Recently completed work on v 1.0 of an IF adaptation of a short story of mine published back in 2016. Twine (and Harlowe therein) seemed like it had the least amount of resistance with regard to limited programing know-how and wanting to execute my vision ASAP.
So I spent a week experiencing the creative high I haven’t felt in a while spending 12-16 hours a day working on adapting the story for Twine. I knew what I wanted and it involved ambient sounds for my atmosphere. That search led to HAL and I am incredibly thankful for it – it really helped me realize my vision to its fullest!
That said, maybe I’m not dreaming big enough? I like Twine’s vanilla display, so I opted to keep that feature with the addition of HAL. I suppose my first question:
In the realm of IF – do simple, text-based games with limited to no art have much of a following or interest? How does that change if incorporated with atmospheric and reactive ambient sound and sound effects?
I suppose a proper example would be helpful, so my last question would be to ask: what is the appropriate channel to post my game? Should I link my website or a dropbox url?
Thanks for your help, I look forward to becoming involved with this community and I’m excited to start generating IF – even if I’m a little late to the party.
Well, what you should do depends on what your goals are.
For example, if you’re looking to get more people to see your content, you might want to put it up at Itch.io and/or Newgrounds, and you’re free to post a link at r/twinegames as well (I’m a mod there). Then find other places that are looking for the kind of content that your game provides and, if their rules allow it, let them know about your game and provide any links there. And don’t just advertise, talk to the people there and find out what they did and didn’t like. Participate in the conversations there. Make notes. Listen to good feedback and learn from it.
If you’re looking to try new things in your next game, try taking a look at other games out there. It doesn’t have to just be Twine games (though that will probably make things easier since you can read their source and see how it works now), but all sorts of other games which are like the kind of games that you want to make. And again, take notes. See what works well and learn what mistakes you need to avoid.
Anything you want to find out, search out resources and ask questions, like you did here. Push your boundaries a bit so you can test out new things, but don’t try to go too far and overwhelm yourself. Have patience, you have time to grow slowly and make every day a learning experience.
Dreaming big is fine, but remember that few people succeed by trying to do too much too quickly. Those who succeed generally pace themselves and build up to their dreams bit by bit. Some people get lucky, sure, but the vast majority of even the “overnight stars” actually spent years and years practicing and working out of the spotlight to get to where they got in the end.
Regardless of what you do next, hopefully some of what I said there helps.
Thank you! That’s very informative and thoughtful.
I just posted Instincts to the Project Announcements page linked here
I may post it over on that subreddit later tonight – thank you for the invitation, HiEv.
You may also want to add your game to the ifdb.
While art is often a nice plus it is certainly not something I would consider required in a piece of interactive fiction.
Welcome to the party
Thanks, Nils! I just uploaded it to the DB this afternoon.
Choice of Games is a commercial publisher of choice-based interactive fiction. Their games receive thousands of downloads, and most are promoted with the motto:
“It’s entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.”
Graphics and sound are great to have, but if you just want to write, there’s no reason to suppose that your game won’t find an audience.
Lol, what a question. The history and development of interactive fiction is wrapped up in games with no formal art. In fact, Zork was promoted as a catalyst for the imagination, and I’m not sure MDL could have handled “art,” even ASCII, and certainly not as we understand it today. Don’t underestimate the raw power of the word to appeal to a certain, and still legion, type of gamer. Music and effects can be enhancers (see the early LucasArts projects, where the MIDI tracks are still downloaded as ringtones to this day) but done poorly, are very distracting. Thank goodness we no longer live in the age of the finicky video card, but you may find yourself bogged down trying to port extras on your work (and you are a writer first and foremost) when it’s unnecessary.
On the other hand, you might want to think about design – as distinct from graphics and sound. Twine (each Twine format) has a default design, with a text layout, font, color palette. You could consider customizing those.
You could check out HannahPS’s Thanksgiving as a Twine game where some simple visual changes make it more appealing:
I am really trying hard not to geek out that Andrew Plotkin just posted a response on this question. Sorry, I’ll go fangirl somewheree else.