An IF Hype Website

I have an idea.

There are a lot of IF sites out there – personal blogs, the IF-Wiki, review sites, forums, the archive, BAF’s guide, Parsifal, XYZZY News, SPAG… I mean, lots. Each one kind of has its own purpose and focus.

There aren’t really any IF hype sites, though, unless I’ve overlooked them. What I mean is, a news/reporting site for promoting works in progress, general IF news and announcements, etc. A place where the admin (or editors) could post interviews, inside info about upcoming games, authoring systems, interpreters, etc. Basically, everything that hypes up Interactive Fiction. There are a lot of sites like this for other kinds of games.

I’ve gone so far as to register a domain name for this (" target="_blank – correct DNS routing in the works). I guess I didn’t really need a whole new domain – it could have become the main page.

So, would any of you be interested in (a) visiting a site that strives to cover IF hype (news, announcements, interviews, etc), and possibly (b) participating as a poster/reporter? The site probably either needs a blog program or a news program, to make it easy to maintain by multiple people.

Ideas? Opinions? Volunteers? Which would be better for the site – or Would “hype” give negative connotations?

I’d prefer the “” one. Something about “hype” doesn’t sit well with me.

Besides, that would make identifying this forum much better with a site like what you’re proposing.

It is not as active as it once was, but that’s what I have done in the past with Brass Lantern (

Why do I keep getting confused with ? You ran that, but it’s gone now, right? Maybe that’s why. Did come about after your page on was removed? Or something along those lines?

This is already a lot like what I mean. There are times, especially this time of the year, when I’m really interested in lots of IF news. I search for IF websites, read articles and interviews, etc.

What I’d like to see is news with a few volunteers to coordinate articles, interviews, posts, etc. Info about upcoming games. Maybe even rumors about upcoming games. Something more than the main/important headlines – stuff that most might not even care about, like interviews with lower-placing IFComp authors. The headlines, sure (Inform 7 public beta, IFComp begins, etc), but also a hodgepodge of IF hype. News submitted by readers. Features and editorials. Previews. A lot of the same stuff brasslantern already does (with similar categories for each post), but with the date/time posted (like a news/blog feed), and with articles/announcements of lesser importance, too.

What I like about one gaming website I visit ( is that they cover independent MPOGs as well. Big gaming sites don’t care about browser-based games, and the forums never discuss them. Something like an would (I hope) be a little like that. If the 20th-place entrant from a prior IFComp is working on a new non-comp game and can provide a little preview, it could be posted.

In a way, though, all of that can be done here in the forum already. Even though I think it would be cool to have a more official “news” page for articles and interviews and news and so forth, maybe it’s not even something we really need. Trying to cover everything on a news page could be a little overwhelming if most of the articles are updates on the progress of the next PA Panks game, or worthless interviews with IF author newbies who have little more to say than “woo! IF rules!”

Am I talking myself out of the idea already? :frowning:

I guess the worst that could happen is some content gets added, everybody loses interest, and it goes dormant. The content would still be there for posterity.

Sounds like an interesting idea and I wouldn’t mind contributing some reviews to it, or even an article or two if I could think of what to write.

But I agree that IFHype might not be the best name for it. When I think of ‘hype’, I generally picture something that isn’t much good but which is being promoted incessantly with the idea of conning people into buying it before they realise how bad it really is. This is a totally different idea but at the same time, I don’t see IFHype working well as a name.

But other than that, it seems like a great idea.

Anybody recommend good (free?) linux-based server software that’ll work with Apache 2, for handling this kind of website? I doubt there’s a need to write something from scratch. A blog program might be good enough, but maybe something more news-oriented would be better. Any suggestions?

Something like what Slashdot uses, perhaps? Not sure if it’s Linux-based or if it’s even that free, though.

That sounds like a fantastic idea, but it’s one that will either be brilliant or really rubbish. It all depends on how much effort people put into making it work, how organised it is and how often it gets updated. This idea works in some communities and not others: we have to work out whether this community is one it will work for.

If it’s updated regularly (at least every day) with fun and quirky articles, I think it’d make a great site that everyone in the community could gather round and want to be a part of. I’d certainly want to read and contribute.

Another possible concern I can think of at the moment is whether there’s enough content to make this vibrant and regular. There are only so many games released, only so many authors, only so many events. I’m not sure, but I’m pretty new to the IF community, so I don’t have the best perspective in terms of feasibility.


I think many of the game hype sites work well because there is a steady stream of commercial as well as hobby content. Http:// is a good example.

However there are other mostly hobby sites that see a lot of action, though forums have a lot to do with that. For example the mudding community (not without its commercial side but strongly hobbyist) has at least three major ‘hype’ sites that stay active. Though I admit these sites mainly exist on commercial banner ads. Nevertheless these sites thrive on (1) forums, and (2) game ranking/voting.

I like the Brass Lantern site a lot. Sargent, do you have any interest in incorporating Merk’s ideas into your site? Merk, do you specifically want to start with a clean slate to build the kind of site you’re talking about?
XYZZY isn’t active these days too.

The IF scene lacks the ‘real-time’ action of commercial banner ads and current game rankings. However I think there’s no lack of content as Merk said. Perhaps this site could do two things:

  1. add its own fresh content in articles, interviews, reviews, editorials.

  2. act as a portal, site aggregator, and community site by alerting people to the fresh content on other sites. So you would have ‘reporters’ who don’t really report new content but provide links to sites. Or you could use RSS feeds and reporters in combination.

And it goes without saying, in the future such a site could potentially provide a space for commercial ads. Perhaps this would rule out Brass Lantern.

So yeah, I think this is a good idea and I would help.

Also here’s a good site that lets you play with open source CMSs:

Can someone think of another site that would be a good analogue for a site like Merk describes? All the sites I can think of, like the big writing portals, craft portals, whatever, have too many dissimilarities to the IF community to be a good example in my mind (the dissimilarities being amount of content and the commercial content).

It doesn’t have to be a clean slate. I’d join up with an existing site. I just figured it would be more palatable to start something new, rather than convince somebody else to change how they’re already doing things.

I wouldn’t really want to run commercial ads. I’ve done some targeted banner ads on MPOGD.COM with good results, but I advertised an online game on a site where people go when they want to search for online games. It’s a good fit. Probably nobody is going to pay to run an IF ad on an IF site, and anything else would be silly. The whole “visit our sponsor” shtick has always seemed like a scam to me. Back when it was profitable, advertisers were paying lots for no real results, and now to earn anything you have to offer up so many ads that it really – to me – ruins a site’s credibility. I mean this as no offense to anybody running ad-funded websites. It probably makes sense for the top dogs. It’s just not something I’d want to do on a site of my own. I run personal sites on the server that’s used for my online games, and the online games pay for it. So everybody wins. :slight_smile:

That’s not to say we couldn’t run fake ads. Well, not fake really – but ads that are funded by participation. Contribute good articles, interviews, etc, and get advertising space for your own game or IF-related website. That type of deal. But something IF-related. Like a banner for your game. Not a banner for something other than IF.

It would need to be updated frequently. I can already see the forum visitation dropping off. It’s kind of interesting to watch. People return, see nothing new, and the more they see nothing new, the less frequently they return. An IF hype site would definitely need daily content (links to IF announcements, etc), with frequent “feature” content. It’s something that would only work, I think, with several active volunteers (so… thanks in advance!).

I’ve had a busy work schedule (working Saturdays, even), but I might be able to get something set up on Sunday. If nobody is in favor of main page. I’d need to come up with a logo, a style, install blog/news software (and learn how to customize a theme), get manager accounts set up… hmm, might take longer than a day. :slight_smile: I can do emails pretty easy, to legitimize the editors/contributors.

Then it would evolve, as it struggles for the right balance of content.

One thing I don’t like to see on sites I visit – but it happens – is the same game mentioned frequently. I don’t fault those guys for getting as much exposure as they can, but when there are 12 front-page news topics and four of them are about the same thing (Game X just had a birthday, then Game X is offering a new-player incentive. then Game X adds a new module, then… yeah) it starts to look like there just isn’t enough news to go around. Those examples may not apply to IF, but I could see the possiblity of monopolies if any single contributor becomes the dominant contributor. I’d like to see diversity.

I really like the layout of the AdventureGamers website. At first it seems a little overwhelming, but they have an area for features, an area for news, a “hype-o-meter” area, links to the latest reviews, and even links to the latest active forum topics. I like the pic/screenshot beside the features, although that’d be a little hard when most IF features would be about text-based games.

That’s a cool idea about trading banner ad space for contributions to the site. Also when I talk about commercial ads I do mean for IF related content. Really what I meant was in the case of some hypothetical IF publisher, they could run ads. Or maybe someone like Tessman or Nepstead would want to work out a deal of some kind.

Which begs the question: do you sell ad space to Malinche? :wink:

I’ve thought a little bit about what content you could refresh daily. This is the sticking point. Could you:

o Pull topic headlines from raif?
o RSS feeds from blogs?
o Aggregate download statistics from ifarchive? Also top download?
o Polls?
o A daily contest of some kind – perhaps a puzzle?

Especially curious about the third one.

Another thing to think about is how much interactivity you want to fold into the site. Are there user accounts? A full-fledged social network with private messaging, friends lists, etc.? How could you create a history for each member and make their experience unique? A favorite games list? Recommended games – a games library shelf? In a way some of this interactivity could stand in for a proportionate lack of much fresh daily content, i.e. instead of going to the site every day to read the news, you go to add another game to your library shelf.

I think all of that is good, but we, in my opinion, definitely need daily news content if it’s going to work. It doesn’t matter how small or quirky it is, just so long as it’s fresh.


It could have more interactivity – the right software would allow for that (although we might be getting out of the realm of free packages). With the forum integrated the way it is on AdventureGamers, that might be enough for starters.

I could just write something of my own to do exactly what we need – starting simple, and then adding features over time. At a minimum, it would need a way for reporters to classify a story (review, intereview, news, feature, preview/hype, etc) and post it. It would need to roll older topics to the archive (or just display the most recent – everything else is inherently archived). It would need reporter username and password checking (even if the accounts are added manually by me, at first).

It probably wouldn’t take long to get something simple up and going. Later (although maybe not much later), it could maybe share sign-ups with the forum (so I wouldn’t have to re-invent that), allowing for customized top-10 lists and personal links, etc. It might be fun to work on a project like this, even if it means it wouldn’t be ready this Sunday. :slight_smile:

I’m going to try to line up an interview or two, ahead of time. We’ll probably want a reporters-only board here (hidden/private) for talking about feature stories, etc.

Sounds fabulous! It’s always good to see how the thing will work, before committing loads of time to it. I’ll look forward to it!


I wrote a CGI poll program – still distribute it, although it’s kind of behind the times now. It wouldn’t be hard to add something like that.

I’ve never done an RSS feed. I’d have to research that.

Getting topic headlines from newsgroups is possible. It’s also something I’d have to research.

A contest or puzzle would be fun, but if it’s unique/original for IntFiction, it would probably be an effort to come up with something every day.

I think the download statistics of the IF Archive are in a plain-text file that’s updated periodically. It would be possible to run a cron that grabs it, parses it, and “does something” with the results. It seems like the last time I went looking for that file, I couldn’t find it.

Updates on the IF Archive (like what David Kinder does every now and then) could also be added on the news content. If the Babel Treaty becomes more-or-less a standard for most IF pieces out there, the game description and/or “About” screens could also be a nice addition, so both newbies and veterans could check the new games available.

News about the Archive itself (moving to a new server, etc.) could also be posted there, though this happens rarely.

Articles on the Archive about IF systems (comparison, etc.) could also use some updating, and it could probably be posted here. A general feature article on, say, TADS 3, that provides links to other related articles on the Web (the TADS site, on IF Wiki). People like Eric Eve or Emily Short might be the best ones to provide insight on this, since they’re the ones who usually provide help (but I’m not necessarily volunteering them :slight_smile:).

Maybe we could also get that guy from the newsgroups who usually posts about new IF-related thingies from the Web :slight_smile:

You’ve got it. After About pulled the plug on my IF page there, I moved the content to Brass Lantern and kept going.

If people would like to contribute, I’d be happy to let them do so. I use a simple news form to enter news and generate the RSS feed. If you’d like to enter news, let me know and I can give you access to it. Ditto any articles. I used to write all of the articles on BL, but these days I don’t have the time for it that I used to.

The benefit of building off of BL is that it’s already got a high Google ranking and is linked to from various other IF sites.

You could try E107 which is a fairly good CMS that I have used for a couple of years now. It is fairly simple to set up and run. There is a way of integrating phpbb with a plugin, though it appears not to allow import of users from phpbb (and e107 does have it’s own forum).

I have tried a few other CMS, but keep returning to E107 because it dows what I want.

I’d be worried that a lot of what I’d want to post would be too trivial, or that it would just be too much too often. Not that my idea calls for something disorganized, but… hard to explain. I’d kind of feel like a squatter. :slight_smile:

Then again, it’d be easier than managing a new site myself.


Is this idea going ahead then? It seems like a good one, and could well work, but discussion seems to have dwindled a little over the past few days.