Hello There / Is This Possible?


Well, first I’d like to say: Hello. I’ve been browsing the forums for a few days, and I decided to sign up because I’d like to be an um, active member of the community because it seems like a nice place and all… I’ve been reading CoG’s games for YEARS now (my first being “Popcorn, Soda … Murder?”) and I would actually like to make a game of my own. And now we come to the second thing I want to say. Or, ask, I guess.

Is it reasonable of me to want to make my own game? Am I being too much of a “dreamer”? I’m sixteen, and I’ve been writing all of my life. My biggest dream is, possibly, to be an author. (And, to clarify a bit, I’ve actually started on my story / game, and have gotten a little used to the coding part, so I’m mostly referring to the writing / publishing part of things. :-p) And is it realistic of me to want to make money off of what I love?

If anyone has any encouragement, answers to my questions, or thoughts on the subject, I’d be really happy. I’d also love to hear from authors, and see what they think. c: Oh, also, I wasn’t exactly sure which category to put this in, but I think I did alright… If you think otherwise, please correct me.


Welcome to the forums.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a dreamer. Personally, I think the founders of Choice of Games are very much dreamers, (in the best possible way) and they’ve managed to make their dreams work.

The writer of Popcorn, Soda, Murder was still in school when he wrote the game, so you’ll be in good company. We’ve lots of teens on the forums too, some who’ve even finished games, others who’ve got WIPs on the forums.

You can make money doing what you love! It is realistic. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get, the more money you’ll make.


@FairyGodfeather Awh, thank you very much for replying, and so quickly. I’ve actually had writer’s block for a while now (I’ve tried writing several short stories, some I’ve finished, others I’ve abandoned – it didn’t really work, except make me depressed) and reading CoG’s and/or HG’s games always make me so inspired to try my best, too. c: It’s nice to know that something I really want to do is possible.

Thank you again.


I would argue that in a major sense, you’re already ahead of the game. You love writing, you say you’ve been doing it all your life, and your dream is to be an author. So you’ve got the motivation.

Which is good because, in my experience, it’s a lot harder to publish a game than it seems at first blush. If you’re motivated primarily by making money, let’s say, you might give up once the hours click by and you start calculating your diminishing return on investment. If, on the other hand, it’s a labor of love, then hopefully you’ll be more motivated to push through the tough spots.

I don’t mean, by saying that, to suggest that writing a game is some impossible task. For some people other than myself, it seems to be almost second nature. Hopefully that’s you! Either way, however, you should absolutely feel encouraged to get cracking and put whatever’s in your mind into words and code. Good luck.


@distracteddad Thank you very much for the encouragement! It really helps a lot. My main motivation, when making anything, really, is to make people smile. So hopefully I truly can get through any tough moments in writing. c: Thank you again.


Considering we are both in the same situation, I say go ahead and do it, it’s a great way to make cash doing what you love. Also check out this year’s CScomp, it’ll get your feet wet at least.


@TechDragon610 I WOULD try entering the CScomp – except, things with time-limits usually make me super stressed, and I’ve just started learning how to use ChoiceScript a few days ago. ;; I’d rather take my time for now. If I start to feel familiar with the coding, maybe I’ll reconsider. Oh, and I don’t even have a PayPal. xD


PayPal actually is really useful and easy to set up. I get the stress thing though.


@Kait If you just keep going, there is no reason for you to fail! It may take some time, but if you love doing it then either way it’s a win-win! As far as how much money can be made, I have no idea… A lot depends on your quality of game and how many you write.

Just wondering… but does anyone know how many authors there are that write for COG as a full time job? If any…


I’m guessing that Zachary Sergi, just by virtue of writing an official CoG trilogy, has been the top earner, and that @Lucid, by virtue of his very popular HGs, has done very well but I don’t know that anyone makes “full time job” money, which I would classify in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. Think about the math - to earn $30K in a year, you’d need to sell 43,000 gamebooks priced at $3.99.


Hi - long time COG player, brand new to the forums. Joined because I’m thinking about writing a game. I hope no one minds if I jump in.

@Kait “Being” a fiction author is like “being” a jaywalker. The term doesn’t describe something you are so much as something you do every now and again. You can “be” a mechanic, go to work every day, make a difference in the world, and get a paycheck. You can’t really “be” an author.

What you can do is be a mechanic who budgets a little bit of their time to that silly writing project they love so much. Oftentimes, those are the kinds of people who write the good stuff. (Choice of the Mechanic: Defend your jury-rigged steampunk fortress against roving bands of mutant cannibals in a post-apocalyptic world!)

It’s popular nowadays to encourage people to try to make their passion into a job. In my experience, that is almost never a good idea. Too many things can lose too much of their fun once you make them your job.

I hope you keep working on your ideas. Maybe we’ll all read your story (stories?) one day, and they’ll make you a bit of money. But if not, that’s okay too. If you want to make people smile, there are a lot of ways to do that.


@RockStarPenguin I guess that you’re right. I can’t really fail, as long as I try my best, and have fun while doing it. c:

@BabbleYaggle I totally agree that making your passion your job is way more stressful than simply having fun with whatever you love. I guess that that’s kinda why I haven’t written in a while.

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by, someone can’t “be” an author. Do you mean it’s just not ideal as a job?

I’ll certainly keep writing. Even if most of my pieces are seen as “failures”, or “incomplete projects” – I don’t think I can stop writing. Oh, and I do hope that one day I’ll have published something. That’s definitely a goal of mine.


I think you can “be” an author, just as you can be a sports fan or a daydreamer or a world traveler. It’s implicit in any discussion about writing Hosted Games that you’re talking about something done more for love or intellectual fulfillment than for monetary gain.


Or you’d need to write 3 official games in a year.

Technically Cataphrak. He’s paying his way through college by writing his games.

I think Zachary Sergi mentioned in Author Hangout on Air that it’s his main source of income. (Not his only though and I could be mis-remembering.)

But you’ve to remember that most authors, when starting out, also hold down full time jobs while writing.


3 official games in a year… That sounds crazy! :open_mouth:

It would take at least 6 months for me to write a small hosted game. I can’t even imagine what all the pressure would do to my brain if I had to write 3 reasonable official games in a year.

But I guess a really creative mind could get things done faster.


I didn’t mean to sound overly pessimistic in my post. I just wanted to be realistic.

I do think that if someone kept building their brand by releasing one to two gamebooks per year over a three or four year period, that the increasing cumulative sales could be pretty impressive.


To weigh in on the financials of it. No, writing HGs is not going to be your ticket to wealth and financial independence. But if you see it as a second job, it has a lot going for it.

You can work on a game whenever you have free time, you can set it aside if you pick up temporary work and then come back to it, you can take as long as you need to finish it (if you’re not on deadline for an official COG.) If you have a prior commitment like kids, a day job, or school, the lack of schedules and time constraints are important.

Your costs in making a game are minimal. Internet access and a computer, which it’s likely you would pay for anyway. Less than $100 for cover art, if you want to get someone really good to do it for you, free if you draw it yourself or use free clip art. If your demo is successful enough that you crash Dropbox, about $100 a year for Dropbox Pro, but that’s optional (or you can find other places to host.) Compare that to what you would spend on gas, or bus tickets, or lunch away from home, with most other jobs.

There’s more, but I think you get my point. If you’re a freelancer who’s juggling three or more part-time gigs, it becomes an even better deal, as long as you can find the time and energy to commit to it. My goal is to pay my way through school with a few games, and if I live on the money from my other jobs, I can set all of it aside for that.


Well, I didn’t necessarily mean “Can this be my full-time job?” The money doesn’t matter as much to me as producing something that will make someone (hopefully many people!) happy. Bleh; basically, the way I feel, is: Producing something people find worthy of spending a few dollars on would make me immensely happy. (Also, I haven’t had an official job yet. As in, labor, etc. If writing games were to become a hobby, I’d get some experience as being a writer / author, and I think there’d be plenty of people willing to give tips on how to improve and such. So, as of right now, money isn’t a PRIMARY reason for wanting to write something.)

I’m sorry if I wasn’t very clear in my first post, nor in this one, or others. I actually have a bit of trouble explaining myself well.


I’d suggest following that link and watching the video. Author Hangout on Air While there’s a lot going on there, they do touch upon financial matters and Jason discusses money.

Old post that it is this is also worth reading. CoG business model


Honestly I became interested in joining the gaming industry because I realized how much it helped me throughout my childhood. I also loved to read, still do, but back then it was a way to explore beyond what I could even think of doing. With games, I wasn’t just some kid, I was a sarcastic thieving raccoon liberating the gold of my enemies, or a witty Lombax warrior ready to face whatever the universe had to throw at me. Choose your own adventure books was when I first touched interactive fiction, and I was hooked. I would check out 5 at a time, reading through all the endings by the end of the weekend, and I loved every second of it. The ability to create something can be amazing. Without these sources influencing me to not be dragged now by everyday life, and take some time to dive into another world. I want to give this opportunity to someone else. Sure, just being honest here, I think CoG is just a stepping stone for me. This service is a fantastic way to get your name out there. Sure, coding wise, it will give you no credentials anywhere else but here, but story wise, that’s a whole different ball game. The gaming industry is like a big machine, with each person doing their part the best they can. I may not be able to land a job as head of development, but by using the skills and publicity, I could land a job as a quest designer, or even making the main story of the game itself. Sure, someday the robot overlords will take our jobs eventually, but until then, each mind that can be given a small spark of hope and creativity is a win in my eyes. Money is important though, it’s like the fuel for the machine, but that spark is what keeps it going.