Friday, 25 May 2012

Companion Assist Points Explained

[This blog page has been retained here due to historical reasons, but up-to-date rules of The Adventure Gamer can be found on a separate page].

I’ve been talking about setting some clear criteria around The Adventure Gamer for a while now, but with the games on my list for 1988 coming to an end, I finally got motivated to put some thought into it. The suggestions I made in the last Weekly Poll Discussion post led me to believe that the readers are for the most part interested in some of my ideas for making the blog more interactive, so with that in mind, I’ve set about listing ways that readers can earn Companion Assist Points, how they can use those points, and I’ve also spent some time putting together a list of definitions to help anyone that’s unsure or new to the site. I will somehow make all this stuff easily accessible on the site and as usual, would love to hear your feedback. As I’ve said all along, The Adventure Gamer was started first and foremost to celebrate adventure games, but with building a community of likeminded gamers in mind.

It's important to note that you don't need to care about or understand any of what I'm about to say. If you just want to read about my struggles and victories in adventure games, then this can all safely be ignored.


DEFINITIONS

Hint – a suggestion or clue that might assist in solving a puzzle
Spoiler – an outright explanation of how to solve a puzzle
Request for Assistance – where The Trickster asks for assistance in solving a puzzle. These will be clearly marked in future so that there is no confusion
Companion Assist Points – points given to readers for assisting The Trickster or contributing to the blog site in various ways
ROT13 – a cypher encryption system that allows people to leave hints or spoilers that require decryption to read. Encryption and decryption can be done at www.rot13.com
Potential Game – a game that is listed on Moby Games as part of the adventure genre (excluding interactive fiction games) and has at least 10 votes, or appears on the Wikipedia Notable Graphic Adventure Games list.
Accepted Game – a game that automatically goes on the playlist because it satisfies three criteria.
1.      It has at least 20 votes on Moby Games

2.      It is listed on the Wikipedia List of Notable Graphic Adventure Games

3.      It is undeniably a graphic adventure game. This is of course entirely subjective.
Borderline Game – a game that satisfies at least two of the above criteria, but not all three.
Disregarded Game – a game that satisfies only one of the above criteria.

EARNING COMPANION ASSIST POINTS

There are numerous ways to earn companion assist points and I will no doubt introduce more over time. Below are ways to earn points as of now:
20 POINTS
1. Giving clearly marked (and separate) hint and spoiler that directly relate to a Request for Assistance, coded in ROT13.

Example:
  • Unicorn Hint: Jung zvtug lbh arrq gb evqr n havpbea?
  • Unicorn Spoiler: Lbh arrq trg n oevqyr gb evqr gur havpbea juvpu vf uvqqra ba n qrfregrq vfynaq. Gb trg gb gur vfynaq, lbh'yy arrq gb trg vafvqr gur junyr.
2. Filling in The Adventure Gamer “What’s Your Story?” questionnaire with the intention of your responses being shared with the community. Points will be attributed at the time of the post, not the time of the questionnaire completion. I will post the What's Your Story? questionnaire in the next day or two.

10 POINTS

1. Giving a clearly marked hint / spoiler that is not directly related to a Request for Assistance to assist The Trickster, coded in ROT13. A reader would only do this if it's clear that The Trickster has hit a dead end or missed a required item and therefore needs assistance without knowing it. Please note that I will no longer award any reader that posts hints or spoilers for puzzles in advance, or for which I do not yet require any assistance. You're welcome to discuss spoilers in ROT13 at any time, but please mark them as Spoiler - Do Not Read Trickster.

Example:
  • Whale Spoiler: V'z nsenvq lbh'ir qrnq raqrq lbhefrys. Gurer'f ab jnl bhg bs gur junyr nf lbh'er zvffvat na vgrz.
2. Assisting The Trickster with any technical challenges he faces while attempting to play a game.

3. Contributing suggestions and ideas for ways to improve or build on The Adventure Gamer blog site.

4. Correctly predicting the rating that The Trickster will give the game he is about to commence playing. These predictions are to be made on the Introduction post for the game, and must be in place prior to the first gameplay post for that game.

5. A reader can bet 10 of their current Companion Assist points that The Trickster will require assistance to solve a particular puzzle in the game he is about to commence playing. These bets need to be placed on the introduction post for the game, and must be in place prior to the first gameplay post for the game. Once a reader has made a bet regarding a particular puzzle, no other reader can replicate that bet (so one bet per puzzle). Any bets must be made in ROT13.

6. Solving one of The Trickster’s riddles that appear in his posts from time to time. These will not always be clearly marked.

7. Bringing adventure game related Kickstarter projects to the attention of The Trickster (only games requiring $50000 or more will gain the full 10 points).

5 POINTS

1. Answering any question asked by The Trickster in a post regarding a part of the game he has already solved or is curious about.

2. Being the first to comment about new adventure games on GOG or Steam, and any adventure game related sales on those sites.




LOSING COMPANION ASSIST POINTS

It stands to reason that if Companion Assist Points can be earned, then they might also be lost. The one surefire way to lose points is to post a hint or spoiler regarding a section of the game that The Trickster hasn't yet reached or solved without encrypting it in ROT13 first. I'm going to be very strict on this as quite a few spoilers have started to enter the comments section of posts. If I don't work to minimise them then I will not be able to read any comments before finishing a game and therefore not be able to interact with the readers.



USING COMPANION ASSIST POINTS
Companion Assist points can be used to add games to the playlist that otherwise would not be there. Note that this will not affect the Companion Assist Points Leaderboard as I will keep a tally of how many points each reader has earned in total as well as how many they still have available to use. This will be displayed in the following format: Fenrus - 40 Points (20), meaning Fenrus has earned 40 points, but he only has 20 remaining to spend on adding games to the list.

For Borderline games, individual readers can spend 50 of their Companion Assist points to get a game added to the playlist.
For Borderline games, readers can pool 100 Companion Assist points to get a game added to the playlist.
For Disregarded games, readers can pool 200 Companion Assist points to get a game added to the list.

37 comments:

  1. Point Spoiler: Fancr xvyyf Gevavgl jvgu Ebfrohq.

    Also for those of you who get sick of copy and paste: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/leet-key/

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    1. And this would be a good time to give Canageek 10 points for his ROT13 suggestion. My sincere thanks to the geek from Canada!

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    2. Thank you: I quite like the method as it is highly reliable, since it is a transformation on the text itself. I know a lot of forums use colours or buttons, but I've seen those get removed after upgrades, whereas text is text.

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    3. I don't get Canageek's spoiler, even un-ROT13'd :-(

      Some love for us Chrome users: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gncnbkghencmkfgeepfaonmegemakcol

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  2. I'm going to geek out and say that the MTG card should really be an enchantment. ;)

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    1. Haha! Sadly I know exactly what you mean and agree with you.

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    2. I'd hope so. I could've sworn that avatar picture was a Jester's Cap!

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    3. It is! And it's followed me around the internet since my Magic Tournament days.

      If only I could get all that money back!

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    4. From Ice Age, right? I don't play, but love sorting the cards and reading the text; the old more traditional ones over the new very distinctive ones.

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    5. I used to play magic online, thought about becoming a judge for tournaments at one point, but was spending too much money on the cards to be healthy; I had to drop it. Still it's a fun game that I wouldn't mind playing if I ever had cards again.

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  3. > Take explanation
    Take it where?
    > Take rules
    The rules cannot leave The Trickster's blog.
    > Read list
    You read the list of rules. Sounds sensible!

    Awesome, I already know what I'm going to spend my points on (in a few years).

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    1. Oh do tell! I'm intrigued!

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    2. The Wikipedia list is missing Tex Murphy: Overseer from 1998, even though the rest of the Tex Murphy games are there. So I've booked my 50 points on at already, even though it's a 150 or so games in the future.

      Don't worry, you'll thank me for it. :)

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    3. Hey, get me a secondary source documenting the game and I'll have a look at adding it. Must make the list complete....

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    4. Oooh...not sure what you mean by secondary source, but here's some links:
      Publisher: http://www.microsoft.com/games/texmurphy/overseer/
      Mobygames: http://www.mobygames.com/game/windows/tex-murphy-overseer
      4/5 review on AdventureGamers: http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/17494
      5/5 review on ClassicAdventureGaming: http://www.adventureclassicgaming.com/index.php/site/reviews/61/

      Are these the kind of thing you need?

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    5. Yeah, but then I realized I'd have to write a full post on it. I'll help if you do the hard work writing it.

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    6. I can do that. What do you need for it to be added to the list in addition to the wikipedia posting on it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tex_Murphy:_Overseer

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    7. o.0 Nothing, not with a wikipedia page on it already. I can just link to that.

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    8. Ok, Step one was spending a bunch of time with Regex and the list, to make it into a table. Now I can add games easily and let Wikipedia worry about the order.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_graphic_adventure_games right? I left space for the publisher, platform and notes, if any of you want to help fill that in.

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    9. Trickster: I'm having trouble getting the list to work, but Tex Murphy: Overseer is now on it. I can easily add any game to the list that has a full wikipedia entry, but it would take a decent number of points to get me to write one from scratch.

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    10. Nice one Canageek. You've saved someone from having to spend 50 CAPs down the track. Please let me know any arrangements you have with anyone. I'd hate for you to not receive your due.

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    11. Canageek, did you earn points for this?

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    12. Dear, this was 3 years ago, I have no idea.

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  4. Excellent ideas and sure to make the whole "interactive blog" business advance. I love it! Congrats dude. I'll be sure to place some bets on a few games (starting with LSL2). The fact of betting on the places where you'll get stuck can be considered mean, but it could also act as an incentive to all of us, where you prove us wrong with your maddening adventuring skills ;)

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  5. Few questions about the betting:

    Will more than one person be able to bet on the same puzzle or will you take into account only the first bet for every puzzle?

    Can we bet against other people's bets (say, if Alfred bets that you will not beat puzzle X without assistance, can I bet 10 points that you will get through it without any help)?

    And if the betting is to become a regular feature, shouldn't Fenrus get 10 points for introducing the whole concept? ;)

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    1. I'm not sure if you like gambling or clear rules. Maybe both? ;)

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    2. Haha..while betting against other people's bets seems like a reasonable idea, I'd like to keep things as simple as possible for now. If the whole betting thing works out, then we might be able to expand on it in time. And yes, if it does indeed work, then I owe Fenrus another 10 points! :)

      I hadn't actually considered whether multiple people can make the same bet. Hmmm...I'm going to say no...for now. Otherwise we'll come up against a game with a truly impossible puzzle, and every reader will bet against me. I'll stipulate only one bet per puzzle in the post.

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    3. @Zenic: No, I'm not into gambling (too cautious for that), but I am a stickler for clear rules :)

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  6. The rules look pretty clear and good - we will see how this is going to work in practice! A couple of questions / comments / suggestions:

    -So it is still ok to post hints/spoilers (of course in rot13) already in the first posts without a Request for Assistance? If the competition for points is going to start for real, then the readers who would like to wait and see whether you get stuck or not (before posting hints) have a huge disadvantage, as the hints you are going to need probably already exist when you get stuck.

    -You could state in the introduction post of each game, if the game is "spoiler-free" (already familiar to you) and there is no need to rot13 the comments.

    -In order to communicate the commenting guidelines & rules to new and irregular readers (and to remind us regulars), you could place a link e.g. "Read this before posting comments that include hints/spoilers", which would be placed just before/after the comment textbox. If that is technically possible to modify these settings, of course.

    -Is it possible for us to pool 200 points to make you play Doom (when you get to 1993 or whenever it was released..)? I assume it has over 20 votes in MobyGames, thus fulfilling criteria 1. I would love to see that in "The Adventure Gamer" blog! Just kidding, but is this possible in theory or should the disregarded games still have some kind of connection to adventure games?

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  7. I'll try to answer all your excellent questions in turn:

    I will no longer be rewarding readers who post spoilers in advance of me requiring assistance. Otherwise readers will basically start posting the entire walkthrough in ROT13 in the hope of claiming points later (this has already started happening). The ONLY reasons to post spoilers for me are because I've made a Request for Assistance, or because you can tell that I've done something incorrect or missed an item that is required (and am basically screwed). If people want to discuss things in the game I haven't got to yet then that's fine, but they should do so in ROT13 and be clearly marked as Spoiler - Don't Read Trickster or something like that.

    That's a good idea.

    I intend to do this, starting today.

    No. Remember that Potential Games must be listed as an Adventure game on Moby Games with at least 10 votes OR be on the Wikipedia Notable Graphics Adventure Games list. Doom is very unlikely to meet any of that criteria as it would never be labelled as an adventure game.

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    1. Edited the hint / spoiler without a Request for Assistance line to read:

      1. Giving a clearly marked hint / spoiler that is not directly related to a Request for Assistance to assist The Trickster, coded in ROT13. A reader would only do this if it's clear that The Trickster has hit a dead end or missed a required item and therefore needs assistance without knowing it. Please note that I will no longer award any reader that posts hints or spoilers for puzzles in advance, or for which I do not yet require any assistance. You're welcome to discuss spoilers in ROT13 at any time, but please mark them as Spoiler - Do Not Read Trickster.

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    2. Thanks for the answers and clarifications. The hint & spoiler rule seems now to be well balanced. And regarding my last question - the first criteria under Accepted game -definition "1. It has at least 20 votes on Moby Games" mislead me, as I did not notice the exact definition under the Potential game definition. My bad.

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    3. Is this a bad time to mention that I've worked on Wikipedia since 2007, and edited some of Wikipedia's games lists in the past? :D
      But don't worry, I'd never inaccurately classify a game. Now if someone pointed out an adventure game that WASN'T already on the list, it is my DUTY to add it. :D

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  8. Most of the ways to earn CAPs favour those who already know the games to be played. I have two suggestions for rectifying this.

    1. In the past people have been willing to play along some games with you. I think this could be encouraged by giving points for it. Of course, just announcing that one will be playing along shouldn't be enough (that would be too easy). Perhaps a small review of the gaming experience in the comments would be a sufficient requirement?

    2. There will most likely be some games that won't make it into your playing list. Still, the readers might want to know what these games are like, and there might be readers willing to play them and share their experience with the others. So, detailed commentaries and reviews of the rejected games could be a way to earn points (obviously more points would be earned than in case 1, because there would be more work). These commentaries could then be published as "guest appearances" in your blog, or stored somewhere else if you'd prefer it that way.

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    1. I like these two suggestions, and I was already planning on playing through the Quest for Glory series. If I could actually earn points, maybe there are other games I'd play along.

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    2. Do we have to finish it? I'd be willing to play along and give status updates as I go.

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    3. It's of course completely up to Trickster whether and how he will use my suggestions, but I originally thought it wouldn't have to be necessary to complete the game, just like Trick doesn't need to complete every game he starts.

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