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I'm going to write and sell a full-length text adventure for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). The game framework will be open source.
I created a full-length puzzle text adventure. (Available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS.)
I created a full-length puzzle text adventure. (Available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and iOS.)
713 backers pledged $31,337 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Jason VandenBerghe on

      I have received my Source Codex.

      It is amazing. By far the geekiest Kickstarter reward I have ever seen. I will now sit down, and play the game, with the source code sitting there taunting me, daring me to peek inside and cheat.

      Thanks, Andrew!

    2. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      I built the game in Inform 7 ( Inform's rulebook structure was a comfortable way to build complex world behavior. The "chunking" that Emily talks about isn't a built-in Inform feature, though; I had to build all of that myself.

      See for information on the Android situation. There's no supported interpreter but you can download a development package.

    3. Missing avatar

      Karthik on

      Hey! It's finally out! Congratulations. Looking forward to some head scratching this weekend. BTW, I have two questions for you, Zarf.

      1. What software (editor/IDE/programming language) did you write HL in? I'm interested because from Emily Short's review, it appears to be incredibly complex.

      2. Any chance of an Android port in the coming months? (I've moved away from iOS since 2010 and would love to play HL on my long daily commute.)

    4. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      Oh, I want to think about the System's Twilight game universe when this is all over. (I want to think about a lot of things when this is all over.)

    5. Peter B on

      I backed this at the $250 level, and have no regrets except that we didn't reach the "Port System's Twilight to OS X" reward tier.

    6. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      Oh, nobody's complained in months. :)

    7. Jason Scott on

      I'm one of the $1000 backers. Apparently a lot of people got the shocking news that a top-quality interactive fiction work done by one of the (if not THE) top IF authors in the world, would take years. They take years, folks. Maybe next time do some research.

      I consider my money well spent and I consider the time taken to be just right.

      Maybe next time you people need to just go to steam and buy a shooty-killy thing.

    8. Byron Campbell

      To Andrew or other IF fans out there, now that this project is finally nearing completion and there's been time for some other IF to come out for the iDevices, what are some of your favorites? I'll start.

      Sorcery! should be in the running for sure. It's more of a choose-your-own-adventure than a true IF, but man, it is amazing for what it is. The second chapter is mind-blowing, and I'm sure there are more surprises for the future.

      A Dark Room is also a good text-based game (but not true IF). However, I have to say that the browser-based version is a lot better than the iOS implementation. If you have the choice, stick to playing it on your computer.

    9. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      Yes, the Apple ID is what I mean.

    10. Missing avatar

      Xiao on

      Could anyone clarify what iTunes account address in the Reward Survey refers to?

      The shipping address or email address? Wouldn't that just be the Apple ID?

    11. Will Hopkins on

      This is awesome, Zarf. I am looking forward to getting the game :) Keep doing awesome stuff.

    12. Sam Barlow on

      Psyched that this is in the closing straights now -- freeing up spare time in my schedule for October as we speak.

      This was the second game I ever crowdfunded. The first was The Fool and his Money, so this one seems positively timely.

    13. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      I didn't expect this schedule either. And yes, if I ever do a Kickstarter again, I have a *bucket* of experience that I have learned from.

      (Maybe Patreon would have fit better? Not committing to one large game, but to several smaller ones? Of course Patreon didn't exist back then, and hindsight isn't 20/20 *either*.)

    14. James L on

      I don't care about getting a refund, but man does this Kickstarter make me sad every time I see an update. Sure, you said you'd be using the money to work on other assorted projects too, so I can't say I was lied to. But I certainly didn't expect that I'd still be receiving progress updates 3+ years after backing the project. It's just $10, and hopefully eventually I will have a thing that will be pretty cool, so it's not the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind, but I really hope that if you run a future Kickstarter project, you rethink how you communicate your plans to the people who donate their money to support you.

    15. Missing avatar

      Chris on

      Like Tim Cowley and Fien, I will be emailing you for the 90% refund you offered them. I only pledged $3, but it's a matter of principle. I feel a sting of frustration and disappoint every time Kickstarter sends me an update about Hadean Lands. :(


      • Tim Cowley on Aug 28, 2012
      Disregard my last comment in this thread and just send me my $250*0.9 back, like you offered this fellow nearly a year ago. My email's The money will go towards me purchasing every scrap of commercial IF that exists.

      • Fien on November 28, 2011
      I'm sorry I backed you. You're showing contempt for your 714 backers.

      • Andrew Plotkin on November 28, 2011
      I'm sorry you feel that way. I feel I would be showing contempt if I posted a release date which was a lie. If you want to back out, send me your email address and I will return your contribution via paypal. (Minus the 10% that Kickstarter/Amazon kept.)

    16. David Shaw on

      Three years to write a text game? Really?

    17. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      As you will see in the update I'm about to post, my estimates are still terrible -- the game is getting done, but not in the order that I thought it would be. So I am in a position of, honestly, I don't know.

    18. Gareth Hodges

      Any chance of a rough ETA on Hadean Lands? Not expecting a hard guarantee, but is it likely this year?

    19. Matthew Griffin

      Thanks so much! have been enjoying reading through the documentation and demos for I7!

    20. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      You should pick a language, rather than trying to imitate me. :) The I6 component of an I7 project is very complicated -- much more so than a game written in I6 to begin with. Don't try to get into that sort of tuning unless you're comfortable with *both* languages *and* in the mood for some deep hacking.

      Either I6 or I7 is a perfectly good place to start. I recommend I7 because I think it's more approachable for beginners and more powerful in the long run. Not everyone agrees with that, though.

    21. Matthew Griffin

      Hey Zarf, What tools would you suggest for someone looking to start out with writing IF that doesn't have quite the coders background you do? You talked about leaning on Inform 7 and then working to tune up elements in Inform 6 -- are either of those authoring tools a good place to start? Given that most of the good IF projects took years to write, I'm just happy that you are keeping things going on HL. Thanks! Matt

    22. Tim Cowley on

      Disregard my last comment in this thread and just send me my $250*0.9 back, like you offered this fellow nearly a year ago. My email's The money will go towards me purchasing every scrap of commercial IF that exists.

      Fien on November 28, 2011
      I'm sorry I backed you. You're showing contempt for your 714 backers.

      Andrew Plotkin on November 28, 2011
      I'm sorry you feel that way. I feel I would be showing contempt if I posted a release date which was a lie.
      If you want to back out, send me your email address and I will return your contribution via paypal. (Minus the 10% that Kickstarter/Amazon kept.)

    23. Tim Cowley on

      Andrew - can you do a 'split ship' like the LockSport KS or something like what the Double Fine Adventure people did? Having some feelies to look at and show off would make me feel better for funding your other commercial projects.
      Obviously without the printed-up source code.

    24. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      You are totally right -- there should be a way to move save files back and forth. Dreamhold is using standard Z-machine save files, so they should be interoperable with Frotz and everything else.

      I have looked at the iCloud API. It doesn't look too bad. I'll take it for granted that DropBox is easy, since everybody says it is. :) Providing these options is on my interpreter to-do list.

    25. Irfon-Kim Ahmad on

      So, I finally got around to trying out The Dreamhold on my iPad. (I picked it up when you first announced it, but didn't get a chance to play it until now.) It's fun, and being able to swipe between the game and the auto-map is great. However, there was one feature that I found myself really wanting that wasn't there: Some way to synchronize saved games between the iPad and another computer/device. When I'm on the bus, it's great to be able to play on my iPad, but when I'm at home, having to play on the iPad means I just don't play. The iPad is relatively horrible for typing, and if I'm at home gaming I'd like to have all my other amenities handy as they are on my primary computer. I'm not necessarily suggesting you implement this for The Dreamhold, as I have no idea if any saved games (I don't even know if you *can* save, come to think of it) are saved in a format that's readable by the standard interpreters that would play the game the way it's packaged on other platforms. But for Hadean Lands, if you're building it from the ground up with an eye for eventually being able to run on iOS / Android / Mac / PC / Linux / whatever, then it would be nice to have a facility for sharing state between these. (For iFrotz, you can do it through Dropbox, which I had requested and the developer indicated after that it had been really easy to do. While that would involve endorsing one or more particular services, that seems like a pretty low-effort way of achieving the goal.)

    26. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      Thanks. I am too, believe me.

    27. Eric Leslie on

      Fair enough. Like I said, I don't regret my contribution, and I hope it all comes together wonderfully. You've been up front about the "Hadean Lands will be my day job" part of it not turning out to be true. I do think, though, that a lot of the enthusiasm that got you the pledges to begin with came from excitement about Hadean Lands; about the idea of commercial IF being possible on iPhone and your work proving (or not proving) the concept. I'm still very eager to see how that eventually pans out.

    28. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      The deal I offered was $8000 to work on HL *and other IF work*. HL has seen some progress, although not as much as I should have gotten done in a year. The other IF work has seen some progress too: three IF API spec updates, a lot of work on the iOS IF interpreter. Again, there's more that I had hoped to have done by now, but it's not been ignored.

      The answer to your question is: the difference between $31k and $8k would not have made much difference to me, because the plan was always to *combine that with my savings* and launch myself as a independent developer. My reserves have not run out and I have time to finish HL before they do. If I had $23K less, that would still be true -- although I'd have to dig deeper and I'd probably have taken on contract work in June instead of starting Secret Hideout.

      It's not a question of obligation being proportional to money. It's price points that change my planning. $8000 was the bare minimum for this plan. The next plan up would have been at maybe $80000, where I wouldn't look at contract work at all for the foreseeable future.

    29. Eric Leslie on

      Andrew, the stuff you say you're working on all sounds awesome. BUT.

      "I started out 2011 thinking that Hadean Lands had to be my big money-making breakout. That was, in truth, kind of a paralyzing notion. But it was also kind of illusory. Here I am; I've finished one project, nearly finished another, and I also have some iPad contract work lined up. (Not story-related; it's a board game port.) None of these projects now has to be The One That Succeeds And Pays My Rent Forever. But they all could be. (Okay, notMy Secret Hideout, probably.)

      ...In the long term, I hope to offer you an ever-growing tally of interesting projects across the game and narrative domain. And I hope that, in aggregate, they pay my rent."

      I hope they do too. But we've all already funded the one thing that consistently hasn't seen results for going on a year; your IF on iOS. Specifically, Hadean Lands, the game in the title of the Kickstarter. To the tune of $31,000.

      I'm not trying to be a jerk and I don't regret my pledge, but I am curious: you'd be no less "obligated" to do Hadean Lands if you had only made your $8,000 goal, let alone $31,000. That was the deal you proposed: $8,000 of funding for HL on iOS. Would it EVER be getting done, if that had been the result?

    30. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      My most recent blog post ( ) is my best explanation. I described the Kickstarter project for HL and other IF work. I have been making better progress on the other IF work -- API spec updates aren't exciting, but they're important for the field. HL has slipped down my priority list this past summer, but now I've got the two short-term projects almost done.

      If I gave you an estimated date for HL, it would be a lie. Sorry. There's a reason I haven't been giving them. (When I finish HL, I'll have a basis for estimating the work time on *another* large IF game...)

    31. Bryan Gough

      Echo Jeremie. We were backing HL right? What's with all the other stuff?
      At least throw us an estimated date. I've almost completely forgotten about this project.

    32. Jeremie Lariviere

      any other updates? how's Hadean Lands coming?

    33. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      Signs point to "no", I'm afraid. I don't intend to update the teaser again. It has what I want in it.

    34. Paul Zagieboylo on

      Darn you, Zarf, now I'm impatient for an awesome new Zarf game!! Can we have another puzzle in the teaser in, like, March or April? Although I don't know if that would temporarily satisfy my craving, or just give me another taste of the forbidden fruit...

    35. Shaun Pryszlak on

      Hi. I only went for the cheapskate pledge but if you need any extra help with the beta I will willingly help. I have done a bit of iPhone development so I know what its like.

      It is crazy to think that something like Kickstarter can help you quit your job and "live the dream". ;)

    36. Jason VandenBerghe on

      Did anyone point out already that your final funding number is a hacker-speak dream? '31337' in net speak is 'elite' (ELEET).

      Oooooooooooo! Mystical and stuff! ;)

    37. black on

      Congratulations! I'm sorry I found out about this too late.

    38. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      (if i'm really desperate)

    39. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      alternatively, there might just be a few iphone emulators out there ;)

    40. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      me too, thx anyway :)

    41. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      That's correct. I've decided that I don't want to collect further donations (or orders) now that the Kickstarter thing is over. Sorry! It would be a distraction, and it would reduce the perceived value of the supporter rewards.

      I very much hope that I am able to announce Mac, PC, and other versions some time next year.

    42. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      Shit, I can't afford Apple products either. Guess I'll wait for the PC release, if any.

    43. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      Can't believe I didn't hear about this before.

    44. Missing avatar

      Kazi Siddiqui on

      Wait, does this mean it's too late to pre-order?

    45. Andrew Plotkin Creator on

      I saw that, and it will help, but international app gifting is what I really need.

    46. Steven Marsh on

      Hey, Andrew... iTunes can now accept international promo codes. Looks like one problem has been solved before it even became urgent!

    47. Brian Lavelle on

      Great news, Andrew. Have been following progress eagerly over the last few weeks. Delighted for you - and of course very keen to play the finished article.

      Best of luck with what's to come!

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