Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Badly worded, apology

I would like to sincerely apologise to DarkGod for the wording of the previous post which implied he was somehow cheating or hacking the poll. The post and follow up comments were poorly written and far too ambiguous and I should have been much more explicit about what was actually happening and what outcome I wanted.

From next year, the poll will include the following wording: 'Promotion of this poll from within a game itself is strongly discouraged and will be sanctioned if discovered. This includes using any kind of MotD or in game chat functionality which may already exist in the game.'

The reason I am making this change is I don't want anyone to start down the trail of 'I need to add feature X to the game to promote my chances of doing well in the poll'. There's no evidence that this is actually happening - and I would be surprised if it did - but I would hate for even one developer to make one decision which was based on this kind of reasoning.

You are completely free to promote your game outside the game itself - that's what forums, twitter, Facebook etc. are based on. Note the key difference between inside and outside the game, is that promotion outside the game can be done by anyone - the developer themselves are not the gatekeepers for this process. Whereas coding and/or code check-in and review are drains on developer time, and I don't want to end up being responsible for taking time away from working on the parts of the game which you feel are important.


Darren Grey said...

Hmm, this is a weird restriction, and seems designed purely to encumber ToME. The idea that people would introduce those sorts of features just for the poll is... well, ludicrous. ToME has them for player chatting, updates on new versions, and remote content pushing (bonus zones and such only made available at certain times). Using these features to promote the poll is no different than Thomas Biskup e-mailing all his IndieGoGo backers to vote on the poll.

A bigger issue I believe is people making multiple votes, which seems to be happening in excess. But overall we can take the attitude that this isn't a serious scientific poll and just accept the results as they come out.

Darren Grey said...

Also, in the interests of balance I think you should publicly accuse Thomas Biskup of cheating, just so we can see the angry reaction from the ADOM fans ;)

Eric Michael Wykoff said...

I thought I already did in a few places. Just waiting for the fall out :P

Joshua Day said...

What about encouraging people who make promotions to ask their followers to vote for at least one of their other favorites? I don't think I mind the hundreds of votes that come in from the big communities, but I'd love to see what other games impressed them.

tiger-eye said...

Wow, that restriction is just dense. What if a roguelike is played in a browser? Can they not include a link? What if the majority of communication is done from within the game, which isn't uncommon in commercial games?

Seriously, Andrew, apology aside, I think you're just being bonkers. The more players that view the poll (and the final results), the better. Simple as that.

If you want to add conditionals on communication, then how about if you use a channel of communication to encourage people to vote, then you also need to link to the final results of the poll (win or lose).

As long as the format of the poll remains as it is, there will be cheating. Possibly lots of cheating (mostly by a few rabid fans). Gaining a few more eyes on the sight and a few more votes via a not-so-evil in-game message is marginal, and should actually be welcome.

Darren Grey said...

The poll itself I feel could be reworded to "What are your favourite roguelikes of the year?" But perhaps consideration of future changes should be left till after this ones closes and we can properly reflect.

Brian said...

Hmm...I'd rather think that it isn't so much having an ingame megaphone'ish mechanism to communicate that voting is on, or anything else, to the playerbase isn't so much a thing---nobody would give a damn about it in the slightest if not for the quality of the game itself that has accrued the audience in the first place. So it isn't "Man, gotta get DG's chat dealie to be able to moreso make the big time!" so much as "Man, gotta steal all the general good ideas from ToME 4 and then polish my own game's core differentiating fundamentals so I too can be a moreso major project/joust with DG/Gaslamp/Biskup/etc!"

graspee said...

I'm totally on AD's side, and then some, in fact. Isn't the poll supposed to be a bit of fun and to highlight roguelikes people enjoy and other people may not know about? I think any campaigning and word-spreading to get votes whether by blog, game, or other social media, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY WON ONE OR MORE TIMES, I MEAN SRSLY, is just bad form and not in the spirit of the poll.

Trefall said...

There's so much passion in the RL community! :) I appreciate both perspectives on the matter. Suddenly the RLR coverage of this year's poll got twice interesting :P

Abe Heron said...

Wow...edgy and contentious issue (from reading some of the comments on the previous post!). At the very least would make for a GREAT topic for the next RLR episode :P

Abe Heron said...

Wow...edgy and contentious issue (from reading some of the comments on the previous post!). At the very least would make for a GREAT topic for the next RLR episode :P

Soyweiser said...

While I don't have anything to add to the current debate. I do think the ingame chatting and content pushing is definitely a step forward for the roguelike world.

This web content, and the autoexplore and automation features from Crawl are very big improvements.

The best I have seen in years.

Joseph said...

Polls like this are like the wild wild west of popularity contests, but that's cool. If you want something more serious you'd need to restrict voting, much like the Oscars, the Hugo or American elections.

[ Ha! See what I did there. :-) ]

Kornel Kisielewicz said...

First of all - funny, I always thought that such underside practices to win were the domain of the ChaosForge, but it seems DarkGod and Biskup completely stole the "underhanded" prize this year :P.

Ok, I must admit, my original plan was to time a major DoomRL release, just during the poll. And actually I would go through with this plan (we're almost ready) if it didn't struck me as stupid.

I did a bit of thinking, and I must agree that in its current form the Poll is completely meaningless, and doesn't serve any purpose.

So here's my (biased) suggestion:

1. ban all the winners from the next years contest.

2. next year, form a committee based around the winners of previous contests. Each has one vote. The last vote is the community vote -- however, based on a filtered list without the previous years winners.

3. Additionally if one of the winners from previous years has a new entree, he obviously cannot vote on it at all (e.g. me voting on AliensRL)

4. The results are twofold -- the communities choice is the one that won the popular vote, and the Roguelike of the Year is the one that was chosen by the committee + community vote.

Finally a comment -- IMHO, the usage of a MOTD feature is unfair - however, I'd do the same if I had the possibility in DoomRL (which actually is incoming) -- which would render any game without a direct communication channel with the current player-base stand no chance against the ones that do. That is very much against the whole spirit of "Roguelike of the Year" and instead moves toward "Clash of the old-time titans". So while I cannot criticize DarkGod's decision, I suggest that if you agree, the previous years winners will just pull out of the contest. Of course that would leave ADOM with almost a sure win, but if you think about it, that's basically the "roguelike of the year" situation. And we'd have fresh runner ups at least!

Andrew, I'd like to pull DoomRL from this years contest.

Kornel Kisielewicz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew Doull said...

Kornel: Glad to hear I'm not completely bonkers.

SRD said...

I think all the comments here except Kornel's are completely bonkers. But being bonkers, I might be wrong about that.

HunterZ said...

Just got an email from DarkGod (presumably a mass email to all people who registered on the ToME site, which I did a year or two ago) announcing that ToME v1 is imminent, but he also slipped in a link to the poll here.

Andrew Doull said...

HunterZ: So did I. I just... sighed.

Ryan Coy said...

Being slightly biased, aren't you?

Biskup sent out an email days ago and almost immediately, ADOM's votes spiked hard.

Only after your tacit approval of this - by complete lack of a disparaging post specifically calling out the act of mass-emailing players looking for votes - did Darkgod do the same.

But you're coming down on him, not Biskup?

tisk tisk.

Kornel Kisielewicz said...

Ryan, let's say I now mail all the 2089 non-spam ChaosForge forum members, and 664 ChaosForge facebook supporters telling them to vote for DoomRL. What will this change? What will it achieve?

Kornel Kisielewicz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

You'll achieve notoriety and e-peen for winning the Roguelike of the year.

I say do it. Doom's progress was great this year. IMHO it had a bigger leap than any of the other major contenders.

However, I think I misunderstand what Andrew wants out of his poll. I just assumed it was a big 'ol free for all popularity contest, but it seems only a certain amount of shilling for your own game is allowed.

I don't get it but it's Andrew's poll, not mine, and he's never proven to be a huge turd. So whatever he wants I won't complain.

Joseph said...

On second thought, no Kornel, don't do it. It would piss Andrew off and go against what he's trying to achieve.

But if the Diablo III peeps get a hold of this, and it takes off, please, by all means, save us.

XLambda said...

Sigh. I think the anti-ToME bias has gone far enough.

I understand if you don't want community mobilization like DG's RotY campaign. Your arguments against in-game advertisement of the poll are perfectly fine. And I get why you think it's fairer this way. (Even if I don't agree 100%.). If you want to stop games from defending their RotY title in the following poll, hey, fine with me. Your poll, your rules.

But these rules needs to be enforced fairly and without bias. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but 'sighing' about one dev's campaign right after accusing him of cheating all while silently condoning another dev's campaign just seems hypocritical to me.

Holsety said...

This is just getting weird now, with a level of tisking and headshaking over something I just can't wrap my head around.

I'm seeing outraged people and more than a few mentions of 'the spirit of the poll'.

The what?
What spirit?
This poll has been a rules-free aimless thing where the giants of the genre keep winning year after year.

And NOW you all choose to come out of the woodwork and start unloading your misguided preconceptions all over ToME?

I don't even like ToME all that much (not my type of RL, no offense), but the amount of self-righteous vitriol being gushed over people being 'underhanded' and 'abusing' mass-communication channels...

I said it in a comment in the previous post, but I'll repeat it here; RLs with giant communities and dedicated forums are going to keep stomping all over those who do not have those things.

For what it's worth you should have moved every winner of a previous RLotY poll into a hall of fame and excluded them from participating in subsequent polls.
Add the hall of fame as a list ABOVE the current poll if your aim is truly to increase public awareness on the number of fantastic RLs out there.

As it stands now the poll has no purpose other than to generate shitstorms.

I, for one, am just surprised we're all having this discussion NOW. Nobody raised an eyebrow at the winners of the previous years?

Pat said...

For what it's worth TOME is the only RL I play consistently these days. When Dark God advertises the poll I get a month or so of enjoyment playing around 10 other RLs that sound interesting to me and then go back to TOME. If he didn't advertise I would never hear about these other smaller games that really are good in their own right.

Nick said...

"Having a competition is a dumb idea/offensive/stupid when you can't police the results.

Yep. Doesn't stop it being fun."

I'm guessing Andrew might want to rewrite this bit for next year.

Actually, I have an idea - how about make it a "new roguelike of the year" poll, and disallow any game more than two years old? This removes the massive installed fanbase vote which is so tempting to activate, and highlights the innovative. Although maybe the definition of "new" would become a problem...

Linaniil of the Kar'Krul said...

Since it seems I am the devil that's out there to eat small roguelikes and children alike; this is the email I sent andrew 3 days go, verbatim:

Firstly thanks for the apology message :)
I must say I was (badly) surprised by the tone of your previous posts because I recalled no hate between us.
I admit I was very near sending an offensive of my own but, well it would only have made things worse.
But well we all act rashly sometimes so it's fine and dandy, kisses and all that :)

As for changing the rules next year, I must say I quite agree with .. well most of the replies. This seems awefully targeted against ToME, which I dont believe is your intend (wouldnt have done that post in the first place :) ).

I do not see how it is more fair to developers to "require" to have a big list of emails to "spam" instead of asking ingame.
If you were not aware, that's what Thomas Biskup did, sent a big email to all his donators, explaining the sudden rise (I wont go accusing him of cheating althought it's obvious somebody loves proxies, but then probably on my side too).

You wisely said rule would apply next year anyway so I'll re-enable my message (unless youcan make thomas emails get unsent ;> ). In the idea of fairness I'll make it clear that people can vote for multiple games and are welcome to do so, something I want anyway: more players for lesser known games is never bad; we've all been small at some point.

As for next year, I really, truly, believe you should exlude all games that didnt have their first release that year AND all those that are commercialy supported. Simply because this would give a greater chance to most under of the underdogs; which is good.
While I love winning contests and I'm sure thomas and DCSS people, ... do; we big players can live without that.

On that, one last point, if you were to follow this idea next year you might have a problem of volume. I have seen the other polls around the year you do and you get so many less votes. It's pretty obvious why for the RotY poll you get many, the big few RLs all send their players in. (And dont take it as an attack against your blog, it's not at all)
So IMO, next year you should contact before hand the few big RLs devs and tell them why big rls are not included *AND* ask them to send players to the blog for discovery/voting on unknown ones.
This way we could use our "power" to do good instead of fighting silly battles (which I admit I'll fight as long as the battle is there, because others will too; silly, perhaps, but human :> ).
And those of the big RLs that wont want to help will be seen as bad guys ;>

Oh and lastly, yeah I'd love those medals for the last years ;>

Thanks man!

PS: Oh and I dont have anything against thomas doing that, it's just as fair IMO

Linaniil of the Kar'Krul said...

(err comment too long, so second part)

Oh and Kornel, seriously? Those methods are wrong and bad and all and you condone them and yet you say you would have done the same ?
Oh and if you go saying I released RC1 for the poll .. well I have no way to prove I have not; nor do I have to prove anything. But I just want to point out it's been about 1.5 years I keep saying 2012 must see the first non-beta of ToME and I'm quite literally running out of time, so things have to move...

Oh and yes I send a mailing too, as others have said, if it is allowed for one it's allowed for all, and yes I did include a link to the poll, but I also (and that took the huge majority of the mail) asked people to come and try RC1 and tell them what are the plans for after V1 (which is a question I get asked a lot). Oh and the email targeted only people that hadn't logged in a few weeks and had played "enough" in the past.

So it's all there in the open; I know that people that have decided to hate me will keep on doing so (and they did so long before the poll anyway); no idea why I try to be a nice person and always stay nice and polite but whatever. At least what is going on is clear, what my thoughts are is clear.

On that note I wish you all a merry end of year; or a merry end of the world, we shall see :)

Kornel Kisielewicz said...

"Oh and Kornel, seriously? Those methods are wrong and bad and all and you condone them and yet you say you would have done the same ?"

That's precisely what I said :P

Joseph said...

I wonder what would happen if the developers of DF, Diablo and Kornel really committed to getting the vote out.

On a slightly different topic, I'm shocked Brogue isn't doing way better.

Joseph said...

I just put this on my facebook page:

"Vote for me! {link}

My games are Cardlike and Sun Crusher. I know none of you played them, but you should do the right thing and vote for your friend. :-)"

We'll see if I can break 10 votes. DARE TO DREAM!

XLambda said...

@Jo: I voted for Sun Crusher right away. Why? Because I enjoyed the heck out of it. Also because it doesn't deserve any less to be on this poll than Diablo 3.

Jordan7hm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan7hm said...

"As for next year, I really, truly, believe you should exlude all games that didnt have their first release that year AND all those that are commercialy supported. Simply because this would give a greater chance to most under of the underdogs; which is good."

I don't understand this sentiment.

The best roguelike is the best roguelike, period.

Can someone honestly say that the current top ~6 (not including ADOM 2, which is clearly there based on hope for the future) is not an accurate representation of the current popularity of various roguelikes?
Dwarf Fortress

This seems pretty spot on to me.

If the larger roguelikes weren't included, I wouldn't vote for something called a roguelike of the year, because it wouldn't be true. And if you were to rename the poll to be more accurate (after removing winners / larger games), nobody would pay nearly as much attention to it. The New Roguelike That Garnered Several Hours of Play From You This Year, But Wasn't Nearly As Good As A Half Dozen Other Games Award isn't particularly compelling.

Joseph said...

@XLAMBDA - Thanks dude. I really did my best to get as much 'fun' out of the idea as I could. Unhappily I had to cut most of the planned Roguelike elements.

We did learn something though. Rotating planets on low rez grid is confusing as hell. Next time I need more squares.

As for the state of this poll, I think everything is just fine as it is. You can vote for multiple games, I like that. It allows one to draw up a 'best of' in categories if you want. Best new, best monster, best coffee break, etc...

Joseph said...

...also I figured out how to fix the blocking hit detection in the game in about 30 seconds. HINDSIGHT!

Joseph said...


Trefall said...

Somehow I would find it more interesting to vote on games and features. Best UI in RLs this year, best innovative RL, most challenging RL, most epic death in RL, etc.

Then you'd end up with a lot of factors that would give you many winners of the sub-sections, but also an overall winner, that won the most sub-sections.

Joseph said...

I'd vote in that poll Trefall.

Thomas Biskup said...

Just checked this for the first time. I'm amazed about the heated discussion here, folks calling each other "cheaters" and what not. In a "Roguelike Game of the Year 2012" poll that is fun but meaningless as it technically allows to vote an arbitrary number of times for one person.

And no, I didn't do it but I was surprised to see how trivial it is to "cheat" here ;-)

Personally I believe it's totally ok to inform a game cmmunity by whatever means... be it in-game like in ToME (from what I hear), a posting to a forum, a Facebook message or a mailing. I mean: It's the 21st century. Personally I also don't care for the outcome of the poll (although I'd love to win) as it probably has next to no meaning for the success of a game - at least not if you are among the top 3-5. Each of those games has a decent enough sized community that probably is far more valuable than this poll in spreading the word about the game.

But it's really bewildering to see the vitriolic comments in the community... wouldn't have happened in the olden days as far as I remember ;-)
But being kind of a roguelike dinosaur my memory might be faulty...

Thomas Biskup said...

Oh, Merry Christmas BTW ;-)

Paul Jeffries said...

This all seems a bit silly to me and I don't really see anything wrong with what DarkGod did. It's your poll and you can set whatever conditions you like of course, but if you want the award to actually be an indicator of quality rather than a pointless-but-fun popularity contest you're going to need to take a hell of a lot more measures than this.

Paul Jeffries said...
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Alcatraz said...

You disgust me Andrew. You are disgustingly, obviously biased while calling forth previously unannounced restrictions upon those you care to not see win. I'm unlikely to continue reading this blog.

graspee said...

Alcatraz: If you want to make your own poll where tome4 wins every year then go ahead.