CoG/HG business model

If I’m not mistaken, I think this is already allowed? Say if something was to be remade in a completely different engine, in a completely different format, I think CoG specifies that is okay to do, as they don’t own the IP, they own the product itself, which is the game made within ChoiceScript.

If someone were to say, make a visual novel of their game in Ren’Py using images, music, voice acting, etc. it would completely change the format of the game entirely and thus be a completely different game.

You cannot publish the same story in a competing format (Twine, Ren’Py, Choices/Chapters/Episodes, CYOA book, Visual Novel, etc).

Edit: Sorry, didn’t mean to sound standoffish. This was also something I wasn’t aware of until I was reviewing my contracts with HG.

4 Likes

I wonder what the exact limits of that are, in that case, and if someone could theoretically do that in Unreal Engine or Unity or something. I’m not a coder, and I don’t know how these things work, but im assuming something like a point-and-click adventure might be different enough and stray enough away to be remade as a different format?

Again, not saying I would, I’m just trying to find a distinctive line here.

1 Like

Basically anything where the primary medium of interaction is not text is fair game. The author still owns the IP (barring certain deals with select authors), so anything that isn’t directly competing with CoG is fine. I think point-and-click would be far enough away, really anything that has actual like, gameplay should be good. Books are fine (see Waywalkers, Deathless, etc), so I have to assume any game that isn’t directly in the same niche would be.

6 Likes

From the same page linked earlier:

  • You cannot publish the same story in a competing format (Twine, Ren’Py, Choices/Chapters/Episodes, CYOA book, Visual Novel, etc).
    • You can publish sequels, prequels, spin-offs, etc in a competing format.
    • You can publish the same story in a non-competing format (traditional book, side-scrolling computer game, animated computer game).
7 Likes

Me neither, lol. A lot of why I never dived into Tumblr despite being into early internet communities was because I simply didn’t really understand how you were supposed to use it. Honestly, still don’t even though I’ve made one to “follow” ( as well as I can anyways ) some of the WIP’s on the forum that have one. Oh well, can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

2 Likes

Don’t feel bad. You’re doing things more ethically and more conducive to finishing your work than some of the hype-people out there.

One that I saw, maybe on reddit, some time ago, was a very naive person (at best; at worst, they were scamming) posted something like “Hi friends! I’ve never tried coding before, but I aim to create the coolest interactive fantasy series EVER, led by YOU, the people! What would you want to see in YOUR fantasy story?” And basically farmed engagement and upvotes as people gave laundry lists of everything they’ve ever enjoyed and would like to enjoy again. The “author” would constantly engage with these comments, saying how awesome they were, that all of the ideas would absolutely go in the game.

Days, possibly weeks, of hyping this everything-bagel epic fantasy series that was “definitely” going to happen, constant replying (instead of, say, actually trying to write a single line of code), and giving pie in the sky plans for “I think it’ll take a month or two to write it all up, never done this before so wish me luck lol!” Then the patreon/kofi links started up, again promising the moon: custom characters, tons of merch (of course no pictures of any of said merch), custom endings and ROs. This is seemingly all before a line of code gets written.

After a couple weeks, a couple of “unforeseen delays” and “we’re still working on making the COOLEST fantasy series ever! Thank you for your support!” messages, and then gone.

Basically all they had was a “cool” title, a marketing plan, and a hypebeast. That is not a game. All this to say that huge social media numbers have little to nothing to do with making a good game, and making one-time money by scamming is depressingly easy. If you want to get mad social media clout and get rich quick, a lot easier ways to do that than by posting a working WIP demo you intend to finish.

22 Likes

Do you remember when was this “project” going on? And I assume it didnt happen at the HG/CoG subreddits, it sounds like the sort of thing that just wouldnt fly there, with the current crowd.

Always be wary about supporting projects that look spurious. Not just quick and dirty ones like what was described above, but also longer term ones too. Part of my disdain for Tumblr is seeing authors who stretch stories out for months or years between updates, posting a bunch of silly frippery about character birthdays and ‘story vibes’ while they bilk their followers for crowdsourcing cash. When the levels start to droop, they’ll either put a bit of actual content out or manufacture another dire real-life situation to juice the donations back up. These folks are out there and whether or not they know they are con artists, the end result is you’re throwing your money away supporting them.

It’s hardly a new thing, either; I can remember a mediocre webcomic from the 2000s that had some minor success, mostly due to the creator pumping out cheesecake art of the female leads. Fellow needed a few hundred bucks for a new laptop in order to keep it going. Successfully crowdsourced the money for it, popped out a handful of humdrum updates, then folded the strip entirely, and of course that shiny new laptop was not returned. Be cautious about who you give your money to, folks.

16 Likes

Hehe, I know one WIP author that does similar stuff. Keeps posting short smut of the ROs on Patreon and only interacts on Tumblr(that is false, Tumblr in question is now only reblogs of other WIPs :joy:), when Patreon starts to dry up, 10K words update, and off to another year of zero progress. Its a shame, and as you said, you cant even be sure if its a actual con artist or just misguided laziness.

3 Likes

Choicescript is one of those weird areas where, its incredibly accessible to newer writers (since anyone can write and publish through hosted games without prior writing experience) while also being significantly more time and effort than it initially appears.

I think it leads to a lot of people overestimating their own ability or underestimating the time and effort it takes to write a choicescript game.

For every person intentionally drawing out a story for more Patreon money, there are probably a dozen who genuinely want to make a good game, but got in way over their head and can’t bring themselves to admit it. Where its easier to pretend everything is fine than to scale back features or admit they can’t do it.

In general, I don’t assume anyone is doing anything malicious, but I do find that I tend to consider most projects by new authors to be unlikely to make it past the first couple chapters until they prove otherwise.

19 Likes

Determining intent is always a challenge in an online-only interaction, and I want to give people the benefit of the doubt. However, whether it is out of shameless greed or uninspired waffling amounts to about the same to the reading public at large: it’s not something you should put your hard-earned money toward. A few people have asked me before about doing a Patreon, and I haven’t, in part to avoid being someone like that (and also because these things aren’t my favorites in general). When I don’t write much, as with a lot of last year, I prefer the only person who is losing money over my lack of motivation to be myself. And if anyone wants to support my writing, well, buy my games. They won’t take money from you every month and you get something in return. If you want to support my writing efforts beyond that, please tell others about them and maybe they will do so as well. Leave a review; that’s worth its weight in gold, especially on Steam or Google Play. If you really, really want to give me money beyond that, first off, I don’t recommend it. But if it’s that big of a deal, I have an eBay store, and would be glad to have you shop there, so you can give me money one time and I can give you something of worth in return. I’m just not a huge fan of people setting up recurring transactions for donations from a ‘promoting personal financial health’ standpoint. If you have that much loose money lying around, there has to be a more worthy cause out there.

That being said, as @dreamofeden mentioned, the majority of people who do Patreons and such are totally legitimate. A lot of our biggest authors here do it, and make a ton of money. And in return they’re usually putting out a lot of worthwhile content to give that transaction value. If it still isn’t my personal favorite thing to see people spend on, neither is it a pointless endeavor on the face of it. So long as you are a discerning consumer and make sure who you’re funding is worth the money. Some of them simply aren’t, and all you’re doing is financing their private lives waiting for vaporware that’s never going to manifest.

15 Likes

I think this is probably the case more often than not. At least I’d like to imagine - or hope - that most people aren’t doing it maliciously.

I think people who do this may also have underestimated the amount of work it takes to make a steady stream of creative work for a subscription service, and how much time it takes away from a project. I can picture situations where someone essentially becomes a full-time short-story writer - plus a marketer and customer service worker - for their Patreon and has far less time and creative energy for the overall project whose progress ironically, is what fans are generally paying to support. It can easily become a treadmill, which is part of why I make the decisions I do around it.

Anyway, I fully agree that it’s best to do due diligence on these things when deciding how to spend money!

14 Likes

I did create a Patreon for Dance of the Night because I remembered how incredibly lonely and upsetting I found writing Vampire’s Kiss at times. Some likeminded support goes a long way. And, yes, the finances help, too.

I think it’s pretty clear the Patreon died on its ass; I have 4 subscribers, neither of which are paid. So currently I’m the only one reading the content I’m posting. I’m going to keep doing it as it’s quite handy to get my own thoughts down, but right now it’s more discouraging than encouraging.

3 Likes

Maybe just do a WIP thread here so it doesn’t have that crushing weight of missed expectations?

3 Likes

You mean like this one?

2 Likes

Yes, but I mean exclusively. If the Patreon is causing you more pain than pleasure, let it lie fallow. You can always pick it back up if you get enough momentum to make it worthwhile. Then just post your side bits in the WIP thread to help keep interest up.

6 Likes

I don’t think it would be ethical to offer something up and not deliver on it. I’ve committed myself now.

1 Like

Also to say, from a creator’s perspective, unless the WiP already has an extremely dedicated fanbase, the majority of the success of a patreon and services like it is the marketing of said service. Trust me, I wish it was as easy as people joinging and liking content simply based on the content itself, but a big portion of it is getting people to look in the first place. Shill it out 2-3 times a week on social media, and also look at what other pareons are doing to make them successful. The top motivators for people seem to be exclusive early updates and smut. Those are the two driving aspects.

which is why mine isn’t that big either, since I refuse to do either of those

Remember, sometimes it takes years for something like a patreon to take off. Such is any form of content creation. Sticking to a schedule also helps, as well as trying to make sure you have something to offer every week to keep people engaged.

Best of luck moving forward!

4 Likes

I hear you, but as a consumer through and through, i have such a limited attention span. (as i think nost people do). I have like 5-7 hecking amazing wip i am following and am always discovering more. But i cannot justify spending more of my money on subscription stuff. Amazon, netflix and apple music, i can only afford to spend like 7 more pounds a month supporting games on patreon. I try to save them for under appriciated games that dont break 200£ a month. But like i dont have the paitence to invest into a wip that takes too long to produce or has few updates. Understandably because authors and human beings with lives and goals :laughing:. These are great wip that are competing against the decently often cog and hosted games that come out. These are great games (shout out infamous, blood legacies and high school revenge), i just wish they recieve more support to ensure the get the opportunity to get finished so i can justify my own expenditures. I know im a dick, but im being fr.