Promoting IF

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James Mitchelhill

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Nov 22, 2005, 10:46:49 PM11/22/05
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Every so often someone comes along with an idea that starts "What IF
really needs is..."

This time its me. What IF really needs is a group of volunteers who
actively promote IF. We lucky few who realise the unbounded
possibilities of the medium are, unfortunately, in the minority. The
fewer people who play IF, the less motivation authors have to release
games. The fewer players of IF, the less people there are who decide to
write their own.

This is not a good thing.

It's in everyone's interest to expand the number of people who are
exposed to IF. More people means more players means more authors means
more games.

Currently, for authors, the best way to promote their game is almost
certaintly to release it in the IFComp. This too has effects - the
potential reward (in terms of discussion and recognition) for writing a
small game is probably higher than writing a large game. There is a
significant lack of resources on how to promote individual games.

A PR team would go a long way to solving some of these problems.

This is what they'd do:

1. Compile resources to enable IF authors to promote their own games.
For example, lists of sites that host freeware and shareware. Lists of
sites that may have an interest in news about new games.

2. Promote the IFComp and other competitions by sending press releases
to sites that may be interested.

3. Provide services to authors (on a no guarantees, volunteer basis) in,
for example, bundling games with interpreters on a variety of platforms,
Making nice installers for games on various platforms, etc.

4. Provide resource packs for journalists.

5. Make sampler packs of games (with authors' consent naturally), get
them listed on appropriate sites. [The Adventure Blaster sampler was my
introduction to modern IF].

6. Other stuff, as suggested.

If people are interested, I could build/host the resource site and
coordinate. Suggestions and criticisms would be appreciated. Volunteers
would be appreciated even more.

What do you think?

--
James Mitchelhill
ja...@disorderfeed.net
http://disorderfeed.net

Mike Roberts

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Nov 22, 2005, 11:48:00 PM11/22/05
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"James Mitchelhill" <ja...@disorderfeed.net> wrote:
> What IF really needs is a group of volunteers who actively
> promote IF.
> A PR team would go a long way to solving some of these
> problems.

This would be worth a try. It's rather similar to an idea that was bounced
around a few months ago about starting a publisher to create
commercial-style packaging and promotion for particular games, but your idea
would be much easier to implement and would avoid a bunch of negative
features of the publisher model.

Your task list looks good. One additional idea comes to mind: I've noticed
that what little press IF gets tends to come via the Comp, which makes me
think that this PR team could do well by organizing (and, of course,
publicizing) additional events. I think the press generally gravitates to
events because they have an inherent time quality to them. I'm not saying
you'd want to create yet another comp or yet another awards show - better to
have a little variety. For example, something with a physical presence - a
conference or the like, preferably in a location with lots of computer press
people - could be quite visible, although a lot of work to pull off.

--Mike
mjr underscore at hotmail dot com


lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 23, 2005, 4:00:09 AM11/23/05
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One famous jazz musician once said - no matter how much your promote
jazz, the average number of people listening jazz still stays the same.
I would say the same about IF. I find it very unlikely that such a PR
group may change the situation. Not that it's absolutely impossible,
but it is very unlikely.
Also, I don't agree that the less IF is popular, the less authors want
to write games. I am writing games just because I like it, although
noone really plays IF among my friends and family. I would want them
to, but they are not interested, yet it doesn't stop me from writing.

--------------------
Louigi Verona.

James Mitchelhill

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Nov 23, 2005, 4:51:21 AM11/23/05
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On 23 Nov 2005 01:00:09 -0800, lve...@mail333.com wrote:

> One famous jazz musician once said - no matter how much your promote
> jazz, the average number of people listening jazz still stays the same.
> I would say the same about IF. I find it very unlikely that such a PR
> group may change the situation. Not that it's absolutely impossible,
> but it is very unlikely.

I have a feeling that a lot of people found IF (in its modern form) in
the same way that I did - stumbling across it by accident. I doubt that
IF's ever going to be hugely popular, but I'm fairly sure that it could
be more popular than it currently is.

One way to increase the number of potential players is for there to be a
greater chance of stumbling across IF. And the way to do this is for
there to be more information about IF, especially outside the community.

And that's where a PR group would come in.

> Also, I don't agree that the less IF is popular, the less authors want
> to write games. I am writing games just because I like it, although
> noone really plays IF among my friends and family. I would want them
> to, but they are not interested, yet it doesn't stop me from writing.

Everyone who writes IF is writing because they enjoy it. There's
certainly little to no chance of any significant financial reward. The
only rewards that authors get out of writing games are:

1) Personal satisfaction.
2) Recognition/status/respect from the IF community.
3) Discussion and feedback from players/other authors.

Personal satisfaction, although it's the primary motivation, does have
its limits. Increasing the size of the community increases the other
rewards.

Sophie Fruehling

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Nov 23, 2005, 5:02:39 AM11/23/05
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lve...@mail333.com writes:

>One famous jazz musician once said - no matter how much your promote
>jazz, the average number of people listening jazz still stays the same.
>I would say the same about IF.

Yes, but everybody knows that jazz exists, whereas a lot of people
don't even know that there is such a thing as IF, especially people
who may have an interest in literature or something, but didn't
own a computer in the 80s. The first time I've come across IF, for
example, was in 2000, and it was by mere accident.

--
Sophie Frühling

The cube tastes like sugar. You are suddenly surrounded by a herd
of moose. They start talking to you about a moose-load of things.

David Schweinsberg

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Nov 23, 2005, 5:47:58 AM11/23/05
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"James Mitchelhill" <ja...@disorderfeed.net> wrote in message
news:3ddyervd6l51$.u9yyvf8nm9fq.dlg@40tude.net...

> What IF really needs is a group of volunteers who
> actively promote IF.

Possibly the simplest thing to do initially is start pushing out press
releases to the press (computer and mainstream). This could be a simple
expansion of publishing the information on the various IF websites or here
on the newsgroup. The point would be to not make the task too onerous, so
that hitting a brick wall for the first few (or several) times would not be
too discouraging. A journalist friend of mine tells me that the press is
usually very keen to fill those column inches, but that they also get *lots*
of press releases. I think IF has the capacity to stand-out from the crowd,
if only as a curiosity initially. It would be up to us to capitalise on any
traction from that point.

Does anyone have the details on how the Wall Street Journal article came
about? It would be interesting to get an insight from that.

Also, does anyone's day-job involve the media in any form? Who can work any
contacts that they have? As usual, it isn't what you know...

Regards,

David


Peter Mattsson

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Nov 23, 2005, 12:10:05 PM11/23/05
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On Wed, 2005-11-23 at 03:46 +0000, James Mitchelhill wrote:
> If people are interested, I could build/host the resource site and
> coordinate. Suggestions and criticisms would be appreciated. Volunteers
> would be appreciated even more.
>
> What do you think?

I've also been thinking along these lines for a bit. A little while
back, I floated an idea here about trying to get old Level 9 games back
onto the market, repackaged for modern computers. I even wrote to Mike
Austin about it, but never got a response. Since then, my personal life
has gone a bit haywire (I'm currently trying to simultaneously move
house and get a web design business off the ground) but the idea's still
bouncing around in the back of my mind.

My latest thoughts are similar to yours, but a bit more commercial.
Basically, the idea is to have a website where you can either buy games
(Level 9 or otherwise) or learn more about IF and IF authorship. For
authors who wanted to have a crack at selling their games, I also had
half an idea of offering editorial and QA services, to buff the games up
to publishable quality. (I'd welcome authors who simply wanted to write
freeware games too, of course!) There would be links to other IF sites,
resources for authors, forums etc. I even got as far as registering a
domain for it (BespokeRealities.com), though there's nothing there yet.

The idea behind this was to put a semi-professional face on IF again, in
the hope that this would help it to be taken more seriously by the world
at large. Also, any revenue from game sales could be used to buy
advertising space. I'm still quite serious about this, and plan to get
back to it as soon as everything calms down again. (Realistically, I'm
guessing that I won't exactly be deluged with work in my early days as a
web designer, so hopefully I should have a decent amount of time to
devote to the project soon.)

We seem to have similar goals, even if we have slightly different
approaches to achieving them; I certainly want to work with you on this,
though whether as part of a joint project or two related ones I'm not
sure yet. (The wine and CrossOver Office projects present two faces of
the same software, one commercial, the other free; maybe that's a good
model to use here too?)

Cheers,

Peter


Poster

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Nov 23, 2005, 5:47:05 PM11/23/05
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I have some ideas.

1) Sweeten the pots for existing competitions. Larger prizes make
contests newsworthy.

2) Set up a trust fund or a foundation that would pay out $$$ for the
existing contests, or sponsor IF research or something. This doesn't
cost much, depending on what state you do it in, and the overhead would
be little. The advantage is that it sounds prestigious and it becomes
even moreso the older it gets. The amount of $$ doesn't really matter
so much at first as much as the fact that it exists. Again, this is
newsworthy.

3) Get into professional organizations. I think IF could make a big
splash at the STC's annual meetings (Society for Technical
Communication).

4) Write articles about IF. TECHWR-L (www.techwr-l.com) is seeking
articles about technical communication. If someone wrote an article on
writing in IF and aimed it at that audience, that would amount to free
advertising at the least!

How can I help?

1) I can write press releases. I also know someone who can write them.
2) Web design. If we need a web site, I can do that.
3) Marketing slogans, logos, and layouts.

Best,
~Poster

Poster

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Nov 23, 2005, 5:52:06 PM11/23/05
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Peter, I think your last paragraph is dead on. I think that could work
quite well here.

Also folks, don't forget cross-marketing and branding. I think there's
some possibility to promote games along with certain genres of music
and/or art. A band could get a break by being background music for a
horror IF, for example. You could include an IF game on a goth
compilation CD. You could sell compilations of IF games at Renaissance
Faires for a few bucks, for instance (if they were all
medieval-themed.)

~Poster
www.intaligo.com INFORM extensions and more
www.intaligo.com/building Dark IF

Paul E Collins

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Nov 23, 2005, 6:22:35 PM11/23/05
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"Poster" <pos...@aurora.cotse.net> wrote:

> A band could get a break by being background music for a
> horror IF, for example. You could include an IF game on a
> goth compilation CD.

Interesting. About 20 years ago, the Thompson Twins had a text
adventure game (nobody talked about "IF" back then!) that you could
record from the vinyl record onto audio cassette and load into your
Sinclair Spectrum.

P.


Robb Sherwin

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Nov 23, 2005, 10:30:03 PM11/23/05
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On Wed, 23 Nov 2005 17:10:05 +0000, Peter Mattsson
<pe...@XYZZYmattssons.e7even.com> wrote:
>My latest thoughts are similar to yours, but a bit more commercial.
>Basically, the idea is to have a website where you can either buy games
>(Level 9 or otherwise) or learn more about IF and IF authorship. For
>authors who wanted to have a crack at selling their games, I also had
>half an idea of offering editorial and QA services, to buff the games up
>to publishable quality. (I'd welcome authors who simply wanted to write
>freeware games too, of course!) There would be links to other IF sites,
>resources for authors, forums etc. I even got as far as registering a
>domain for it (BespokeRealities.com), though there's nothing there yet.

My experience with Feelies.org has been extremely positive. I am not
sure if they are taking new games, but I can't stress enough how great
it's been. I made a run of 50 discs for my last game through
Mixonic.com and while I've given a number away, I've still sold the
majority of them. And that game was freely downloadable, like the
Level 9 games (however, I'd imagine the Level 9 authors would bristle
at their own games being sold without their involvement).

I didn't do much to promote the game and I really regret that. I
simply did not think it was possible that a text game could get
reviewed in PC Gamer or Computer Game Monthly and so forth. I credit
PC Gamer for stepping up to the plate and reviewing a new piece of IF.
I just hope that it's something they'd continue to do in the future,
because if they got ahold of a game they liked I really think it would
push sales and visibility.

Robb Sherwin
Longmont, CO
www.joltcountry.com/phpBB2


Risujin

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Nov 23, 2005, 10:33:55 PM11/23/05
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Sophie Fruehling wrote:
> Yes, but everybody knows that jazz exists, whereas a lot of people
> don't even know that there is such a thing as IF, especially people
> who may have an interest in literature or something, but didn't
> own a computer in the 80s. The first time I've come across IF, for
> example, was in 2000, and it was by mere accident.

Thats not the only problem. You not only have to stumble accross IF, but
you also have to stumble accross a game you would actually like. I had
encountered IF in various forms for years but only got hooked by
stumbling accross a Java version of Shade. That Java interpreter is a
great way of popularizing IF. Perhaps a CGI/Perl/PHP interpreter could
be made as well (or already has been)?

-- Risujin

Risujin

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Nov 23, 2005, 10:40:56 PM11/23/05
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Robb Sherwin wrote:
> I didn't do much to promote the game and I really regret that. I
> simply did not think it was possible that a text game could get
> reviewed in PC Gamer or Computer Game Monthly and so forth. I credit
> PC Gamer for stepping up to the plate and reviewing a new piece of IF.
> I just hope that it's something they'd continue to do in the future,
> because if they got ahold of a game they liked I really think it would
> push sales and visibility.

I'm very skeptical about the idea of recommercialisation of IF. The very
revitalization of IF we are experiencing today is due to the free
release of Inform, TADS, and countless free games. Selling IF games now
would seem a step backwards.
Furthermore, as for major game magazine attention--don't count on it.
The game industry is a whole self-feeding machine which IF is no longer
part of. New games push hardware limits to keep consumers buying new
hardware to play new games in a kind of vicious cycle. IF runs on the
crappiest hunk of junk that can properly compute ANDs and ORs. It does
not fit into the industry.

-- Risujin

Kent Tessman

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Nov 23, 2005, 11:55:16 PM11/23/05
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"Risujin" <ris...@fastmail.fm> wrote in message
news:cDahf.4461$js5....@tornado.rdc-kc.rr.com...

>
> I'm very skeptical about the idea of recommercialisation of IF. The very
> revitalization of IF we are experiencing today is due to the free release
> of Inform, TADS, and countless free games. Selling IF games now would seem
> a step backwards.

I, too, am skeptical about the "recommercialization" of IF, or at least
about the potential for it. It is possible to make a commercially
successful IF game, for a pretty mainstream definition of successful, and to
receive a notable amount of press coverage. The only example I'm personally
familiar with, however, required what I expect is a greater investment of
time, resources, and money than the average IF game receives or that the
average IF author may be able or willing to bring to a project.

> Furthermore, as for major game magazine attention--don't count on it. The
> game industry is a whole self-feeding machine which IF is no longer part
> of. New games push hardware limits to keep consumers buying new hardware
> to play new games in a kind of vicious cycle. IF runs on the crappiest
> hunk of junk that can properly compute ANDs and ORs. It does not fit into
> the industry.

Aside of whether or not this is giving both the games industry and the
gaming press far too much credit with regard to coordination and
organization, yes, as a general rule the gaming press deals with a certain
market, and the gamers in that market buy and play certain kinds of games.
But there's a lot more to the mainstream press than the gaming press, and
there are a lot more readers of the mainstream press at large--and the
mainstream press at large may be much more interested in covering a
particular game for reasons (subject matter, story, who knows) other than
polygon count. As with any endeavour, however, it takes a lot of work to
get that sort of information out to the press: that's why there's an entire
PR industry whose job it is to do exactly that. Good PR people don't come
cheap, unfortunately.

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 24, 2005, 1:31:47 AM11/24/05
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Yeah, I agree both with James and Sophie - of course, some PR would
help. Then why not pick up the best games and promote them? I find good
IF games to be easily played even by newbies. In good games it is
obvious what commands to enter and how to solve puzzles - they are
difficult, but to a certain extent.

Poster

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Nov 24, 2005, 8:25:37 AM11/24/05
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The gaming market is a lot bigger than some folks think. I mean,
really. If there's not a market for old-school homegrown RPGs (which I
love, BTW), someone tell the guys over at SpiderWebSoftware to stop
making games. And if there's no market for the hundreds of simple
Tetris-like and Mahjong-like games, well someone tell those guys too.
And..and...you get the idea.

All naysaying aside, I think the ideas here are doable. I know folks
who can push out press releases, and I can cover the cost.

As for the time and effort, that can be split up among several authors
if possible. That's been discussed on this newsgroup before. We'd need
a director, someone to write descriptions, someone to do puzzles, and
so on. You break down the tasks so that folks can work independently. I
don't have the thread offhand, but a search will bring up all the
results. Point? Time and effort is a barrier only to an individual, and
even then, not to some.

~Poster
www.intaligo.com INFORM extensions and more

www.intaligo.com/building Dark romantic IF

goodbye...@yahoo.dk

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Nov 24, 2005, 1:45:18 PM11/24/05
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Here are my two thoughts:

1: Before doing public relations, one needs something to point people
towards. While a good "flagship" game (or set of games) is essential
(Slouching Towards Bedlam comes to mind), it is not quite enough; there
really needs to be a community to keep people hanging around. And
here's where public relations runs into a brick wall: The IF community
consists of RAIF and RGIF. And what is the first thing a newcomer to
these forums reads? A flamewar, without a doubt. Which brings me to my
thought: The entire IF community needs to be moved onto a moderated
webforum. Sticking around on usenet is frankly silly. The ADRIFT forum,
which by definition is based on a smaller number of people than this
forum, functions much better as a community. As another example,
consider www.redscape.com, which revolves around the text-based wargame
"Diplomacy", a community which is just as obscure and fringe as IF is.
Note the pleasing graphical appearance - note how they can discuss
politics and religion without resorting to flames - this is what the IF
community could be!

2: A potentially effective way of luring people to IF is through
internet treasure hunts, possibly employing the "IF Cabal" theme. The
IF community is scattered onto a large number of websites maintained by
various people, which is somewhat of a weakness when it comes to PR,
but works great for doing treasure hunts, since the clues can be
dispersed among them. And the sort of people who find internet treasure
hunts interesting are typically also the sort of people who would find
IF interesting.

Paul E Collins

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Nov 24, 2005, 1:57:30 PM11/24/05
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<goodbye...@yahoo.dk> wrote:

> The entire IF community needs to be moved onto a
> moderated webforum.

I strongly object to "needs".

Plenty of people are opposed either to Web forums (which tend to be
slow, clunky, annoying to log into, and less flexible than
newsreaders) or to moderation (which can easily become corrupted into
bias or censorship). Statistically, these people are going to include
some significant number of talented and important IF community
participants.

You cite a Web forum that doesn't have disputes as though this must
necessarily imply that it is a wonderful place, but of course it will
only show the "presentable side": it's possible that there are people
who have been unfairly ejected from it for disagreeing with the
moderators on some point.

For my part I think this group is hardly a constant flamefest; the
"signal-to-noise" ratio is more than adequately high.

P.


ChicagoDave

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Nov 24, 2005, 2:45:22 PM11/24/05
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> MOVE IF COMMUNITY
You cannot possibly life that!

> PUSH IF COMMUNITY TO WEB FORUMS
After pushing for months, you find a soft spot and push a weak portion
of the community to a set of web forums. Sadly, the vast majority of
the community remains ensconced in the archaic realm of usenet.

> G
The community ignores you.

> TELL COMMUNITY IT IS WRONG
The community ignores you.

> QUIT
You have scored 0 out of a possible 0 points. You have neither won nor
lost, but are welcome to play again.

Do you wish to RESTART, RESTORE, or EXIT?

David C.

David Whyld

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Nov 24, 2005, 4:32:52 PM11/24/05
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Paul E Collins wrote:
> <goodbye...@yahoo.dk> wrote:
>
> > The entire IF community needs to be moved onto a
> > moderated webforum.

Definitely agreed.

>
> I strongly object to "needs".
>
> Plenty of people are opposed either to Web forums (which tend to be
> slow, clunky, annoying to log into, and less flexible than
> newsreaders) or to moderation (which can easily become corrupted into
> bias or censorship). Statistically, these people are going to include
> some significant number of talented and important IF community
> participants.
>

I'm a member of a lot of different forums and I find every single one
of them easier to use than this newsgroup. Yes, moderators can become
corrupt in rare cases but look on the bright side of things: good
moderators = no trolls. I don't know about anyone else but a forum
version of RAIF/RGIF but minus Panks and his incessant self promotion
and Pudlo's multiple person flamewars would be a welcome thing.

Rockersuke Moroboshi

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Nov 24, 2005, 4:33:29 PM11/24/05
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"Paul E Collins" <find_my_re...@CL4.org> escribió en el mensaje
news:dm2tjr$b6p$1...@nwrdmz01.dmz.ncs.ea.ibs-infra.bt.com...
> "Poster" <pos...@aurora.cotse.net> wrote:

> Interesting. About 20 years ago, the Thompson Twins had a text adventure
> game (nobody talked about "IF" back then!) that you could record from the
> vinyl record onto audio cassette and load into your Sinclair Spectrum.

Nice! I didn´t know that one, but heard about The Stranglers doing exactly
the same (the thing called "Aural Quest" is still downloadable from Spectrum
sites). It looks like text adventures were a bit popular in UK those old
days.

David Whyld

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Nov 24, 2005, 4:50:17 PM11/24/05
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They were never as possible as graphics games but they were pretty well
known at one point.

Sophie Fruehling

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Nov 24, 2005, 5:24:02 PM11/24/05
to
David Whyld writes:

>> <goodbye...@yahoo.dk> wrote:
>>
>>> The entire IF community needs to be moved onto a
>>> moderated webforum.
>
> Definitely agreed.

And I disagree.

> I'm a member of a lot of different forums and I find every single one
> of them easier to use than this newsgroup.

But then, you're using Google groups, and they're just unwieldy
and uncomfortable to use. Why don't you try some newsreader?

> I don't know about anyone else but a forum
> version of RAIF/RGIF but minus Panks and his incessant self promotion
> and Pudlo's multiple person flamewars would be a welcome thing.

And then you could just killfile them, and we wouldn't need to
read *your* answer to almost every post from Paul Panks.

David Whyld

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Nov 24, 2005, 5:57:57 PM11/24/05
to

Sophie Fruehling wrote:

> David Whyld writes:
>
>
> But then, you're using Google groups, and they're just unwieldy
> and uncomfortable to use. Why don't you try some newsreader?

Simple answer: I can't be bothered. I have enough crap installed on my
hard drive as it is without the need to hunt for the best newsreader
for the job, download it, install it, configure it... and all for the
sake of browsing a newsgroup where I'm an infrequent poster anyway.

Poster

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Nov 24, 2005, 11:22:36 PM11/24/05
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goodbye...@yahoo.dk wrote:
> Here are my two thoughts:
>
> 1: Before doing public relations, one needs something to point people
> towards. While a good "flagship" game (or set of games) is essential
> (Slouching Towards Bedlam comes to mind), it is not quite enough; there

I agree. Flagship games need to be promoted as high-water marks of the
genre. I also agree that that alone is not enough PR.

> really needs to be a community to keep people hanging around. And
> here's where public relations runs into a brick wall: The IF community
> consists of RAIF and RGIF. And what is the first thing a newcomer to
> these forums reads? A flamewar, without a doubt. Which brings me to my

So the people use Thunderbird (or any other easy-to-use newsreader) and
killfile the folks whose posts are lame. They note to themselves that
no-one else pays attention to these people, either, and so they think,
"Ah, just the usual trolls that crop up anywhere on the Net."

>
> 2: A potentially effective way of luring people to IF is through
> internet treasure hunts, possibly employing the "IF Cabal" theme. The
> IF community is scattered onto a large number of websites maintained by
> various people, which is somewhat of a weakness when it comes to PR,
> but works great for doing treasure hunts, since the clues can be
> dispersed among them. And the sort of people who find internet treasure
> hunts interesting are typically also the sort of people who would find
> IF interesting.

Agreed. I think we should add this to our PR bag o' tricks.


-- Poster

www.intaligo.com/ -^-^-^- Inform libraries and extensions!
www.intaligo.com/building/ *- B U I L D I N G -* Dark IF.

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 25, 2005, 1:33:38 AM11/25/05
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a better, normal ppBB forum is a good start.

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 25, 2005, 1:36:37 AM11/25/05
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sorry, mistypo: phpBB forum.

James Mitchelhill

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Nov 25, 2005, 1:41:34 AM11/25/05
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On 24 Nov 2005 22:33:38 -0800, lve...@mail333.com wrote:

> a better, normal ppBB forum is a good start.

I absolutely hate phpBB. The only decent forum software I've found is
Vanilla: <http://getvanilla.com/>.

If anyone is intending to set up an IF forum (and I suppose it might
even end up being me, alas) I'd much prefer this to phpBB or its clones.

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 25, 2005, 6:18:39 AM11/25/05
to
I find phpBB better then these groups only because answered topics go
up. Why do you hate phpBB? It must be a stereotype of some sort - you
can create any skin for phpBB, any buttons and customize it. It is very
well written and it's free and easy to install. I personally see no
reason to hate it.

James Mitchelhill

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Nov 25, 2005, 11:21:36 AM11/25/05
to

I've used and read phpBBs before - but I don't like them. The most
important thing for me about any software installed on a site is the
ease with which it can be made to integrate with everything else. For me
this involves not putting everything in a big table. Not only it bad
design to use tables for layout, but it also makes the resulting site
less accessible. Furthermore, from a designer's perspective, this makes
phpBB horrible to customise.

By contrast, Vanilla is XHTML compliant and uses structured markup to
lay out its forum. This can be easily customised by using stylesheets.
(phpBB also uses stylesheets for some of its design, but these are less
effective because of the bad tabulated design).

phpBB just seems ugly to me. This may just be a matter of personal
preference, but I think there's some better alternatives out there.

--
James Mitchelhill
ja...@disorderfeed.net
Visit the IFPR Cabal at <http://disorderfeed.net/ifprc>

Richard Bos

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Nov 25, 2005, 3:58:11 PM11/25/05
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"David Whyld" <dwh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Sophie Fruehling wrote:
> > David Whyld writes:
> >
> > But then, you're using Google groups, and they're just unwieldy
> > and uncomfortable to use. Why don't you try some newsreader?
>
> Simple answer: I can't be bothered.

Then you cannot possibly compare Usenet to web forums in an even
remotely meaningful way. Google Broken Beta combines the few bad
attributes of newsgroups with all the worst sides of web forums, and
adds some creative crapolation of its own.

Richard

ChicagoDave

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Nov 26, 2005, 3:54:52 PM11/26/05
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I'm still wondering why you think usenet isn't useful, especially since
it's publically free via Google Groups. We've successfully communed for
over 10 years within the realm of usenet. We have a few spammers here
and there and a few people that come here to annoy us, but with a good
filter, you can weed all of that stuff out. The most relevent
discussions are on these groups and the people with the vast majority
of experience in the IF realm have never stated any concern over usenet
as a forum for IF discussions. We've had short periods of frustration,
but for the most part, we survive them and end up still having great
discussions about techincal and artistic details of authoring
interactive fiction.

What is to be gained by creating a web forum when we already have a
forum?

I'm not trying to be rude here. I'm trying to suggest that you might be
spending time on something that will bear little fruit.

David C.

Samwyse

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Nov 26, 2005, 9:34:39 PM11/26/05
to
James Mitchelhill wrote:
>
> I have a feeling that a lot of people found IF (in its modern form) in
> the same way that I did - stumbling across it by accident. I doubt that
> IF's ever going to be hugely popular, but I'm fairly sure that it could
> be more popular than it currently is.
>
> One way to increase the number of potential players is for there to be a
> greater chance of stumbling across IF. And the way to do this is for
> there to be more information about IF, especially outside the community.
>
> And that's where a PR group would come in.

The IF Competition gets mentioned on Slashdot every year; this year it
even got written up in the Wall Street Journal. How much more PR do we
need?

James Mitchelhill

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Nov 27, 2005, 6:07:53 AM11/27/05
to

Lots. ;)

Paul E Collins

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Nov 27, 2005, 7:04:36 AM11/27/05
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"Samwyse" <sam...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The IF Competition gets mentioned on Slashdot
> every year; this year it even got written up in the
> Wall Street Journal. How much more PR do we need?

Perhaps some PR that targets human beings as opposed to bankers and
frothing Linux nerds :)

P.


Poster

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Nov 27, 2005, 10:01:14 AM11/27/05
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I think it's safe to say that those are low-hanging fruit.

Andrew Plotkin

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Nov 27, 2005, 11:32:59 AM11/27/05
to

What I'd consider effective PR is not a matter of location -- although
the WSJ is great location -- but continuity. Several mentions, such
that a broad range of people see IF being discussed, and people
interested in playing IF see it discussed *repeatedly*. What we've had
so far is a very sporadic series of flashes in the pan.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
I'm still thinking about what to put in this space.

ChicagoDave

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Nov 27, 2005, 11:40:39 AM11/27/05
to
So if someone created a flashy IF add and did an internet ad-buy for a
few months, this might get some notice.

I think zarf is onto something here.

David C.

Sophie Fruehling

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Nov 27, 2005, 5:51:24 PM11/27/05
to
ChicagoDave writes:

> What is to be gained by creating a web forum when we already have a
> forum?

I think this has been mentioned here before, but someone could put up
a more friendly web-based interface to r*if, just like, for example,
www.jugglingdb.com does with rec.juggling. See:

http://www.jugglingdb.com/news/

It seems to work pretty well, and those who use that interface seem to
like it.

Howard Sherman

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Nov 28, 2005, 6:46:08 PM11/28/05
to
Everyone can breathe easy. Malinche Entertainment has it covered on
all fronts.

Just sit back and enjopy the continuing show.

Howard Sherman
Implementor
http://www.malinche.net

Janos

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Nov 28, 2005, 7:08:27 PM11/28/05
to
James Mitchelhill wrote:

> 6. Other stuff, as suggested.

In my opinion, in getting more exposure for IF the step zero would be
proper packaging - and I don't mean nice and flashy cartboard boxes and
dvd's, I mean usability in downloading and playing.

Let's say you want to play a puzzle game and an interactive fiction
game. Let's take the first hits from Google:

IF: http://www.ifarchive.org/
Puzzle Games: http://www.miniclip.com/puzzle.htm

So, on one page you get a list of mirrors sites, on the other you get
buttons that say "play now" which start the game on the browser. To get
the game, on one site you click through three layers of cryptically
named directories, on the other you click the name of the game and then
a download link, after you get the installation package.

Step two, installing. On the first, if you actually manage to find a
game, what you get is a .z5 or .gam -file that doesn't run on anything
on a Windows machine. On the other you get an exe-file that installs
with a few clicks and which you can run easily.

So, why aren't there more people who just happen to stumble into IF
games and fall in love with them? I rest my case.


I have plenty of experience with Windows and *nix systems, I've done my
share on programming and by profession I'm required to tinker with all
kinds of software and hardware, and even I found it a bit irritating to
dig out what I needed to run the games. Now that I think about it, I can
easily come up with a dozen people I know who read a lot and would
probably be blown away by the games in the top places of IF
competitions, but who really are not interested enough in computer
geekery to figure out how to run them.

So, in my view what IF suffers from now is that it's too complicated for
a casual user to check out on a whim. What he wants is a nice exe-file
he can double-click on his Windows system, install the game and start
playing, that's it. If people want more exposure for their games, that's
the format they should be distributed in - something you can download
easily and install & play with one click.

So, in a nutshell, in my opinion what you need for IF to get popular
with a wider audience is:

1) A large IF download site, with clear descriptions of the games and an
easy way to download them. Sort of a flagship site where you can point
people who want to know what's IF about. This goes most of the way
there: http://www.wurb.com/if/, but for some reason it's rather low on
the Google ratings.

2) More games that are of the download, click and play -variety, not
requiring a separate interpreter. These both for Windows and Mac OS X
-systems, *nix-people can take care of themselves ;)

>If people are interested, I could build/host the resource site and
>coordinate. Suggestions and criticisms would be appreciated. Volunteers
>would be appreciated even more.

One volunteer coming up.

--
Janos

PS. A disclaimer, I'm not berating the people who maintain The
Interactive Fiction Archive, not by any means, since it's a great
project! I'm only saying that as a web page it's not something most
casual users can, or even want to try to figure out.

James Mitchelhill

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Nov 28, 2005, 9:23:55 PM11/28/05
to
On 28 Nov 2005 15:46:08 -0800, Howard Sherman wrote:

> Everyone can breathe easy. Malinche Entertainment has it covered on
> all fronts.
>
> Just sit back and enjopy the continuing show.

We at the IFPR Cabal are always looking for new suggestions. Feel free
to mail me with your PR insights.

Jake Wildstrom

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Nov 29, 2005, 11:09:50 AM11/29/05
to
The Prophet James Mitchelhill , known to the wise as ja...@disorderfeed.net, opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:

>On 28 Nov 2005 15:46:08 -0800, Howard Sherman wrote:
>> Everyone can breathe easy. Malinche Entertainment has it covered on
>> all fronts.
>
>We at the IFPR Cabal are always looking for new suggestions. Feel free
>to mail me with your PR insights.

Believe me, we do not need Howard Sherman's "insights", nor the scant
promotional push which Malinche could provide were it suited to do so,
which it is not.

Howard's marketing strategy rests pretty much exclusively on obscuring
to his audience the fact that he is but one of an extraordinary number
of interactive fiction creators, most of whose products are less
expensive (i.e. free) and of higher quality than his own (which, based
on the quality of writing in the P:FL demo, would not be difficult). I
hardly see a project as "promoting IF", when it doesn't anywhere make
reference anything actually relevant to ongoing interactive fiction
development. Nowhere on Howard's site -- which he holds up as a
promotional engine for IF -- is mention made of r*if, the IF-archive
or baf's guide, the ADRIFT Forum, the IF Wiki, SPAG, XYZZYNews, the
IFcomp, ifMUD, or any development systems, including Inform, which he
uses (I can't be positive abnout this, since I didn't traverse his
entire 'Links' tree, but if they're there, they're well hidden), nor
are modern IF authors, except for faint-praise testimonials by Jess
Knoch, Emily Short, and Yoon Ha Lee (all of which are probably lifted
without permission from reviews).

Howard would like his audience to think he is the first and only
active interactive fiction developer since Infocom folded. That's not
promotion of IF. That is, in fact, very nearly antithetical to the
concept of 'promoting IF'.

--
D. Jacob (Jake) Wildstrom, Math monkey and freelance thinker

"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems."
-Alfred Renyi

The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily endorsed by the
University of California or math department thereof.

Kevin Venzke

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Nov 29, 2005, 11:52:37 AM11/29/05
to

"Jake Wildstrom" <dwil...@zeno.ucsd.edu> wrote in message
news:dmhuge$emc$1...@news1.ucsd.edu...

> The Prophet James Mitchelhill , known to the wise as ja...@disorderfeed.net,
> opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:
>>On 28 Nov 2005 15:46:08 -0800, Howard Sherman wrote:
>>> Everyone can breathe easy. Malinche Entertainment has it covered on
>>> all fronts.
>>
>>We at the IFPR Cabal are always looking for new suggestions. Feel free
>>to mail me with your PR insights.
>
> Believe me, we do not need Howard Sherman's "insights", nor the scant
> promotional push which Malinche could provide were it suited to do so,
> which it is not.

Well, he got reviewed in a real magazine. I'm not sure if it's a
net gain or loss for us, but it's pretty cool.

Kevin Venzke


David Whyld

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Nov 29, 2005, 3:03:20 PM11/29/05
to

Kevin Venzke wrote:
> >
> > Believe me, we do not need Howard Sherman's "insights", nor the scant
> > promotional push which Malinche could provide were it suited to do so,
> > which it is not.
>
> Well, he got reviewed in a real magazine. I'm not sure if it's a
> net gain or loss for us, but it's pretty cool.
>

So did I actually. Retro Games magazine reviewed the IFComp games in
2004 and said my humble effort was the best game.

It *was* pretty cool but at the end of the day it doesn't really mean a
lot.

Jake Wildstrom

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Nov 30, 2005, 11:02:23 AM11/30/05
to
The Prophet Kevin Venzke, known to the wise as step...@yahooo.frr, opened the Book of Words, and read unto the people:

>Well, he got reviewed in a real magazine. I'm not sure if it's a
>net gain or loss for us, but it's pretty cool.

I'm not sure how Howard getting panned by PC Gamer is good for
anyone's reputation. It's not good for Howard's, cause, hey, they said
his game sucks (which he probably doesn't care about, since it gets
him more exposure and that seems to be all he actually cares
about). It's not good for ours, since the one example of IF that PC
Gamer reviewed they hated, which doesn't reflect well on the
medium. And, lastly, it doesn't reflect well on PC Gamer, for, out of
a wealth of possible games to review, choosing one that sucked.

Neil Cerutti

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Nov 30, 2005, 1:20:27 PM11/30/05
to
On 2005-11-30, Jake Wildstrom <dwil...@euclid.ucsd.edu> wrote:
> I'm not sure how Howard getting panned by PC Gamer is good for
> anyone's reputation. It's not good for Howard's, cause, hey,
> they said his game sucks (which he probably doesn't care about,
> since it gets him more exposure and that seems to be all he
> actually cares about). It's not good for ours, since the one
> example of IF that PC Gamer reviewed they hated, which doesn't
> reflect well on the medium. And, lastly, it doesn't reflect
> well on PC Gamer, for, out of a wealth of possible games to
> review, choosing one that sucked.

The irony is that Mike Berlin couldn't get his games reviewed by
any major publication. I don't know what he did wrong that Howard
did right.

--
Neil Cerutti

lve...@mail333.com

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Dec 20, 2005, 3:45:03 AM12/20/05
to
I am promoting IF!
I am issuing a enewspaper, which is being released at amateur music
communities and some active forums of popelar musicians, games, etc. he
audience is lots of people, in other words.

You can get the volume with IF promotion here:

http://www.dimlight.net/music/louigi/CheapNewspaper10.pdf

Taz

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Jul 29, 2006, 8:46:07 AM7/29/06
to
Remember you are preaching to the converted here - after all these
people are already using this newsgroup.

I've actually wondered myself why there isn't a forum for IF (if there
is can someone please point me in the right direction). With a
newsgroup I think a lot of people just don't bother. Forums are more
user friendly, and more people access them than even think about using a
newsgroup.

This is my second ever Newsgroup post (if I weren't so into IF I
wouldn't have bothered). These 2 newsgroups, plugged in so many games,
are why I made the effort.

And it is an effort. I'm not a computer or internet noob, but I had to
get info from my ISP to join. Forums just take a search engine to find
and a browser to view and participate in. Everyone with a modem has
perfected the use of these two technologies.

Layout in a forum would also make more sense. You can have subforums.
For example I have no reason to look at all these Inform 7 posts - so I
wouldn't go to the subforum on I7 programming. Easy.

I'm not saying that forums are better than newsgroups, but they are
definatly more accessible.

Poster

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Jul 29, 2006, 1:23:01 PM7/29/06
to
Taz wrote:

> Layout in a forum would also make more sense. You can have subforums.
> For example I have no reason to look at all these Inform 7 posts - so I
> wouldn't go to the subforum on I7 programming. Easy.
>
> I'm not saying that forums are better than newsgroups, but they are
> definatly more accessible.

There's a lot of reasons why most folks here haven't moved to a forum.
Google groups will help. (Also, if you do a search on the Web, you'll
hit a lot of newsgroups, and joining Google Groups is easy).

Much more needs to be done to promote IF, from shirts to mass exposure
(think PC mags) to flyers, you name it. I'm not against having a forum,
mind you, but I don't think we should conclude that will suffice.

If you want to make a forum, by all means, go to it. I'll join and help
test it out. What else do you have in mind?

-- Poster

www.intaligo.com Building, INFORM, Seasons (upcoming!)

Brian Slesinsky

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Jul 30, 2006, 4:30:27 AM7/30/06
to
Taz wrote:

> I'm not saying that forums are better than newsgroups, but they are
> definatly more accessible.

It's possible to read newsgroups using a forum-like interface. For
example:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.int-fiction/

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