Game Development Reference
19.10 Finishing Up
Suppose you sort all this out, and you manage to write a game. What do you do
with it? There are two things to do. One is to simply upload it to the IF Archive
and then post an announcement to rec.games.int-fiction (available via http://groups.
google.com ) inviting people to play it. The other is to enter it into the IF Comp,
because that is the best way to get the most feedback about your game, because it
attracts the largest number of players, many of whom write reviews of every game
Everyone is encouraged to write games for the IF Comp, because it's where great
new authors and games are discovered each year. It provides a deadline to shoot for,
which is something any writer should appreciate having as motivation. Competition
is stiff, though, so you should familiarize yourself with the quality of the top games
each year. Also worth noting are the games that get the worst reception every year,
and the sorts of games, or game tropes, that are deeply unpopular.
Many of these used to be staples of the genre. Mazes used to be popular, but
now they are loathed. Puzzles where you can't carry very many items, or necessitating
the need to eat or sleep on a regular basis, or games where you can make the game
unwinnable without realizing it, or that kill you and end the game unexpectedly and
frequently—all of these are out (that is, unless you find a very creative and original
way of using them, which some authors have dared to do and succeeded). In general,
players like the experience to be much friendlier than they used to. Cruelty is out.
The other thing you want to avoid, as a new author, is releasing a game that is
very obviously set in a recreation of your own apartment or house, because this is a
newbie thing to do and is very obvious to experienced players when they come across
it. There was a run of games set in office cubicle hell for a while there, and after the
Finally, and this is a silly point, but I'll make it anyway: just because it's “realistic”
to have them there doesn't mean you need to implement bathrooms. They are a real
problem, because if you're going to do them at all, they require a tedious amount of
work implementing faucets (sink and bath, hot and cold) and flushable (and usable?)
toilets, drain stoppers, bath mats, bars of soap, and mirrors that players will try to
break or breathe on. Troublesome (or bored) players will turn the taps on and leave
them running just to see what happens. None of that work on your end ultimately
adds up to much value to the player, or to the story you're supposedly trying to tell.
Sure, if you have a crucial scene requiring pills in a bathroom medicine cabinet, or
you're adapting Psycho or some such, then go for it. But otherwise, be aware that no
one is going to think it's weird that your game's setting fails to have a bathroom in it.
19.11 Step 3: Profit?
Some of you out there, being professional writers, may be wondering where the
paycheck is in writing IF. Well, it is possible to win some money by placing first