Announcing the Choice of Games Contest for Interactive Novels


Haha I'd love to be able to develop "Snake in the Grass" in time for the contest, but unless I stumble across: 1) a cloning machine, 2) a time machine, 3) or Zenith radiation granting me the vast powers of Facebook MegaCat, I'm not overly optimistic.


Two years is not long enough? Either you are a very busy person or I vastly underestimated the time it takes to develop and code a story. Maybe both lol


It's actually a little over a year.


Yes as @Samuel_H_Young said, it's only about 13 months. And yes I am a very busy person. And yes it takes a long time to code and develop a story. I'd guess the average time needed to complete a story, working on it as a hobby (as most of us do) is 12-36 months.

Plus, the entries will be high quality. Balanced choices. Strong mechanics. Compelling narratives. Thorough beta testing, editing, proofreading, etc. Quality takes a lot of time.


Well if you do decide to write I look forward to possibly reading it. Thank you both for your replies. I gained a little insight on just how much work goes into writing.


I'll have mine done in six.... (Started Jan 2011)


Well... for those without much idea on how much goes into writing...

If you figure up the average page of writing to be about 500 words (which is generally true), and then take the length of a choice story all told... Let's say 250,000 words for sake of argument.

That's five hundred pages of writing. Or, let's go even more simple- a mere 100,000 words. The minimum required for a choice story. 200 pages of writing.

Let's say someone is a fast writer, and averages five pages of writing per day. Said person could blaze through and make a game in 40 days, assuming they could keep up a pace of a blazing fast five pages per day (aka 2500 words per day). Plus, people usually have days where they don't work on writing at all- be it work, or hanging out with friends, or whatever, prevents it.

For myself, I've set myself a schedule that I consider 'strict'. Seven chapters of story plus a floating 'miscillaneous' chapter. Goal of ~250k words, with a development time of one chapter every two months. It's certainly do-able, but still a bit nerve-wracking at 15k words per month. A page a day. There's not a lot of room to fall behind- but if the whole story ends up shorter than the goal, I'm giving myself the out of possibly making it expandable into a multi-parter. It's possible to bust out 100k in a month's time. I've done it before- but it takes up more or less the WHOLE month to do so. A year is probably a good time frame for a contest like this. It does keep some pressure on, but isn't so heavy with the pressure as to feel daunting or off-putting. But anyone who wants to participate is likely to be far better off beginning immediately rather than thinking that there's time to spare.


Agreed. There isn't time to spare.


For a CoG publish deal, you need to have published something previously; is that necessary here?


No. It's a contest open to anyone who fits the criteria.


I have a question about inclusivity guidelines: is it acceptable to make certain romance options gender-locked, i.e. make a couple of NPCs exclusively gay or exclusively straight?


Yes, as long as any player has "balanced"/sufficient options.


I’m like really late, but I never really paid attention to the age prereq. It says above 18 and I might be being stupid but does that mean truly 19 and up or can you be 18, just making sure.


You can enter if you’re 18.


I have a question, does it have to be a whole game or can it be a part of a game. For example, games like the “Hero Rise” series, “Zombie Exodus”, and “Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven”. Those are all games that are a single story, but are made in parts/chapters for an ongoin series. So can we submit a game that was writing out as a series.
(And if yes, if the whole series was submited whole and complete, and won, would it be published altogether or could it be published in parts, like one part every 2 months.)

One more question , can there be some artwork. I am an artist and i draw alot. I have drawings of scenery, buildings, maps, NPC’s, etc. That go with my story, can those be included or would that be against some sort of rule.

  1. Yes, it can be part of a series. However, it is strongly recommended that it be the first volume of a series. A sequel to a game that has already been published by Hosted Games is unlikely to win.

  2. In theory, yes. But considering that every COG title by us must be at least 100,000 words long, I would be very impressed if you could write multiple 100,000-word volumes by the contest deadline. I would focus on writing the first one.

  3. Sure there can be artwork!


Would writing a game in first-person, with the intention of having the player feel as though the player is guiding the MC but not actually “being” the MC, place the game at a judging disadvantage?


Yes, that would put your game at a disadvantage. It wouldn’t disqualify your game from winning, but to win, it would have to be significantly better than other games written in the second person.


See, I’m glad I asked that! Thanks for the quick response, Dan.


I noticed today in the CoG Style Guide that games set pre-1650 C.E. are required to be in American English. I use British English normally…when I go back and fix it, should I also localise expressions, changing ‘they walked about’ to ‘they walked around’ and such? What would be the preference? Thanks much!