Postmortems in interactive fiction

I’m a big fan of postmortems in projects.  While they are interesting to read as an outsider to a project, they are most beneficial to the stake holders of any project.  In Interactive Fiction, this is no different.  They are usually very interesting to read, but of more importance to the author.

Following the results of IFComp 2014, we’re seeing quite a few postmortems appear.  You can read quite a few interesting ones on the forums (http://www.intfiction.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=32).  What I find great about reading these is you get an insight into what the author was thinking / feeling as they wrote their work, it’s just great reading about the inner reasonings behind their decisions and their reflections on what they learned.

I’ve released two games, not counting my IntroComp entry this past year which I’m still working on to get to a truly releasable state.  I’ve written postmortems for both and while not as comprehensive as some I’ve seen come out after the comp, they serve the purpose I set out for.

My format for postmortems is simple.  I simply find 3 things that went well, things that I want to do more of and then find 3 things that didn’t go so well, things I want to learn and grow from.  With that simple template, I create a document for myself (and others) that is not only an exposition on the work that went into the piece, but also something that I refer back to from time to time.

I hope that more people take the time to write postmortems, not only for their comp entries, but for anything they release.