Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Norman Barrows

How to limit demo of rpg game

This topic is 2145 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

Starting with a huge group and sorting out seems more risky than starting small and slowly growing the number.

You could ask some fans of your first game (maybe dig up some old emails where they asked something) or people from your own forum (you have something like that to make a little buzz?), who have shown some interest/loyality/knowledge/appropriate manners, maybe even let the first few testers sign/mail a NDA. These would at least be a bit more trustable than random people filling a registration form on your site, one of these beta sites where people just want to play early and not test and not report bugs, or even making it freely downloadable.

If you have the beta connect to your server for login before playing, you get a bit more control so you could ban those black sheep you catch and stop when the beta is over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

Starting with a huge group and sorting out seems more risky than starting small and slowly growing the number.

You could ask some fans of your first game (maybe dig up some old emails where they asked something) or people from your own forum (you have something like that to make a little buzz?), who have shown some interest/loyality/knowledge/appropriate manners, maybe even let the first few testers sign/mail a NDA. These would at least be a bit more trustable than random people filling a registration form on your site, one of these beta sites where people just want to play early and not test and not report bugs, or even making it freely downloadable.

If you have the beta connect to your server for login before playing, you get a bit more control so you could ban those black sheep you catch and stop when the beta is over.

 

 

yeah, i think i need to do some recruiting.

 

unfortunately, i'm pretty much starting from scratch, as i no longer have the old customer databases. this the 4th startup / restart of my game company in 25 years, and each time, i start from square one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found that zone restricted demos work better for open world. You just slice it up and separate that section or bound the great invisible bubble around the slice if you're pimping seamless technology over there.

 

When it comes to marketing demos, obviously that slice has to be a really good slice without giving them the whole pizza (or pie). In the past, I've done this by sharing an epic dungeon or mid-game piece that sort of shows off the coolest features of the game. Something that really gives the end user a solid taste of your PIZZA (or pie)! 

 

If you're going to do a 30-day demo for marketing purposes, then I think you're giving too much if this is a marketing demo. It should be short, limited and leaving your end users begging--NO--CLAWING at your doorstep for more. Giving them too much, even if content is restricted, will likely complete their interest in your game and they are on to the next. IMHO. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just food for thought:

http://www.puppygames.net/blog/?p=1389

An interesting stance on 'demos' in general.

I can't deny a part of me agrees with the argument here.

If the goal of your demo is to create hype and generate sales, this is a read you might be interested in.

 

 

i checked into that site.      apparently when you click on the download and play now button for one of their games, your download gets you a canned teaser video for the game's intro, followed by a main menu that presents a buy now screen when you click on play.    that would definitely make me PO'd if i was potential customer.  they're also on steam. the games are only $10 each, or all four for $30. the games are basically 50 level space invader clones and such targeting causal gamers who don't have the time for what i would consider a "real" game (IE skyrim or any big title). 

 

the games in and of themselves may not be big enough to warrant a demo. IE a demo of sufficient size would give too much away, as the majority of the content and gameplay seems to be variations on a theme.

 

i'm not sure if they formed their option about demos not working (for them at least) based on an actual demo they did in the past, or based on their teaser video and buy now button "demo". 

 

if i were in their shoes, i probably wouldn't do a demo either.   the product is familiar enough, the screen shots and descriptions are good enough, and the price point is low enough that the average target consumer would probably be willing to plunk down ten bucks on steam and take a chance on it.  they also said steam sales way outstripped demo sales.   steam gets them a LOT of exposure, probably more than they could do by any other means.  if its just the demo on the website vs steam, its no wonder all their sales are steam. demos are only useful if they are promoted and posted continuously everywhere possible (within reason).

 

you also have to realize that things like steam are "new" when it comes to selling games.  i was a dot com before there was even a world wide web.  bandwidth was expensive, "surfing" was done in text mode.  video for PC's didn't exist. screenshots, text descriptions, and demos were the only means of marketing online.  nowadays, a good product, a link to steam, some nice screenshots, and good sales copy can get you pretty far - don't even need video.

 

the idea is to have the product pulled through the channel by demand, not pushed through it by you using marketing. so the product should be designed with this in mind. i've discovered that if you build a better mousetrap, the world WILL beat a path to your door - but only if they know about it.  I've been lucky enough to do it twice now in my career as a gamedev. those two mousetraps are now my flagship products. 

 

it might be that with the advent of games like oblivion and skyrim, and the new 100% fps/rpg interface in CAVEMAN 3.0, that the product type might be familiar enough now to the buying public that a demo is not required.    "ah - i get it, its an open world fps/rpg - with cavemen!"    its helpful that game marketers have introduced marketing terms like "open world" and "RPG" and "FPS shooter"  to the gaming public.   a simple phrase like that can convey a lot of marking info about the general capabilities of a game.  That way the consumer has a better idea of what a given game is about.

 

their point about games being one of the few forms of creative product that offers demos seem to be a good one at first glance, but audio medlies are used to market music cd's, and trailers are used for movies, and excerpts are used for books, so perhaps their argument there is somewhat weak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I've found that zone restricted demos work better for open world. You just slice it up and separate that section

 

yes, as i recall, in the original demo, not only was the random number generator seeded with zero at the start of generate_map(), but your starting map square x,z was hard coded, and you were limited to a 100x100 mile area of a 3200x2400 mile game world.

 


In the past, I've done this by sharing an epic dungeon or mid-game piece that sort of shows off the coolest features of the game.

 

i did this in the later demos of Tank! v2.x  back in the day.  Tank was a clone of the old top down red vs blue tank arcade game - on steroids.  you could play three hard coded missions, one from the beginning of the game with just one tank per side, one from the mid-game missions including things like rocket launchers and flame thrower tanks, and one high level mission with choppers, etc.   but tank was an example of a game that evolved beyond is original core audience.   it added so much stuff that it was really a real time tactical (RTT, like RTS) game, not an arcade shooter by the end.

 

 


If you're going to do a 30-day demo for marketing purposes,

 

the original demo wasn't a 30 day demo. the original demo was time bombed. but the run time was long. long enough that i'd be sure to have a new demo out. so a demo might work for 3 or 6 months. but you can only play for 30 game days (perhaps 4 hours of playing at most). you can't load and resume a game. and its the same world every time. random encounters are the only variation from one play through to the next. so they could play the same ~4 hour game over and over, but never really get ahead. the demo was the tutorial. it took you from fining water to making a stone knife, and hunting and butchering an animal, that usually used up 20-25 of your 30 game days. a lot of how long it took to play had to do with the use of accelerated time. if i played the demo tutorial and used accelerated time, i could finish it in an hour or less.

 

the whole key to the demo is that the game is a rpg. as such, its all about being able to develop a character over multiple gaming sessions. if you can't load a saved game and pick up where you left off, you have to start over and get no sense of accomplishment (i FINALLY got enough gold to buy the akavari di-katana!).  that sense of accomplishment and pride in one's character is the whole appeal of rpg's in general.  that's why  no load game works for RPG's. it would probably work for games like city builders too. any game where its about accomplishments over multiple gaming sessions. and by accomplishment i mean something more than high score on the developer's website, or fraggin your buddy big time yet again in a PvP MMO.

 


It should be short, limited and leaving your end users begging--NO--CLAWING at your doorstep for more. Giving them too much, even if content is restricted, will likely complete their interest in your game and they are on to the next. IMHO. 

 

yes, always leave them wanting more. nowadays, there are so many game's competing for one's attention, that one can often simply pass the time by playing demos.  

 

i got the idea of the tutorial as demo from Rome Total War. It worked well for them, and it also worked well for caveman v1.x.   Seems to be just enough, and not too much. Takes them up to the point where they've learned the basics, and are ready to have at the game for real, and then they have to buy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I just wanted to say that I've been looking for Caveman for YEARS. Like about a decade now. Once a year I hop on Google and troll it for a few hours looking for something...ANYTHING that might indicate that I could play Caveman again. I played the original version (the demo, I believe, actually), and me and my friend modded it quite a bit. That's actually partially what got us into independent development in the first place, and piqued my interest in procedural development. We lost the file over the years, and when I went to download it again, I intended to purchase it, but Rockland was gone, and all of the mirrors across the entire internet pointed to Rockland. There's not one mirror anywhere. I think at one point I even sent you a letter Mr Barrows, because there's nowhere to purchase or download 1.3 anymore. Nowhere. If there was, I'd throw my money at it.

 

I'm very pleased to hear that you are working on a new version. That will be a day one purchase for me, and it's going directly on three forms of backup.

Edited by Arsonide

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are good limitations for a playable demo version of an rpg?

...only included 3 of 50 types of animals

The above "limitation" might backfire. After playing many big-budget titles with rediculously sparse mob variety, a person viewing the demo could easily come to the conclusion that it's some sort of advertising campaign talking about a developer's Big Dreams for the Future. Which most often don't materialize.

 

Since RPG is usually about levelling up, definitely have a demo level-cap but give them the experience of levelling up to begin with. Allow the player to enjoy levelling up and get good and hooked on the Amazing Fantastic New Abilities. Then have the level-cap and the upper parts of the skill tree greyed out. Allow players to make immense sacrifices to try out a couple deep build order strategies. Let them also see descriptions and stats and whatnot of the abilities they cannot get in the demo.

 

Basic philosophy is to get them playing it and wanting more, for a nominal fee.

Edited by AngleWyrm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RPGs should generally be limited by level or something that resembles level, like a 30-day trial.

And by level, I mean stats-based character level.

I would buy a RPG limited by level, because it ends abruptly and keeps you wanting more, assuming I enjoy the RPG. Sure I would buy the game if set up differently, but I would probably feel less motivated to.

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.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!