Jim Dattilo is creating Interactive fiction
81

patrons

$787
per month
I am Jim Dattilo, writer of several choice games: Zombie Exodus, its companion game Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, and A Wise Use of Time. I’m guessing you’ve heard of them if you’re here, but if not, these games are all works of interactive fiction, specifically choice games. I have been published by Hosted Games and Choice of Games and am currently writing for their new label, Heart’s Choice.

I love writing choice games as well as other forms of fiction and am working on pursuing this full-time. While I make money from publishing my games, it is nowhere near a full-time salary or enough to cover my monthly expenses. In fact, the royalties are sporadic. Therefore, like most people, I work a normal 9-5 job. I am hoping Patreon may help change that (at least one day).

What is a Choice Game?

In this style of game, you are the main character and select from periodic choices to direct the plot. You may have read choose-your-own-type games as a kid or played video games where you make a choice to advance the story. The games I create are similar—you read a few paragraphs and then select from a list of choices to advance the story. All of your choices are tracked, and the game builds a story based on your decisions.

It takes a lot of time, energy, editing, and testing to make these games, and my games are usually fairly complex.

Why Patreon?

I have always said I would never use Patreon. My games are sold and paid for by my readers. They already support my writing, so I felt like asking them for more was unfair. I was looking at it all wrong.

When Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven was initially released, I started seeing much more interest in my work. Readers wanted to donate or support me outside of paying for my games. They wanted to be a part of my game-making process and to help support the development of my interactive stories.

Fans of my work also want to see me focusing on my games. They want to see me consistently publishing new content on a faster schedule with an even higher quality in each release.

Funding Creates Possibilities

Patrons of my work will support several endeavors:

First, I hope to one day work full-time as a writer. If I can make enough to cover my salary, then I can devote my efforts into writing. This goal seems like a complete dream right now, like winning the lottery. I am still working toward it, and support of my patrons will contribute to that goal.

Also, having extra funds will help augment game development. From artwork to hiring editors or even paying for contributors, I plan to set aside a heavy chunk of the money coming in to expand my games. It’s hard to even fathom what I could build with a staff. Maybe, one day I’ll find out.

When Part 2 of Safe Haven came out, I’ll admit there were some readers who felt it was too short and was less immersive than Part 1. Lots of people are really enjoying the game but many still wish it matched Part 1’s breadth. One thing I have agreed to do is produce added content for Part 2. (By the way, I decided to do this before Part 2 came out). I will be producing this extra free content at my own expense. That means I’m paying for copyediting, paying if I want to add new graphics, and taking up my time without any guarantees people will continue to buy it. So, my hope is that my readers will support me, so I can continue to add free content to existing Parts.

I am also hoping to work with other writers, coders, and artists to contribute to my games or even produce new collaborative games. Money made from Patreon will help fund those activities, and my patrons will have access to private development details or even take part in designing scenes and characters.

Rewards

Patrons will receive news and updates on my games, never-before-seen stories, and opportunities to influence my games.

Some of my readers may want to support me at a low level or don’t have a lot of extra funds to donate. That’s completely understandable. Some readers will be willing and able to contribute more. I don’t want there to be a huge gap in what one patron gets over another, but I do want to show my thanks in a variety of ways, so my supporters feel they are getting something meaningful for their contributions.

At all levels, patrons will receive dedicated posts with latest updates on my games. While I am already actively answering questions on social media and the Choice of Games forums, I will make it a point to address all questions from my Patreon backers. All of my patrons will also get access to my development newsletter one week ahead of time.

At higher levels of support, here is what I can offer:
  1. Credit listed in my next game.
  2. Early access to beta tests.
  3. Short stories based on characters from Zombie Exodus (for example, Tom, Mindy, Carl), Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven (for example, Sifer, Rachel, Madison and Brody), and other games as I work on them.
  4. Test or draft chapters from my Zombie Exodus novel.
  5. Voting in monthly polls to help direct the current game.
  6. Voting on new characters and premade characters.
  7. Naming of characters, locations, and pre-mades.
  8. Ideas for commissioned art based on characters and scenarios.
  9. Top-level patrons may even be able to inspire a permanent character for a future game and work directly with me to weave that character into the story.

A Note on How Payment Works

My Patreon charges upfront, meaning you pledge your amount at the time of subscription and then then the 1st of every month thereafter. I set it this way since the majority of rewards are available all the time. If you have questions or concerns about this or any aspect of my page here, please message me or post to Community section.
Tiers
News Level
$1 or more per month 12 patrons
You'll receive news and updates beyond what you receive on social media and forums. In addition, you will have access to my monthly newsletter posted here a week before I send it out to my fan base. You'll also get access to me, as I hang around my community forum here all the time.
Includes Discord rewards
Story Level
$3 or more per month 19 patrons
Do you want to read original stories based on my characters? If so, this is the tier for you. I will post at least one new short story a month only for patrons to read in digital form. These stories will include backstories or further the adventures of in-game events.
Includes Discord rewards
Adviser
$5 or more per month 13 patrons
Do you want to help guide the development of my games? At this level, you will be able to participate in polls and Q&A sessions that will actually affect my games. Ever want to ask an NPC a question? How about help me design a character's traits. This is the tier for you.
Includes Discord rewards
Contributor
$10 or more per month 38 of 100 patrons
At this level, you'll be in a real position to help me make my games the best they can be. For those who join this tier, I will provide early access to beta content. This will be focused testing on specific missions, chapters, and events. You can provide feedback on content, as well as suggest new options and ideas for me to implement.
Includes Discord rewards
Creator
$25 or more per month 15 of 25 patrons
A number of people have asked about contributing to my games in more permanent ways. By pledging at this tier for 6-months, you'll get to name a character or a landmark in one of my games. We can discuss options for naming rights. Message me for details.
Includes Discord rewards
Goals
$787 of $1,500 per month
I will continue my work on Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven after Part 3 with a Part 4 of at least 300,000 words.
3 of 3
I am Jim Dattilo, writer of several choice games: Zombie Exodus, its companion game Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, and A Wise Use of Time. I’m guessing you’ve heard of them if you’re here, but if not, these games are all works of interactive fiction, specifically choice games. I have been published by Hosted Games and Choice of Games and am currently writing for their new label, Heart’s Choice.

I love writing choice games as well as other forms of fiction and am working on pursuing this full-time. While I make money from publishing my games, it is nowhere near a full-time salary or enough to cover my monthly expenses. In fact, the royalties are sporadic. Therefore, like most people, I work a normal 9-5 job. I am hoping Patreon may help change that (at least one day).

What is a Choice Game?

In this style of game, you are the main character and select from periodic choices to direct the plot. You may have read choose-your-own-type games as a kid or played video games where you make a choice to advance the story. The games I create are similar—you read a few paragraphs and then select from a list of choices to advance the story. All of your choices are tracked, and the game builds a story based on your decisions.

It takes a lot of time, energy, editing, and testing to make these games, and my games are usually fairly complex.

Why Patreon?

I have always said I would never use Patreon. My games are sold and paid for by my readers. They already support my writing, so I felt like asking them for more was unfair. I was looking at it all wrong.

When Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven was initially released, I started seeing much more interest in my work. Readers wanted to donate or support me outside of paying for my games. They wanted to be a part of my game-making process and to help support the development of my interactive stories.

Fans of my work also want to see me focusing on my games. They want to see me consistently publishing new content on a faster schedule with an even higher quality in each release.

Funding Creates Possibilities

Patrons of my work will support several endeavors:

First, I hope to one day work full-time as a writer. If I can make enough to cover my salary, then I can devote my efforts into writing. This goal seems like a complete dream right now, like winning the lottery. I am still working toward it, and support of my patrons will contribute to that goal.

Also, having extra funds will help augment game development. From artwork to hiring editors or even paying for contributors, I plan to set aside a heavy chunk of the money coming in to expand my games. It’s hard to even fathom what I could build with a staff. Maybe, one day I’ll find out.

When Part 2 of Safe Haven came out, I’ll admit there were some readers who felt it was too short and was less immersive than Part 1. Lots of people are really enjoying the game but many still wish it matched Part 1’s breadth. One thing I have agreed to do is produce added content for Part 2. (By the way, I decided to do this before Part 2 came out). I will be producing this extra free content at my own expense. That means I’m paying for copyediting, paying if I want to add new graphics, and taking up my time without any guarantees people will continue to buy it. So, my hope is that my readers will support me, so I can continue to add free content to existing Parts.

I am also hoping to work with other writers, coders, and artists to contribute to my games or even produce new collaborative games. Money made from Patreon will help fund those activities, and my patrons will have access to private development details or even take part in designing scenes and characters.

Rewards

Patrons will receive news and updates on my games, never-before-seen stories, and opportunities to influence my games.

Some of my readers may want to support me at a low level or don’t have a lot of extra funds to donate. That’s completely understandable. Some readers will be willing and able to contribute more. I don’t want there to be a huge gap in what one patron gets over another, but I do want to show my thanks in a variety of ways, so my supporters feel they are getting something meaningful for their contributions.

At all levels, patrons will receive dedicated posts with latest updates on my games. While I am already actively answering questions on social media and the Choice of Games forums, I will make it a point to address all questions from my Patreon backers. All of my patrons will also get access to my development newsletter one week ahead of time.

At higher levels of support, here is what I can offer:
  1. Credit listed in my next game.
  2. Early access to beta tests.
  3. Short stories based on characters from Zombie Exodus (for example, Tom, Mindy, Carl), Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven (for example, Sifer, Rachel, Madison and Brody), and other games as I work on them.
  4. Test or draft chapters from my Zombie Exodus novel.
  5. Voting in monthly polls to help direct the current game.
  6. Voting on new characters and premade characters.
  7. Naming of characters, locations, and pre-mades.
  8. Ideas for commissioned art based on characters and scenarios.
  9. Top-level patrons may even be able to inspire a permanent character for a future game and work directly with me to weave that character into the story.

A Note on How Payment Works

My Patreon charges upfront, meaning you pledge your amount at the time of subscription and then then the 1st of every month thereafter. I set it this way since the majority of rewards are available all the time. If you have questions or concerns about this or any aspect of my page here, please message me or post to Community section.

Recent posts by Jim Dattilo

Tiers
News Level
$1 or more per month 12 patrons
You'll receive news and updates beyond what you receive on social media and forums. In addition, you will have access to my monthly newsletter posted here a week before I send it out to my fan base. You'll also get access to me, as I hang around my community forum here all the time.
Includes Discord rewards
Story Level
$3 or more per month 19 patrons
Do you want to read original stories based on my characters? If so, this is the tier for you. I will post at least one new short story a month only for patrons to read in digital form. These stories will include backstories or further the adventures of in-game events.
Includes Discord rewards
Adviser
$5 or more per month 13 patrons
Do you want to help guide the development of my games? At this level, you will be able to participate in polls and Q&A sessions that will actually affect my games. Ever want to ask an NPC a question? How about help me design a character's traits. This is the tier for you.
Includes Discord rewards
Contributor
$10 or more per month 38 of 100 patrons
At this level, you'll be in a real position to help me make my games the best they can be. For those who join this tier, I will provide early access to beta content. This will be focused testing on specific missions, chapters, and events. You can provide feedback on content, as well as suggest new options and ideas for me to implement.
Includes Discord rewards
Creator
$25 or more per month 15 of 25 patrons
A number of people have asked about contributing to my games in more permanent ways. By pledging at this tier for 6-months, you'll get to name a character or a landmark in one of my games. We can discuss options for naming rights. Message me for details.
Includes Discord rewards