How long do YOU need to write your choice length IF?

I’m curious - how long do you spend to make a work of IF?

Because apparently some of you go “oh we have three months left for IFCOMP?” and then go gallivanting into a meadow.

I’ve been working on mine for months and I’ve not even gotten the whole damn introduction done. :confused:

So - how long do you need to create a whole game?

EDIT: renamed topic to make my point clearer.

how long do YOU spend (on average) on a work of IF.

how long does the average person take to make the average work of IF.
how long does the slow person take to make a large work of IF.
or any variation that is not how long do YOU, the person reading this, take to make YOUR CHOICE of length IF.

so if you’d prefer short works so short they give Baldrick’s novel a run for its turnip, the question is fully ‘how long do you take to make a short work?’.
if you prefer long-ass works that give the lord of the rings a run for their hobbits, the question is fully ‘how long do you take to make one of your long ass trilogies in five parts?’

i have just finished main work on my FIRST EVER GAME… it has been “completed” in under six hours. Now i’m gonna get some food in me and shower and do my own “beta testing”.

i offer no guarantee that the terminology i employ is in any way correct.

please look forward to my game. it will be submitted to IFCOMP 2015.

and i will answer (pretty much) all questions you may have about it… except if they’re spoilers. And only AFTER IFCOMP 2015 has ended, of course. :slight_smile:

I would imagine that the answer to your question will vary greatly among different authors, as everyone works a little differently. In 2013, I was churning out a good number of games in my effort to learn I7, but in doing so, many corners were cut and I’m not sure the quality is the same as it would’ve been if I spent twice the amount of time on each game. Then you also have to consider that everyone’s lifestyles are different. Some people can get a lot done in an hour, while others (like me) have to have the program open in front of them all day just to get a few lines of code entered. Then there’s testing. How long each author puts into testing greatly varies as well. In conclusion, I’m not sure there is even a median or average that can be given to answer your question. :sunglasses:

I’ve been working on my first IF for almost two years now. Others can pull something off in a day or two. It really depends on the person and the work.

I was kidding. For the last two years I’ve gone “Comp in a month? Surely I can make a game in that time…” and been fairly lucky both times to not embarrass myself too badly. I don’t recommend it for the faint as both years involved multiple nervous breakdowns and repeated rounds of kicking myself for various reasons. Do not try this at home. Professional stuntman on a closed course. The best advice is if you have a COMPLETE AND BETA TESTED GAME by all means enter. There’s no shame in submitting an intent and then withdrawing if the game won’t be ready.

In fact, last year I remember a significant author deciding to pull out of the comp since they “only” had a month to go. This was when I started coding. Your results may vary. Some people skydive, I enter the comp by the hair of my teeth.

It depends on the type of work, too. Parser games require more time for QA and usually more coding, especially if they have complex interactions. Choice games might call for exponentially greater volumes of prose, especially if you’re working within the rhythm of ChoiceScript or Undum, which encourage longer chunks of text at a time. Propulsive games will need more prose for the same amount of gameplay time as a game with an event loop or hub that the player keeps returning to. Games with a lot of branching or variegation throughout will require more prose than a game with a more linear story.

Well, you could look at games that were made in specific time frames to get an idea of what’s possible. EctoComp games were made in 3 hours, ShuffleComp games were made in a month, and ParserComp games were made in 3 1/2 months.

This will vary wildly from person to person, but I have some data that may or may not be useful.

Rough estimates:

Beet the Devil - Over 2 years, on and off. Maybe 5-6 months of work condensed down?
One Eye Open - 5 months of fairly solid work split across 2 people.
Ollie Oxen Free - Only 2 months, but with the caveat that I didn’t have a day job at the time, so I worked on it during the day as well as at night. (This was not enough time - the game came in too hot and buggy. I wish I’d spent at least another month in polish, but I didn’t want to miss the IFComp deadline.)
Monkey and Bear - 4 weeks, I think? Whatever the ShuffleComp time span was.
Wildflowers - About 8 hours.
This Was A Real Thing That Happened - One day to write it, and another half day to get the multiplayer server working.

Annnnd… thanks to Toggl timeclocking, I have exact information for two games.

Rainbows and Dance Parties! - 14 hours and 9 minutes.
18 Rooms to Home, rooms 15 through 18 - 41 hours and 35 minutes (and counting, since room 15 isn’t out yet.)

THIS is the information I wanted. :slight_smile: thanks!
I changed the topic title and augmented the threadstarter to indicate this. :slight_smile:

In the same spirit:

Terminator Chaser: Roughly two months of design and two weeks of QA
Mere Anarchy: One month and ten days from the first to the last commit.
It Is Not So Much A Story: About an hour.
When the Land Goes Under the Water: About two weeks of design and a week of QA, if I recall correctly.

Rough estimates, indeed, mostly guesses. But they give an idea. Note that everything was done during free time, this has never been a full-time job.

The Baron: half a year, some pretty hard work.
Fate: about three months.
Figaro: an afternoon
The Art of Fugue: couple of months.
The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode: perhaps a day.
Ḿid the Sagebrush and the Cactus: a couple of weeks, not counting the ATTACK engine.
Kerkerkruip: months for the original ATTACK engine, half a year for the original game, years of on-and-off development for the current version.
Nemesis Macana: a good week.

OK. So I read CYOA as a kid and more recently gamebooks on the app store. And I thought to myself: writing one of these can’t be so bad!

Boy I wish I had seen this thread before embarking! It takes time, as all of you have shared. Far more than anyone unfamiliar with the world of IF-writing could imagine!

That being said, it takes me about a week to put together a 3k word short story. When I get into “content creation mode” I’m hoping to condense that down to 2 days.

Programming & Art is enjoyable for me… the writing on the other hand… I have to be in a whole other place to get things done. I love the end result, but the journey is rough.

I believe End Master says it best: “Writing: It’s more fun than a barrel of Ebola ridden monkeys!”

The Zen Garden took me about a year, I think. About 3 months dwelling on and developing the concept, clues, and puzzles - 6 months programming, writing and testing - 2 months on a sun lounger in Bali contemplating the clues and difficult levels - 2 months tweaking once back home.

Very much a labour of love…:slight_smile:

And yes. Apart from finding the question in the OP interesting, this is also a fairly weak attempt to persuade someone to play it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Sometimes… when there’s a deadline there’s a way… or at least a way to bring an incomplete story to a neat end. A big advantage, at least for programming-challenged me, is that choice-based languages (Choicescript, Twine…) tend to be easier to pick up, so that shortens writing time somewhat.

Danse Nocturne: about a week
IFDB Spelunking: less than 20 days
The Chinese Room: on and off for about two years with labour split between two people.
Mammal: Exactly three days.
Calm: About six months with increasing intensity with work split between two people.
Escape From Summerland: Two people working for five months from the beginning design document to the final post-comp release.

Heh, funny to see myself quoted.

You probably got a lot more patience I have though. I have a hard enough time just finding the time to write nowadays. I can’t imagine being patient enough to write something with a bunch of coding as well. (Which is probably why I don’t, ha ha)