A Case for Adding the average wordcount

Morning Everyone.

Been thinking about this a bit lately, and I think it’d be not just nice but helpful if authors would start including their average per-play wordcount alongside the total.

Having a description saying a game is 200k words long is nifty, but it tells me nothing about how much I’ll read per playthrough, and thus nothing about the replayability of a book.

For example:
A book that is 200k long in total can

  1. Have an average playthrough of 75k words with some nice branching and details
  2. Can have a lot of customization and ‘only’ a very short actual story (whether or not the customziation even comes up)
  3. Can have an average of 150k and be extremely linear
  4. might be very weirdly coded.

I’ve seen reviews that bring up exactly this, because people thought the wordcount was what they’d read, not the total with code.

Therefore it would be nice if descriptions would start including the average playthrough length as well (I think some books already do that?)


I’m pretty sure the reason people put down the total word count instead of the word count of the average playthrough is that it’s just too boring to calculate. IDE at least, tells you how many words you have in total (excluding commands). But doesn’t tell you (to my knowledge) how many words are in an average playthrough.


Before a game gets published it has (or had, dunno if they actually changed it) pass, i think, 10k iterations of randomtest. That’s one way to get an average wordcount, and writers themselves can just run 10 iterations and divide the result given at the end by ten. (I hope you didn’t mean this (run randomtest with 10 iterations an divide by 10) when saying ‘it’s too boring’))

and IIRC IDE does tell you the average


Just to note, if you’re using randomtest, you need to tick “Show full text during game”, otherwise it won’t give a wordcount. (This slows it down a lot, so you probably wouldn’t want to run it more than ten times at once.)


I’ve wanted to put my average words per playthrough in the information of my WiP but randomtest just doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried in google and firefox and have the randomtest html, js and command files in the folder but it just goes to a blank white page every time, so quicktest is all I have atm unfortunately. I would be more than happy if there’s another way to accurately determine wordcount though!

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mhnn… have you tried redownloading the newest CS version?

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I have indeed, unfortunately no luck. But I guess to add to the original topic, for people who can’t get randomtest to work, they may want add wordcount but not be sure of a way to do it is all. I’ve seen a couple posts on here about people having similar issues.

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Should it be added to WIP threads? Oh yes. I’ve had it in mine every time. Should it be in the release info for a published story? I would not recommend it (and presumably neither would the company itself since they don’t do it). It makes it sound shorter and thus not worth the money, and if someone has a run that is under the average length they are liable to feel cheated.


I had that on the first page of Fallen Hero:

Welcome to Fallen Hero: Rebirth! If you are here because you clicked a button that said something like “play now for free”, “free trial”, or “play first two chapters for free” (it varies depending on platform), what you have in front of you is exactly that: an incomplete game.

This is just the beginning of the story—enough for you to make up your mind whether you want to pay for the complete version or not.

The free version consists of 75,000 words, including code, averaging 20,000 words in a play-through.

The full version consists of 385,200 words, including code, averaging 73,200 words in a play-through.

You will get an option to purchase the full version once you reach that point in the game. If not, thanks for trying this out.

EDIT: Tried to minimize the confused 1* reviews.
MORE EDIT: I did not put it in the bullet points though :wink:


I did that for A Kiss from Death. Didnt want to mislead people-- it’s 300k but you won’t see anything close to that in a playthrough, more like 50-100k. IIRC someone mentioned it was a good feature in their review.


I’ll play devil’s advocate and say it’s not necessary. A lot of words is a lot of words, well-coded or not, whether you see the majority of them in one play-through or five, and it’s indicative of how much work went into writing, editing, beta testing, debugging, editing again, and copy editing went into the bastard. I still maintain that, if a game doesn’t grab you in the free preview, you have no reason to buy it unless you just want to support the author regardless of the story itself. If you purchase it, I say feel free to dig through the code and read through the text files to see all 800k words or however much the author wrote to experience the full glory.

I also say this having paid, in 2010 or thereabouts, $4.99 to read a 22-page comic book, which I started reading after I ordered a cheeseburger, and was finished reading before the cheeseburger was ready. Not to say that a lot of work didn’t go into that comic book! I’m sure it took months of dedicated effort from writers and artists alike. But, still, perspective. Even a 100k word game is a year’s work from several people.

If time spent reading a single iteration is your primary metric, static fiction is a better value, hands down. The Great Gatsby is only 47k words, War and Peace is 587k, Don Quixote is 385k, Moby Dick is 206k, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is about 110k, and they’re all in the public domain, so you can read them for $0 or listen to them on Librivox.


I have a similar issue with mine. Whenever I try to run randomtest in the browser, it just displays a blank page. I was able to run it on the command line though! Might be worth a try to see if that could solve your issue. It seems to work fine in a terminal window for me, and I was even able to use it to calculate the average playthrough length of my WIP

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