Where can we host game files?

Excellent! I’ve heard this site mentioned here and there, but I don’t think I’ve properly checked it out yet. Thanks!

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A friendly reminder you can ZIP up your game files, walkthroughs, feelies, cover art, etc. into a single archive before uploading to IF Archive. Their Unbox service allows you to deep-hyperlink to the files within the ZIP, including your .t3. (You can even pass the deep-link to Parchment for online playing.)

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That’s so cool!! Thank you! :grin:

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IF Archive is the best place to save IF and text/adventure games, but itch.io is also great for games in general. I’d recommend saving to both if you can.

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Does itch.io let you upload game files, or just an HTML? I want to support both online play and offline interpreter players. Haven’t used that site either.

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You can upload whatever you want on it. You can also have multiple uploads, one you can play and others you can leave as downloads.
Example:
strong text

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Yeah, itch is crazy open about that. Playable in a browser, multiple download formats, do whatcha like.

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Excellent!! :grin:

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Either or both. The choice is yours. You can also charge for games if you want to, or use their optional payment model.

The good thing about itch.io is that people outside the IF community may stumble upon your game, whereas the same people would have no idea that places like IFDB and the IF Archive even exist.

More importantly, you can do a nice game page with instructions, background info, downloadable feelies, walkthroughs or whatever you like. You can also add blog entries; add a community for people to comment on your game or ask for hints; view analytics to see how many people have viewed, played or downloaded your game and so much more. And it’s easy to use.

People can follow you (and you can follow others) and those people get email notifications when you add something new. It’s a way of building a following or a fan base.

It’s also a good place to keep your pre-release games for play testers to download the files. Just add a password and no one else can see it, so it’s not a public release and you’re safe from the “no prior public release” rules of most of the IF comps.

Finally, once you’re registered on itch.io, you can enter, play and rate all the games in the many alternate annual IF comps, such as ECTOCOMP, ParserComp, PunyJam, Adventuron jams and (most importantly) Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2023, which is on NOW!

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Though I like itch.io, one drawback is that you can’t link directly to a file, only to a page where the file can be downloaded.

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How do you mean? Like, do I need to host from the IFArchive and link the files there to both the IFDB and itch.io?

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If you are using iplayif.com to run a story-file somewhere on the web, I think Parchment requires that the story-file is directly linked to so you must host the story file somewhere else, e.g. Github would probably work and IF Archive definitely works.

EDIT: So your TADS game can run online on itch.io using THIS method but the story file should be available on another site.

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Okay, so basically itch.io is a general-purpose alternative to IFDB, and not somewhere I can upload my story file.

EDIT: Wait, that seems to contradict this, then:

To narrow down my question:

  1. Let’s not focus on online play right now (I will support online play, but that’s an entirely different question)
  2. Can I upload a story file to the IFArchive, and link to that file from IFDB?
  3. Can I upload a story file to itch.io, and link to that file from IFDB?

All other features, pros, cons, can be figured out later, in addition to the question of online play. I am more confused now than when I started this thread.

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You can upload and host your story file on itch.io, but you can’t directly link to it from somewhere else. You can only link to your game page, from where players can click on a button to download it.

If it’s clearer, there won’t be a link like inventor200.itch.io/my_game.ulx.

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Okay so itch.io supports upload and download, but does not allow other sites (like IFDB) to directly download files hosted on itch.io.

IFArchive supports upload and download, and does allow other sites (like IFDB) to directly download files hosted on IFArchive.

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Yeah, I think we could say it this way!

I suppose itch works like to track the number of dowloads and other stats.

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Excellent! :grin: Thank you for your time, patience, and the clarification!

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Think of IFArchive as “where the game lives for posterity”. People can download directly from there, but it’s more “backstage” - players don’t usually browse the Archive for discovery purposes unless they’re given a direct link to a file or know what they are looking for because you have to follow the link tree and there is no search.

Clicking these links on IFArchive will download the files.

Screen Shot 2023-05-18 at 1.36.41 PM

IFDB can be thought of as the player-friendly frontend for IFArchive. No games are actually hosted there, but it shows you the best places to find the game and any related material. That’s where people rate games and is a hub for reviews, comments, ratings and information. Games are discoverable and searchable. IFDB can provide a link to IFArchive (and often will generate the direct “play online” button if it’s the right file type.) IFDB can also link to other venues such as Itch or Steam or a standalone website. Just like IMDB doesn’t have an actual movie, but has ratings, reviews, trailers, pictures, pages about the director and actors…etc.

itch.io can be thought of as a more flashy frontend for your specific game (and a less restricted Steam-type experience). The author can customize the game page with reviews, information, links screenshots, and optionally a comment section or full-blown discussion forum with topics. And it will also host the game and uploaded companion files. You can link back to IFDB from itch if you like. Itch allows browser play directly on the page for correctly formatted games, and an author can also specify if players must pay to download, or offer the game for free with a “suggested” donation amount, or just a “donate to support this game” button. Itch offers several modes - my most used is “draft” mode where the game is not public, but the site generates a secret URL you can offer to players to beta test the site and your game and you can tweak the website to your liking before it goes public, you can offer “free download” keys, promote the game and more. Itch makes your game very discoverable to players and a wide audience that is not just searching for IF, but intelligently tagging your game’s specific features will cause it to turn up in game searches.

This game is download only:

This one is playable on the page:

You can also get a “widget” with a play online button that works in an iframe (you can see this from my website)

Screen Shot 2023-05-18 at 1.21.02 PM

Screen Shot 2023-05-18 at 1.28.45 PM

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Ah! Clear! :grin:

Okay, so I now understand what people meant by this. Originally, phrasing it like this with the assumption of online play support made it sound like I could upload the story file to itch.io and allow direct download of that story file from IFDB. But now it’s been clarified that you can only share the link on IFDB if you want to direct someone to the itch.io uploads for play or download, but only once the player is on the itch.io page.

Oh! That’s pretty cool! :grin:

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Right. IFDB can provide a direct download via IFArchive (or the play online button which runs the bare file in a browser interpreter), AND can link to itch where the player can download from there. IFDB can offer multiple links to different venues; you can link to itch, Steam, your personal website, etc. - like when IMDB offers links “here’s where you can buy the DVD for this movie, here’s where it’s on streaming services, here’s where it’s playing in your neighborhood…”

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