HuvaaKoodia #138

Joined a month ago



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The problem

The jam was good, but the rating system left me cold. I have a total of three issues with it; let's see if you can spot them.


It is obvious right? Ok, I'll give you the first one for free: there are no descriptive words to go with the numbers. Let's fix that.

10 The best ever
9 Amazing
8 Great
7 Good
6 Above average
5 Below average
4 Bad
3 Terrible
2 Abysmal
1 The worst ever

Better. Now everyone has similar expectations of each grade, more so than before. Do keep in mind this is just an example, there are other fitting descriptions and they could even change based on each category.

Second problem? There is no average! In a big jam there are a whole lot of average entries, so-so stuff. With this rating system I'll have to score them slightly better or slightly worse every time. How annoying.

The last problem is more personal than the prior two. In my opinion a scale of 10 has too much granularity. What is the difference between Amazing and Great? How about Terrible and Abysmal? It is not clear and as such we can expect different people to use these grades in fuzzy ways, which muddles the results. In the best case scenario the grade should reflect the (hopefully written) opinions of each reviewer exactly, not close enough.


In light of the prior explanations some propositions are in order. The first one is obvious, simply introduce descriptive words and an average grade to the current system. I'd be fine with that. Next, two more ideas.

7-grade, zero centered model

+3 Amazing
+2 Good
+1 Above average
0 Average
-1 Below average
-2 Bad
-3 Terrible

The old 5-grade model

5 Amazing
4 Good
3 Average
2 Bad
1 Terrible


I rate the rating system 2 out of 5, bad.



So the ratings are out and I don't exactly agree on the results. My top overall ratings, for those interested:


Chrysopoeia (9.00)
The Hermetic Order Of Alchemists (8.00)
Mixium (8.00)
Sil the Alchemist (8.00)
The Six Keys to the Philosopher's Stone (8.00)

Three puzzles in the top 5, what has befallen me?


The Wanderer (7.00)
Modern Alchemy (7.00)
Transformist (7.00)

Considerably lower averate score for team entries this time. There were only 15 of them, which might explain it.


But this is not about the top titles, you see I always play and comment on as many entries as I can in a jam (this time all of the 58!) For me the best projects are those that don't simply make me think critically, but also make me realize something or remind me of an interesting design.

This time there was one of those, the last title I played, an unranked, fake themed entry:

Redshirt's Escape

So what did I realize? Even exploring an empty, abandoned complex can be exciting with a ticking clock of impending doom in the background. Also reminded me of an older design I haven't gotten to prototyping yet, concerning a rogue AI in a spacestation, so that's good.

Great jam, worth repeating.


Should have written this a few days ago, but I simply forgot.

The idea

I read the theme, then the real theme and immediately looked up the history of alchemy on wikipedia, interesting stuff. Then moved on to other resources (mostly on Scribd), more interesting stuff! Somewhere here the idea of an interactive text based story started to take form and then it clicked. Better run with it.

The prose

Wrote 15 pages worth of design and prose before implementing anything. It all came out with relative ease. No stress, no fuss, just writing for 10 hours worth.

The code

Here's why I was feeling so sure about the implementation. I'd been working on another text based project recently and that system, I reckoned, would fit well here too. It did! Had minor issues, but it was mostly smooth sailing (and hard work, of course). The fact that parts of the system were data driven and other parts code did annoy me quite a bit.


Finished the alchemy actions last, at the beginning of the final hour! Managed to draw one quick cover image while setting up the jam and pages. It came close and there is a RL reason for it. Had to spend 6 hours away from the jam on Sunday morning.

Total effective working hours: 43


After the jam I realized that the code part was a blessing in diguise. It is always easier to hack things together in code than in a custom data files. It took me many days (only a few hours per day, though) to port all the code logic to a completely data driven system for the post-jam project.

The project is nowhere finished, unfortunately. There are many story elements that I want to add to it and I haven't had the time to do a lot of writing yet. Now that the rating period is over I can concentrate on that some more.


The first interactive short story I've ever made; learned a few writing techniques. Also improved the data driven system for future projects so that's good.

A great jam as usual. I do enjoy these events a lot; the testing and commenting part is a big draw for me. I managed to try every single entry this time, taken that there were only 58 of them. I dread the jam where there are more entries than I can play in two weeks.

Will write some entry recommendations and ideas on the rating system in the up coming days.



Seems I made the only interactive short story in the whole jam! It is nice being the president of my own little exclusive club.
Managed to put in all the required pieces, yet many nice to have things were cut. I'll keep working on a post-jam version.

Try it here


The writing is going well, programming ok too. Although I did make some bad calls in the very beginning which are annoying me to no end at the moment. I'll persevere and refactor after the jam.

I have a feeling I won't have time to put everything in. Alchemy for one is still nothing but a mention in the intro. Sacrificed 6 hours for RL stuff which didn't help.

One day to go. Good luck everyone.


Started programming then. Going well. Leveraging some old code too, which is always nice.

You can try the current WebGL WIP build here. It has the intro and the first day already in. Everyone has temp names too!

Warning! This is an interactive short story; it is nothing but text.


14 pages of prose and design. Ended up reading quite a few articles and documents to get a feel for the topic. The philosophical alchemy books were not much help taken what I'm trying to achieve.

That should do for post production. Now it is time to start programming.


7 pages worth already and there is going to be a lot more. The main idea came out of nowhere pretty much immediately after reading the (real) theme. I'm making an interactive short story, with maybe a few pictures thrown in there, so I can pretty much write down the whole thing before even thinking about code. This is all new to me.

Good luck youse.