Publishing your game is relatively simple, whether you want to publish a Playtest for beta testing, a working Demo (limited demonstration version) of an ongoing development, or if you want to publish a finished game.
With effect from October 2016, both Google Drive and Dropbox have discontinued support for rendering HTML content in-browser. While both services remain useful for critical off-site backups and ordinary file sharing, this significant policy change means that neither service can in future be used for hosting WIP beta tests or a Choice Game working demo.
The three viable alternatives we're aware of are described below. We will however update this page accordingly if or when other options become known to us. Please use the Comments facility below if you are able to assist with this, or simply to offer other users an opinion one way or the other.
Publishing a demo or playtest of your game
One option is to use a free web host such as webs.com. Unfortunately, free web hosts generally have something of a checkered history where ChoiceScript authors are concerned, with performance issues and uploading difficulties being the problems most often cited. Few authors seem to have enjoyed smooth sailing.
Although features such as detailed version control, issue tracking and collaboration with fellow authors / developers is probably beyond the needs or abilities of many ChoiceScript authors, for those with a development background - or who are otherwise already familiar with the software - Git through such as Github is an option worth consideration.
The simplest and most effective solution for most authors, however, is the dedicated ChoiceScript hosting service freely offered by community member dashingdon, which you can read about in this CoG forum topic. This service has been well received since its inception in May 2015 and currently hosts a significant number of works-in-progress, offering as it does benefits and advantages particular to ChoiceScript authors.
Newcomer recommended solution
Looking to beta test your first Choice Game? We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending dashingdon.com for numerous reasons:
- Secure Registration / Login - requires only a Username, Email & Password, no personal details.
- Simple & Fast - uploading / updating Scene files and images for your game is both quick and easy.
- Hosting Options - upload either individual Scene files or a single 'Compiled Game' HTML file.
- Download Option - you can allow players to download your 'Compiled Game' file for thorough testing.
- View File List - enables you to verify that all of your required files have been properly uploaded.
- Open or Closed Beta Testing - you can keep your playtest Private (default) or mark it as Public.
- WIPs Portal - all Public games are displayed on, and are playable via, the site's own homepage.
- Display Themes - you can select a Theme to determine how your Choice Game will look for the reader.
- Category Tags - assign any of over 60 'tags' to your game to describe its content and aid searches.
- Feedback Link - specify an email, forum link or other URL where your testers can submit feedback.
- Auto-Save Plugin - fully supports and easily enables the highly popular Auto-Save Plugin by CJW.
- No Extra Hassles - you need never upload actual ChoiceScript files, just your own game file(s).
- Announcements - simple system to inform all followers & testers that a new game update is available.
- Free Hosting - although you can find a 'Donate' button if you look hard enough (and helping to defray the running costs would no doubt be greatly appreciated as the site does not at present carry advertising) hosting of Choice Games on dashingdon.com is provided entirely free of charge as a much-needed service to the community.
Which files do I need to upload?
If using a dedicated ChoiceScript hosting service such as that provided by dashingdon.com then all you should need to upload are your actual (.txt) game files contained in the Scenes folder (..web\mygame\scenes), plus any image files used in your game, or a single 'Compiled Game' HTML file.
However, if uploading to your own website or such as github.com, then initially you will need to upload everything in the ChoiceScript Web folder and below. Be sure to duplicate the actual directory structure precisely (especially on a free web host, where you may have to create these folders individually), which is as follows:
Once uploaded, the actual file to link to (e.g. for posting in a public forum) in order to run the game online is the index.html file located in the mygame folder.
Thereafter, the only files you should need to edit or overwrite in order to update your game online will be the .txt files located in the scenes folder. However, note that if you download and start to use a new version of ChoiceScript itself, you should at that point also upload and overwrite all files located in the folders detailed above, thereby ensuring that the online version of your game is also using the same version of ChoiceScript.
What's the difference between a demo and a playtest?
A 'playtest' is a version of the game made available for public beta testing, with the aim of helping to identify any remaining scripting errors, game design bugs, narrative inconsistencies and / or other issues.
Conversely, a 'demo' is a working example of your game, supposedly free from problems of any description. A demo's purpose is to help build up a following for your game (which may itself still be in development, so long as the section provided in the demo has been fully tested and is believed to be working as intended).
It is probably best to avoid calling a playtest "a demo" as they are two very different things in the eyes of many gamers.
Publishing your completed ChoiceScript game
If you want to publish your finished game the best option would be to publish it with Choice of Games LLC themselves (the developers and owners of ChoiceScript), as CoG publish to various platforms including iOS, Android and Kindle (and more recently, even on Steam), enabling authors to earn royalties from their work. You can read more about publishing with Choice of Games on this page of their website.
You can also publish your game for free, anywhere, and do not need permission to do so. However, should you intend or hope to earn revenue from your game by any means other than publishing via Choice of Games LLC, you must obtain a license from them authorizing you to use ChoiceScript for this purpose. Typically, this will cost 25% of all monies earned, including income from sales, advertising, sponsorship and/or donations in any way or form connected with the game itself (including, for example, advertising or donate buttons displayed on the same website as a 'free' game link).
Adding a Save System to your game
Adding a Save System (whether a single-session 'soft save' or a more permanent solution) to your public Playtest or Demo is relatively simple to implement, as described in Practical Scripting Techniques.
When publishing a finished game through Choice of Games LLC, the company will implement their own permanent Save System if your game warrants one. Most notably, a game series intended to be released in installments will not feature a permanent Save System until the second (or subsequent) installment is due to be released, at which point the earlier installment will also be updated on all platforms to properly implement the feature.
Marketing your game
It is never enough to simply publish your game, even with Choice of Games, and expect the royalties to just flood in. With a little extra effort you can maximize your future royalties at very little actual cost other than a bit of your time - which is surely worth it after all the effort you've put into the game itself!! - as explained in our companion article, Choice Game Marketing.