Improvements to textadventures.co.uk

As well as making Quest a great system to create text adventure games, I want to make textadventures.co.uk a great place to host them. It started out as the very basic “Quest Games Archive” many years ago, and has had various improvements since then – “play online” support and the addition of categories, for example.

It is already probably the most popular internet destination for people who are looking to play text adventure games – it’s usually in the first two search results on Google for “text adventures”, and with the “play online” feature just a click away for every game, I think it’s a pretty good place to upload your game if you want people to play it.

However there is still some way to go to make the site work really well for both players and authors, so I’m planning to make some more enhancements over the next few months.

Here are a few that I’ve implemented over the last few days:

Statistics

I’ve been logging “download” and “play” counts for a few months now, and these are now visible on the site. The “Top 10” section on the front page now gives you three different top 10s – you can see the top rated games as before, but you can now also see “most played” and “most downloaded”. The “most downloaded” chart includes both downloads from the website and downloads from within Quest 5.0.

When you click on a game page, you can see the download and play counts under the description.

Right now the most popular game is The Things That Go Bump In The Night, by Tim Hamilton – with 9428 online plays and 1297 downloads since 7th Feb (when I started logging), that’s not a bad reach for a text adventure, I think. It also shows how popular online play is compared to downloading games – it is now the reality that most players want something they can get started with quickly, and they’re not going to waste time downloading an interpreter first.

Editing

You can now modify a game listing after you’ve uploaded it. So if you want to update the description, or upload a new bug-fix version, you can now do so by going to your game page and clicking “Edit this game” at the top. You must be logged in of course!

Categories and Languages

Games are assigned a category only after they’ve been checked by a moderator. This ensures that only games of a reasonable quality are given a category – a lot of uploads are quick test games or are incomplete, so these get assigned to the Sandpit category instead. However, as a game author you probably know best what category you would like it to be in, so you can now specify one when you upload, and you can also suggest a new category if none of the existing ones fit.

You can also now specify a language. This isn’t really used anywhere at the moment, as currently all games on the site (with only one exception) are in English, but when we have enough non-English games I will implement language filtering so players will see only the languages they’re interested in.

Feedback

This is just the beginning of improving the site – there are a few more things on my list still to come:

  • an area on the site for libraries
  • support for “cover art”
  • private games
I’m grateful for any feedback! Any suggestions for making the site better are more than welcome.
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