Ideas people needed [Stellarscape 3500]

I am working on my dream game: Stellarscape 3500. This is going to be a text based space exploration game, with the following features:

  • Several hundred star systems to explore, along with interesting lore and descriptions to read for everything.
  • Sandbox gameplay, where players can do pretty much anything as far as spaceships are concerned, from leading a pirate gang, to fighting as a mercenary, to even playing as a merchant.
  • Entirely text based gameplay, with no graphics or sounds.
  • Several optional questlines that the player can follow in order to learn more about lore, and to have an impact on the game world.
  • A dynamic factions system, where factions can fight for control over different star systems, and the player can change relations with different factions through his/her actions.

I am currently in progress on creating lore, and building the framework that the game will run on. If you have experiance with Inform7, or you just want to help with ideas, please join my Discord server.

Still not convinced you should help? Take a look at the lore we have created so far.

Map (WIP): … bitmap.png

Some information on different regions of space:



Here are some infos about the game lore so far. … bitmap.png

A few days ago, I sent you a PM about helping out, but I haven’t heard back (or maybe, I guess, you don’t want my help). Anyway, here are a couple of things you may want to consider:

Enter Intro Comp: I think there is about a month before the deadline. An introduction to the game would be a good selling point; it could encourage more people to help out. It could also help motivation since there could be a financial reward if the game is finished within a year and, when it is released, having entered the Comp may attract more players.

Enter IF Comp: If not Intro Comp, then perhaps IF Comp. For this, the entry could be a small complete game that would eventually fit into the whole. This has similar advantages to Intro Comp, in that you may attract more people willing to help out, and you may have a wider audience for the finished product.


Just remember that an IFComp game needs to be complete, and IFComp games need to remain free and cannot be sold commercially.

Surely, that’s not totally accurate. Can’t IFComp games be commercialised afterwards?

People have reworked and expanded IFComp games and then published them, but the original IFComp version remains available, so “expanded and reworked” needs to be enough to make it significantly different enough to warrant people paying for something that also exists in another form for free.

thanks. right, so there’s nothing to stop you from trying to sell it.

Except “Do you want to pay $5 for this donut, or do you want this exact same donut for free?”

If someone came up to me in the street and offered me a free doughnut, claiming it was freshly bought from a local shop, I wouldn’t eat it.

If someone said “Would you like to purchase this app from the app store for $5, or download it free from the IFArchive…”

Some people will pay for the added convenience of a packaged app versus a downloadable game file. I did exactly this with Shade and Heliopause, and I sold a few copies.

(I added a tiny amount of illustration to each game, and sell them for $1. So it’s a mixed argument.)

A game like this should be very expandable, if you can make it work at all. So creating a larger version for commercial sale seems like the best strategy.

But it’s ambitious to begin with, so concentrate on the first stage first.

IF Comp games are supposed to be completable within two hours of play time, so it definitely seems like you wouldn’t want to try to jam this full game into an IFComp entry. Mike Preston/Ade McTavish entered a minigame from his commercial project Worldsmith into the IFComp, so that might be a model for how to do it. (I forget whether Worldsmith had been made freely available at that point.)

IFComp requests that games are “complete” as presented. You don’t want to end with “And that Was Chapter One of The Elvish Plumber Saga! Soon to be released episodically on Steam!” or on some kind of cliffhanger “To Be Continued!” or “This way leads to the main city which is not in this version of the game, TBD.”

Scarlet Sails was an IFComp game, and the author ended up expanding it extensively, doubling (I think?) the word count and getting it hosted through CoG.
Worldsmith was a minigame that was a self-contained part of a larger commercial narrative, and the author presented the game in the Comp as a singular diversion. (In this case, the minigame itself was a complete playable thing, and thus not really a “demo” of the larger narrative, which was a commercial game but then released for free a short time after the Comp.)
Emily is Away got disqualified because the author was talking up releasing it as a commercial game while the Comp was still happening, essentially using the IFComp as a promotion for a commercial product.

The main thing the rules are intending is that you should not enter a game that is a “demo” or obviously tied up just to make IFComp. Depending on how blatantly obvious this is, a game may not be explicitly disallowed, but judges tend to downvote an obviously incomplete narrative.