File naming conventions for published games

I have thousands of games from mainframe to 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit computers of all shapes and sizes, and modern story files that use an interpreter.

As the downloads never have any consistency in the file naming, I have developed my own system for naming and organising files so that everything is easy to find. I’ve been using this for years. It’s essentially organised in a hierarchical structure by platform, then (spoken) language, then publisher (or author when self published). The files themselves are named with the game title followed by the author in parentheses. This can lead to some very long file names with spaces and special characters, e.g. ‘Witch's Apprentice, The (Garry Francis).html’. All support files, such as source code, readme files, notes, screen grabs, trizbort files, maps and solutions follow the same naming convention.

When dealing with my own games, I obviously use the same file naming convention, but when publishing the game, I rename the published file to the fairly standard file naming convention of all lower case, hyphens replace spaces, and any articles, special characters and author’s name are omitted. Thus, the previous example becomes ‘witchs-apprentice.html’. So far, so good.

I now find myself in a dilemma. I am in the process of publishing the source code for my games (plus some support files) on GitHub. Which file naming convention should I use? Also, should I publish the compiled games (html, z3, z5) on GitHub?

All my published games are hosted on and can be played or downloaded from there. Should I additonally publish the source and/or compiled games on IF Archive? If so, what file naming convention is preferred?

Any thoughts?


We haven’t really developed strong community standards in this era of reliable platforms. (Itch and Github count as fairly reliable, although Itch is an indie company so it could suffer some unexpected disaster in the future.)

(Dropbox, Google Drive, etc are not reliable platforms for long-term storage. They are not searchable, and they have a habit of purging or changing the access for old files if they think you’re no longer an active user.)

Anyway, the upshot is: it doesn’t really matter, although I always encourage people to add to the IF Archive. That’s a well-defined destination and we know it’ll stick around (or have a well-defined succession plan).

If you use Itch and Github, be sure to put links in the description text so that people can find the source code from the game page, and vice versa.

Use whatever filename convention you’re comfortable with. It may make sense to distinguish “release versions” from “development versions”, in which case you could make the same spaces-or-hyphens distinction you do now. Or you could shove up whatever you’ve got without renaming.

I wouldn’t adopt a special case just for source code publication. That’s just one more thing to remember in the future.


I give each game a “short” name for my internal use, and then name the release versions with the full title. I’m bad at titles, so this short name might end up entirely unrelated to the actual name once I come up with one (ecto22, skymurder, vampires).