Are WiPs spoiling us?

I have been noticing a trend and I’m curious if anyone else has seen it too. Recently, every game that has been released has been disappointing to me on some level. Even games that I played the WiP for and thoroughly enjoyed. Now sometimes games just aren’t as good, but how is it that a game that I know to be good ends up disappointing me so much? I have a theory about this.

I’ve noticed that WiPs these days allow people to play much more of the game than they used to. Some even have the entire game up. I think this spoils people because once the game is released and they pay money for it, there is almost no new content, if any at all.

The most recent examples of this have been Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, Fallen Hero: Retribution, Lords of Infinity, and I’m sure that the upcoming Blood Moon will be a victim of this as well.

These are all games that I played the WiP for and very much enjoyed. Two of which had the entire game up before submission.

I’m curious as to everyone’s thoughts on this. Is this just me?


Almost all Hosted Games are available on the forum in their entirety before publication, because except for authors with large followings it’s really the only reliable way to get feedback and test the game. That’s always been the case.


Maybe I’m misremembering, but I don’t remember that being the case in the past. From what I recall, there was a cap on how much of the game you were allowed to put in a demo.

Putting the entirety of the game up as a WiP defeats the entire purpose of Beta testing, does it not?

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Does it? Isn’t the point of beta testing to test the complete game? (Although one could argue that the correct term wouldn’t be “demo” in that case, but rather a “beta build” or somesuch.)


No it is, for sure. But typically that is done in an invite-only manner to avoid this exact thing.

By signing up for the Beta, you know exactly what you are in for.


You are, technically, signing up for beta simply by virtue of playing a WIP, from my point of view. Forum isn’t the whole playerbase, after all.


That’s true, but that’s not what I mean. I’ve seen several HG authors run their own Betas to avoid this issue. Obviously it would be great if they didn’t have to go through all that effort, but that’s how it was done. :person_shrugging:

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It’s true that we as participants of this forum experience games differently than people who aren’t here, because we see the process of the game’s creation. But for me that doesn’t make games less interesting at all, I’m just happy to finally pay something for the hours of free entertainment I got from reading WIPs (as someone who can’t afford supporting writers on patreon). I think it’s also satisfying to sort of be a part of this journey, witnessing how the story grows before its release, and providing feedback and encouragement for the writers.


I totally agree and don’t want to diminish that at all. I’m just questioning the merits of giving something away in it’s entirely, or close to it, before releasing it.

If you’ve played the WiP for games like this, you’ve probably played it in every possible way. There is, essentially, nothing new for you to do.


Well, yes. That is the choice between maximizing the potential beta feedback and minimizing the amount of players who have played the full game pre-release. Some prioritize one, others the other.


So I guess a better question would be: Should we as a community prioritize one over the other? What are the pros and cons of each?


It’s true, but I think the fun doesn’t stop after release, now we can discuss the story with other people and there are always other WIPs to play after. So it may work a bit backwards for us, but I still think the overall experience isn’t less interesting.


Also by buying you’ll support the author, which isn’t a small thing as of itself.


Well some considering some people don’t know that the forum exists in my case i ended up playing the games for like two years on apps and stumbled upon the forum when i was searching for a sequel of one of the games so pretty much the ones who play wips are considered a beta at this point.
Plus most of the games end up changing a little bit when they are released on app or are added more content.


Maybe, but I think there is a discussion to be had about the different approaches of CoG and HG. CoG games don’t usually have WiPs, so they don’t have very much hype, but they are completely fresh. HG games on the other hand have WiPs which generate a lot of hype, but leaves very little to discover.

Of course. That cannot be discounted (no pun intended).

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For CoG authors who choose to make their WIP available on the forum, yes, there’s a cap. But that’s a game that’s being written with the support and guidance of an editor, with a period of beta testing during which the editorial team give access to the full version to as many interested readers as they deem appropriate.

HG authors don’t have any of that. First of all, they’re not working under contract, so CoG doesn’t have any proprietary interest in keeping the ending a secret. There’s no requirement that a finished ChoiceScript game be published by HG; it just can’t be published/hosted anywhere else for profit. There are fanfic games in ChoiceScript that they couldn’t legally publish. There are games written in ChoiceScript for competitions like IFComp that are available to play for free.

For writers without the resources or following to arrange a private beta, the only way they can get feedback on their game, including the last chapter, is to make it available in its entirety. HG actually requires it, unless the author is able to make other arrangements, because it’s the only way the game can be fully tested.

If you don’t want the content of a game to be spoiled for you upon release, either don’t read WIPs, stick to reading CoG WIPs, or only read up to a certain point and then stop. Or play the completed WIP and then don’t buy the finished game. Or play the WIP and buy the finished game to support the author and/or explore different paths in a story you already know. But it’s not fair to accuse authors or the publisher of letting you down by not adding new content just because you didn’t realize you were looking at the full beta build.


Wasn’t there an entire discussion about this that led to the creation of the Hobby Project section? I thought Hosted Games did have to be completed at some point. :thinking:

I like doing that too lmao. I have a whole category on Steam just for these games.


Everyone has already mentioned some great points. For me, I also like the feeling of sort of ‘collecting’ the games? Like buying them and seeing all their icons on my screen just makes me happy lol. And demos get taken down once the game’s published, so if I ever want to replay the game, which for a lot of them I do, I have to buy them. One of IFs best selling points is their replayability, so I don’t think authors lose out too much if they make a game available in its entirety in the beta.


They have to be completed before they’re submitted for publication, of course. I’m really not sure what you mean here. If they’re not submitted for publication, either because the author lost interest halfway through or it was never their intent to publish in the first place, there’s no one out there insisting they finish.


I wasn’t very involved in the discussion, so I don’t really remember, but there was something about some HG authors never completing their work that led to the creation of the Hobby Project section.

I guess I misunderstood what that was for.

Can someone please help me? How do I link the whole thread while referencing that one part? I’m really struggling here. :sweat_smile: