Length of game influences buying?


There may be a misunderstanding here? I’m not sure if I know what you mean by flavor text. I wasn’t intending to refer to flavor text as that phrase means something different for me. Here’s an example:

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What should we do about this?

Make sure we have enough supplies to go on a one month excursion deep into the unexplored forest.


The officer was clearly doing her duty and did nothing wrong to that citizen. Check her body camera.


I'll have another whiskey. On the rocks. Smooth. Shaken. And stirred. I might be drunk...


The evil necromancer shall rue the day that he challenged Fistandantiloid, for I have the supreme power at my disposal! Muahahahahaaaaa!


Basically, I was referring to people who play a game by only reading the choices themselves and not reading the “text wall” above the choices.

What you said about wanting choices that matter is a perfectly valid, unrelated statement. :slight_smile:


Point taken. I’ve just never done that except when I’m rereading a game while doing a new run. I don’t see what would be the point of playing that way honestly


(side note)

That’s interesting, I normally do the same computations that @Eric_Moser seems to do, ie 1000k words = 3 or 4 hours. Let’s say 1 hour to “write” the words, but then you have the time spent debugging, polishing, rewriting, etc etc. Are you including those? (Otherwise your are very fast!) Like him, I also tell my friends that (in the short term, as per his post) I would have made more money working in McDonalds. I do take this as a hobby though… Otherwise it’s be difficult to justify it (for me, anyway). And, I do take it that there are many others who are far more talented than me, who make far more!


Anything below 100k words has to be extremely intriguing for me to consider buying it. Mostly because I feel that anything below this number will not have a ton of choices thus less replayability. However, I would rather have a shorter (but still a good length) game than a game being long simply for the sake of being long. Walls of text are not why I am playing an interactive game.


I think one of the bigger issues is that authors don’t feel comfortable charging games what they are worth. If you get people used to paying low rates for games, thats what they will pay. It’s on the authors to make quality games and feel comfortable charging an appropriate amount for said game.

See, and the thing is, I’ve never seen that. I’ve heard a few people bring that up without citing any examples. No long game I’ve ever played from the CoG collection has ever felt like a “wall of text”


I assume you meant 1k words instead of 1,000k, haha.

Yeah, it takes 1 hour for me to write 1k words, so that’d be like 300 hours, plus another 100 hours debugging, proofreading, editing, etc, and that’s probably generous. I think something’s wrong if the vast majority of the author’s time isn’t spent on the actual writing.

So, let’s say, for number’s sake that a 250k word title sells well, like 15k copies in one year at $5 per copy. That means the author would get about $0.90 per copy, which would amount to $13,500 in that first year. Let’s say the author took like 325 hours on that 250k word title. $13,500 divided by 325 hours would be like $42 an hour.

That’s pretty damn good. Even if you add a bit to the total hours or change it so the title “only” sold 10k in that first year, that’s still several times more than $8/hr. So, sure, a single HG can’t replace a full time job, but for the amount of hours it actually takes to complete, these things can potentially be pretty lucrative.


I have a few examples but I don’t personally want to call anyone out. Each person has a different perception of walls of text. Could just be me! So many people think more, more, more is better when more can actually make people lose interest. Find a balance.


I will give you an example @Samuel_H_Young don’t get mad at me lol :wink: When he started his first game demon hunter beta He has so much verbose and purple prose That open the character bag and see it’s contents could have been easily 2,000 words description of salt , a blue candle and iron.

He has improved a lot lot since then but you could see an example


Thanks for the regular reminder, Mara. :sweat_smile:


I’ve never played Demon Hunter. I’d argue also that that seems to be a WIP and not a finished product.

Off topic: was it good by chance?


Trial of the Demon Hunter was published in 2014.


yeah that was way before my time. I only got onto the scene late '16


Yes, and not only because Samuel is here. You have a boggard companion really cute figt about vampires and witches claim monsters price. But it has verbose even if far least the first data


That’s too kind/unkind (depending on whether you think said trend is awesome or destroying the economic viability of CoG writing). As this thread points out, Rebels arrived in a late-2017 cluster of games that all blew through the 600,000 word mark. The first was Choice of the Cat, which is I believe longer than Rebels due to more efficient coding. Tally Ho came out shortly after.

Rebels I believe sold the most of those three because it’s in a clearly identifiable, commercially popular genre, which boosted its prospects more than word count or writing quality did. (The prose quality of the other two games is for my money higher than Rebels, as is their character development.) I also think it helped that I wrote it on the forums and built up a dedicated fan base that bought/recommended it in large numbers from day one…but until another CoG author does the same it’ll be hard to say for sure how much that moved the needle.

It’d be interesting to see how Magics does relative to Robots (if @kgold is ever happy to share) and whether its higher word count brings a corresponding bump in sales…

Also worth noting that in this case authors don’t choose the price point–the publisher does. Rebels cost a lot not because I had more chutzpah than the average writer but because CoG was betting it would find a big audience at that price.


At the very least, Robots has a practically unbeatable rating on Android.


Generally if a game is under 100k words in length I usually don’t read them unless the topic is something I’m super into. Opposite of the side is true for me too i.e. if a game is over 200k-300k then I usually do a full play through, regardless of what the topic is. For me personally I want to invest myself in something that will take a considerable amount of time or on something I know I’m gonna enjoy (topic).


Choice of Cat struck me as a bit childish and Tally Ho did not sit well with me. Also I’m pretty sure Choice of Rebels came out before Cat did. If not, then you have a good point about the target audience and how well it did comparatively speaking.

For me, that was the first game that officially spoiled me to the large word count. Also I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “efficient coding”. I’d need you to explain that a bit better.

I disagree with that sentiment in that it sounds like the word count had nothing to do with interest. I’d argue against it for myself personally. I remember specifically buying it because of the word count. Keep in mind that I had personally gotten this before buying The Lost Heir series. While certainly the genre was a pool, it was definitely the word count that made me “pull out my wallet”

Again, and no offense intended here but, I had no idea about any of that before I made my purchase. While again I’m sure that helped somewhat, the reality is that this forum accounts for a lot less of the total buyers than you’d like to believe. Personally I’d argue that number makes up 20% at most with 10-12% being realistically the case. This is why some of the games that likely get looked at positively on this forum for its progrssive decisions get torn apart in the ratings section.

That is a fair point. I’d imagine it would do comparatively. I personally was very hesitant to get Magics because the art looked very amateurish (no offense. Just giving honest feedback) but decided to go into it because of, and you guessed it, the word count. Again, that was the only reason I bought the game.

Oh wow. Are you the author of Rebels? If so, I maintain that your game, as I have rated in the ratings section, has established the new standard for CoGames.

As for the price point, I don’t know how that works so I can’t speak to it. What I can speak to is that:

  1. I saw Rebels’ word count
  2. Downloaded the game
  3. Saw the price point
  4. Decided that the value I’d get justified the price point
  5. Made the purchase

If either the author or the publisher feel an $10 product can only be sold at $5, you can’t blame the customer since I’m only paying what you sell it as. In fact, I’d argue by you (the author) allowing your product to be lowballed, you are screwing yourself as I (the customer) will equate that level of quality to that price point and if one day you DO decide to sell it for higher, I will then feel justified at being upset as, from my perspective, you’ve now over valued it in relation to it’s original cost.

To make it clear for anyone: If Rebels had been sold for $10 as opposed to the $7 I believe I paid for it, at least for me, that wouldn’t have mattered as i would have paid for it regardless. Fast forward 1 year, if you came around and sold that same game to me for $9, because YOU’VE previously told me that it “should cost $7”, I will feel like I’m being ripped off.


So we can get some more insight into this “hourly pay” discussion, how long does it take all you other authors to write 1k words? It takes me roughly an hour but it seems @adrao and @Eric_Moser take several hours to write the same amount of words.

It would be interesting to see who’s the outlier here, and it would also drastically effect how the individual authors might view their profits from CoGs and HGs.


It takes me an hour as well to write a thousand words.


But is that really what you’ll be getting? There are some long HG games that are not better in terms of story, text flow, bugs and editing quality than shorter games on the list so it doesn’t always follow that short = mediocre, long = good. (There are good long games and short mediocre ones and vice versa.) There’s also the point that Mary brought up earlier that coding efficiency also plays into this a lot. Just because one game has a higher word count listed than another, doesn’t actually mean it is longer. (I’ve got 2 games around 100k and the one I’ve just finished would be longer for unique passages than the one I wrote a few years ago because my coding has improved.)

Having an author debug and edit 500k words of game is a tough ask for some even with the help of a group of really good beta testers simply due to how much ground there is to cover to catch everything that could be improved. Addtionally, as games get longer, they tend to take longer to finish and are more likely to end up as long term unfinished WIPs (or not finished at all), so it wont’ be a simple halving of games being produced by any one author. It’d likely be more like a quarter to a third IMO.

Just to show my point here, look up The Aether It’s only 60,000 words and has over 1400 reviews with a 4.1 rating and 100k+ installs. There are games that are far longer that have not reached this mark. I think it does show that interesting well written shorter games do have the potential be popular ones, it’s not just forum opinion.

If I’m on a roll (and not being stuck on a section which happens), I can write more than 1k an hour at times, however once I factor in all the time I spend proof reading, re-editing/re-writing sections and bug fixing to the point I’m ok with it being published (not to mention time research when I’m trying to tie things in historically which isn’t applicable for all games) I suspect it wouldn’t be too far off what adrao and Eric_Moser are saying (it might even work out to be less.)