A slight change in choosing games to review

Count me out. I want to decrease my ephemerality, not increase it!

-Wade

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There’s a lot to chew in this great thread.

Even I think it deserves its own thread about archiving games.

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Is there a distinction to be made between archiving games and linking to said archive from IFDB? I’ve considered redirecting people to itch.io because I like knowing when people visit my page or download my content. This would be in addition to keeping an updated zip at IF Archive.

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Here on the Forum I have already seen some feats of persistent archaeological digging for games or documentation that seemed lost to the ages. Perhaps in a decade or three, some unwitting IF-enthusiast will read one of those reviews of a long gone game and unearth all kinds of cool finds on the search for more information.

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I made a new thread if people would like to discuss the nature of IF archive et al there! I think Mathbrush has the right to make the decision he wants to make re: game reviews ^^

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I am an almost newbie player of IF (since 1982). You know that I always ask for downloadable releases, becouse I live many time in the dark zone where there is no wifi or movil coverage wich difficults playing on an internet browser and becouse of my Dionisio’s tendence and becouse I also like to play in IFMUD.
You can read many ways " if something is not in internet, that doesn’t exist. Equally If there is a game that isn’t listed in ifarchive doesn’t exist for me.

On the other hand I appreciate, like, love reviews a lot. These reviews helps me to choose between thousand of games existing in databases. When a comp starts I often reviews all the games I betatested to show them up in the community at the begining.

So, I understand the lack of interest in reviewing games that are difficult to find and play.

  • Jade.
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That honestly seems like the best of both worlds, because then there’s a ‘safe’, future-friendly version stored somewhere but then you the author also get the analytics. That sounds wonderful to me!

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Only thing is that to get the “Play Online” button on IFDB it can’t point to Itch. Some people will click through to Itch, but others won’t.

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This isn’t based on anything scientific, but my impression is that younger players (younger than my genX self) seem to prefer playing games on itch. So perhaps it is a net zero change. I’m not sure. I’ve gotten six referrals from IFDB today, which feels like a ton of traffic for my little arthouse game. But since we don’t know stats for IFDB visitors, there’s no telling what the falloff is.

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What do you mean? I’ve seen IFDB entries with a “Play Online” button pointing to Itch.
Here’s one: Plasmorphosis - Details

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Ah, yes that works. I was referring to parser games being played with Parchment.

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For full detail:

If your Itch page has a “Run Game” button, then IFDB can have a “Play Online” link which just links to the Itch page, where players can click on Itch’s “Run Game” button.

But if your Itch page doesn’t have its own “Run Game” button, then no one but the author can make a web-playable version at all.

Normally, when someone just uploads a .gblorb/.z5 somewhere, IFDB can use the Parchment site, iplayif.com, with an “embedded permalink” to the file as a direct download.

But Itch doesn’t allow “permalinking,” where there’s a simple link that people can use to download your game files with one click. (When you download a game from Itch, it pops open that little “pay what you want” popup, and then gives you a list of temporary download links; those links only work for you, and only for a limited time.)

So, there’s no way for ordinary users (or IFDB) to construct an iplayif.com link pointing to a file on Itch.

@Denk has documented how an author can use Parchment to make an Itch playable “Run Game” button for anything Parchment supports, but the key critical step is that you have to also upload your .gblorb/.z5 file somewhere else, not Itch, e.g. Google Drive.

https://intfiction.org/t/a-method-to-play-all-parchment-applicable-formats-online-on-itch-io-tads-hugo-adrift-4/61003

It is necessary that your game is available somewhere on the net unzipped unless it is in the IF Archive, then it can work zipped as well.

… and then you have to always remember to post updates to your game twice, once to Itch, and then again to the other host.

This is one reason why it’s valuable for competitions to submit all of their entries to IF Archive right as the competition starts. That way, IFDB can link to IF Archive and create a “Play Online” button there, even if the author doesn’t do (or understand) any of what I said above.

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Side note: GitHub is great for active development, but I would not trust it for long-term archival storage of finished products or as a replacement for a dedicated archive. Nothing about GitHub’s governance or business model gives me reason to expect its contents will still be accessible in, say, 50 years.

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I agree it’s probably too complicated for an ordinary user, but one can upload a gblorb (or another format) along with the web version and use the hidden URL where the file is really hosted. For instance, https://iplayif.com/?story=https://v6p9d9t4.ssl.hwcdn.net/html/8686879/Demo%20Inkform.gblorb

In this URL, the 8686879 is changed every time you re-upload on itch. As for the domain, as discussed here, it’s going to change soon but it’s supposed to be stable after that change.

For a semi-automated version, IFDB could extract the https://v6p9d9t4.ssl.hwcdn.net/html/8686879/ part by fetching the regular itch page and looking for the iframe src attribute but the file name would have to be provided by the user.

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That doesn’t seem to be true.

Specifically, consider https://warrigal.itch.io/submarine-sabotage, part of PunyJam #3. (PunyJam doesn’t make it easy to generate HTML, so almost none of the entries in PunyJam #3 had “Run Game” buttons on Itch.)

https://warrigal.itch.io/submarine-sabotage has two downloads, one .z3 and one .z5. When you click on one of the download links, Itch has you download a link like this:

https://w3g3a5v6.ssl.hwcdn.net/upload2/game/1935657/7899040?GoogleAccessId=uploader@moonscript2.iam.gserviceaccount.com&Expires=1694645804&Signature=YC3fDZHjDVYDd0CefUCH3uMwQngU%2Fo%2Bxtjjlr7vb3tHKWY4kN3qzJ00ohIof17OQq1UYMO9LF7aVxSfWqUMEjm1Maw9YtCyzR7H8nmg0pW7uiq1SKcCJ7XR2SA60lgXnncP7eZOdNn%2FnixOZXbMOdupK69sqAipgktk8%2FO%2F8m1HuToFjEgqciCBsxEJkUAVO9eVjTDWMZ490V4n3hLECE5ySktiVY%2FzbHyVBasSrKgplCjRkcy8JPWF96kBE3s9t39XKVNdKG5VXYYksi9%2FioLMxuKVDWUyqggVUDa61h5QzHM8RoHh1OZyGZHDM4e%2BqBj4Ft8yNkcvbSkiU49KLKA==&hwexp=1694646064&hwsig=7469dbbf8a1f38e4ed0a759b40ff705e

That link only works for me, and only for a limited time. So we can’t use it as an iplayif.com link.

Reading more carefully, I think you might be saying that if the author had uploaded HTML and created a “Run Game” button on Itch, perhaps the author could have cleverly also uploaded a .z5 file as a game resource, alongside with the HTML. …and then IFDB could permalink to the .z5 file?

(But, why would we need a permalink at that point? IFDB could just link to the Itch page, which would already have its own “Run Game” button.)

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Probably just streamlining UI. Less clicks to get into the game.

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That can’t be wise!

Itch reserves the right to change its CDN URL whenever they want. (They’re breaking all of their CDN URLs in just 90 days.)

If IFDB links to the Itch page https://warrigal.itch.io/submarine-sabotage, we can be pretty sure that URL won’t change.

Even if we could link to https://v6p9d9t4.ssl.hwcdn.net/html/8686879/Demo%20Inkform.gblorb, Itch could break that URL at any time; then we’d have to go back and update all of the IFDB entries pointing to those broken URLs.

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Hypothetically, if it’s the individual author specifically taking the URL they have access to and bending over backwards to directly link it, wouldn’t it be their headache to fix it if it then broke instead of the IFDB staff?

Like the whole play silly games win silly prizes thing?

That said, I could see you saying it’d be IFDB to hear any complaints and not necessarily the author, so maybe it really wouldn’t matter who’s fault it was at the end of the day.

I can see it either way.

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Yes, exactly this.

Yes, I also mentioned that, but the linked article says they will always be on itch.zone after the change. Granted, the subdomain could change, but the author says in the comments only html-classic.itch.zone& html.itch.zone will be used.

In any case, clicking “Play online”, then clicking “Run game” on itch seems good enough. I was only pointing to a possible solution (my problem-solving brain was triggered by your words “no way to construct an iplayif.com link pointing to a file on Itch”). I understand it’s not robust enough to consider seriously.

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Thanks @mathbrush for the final nudge to start using if-archive! Just uploaded two English releases. The Spanish stuff will be part of an upcoming legacy CAAD archive file, expected by next November.

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