Friday, 20 March 2015

Where did all these new games come from?

This will be a short post just to hopefully start a discussion, but I've noticed there have been a lot of releases recently. I don't remember a spontaneous busy period like this since... I don't know, maybe all the way back to 2005. Things were already going better than they had been, but then we got LLtL's project, followed by four games in this month so far. (By the way, is anyone keeping track of release dates these days?)

I have many questions and few answers about this busy patch. Is it just a coincidence? Is it a sign of more to come? Is the AIF author vacuum being filled? Has a big influx of new people been introduced recently? Can we find some way to ruin this again? Post in the comments if you have any ideas.


  1. We really need an adult IFDB site (AIFdb?) so games can be catalogued, discussed and announced. Yahoo is subpar.

    1. I agree that Yahoo is subpar. I drifted away from the AIF community for a couple years in part because I just hated the Yahoo Group (literally the site itself, not the community, of course :P). Of course now I come back and see that there's a bunch of blogs, which is cool!

      I don't know why people aren't migrating to the subreddit ( It's not perfect either, but IMO it's better than Yahoo.

      I'm a freelance web developer and I'd love to put together a sort of central repository. Thing is, isn't that what is/was? Is anyone still maintaining that?

    2. The problem is that as much as I dislike Yahoo! (and I do, for many reasons), aifarchive does everything that most people want from it (ie. it tells them when games are released and provides them with hints for very little personal effort).

      As a result, there's no reason for the majority of the ten thousand subscribers to move to another site. That's why never really got going (and now seems to be dead). While I'd like to see a shiny new AIF website, there's a chance it might go the same way.

      I'm going to try to be a bit more aggressive about reposting releases to the subreddit. Given that it's more accessible that the Yahoo! group, it might be possible to draw some people away.

    3. There have been so many new releases recently, it would be handy to have a summary post pinned to the top of the reddit with links.

      A handy resource like that might tempt more people in...

    4. I think a monthly "Games Released This Month" thread pinned at the top of the subreddit would be a great idea!

    5. The subreddit is too confusing. I can't understand what order the topics are listed in. Are they listed by date or votes or comments? I just want to know where the latest discussion in the comments are. In Yahoo, the latest discussion is always on top. Reddit isn't designed for the small amount of discussion that we have in the AIF community. A standard forum like Shark's Lagoon would be better.

    6. You can order topics by date (just click the 'new' tab)

      I'm not saying that proper forums wouldn't be better, but Reddit does have the advantages of being easy to set up and easily accessible (especially by people outside of the traditional AIF community).

    7. I want to sort by date of the last comment like in a forum. Maybe we can ask Shark's Lagoon to set-up an AIF subforum on his forum. The communities have a lot of overlap nowadays.

  2. I wonder if someone ran a site like this?

  3. I'm sorry to be the cynic here, but yes, I think it's just random clustering. Quite apart from anything else, it's a bad idea to release games too close together because aifarchive can't really handle multiple discussions (although that's less of a problem for Palaverous and Minterlint because they have their own blogs, and Lamont Sanford hangs out more on Shark's Lagoon these days).

    1. Well, they're always random clusterings. My point was more that the pace of releases seems to have picked up. If it hadn't then a cluster like this would be very unlikely. There have been years not so long ago when this recent rush would have accounted for all the non-mini comp games we could expect across the year, but right now I do expect to see more this year.

      Getting a lot of games close together is poor for discussion though, I agree. I tend to coordinate my release times with other authors that I know are likely to be releasing soon to make sure we each have at least a couple of weeks.

    2. Unlikely is not the same as impossible though, so I'm not inclined to read too much into one good month.

      One thing I do thing is promising is the number of authors with their own websites/blogs, as it makes it less likely that those authors will just release one game.

    3. It's not just one good month, though. I'm pretty sure release rates have been slowly climbing for a while now. A lot of the releases these days may be smaller twine games, so that might be a factor, but it seems to me like there's been a bit of a revival of the smaller game, which allows for more regular releases.

    4. The numbers have been climbing since 2013, which was the low point thanks to a poor Minicomp turnout, but they still have a way to go before they reach the heady heights of 2006. The thing is, the numbers we're dealing with are so small it's hard to distinguish between what's a real trend and what's just random noise

      It's good that new authors feel able to release smaller games these days, rather than burning themselves out trying to create epics or just sticking with the Minicomp.

    5. I agree with all written above but, I would just like to point out, and this is only my opinion.
      Since a certain awesome author retired, there is much more chance of winning a mini-comp which, in turn, should be springboard enough to go on to bigger and better things. I think we all got rather stuck. The whole world seemed to be depending on one author, for the next big thing in AIF. Don't get me wrong I loved GB's games, but he set a certain standard to which, few could either compete or comply,
      His retirement, for me personally, sets the bar, just a little lower and, gives people a slightly less daunting task, without destroying their dreams of world domination. (Not quite that, but you get the gist.)

    6. Instead of GoblinBoy, it might be Vachon and Sly Dog. Back when Vachon and Sly Dog were still writing, new authors could see that people were still willing to play simple, buggy games. New authors didn't feel intimidated about making bad games because they knew their work wouldn't be as sloppy as Vachon's. After Vachon and Sly Dog left, there were only top authors still making games. New authors who released a game would automatically have the worst game of the year because there would be no one beneath them.

  4. Cynical or not, I think that is the realistic answer. Don't get me wrong, I definitely hope we get more and more releases - but I wouldn't get your hopes up. ;)

    Besides perhaps Ella, I think I've read about all the others being worked on some time ago. It seems like a lot of activity at once - and I guess it is - but it was mostly things already being worked on and they just happened to get finished around the same time.

    From the sounds of it there are still a couple or so more being worked on, though we of course have no idea if/when they will finally release. I just wouldn't get too hooked on the idea that we are seeing a full on revival or anything, but having a bit of hope isn't the worst thing I guess ;)

    As for the websites, I don't know. Right now we have at least a few being used but despite several people pushing the idea to get away from Y!'s pretty awful setup, it seems to remain most popular. This site gets some traffic and reddit rarely gets any discussions going past a comment or two.

    I'm not against another sort of database (vs the current newsletter), but I don't know that it would really get used much more except perhaps as a download hub, with the discussions/announcements still being spattered here and there.

  5. I actually think it has to do with the increasing variety of tools made available to authors. Whereas in the past we might have seen potential authors crash-and-burn on their projects due to platform constraints or sheer complexity, I think now, with the myriad of authoring platforms to choose from, it's much easier for authors to implement their vision.

  6. I credit this blog.

    When I first thought up my reply that was going to be a joke, but on reflection I think this and other blogs are part of the answer (if it isn't just random clustering). Usually I will check the blogs before I do any writing as that is kind of my 'warm up' point.

    Anyway, here are some possibilities, mostly just off the wall ideas:
    1) Better, and free, authoring resources
    2) Goblinboy's absence (ether no longer being intimidated by his presence and/or trying to fill the void)
    3) A few new authors came out with really good games that started a trend (hey, I can do that type of feeling)
    4) Because there were few games, people who wanted games started designing them

    If this turns out to be more than random clustering (which it probably is, but it would be boring to just say that being it was covered above), then it will probably be because of something that happened within the last year or two or so and we are just starting to see the fruits of that.

    Also, we'd probably have to figured out why AIF production took a dive to answer why the trend was reversed. I'm not sure the former question has ever been answered, though I'm aware of a lot of possible answers that have been given.

    Here's hoping against random clustering!

  7. I agree with the opinion that it's has been a casualty that this games have been released so near in time, but the new authors wants to release more than one game, if this happens and others authors begin to write (ant the "older don't quit) it could be possible to see a major quantity to game released and a "renewal" of this community (it's like an extinction threshold).
    It's not so sure that one will write other games or even complete the first, for example Elsa (that seemed a promising author) hadn't correct the bugs his first game because wanted to use the energies for another game or scion of Eros (probably is from one of his post in that born the idea of Aif central) was very enthusiastic of his ideas for the game wanted to create, but at the end neither could do (not that they were obligated to complete their projects and I cannot know the true reasons behind this).
    The good thing is that I have seen great effort to release the game despite the work needed (Palmer and Palaverous) or "humility" in the idea of develop some little work for improving skills (Minterlint and Doc Realgood) before bigger projects (because at the end you don't do this for work so you want to put your better ideas in a game).
    Probably a central forum would be the better solution for better discussiona (for example after the Erin's result several people will post in several places (author's blog, reddit, yahoo, here) and so it will be difficult to discuss with each other); said this the blog's situation is good for the current time (and who can predict the future) and it's good that in Aif Central (aside the discussions) one can know when a blog is updated (but Aif Sans Mistery is missing).
    I don't know if we will see a true rekindle of this community or the candle is burning stronger before blowing out, but I hope in the first case.
    I hope to have express decently my opinions, I admit that in those case I understand how my writing skills in english are supbar respect my reading skill.


  8. I agree with the above I also think that the release of Twine has meant that more people have tried creating games and then moved on to more sophisticated tools such as TADS and Inform.