September 2023 Writer Support Thread

There is an announcement from dashingdon here. Dashingdon’s ChoiceScript hosting is not run by CoG and is not an “official” thing. ChoiceScript games can be hosted on itch as long as they don’t have buy/donate buttons (unless a contract has been signed with HG about it); I understand that CJW’s save system is functional on itch as well, though I haven’t tried it.

My advice is to experiment with lots of IF tools because there isn’t a single perfect one that does everything as desired with perfect ease. (Even ink, one of my favourites, doesn’t do that.)

Twine has much more potential for attractive games, and also ugly ones that hurt my eyes or aren’t mobile-friendly or accessible; it has built-in save slots and back buttons; customising takes a lot of work and development of knowledge if you don’t know CSS or Javascript already; you can use text in more varied ways to make the effects you want. ChoiceScript has very little customisability and no built-in saves, is highly accessible to play, is much better at maths out-of-the-box, and has automated testing and far better and more informative bug-spotting behaviour; if changing how the game looks is very important to you, you won’t have such a good time with it but in other ways it excels.

That’s even before going into what Eiwynn says above about marketing and such, and what Mara says about money, both of whom are correct in my experience and observation. (I am lucky enough to be having a successful ChoiceScript career commercially; back in the day I published quite a few Twine games in a now-dormant magazine which paid me for them; I didn’t “market” my self-published Twine games commercially as the landscape has changed a lot since I made them, and I wouldn’t really have considered it anyway - perhaps they might sell if they were in an collection or something but as it is, they’ve made $6 in the last nine years. Either way, writing with the aim of quick fame or money is extremely unlikely to be successful or fulfilling regardless of tool/platform!)

All of which is to say that different scripting and tools suit different projects and people.

What an essay! Anyway, I put up Chapter 2 of Honor Bound yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’m not nervous about putting stuff out there but I am very pleased with the helpful feedback so far.

Yesterday was also my first day back to my usual work routine. It was nice, if strange, doing a longer stretch of writing and getting back into it. I’m wrestling a little with figuring out one of my characters, Raffi, who is very clear in my head but sometimes more tricky to translate into a written description.

In other news, I was reminded of the video Show People Things Before They Are Ready by Olivia Wood of Possibility Space and freelance, formerly Failbetter Games. I remember when I first saw this, it shifted how I thought about WIPs - my WIPs specifically. The minute I start feeling anxiously protective is the time I know I need to show my work to someone I can trust to both reassure me and tell me where I may be going wrong.