ECTOCOMP 2017: technical advice for hosting at itchio

Hi guys:

Last day I tried to enjoy the English games on my mobile. It didn’t work very well :frowning: Some of you didn’t release your inform 7 games with a website, and didn’t upload that website to itchio to allow online play. Others have done that, but it seems you didn’t set properly the itchio options so the games work well in mobile.

This surprised me because the Spanish version of Tuuli works really nice in desktop and mobile playing online, so I think I’m gonna share my options and tricks so all of you could get more accessibility for your ectocomp games. As we can see with the IFComp, nowadays, accessibility is very important to reach more players.

So, first… how to release a game of Inform 7 for optional play in itchio:

Release along with an interpreter and cover art.

This will drop in the materials folder of the project the usual website generated by Inform 7.

It is important to not to release along with source code, last time I tried itchio didn’t get very well with it.

Also the default homepage released by I7 is just one more step that gets in the way of your players and your game. You can do a trick that is to delete the index.html file and rename the play.html to index, so it is the very main file to play your game. Also you must edit that play.html to erase the link to the homepage. With that you wil have the game directly running in itchio without more gates.

Now onto the itchio options:

Try checking the following options. Mobile friendly, Add fullscreen button, Enable scrollbars. Check them all.

“Mobile friendly” is important because if you set the viewport to wide, mobile playing will switch automatically to landscape orientation, and that doesn’t work very well with the Inform 7 generated website. On the contrary, setting that option will allow Inform 7 template to behave with responsivity, hiding the sidebar to allow perfect gameplay (parchment and quixe run so smooth on mobile now. Kudos to the developers. Really, really, thank you).

Those options allow that mobile users navigate your twine games (or generally any hypertext), even when they are not responsive per se.

Also, take care in not to set a viewport too high for some standards. If you set a height too tall for normal monitors, people will struggle to pan with the scroll bar to play. Set the viewport dimensions to something safe and standard, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, are safe bets. Of course, having the fullscreen button solves all these problems.

That’s all, thanks for listening.

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update. While I was giving this advice, itchio improved the mobile support. All seems to play really nice, but I was seeing some IF games switching to landscape on mobile, with no reason. We have been experimenting with those and I think it was because the viewport dimensions. So now we detected that 800 is the safe value if your IF is switching magically to landscape.


Another important update: don’t forget to update your Inform 7 template, from:

Inform 7 default one has been somewhat buggy, so it is important to update it.

Also, it could be a good idea to use the One Column Template by @zarf, here:

Remember, just drop the templates in your Templates subdirectory in your Inform 7 user directory.

Also, you can apply that philosophy of my original post, about using the play.html as the very main game page. That way the game will show up directly when players click the Play Button at your itchio’s game page.

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Just look how rad shows Lime Ergot by @caleb in two languages, using a customized Zarf’s One Column Template.

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