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Hugo Interpreters and Public Awareness

 
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Merk



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 192
Location: Wichita, KS

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:33 pm    Post subject: Hugo Interpreters and Public Awareness Reply with quote

This is mainly for Kent.

TTS got marked down by a few judges, if I understand the complaints correctly, because they considered Hugo a "wannabe" IF language. Although I think that's absurd, maybe we're not doing enough to increase public awareness. I have no idea how to solve that. TADS and Inform are what people hear about. Even a library of successful Hugo games doesn't work when new players hear about Inform and TADS but haven't heard much about Hugo. I only mention this because it frustrates me. :) I think some of them just *assumed* Hugo was a 3rd-rate IF language, having no prior experience with Hugo games. So, they looked for things (I'm guessing here) in TTS to prove that right.

There are two recurring complaints about the native Hugo runner(s), though. I'm not sure how valid these are, but I've heard both more than once. People want to be able to cut-and-paste directly from the Hugo window (why they don't find the "scrollback" option is beyond me -- but there seems to be a consensus among them that since they're not familiar with Hugo, they shouldn't have to be bothered with figuring out how it works). The second is that there is no margin around the window, so reading the text is a little more jarring/difficult than it is in other IF interpreters. I don't necessarily agree, but having a few pixels of margin (especially on the left-hand side -- perhaps the width of one or two characters) would help.
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Ice Cream Jonsey



Joined: 27 Apr 2002
Posts: 20088
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Hugo Interpreters and Public Awareness Reply with quote

Merk wrote:
TTS got marked down by a few judges, if I understand the complaints correctly, because they considered Hugo a "wannabe" IF language.


Ha ha ha! For real? That's hilarious. I have been reading threads on Usenet here and there, trying to not step on spoilers for the four games that interested me (yours, Zarf's, Emily's, the Flight or Fight game and I suppose the one by Eric Eve as #5... there are FIVE games that really interested me, five) but I apparently missed those comments.

Er, thinking about it, it makes sense because I avoided comments about your game.


Quote:
Although I think that's absurd, maybe we're not doing enough to increase public awareness. I have no idea how to solve that.


Here's the thing: the average poster crawling out of the woodwork and splitting their worthless opinion on r*if should be discounted. Where are they the rest of the year? I'm not saying that there aren't things that can be done to improve the Hugo runner -- I mean, taking the stance of "perfection" on any piece of software would be insane -- but the morons who come out from under their rocks just aren't worth the time.

If I have to see one more collection of reviews from someone who tells everyone how "grumpy" they are it will have been too many. Christ, if playing the freaking comp games makes you "grumpy" then just cherry-pick after the comp. Or play one of the many games released outside of the comp. Prefacing your Usenet reviews with, "Grrr, I'm grumpy!" is no different than the comp author writing, "This game is not that good, be gentle" at the beginning of their first contest entry. It's an attempt to diffuse criticism before it happens.


Quote:
Even a library of successful Hugo games doesn't work when new players hear about Inform and TADS but haven't heard much about Hugo. I only mention this because it frustrates me. :)


I understand. At this point, every Hugo game that comes out is competent and worth a play. It's the closest thing to a "label" going in unpaid IF. As someone who has written a rotten Inform game I can testify as to how easy it is. Hooo! If Adrift is still pattern-matching, I mean, come on. Who has the time. If someone is throwing Hugo games out with the bathwater then I really have a hard time taking advice from them on how to improve the experience.


Quote:
People want to be able to cut-and-paste directly from the Hugo window


[...]

Those suggestions that you listed, Mike, aren't bad. I'm not saying that. It does kill me that apparently COMP GUY is having a conniption about the one Hugo game he plays a year. But I received much better advice from the 6 or 7 reviews that FoD, Drift and Pantomome generated outside the fall comp than I did for the dozens of reviews written about the games I entered into the comp proper. Wait, that's not describing it right. OK, it was more like: I still got 6-7 useful reviews either way, but releasing outside the comp eliminated the unhelpful ones.

(Don't get me wrong, I still very badly want to win that thing, though, heh.)
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Kent



Joined: 27 Jun 2003
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both valid points, actually. I could maybe actually implement some form of text selection as it stands now, using the double-click-on-word functionality that came in a version or three ago. (Really, the trick is that Hugo's arbitrary display access means that text isn't necessarily displayed in a selectable stream the way it is in Inform or TADS.) The scrollback was really implemented in a hey-it-was-good-enough-for-WinFrotz (its peer at the time). Does Windows Frotz 2002 (or whatever the state of the art is for Frotzish terps these days) have in-window text selection? It didn't used to. I don't think.

As for a small border around the text, yeah, it should have that. It really should. It's on my list, and has been for a while, and it's just my general slackerly attitude that's kept it from turning from good intentions to code.

(Both of these things should get implemented, sooner rather than later, but right now I'm frighteningly short on time.)

As for the "popularity" of Hugo, well, who knows. I've said it before: it surprises me that this sort of common wisdom keeps popping up when, based on pure numbers, Hugo games are by far the most popular downloads (from the archive). I think it's a combination of bleed-over from r.a.i-f (i.e., the design crowd, using Inform 7 now and TADS 3), as well as the seasonal comp-only players who don't know any better--in other words, what Robb said.
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Merk



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 192
Location: Wichita, KS

PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the one that bothered me the most was this:

Quote:
With the logo and chapter headings, it looks like they've found a way to make Hugo games look like Glulx games: a cruel deception.


Several replied (including me), and then he followed it up:

Quote:
Okay, I apologize for lashing out against Hugo. It seems to me that a lot of people needlessly insist on using engines that do nothing the most popular engines don't, but I don't know that Hugo is the right one to criticize on that score. As I said, lately I only see the names of the less popular engines once a year.


It probably sounds like I'm picking on the guy -- and I don't mean to be. I think I was shocked initially because I can't remember seeing any bias against Hugo previously. It probably stung because I can't be sure if he'd have rated the game higher if he hadn't started out thinking "oh my God, another game in some off-brand system". Possibly it wouldn't have mattered.

A few (one? two? three? I can't recall for sure) said that TTS was the first Hugo game they'd played. I think they saw enough quality there to be more receptive of Hugo games in the future, even if they didn't rate TTS that highly.
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Arnel



Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kent wrote:
The scrollback was really implemented in a hey-it-was-good-enough-for-WinFrotz (its peer at the time). Does Windows Frotz 2002 (or whatever the state of the art is for Frotzish terps these days) have in-window text selection? It didn't used to. I don't think.


Which is what's befuddling. Windows Frotz still has the same scrollback feature even at its current version, 1.10. Why people can find it in Windows Frotz and not recognize it on the Hugo 'terp is...I guess I'm going to plead the fifth on that one. :razz:

Kent wrote:
As for a small border around the text, yeah, it should have that. It really should. It's on my list, and has been for a while, and it's just my general slackerly attitude that's kept it from turning from good intentions to code.


Hey, as long as the margins are as adjustable as those in Windows Frotz 2002, I'm okay with that.

Kent wrote:
As for the "popularity" of Hugo, well, who knows. I think it's a combination of bleed-over from r.a.i-f (i.e., the design crowd, using Inform 7 now and TADS 3), as well as the seasonal comp-only players who don't know any better--in other words, what Robb said.


I'd say, just let them be. I've been around the community for quite some time and I've seen what's good out there and what's not. Those not familiar with what's available don't know any better.
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