The good and bad trailers

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by kglarsen, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

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    So I'm thinking about making some trailers for the forthcoming game I'm working on and I thought I'd find some inspiration among both trailers from indie games and trailers from the big game studios.
    Looking at many of the trailers for indie games I can conclude - Far most of them really suck!

    Many of them are more or less just consist of 1-2 minutes of gameplay, you don't get any introduction to the game:

    What is the background story?
    What is the goal(s)?
    How do you get there?

    You indie-gamer heads will probably hate me for saying this, but the trailers that are made for The Sims 3 are actually GOOD trailers! They really sum up what that game is all about, and presenting it in an exiting manner that makes me want to know more.
    And if you look at the "official" trailer (Search on YouTube) - it's more than just simple gameplay which is being shown, it's actual useful information!

    An example of a really bad could be the trailer for "Maziac" (Search on YouTube).

    I'm not saying that indie game trailers are all bad and mayor game trailers are all good - but there is a tendency!

    So my point is: If you want to make good sales/downloads and get exposure - make better, more interesting and informing trailers!

    I'm working on a text-based game, and that seems pretty hard to make an exiting game trailer out of that, right? But I have a plan, and this will for sure be a set of trailers worth watching, considering that's it's a text-based game.
     
  2. Scharlo

    Original Member

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    I disagree with this theory. Yes, big game studio trailers have much bigger production values and they will sometimes give you more than just the gameplay, but I personally don't care about this. I don't care about the background story, goals, how you get here, etc ? I mean what is the difference ? Things that would make go check the game after seeing the trailer are either gameplay or graphics.
    Also, it depends what is the purpose of the trailer. Sometimes you just want to give people a glance of upcoming project like we did with this game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN8dFYrq8js

    Fact that the story, goals and even the gameplay are very vague actually worked in our favor because people started talking about it and it created the buzz we were looking for. Obviously, when we launch the game (next week btw) we will release the trailer that would focus on gameplay.

    Anyway, good luck with your trailer and the game !
     
  3. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

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    Well actually I'll concider the trailer, you've posted a link to, a GOOD trailer. I think that this trailer tells a background story and the purpose of the game - it gives me the information I need on this game. It's not just plain and simple gameplay as many other trailers.

    So from me:

    Congratulations on making a GOOD trailer!
     
  4. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    I think that like anything in life, it's easy to say "make good trailers" and a bit more difficult to actually do that.

    In addition, most devs don't want to take the time out to work out all of the kinks of a great trailer.

    It's like, "If you want to sell more games, make a better website." Great advice, however, that takes time/money/effort/quite a bit of knowledge about web design...
     
  5. EdMace

    EdMace New Member

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    Trailers

    Hi-there are definitely some great trailers out there without a doubt. As a voice actor for example,I can see the benefits of having a trailer with no voice over as well as one with a VO. If your appeal is to a larger world wide market where English isn't spoken or read,it obviously makes no sense to have English text and or English VO-save your money for the production value of the trailer itself. It's been my experience that if you have a well written script for a trailer along with a superior soundtrack and good VO,you will arouse the senses and curiosities of those viewing it.Then of course you have to back it all up with your product.You don't want to invest in an incredible trailer and follow it with a substandard game.It will likely turn your audience off to your next project. Follow your heart. Ed
     
  6. CraigStern

    CraigStern New Member

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  7. EdMace

    EdMace New Member

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    Critique of the trailer that's already out

    Hi Craig-I checked out the link you posted here.The music with the military-like snare drum add a nice feel and draws the viewer in. The text coming at you looks nice,the second text at :04 looks a little wobbly but still gets the message across. I found the juxtaposition of the illustrations with the actual in-game graphics was very unique. As a trailer/character vo person,I guess I'm a sucker for hearing a voice under the soundtrack.Overall-nice job man :) I recorded something for you and will try to figure out how to get it to you now. Ed
     
    #7 EdMace, Jan 29, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  8. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    "Far most of them really suck!"

    And most of them are too long. Should be short and sweet, hit em fast and hard.
     
  9. gutripper

    gutripper New Member

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    I agree with kglarsen. In most cases, footage of gameplay without any context is less informative, and less interesting. And tools like Vegas are pretty inexpensive and easy enough to learn. This only took me a few hours.
     
  10. Andrej Vojtas

    Andrej Vojtas New Member

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    I also agree that presenting a gameplay in a setting/context makes your game look more unique/memorable.

    My take on this subject is: making a good trailer is about communicating what's the hook with your game. So in the first place you have to have something unique in your game and know how to communicate it. Now build the trailer around it. If the hook is in the story, show me. If it's in the gameplay, show me.

    Now onto the feedback request of the strategy RPG in this thread: Answer yourself a question: why will people play my game? For the unique story? For the unique strategy? For ...? Show that in the trailer (and in the right priority).

    And that's why the trailers that work best are of high production values. As most of them have nothing unique to offer, eye candy blinds many and thus wins.
     
    #10 Andrej Vojtas, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  11. Walter Druck

    Walter Druck New Member

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    in some cases it's kind of hard to visualize your USP in an interesting way, we had the issue of communicating that our RTS universe was persistent and your empire was still online when you logged out. instead we chose to reuse our ingame content to do a cinematic mood-making sort of approach and let a narrator point that out. still not sure whether that was the ideal solution.

    for your viewing pleasure here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqv1e8U18ME
     
  12. saimo

    saimo New Member

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    kglarsen, I've noticed this thread only now, but since it's still recent and since just yesterday I released a trailer for a game of mine, I thought I'd share my experience with you.

    I released the game about 10 months ago and later I also made a trailer. That trailer aimed to introduce the game in a progressive, gentle way, because the game is quite weird and hard to appreciate by just watching it in action. Well, that was a bad idea. I was wrong, and the result was terrible (as I've been told in this thread here on Indiegamer). The reason is that a trailer's objective should be different. As said by others here, the trailer has to catch the watcher's attention, stimulate his/her curiosity.
    Eventually, I retired that trailer, but lately I've found myself in need of a trailer for a certain reason. So, I started to work on a new one, keeping in mind what I had learned and not being afraid of surprising the viewer (actually, I guess that's something a good trailer should try to achieve). The new trailer ended up being exactly the opposite of the old one: if even I don't know how much successful this attempt is, but I'm sure that it's more effective.

    Just my two cents.
     
  13. EdMace

    EdMace New Member

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    Celtania Trailer

    Hi Walter-Just watched the trailer you linked-very nicely done my friend-very nicely done. Impressive.I hope it did well for you. If you ever need any voice work in the future for characters or trailers,don't hesitate to contact me. Regards,Ed Mace
     
  14. kglarsen

    kglarsen New Member

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    The Celetania trailer is indeed a really good trailer! My concern however is that the trailer show off some great 3D graphics and breathtaking action... But after having watched in-game videos on YouTube - there's none of that. So the trailer doesn't represent the game itself in no way! Which I think is pretty bad.
     
  15. Walter Druck

    Walter Druck New Member

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    thanks, edMace. although I can't take much credit for the trailer itself, I mainly did conceptart for the project. will be keep an eye on your site though, thanks

    kglarsen, it's true that there's a bit of window dressing in staging your game content in such a way, but I think it's a permittable approach. looking at the cg trailers some of the big studios produce - blizzard being an extreme example - I think a trailer can very well just aim to enliven the gameuniverse. especially in the RTS genre I think this is a common move.
    I see your point though, gameplay prospect wise we're not being very concise about our product.
     
  16. saimo

    saimo New Member

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    This discussion got me intrigued and so I watched both the trailer and a gameplay video. The trailer, in its cinematic style, is cool and technically fine without doubt; and I also find that it gives subtle hints as to what the actual game is like (well, at least the gameplay video showed me what I was expecting - by the way, the game seems very well done!), but I agree that showing also some real action could have been better.

    Now I'd be curious to hear what you guys think about my trailer, since it goes exactly in the opposite direction: it's based entirely on the actual gameplay and goes straight to the point - an additional reason for this is that the game is prominently retro and so without extra-game elements. If you can bother having a look at it, you can download the full-quality video (it's about 22 Mb) from here, but, if you prefer, it is also available for streaming on Dailymotion, GameTrailers and GameVideos (I guess the streaming videos have been filtered/converted somehow, so the intended pixelation of the original got somewhat lost).
     
  17. Walter Druck

    Walter Druck New Member

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    I think your game looks interesting and has a cool retro appeal. your approach to show the games diversity is cool too, personally I just think there's too little dramaturgy in the trailer. the viewer might need a little more context for all the flashing imagery and will have trouble recognizing any game mechanics.cindering that it might be a bit long overall.

    that said, I'm aware that it's somewhat difficult to create something from the few resources this kind of game provides. maybe some simple animated text would help to create context and additional graphical appeal. just my opinion though.

    kglarsen, re-reading your post, I feel the need to clarify: you did see that there actually are 3d graphics and space battles in the game i hope? nevertheless your point stands that the trailer isn't depicting 1:1 gameplay
     
  18. saimo

    saimo New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I find quite valid. In fact, I had considered providing some sort of guide/explanation. Eventually, I preferred avoiding that only because of these reasons:
    * the bad experience I had with the first trailer (which, as I was saying in my previous post, tried just too much to "teach");
    * the fact that the core and most relevant aspect of the game is stressful exploration (and related elements like disorientation, claustrophobia, puzzles), which is impossible to capture effectively and in a catchy manner (unfortunately, that feeling can only be experienced by playing the demo);
    * explaining the elements mentioned at the previous point would bore the watcher;
    * [not so serious motivation] "BOH" is an interjection that means "I don't know", so I found a partially confusing video quite appropriate :D
    So, I decided to "shock" the watcher by showing more the action side of the game, in the hope that those 2 minutes would suffice to convince the people who can potentially like the game to head to the website.
    Good move? Bad move? Well, I'll hopefully learn and do a better job the next time around...

    Ah, wait... it looks I too have missed those parts :p I watched a gameplay video up to about 54%, when spaceships took the tunnels to travel through space and the player started inspecting a galaxy. So, my previous comment might use some re-tuning as well.
     
    #18 saimo, Feb 18, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2010
  19. EdMace

    EdMace New Member

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    Trailers....

    There are pros and cons to all trailers out there-major big game studios and great indie developer contenders alike. Some show graphics that never once appear in the game while others go to the opposite extreme and show only in game graphics game-play and some do a blend of the extremes.Ultimately a good trailer will grab your attention with eye candy but at the same time be honest about what they're trying to sell you. No one wants to be led into thinking that what they're seeing and hearing is actually in the game,when only after purchasing the game,find out it's not. Bottom line-make it easy on the eyes and ears,simple and easy to understand but also intriguing enough to pull your audience in. Easy enough to say but harder to achieve :)
    What was that...about 20 'easy's ? lol
     
  20. nogusielkt

    nogusielkt New Member

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    I am interested in your plan to make the trailer of a text-based game exciting. I've got a simulation rpg in the works myself that's text-based, but I've read very little information about trailer making, other than vague notions.
     

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