Comment on how to make money on IF

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Andrew C. Plotkin

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Jul 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/31/96
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null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) writes:
> > I think the point of producing an IF CD would be to publicize IF, not to
> > make $ (or perhaps cents...). Ie, authors accept the fact they'll make
> > no money directly off the CD-- their profits, if any, come from the
> > increased number of shareware registrations that they'll get as a result
> > of the publisher's advertising of the CD.

Well, keep in mind that of the "significant" games -- the ones we, er,
consider the good ones -- most are free, not shareware. (I haven't
counted, but the TADS stuff going freeware pretty much tipped the
balance, unless I'm badly misremembering something.)

> Meanwhile, I *am* pursuing the other route, which is taking out a group ad
> and self-distributing.

I'd be happy to drop $20 into a Games magazine ad. What about the
production costs of a run of CDs? This is non-trivial; like, several
thousand bucks, to the best of my very limited knowledge.

FWIW, I'd charge $15 (US) for a CD containing all the big TADS and
Inform games. (Mac+IBM format.) (Anything else we can shovel on is
good too, of course.) This turns into a nice profit, actually, *if*
you sell all of the discs.

(I believe the minimum run for stamping the damn things out is large.
This is the real problem. I know one group that wanted to sell CDs in
small quantity. They first tried ordering the smallest possible run,
and selling them for cost -- they lost money and they still have boxes
of obsolete CDs. It turned out to be *more* efficient to buy a
CD-writing machine, and make and sell the CD-W discs one at a time.
Even though the cost of a CD-W disc is near $10, and the cost of a
mass-produced CD-ROM is under $1.)

I say $15 because if the price hits $10 or lower, there really is a
backlash of "This must be pretty cheesy; I'm not going to buy it." At
least that's how my experience in the shareware world has run. So it
may be *better* to try for making a profit, rather than just relying
on shareware registrations.

That said, having a publisher is good for two things: Funding the
initial run of CDs, and manning a 1-800 number that accepts credit
card orders.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."

Rybread Celsius

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Jul 31, 1996, 3:00:00 AM7/31/96
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I've figured it out. Its very simple. Mr. Nelson gives a copies of
Jigsaw and Curses to Douglas Adams, D.A is over whelmed and they make
The Restraunt at The End of The Universe, and the only way to get it
is via he CD, and I'm sure D. Adams would have a few Gs to spare. :)

Seriously, does it have to be a CD? With prices at 19 cents for 50
disks, you could fit a lot on 4 or 5 floppies.

Ringo ate my baby!!

------Rybread------ Nothing to live for } Do things have to
--It's Always After-- Nothing to die for, { get worse before
-------midnight------ This is the way of } they get better?
*--------* The Nihilist. {WHYWHYWHYWHYWHYWHY
ri0tnrrrd_ri0tnrrrd_ri0tnrrrd_ri0tnrrrd_ri0tnrrrd_ri0tnrrrd_ri0t
http://www.cshore.com/personal/rybread


Werner Punz

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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"Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:

>I'd be happy to drop $20 into a Games magazine ad. What about the
>production costs of a run of CDs? This is non-trivial; like, several
>thousand bucks, to the best of my very limited knowledge.

Well two years ago I did some multimedia stuff for my University and
they asked Sony about production costs of CD's because they wanted to
distribute it among the students. Sony Europe told them they charge
1500$ for the master CD and 1$ for every additional one. But the
problem is that you have to order several thousand CD's to get into
business with Sony. The prices might have dropped by now maybe.

Werner

we...@inflab.uni-linz.ac.at
http://witiko.ifs.uni-linz.ac.at/~werpu

----------------------------------------------
Lets face the truth.Again you're stuck in the
ususal information highway rush hour traffic
jam.

Christopher E. Forman

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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In rec.games.int-fiction Andrew C. Plotkin <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:
: Well, keep in mind that of the "significant" games -- the ones we, er,

: consider the good ones -- most are free, not shareware. (I haven't
: counted, but the TADS stuff going freeware pretty much tipped the
: balance, unless I'm badly misremembering something.)

True, but don't discourage shareware. Recent shareware I-F is still better
than what you'll find on retail shelves (excepting Masterpieces, of course).

: "And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves...

Precisely. B-)

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Read XYZZYnews at http://www.interport.net/~eileen/design/xyzzynews.html
Vote I-F in 1996! Visit http://www.xs4all.nl/~jojo/pcgames.html for info!
Ask me about my list of Infocom products for sale or trade!

Nulldogma

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) writes:
> > > I think the point of producing an IF CD would be to publicize IF,
not to
> > > make $ (or perhaps cents...). Ie, authors accept the fact they'll
make
> > > no money directly off the CD-- their profits, if any, come from the
> > > increased number of shareware registrations that they'll get as a
result
> > > of the publisher's advertising of the CD.
>

Er, I didn't write the above -- it was in response to something I said. In
any case, I have a different idea in mind for how authors would be
reimbursed (see below).

> Well, keep in mind that of the "significant" games -- the ones we, er,
> consider the good ones -- most are free, not shareware. (I haven't
> counted, but the TADS stuff going freeware pretty much tipped the
> balance, unless I'm badly misremembering something.)
>

> > Meanwhile, I *am* pursuing the other route, which is taking out a
group ad
> > and self-distributing.
>

> I'd be happy to drop $20 into a Games magazine ad. What about the
> production costs of a run of CDs? This is non-trivial; like, several
> thousand bucks, to the best of my very limited knowledge.

Okay, let me clarify. There are two ideas going on here. One involves
putting out a CD compilation of i-f games. This is expensive, complicated,
and not what I'm suggesting we do right now. (Though if a distributor gets
interested, I'm willing to change my mind.)

Here's what I'm suggesting: We take out a $200 ad that reads, in essence:
"Interactive Fiction Lives! Send SASE for free catalog of brand-new text
adventures for Mac, PC, Amiga, etc.!" The catalog (which I'm willing to
design and run off on my laser printer; I have a PO Box that can be used
as the contact address, as well) will give descriptions of all the games
by those participating, and ordering information for *each of them* -- so
for, say, _So Far_, it would give an address for you, Andrew, and
instructions for who to make the check out to, etc.

It's incredibly low-tech and decentralized, but it has the advantage that
after we get the ad and the brochure together, we can each handle our own
distribution as we see fit, with no more need for collaboration. (Well, if
we're *really* successful I may need to solicit donations for stamps, but
that's about it.) Also, it gives people the sense of the DIY-ness of all
this, which I thibk is a good thing, both philosophically and
marketing-wise.

So, take two: Who would be interested in going in on this with me?

Neil


---------------------------------------------------------
Neil deMause ne...@echonyc.com
http://www.echonyc.com/~wham/neild.html
---------------------------------------------------------

Nulldogma

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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> Mmm. Interesting. I assume the total cost per person would be the $200
> divided by however many people pitch in?

That's exactly right.

> Also, what sort of timeframe are
> you thinking? For example, I wouldn't be ready to contribute to such a
> catalogue immediately but might in a few months' time.

If there are people willing to do it now, I'd rather not wait that long.
If not, we can put this off indefinitely.

Andrew C. Plotkin

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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null...@aol.com (Nulldogma) writes:
> Here's what I'm suggesting: We take out a $200 ad that reads, in essence:
> "Interactive Fiction Lives! Send SASE for free catalog of brand-new text
> adventures for Mac, PC, Amiga, etc.!" The catalog (which I'm willing to
> design and run off on my laser printer; I have a PO Box that can be used
> as the contact address, as well) will give descriptions of all the games
> by those participating, and ordering information for *each of them* -- so
> for, say, _So Far_, it would give an address for you, Andrew, and
> instructions for who to make the check out to, etc.

Gotcha.

Initial flaw: I have no way of fulfulling such orders. If someone asks
for a Mac version, I guess I can mail them a Mac floppy (and I'd
charge about $2 to cover costs). But the majority of requests will be
people with PCs, never mind the Amiga or Acorn or Llama-3000 crowd.

And if I did have some way of dealing with them, I'm not necessarily
willing to spend the time. (Sorry about that. I don't want to be a
sourpuss, but I've *done* the shareware-responding thing, and it was
not a large amount of time, but not a trivial amount of time either.
And that was only stuffing a sheet of paper in an envelope, not a
floppy which has to be formatted, written, put in a mailer, and taken
to the post office. I have since switched to a company that takes the
orders for me, for a cut, and it's well worth it.)

> It's incredibly low-tech and decentralized, but it has the advantage that
> after we get the ad and the brochure together, we can each handle our own
> distribution as we see fit, with no more need for collaboration. (Well, if
> we're *really* successful I may need to solicit donations for stamps, but
> that's about it.) Also, it gives people the sense of the DIY-ness of all
> this, which I thibk is a good thing, both philosophically and
> marketing-wise.

Philosophically, great. Practically, we may want to take a *few*
economies of scale, at least putting several games on a floppy for a
given system.

BTW, of course the catalog will say "or visit ftp.gmd.de!" But most of
the people we're trying to reach here are the ones without Net access.

--Z

SLaM

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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In article <4tmc3r$c...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, null...@aol.com said...

> However, Lucian Smith e-mailed me with another idea: Games magazine. I
> bought a copy of this today as well, and they *do* have a classified
> section, where we can get a one-inch display ad (which could be okay if
> designed well) for $200. That's, say, ten authors at $20 apiece.
>
> I'll keep after the CGW ad rep, but what do the rest of you think of the
> Games idea? Are there other authors who'd like to get in on it? Comments,
> please.
>
> Neil
>

I'm not an i-f author, but I think that Games magazine would be a terrific
place to advertise this. Is s a pretty popular magazine rad by fans of word
puzzles, logic puzzles etc. I imagine it's readership would be exactly the
type to enjoy i-f, and not to be put off by it's "low-techness". Also,
perhaps, less likely to have Internet access, and thus to be unaware of the
archives and indeed the "i-f renaissance".

I think this is a great idea, hope it flies.

SLaM

Nulldogma

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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Andrew P.:

> Initial flaw: I have no way of fulfulling such orders. If someone asks
> for a Mac version, I guess I can mail them a Mac floppy (and I'd
> charge about $2 to cover costs). But the majority of requests will be
> people with PCs, never mind the Amiga or Acorn or Llama-3000 crowd.

There'd be nothing stopping us from listing your game as Availability:
Macintosh only. But if you don't want to do fulfillment yourself at all,
that's understandable, of course.

> BTW, of course the catalog will say "or visit ftp.gmd.de!" But most of
> the people we're trying to reach here are the ones without Net access.

Yes, and yes.

Werner Punz

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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"Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:

>of obsolete CDs. It turned out to be *more* efficient to buy a
>CD-writing machine, and make and sell the CD-W discs one at a time.
>Even though the cost of a CD-W disc is near $10, and the cost of a
>mass-produced CD-ROM is under $1.)

Don't forget about the time it takes to write a CDW. Considering you
want to sell it at 15$ if it takes 15 minutes (which is most unlikely
because if you have lots of data it'll be around 30 minutes or more,
and you will have lots of data because otherwise some buyers would
become angry to get a CD with only 20 MB or so on it. It's pretty easy
to fill a CD with additional eyecandy though)
Then you work for 20$ (or more likely less) per hour just mastering
the CD's (I didn't even calculated the time you have to spend on the
phone for selling it, etc...) I doubt that you would work for a
salary like that. Of course you could do the production with several
writers and PC's to reduce production time due to parallel production
but then you have to invest almost as much money into the hardware as
into a mass production of CD's.

You can't sell CD's at 15$ if you don't have a mass production behind
it.

Stuart Allen

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Aug 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/1/96
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>(I believe the minimum run for stamping the damn things out is large.
>This is the real problem. I know one group that wanted to sell CDs in
>small quantity. They first tried ordering the smallest possible run,
>and selling them for cost -- they lost money and they still have boxes
>of obsolete CDs. It turned out to be *more* efficient to buy a
>CD-writing machine, and make and sell the CD-W discs one at a time.
>Even though the cost of a CD-W disc is near $10, and the cost of a
>mass-produced CD-ROM is under $1.)
>

Considering that with compression you can fit over seven games the size
of Curses onto a single floppy disk I don't think it would be
unreasonable to distribute the package on two floppies. One could have
the interpreters, decompression and installation software and the other
the data files. You could probably also fit a game or two on the first
disk getting you close to ten fair sized games in the package.

As far as writing the floppies goes all you need is a few people to go
the office after hours, put a master copy on the file server then put
those fifty odd floppy drives in all the workstations (most never even
used) to good use.

Considering the quality of laser printers these days you could also
print
quite a respectable manual and disk labels for next to nothing. All you
would need then is some sort of boxes printed which you could spend a
night infront of the tele folding by hand (definately a labour of love).

I also know quite a few people in the graphic arts business who could do
all the designs for the box which means that all up you could have quite
a professional looking package for less than $5 cost.

Regards,
Stuart.

Nulldogma

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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> Another problem, and it's a big one, that Andrew Plotkin pointed out
> somewhere in this group is that most of the *significant* (sic) games
> that have been produced are freeware. In fact, I think Neil, Chris
> and I are the only ones whose games are shareware. (I'm looping back
> to the IF catalog idea here (excuse me, but I'm stoned on pain
> killers). Why would anyone fork out $10 or so for "Lost NY", "PTF" or
> "Shelby" when they could get "Jigsaw", "So Far", "Theatre" or
> "Christminster" for $2 or $3?
>
> Damn you freeware authors :-)

Well ... there's nothing stopping any of those authors from selling their
freeware games on floppy for $5 or $10. Or from (ahem) adding in some
hints and a manual, and charging $10 for the inclusion of *those*. (Lost
New York is technically freeware -- it's the manual and the hints that you
have to pay for.)

Colm McCarthy

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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ryb...@cshore.com (Rybread Celsius) wrote:

>Seriously, does it have to be a CD? With prices at 19 cents for 50
>disks, you could fit a lot on 4 or 5 floppies.

Floppies would make more sense. Unfortunately, I don't think a couple
of floppies has quite the same shelf appeal as a CD.

Another problem, and it's a big one, that Andrew Plotkin pointed out
somewhere in this group is that most of the *significant* (sic) games
that have been produced are freeware. In fact, I think Neil, Chris
and I are the only ones whose games are shareware. (I'm looping back
to the IF catalog idea here (excuse me, but I'm stoned on pain
killers). Why would anyone fork out $10 or so for "Lost NY", "PTF" or
"Shelby" when they could get "Jigsaw", "So Far", "Theatre" or
"Christminster" for $2 or $3?

Damn you freeware authors :-)

That said, I'm still interested in either a CD or catalog idea. Has
anyone contacted Mitch Laskey to see if Activision would be interested
in such an endeavor? At least from a distribution standpoint.

Also, everyone should be voting for the Masterpieces collection on the
commercial top 100 on the Net. I'm enjoying our little revolution
immensely.

Cheers

Colm


======= Text adventure games =======
== They're not just for beautiful ==
========= people anymore ===========


Colm McCarthy

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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we...@inflab.uni-linz.ac.at (Werner Punz) wrote:

>"Andrew C. Plotkin" <erky...@CMU.EDU> wrote:

>>I'd be happy to drop $20 into a Games magazine ad. What about the
>>production costs of a run of CDs? This is non-trivial; like, several
>>thousand bucks, to the best of my very limited knowledge.

>Well two years ago I did some multimedia stuff for my University and


>they asked Sony about production costs of CD's because they wanted to
>distribute it among the students. Sony Europe told them they charge
>1500$ for the master CD and 1$ for every additional one. But the
>problem is that you have to order several thousand CD's to get into
>business with Sony. The prices might have dropped by now maybe.

I have access to a CD writer, which would take care of producing a
master CD. If they let me use it, that is.

Andrew Plotkin

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
> Another problem, and it's a big one, that Andrew Plotkin pointed out
> somewhere in this group is that most of the *significant* (sic) games
> that have been produced are freeware. In fact, I think Neil, Chris
> and I are the only ones whose games are shareware. (I'm looping back
> to the IF catalog idea here (excuse me, but I'm stoned on pain
> killers). Why would anyone fork out $10 or so for "Lost NY", "PTF" or
> "Shelby" when they could get "Jigsaw", "So Far", "Theatre" or
> "Christminster" for $2 or $3?
>
> Damn you freeware authors :-)

That's actually not what I was pointing out. I have no objection to
selling "So Far" for $2; the problem is that I have no mechanism or
desire to do so. It wouldn't be fair to raise the price to $10 for one
audience when another audience can get it for free; it's not worth my
time to stuff floppies and sell them for the real cost of shipping; and
it just seems silly to sell an Inform game solely to the Macintosh
market.

I imagine things would be twice as silly for, say, Graham, who would be
(A) shipping overseas for the majority of orders, (B) trying to do
something with US checks, or else (III) selling only to the Acorn market?
Never mind, you get the idea.

The point is that a catalog which points people back to the authors is
really only a service to people who are already set up for mail-order.
Meaning, um, Neil, right? (My copy of Path to Fortune is old, but it says
that the authors will send you paper when you register, not disks. Ditto
for Shelby's Addendum. I don't know whether you folks are unwilling to
mail out disks too, but you must realize that, at best, it's more than
you bargained for when you released the game, and there are Mac/IBM/other
machine issues.)

Nulldogma (null...@aol.com) wrote:
> Well ... there's nothing stopping any of those authors from selling their
> freeware games on floppy for $5 or $10.

Fear of being bludgeoned to death when one of my customers gets Net
access and learns the real story? :)

> Or from (ahem) adding in some
> hints and a manual, and charging $10 for the inclusion of *those*.

So Far has no manual, and you know my attitude towards hints.

--Z

--

Nulldogma

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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> The point is that a catalog which points people back to the authors is
> really only a service to people who are already set up for mail-order.
> Meaning, um, Neil, right? (My copy of Path to Fortune is old, but it
says
> that the authors will send you paper when you register, not disks. Ditto

> for Shelby's Addendum. I don't know whether you folks are unwilling to
> mail out disks too, but you must realize that, at best, it's more than
> you bargained for when you released the game, and there are
Mac/IBM/other
> machine issues.)

Look, Andrew, if no one wants to do it, then it won't get done. I'm hardly
proposing this as a panacea to the problem of distribution -- it's just
*one idea* for a way of reaching out beyond our regular audience. I'm all
for continuing to look into pressing our own CDs and other options as
well.

As for the difficulty of mailing out disks, I can only speak from my
experience: It's not that big a deal. You buy a stack of disk mailers, and
a book of 78-cent stamps. Whenever you get a check in the mail, you throw
a disk in the mailer, slap on a stamp, scrawl on an address, and throw the
whole thing in your nearest mailbox. It's hardly brain surgery, or even
babel fish procurement.

True, I have a Mac that can format PC disks, so I'm in slightly better
shape than some other people. But that's hardly an insurmountable obstacle
-- I've had a longstanding offer to make Mac executables for whoever wants
them, and if someone sent me a box of disks I'd be happy to make saleable
Mac disks.

>
> Nulldogma (null...@aol.com) wrote:
> > Well ... there's nothing stopping any of those authors from selling
their
> > freeware games on floppy for $5 or $10.
>
> Fear of being bludgeoned to death when one of my customers gets Net
> access and learns the real story? :)

Whereas if they bought it on a compilation CD, they wouldn't be mad?

>
> > Or from (ahem) adding in some
> > hints and a manual, and charging $10 for the inclusion of *those*.
>
> So Far has no manual, and you know my attitude towards hints.

Again, Andrew, I'm hardly intent on arm-twisting you, or anyone, into
participating in this. If it doesn't work for you, fine. But it seems it
could work for some of us (I've currently heard from Colm McCarthy,
Stephen Granade and Eileen Mullin), and if we can get enough people where
it's cost-effective, I'd like to give it a shot.

Colm McCarthy

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Aug 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/3/96
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erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>Colm McCarthy (illu...@execpc.com) wrote:
>> Another problem, and it's a big one, that Andrew Plotkin pointed out
>> somewhere in this group is that most of the *significant* (sic) games
>> that have been produced are freeware. In fact, I think Neil, Chris
>> and I are the only ones whose games are shareware. (I'm looping back
>> to the IF catalog idea here (excuse me, but I'm stoned on pain
>> killers). Why would anyone fork out $10 or so for "Lost NY", "PTF" or
>> "Shelby" when they could get "Jigsaw", "So Far", "Theatre" or
>> "Christminster" for $2 or $3?
>>
>> Damn you freeware authors :-)

>That's actually not what I was pointing out. I have no objection to
>selling "So Far" for $2; the problem is that I have no mechanism or
>desire to do so. It wouldn't be fair to raise the price to $10 for one
>audience when another audience can get it for free; it's not worth my
>time to stuff floppies and sell them for the real cost of shipping; and
>it just seems silly to sell an Inform game solely to the Macintosh
>market.

No. But it's what I was pointing out, but good point. My point was
that no one would spend $10 on Shelby when they could get an equal
quality game for $2 aka I feel I'd be wasting $20.

>I imagine things would be twice as silly for, say, Graham, who would be
>(A) shipping overseas for the majority of orders, (B) trying to do
>something with US checks, or else (III) selling only to the Acorn market?
>Never mind, you get the idea.

That would be ridiculous, I agree. I think the CD ROM is the better
of the two ideas.

>The point is that a catalog which points people back to the authors is
>really only a service to people who are already set up for mail-order.
>Meaning, um, Neil, right? (My copy of Path to Fortune is old, but it says
>that the authors will send you paper when you register, not disks. Ditto
>for Shelby's Addendum. I don't know whether you folks are unwilling to
>mail out disks too, but you must realize that, at best, it's more than
>you bargained for when you released the game, and there are Mac/IBM/other
>machine issues.)

Well, we've been able to handle mail orders as I've got several people
helping me out here (xeroxing, mailing etc)...Shelby has sold
extremely well (over 100 regsitrations) but this has been a curse to
me. It's hard to get any work done when all your time is taken up
with stuffing envelopes. And as Shelby went through so many versions
we were including disks in with the registrations, but that became a
nightmare too (a defective disk here or there, getting me into the
whole software support thing which I just didn't want to deal with).
A major pain in the arse basically.

I think the CD is the way to go. As I said elsewhere, I do have
access to a CD writer so I could feasibly produce a master CD.
Possibly. But who's going to document everything on Adobe Acrobat?
Who decides what games go on the disk? Who handles the distribution?
Who manages the profits? And who pays for the whole darn project?

We could approach Walnut Creek, Activision, somebody to handle
distribution etc. I'm not a businessman, but it's worth a try.
Whizzard would be the person to ask on that topic.

Andrew Plotkin

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Aug 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/4/96
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Nulldogma (null...@aol.com) wrote:
> [...] if no one wants to do it, then it won't get done. I'm hardly

> proposing this as a panacea to the problem of distribution -- it's just
> *one idea* for a way of reaching out beyond our regular audience. I'm all
> for continuing to look into pressing our own CDs and other options as
> well.

Sure. I'm posting comments about the CD idea, too.

> As for the difficulty of mailing out disks, I can only speak from my
> experience: It's not that big a deal. You buy a stack of disk mailers, and
> a book of 78-cent stamps. Whenever you get a check in the mail, you throw
> a disk in the mailer, slap on a stamp, scrawl on an address, and throw the
> whole thing in your nearest mailbox. It's hardly brain surgery, or even
> babel fish procurement.

Well, Colm just complained about how much time envelope-stuffing took. :)

> > > Well ... there's nothing stopping any of those authors from selling
> their
> > > freeware games on floppy for $5 or $10.
> >
> > Fear of being bludgeoned to death when one of my customers gets Net
> > access and learns the real story? :)

> Whereas if they bought it on a compilation CD, they wouldn't be mad?

Like I said, I think $15 is a fair price for a compilation of many works
which are freeware (or non-pre-registered shareware.) It's the economy of
scale, like I said. Selling one free game for $10 makes me wince, but
selling ten for $15 doesn't; and the amount of labor is comparable.
(Labor, not monetary investment. The day-to-day envelope-stuffing.)

I'm not posting this to say one idea is better than the other, please
understand. I'm trying to make clear why a catalog is of small benefit to
me, in enough detail that other authors will know whether the same issue
apply to them or not.

> But it seems it
> could work for some of us (I've currently heard from Colm McCarthy,
> Stephen Granade and Eileen Mullin), and if we can get enough people where
> it's cost-effective, I'd like to give it a shot.

Now, if there were both a catalog and a CD, we could advertise both in
one ad... (Half-smiley. The projects are very different, and are unlikely
to fruit at the same time, even if both occur.)

Julian Arnold

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Aug 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/4/96
to

In article <4tvvje$i...@daily-planet.execpc.com>, Colm McCarthy

<URL:mailto:illu...@execpc.com> wrote:
>
> I have access to a CD writer, which would take care of producing a
> master CD. If they let me use it, that is.

I too can write CDs (probably). Actually creating 'em would be the
least of our problems though. It's advertising and distribution that
would cause the headaches. Come back WC!

Jools
--


Nulldogma

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Aug 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/4/96
to

Andrew P. wrote:
> Now, if there were both a catalog and a CD, we could advertise both in
> one ad... (Half-smiley. The projects are very different, and are
unlikely
> to fruit at the same time, even if both occur.)

Forget it -- you've won me over. If the CD idea comes to a crashing halt,
I'll revive the catalog (I am determined that one or the other *will*
happen), but for now it's probably best to focus on the CD.

Jools wrote:
> I too can write CDs (probably). Actually creating 'em would be the
> least of our problems though. It's advertising and distribution that
> would cause the headaches. Come back WC!

Well, maybe not. I suggest we continue this in the "Pressing a CD"
thread...

Colm McCarthy

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Aug 4, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/4/96
to

Julian Arnold <jo...@arnod.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <4tvvje$i...@daily-planet.execpc.com>, Colm McCarthy
><URL:mailto:illu...@execpc.com> wrote:
>>
>> I have access to a CD writer, which would take care of producing a
>> master CD. If they let me use it, that is.

>I too can write CDs (probably). Actually creating 'em would be the


>least of our problems though. It's advertising and distribution that
>would cause the headaches. Come back WC!

In the immortal words of Joe Hill, "Don't mourn, organize!".

We need to develop a product here and court a distributor: Walnut
Creek, maybe Activision, anybody.

The distribution, legal and tax headaches something like this would
create would be phenomenal. We need to attract the interest of an
established company or distributor.

Our little chart revolution is a nice start.

Christopher E. Forman

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Aug 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/5/96
to

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
: (My copy of Path to Fortune is old, but it says

: that the authors will send you paper when you register, not disks. Ditto
: for Shelby's Addendum. I don't know whether you folks are unwilling to
: mail out disks too, but you must realize that, at best, it's more than
: you bargained for when you released the game, and there are Mac/IBM/other
: machine issues.)

I believe PTF says that print copies of the manual are available upon request,
but to add for postage. Most of the time I prefer to e-mail everything, as
it's less of a hassle. ("Circle", however, is going to feature some neat
props, but I'll still send the hint booklet via e-mail to cut on paper use.)

The subject of disks makes me scratch my head in puzzlement, though. You
got the game off GMD, so you have the game file, so why send a disk? For
a large hint booklet, e-mail is far more convenient.

--
C.E. Forman cef...@rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Classic I-F FS/FT in Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe! (Mail me for current stock.)

"Circle of Armageddon", Vol. 2 of "The Windhall Chronicles" arrives Feb 1997!


Rybread Celsius

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Aug 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/5/96
to

>We could approach Walnut Creek, Activision, somebody to handle
>distribution etc. I'm not a businessman, but it's worth a try.
>Whizzard would be the person to ask on that topic.

I do have a friend who owns some CD-Rom Burners as he makles CDs for a
living and he's into liberation adn all that fun stuff.. I'll ask him,
he owns Ganesa, check it out, www.ganesa.com, his names Pat Brenner
and a very nice guy and open to ideas, not sure about price thoguh.

Greg Ewing

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Aug 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/6/96
to

Colm McCarthy wrote:
>
> I do have
> access to a CD writer so I could feasibly produce a master CD.

Um... a CD "master" isn't a CD, it's a metal mould
from which CDs are pressed, and it's *very* expensive
to make.

Greg

Den of Iniquity

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Aug 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/6/96
to

On 1 Aug 1996, Stuart Allen wrote:

> Considering that with compression you can fit over seven games the size
> of Curses onto a single floppy disk I don't think it would be
> unreasonable to distribute the package on two floppies. One could have
> the interpreters, decompression and installation software and the other
> the data files. You could probably also fit a game or two on the first
> disk getting you close to ten fair sized games in the package.

I agree with Stuart; floppies would be much easier to cope with and any
CD release would use a very much under-formatted CD or a CD full of
padding. You would probably end up releasing different versions for
different systems and could customise the actual material for that
system (there being more interpreters for one machine than another, for
example). Copying floppies would be quite time consuming, unfortunately,
but considerably cheaper and easier than any CD work. Anyone with a
computer can do it.

It has the additional advantage that you can reach people with much more
varied systems, and that includes people without CD drives - A small
Atari crowd, the majority of the Amiga crowd, (including myself - for the
time being, anyway)... etc.

--
Den

Allison Weaver

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Aug 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/6/96
to

On 1 Aug 1996, Nulldogma wrote:

> > Mmm. Interesting. I assume the total cost per person would be the $200
> > divided by however many people pitch in?
>
> That's exactly right.
>
> > Also, what sort of timeframe are
> > you thinking? For example, I wouldn't be ready to contribute to such a
> > catalogue immediately but might in a few months' time.
>
> If there are people willing to do it now, I'd rather not wait that long.
> If not, we can put this off indefinitely.

Neil,
I don't have any games to be included yet, but if you get enough people,
you can count on me for a $5-$10 contribution to get this going.

Allison

Colm McCarthy

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Aug 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM8/9/96
to

erky...@netcom.com (Andrew Plotkin) wrote:

>Nulldogma (null...@aol.com) wrote:
>> As for the difficulty of mailing out disks, I can only speak from my
>> experience: It's not that big a deal. You buy a stack of disk mailers, and
>> a book of 78-cent stamps. Whenever you get a check in the mail, you throw
>> a disk in the mailer, slap on a stamp, scrawl on an address, and throw the
>> whole thing in your nearest mailbox. It's hardly brain surgery, or even
>> babel fish procurement.

>Well, Colm just complained about how much time envelope-stuffing took. :)

Well, that was during a good/bad week. We received somewhere in the
region of 30 orders in a 5 day period. Most of these were from
something called the Software of the Month Club, and these people had
no net access and wanted disks...and not just PC disks either.

Normally the envelope stuffing is no hassle at all, but the event
above is not something I look forward to again. I suppose we could've
run off 150 or so registration packets in advance, but I expected to
sell maybe 10 copies in total.

Mind you...I haven't stuffed an envelope lately :-)

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