Length of IF games?

I’m making a IF game. I want the game to last about 2-3 hours (Standard Play). Is this too short or too long? How long are IF games from…like…Infocom? Thanks!

Infocom games were, I believe, quite long puzzle-fests. Modern IF games are tending towards shorter works of anything from a few minutes to two or three hours. Having said that, there’s definitely a desire on the part of many to see more longer games of 10+ hours.

Naturally, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew with your first IF game. Personally, I started and never finished about two dozen prototype games before ever releasing anything - although I tend to take procrastination to extremes.

Pacian’s right about this one. Never mind the actual length of your game, whether it takes the player 2 weeks or 2 hours to finish - it’s more important, I think, to take care of the other aspects of the game (the writing, the game’s mechanics, etc.) than to worry how long it can be finished.

Thanks guys. I am a little new to the IF thing…but what you said Isxek I now think is important. Not to worry about the length. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: Thanks guys! This really helped! :smiley: :smiley: :nerd: :nerd:

I would be interested to know the rough length of an ‘average’ IF game (I assume length generally equates to program/code size). I appreciate it might be like asking how long is a piece of string, but my reason for asking is related to using Inform 7 and the possible length/size of ‘standard’ games. What I’d also like to find out is, are there any games that stand out as having a ‘clever’ design that pack in more game for their size compared to other games? Does the current ‘state of the art’ in game AI restrict game length, can clever programming give the impression of an intelligent NPC? I guess I’m concerned that what I can achieve may be limited by my programming ability rather than my creative ability. An example of a game I could play to exemplify the best cutting edge game AI would be appreciated!

I don’t know what’s the program/code size of average IF games, but according to this thread from the IF newsgroups, the longest game source code (for Inform 7, at least) seems to be 385,000 words. Of course, source codes of almost all the games are considerably smaller…

It ended up being 389,453 words.

So quite a few words then, more than I anticipated. I can see it’s more about what you do with the words, quality comes before quantity! Reading the thread on the IF newsgroups puts some interesting perspectives on the length and size of IF works, saying there that some can do a lot more with far less words than others. I guess that’s the clever part.

Well, bear in mind that Blue Lacuna is significantly longer than any other I7 game yet released. In fact, it was longer than Graham Nelson expected any I7 game to be.

As Bloodsong said, AI - or even pseudo-AI - isn’t important to most IF. There are a few games which have played around with it, though. The best example game I can think of would be Child’s Play, which has a cast of active characters with simple goal-driven behaviours. As a bonus, the I7 source code is availabe, so you can see how it all works. I’ve heard Make It Good also features AI-driven characters, but I haven’t had time to play it yet. This IFDB poll has some other suggestions.

Also, if you’re interested in an ambitious AI-related IF which failed utterly (but in an interesting way!), have a look at The Battle of Walcot Keep.

Galatea is the quintessential example of how AI (or pseudo-AI) is used in IF games - not just, IMO, an example of it being done well, but an example of how it can be used to best effect.

The game keeps track of the moods of its principle NPC based on what you’ve been discussing, and also tracks the apparent mindset of the player character based on how he seems to be acting towards her.

It’s not AI in the sense that the NPC is acting by herself, or pursuing goals, or will ever do much that wasn’t coded into her directly, but it is the kind of thing that players often think of as AI, in that it presents a convincing illusion of a character with her own internal thoughts and feelings about what’s going on around her.

I’ll be taking a look at those recommendations, thank you.