Sometime at the start of the month, I posted my first-ever file to itch.io. I made Sword&Sorcery PocketMod available for the One-Page RPG Jam, because why not, and that’s how you enter a game into the jam. So I thought maybe a short post about that experience might be neat.
The Process Was Easy Enough
It was really quite simple to set-up a barebones game page and put the file up there, and to assign it to a jam. It took basically no effort. The editor that creates your game’s page is a very simple WYSIWYG interface and while I personally didn’t care much for the layout or the way it wants images to work (I still haven’t uploaded images properly) because of itch.io’s video game heritage, it was no real barrier to putting a game up there for the world to see.
Tagging And Discovery Still Need Work
It’s really easy to see that itch.io remains at some unease with the tabletop gaming market it has stumbled into, even a few years into the game. There’s some assumptions that seem built-in to the system that make it clear that role-playing games like ours are an afterthought that hasn’t been completely addressed. I would love to see them dedicate some resources towards restructuring the way games are sorted and served up to end-users, but I realize that the cost:benefit ratio could be skewed out of favor for this. I have no idea what sort of budget or staff they operate with. Nonetheless, this would probably be my sole actual hiccup.
The Payments Portion Was… Something New To Me
So right as I was finalizing everything, a little notice popped up saying I couldn’t charge for my game and may be restricted otherwise because itch.io lacked tax information for me. Now, I don’t want money for the game; it’s free and I want it to be free and this isn’t how I pay bills. But I have that brain behavior that wants to push red buttons and follow prompts and all the sorts of things that get adventurers horribly maimed and mutated in curious neon pools, so I clicked the notice and I followed the directions. Apparently what I wound up filling out was some kind of American tax survey thing to generate a taxation form so itch.io could stay on Uncle Sam’s good side if they hand me money. Truthfully? Though I’ve lived and worked in America for almost a decade now, I have no conscious memory of ever doing such a thing before so it was kind of neat. Nit-picky and dumb, but neat.
The Dashboard Is Cool
I love seeing numbers go up and charts get generated and stuff like that. So I have to admit that I have checked the dashboard pretty regularly. It’s neat to see little numbers move a marker.
It’s clear to see 1. where the game launched 2. where whatever tiny buzz it had wore off because I made no effort to promote it at all 3. numbers move!
I really love this little chart. The game isn’t a runaway success or something, but it warms my heart to think that people took time out of their day to download the file and maybe even print it.
Seven Of You Are Maniacs
It’s very clear to me that seven of you will need careful monitoring for signs of Illithid mind control or other symptoms of eldritch madness.
Thank you, though. Sincerely.
As soon as I spend a few minutes tinkering around with it and seeing how such a credit works (i.e. is it like credits on DTRPG?) I will be proceeding to middle-man all fourteen of those dollars into the wallets of other creators who deserve a smile.
There you have it: a barely useful post of my crystallized thoughts on my first time using itch.io to share a game “product”. I think I may try it again someday and see if I glean other insights. If you want to talk about your experiences with using itch.io for tabletop game stuff, hit me up in the comments or over on Twitter or Instagram. If you want to cop the one-page role-playing game I made, it’s called Sword&Sorcery PocketMod. I hope you like it!