Max word count?


#1

So, when I look at most games and advice, i notice the most someone has said that was repeated by other sources was 200,000 words. Is there a cap, or is that usually the point where even the most devoted writer gets burned out?


#2

There are published titles with more then 200,000 words. Zombie Exodus and Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven are/will be 350,000 + (in the complete editions)

Tin Star has 500,000 words if I remember correctly and the Infinity series titles have 300,000 + as well.

Minimum is recommended by CoG to be 150,000 in the latest posts I saw - perhaps that was what you were referencing?


#3

Ah, I guess I didnt look in the right places. Thank you!


#4

Tin star is closer to 1.3 million actually. ZE is 750k, and SH is 500k. But most devoted writers will get burnt out far before the 1 million mark, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.


#5

Tin Star has over 1.3 million words, if you can believe it!

While there’s definitely diminishing returns, I don’t often hear “that was too long.” I guess the important question is whether a game has its word count in width or length.

A super long, non-branchy game–yeah, that could drag. But if you play a really wide game several times, you might not even register a really high word count as “long.” You’d just say “wow, that game was really responsive to my choices.”


#6

@tw1stedmind and @Gower: Ya, I could not recall exact numbers, so thank you for the corrections.

Replayability in my matrix is the key, breadth or length aside.

I find I write very “compactly” and I need to unpack what I write in later revisions. I know authors that are the opposite - so when they say they wrote 15,000 words I get frustrated because in that same period I write only 3,000. lol.


#7

So much work went into tin star- how come it only has 5k downloads? Too high of a price?


#8

I mean 5k is impressive but seeing other game books get 500… it doesnt seem like much, in comparison.


#9

Consider that it was also released on iOS (which I suspect sees significantly better sales) Steam, Chrome, and choiceofgames.com itself. Android sales are only a fraction of the total.


#10

My own feeling (based on reading the forums extensively for last two years, my own experience, etc): most writers start to experience “fatigue” after around 70,000-100,000 words (actually, I’d be interested in knowing what others think about this), and many WIPs can fail because of this. Hence why many games don’t make it past 150,000-200,000. It seems this word count is a “sweet spot” that allows the reader to experience a fairly decent length (possibly between 30,000-50,000 words, depending on the branching, etc) and the authors to be able to finish it. I have no idea how the authors of Tin Star and ZE managed to pull those feats… (would love to do that myself, though I doubt I will ever manage to get the massive amount of persistence to work on the same story so long…)


#11

My first game hit 190K, and by the time I was finishing it, I was convinced that there was no way anyone could possibly have written something longer. Then I realized I was about in the middle of the pack!

So you may be on to something. My work in progress is at 126K, and my outline indicates that I’ll hit 300K. So we’ll have the opportunity to test this fatigue before long. So far, so good.


#12

And then there is Magikiras… with around 1.000.000 words, i believe. Thanks to its different Team and Enemy route to chose.


#13

ZE and TIn Star were written before some newer CS coding options like *gosub_scene. Both of our games have some repetitive coding.