Chapter 28:

Round 2, Match 2: Archer (Actually Satan) vs WittyAcorn. Archer:

Community Sudden Fiction Tournament Arc

Round 2, Match 2: Archer (Actually Satan) vs WittyAcorn.

Prompt: It's not a sprint, it's a marathon

Participant: Archer (




The process was almost hypnotic. Jason was in a trance as he almost mindlessly moved his mouse around the screen. His eyes darted around, keeping an eye out for any stray abnormalities in the display. Anything that could be seen as a hindrance to the game’s performance needed to be snuffed out and remedied. 

Of course, that was easier said than done. Even a simple linear game like this was bound to have hundreds of thousands of complex elements of code and trying to find them individually was a tall order for their small team. Jason had lost track of time sitting there, though time wasn’t exactly a problem for him at the moment. They were ahead of schedule, likely due to the exemplary work of his team members. He had insisted that his programmers take the day off to rest, and though they had protested, his insistence that it would be paid leave certainly helped his case. Javier and Marcia were good workers; they deserved to take time for themselves. 

The area Jason was looking through was a meadow environment on the edge of a large cliff face. The textures had been applied a few days ago, and Jason just needed to do some examinations to make sure there were no problems with the execution. If there was a programming error, the textures would make it harder to find. Both the beta testers and the programming team had already tested this area, but Jason couldn’t help but check things himself. His friends called him obsessive for this, but he preferred to think of himself as thorough. 

Jason looked through the environment, his gaze settling on a small graphical bug on the side of a wall. A texture file was misaligned and was displaying a small section of the area as being the wrong color. This wasn’t the first instance of this bug Jason had found in this location, and he assumed it was due to texture files for the different locations being mixed up. He sighed; the speed of their development was bound to create issues like this. While he was grateful for his environment leads and their work, he would have preferred they sacrifice time to keep mistakes like this from happening. It wasn’t a big mistake, of course, but it still needed correction. 

“You don’t have to be so scrupulous; you know.” Jason turned to see his lead programmer, Imelda, standing behind him, holding two coffee cups in her hands. 

Taking one of the drinks, the prospect of relieving his drowsiness tempting him, Jason said, “Thanks, but I disagree.” 

“No one’s going to notice the things you’re taking the time to fix. And even if they do, it’s not like it’s a real problem.” 

Jason shook his head. “Maybe this won’t be noticeable in the full game, but it could lead me to realizing something that will be noticeable. Something that I would never forgive myself if I let slip by.” 

Imelda sat down at the terminal next to him. “So, this is about your peace of mind?” 

“A little.” Jason said, turning back to the computer screen. “But I think that the people playing this game wouldn’t like it if there was something that took them out of the experience. I don’t just want to make a game; I want people to like this game.” 

“If you say so.” Though he couldn’t see her face, Jason could hear the smile in Imelda’s voice. She was always his biggest naysayer, but he appreciated it. Having someone call him out when he made a mistake was what he wanted, after all. Jason knew he wasn’t perfect, so if he wanted to make something perfect, he needed people to cover for him. “I’m going to pick up some lunch, you want anything?” 

“Just a burger, if you can.” Jason’s eyes had locked onto something, and he maneuvered the camera to focus on it more closely. 

“You got it.” Imelda’s footsteps faded as she walked out of the room. Jason zoomed in on a corner of the wall, moving the player character closer to it. Something about the texture had caught his eye, and as he moved closer, he figured it out. Instead of hitting a solid wall, the avatar moved right through it, passing into the cliff face entirely. It seemed the art assets hadn’t been applied to the actual programmed wall, and so they had accidentally covered up a hole in the environment. Sure enough, as the character kept moving, they ended up falling out of the level and into the abyss below where nothing had been programmed. 

Jason smiled briefly, the satisfaction of being proven right overcoming him for just a moment. Opening the coding panel, he scanned the program for anything that was related to solid objects in that area and found the answer. It seemed the wall asset had not been designated as the correct length, but the texture had been. As a result, though the texture was long enough to reach the corner of the cliff, the actual wall wasn’t. 

Jason thought for a moment. Officially, the procedure was to write a report for the programming team to determine the source of and fix the problem themselves, but Jason hesitated. The whole reason he had done this examination in the first place, besides bringing himself peace of mind, was to give his team some rest. It would be counterproductive to leave them more work, even if it was relatively easy work. 

With just a few clicks into the editing software, Jason adjusted the model of the wall to fit the right proportions. Going back into the game itself, he smiled when, upon walking into the same area, he found himself hitting a solid wall, perfectly aligned with the cliff texture. 

Jason let out an audible sigh before moving on. His examination of the scene was finished. Now to move onto the next environment. No rest for the weary. 





Judge's Feedback

znf: Interesting interpretation of the prompt. Was pretty mellow and contemplative. It's a bit laborious to read through some of the coding sections, I think the delivery could have been improved a bit there to smooth out the reading experience, but hey it's not a sprint it's a marathon amirite? dohoho

OscarHM: A sensible interpretation of the prompt. Looking at a snapshot of a perfectionist is a good way to go. It's competently written but it's quite dry, a lot of just talking about bits of game development and little things that are occurring. It makes sense but feels like it could use a bit more style imo.

otkrlj: Not bad, and a decent execution of the prompe, just found it kind of boring tbh

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