From CoG to Indie & Onwards

I’ve been here in forums for 2 weeks or so reading most WIPs & reading the majority of hosted & CoGs for A LOT longer. I haven’t started my own yet because I want it to translate easily into other mediums like games or films. Given my tendency to inflate every world I create, that will take a very long time.

For example, when I first came across CoG reading choice of the dragon, I started writing but it was as a movie script.

Then I wrote another as a “found footage” journal.

Then another based off of games I played like telltale, Life is Strange, beyond 2 souls.

And another that was a scattered timeline, basically short stories in the same world at different times. I prefer this format btw.

Point is, Ill make one eventually. As for the rest of you, Have you thought about making indie games or transferring your previous work into a AA game format? It’s quite apparent that most if not all of you are good at writing RPGs.

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I guess the issue is two fold here. You can be good at writing IF, but that doesn’t necessarily transfer across to being good at, or having the time, money and resources to market an independently released game properly. Without a built in audience, it’s an uphill battle to be seen without being buried under other games and barely ever seeing the light of day in searches as a small independent. People do it, and some have managed to be quite successful, but for most producing single games here and there, publishing through an established company like HG often turns out to be the better option.

Making games off existing IPs gets better visibility but often requires getting permission in the first place (often hard for a single person as many are quite protective of their IPs) and then if you do get permission, there’s usually costs involved which again can be out of reach of most anyway.

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In terms of making games based off existing IPs, like the games I mentioned, I meant that as inspiration so not directly related but instead spiritually like writing a monster catching story like pokemon with twists on it. I know the process & don’t expect indie developers to get licsenses to major IPs.

Also what’s IF?

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Interactive Fiction. IFcomp discusses this in detail. Or just think of it as another way of saying choicescript games.

Regarding the topic, I’m learning blender and thinking of working on other media or gaming related projects outside of choicescript, although it would purely be a personal hobby rather than a major source of income. I probably wouldn’t transfer my own choicescript game into a different type of format however - it’ll be a brand new universe and IP for those new projects.

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Interactive fiction. Used as a bit of a catch all for everything from choice type games (CS, ink, twine etc), to parser, to visual novels etc.

For example I would consider games like 80 Days (Ink via Inkle), Fallen London (Failbetter games), When the sun went out series (Tin Man Games), delight games (Delight games) all examples of reasonably to very successful Indie produced interactive fiction (although all these are also small companies, not single authors). There are less examples of choicescript games due to most being published through COGs or their outshoots (HG/HC) but I believe there was one published by an independent author on steam which did reasonably well (name currently escapes me) so it is theoretically possible if you can work out how to get the audience.

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It’s all about skill. I can write. I can plan. I can make game systems. I can’t make graphics, and I know shit about deeper computer programming. Thus I write books, make IF’s, make ttrpg stuff, and comic scripts when I have a lovely artist to draw them.

I like being in control of what I make more than being a part of a team. I have been, in the past, a 2 man team can work for me if we’re on the same page, a 3 man team can be a problem.

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I just realized you’re the author of my top 3 best IFs on the platform so I’ve been wondering if fallen hero is your first choicescript. So I can get a baseline on a format to how I could write.

I don’t have art or complex programming skills so I would need to contract people to make a visual-based project, which is a bit beyond my current experience. I have worked as a narrative designer and writer on teams for mobile and indie studios, and made mods for RPGs, and loved it, but those skills are different to leading a team outside of a studio setting or contracting multiple people. I do know @CC_Hill has created visual novels and @JimD has created games in other formats based on his Zombies Exodus setting; I considered making a mobile game in the Creme de la Creme setting at one point, but I had a bit too much other stuff going on - I might do something like that in the future but it depends on a lot of factors.

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Fallen Hero is my first choicescript/computer game, but I have written short stories, comics, books, and boardgame stuff before!

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The bar is high. Very high. The skillsets for CoG and other related but distinct industries like film and actual video gaming do have some overlap, but are generally different. This is as CoG is small and expanding, but still smaller than the bigger studios.

Looking forward to actually seeing some of your works, and the extent in which you inflate the existing world and those you create!

Also, RPGs are and can be messy.

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I’ll add, a lot of CoG or HG authors (like me!) have gone on to make games with mobile, indie, or AAA studios, or are currently doing so - but a studio setting, even in a small indie team, is very different to the process of making a solo ChoiceScript game and those games would very rarely be based on a single author’s own IP.

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If the opportunity to write for a video game appeared, I’d be delighted. That was part of what brought me here in the first place. But I don’t anticipate it. I feel like in a small studio, people would need to serve multiple roles, and writing is about all I have. Certainly my coding is subpar. And in a large one, they’d need more of my time than I can comfortably give with a full-time job, two side hustles and a family.

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