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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:42 pm 
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Hi all, I'm new here. Before I get to my question, just a little background. I'm an older gamer, so I was around during the hayday of text adventure games. I still have a nostalgic fascination with IF. I also love CRPGs (old school and modern). I am playing around this the idea of writing a single player, multi-character hybrid IF/CRPG game in python. Exploration would be classic IF with locations described in text and user input derived from an command line parser (go north, get lantern, open door etc). Combat would be resolved on a tactical grid reminiscent of the old AD&D Gold Box CRPGs, except using letters instead of graphical icons (B = Bob, T= troll, W = wolf etc: it would look a little rogue-like, I suppose).

I have already written some code for a prototype but I am concerned there will be insufficient interest in the (hypothetical) end product to make it worthwhile (just to be clear, it would be free to play). For example, if only 3 people ever play the game, then it's not really worth the effort to me.

So my question is, for folk who have announced a new IF (or IF-like) game here, how have you found the response? Have you gotten much traction or interest? Did your game actually get played all that much? Enough to feel like it was worthwhile writing? (I'm putting aside folk who are doing projects more to learn a new language etc).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:51 am 
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Hmm... It's kind of a subjective thing. I mean, I'm pretty happy if a person who isn't me plays one of my games...

I get the feeling that games made for "jams" or "comps" get played more, due to both playing being a part of the judging and increased exposure.

I think it's a bit of an uphill battle when coding from scratch, as you're suggesting. What you're describing could be done in Inform (6 or 7), TADS, etc. So, it might get more play from people if it were to be a "standard format" that could be played on pretty much anything. Heck, inform 7 (and with some work 6) can even be played in web browsers.

In my experience, stuff that can be played in a web browser sees more play.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:55 am 
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I love Python as a development tool, but it's sort of at an anti-sweet-spot when it comes to distributing games for people to play. Windows doesn't come with Python. MacOS does, but then you're asking people to play in a terminal window, which is not to most people's taste when they're in a game-playing mood. If you rely on display libraries like SDL, you're asking people to install Python dependencies, and that loses basically everybody.

If you want people to play it, you need to either create an .exe/.app for distribution, or make it playable in a web browser. (Or use one of the formats that's familiar to IF players, TADS or Inform. Although you're *still* well advised to use one of the first two solutions in addition.)

There *are* packaging and browser solutions for Python; it's a solvable problem. I'm saying you have to think about it.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:39 am 
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MrWidgit wrote:
So my question is, for folk who have announced a new IF (or IF-like) game here, how have you found the response? Have you gotten much traction or interest? Did your game actually get played all that much? Enough to feel like it was worthwhile writing? (I'm putting aside folk who are doing projects more to learn a new language etc).

I enjoy it a lot, but have found that releasing a game outside of competition is like dropping a rock in the Grand Canyon - good luck getting anyone to notice it - unless you're well-known or have a lot of interested followers on social media, or release on a site where your game is tagged well and has elements people are interested in. IF is a niche, so the numbers for a well-trafficked game are much lower. Also, genre can make a difference - my adult games on itch.io get 20-30 hits per day on average.

You're probably not going to make a living writing classic IF if that's what you mean by "worthwhile," though some people do okay monetizing on sites like itch.io. In general, people are reluctant to pay for an all-text game, although Visual Novels seem to have a devoted fanbase and can monetize successfully.

Write your own system if it's what you want to do, but do check out existing IF systems that can save you the trouble of re-inventing the wheel.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:42 am 
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Quote:
In general, people are reluctant to pay for an all-text game


Except for Choice of Games, where Dan Fabulich has labored mightily to create a bespoke paying fanbase for that specific style of choice-based game.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:09 pm 
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Yeah, I'm not sure one should make a broad statement like "people are reluctant to pay for an all-text game". You'd be surprised what people will buy if the price is low.

The IF community is great because everyone is very helpful, open-minded, and skilled in a variety of sub-topics. Basically, the IF community is here to support and help people learn about, play, and write IF; not to make you a well-known, professional IF author. That part is up to you. (Not that this sentiment was advanced yet, I'm just making the point.)

I think Hanon's metaphor of dropping a rock in the Grand Canyon is true to the extent of the overall gaming world, but in the community, such rocks are usually discussed or even dissected, especially if you say to one of the IF forums, "hey, check out what i made."

Getting your work to volley outside the community and into the net-at-large can be done and has been done. There's zarf (and others) with years of garnering a loyal fanbase, there's word-of-mouth juggernauts like Mike Gentry's Anchorhead, there's topical and social issues being discussed in games especially by Twine authors (just a quick observation, all formats are represented here) that, in turn, get discussed by other journals, blogs, etc. Oh, and i edited to add (what I intended) is creative, group projects like Cragne Manor that make a stir. These are just a couple of examples, there are others.

I guess the idiom "Cream rises to the top" fits here.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:55 pm 
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HanonO wrote:
...like dropping a rock in the Grand Canyon - good luck getting anyone to notice it - unless you're well-known or have a lot of interested followers on social media...


I think that statement is true for any medium: visual art, music, standard linear fiction, etc. Is it worth it? Yes, if you feel that the thing you are making needs to exist in the world for its own sake. Will people notice or care? It depends on your vision, execution, marketing, and a fair helping of luck, more than it does on any particular means of expression.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:43 pm 
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zarf wrote:
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In general, people are reluctant to pay for an all-text game


Except for Choice of Games, where Dan Fabulich has labored mightily to create a bespoke paying fanbase for that specific style of choice-based game.

Right. CoG is the happy exception to the rule!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:50 pm 
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MTW wrote:
Getting your work to volley outside the community and into the net-at-large can be done and has been done. There's zarf (and others) with years of garnering a loyal fanbase, there's word-of-mouth juggernauts like Mike Gentry's Anchorhead, there's topical and social issues being discussed in games especially by Twine authors (just a quick observation, all formats are represented here) that, in turn, get discussed by other journals, blogs, etc. Oh, and i edited to add (what I intended) is creative, group projects like Cragne Manor that make a stir. These are just a couple of examples, there are others.

If I had a like button, I would be smashing it hard right now.

It's similar to when people would ask me whether they should pursue an acting career. If someone says "Can I do this?" the default response is no because the odds are heavily stacked against it. But the more detailed answer is "If you love doing something, no one can stop you. So do it without unreasonable expectation and you'll learn pretty quickly whether you can make a serious effort of it."

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:43 am 
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"You Can Always Fail at What You Don't Love" ~Jim Carrey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPTRtZFBNnM

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