HOWTO: Write a recap

Round-by-round summaries of every game in recent series; for every series in the last 5 years, try cdb, the Countdown databasel. Obviously this forum contains spoilers!

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Charlie Reams
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HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:51 pm

The recap system has evolved in a fairly organic way over several years. Here I will attempt to explain the process from scratch, so that even a completely newbie to the site could have a go. By all means post questions and suggestions below and I'll try to incorporate them.

Step 1: Become a recapper
Recaps are done on a rota. Generally each day of the week has an allocated recapper. This ensures that every episode gets recapped (eventually) and no work gets duplicated. If you're interested in having a go, watch out in this forum for possible vacancies, either one-offs or permanent slots.

Step 2: Watch the episode
Some people like the write the recap live, but you need to be fairly confident to do this. It may be easier to take notes on paper and write the recap afterwards, or video it so you can go back later and get anything you missed. Getting the contestants' names is particularly tricky, because their full name is often only given once, and you'll only get a few seconds to note the correct spelling from the nameplate.

Step 3: Write the recap
In theory you can write the recap entirely by hand, straight into a new forum post, but there is an easier way. The Recap Writer is a simple online tool that makes recap writing much slicker and does a lot of the leg work for you, and can also flag a lot of common errors automatically. The page includes online help and I'm also available to answer any questions. You can also download the program CountMax, which shows you all of the words available in every round. This greatly simplifies finding "DC beaters" (i.e. words better than those mentioned on the programme.)

Step 4: Post the recap here
At the bottom of the recap writer, click the button marked "Make Text Recap". This simply collates all the text that is shown in the preview panels as you're going along, so there shouldn't be any surprises. Copy the text (by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl+C) and paste it into a new post in this forum. You can give the post any subject line you like, but ideally something mentioning the date and day. (See the rest of this forum for plenty of examples.)

Step 5: Add the recap to the Countdown Database
It's much easier for people to find your recap in the future if you index it on the Countdown Database (CDB). For full instructions, see the other post in this forum "HOWTO: Submit your recaps to the Countdown Database". If you click the "Automatic submit page" link on the Recap Writer then you won't get far wrong.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Howard Somerset » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:09 pm

Not sure whether this is the right place to post this remark about the recap writer. If it's not, then delete it or move it elsewhere, Charlie, and so keep this thread clean.

I think I only ever have one problem with the recap writer, and that's on numbers rounds when neither contestant gets the solution, and Carol/Rachel doesn't offer anything better. In such circumstances the OT box is not open for entering any result. I used to get round this by entering any old number for Carol, and then manually editing the result afterwards. But there's always the danger of forgetting to edit. An alternative way, which does seem to work, and does not require any editing of the output, is to put a hyphen against the CV entry. This opens up the OT box, and nothing for Carol gets passed on to the recap.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Jon Corby » Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:58 am

I also discovered last week that the recap writer doesn't cater for tied games. Obviously it wasn't difficult to duplicate the "conundrum" block in a text editor, but it did leave me with the issue of what to declare the maximum score as. I think we've had the discussion before that it probably varies depending on what you're trying to calculate.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Howard Somerset » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:38 am

Jon Corby wrote:I also discovered last week that the recap writer doesn't cater for tied games. Obviously it wasn't difficult to duplicate the "conundrum" block in a text editor, but it did leave me with the issue of what to declare the maximum score as. I think we've had the discussion before that it probably varies depending on what you're trying to calculate.
I don't think there's any doubt about the maximum; it should remain as it was for the end of round 15 (as I see you've done in your recap). After all, the maximum is what a perfect player would achieve, and a perfect player would always win by round 15.

What is at issue is the score achieved by the winner of the tie-break conundrum. Since 10 points is added to the score on the programme, then that 10 points should be included in the winner's score in the recap. However, I don't believe it should be included when calculating the accumulated score for a run, for example when seeing if the contestant passed the 800 mark.

As for getting the recap writer to cater for tied games, that's up to Charlie, of course. But I would suggest that it's left as it is. If the recap writer were to be changed, then it should also have to cater for a second (and third etc) tie break conundrum, in case neither contestant solved the first (or second etc).

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Jon Corby » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:03 am

Howard Somerset wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:I also discovered last week that the recap writer doesn't cater for tied games. Obviously it wasn't difficult to duplicate the "conundrum" block in a text editor, but it did leave me with the issue of what to declare the maximum score as. I think we've had the discussion before that it probably varies depending on what you're trying to calculate.
I don't think there's any doubt about the maximum; it should remain as it was for the end of round 15 (as I see you've done in your recap). After all, the maximum is what a perfect player would achieve, and a perfect player would always win by round 15.

What is at issue is the score achieved by the winner of the tie-break conundrum. Since 10 points is added to the score on the programme, then that 10 points should be included in the winner's score in the recap. However, I don't believe it should be included when calculating the accumulated score for a run, for example when seeing if the contestant passed the 800 mark.

As for getting the recap writer to cater for tied games, that's up to Charlie, of course. But I would suggest that it's left as it is. If the recap writer were to be changed, then it should also have to cater for a second (and third etc) tie break conundrum, in case neither contestant solved the first (or second etc).
As you say, leaving the max as at 15 rounds gives us the issue of what to do with the player's score - we have to record his score as being higher for the victory, but now we're in a position where he is being credited with an artificially high % of max (it could even be > 100% !!).

As for changing the recap writer, I'm sure Charlie's up to the task of making it continually add conundrum blocks if the scores remain tied. The issue is whether it's worth it, as it seldom happens and hardly anybody else probably really cares about these issues!

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Charlie Reams » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:55 am

Jon Corby wrote: As you say, leaving the max as at 15 rounds gives us the issue of what to do with the player's score - we have to record his score as being higher for the victory, but now we're in a position where he is being credited with an artificially high % of max (it could even be > 100% !!).

As for changing the recap writer, I'm sure Charlie's up to the task of making it continually add conundrum blocks if the scores remain tied. The issue is whether it's worth it, as it seldom happens and hardly anybody else probably really cares about these issues!
It would actually be kinda tough to fix (the bit that generates the page and the bit that does the actual recap writing are written in different languages) and, for an occurrence that happens maybe once a year, it's not really worth it. I have a habit of saying "cba" and then doing it the next day, but probably not on this occasion.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Jon Corby » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:58 am

Charlie Reams wrote:It would actually be kinda tough to fix (the bit that generates the page and the bit that does the actual recap writing are written in different languages) and, for an occurrence that happens maybe once a year, it's not really worth it. I have a habit of saying "cba" and then doing it the next day, but probably not on this occasion.
Yeah, I figured as much (and I agree) - but what are your thoughts on what to do with the scoring? Presumably if the scores are tied at the end you could pop up a bit of text to say "don't advance the max by 10 for the extra round, but do advance the winning player's score by 10 when submitting to the cdb", or whatever you think is the appropriate way of dealing with it.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Charlie Reams » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:09 am

Jon Corby wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:It would actually be kinda tough to fix (the bit that generates the page and the bit that does the actual recap writing are written in different languages) and, for an occurrence that happens maybe once a year, it's not really worth it. I have a habit of saying "cba" and then doing it the next day, but probably not on this occasion.
Yeah, I figured as much (and I agree) - but what are your thoughts on what to do with the scoring? Presumably if the scores are tied at the end you could pop up a bit of text to say "don't advance the max by 10 for the extra round, but do advance the winning player's score by 10 when submitting to the cdb", or whatever you think is the appropriate way of dealing with it.
Basically there should be two different columns in the database, one for actual score and one for score after 15 rounds. I will probably do this... at some point. Incidentally has there ever been an octochamp who had a sudden-death conundrum before?

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Howard Somerset » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:47 am

Charlie Reams wrote:Incidentally has there ever been an octochamp who had a sudden-death conundrum before?
No 15 round octochamps, even though a lot of victories were by just 10 points.

There was one viscount, though. Paul Ryan. No recap available yet, but the countdown page shows that his third game went to a tie-break. http://www.thecountdownpage.com/series46.htm

Not looked at 9 round octochamps.

edit: Now found a 9 round octochamp. Kevin McMahon. (he's the only 9 round octochamp I've looked at) http://www.thecountdownpage.com/series44.htm

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Simon Myers » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:43 am

Didn't take too long to find another 9 round octochamp - Michael Calder in series 42 had not one but two tie-break conundrums in his run.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Kai Laddiman » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:20 pm

Jon Corby wrote:As you say, leaving the max as at 15 rounds gives us the issue of what to do with the player's score - we have to record his score as being higher for the victory, but now we're in a position where he is being credited with an artificially high % of max (it could even be > 100% !!).

As for changing the recap writer, I'm sure Charlie's up to the task of making it continually add conundrum blocks if the scores remain tied. The issue is whether it's worth it, as it seldom happens and hardly anybody else probably really cares about these issues!
What I say for tie-breaking conundrums is that they're the equivalent of, say, a rock-paper-scissors round, ie. they have no effect on the score.
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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:57 pm

Kai Laddiman wrote:What I say for tie-breaking conundrums is that they're the equivalent of, say, a rock-paper-scissors round, ie. they have no effect on the score.
I think from series 22 to 29 (had a look on Mike's page - but there was also a discussion ages ago on another forum) they counted the extra 10 points in the totals but then realised what a stupid idea it was. Before series 22, if there was a draw they came back the next day!

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Clive Brooker » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:31 pm

Thanks to all recappers. I use them quite a lot and it's appreciated.

Not sure how much you'll all care about this but I'll ask anyway. Can you be consistent in noting when Rachel's solution is late? A couple of examples where this detail hasn't been put in the recap (and where the episodes are still on 4od) are R14 on 19/5/09 and R5 on 22/5/09, but I know there have been others.

On the other hand, if you promise to be nice to me when I appear (and make it really funny) I'll let you off.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:36 pm

Clive Brooker wrote:Thanks to all recappers. I use them quite a lot and it's appreciated.

Not sure how much you'll all care about this but I'll ask anyway. Can you be consistent in noting when Rachel's solution is late? A couple of examples where this detail hasn't been put in the recap (and where the episodes are still on 4od) are R14 on 19/5/09 and R5 on 22/5/09, but I know there have been others.

On the other hand, if you promise to be nice to me when I appear (and make it really funny) I'll let you off.
The first one you mention is my bad. Sorry I forgot about your Rachel stats. I'll endeavour to put a late note in future. In fact I've edited that one now.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:19 am

Charlie Reams wrote:If you're interested in having a go, watch out in this forum for possible vacancies.
Can I have a go. I got time to kill, and, erm.... I'm BoReD!!!!!!
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:55 am

Robert Baxter wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:If you're interested in having a go, watch out in this forum for possible vacancies.
Can I have a go. I got time to kill, and, erm.... I'm BoReD!!!!!!
http://www.c4countdown.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4281

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Sat Aug 28, 2010 7:48 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Robert Baxter wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:If you're interested in having a go, watch out in this forum for possible vacancies.
Can I have a go. I got time to kill, and, erm.... I'm BoReD!!!!!!
http://www.c4countdown.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4281
I meant current ones. I'll do 2 history ones.
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by James Robinson » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:54 pm

Robert Baxter wrote:I meant current ones. I'll do 2 history ones.
No, current is all full. No-one else needed. :D
WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE!!!
UP THE MIGHTY TERRIERS!!! ;) :) :D :mrgreen: 8-)

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:59 am

James Robinson wrote:
Robert Baxter wrote:I meant current ones. I'll do 2 history ones.
No, current is all full. No-one else needed. :D
Who does which day? I could be a stand-in.
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by James Robinson » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:17 am

Robert Baxter wrote:
James Robinson wrote:
Robert Baxter wrote:I meant current ones. I'll do 2 history ones.
No, current is all full. No-one else needed. :D
Who does which day? I could be a stand-in.
Monday: Ryan
Tuesday: Ryan/Oliver/Dinos - On Rotation Basis
Wednesday & Thursday: Me
Friday: Mike
WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE!!!
UP THE MIGHTY TERRIERS!!! ;) :) :D :mrgreen: 8-)

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:16 pm

James Robinson wrote:
Robert Baxter wrote:
James Robinson wrote: No, current is all full. No-one else needed. :D
Who does which day? I could be a stand-in.
Monday: Ryan
Tuesday: Ryan/Oliver/Dinos - On Rotation Basis
Wednesday & Thursday: Me
Friday: Mike
You get 2 !?!?! :x :x :x :twisted: :twisted:
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by James Robinson » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:09 pm

Robert Baxter wrote:You get 2 !?!?! :x :x :x :twisted: :twisted:
Ryan has 2 every 3 weeks.

No-one has complained.

I've not always had 2.
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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:57 pm

James Robinson wrote:
Robert Baxter wrote:You get 2 !?!?! :x :x :x :twisted: :twisted:
Ryan has 2 every 3 weeks.

No-one has complained.

I've not always had 2.
In a week.
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:29 pm

James took up 2 day's recaps at a time when few people wanted to do them.
His recaps are entertaining, he pulls out all the stops with game detail and is accurate to 5 decimal places with conundrum spotting times.
He's an unlimited resource of historical recap magic having done roughly 937,601 to date.
He helps out with the wiki and even submits the Wiki version of my recaps when I can't be arsed (which is all the time)
He's extremely polite and always offers to help if someone can't manage to do a recap.
In my book that makes him more than welcome to as many recaps as he wants.

You meanwhile start annoying threads and fuck up the Wiki with Fantasy Formula 1 Countdown.
I think you'll understand if we don't want to award you recapper's rights.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:52 pm

Dinos Sfyris wrote:James took up 2 day's recaps at a time when few people wanted to do them.
His recaps are entertaining, he pulls out all the stops with game detail and is accurate to 5 decimal places with conundrum spotting times.
He's an unlimited resource of historical recap magic having done roughly 937,601 to date.
He helps out with the wiki and even submits the Wiki version of my recaps when I can't be arsed (which is all the time)
He's extremely polite and always offers to help if someone can't manage to do a recap.
In my book that makes him more than welcome to as many recaps as he wants.

You meanwhile start annoying threads and fuck up the Wiki with Fantasy Formula 1 Countdown.
I think you'll understand if we don't want to award you recapper's rights.
But on the plus side, it was cool to hate him for a while too and look how far he's come.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:29 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Dinos Sfyris wrote:James took up 2 day's recaps at a time when few people wanted to do them.
His recaps are entertaining, he pulls out all the stops with game detail and is accurate to 5 decimal places with conundrum spotting times.
He's an unlimited resource of historical recap magic having done roughly 937,601 to date.
He helps out with the wiki and even submits the Wiki version of my recaps when I can't be arsed (which is all the time)
He's extremely polite and always offers to help if someone can't manage to do a recap.
In my book that makes him more than welcome to as many recaps as he wants.

You meanwhile start annoying threads and fuck up the Wiki with Fantasy Formula 1 Countdown.
I think you'll understand if we don't want to award you recapper's rights.
But on the plus side, it was cool to hate him for a while too and look how far he's come.
If you haven't been hated on C4C, you haven't lived.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Howard Somerset » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:39 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:If you haven't been hated on C4C, you haven't lived.
There's a big difference between being aware that you've been hated on C4C, and being hated but not being aware of it.
So far, I'm blissfully unaware. :)

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Jon O'Neill » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:43 pm

Howard Somerset wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:If you haven't been hated on C4C, you haven't lived.
There's a big difference between being aware that you've been hated on C4C, and being hated but not being aware of it.
So far, I'm blissfully unaware. :)
Prick.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Kai Laddiman » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:50 pm

This post was made by Howard Somerset who is currently on your ignore list. Display this post.
What did you say?
16/10/2007 - Episode 4460
Dinos Sfyris 76 - 78 Dorian Lidell
Proof that even idiots can get well and truly mainwheeled.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Howard Somerset » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:17 am

This post was made by Kai Laddiman who is currently on your ignore list. Display this post.
Not quite sure how to answer this, as I don't know what the question was.

But even it I did, the answer wont be seen, so I'll not bother. :)

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Robert Baxter » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:15 pm

Dinos Sfyris wrote:James took up 2 day's recaps at a time when few people wanted to do them.
His recaps are entertaining, he pulls out all the stops with game detail and is accurate to 5 decimal places with conundrum spotting times.
He's an unlimited resource of historical recap magic having done roughly 937,601 to date.
He helps out with the wiki and even submits the Wiki version of my recaps when I can't be arsed (which is all the time)
He's extremely polite and always offers to help if someone can't manage to do a recap.
In my book that makes him more than welcome to as many recaps as he wants.

You meanwhile start annoying threads and fuck up the Wiki with Fantasy Formula 1 Countdown.
I think you'll understand if we don't want to award you recapper's rights.
OK, see my better work here
Contestant: Continent please, Rachel.
Rachel: Y.
Contestant: Because I want one!

For more info, see http://wiki.apterous.org/User:The_Doctor , and don't have a go at me a the F1 drivers series.

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:01 pm

Oh.

I was eyeing one up.

Until I saw the rota.

Which gave me a Baxter-like idea!

Mon: Ryan
Tue: Oliver
Wed: James
Thu: Ben
Fri: Mike

Obviously this is Baxter's "department" (the Department of messing things up).

Baxter, I've deliberately left you out :twisted: .
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by James Bradley » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:14 pm

Hi, Just looked at this topic and was wondering if i could be added to the rota at some point if this would be possible? :)

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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Soph K » Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:09 pm

Robert Baxter wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:If you're interested in having a go, watch out in this forum for possible vacancies.
Can I have a go. I got time to kill, and, erm.... I'm BoReD!!!!!!
Hi
Can I have a go too? I'm doing the same as Robert Baxter was - killing time!
Soph
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Re: HOWTO: Write a recap

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:55 pm

I have PM'ed this to the recappers but I'll post it here anyway;

Having downloaded CountMax then I've found out how to edit count max and therefore convert it into ODE3.

Thy shalt need;

An ODE3
CountMax
A few hours of your life

Simple really - just go and check each word in the text document and make sure the words (in that order) match up in the dictionary. Cue editing and 10 hours of your life wasted, but ODE3 recaps!
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

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