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Author Topic: Some thoughts on reviews  (Read 1462 times)

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Offline Dinger

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Some thoughts on reviews
« on: 31 Dec 2002, 18:13:41 »
First, I understand that writing reviews, like making missions, is a voluntary service, one that takes a lot of time and for which the reviewer often gets little praise.  OFPEC apparently has trouble recruiting and retaining reviewers, as their backlogs attest.
Nevertheless, I must say I was somewhat disappointed to read a recent review.  Writing reviews is every bit as important as making the mission that is being reviewed.  Some reviews are going to be better than others, but since one of the main jobs of reviews is to verify that a mission has met certain standards, I would hope the reviews themselves would be held to some standards.  By this I mean:
A. Orthography and Grammar.  I'm reading this.  I don't expect a glorious piece of prose to come out.  But a review isn't a BBS post.  If it were, we'd have a forum for that here.  Typographical errors need to be corrected.  Someone should at least correct the more egregious spelling errors, and ensure that the text makes some sense, so that a non-native english speaker can understand it.

B. Completeness.  Reviews generally contain two main parts: synopsis and analysis.  To complete the synopsis, a reviewer has to play the mission through to the end at least once (assuming the mission has an end), and preferably more times, in both vet and cad modes.  Movie reviewers have to sit through the whole thing, regardless of how bad the movie is.  A review here cannot just say "I ran a long time, found enemies and died; this mission is crap".

C. Descriptive Detail.  Everybody's got their own voice, and I read a review in part to evaluate the reviewer.  Reviewers can be abrasive if they  like; they can be looking for another incarnation of quake in every mission.  That's fine.  But reviews should not tell me what the game is, but show me.  Take this example:

Quote
you move onwards to a couple of buildings and there begins a long run the enemy outpost. Yep, you got it, no vehicles. A long, boring run to the outpost.
what does that tell us?  Nothing.
What makes the run long and boring?  How long? How boring?
Are we talking about 4 km or 400m?  Much better would be something like:
After parachuting onto the beach, the group rallies at a cluster of buildings.  Then the players are forced to endure a twenty-minute-long march to the objective, during which time no enemies are encountered.

D. False assumptions.  Not all players are like the reviewer.  In this same review, the reviewer assumes that every player would want ground vehicles on an paradrop mission, and that no coop mission is complete without respawn.  The reviewer is allowed to have the views, but stating them as obvious only serves to alienate those who don't think the same way.  Besides, the designer apparently thought things would be okay as is, so that's one person who doesn't think that way.  So when I read that the reviewer is bitter because these things are missing, I think "but I don't want respawn and jeeps on a squad-parachute mission".  All I get is that the reviewer is probably 15 years old and likes different sorts of missions than I do, or the mission designer.  It would be much more persuasive if the reviewer made suggestions by painting the specific context.  For example, instead of:
Quote
Yep, you got it, no vehicles.
It might be better to write something like:
"Given the distance involved, the designer could have considered the addition of some sort of vehicle to speed things along, or perhaps even a group setpos trigger to warp the group closer to the fight"
or
"The mission pits 4 infantrymen with no AT weapons against an infantry company and a tank platoon.  With those odds, the designer should have made respawn at least an option."

E. Painful dismissals.
  It's harder to write a bad review than a good one.  If a mission is really bad, the reviewer has to describe it in such detail as to convince the reader that the mission is "crap", and to communicate to the designer that the work submitted, a work that probably involved some time and energy, is really subpar.  Again, don't just say the mission is a turd, show me how it's a turd.  Nobody wants someone to stop writing missions because of a bad review, just as I don't want to discourage reviewers from writing reviews.  We just want them to be better, and we have some ideas on how that can be accomplished.

I haven't downloaded the mission in question; I just read the review and got annoyed.
Dinger/Cfit

Azraell

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #1 on: 01 Jan 2003, 14:24:51 »
i saw that 1 too, didnt like the way that sounded :-\

if my 1st mission got reviewed(hopefully soon ;) ) and some1 said it was crap instead of a more professional viewpoint, it would kinda discourage me and i would more than likely spend less and less time with the editor then prolly give it up all together.but alot of the 1st mission writers i believe dont realize the massive scope of this editor, dont know about outside scripts and things like that, it can be a bit overwhelming :o but if ur gonna get into it, its all required learning. also the reviewer will get better as he/she gets more reviews under their belt.i think

ud expect the little comment boxes to have rants like that, but not the main review........................though its funnier than heck when u read an EGM review that goes off on a bad game. ;D   but those are companies, they need a little harsh critisism ;)

Spawn for playstation anyone? == crap


my 2cents on this thread. 8)

Offline Messiah

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #2 on: 02 Jan 2003, 13:35:59 »
Quote
This mission was crap

thats the one which pisses me off - what in the hell does that say about the mission reviewer? we are trying to encourage new editors not make them think there is no point.

maybe some1 should have a serious look out what these reviewers are saying.
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Offline Archangel Scream

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #3 on: 02 Jan 2003, 13:56:37 »
I remember once complaining about the variability of reviews.

So I became a reviewer. ;)

Certainly room for more.

You sound like you could write an interesting review, Dinger, though do be aware that your use of "orthography" is perhaps a grammatical faux pas. ;)





Anmac

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #4 on: 02 Jan 2003, 15:24:19 »
All reviewers are required to spell check their reviews.

Thank you for your feedback on the reviews posted on our site.  It is always welcome.

Hint "SO ARE MORE REVIEWERS!"

If you can do better, you are most welcome to.

 ;)

*Looks for his steel cap boots and heads off to... talk to the reviewers.*
« Last Edit: 02 Jan 2003, 15:25:50 by Anmac »

Offline Messiah

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #5 on: 02 Jan 2003, 16:58:21 »
hmmmm - after June i would be ahppy to review missions ;)
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Offline pcverden

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #6 on: 05 Jan 2003, 14:32:57 »
I totally agree with everything Dinger says. If the OFPEC are going to live up to their goal they need good reviews and not something that a 5 year old could write.

Also it is kinda funny to see that what Dinger wrote has been put into the review that he is referrering to  ::)

Anmac

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #7 on: 08 Jan 2003, 04:37:38 »

Would you like some hens teeth?

Why?  Because they are easier to find than good reviewers.

If ppl take the time to review missions, as best they can, and make them available for the public to play, then you would think players would be more greatful.

Yes, OFPEC has always been the place to get a hard but honest review.  And we are trying to keep it that way.

Thanks for your feedback, but remember we can't please all the ppl all the time.

 :)

Offline Dinger

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #8 on: 08 Jan 2003, 07:36:38 »
hmmm, I wrote a response, but it disappeared on me.
okay, to restate what I've said:

yes, I agree that good reviewers are hard to find.  But I would add that they don't undergo an athenian birth.
And, yes, I concur with your sentiment that good reviews don't get the recognition they deserve.
Finally, I would like OFPEC to be a place that gave hard but honest reviews.  I expect reviewers not to take into consideration the hours and months that designers put into the missions, but rather the result.

But, in this case, I'm sorry, a review that gets published without proper evaluation by an editor serves nobody.  I, as a player, get no benefit from such a review.  The designer gets no worthwhile feedback whatsoever.  And should the reviewer's superiors defend the review after the fact rather than addressing the issues, the noble volunteer gets the message that such submissions are sufficient.

That's why I posted.  I tried to word it so nobody would get discouraged.  I don't want to see people quitting the review business, any more than I want to see quitters in the mission making business.  The problem isn't the initial review, but rather that somebody let something so patently substandard be published.

There is one difference between mission makers and mission reviewers:
Mission Makers should be making mission for their own benefit, since nobody else is guaranteed to play it.
Mission reviewers need to write a review with respect to their audience, since their burden is greater, and their thanks, much less.  It's a really tough task, and not one that you just inherently know from birth; it has to be taught.
« Last Edit: 08 Jan 2003, 18:54:14 by Dinger »
Dinger/Cfit

Skaven

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #9 on: 08 Jan 2003, 13:10:14 »
Azraeel I'm also waiting patientely to see your mission reviewed mate  ;)

Dinger, your opinion makes great sense, and indeed I must agree with everything you've written so far, indeed the Reviewers should pay more attention to some things they wright. And YES they should be less arrogant and sarcastic, after all mission makers send their work to ofpec to allow people to play with them and also to help ofpec.
But Dinger,almost all of them have never been Reviewers before, they are learning, as we learn how to make addons and missions, they learn how to Review, and trust me Reviewing is a though job.
First because they have to be umpartial, and many times they are reviewing their firends missions, and when they don't like it, it could cause conflicts if you know what I mean.
Also it's hard to evaluate people's work, specially when sometimes not even we can make it better.
And for last we can't forget that many times, we have people making reviews in English , when actually English is their third language like my case for example.
As you know it's hard to find reviewers, not good reviewers, I mean reviewers a good reviewer to be good must have experience, for example experience in solving situations like this one opened in this forum, becuse it's desmoralising to work for free, with love for the game and for the community and than read this kind of threads.

To conclude, I agree in a big part with your opinion Dinger,it's undeniable that what you've written is TRUE, but please, let's make this constructive and let's help the reviewers to make their job better and with the less interferance as possible.  :-\

I've been making addons from some time now, sometimes when I didn't like the review made on my work, I emailed the reviewer and explained him what I didn't agree and why, I always got the anwser, and I made it to both Wires and MadGav  ;D
Now I'm on the addon depot staff, and I'm begining to realise how hard is to review somebody else's work, I just hope to have people's help and understanding  ;)

Offline dmakatra

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #10 on: 21 Jan 2003, 21:06:25 »
I want to review, but in the recruit page it is written that you canÂ't be a reviewer if youÂ're under 18. I hate it! Even though IÂ'm younger than you, doesnÂ't mean that IÂ'm dumber or somethin. IÂ've been playing computer games since I was 3 months old (!). IÂ'm in the sixth grade and I write as good as my brother, whoÂ's in 2nd "ring"(After high school, there is somethin called "gymnasium" in Sweden, and you count the three grades there as "ringar"). And all that you have to be over 18 cause youÂ're to young, and canÂ't take responsibility, thatÂ's crap! You shouldnÂ't judge someone by their age before you know them! All my freinds says to me that I act like IÂ'm 5 years old. ShouldnÂ't that be enough? Besides, IÂ've got lots of time reviewing cause my mission always sux, so I almost hate the editor right know ;).

Anmac

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Re:Some thoughts on reviews
« Reply #11 on: 22 Jan 2003, 07:33:28 »

Sorry dude, but it's just to cover our cute little butts.  Ok. Don't take it to heart.

It's nice to see ppl wanting to help out.  Thanks.

 ;)