How long do you take?

I’m just wondering how long it takes you to write, and complete an IF story. I’ve been working on Esher’s quest for about a week now, and I’m still on the first section of a game, which is meant to be quite a long story. I don’t mind this though. I want it to have enough detail, but not too much, as well as be fun to play…not so much detail that people get bored of reading, but enough that it’s interesting and fun…

I’m wondering… Have any of you been working on a game for months…years? lol

There are big games and small games. Big games take longer.

My own fastest time: 4 hours. Still my best game, really.
My own longest (completed) time: around 400 hours, including revisions and testing. Second-best game.

So for me, so far it’s from 4 to 400 hours :slight_smile:

That’s not too bad. I have to take into consideration that I’m coming to grips with learning the language too, so that’s really slowing down the process…other than that I dunno how long it’s gonna take to complete Esher’s Quest, lol. Knowing me I’ll work on it all year, haha.

My four-hour game was my first effort, created the same day I first installed Inform 7.

Buuuut … I think the real trick was that I was very careful to start with a game with … well, virtually no ambition whatsoever. Tiny, one or two puzzles (if you stretch the definition of “puzzle” to include “do the very obvious thing with the very obvious object”), very minimal scope. Because I wanted to see what it was like to get to the end of making one (I have “Deluxe Ham House” in the works, but that’s another story and it’s taken a lot more hours of work …)

So make sure you didn’t bite off such a big hunk of game that you get discouraged! Even a medium-sized or shortish game can surprise you with just how much work there is to be done. Either way, if you ever feel lost, there are a lot of folks here who’ll help you out of any coding scrapes.

ohh I know this to be true. There’s a couple that have helped me extensively, lol. I have these books and stuff, they’re a big help, but I find that some of the code examples aren’t working in them right, or I’m not indenting them right…but Felix, and Matt have been a big help, a long with a few others…

I’m seeing Esher’s Quest as being a game that will probably take me a while to complete, lol…

I can’t wait to release it though, it should be a good game…depending on preference of course.

About how many months were those 400 hours spread out over, Ghalev?

I’ve been working on a game for about a year. It’s not long, but I’m trying to make sure it has plenty of detail and depth. I hope it will be done in time for IFComp 2012 - about another year from now. I put in varying amounts of work, but I try to get something done every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Of course some days I put in several hours.

InterFiction, from your questions on the Inform forum, I see that you’re still in the very early stages of getting familiar with the language. It may be a few months before you’re really comfortable programming. I’d advise against implementing a lot of detail at this point, and focus on writing, creating locations and moving the story forward.

Here’s a tip: Whenever I have ideas that I’m not ready to implement, I add a comment to the game with a big TODO: at the beginning of it. Then I can come back later and search for my TODOs. It keeps me motivated because I can work on whatever I feel like working on, knowing that I’ll come back to the other stuff later.

Right around four. Three to complete the game (in alpha), then a month’s worth of testing and tweaking (9 testing rounds, including the final release version). Plus extra time for feelie-making, etc.

It was pretty intensive stuff, taking up most of my workday for several weeks running and a healthy chunk for the rest of the time. But I was on an enthusiastic burn, to say the least :slight_smile:

That would be good, but to advance the story I need to implement the puzzles…to do that I have to code them, lol. That and certain things in the story can’t happen until other things do, so really the easiest thing to do in this case is study, read, and try and make the code as I go. Esher’s Quest is a big project of mine…I’m creating a IF story as well as a 2d rpg version of the game :slight_smile:


Of course you have to implement the key plot elements. I was referring to what some people call the “detail trap” - making peripheral elements of the story fully functional when they don’t need to be. Jim Aikin talks about it in his Handbook. Have you seen it? I think you might find it helpful.

The detail trap is indeed the bane of many a project. One way to avoid getting mired in details is to write a bare-bones implementation first, and then color in the details as the game progresses; this may be what capmikee was getting at. This article by Emily Short has some good ideas on the subject.

This is true. I read the article too. It’s quite nicely put. This happened with the 2d rpg game version of Esher’s Quest. Our team didn’t have enough of our plot built to carry on with the project in an effective way. We scrapped what we had, and settled into just writing the plot, and then we’re going to script out dialogue, and start making the game.

It’s important, because if you don’t have basic things like that you can end up making a game that’s a little too fast paced. That’s what was happening with the 2d project. We decided that finishing the plot, and scripting dialogue would slow things down a little more…creating a funner, and more effective game to play.