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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Note To Slamdance [Updated]

Funny. Hours (if that) after I knock Slamdance for not posting the finalist ... it posts the finalists. One work of IF, Book and Volume made it (Carter did not). My only disappointment there is that it's a straight up Infocom style adventure game. I wasn't happy with how Carter turned out - it was short, lacked compelling play and was dull on replays - but I was hoping there'd be something more innovative represented.

Course, as you can read below - I don't even know if they got the application.

Super Columbine Massacre RPG made it's way into the final - a fact which Danny should thank Patrick for coaxing him into submitting. And I'm glad he did - it looks to be easily the most edgy thing on the list.

All Independent and Student Gamemakers are invited to submit their original games before October 6, 2006. In November, the finalists will be announced on Slamdance's website. The finalists will be invited to the 2007 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition in Park City to showcase their games to the public and meet other independent designers and industry professionals.
-- The 2007 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition Call for Entries

It's now November 29th. Tomorrow is the last day to make your own deadline ... and it's rude to miss your own deadline when you've placed one on others.

Honestly, I've been pretty disappointed by the way Slamdance has handled the Gamemaker competition. No online forms for registration. You had to have three hard copies of your game - which in my instance was kinda idiotic since Randolph Carter weighs in at less than a meg. When I tried to ask them if they really needed three CD's for interactive fiction - I never got a response. In fact, I've never gotten any communication from them - even to insure that my application was accepted. For all I know, it's sitting in some dead letter office in San Jose right now. I would email them for insurance that they at least have it - but right now I don't have any confidence that someone is minding the phone, so to speak.

Kinda sad for a competition with a $45 entry fee.

OK - so now I've gotten word from Slamdance that not only was Carter received, but also some constructive feedback on it as well. Which I have to say - more than I've really gotten from most any contest - including Make Something Unreal ... which I actually did make some wins in.

Oh well. I should really just re-title this "the most use of strikethrough ever on Cathode Tan". Slamdance's critique was:

The interface is novel and fun, but we would have liked to have more options
as to which path we could choose. We would also like to see a greater
connection between a player¹s actions and the ensuing consequences.

Which I would have to completely agree with. And with that ... I shall return to my chicken soup.

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Anonymous said...

I encouraged my buddy Danny Ledonne to enter his Columbine RPG, and they mailed him back about its eligiblity (it was) and presumably submitting it. Online submission would be, of course, much more efficient for all parties involved, but whatever.

I hate to say this, but they probably just aren't that enthusiastic about interactive fiction.

Josh said...

Danny made the finals (see above) - so maybe they had mailed the finalists back? I dunno, I could go see if they ever cashed the application fee if I really cared.

They called out IF specifically - the only reason I entered Carter at all in fact.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if it makes you feel any better, a friend of mine directed a short film and submitted it, but it wasn't accepted.

It'd be interesting to read a post on Carter, that sounds like its doing something new.

Josh said...

I don't really feel poorly - I mean, Carter was essentially a rough sketch for a very different format. I'm already toying with something similar that doesn't really resemble it (if that makes sense). If it had won - I would just assume there was small IF playing field. I just wish there was a broader one still - one that wasn't still trying to out-tinker Zork.

The link to Carter is still on the left:

Essentially, the idea goes like:

- Get rid of the IF parser. Make it about exploring/readmg text and not a finite and incomplete dialogue between a person and a computer.

- Allow an actual story to be the primary source of text - not a database or hidden format or anything. There's markup and javascript to control the story, but the prose is just HTML. In the next iteration I'm playing with - it's even simpler text and markup (doesn't even need to be strictly HTML).

Carter fails at few of the other notions I've got though:

- Don't punish the player with the interface. Sadly, Carter's method isn't much more user friendly.

- Focus on continous narration and not replay value. This is a tricky one. I ignored it for Carter so that I could focus on the Lovecraft's short story instead. But I don't think people should have to "groundhog day" their way through a game if that game is trying to tell a story.

I'll refrain from a wholescale post on this until I can put my code where my mouth is, though.

Anonymous said...


Good to see soome feedback - I'm sorry you didn't feel we dealt with you directly enough. I actually quite liked Carter, but I don't make the picks. I do find the format interesting, however, and I hope to see something more from you in the future.
We are an older organization that comes from the film world, and some thing are slow over here - like getting online apps implemented, which I know would be better for everyone involved. If you have any other feedback or commentary to share, I would love to hear it - please feel free to drop me an e-mail. Best,

Sam Roberts

Josh said...

Hey Sam - thanks for the note and the email, which I'll also respond to later. You can see I've updated the post above, again, in respect to Slamdance stepping up to the plate.

Thanks, though, in general for calling for IF entries specifically with Slamdance. It's good to see someone continue to show an interest in the genre.