alexp, A Founder of ChooseYourStory.com
Hi there, I'm Alex, and I created the site.
Unfortunately, I don't really visit much these days (my day job is in front of a computer all day), but I do my best to ensure the server is running. I'll occasionally check out storgames (thanks for making them, by the way, I love them).
If there are any urgent server problems, please contact me via the contact form or email me direct at apapadimoulis - at - inedo - dot - com.
I really can't help with site administration or moderation issues though.
You play as my girlfriend (Katrina T) and find out what it's like to be proposed to by your boyfriend of five years. This is actually a true story and really happened. Don't worry, there's no way to lose and all paths lead to the same place. But it's a fun story no less.
Er, hey Dan Videc, you're in my game!
A series of tests for advanced storygames
This is a sample storygame to demostrate how the scenario presented in The Item Shop article works in an actual storygame.
Articles WrittenBasics of Scripting
Scripting Code Reference
Recent PostsShould CYS become a business? on 12/27/2022 1:48:41 PM
Thanks so much for all the feedback; it was a lot more thoughtful and insightful to me than I expected. I learned quite a lot, and want to just articulate/memorialize some of my conclusions.
This is largely a memo for me.
- CYS doesn't need to be a business; the community does a great job at running it already, and it's unlikely that will change in the foreseeable future.
- A business wouldn't be unwelcome, so long as it doesn't harm the community. What this means specifically should be better articulated, but I think I get the gist. I like the articulation, "optional, non-intrusive, and driven by authors and users" as a guiding principle.
- A business model might be possible; the only likely income source would be selling mobile content (storygames) in one form or another: Publisher, App Store, Unlimited etc. There are similar companies doing the same. Market research would help fur this out.
- The business plan should be developed transparently, with input from the community; the variety of insights will be helpful, and getting support on the business will improve odds of success and reduce risks of harm to the community
- The business plan should run in parallel, as to not "take the community down with it" if it fails. But it should also be community driven, and not be separate. I like how Mystic put it, "another updated version of CYS is created, and the aforementioned benefits apply except that this occurs on a different platform (e.g. an app or otherwise)."
- There are pitfalls with storygame monetization that we would need to avoid (these should be articulated), but in any case, curation seems to address many of these.
- Ford has expressed interested in joining the business, and if that were to happen, would be a key technical resource in executing a business plan
- Someone with digital marketing skills/experience would is also required, and finding someone already in the industry would be ideal, but not required - there is a clearly community full of "industry experts" willing to help
- I'm interested in exploring this business, and would participate as the primary (sole?) investor and temporary CEO/leader
From here, the next step from here is market research. I know very little about "mobile content" market, and I can't possibly invest here - let alone create a business plan - until I know more.
I have some contacts who can help me learn, but if anyone has any experience or interest in helping me understand this market, let me know. I'd also be willing to commission a market research report, if anyone has experience or knows anyone with such experience. Best if we coordinate over email on this.
Otherwise, I don't have a timeline, and it'll take weeks/months to passively learn the market. Until then, I'll step away from for a bit, since this was a quick holiday diversion/exploration for me. But you know how to reach me. Nice to meet you all!
Should CYS become a business? on 12/26/2022 9:17:23 PM
Oh wow, I didn't realize you had a technical background; you're right... I don't really know anyone except mizal, Killa, and Ogre, who've I've chatted w/ over email over the past few years. Sorry if that came across the wrong way 😅
Also... that's what the "CYS Extension" is! Cool. I must have heard about it in passing, and forgot about it.
But to be clear, I'm in no rush. I'm just exploring interesting and fulfilling opportunities, like investing/building businesses that align to a more traditional value-creation model (i.e. customer/user focus) instead of a start-up/scaling model (i.e. investor/exit-driven).
Anyway... interested in a new job w/ CYS someday? 😉
Someone w/ your level of "passion for the product", institutional/domain knowledge, and technical skill is exactly who I had in mind for a team.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/26/2022 2:45:08 PM
A major feature like a new editor would require a lot of skills/experience, and even then would take a lot of dedication. In the 100's of hours. I can help on the design/architecture, but I'd really want to make sure the requisite engineering skills/experience are there first.
That said -- anyone is welcome to help on the code base in general -- if you're interested in contributing to the codebase, mizal can get you started/setup. I'd suggest to try fixing a few bugs and making some minor enhancements to get a feel for the system.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/26/2022 2:34:56 PM
These are all important questions we would have to answer in coming up with a business model/plan.
But we're both thinking about the same thing -- nearly all revenue from mobile users who primarily just want content, but have no interest/need to participate in the site. I don't know how much the site would need to change, but certainly improved author tools would be important so that higher-quality content could be created and maintained.
I don't remember how it works here -- but I do know we had the same concern about anyone making crap storygames, so we added a "publish" feature with some kind of automated checks or something. And then low rated storygames don't show, or something. But you can still privately share unpublished content? You guys would know better than me how/if that works, etc.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/26/2022 2:21:19 PM
>> if I needed more money I wouldn't do something as inefficient a try to sell my writing
I think this is a great way to look at it. On my other writing site (tech/IT), we do have a monthly budget and pay writers from that, and it ends up being enough to take the family out for dinner or have a small extra luxury -- which feels like a reward for contributing.
Maybe that's the revenue share model to have here.
>> But the "write for money" field is HEAVILY dominated by stay at home moms with elaborate sex fantasies
Definitely something I would want to avoid. Another argument towards curation (i.e. people/management deciding revenue share) instead of using metrics like shares/likes/views/etc.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/25/2022 2:05:14 PM
I was quite surprised to see the quality/quantity of responses to my post; definitely a testament to the community. Also, having modern forum software (I really like NodeBB) would probably increase the quantity of interaction.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/25/2022 2:01:13 PM
Creator-side revenue seems tough/impossible; we'd effectively be selling tools to create/manage content, and don't think there's a market for that in this niche.
I think the only workable business model would be consumer-side revenue, where the product is content (storygames)... most certainly on mobile. So, continuing to invest and upgrade the content-creation creation tools (i.e. editor) would be an important part of model, since that's what's used to create the product we'd sell.
Thinking further... this kind of aligns with my ancient vision of CYS.
My original vision of CYS was to enable authors to create storygames with as little friction as possible, and sort of cover the wide space between "basic HTML/links" and "text-based adventure games". This is why there was a "Simple editor" (is that even around?) and an "advanced editor" (with progressively complex features). By my standards today, they both suck as tools.
Anyway - I still think there's merit this vision, b/c authors will then focus on "story" instead of trying to make a "game". I think that's a product people will be happy to pay for. High-quality, meaningful storygames.
It seems that the best storygames on the site have really mastered that balance.
Should CYS become a business? on 12/25/2022 11:39:47 AM
That’s why I would suggest doing something similar to Netflix in essence. Unlock all works for a minimal monthly fee. "
This is great! And yes, it certainly addresses the concerns of the App Store Model that was discussed earlier.
What's also good thing for the Unlimited Content Model is that revenue sharing system is entirely in the hands of CYS, and could continue be community-driven instead of algorithm-driven. That would make it effectively impossible for someone to "game" a revenue sharing system by publishing garbage content. Defintiely something to consider!
Should CYS become a business? on 12/25/2022 11:28:58 AM
"various IF competitions with big prize pools too"
Curious... what are these? What amounts?
Should CYS become a business? on 12/25/2022 11:26:27 AM
A new editor would be awesome. Just thinking of of all the wonderful features... versioning... autosave... jeeze...templating...
But the underlying issue is that it's effectively impossible to do without an experienced developer who's dedicating a near fulltime effort for weeks to months. And then the management/oversight, which will be directly proportional to the skill (cost) of the developer. Assuming this could even be done piecemeal, this alone would be tens of thousands of dollars.
Hence, why we'd need a business model to support this kind of develoment effort (expense).