garry wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:59 am
And why can't we have one genre for "competition", instead of the dozens that we've got now? But I'd also like to sort by a specific competition, not just some wishy-washy genre like "Speed IF" or "Grand Prix". There are lots of competitions that don't fit in with any of the existing competition genres.
Jacob gave some of the reasons for lumping all of the Speed IF entries under one genre, rather than create a competition category, in another thread. Not explicitly stated in Jacob's post is that prior to lumping all of the Speed IF entries together we had separate genre entries for each Speed IF competition, but this quickly became unwieldy hence the attempt to restore some sanity by putting them all under one Speed IF umbrella. This policy has since been extended so that other competitions also have their own umbrella genre entries (the IF Comps retain separate entries due to the number of titles that used to be written for each IF Comp).

That said, it may make things clearer if we appended the word "competition" after each umbrella entry name (i.e., "Speed IF competition", "Grand Prix competition", etc.).

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Garry
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Re: Genre Suggestions

#3 Post by Garry » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:22 am

Here's just a few of the existing competition categories that don't fit in with any of the existing genres. These are CATEGORIES, not individual competitions. There's hundreds of individual competitions.

English competitions
  • @party competitions
  • 1 to 2K classic text adventure competitions
  • ADRIFT end-of-year competitions
  • ADRIFT finish-the-game competitions
  • ADRIFT game-of-the-year competitions
  • ADRIFT intro competitions
  • ADRIFT mini-competitions
  • ADRIFT one-hour competitions
  • ADRIFT one-room competitions
  • ADRIFT Spring competitions
  • ADRIFT Spring Ting competitions
  • ADRIFT Summer competitions
  • ADRIFT three-hour competitions
  • AGT competitions
  • AIF minicomps
  • Annual New Year's mini-competitions
  • Casual Gameplay Design Competition
  • Commonplace Book competitions
  • Ectocomp competitions
  • Hours of Inform competitions
  • Hugo competitions
  • IF Art Show competitions
  • IF Library competitions
  • IntroComp competitions
  • LOTECH competitions
  • Ludum Dare
  • MetaFilter competitions
  • Mini competitions
  • Post-Comp-Comp 2009
  • Pirate Kart
  • Projects
  • Quadrennial Ryan Veeder Exposition for Good Interactive Fiction
  • Saugus.net Halloween ghost story competitions
  • ShuffleComp competitions
  • Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competitions
  • Spring Thing competitions
  • MIT AI Laboratory Winter Olympics 1994
  • Toronto AGI
  • Yuletide
French competitions
  • French annual competitions
  • French mini-competitions
  • French speed-IF competitions
German competitions
  • German mini-competitions
  • Herbstlaub (autumn leaves) competitions
  • IF-Guru-Wettbewerbe
Italian competitions
  • Marmellata d'Avventura
  • Premio Avventura dell'Anno
  • One-room competitions
Russian competitions
  • Russian annual competitions
  • Russian minicomps
Spanish competitions
  • Brevecomp
  • Concurso Nacional de Aventuras del CAAD
  • Elige tu propia Aventura
  • FICOMP
  • Mini Comp
  • Nanocomp
  • Premios CAAD a la Aventura
  • Premios Hispanos
  • Rapidocomp
  • RetroComp
  • Xcomp
  • Other minicomps

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#4 Post by Gunness » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:54 pm

Garry wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:59 am
The problem with the current genres is that it mixes several concepts into the one grab bag. There should really be separate categories for where the game is set (city, country, planet etc.), when the game is set (year or period, past, present, future etc.), style of game (serious, humourous, murder mystery etc.) and goal (escape, rescue, assassinate, steal etc.). "Escape" naturally fits the latter category.

I know Jacob won't change the database structure, so we're stuck with the hodge podge we've got now. Other genres that come to mind include "set in educational institution", "real life", "werewolf", "vampire" and so on. And why can't we have one genre for "competition", instead of the dozens that we've got now? But I'd also like to sort by a specific competition, not just some wishy-washy genre like "Speed IF" or "Grand Prix". There are lots of competitions that don't fit in with any of the exisiting competition genres.
There's a lot to what you're saying here, so I'll try to keep my reply brief. Yes, the genre tag is a unholy mixture of setting, theme and mechanics.And yes, new tags are added on a case-by-case, nice-to-have basis.
The overarching goal is to have a simple pool of tags that will cover the majority of games that will serve the needs of the majority of our users. That means that somewhat similar genres (werewolves, vampires) are lumped into one category (horror), because otherwise we'd have a humongous number of (barely-used?) tags like IFDB, which I personally don't care for. How many "set in educational institution" games would we have? That's the reason why I only try to add genre tags that will have a reasonable number of entries.

Yes, the site has technical limitations, but it's not really that I "won't change" the database, but more of a case of programmers not being plentiful. And if they were, I'd much rather add functionary regarding publishing source (books, magazines) and making the site more friendly on mobile devices.

But even if we could develop this ambitious, multi-tiered genre structure on the technical side, I'd have to ask: Who's going to fill out all the blanks on close to 8,000 games?
Let's face it - text adventures don't draw in users by the thousands, and CASA doesn't have the largest number of active users on the planet, so we'd end up with a database where a huge majority of the games wouldn't have any location, time and style setting.
And at the end of the day, how many people would want to use this functionality? I don't think the effort would fit the interest.

Then there's the whole matter of competition games, but before I dive into that, I'll encourage others to weigh in.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#5 Post by Sudders » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:09 pm

Oh my word I don't like the look of this!

There are already too many Speed IF games in the database. Let's be honest, these are not games that are intended for future play anyway. As it is the database is filling with games with no play potential.

Now what is the purpose of the database? It's a record of adventures with the main use of assisting people in playing or even bringing them back to (or in to) playing.

For me it pretty much ensured I started playing again and I use it regularly.

One of the great things is seeing new adventures, I have had many from the home page catch my eye and gone on to play them. I tried one Speed IF, realised it was pointless and now avoid (and am annoyed by) them.

So, in a nutshell, CASA is a fantastic resource for adventurers, add in a truckload of competition games it become less and less functional. Ultimately you will lose dedicated users and contributors like me. It will also mean people stumbling across it are less likely to adopt it.

With regard to genres, maybe it could do with tinkering, but there is no point having ones that will not gain interest. I think a change would call for a group discussion.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#6 Post by Alex » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:43 pm

I agree with Jacob and Sudders on this. Those competition games normally are not written to be played by a bunch of other people. They are often jokes, one room adventures or small programmes to practise a certain technique. As far as I see it we don’t want to become the equivalent of the Encyclopaedia Britannica concerning all interactive fiction games ever published.

This is a solution archive. A place where people go looking for games they are playing or on which they have been stuck. It is meant to share solutions of games or to play games together. Games that where meant to be played by others whether they were commercially distributed or public domain or whatever. Most of those competition games don’t fit in above description. I think the genre field should be used for genres only . The genre of a competition came should not be used for describing when it was written (during which competition) but to describe the genre of the game.

One general choice for competitions in the genre is, in my humble opinion, sufficient and before we add the most obscure titles on the internet, which are hardly a complete adventure game or were never meant to be played by others , can we please ask ourselves whether this makes this site really more interesting for its users, or that this is just filling of the database for no more apparent reason than just filling the database.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#7 Post by Alastair » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:56 am

Alex, the CASA of old was primarily a solution archive but today's CASA is much more than the old site. I have been trying to find the post where Jacob corrects me for making that same mistake because Jacob's post clarifies the purpose of CASA 2.0, but I have had no success (all I know is that the post must pre-date December 2010). In brief I can give you the CASA about page though the reality is that the site is a little more nuanced than what the 'about page' suggests.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#8 Post by Garry » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:32 am

Is this the page you're looking for? In the opening paragraphs, Jacob says, "So my hope is to create a better site that will remain a repository for walkthroughs etc., but will also encompass game ratings, reviews, recommendations and more." The latter hasn't been terribly successful, as the CASA community is tiny and other sites do it so much better.

I still see CASA as a site for hints, walkthroughs, solutions and maps. And the games that most desperately need these are the lesser known, non-commercial and obscure games. As a player of obscure games, I always go to CASA as my first port of call when I get stuck. About 99% of the time, there is no help available, so I have to turn elsewhere. When I finish the game, I submit solutions and maps to CASA to help others in the future. And I will continue to do so. If you don't like obscure games, don't play them. If you don't like Speed-IF games, don't play them. If you don't like modern games in the classic style, don't play them. But don't spoil it for those of us that do like these games and want to help CASA be the biggest, best and most complete classic adventure solution archive.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#9 Post by Garry » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:20 am

Incidentally, this thread seems to have been sidetracked by the Speed-IF haters. If you want to have one genre for each of the English annual IF competitions, then feel free, but how many genres will there be in 100 years time? There's already 19 and 5 years haven't been added yet! The number of adventures in the classic style is reducing each year, so maybe classic IF in competitions will die a natural death anyway.

Competitions are not a genre. We only have that as a legacy.

If competitions are maintained as a genre, then it only needs one genre, as there are simply too many different styles of competition to have one genre for each style. Even speed IF is questionable. Where do you draw the line between speed IF and non speed IF? One hour? Two hours? Three hours? Two days? One week? They all exist. All comps have a time limit.

You don't need separate genres for separate languages (like the current German Speed-IF and Grand Prix), as there's already a category for language and sometimes the foreign competitions have English games anyway.

Either keep it simple (zero or one genre for competitions with details in notes that can't be searched) or keep it detailed (a new category for competitions by competition name), but not this messy middle ground.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#10 Post by Alastair » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:50 pm

Garry wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:32 am
Is this the page you're looking for? In the opening paragraphs, Jacob says, "So my hope is to create a better site that will remain a repository for walkthroughs etc., but will also encompass game ratings, reviews, recommendations and more." The latter hasn't been terribly successful, as the CASA community is tiny and other sites do it so much better.
Thanks Garry, but that is not the post I was looking for. The post I was thinking about is one where I basically said the same as Alex above about the site's main function as being a solution archive, and Jacob then took me to task and corrected my mistaken ideas!
Garry wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:32 am
I still see CASA as a site for hints, walkthroughs, solutions and maps. And the games that most desperately need these are the lesser known, non-commercial and obscure games. As a player of obscure games, I always go to CASA as my first port of call when I get stuck. About 99% of the time, there is no help available, so I have to turn elsewhere. When I finish the game, I submit solutions and maps to CASA to help others in the future. And I will continue to do so. If you don't like obscure games, don't play them. If you don't like Speed-IF games, don't play them. If you don't like modern games in the classic style, don't play them. But don't spoil it for those of us that do like these games and want to help CASA be the biggest, best and most complete classic adventure solution archive.
Don't get me wrong, CASA is still the site for solutions, etc. (and all contributions have been, are, and will remain most welcome). However its scope has been extended to include the type of information that will help people discover more of games they may find interesting to play (or avoid), and also answer other questions people may have, such as, "What other games did X write," etc.

I agree that if you don't like a particular type of game then don't play that type of game, but if all competition games are lumped under one genre then people who may like one type of competition style (e.g., IFComp) but not another style (e.g., no - I'm not going to say it!) will not be able to separate the two, thus the current arrangement may be the best available to us at present.

I think Jacob may be of the opinion that if he knew then what he knows now about competition games then he would have done things differently. Whether-or-not it is feasible (at least in time and effort spent) to change the database to accommodate competition games is not something I can answer.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#11 Post by Sudders » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:53 pm

Some interesting points here. But does anyone really play and enjoy Speed IF or competition games?

If you do Garry, fair play, you are possibly the only one.

They are just clutter that detract from a fantastic resource.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#12 Post by Alastair » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:27 am

Sudders wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:53 pm
Some interesting points here. But does anyone really play and enjoy Speed IF or competition games?
I've played A Change in the Weather from IF Comp 1995. It's pretty good, in fact I gave it a rating of 8. I can't recall playing any other competition game though, and I have definitely not played a Speed IF game.
Sudders wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:53 pm
They are just clutter that detract from a fantastic resource.
Which is why they are labelled so that people who don't like them know which titles to avoid. The other two options being to either not label them, which helps no-one, or to remove the entries entirely, which doesn't help people who want to know about these games. Removing the entries may also open a can of worms - why stop at removing Speed IF games, why not demos, why not unfinished games?

As you say, CASA is a fantastic resource, but who knows how people will use that research? For example, what if someone wants to know the titles of all the games, including competition entries, that a particular author has created?

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Re: Competition Entries etc. (split from "Genre Suggestions")

#13 Post by Alastair » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:51 am

I have split the above posts off from their original thread because I think they make for an interesting and important topic of their own that goes beyond suggestions for genres. Please feel free to continue the debate.

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Re: Genre Suggestions

#14 Post by Mr Creosote » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:41 am

Sudders wrote:
Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:53 pm
Some interesting points here. But does anyone really play and enjoy Speed IF or competition games?
Is that a serious question? Sorry to disappoint you, but each year's IF Competition is pretty much the only games I play nowadays.

It should be pretty obvious that those games are much more played today than all of those classic games from the commercial era.

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Re: Competition Entries etc. (split from "Genre Suggestions")

#15 Post by Gunness » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:17 am

Lots of interesting input here. Don't have much time atm but I'll get back to this later today.

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