Should Hosted Games be vetted more thoroughly?

Grammar-wise, there is a difference between ‘oh no, a split infinitive’, and ‘i’m having to mentally rewrite every sentence before it makes sense’. The latter is definitely something that makes me stop reading, because at that point it doesn’t matter how good the ideas and characters might be if you’re too distracted trying to parse the prose to appreciate them.


@poison_mara is the one who made it about non-native speakers. I never mentioned race, I said games should be written by someone fluent in english which is entirely different.

Suggesting you shouldn’t be able to criticise something because the creator might get offended is awful logic. You put something on the internet and start charging money for it, you will get criticism. That’s the nature of the beast. You have to be able to take it. Authors should embrace criticism, not shy away from it, it’s a key element to improvement.


Of course grammar is important. I can’t believe that’s really being debated, given that we’re discussing text-based games.

When you get down to it, HGs are commercial products. They are products put out in the marketplace for customers to (hopefully) purchase. As a consumer, I’d expect, bare minimum, for the author of a commercial text-based product to possess a competent use/understanding of the English language. Again, that is bare minimum.

I agree with @Havenstone that you need to fully understand rules of grammar before you intentionally break them (which HG authors do all the time, especially in writing dialogue. That’s an example of an author understanding grammar rules but recognizing that characters shouldn’t/don’t always speak in perfect English.

And the whole “non-native English speaker” issue was only a tiny point in the OP’s post. Don’t get side-tracked by that. It all just boils down to knowledge of the English language, regardless of your birthplace.


Then my bad. But my points still hold. Being perfectly fluent in english should not be a criteria.

There are appropriate places to do that. Do you want to make constructive criticism? Go to the game’s thread and do it. Mentioning some random games at some random thread, using them as proof of what is allegedly ruining HG is just disrespectful. Would you like if I used you or your work as an example of what is wrong with [insert whatever]? Of course not. And you shouldn’t. Good education is important. Political correctness is very important. In a plural community of human beings those things are the keystone of an healthy socialization.

I haven’t said anything about not criticism authors far from it. You should have all right to criticize more if you have paid for it. You should have all right to say x game is horrible and is a bad purchase.

Another entire think is censorship any work based in the grammar only. This is supposed to be a good way to starting coding and being able to be published. If you have to pay an editor up front 90% of games would have never been released at all. I haven’t the money for that. I have to rely on the people who try help me and myself.

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That’s not what was said. What was said was that games with spelling errors and awful sentence structure should be bounced until these are fixed.

If the game is free - knock yourself out.

If I’m paying? Make it so I don’t have to mentally re-write your work before publishing it.


It’s not “random games at some random thread”. I didn’t mention them just because I felt like bashing on them out of nowhere, I mentioned them because they were relevant to the point I was making. I used them as an example so readers could understand what type of games I was talking about. If an author can’t handle the possibly of their game being criticised, they shouldn’t release it at all.

@poison_mara ruhenri was the one who brought up criticism, I was responding to him.


If they are bounced they are being out forever feom being published. How I supposed to fix the grammatical inaccuracies and structure by myself. No, then is a barrier. Is saying well or you pay me 2,000 dollars in grammar fixing or I won’t publish you . By the way you will never receive your money back have a nice day.

Edition costs are way more than I could afford I don’t write for money I would certainly do it for free. But If I have to pay more money than any potential gain well is a bar many can’t pass.

This is such a grand stance. Will you be willing to pay $15 US for each current $4 US title so the author is being paid or at least breaking even?

Perhaps, as a dedicated niche fan, you would but the market won’t.

Sometimes what you are paying for is what you are getting.


I’m going to have to agree with @tw1stedmind here. When you publish something online, whether for free or for profit, you have to accept that it will get criticism, regardless of how good it is.

Some people will give constructive criticism, others are trolls that’ll tell you to stop writing and kill yourself because… I don’t know, presumably they have very boring lives and can’t think of anything more fun to do with their time.

At the end of the day though, you do have to take the good with the bad and learn from them both. For a long time I was making a lot of grammatical errors by always capitalizing the first word after a closed quotation mark:

Example: “Look over there!” She yelled.
Instead of: “Look over there!” she yelled.

I only corrected these errors because somebody quite bluntly told me that my grasp of English grammar was terrible and I was doing it all wrong.

In some ways I think it’s kind of offensive to the writers if you don’t criticize their flaws. If you refuse to acknowledge problems with somebody’s writing because you’re worried that it’ll hurt their feelings, they’ll never be able to improve.

(Also, I probably shouldn’t be speaking for @tw1stedmind here, but I imagine that when he says that games like Sword of the Elements and Zombien should never have been published, what he means is that spelling/grammar/languages mistakes in the game should have been corrected before they were published. A game can have a really great plot, setting and characters and still have a lot of mistakes that need correcting.)


This is where we differ. It all comes down to adding additional barriers to being published or getting titles out to market. (imo, ymmv)

We all know that to correct the issue of editing, changes in the back-end will need to be implemented. A standardization of editing requires a style-book to be adopted and so-on. Eventually you’ll end up with a carbon-copy of CoG’s own library.

We haven’t even talked about the costs involved.

Does Hosted Games have a quality control issue - yes. Is there any easy solutions - not to my knowledge. We’ve talked about the beta process in this community before … now you want to add the complexity of editorial milestones.

Unless better solutions then I can currently think of come about, you’ll be changing what Hosted Games is, both as a platform and a publisher.


I agree totally with you, criticism is vital for improving. I love being critized it helps me a lot to improve. But asking for a professional edition to authors that you know that would lost money with it that will never recover is cruel. I would certainly choose not being paid at all in exchange of having my game edited by a professional. But that’s not an option.


I understand your point, but if someone isn’t fluent enough, the thing is:

  • Getting editing services costs a lot. Like, whether it’s about 40$ per hour or around US$0.032 per word. Maybe it doesn’t look llike much put like this, but paying 0.032 per word, means that editing a “short” game of 100.000 words will cost 3200 bucks. 3200 that we will have to pay out of our own pocket. A game of 250.000 words would be 8.000; recovering that amount would be very, very hard. I like writing, I do it as a hobby, and I Iove CoG and HG, but no way in hell I’m paying that amount in order to get published.

  • Finding someone to edit your writing is not easy. For short stories and such if fine, but text-games are more complicated for a lot of reasons. If you think that the beta-testers could do it, you’re wrong; they help with bugs and blatant things such as typos, but the rest is another story. In my case, I have got plenty people telling me that I need to correct the grammar (zero details, a very vague statement, no examples), and that’s it. Like, what do I have to correct? If I made mistakes it’s because I don’t know better, it’s useless if you just say “it’s wrong!!!” and that’s it.


My game when I asked for prices was 60,000 words the cheapest I found was 2,000 dollars and is not a quarter of the future game I can’t afford it.

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Yeah, that’s a lot. Plus, what if you discover that you don’t like your editor (the changes they make or something) when they are half-way done, and want to look for another one? After all not every editor is the same, and they may leave you unsatisfied (and poor) :money_with_wings: :money_with_wings: :money_with_wings:

Grammar is not everything: I’m not saying that we should ignore it, but one thing I love about English is that there’s a lot of freedom in it. You can play with the words, try new things, remold it to find your own style. I started writing in English several years ago, when I was 14 I made an internet story, and guess what? People were far from jeering at me. My English wasn’t “proper”, yet there were some that even told me I should write books someday. I believe that as creative writers, we don’t have to follow all grammar rules to a tee, because we are not writing a research paper or a thesis, but a form or art. Painters and scultors back then also ignored the canon and traditions to try new things; some were rejected and others openly welcomed. Were they wrong? No, but they didn’t want to play safe, which made a change. Writing is the same, it’s meant to evolve, shift, vary.


This is an interesting issue. Personally, I don’t have intentions of writing a CoG at the moment (after all, I’m still in an English learning process) but for those who are interested it might be worth trying to create another thread discussing what options do non-fluent speakers have.

Professional editing can be expensive. I think from memory when I asked around for Wizardry, the cheapest quotes started at about $2000-3000 and went upwards from there based on the word count and I am a native English speaker. For those who are not, the process would take longer and you could expect it to get far more expensive. (Simply because it would be a larger job for the editor to take on). That’s a big ask for a new author who may or may not ever make that money back depending on how well it sells.

While I certainly think everything should be spell checked, I know I have come across games I haven’t read through due to large numbers of grammar issues making it difficult for me to read. Most of the typos would not be fixed by something as easy as a MS word spell check. You’re talking things like correctly spelled, but incorrectly used words, missing punctuation, missing spaces, missing paragraphs, stilted or awkward sentence structure and/or irregular use of punctuation. All of these require someone to go through and edit it by hand. Interestingly, some of those still have pretty decent reviews showing that for a fair amount of readers, perhaps correct grammar isn’t everything (although it’d be nice). One good thing about the hosted games is they allow you to demo them. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you don’t have to go on to buy it.

I think the beta testers on the forums do a fantastic job. It’s unpaid and I know for one my work is far better for their help. Everyone does have to understand though that it is done for free, and many testers are not professional editors, writers or english teachers. Although I can often see mistakes when I edit other’s work, I often overlook them in my own due to a blind spot of sorts and I know I’m not the only one. I can only think how much harder again this would be for non-native English speakers, it’s not an easy language. I think many of the authors here are definitely up for people to pick apart their stories during beta tests as long as the feedback is constructive. I’ve both received and given fairly frank feedback which often picks out grammar and spelling issues without any backlash from the author at all. I don’t think that on the whole it is that the authors don’t want the feedback of this type if it is constructive. Unconstructive feedback can be quite harmful and doesn’t usually help anyone, which is why I generally don’t like encouraging a name and shame.

I love hosted games for giving authors a chance to get their work out there and seen where otherwise many stories would probably never see the light of day. Hopefully with each new story people will take the crit on board and improve. I understand the point about minimum standards to keep the brand at the highest standard possible, and it’d be lovely to have each hosted game professionally edited prior to release, but I can’t really see how that is possible given the costs involved to either COG or a new author.

14 Likes will do basic grammar/spelling for free.

Libre office Writer will do so too.

I’m not expecting pro-level proof-reading here. Just make it worth my investment of time and money.


I think it is valid to criticise other works in an unrelated thread, however you might not want to do it either way for pragmatic reasons, it might alienate other users, not only the authors of those works.

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Of course, writing can be grammatically perfect and still not very good.

Don’t think Grammarly would help you there :stuck_out_tongue: