That is a fairly long intro. Is it not interactive?
It isn't interactive. It's purpose is to set up the main characters and the context for the world you will be interacting with. The player will be making choices in the game very frequently. I want them to have context for those decisions without having to frontload each one with a ton of exposition.
I understands. Still, 20 minutes is a bit on the long side; not as long as some MGS cutscenes though.
I don't want it to be that long. I know people will just "check out" if they're not interested at a certain point. The problem is that I've trimmed dialogue as much as I can and cut scenes out entirely that didn't need to exist. At this point, if the intro doesn't grab you... the rest of the story probably won't. So, probably good to let people quit the game there if they don't care about the story.
20 minutes is actually very long :0 I bet many people like me would get bored after a while. But guess it was inevitable since you tried.
Well, hopefully the choreography and storytelling in those 20 minutes are really, really good.
Well, I think the question then becomes: "Does the 20 minutes actually FEEL like 20 minutes? What if it feels like less time?"
20 mins long is comparable with one episode of anime with less 3-4 minutes, but in vg form, you have to click next, next, next and without timeline bar as if it goes forever. Which is why it usually feels long. Compared to a video that u can skip or know when it ends. Not to mention, reading speed. Which it might even take more than 20 mins.
Not sure if it's fair to put the blame on the player/viewer, saying they lack patience if they won't sit through a 20 minute intro. I'm more than happy to spend 3 hours watching a movie, because I expect to watch it. I expect to PLAY a game, not go for that long WITHOUT playing it.
I'd suggest considering doing away with it altogether. Why does the player need to know everything? Why can't they learn about it during the game? Why can't they make the wrong decision then learn why later, so next time they play they'll choose a different option?
Without knowing what you're doing to combat boredom, are you sure that by the time you get to those decision points, the player will actually remember the info dump you gave them at the start?
I agree with @Shaz. Is this exposition so important that the player can't learn about it as they play the game? The player could learn about your world, its history, and its people in other ways.
I'm (usually) quite a patient player, and I like to know the background lore of the game - but I doubt very much that I'd sit through a 20 min Intro. As Shaz said, this is a game, I expect to be able to play it. I can also guarantee you that with that much info I'm not going to retain it all, so I'd likely make 'wrong' choices anyway. Double suffering.
What about giving it to someone else to sit through (and optionally to play)? You may just be too close to it at this point, and someone with fresh eyes might be able to see obvious and workable alternatives.
Well, the alternative, in my opinion, is worse. Start "in media res", where the player has no idea what's going on, and try to rely very heavily on general information that won't look any different than any other game or some sort of "mystery" that the player may go "WTF is going on?" at.
The issue I run across is that there is no other place to put this information since the entire story revolves around the perspective of the main character. The other options to get this information become "exposition dumps" somewhere else with little impact. It turns from "showing" into "telling", essentially. "Oh, did you know, Main Character, that X, Y, and Z happened? Let's have a flashback to show you!".
I'm not saying 20 minutes isn't a slog. It's become a slog for me, having seen and worked on the intro over 300 times. However, from my perspective, I don't know at this point if it's more of a slog for a player than it has been for me. Especially since it is a story driven game based on choice and not on combat and levels (as so many RPG's are).
Do you think a player would take the same amount of time to go through it? Do you "speed read" through it because you know what it says? Could a player take 10 or 20 minutes MORE because they're actually taking the time to read it properly? Obviously it's your call, but it might be worth giving some warning about it before they download.
I don't really read it that fast because "I know what it says". I know the general gist of what it says, but not the exact wording. So, it's almost like I'm reading it for the first time, each time I go through it (I know, I should have my own dialogue memorized, but I don't, especially as I've made changes).
I've been looking at adding in a disclaimer before download or after it. "Make a save directly after the intro in a second slot if you don't want to sit through this again" or "warning, this intro is kind of long". It likely takes me even longer than it might a player to get through it because I'm looking for animation/text issues...
The question for me becomes, "at what point are you cutting content for length and sacrificing quality in return?" Especially when so many games on these forums all have so very generic introductions that last maybe 3 minutes, tell you nothing, and then throw you into combat. Is length the only measurement for the quality of an intro?
Hmm, no. *But* the intro length *may* contribute to the overall quality of the game. If you only judge for the intro quality, there're a lot of aspect like the choreography, but when u see a bigger picture like the overall game, it becomes desaturated bcz *ppl* want an interaction. (The keyword here is *people* or *players*)
To be fair, this is your own game and I often see you complain about the lack of introduction. Probably this particular game may convey how many games should handle their intro based on your view and who knows if ppl are going like what you did.
You know it isn't. But is "not throwing the player in the deep end and leaving them confused" enough justification to make them sit through 20 minutes of dialogue? DO you throw them into combat immediately after the intro? Why not let them walk around and talk to people, look at stuff, learn some things that way?
How about just give tge players some insight on the current situation first and leave the rest for the player to discover themselves later? It's always fun to learn new things about the game world just by interacting with npcs. And you know, not everything is bound to be known. Some info can be like bonuses and such... hidden in the depths of the game...
I don't really throw my players into combat after the intro. Afterwards, they are given pretty much "free reign" with the game and no cutscene again for quite some time. They are free to talk with NPC's, take quests, engage in combat, etcetera. That's not justification for the length of the intro, but I'd like to avoid taking control away from the player every 5 minutes to show them a cutscene.
It's kind of hard to explain. I want the set up, because it's integral to the player to have the knowledge, but I don't want it to be intrusively long. I also don't want to take control away from the players frequently just to drop cutscenes on them. I'm just not sure there's a good compromise here. 20 minutes up front, or take control away frequently later and sacrifice "show don't tell".
Maybe another solution is just to rewrite the story. Though, that would create extra work at this stage to rework what I already have. I don't know. 20 minutes is excessive. But, I don't have a good way to shorten it without compromising vision or quality.
Isn't putting them through 20 minutes of intro also sacrificing "show, don't tell"? Even if your intro is cutscenes rather than just dialogue, it's time the player is NOT playing, not exploring, not seeing what your game has to offer. It's a tough one. I know I am much more attached to certain things in my game than I need to be.
The problem is the premise of the game. You are shown the world that gives context to the actions of the characters, who are interacting in an entirely different world. If I don't show the actions/events that lead up to the moment the player takes control, then it all has to be "stories told to the player" after the fact. Or thrown into expository cutscenes without much place.
I've ended up just rewriting the story to give only the most basic and barebones the player will need to set up the first choice in the game. I might be able to worm the other cutscenes back in at various points, but I'm not digging the "here's a flashback so I can explain my backstory to you" aspect. Just gotta rework the intro.
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