Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
massive-war

What to do about large downloads

This topic is 4588 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Whenever I'm experimenting with new games, there are a couple things that really excite me or disgust me. I'm not always necessarily looking for these things, but they are the obvious that pop out. 1)If the game is easy to setup. There's nothing more that I hate than to download a game, do some long setup processes, register for who knows what, and then come to find out that 1) the game wasn't worth my time and 2) I still can't get something to work (like now it needs a credit card... fjuck that!) 2)Large downloads. Downloads are alright if the game is excellent, and I know I'm getting a good game, however, if the download is 1.84 GB (Dark age of Camelot, thank you very much) and they don't really announce that you need a credit card (I must have missed over it), I get fed up with the fact that I spent hours downloading this stupid thing and now I have to give them my information.... forget you! 3)Easy to play. I hate reading manuals, especially for a new game. What's worse is a mandatory tutorial section at the beginning of the game that makes you walk through it. I want to get in on the action, not sit around and figure out how to move.... that will come with time. Games should have a brief intro while it's loading, telling you some basic commands that you can read in a manageable time. There should be a reference to a manual if someone is interested or confused, not the other way around with the physical shoving down the new player's throat. So now the question is... how do you make a game work without having all that garbage? The setup and ease of playing won't be a bother for me, however, I am concerned with distributing it. When finished, I approximate my demo to be in the mid 500-600 MB range, if not more for the full game when available (a while). So what should I do? I'm an indie programmer, so I don't have my name out anywhere, and I certainly wouldn't have many people testing and trying my 500 MB game when they've never heard of me or my project. And CD's won't work because no one wants to wait for a CD to come in the mail, when you could just bypass the game and move on to something else. What should be done? Massive-war

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I guess you'll just have to make the demo smaller.

You're right that as it stands, I don't think many people will be downloading your demo if it is 500 Mb. Since I don't have a decent internet connection, I wouldn't think twice about downloading a demo that's under 10 Mb. If its 10-30 Mb, then I'll download it the game seems reasonable and I'd like to try it out. If its 30-100 Mb, then I'd have to really want to try the demo to download it. I'm very unlikely to download a game demo that's over 100 Mb.

What is it that's causing your demo to be so large? How many art assets do you need to include? If you are including movies, do you really need to include those?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A little of everything. I guess I could really chop down the size. I just wanted to have the experience that represented the game to the fullest extent, with shorter/fewer levels. (rooms, etc.)

I could probably just cut out most of the main stuff and have it a lot smaller.

Massive-war

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You'll probably have to do that; I can't think of a method that would work in the marketplace with a 500 Mb demo size for an indie.

As you've said, the problem is that you currently don't have any market awareness of your product. The demo itself is the best way of getting people aware of your product, so you want as many people as possible to get their hands on it. I'm sure most people will start thinking twice about downloading a file that large.

As for alternate methods of distribution, you could give your demo to magazines to see if they'd put it on their cover CD/DVD, but as the file is so large that would mean much less room for anything else; it might work if your company was famous, but not if you're unknown.

Distributing CD demos most likely won't work. It's very unlikely people will pay to get your demo posted to them, so you'd probably have to cover the costs yourself. Given fairly unrealistic estimates of $1 cost per CD (for the media, copying and postage it's probably more), and a sell conversion rate of 5 percent (which I think is quite high for indies), you'd be spending $20 per sale, which is too expensive to really justify it.

So I'm afraid I think reducing the demo size is the only thing you can do. I'm sure there must be something that you can do to whittle down the demo size to under 50 Mb. Remember that you aren't trying to provide a good game with a demo; what you are doing is showing the promise of a good game if the player buys the full version. If your demo is too good, people won't feel the need to pay for the rest of the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:

So I'm afraid I think reducing the demo size is the only thing you can do. I'm sure there must be something that you can do to whittle down the demo size to under 50 Mb. Remember that you aren't trying to provide a good game with a demo; what you are doing is showing the promise of a good game if the player buys the full version. If your demo is too good, people won't feel the need to pay for the rest of the game.


Good Point

Massive-war

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posting a breakdown of what you've got and how much space it's taking in one of the tech forums may help you - it's possible that you're missing something obvious (e.g. using an uncompressed format for textures) and if people see that you've got 100 512x512 RGBA textures which are taking 100mb, they'll ask you to re-examine the compression you're using (which could drop that to under a quarter the size).

Other than that, you may want to look into streaming and background web installs. If your demo is quite long to play through, and initially the player only encounters a small subset of the assets, then you can reduce the download by only including those assets that are strictly required for the initial section, and then downloading the rest from your web server while the player is playing through that initial section. It takes some work to get a nice user experience - some users will want to get the whole thing down, and others will want to control how much gets prefetched, and you have to neatly handle situations where you need assets that haven't finished downloading yet, etc - but means that users can get 'into the game' that much faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
http://www.theprodukkt.com/kkrieger.html ( clicky )

FPS demo. 96K size download. Texture compression pushed to the extreme limit using a very compact texture synthesis algorithm.

-cb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1.
Think about using generated materials in your games.
Couldn’t you write some setup program that is going to generate maybe 100MB of your textures in just 100KB of code?

2.
Can’t you make the demo download the second level while the user is playing the first level?
Or just download better textures more models or maybe more guns, more maps, ...; the longer the user is going to play your demo the more features will become available! I think that is going to motivate some user to play the demo for a longer time(I would do it!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by massive-war
3)Easy to play. I hate reading manuals, especially for a new game. What's worse is a mandatory tutorial section at the beginning of the game that makes you walk through it. I want to get in on the action, not sit around and figure out how to move.... that will come with time. Games should have a brief intro while it's loading, telling you some basic commands that you can read in a manageable time. There should be a reference to a manual if someone is interested or confused, not the other way around with the physical shoving down the new player's throat.

This is one thing I find difficult as a developer. One the one hand players want an original game, but on the other hand your controls must somehow be exactly what they expect. Surely the reason that FPS/RTS/driving games are easy to play without the manual is that they're all very similar - if you want innovative games then you might expect new control methods. Some games are inherently complex (like simulation type games) and so a new control method might require you to actually look at the documentation - at least before complaining you can't figure it out!

And yes I think you must shrink your resources.
  • Reduce music bitrate

  • Reduce video resolution/bitrate

  • Make sure you use compressed texture formats

  • Make sure you don't store all your data in bloaty text/xml format

  • Make sure you don't have multiple copies of the same resource

  • Make sure you don't have original .bmp versions of textures still lurking around after you made the game use .dds (something I have to keep fixing!)

    Share this post


    Link to post
    Share on other sites
    Sign in to follow this  

    • Advertisement
    ×

    Important Information

    By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

    We are the game development community.

    Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

    Sign me up!