Indie RPGs: how long the demo should be?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Jack Norton, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. Jack Norton

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    I'm asking specifically people who make RPGs. How long do you make the demo, in particular in relationship with the total game length?
    I haven't yet reached chapter 3 of my Planet Stronghold game and it's already 2h long (depending on playing/reading speed, but even skipping *everything* it's minimum 1h).
    I plan to have 10 chapters, of even length. Should I stop the game at chapter 3, so the players see approx. 1/3 of the game, or it's too long?
    I see some games like Spiderweb ones that have very LONG demos, but I also suspect because they are like 25-30h of gameplay total.
    I didn't had the time to play any other RPG (Amanda's, Aldorlea, Basilisk) so I must admit I'm quite unaware of what is the average indie RPG demo length :eek:
     
  2. Indinera

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    Almost all the RM developers (including myself) use a one hour trial.
     
  3. Jack Norton

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    Cool thanks. Indeed 1h should be enough to see most of the game features (in my case some are unlocked later, but I guess 1h should be fine).
     
  4. Jasmine

    Jasmine New Member

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    I would recommend a demo be about 20-25% of the full game. Give too much in a demo, and there's less reason to buy the full game. Plus, the player could get bored before they've finished the demo. But give too little and there may not be enough to hook the player.

    So if there's ten chapters in the full game, I'd put just two or three in a demo. They could even be specially made demo chapters to give a "best of" experience, with less of the "filler" that goes into the full game. I think it's also important to keep much of the content from later chapters a mystery, but do allude to it.

    Timed demos I dislike. If I'm slow picking the game up, or am interrupted by something in real life, then the hour could be over before I've really sampled the game. I may want to play a demo several times to decide whether I actually like the game. So if the hour has run out and it won't let me play, I'd be inclined uninstall it and forget about it.
     
  5. Jack Norton

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    When I made timed demos, you could restart from the beginning and the timer would reset. In practice you could get 1 hour of the game story, not 1 hour of gameplay.
    Probably will end the story at a specific point with a cliffhanger, roughly about 1h of play.
     
  6. Tobias

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    A/B-test, or leave money on the table.
     
  7. berserker

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    It should be unlimited, online, with micro-transactions :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jack Norton

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    I know :) I could already do that if I had a working installer/patcher program!
    (not for this title though since it's story based)
     
  9. ManuelMarino

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    Nice, Jack... so it's a scifi game? we need more scifi RPGs...
     
  10. Jack Norton

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    Yes, made a thread here some time ago. Will ask for feedback on it again soon, hopefully before end of month :)
     
  11. whisperstorm

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    It would be ideal if you could end the story on a real cliffhanger right as they run out of time. This will motivate them to register. Another thought - have a unique pre-game storyline as the demo -- this might encourage completists to want to get both the preview and the full story. Offer folks who register at a certain point a special bonus item in the game... just kicking around ideas.
     
  12. Jack Norton

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    Thanks, indeed I have already some interesting ideas including a sort of online-only battle arena and some bonus items for pre-orders.
     

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