Physical feelies

What about like Infocom’s games - you can have actual feelies, like the fluff & towel in the HHG2G? I was thinking - if I am going to complete an unfinished Infocom game( MILLIWAYS - I know, why?), I’m going to have to make feelies. Then again, you’d need special posting, and because nowadays you’d not really use floppy disk - maybe you could use USB? But that’s quite annoying to send out for each person. Maybe it’s a limited edition thing. I don’t know, something.

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Limited edition USB would be a super-cool thing to send out, although I don’t know any companies off the top of my head who would do it for you (which you’d want if you were doing more than a few at a time).

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Or, for a tedious process which is only if you have time to waste, buy a bunch and personally do it. (I know that’s an awful idea but yeah :joy:)

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Laser etch is kind of common, now. I’m sure there someone who will be willing to do it somewhere. Or maybe spring your own laser etcher. They sell those that you can use with your phone!

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Sorta like mugs, USB drives are a standard branded-tchotchke thing, and installing some predefined image to them is a typical offering of the outfits one orders them from.

I expect the price per unit is even pretty cheap… after some threshold somewhere in the thousands. But no clue about a small order, sorry.

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Staples has branded 4GB USB drive of 24 pcs lot for $192.

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After doing some research, it seems that it’s possible in a few cases to get small minimum orders if calling the supplier, but otherwise the minimums range from 10 to 250 (depending on supplier and the amount of customisation required). Check the provider includes data loading (and that your game is sized appropriately for the limits - different suppliers have different limits on file size before charging extra), which appears to be the most common term for getting the USB provider to install a program (such as your game) onto the USBs for you.

In any case, if you planned to include any feelies other than the USB and its case, you’ll need to add these after the USBs (and cases - most suppliers allow USB cases to be ordered as well) arrive.

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If it’s freely available online there’s no reason to include it. If not, include a product key.

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I tried to get a brainstorming session on feelies going a while back. It might give you some ideas? I dunno.

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I honestly wish feelies.org was still a thing. As far as I can tell no one else is filling this small niche of making feelies for games. Such is the way of things in a digital world where people don’t actually buy physical pc games as much, let alone indie pc games or even interactive fiction…
Unless the Humble Bundles count.

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Never knew that was a thing. Still, you could order a batch of specific objects and then a manual which you print multiple times. Still… Now that page is a tutoring page.

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If you wanted your feelies to be things like specialized puzzle coffee cups and coasters and wall clocks and shower curtains you can create them for free on RedBubble and similar sites.

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If any indie dev manages to make a physical copy of their games, it’s because they had the cash and connections to do so, which usually is some kind of miracle. I am absolutely blown away every time I find a physical copy of an indie game in a store.

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I haven’t seen a new physical copy of a non-console game in a shop since 2012. Making physical copies of games nowadays is most often due to pre-production funding rewards (which allow the author to know how many copies of items to buy and assemble in advance, to meet the demonstrated demand, and also have assurance they will be paid for their efforts).

Occasionally I’ve also seen people offer it as a super-deluxe option via online stores. Invariably, this requires people to purchase before sending out the physical copy. Of course, these can be combined.

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I bought a new laptop recently and it wasn’t until I got it home that I realised it didn’t even have a CD/DVD drive. So how do you even buy software in a shop nowadays if a computer has no floppy drive, no CD/DVD drive and minimal USB ports? Answer: You dont! All software is purchased online.

The only text adventures I’ve seen in recent times that have feelies have been for retro computers.

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Depends on what you mean by “feelies”. You can absolutely get “normal stuff” like boxes, booklets, flyers/maps, mugs, keychain pendants, USB drives, and more with custom printing. (Small runs will have a considerable surcharge but aren’t impossible.) Figurines would also be possible through 3D printing services. The main downside compared to what feelies.org seemed to offer is that you need to handle sales&distribution yourself.

Successful indie titles are sometimes able to strike a deal with Limited Run Games, but that is probably well out of reach for any IF author.

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Nobody sells software on USB sticks nowadays?

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The original feelies.org pitch couldn’t possibly be made profitable. There’s no “niche” there to fill, as far as I can tell.

An indie dev with a solid fanbase could work up a run of physical feelies and make them available as a “super-awesome edition” of their game. This would have to be done cash up front (which would take very careful estimation of the print run size) or via Kickstarter (safer, as long as the next global supply crisis doesn’t hit during production and triple the cost of shipping… again).

However, there’s no volume discount to be had offering this service to indie devs. It’s all short runs and shipping costs. So it will always be a better deal for the devs to handle on their own.

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I mean…you could, but I feel like there’s a certain connotation with software on USBs that requires a certain level of clear expectation or trust. I’m not saying that CDs were absolutely safe (they were not; bonus points to whoever can name the biggest scandal for this). The market, however, seems to have jumped from CDs to Internet, so there’s no widespread standard for the use of USBs here, outside of homemade stuff.
(It’s also very possible I might have just info-dumped in response to a rhetorical question. Hm.)

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Maybe not sell, but some state-level actors have been known to to give “software” on USB sticks away for free..

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