Monday, October 06, 2008

[IF Competition] Project Delta

This is a spoilery post about Project Delta by Emilian Kowalewski. Please do not read on unless you have played the game! (And in fact I have to add some meaningless words here so that the real review doesn't show up on feeds; although frankly it's not the words that are meaningless, and indeed, not even the sentences; I'm reading Carnap at the moment, and he is way too quick in saying that a sentence is meaningless; for instance, "the moon is a city in Germany" seems to me false, not meaningless; but I guess that's what happens when you apply Russell's theory of types to our language about the empirical world.)

As I explained in a previous post, I want to write these comments on the form of advice to the author; not as reviews that end with a numerical mark. So:

What is good?
  • As far as there is a game, it seems relatively well implemented.
What could be better?
  • If you want to show off your new IF-authoring system, you can do two things. First possibility: you write a game in in that blows people away, or at least shows that one can create good, solid games with your system. Second possibility: you write about your authoring system, in the hope that knowledgable people will be impressed by the technical details. What you do not do is write something that barely qualifies as the introduction to a game, tack on a discussion of what you are going to implement in future versions of your development system, and then release it to a competition where it will be judged on its merits as a game. That is a bad idea. From now on, people will associate your system with this barely-a-game.
  • Please, please do not give us an executable. It takes a lot of trust for people to run an executable from someone they do not know. (And it seems that this time, our trust might have been misplaced?) Of course, programs that run in a virtual machine can be malicious too, but at least you'd have to find a security flaw in the VM first, which is much harder to do.
  • Please, please do not give us an executable. Executables only run on the OS for which they have been compiled. I am not happy when I have to reboot my computer in order to start up Windows, just to play your game; and I at least have Windows installed, whereas many others do not. (And no, Project Delta does not run under Wine.)
  • Talking about Windows, I seem to remember reading that this game was written in Free Pascal? That should compile to Linux as well, so why didn't you provide us with a *nix executable?
  • Talking about Windows some more, is there anything more ugly than the terminal that still comes with my Windows XP? (I hope they have improved it in Windows Vista, but I somehow doubt it.) A terminal is a great tool, but is obviously one that Microsoft doesn't want to spend five minutes of their time on. You can't even resize it. And it has the ugliest font since... MS-DOS? It is MS-DOS, isn't it?
Post-competition release?

Uhm, no. Make an authoring system first, and then a game of which you can be proud. There is no use sending some half-baked, incredibly small, proto-game into the world. It just doesn't do anyone any good.

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