Willibab

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What do you guys prefer? A small taste of the overall game? Enough to get a feel for the various systems or story? Or hours upon hours!
 

cellicom

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Yesterday I release my demo on the android store.
It is about 60-90 minutes of gameplay.
This demo has the first chapter and most of the game mechanics and ends with a suspance (incomplete) event.
Maybe it's too much, but I think it's a good compromise to make the player curious to continue playing your game in the full version to know what happen after that scene.
 

DateMajima

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What do you guys prefer? A small taste of the overall game? Enough to get a feel for the various systems or story? Or hours upon hours!
I think the first choice is better.
Too long time will make the player know too much about the plot and it will be boring when playing full version.
 

StarCrunchRPG

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I'd say if you're doing it by chapter, put in the first chapter as the demo. If you're doing anything else, put in about half an hour of game play, just to show off the basic premise of the game.
 

Ellenor

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Short, give them a sample of everything and end with some kind of bait so they want to know more =P
Like an hour I would say is a good demo size.
 

Froggo32

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If it's long [3+ hours of gameplay] I'd go with from 30 minutes to an hour. Unless your plot is very fast paced, a 30 minute gameplay would be enough to discover what kind of game you're dealing with. If the game is very long and slow-paced, like 10 hours, a 45minutes-hour would be nice.
I think Undertale's demo was about 40m~hour, that's how long it took me to finish it if I remember correctly. The whole game is from about 10 hours on your first run. The 1st 'chapter', or rather location, isnt really plot-packed. Its more of an introduction to how the game works and shows you...possibilities.
For short games, like 3> hours of gameplay a 30 minute demo would be perfect imo. If its like an hour long, then maybe 15-20 minutes...I dont think that such short games need a demo though, unless you really want to motivate yourself to not abandon the project youre working on.
 

freakytapir

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What do you guys prefer? A small taste of the overall game? Enough to get a feel for the various systems or story? Or hours upon hours!

Everything up to lvl 60, including the award winning expansion Heavensward ...

But I'm kidding.

A Demo, I feel, should be long enough to show me that I like it, but not enough that I had my fill with it.

Now, actually releasing a demo might not actually be a good idea.
Because sometimes a demo might make your game look bad, or you just showed the players the best part, and they've had enough.

Or the demo is the tutorial and the first dungeon.

Great, now I get to replay the real game up to that point. (Except if you can get a way for the progress to be carried over).

But if you start the demo partways in, then ... I'm spoiled on what happens afterwards, and clueless while playing.

Narrative RPG's don't really lend themselves to Demos, I find.

What works better is a good video showing off your game. A trailer.
 

ericv00

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Anything less than half of the content is acceptable. So long as the story is left without payoffs and no part of the game play mechanics reach full progression, you will have something to pull interested people into a purchase.

You have to give enough for people to get a grip on the mechanics and the story, though. Providing only the setup and really really basic mechanics will not provide enough for people to get their teeth around. If you want someone to order a steak and potatoes meal, you don't just give them a taste of raw meat.

But if you start the demo partways in, then ... I'm spoiled on what happens afterwards, and clueless while playing.

Narrative RPG's don't really lend themselves to Demos, I find.

What works better is a good video showing off your game. A trailer.
Nah. You make your demo a flashback sequence of a side character. Do some world-building, have the mechanics in a state of useful utilization, and yet, reveal nothing about the story of the relevant characters while having a useful and understandable setup of a story beat.

Essentially, make a condensed version of your style of storytelling and mechanics while 'setting the scene'.
 

BenSD

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My demo is pretty long -- at least a couple hours if you don't already know what to do. On the other hand, I think that's longer than you need in almost any case. For me, a lot of unique mechanics don't come in until you've played for a while, so the added content is still just to give people a feel for what they're getting. If you can lay a solid foundation with half an hour of gameplay, I also think that's a fine length for a demo. In general, I think less than an hour is enough, but my experience has taught me that it varies from game to game.
 

freakytapir

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Nah. You make your demo a flashback sequence of a side character. Do some world-building, have the mechanics in a state of useful utilization, and yet, reveal nothing about the story of the relevant characters while having a useful and understandable setup of a story beat.

Essentially, make a condensed version of your style of storytelling and mechanics while 'setting the scene'.

That actually sounds like a great Demo.

Except you're now taking development time away from your main game.

Wouldn't the main game be better if you spent that time there?
 

ericv00

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That actually sounds like a great Demo.

Except you're now taking development time away from your main game.

Wouldn't the main game be better if you spent that time there?
A flashback is the main game if it is part of the storyline.

My... eventual demo will almost certainly be the first 'chapter'. But there is at least one flashback of a side character that explains things that one of the main characters needs to learn and contributes to their development. If I wasn't using the first chapter, this would be prime demo fodder.

It is almost trivial for me to think up of scenarios where past events of then-matured characters contribute to the setup of any story that happens. A person's life does not exist in a vacuum.

In my story, the father of a main character is relevant, so it would be easy to generate a scenario with a flashback of the father, complete with a good chunk of the game mechanics and world-building, just to setup the reason why this main character grew up the way they did to result in them becoming the kind of person they are.

Bam! Mechanics. Relevant story. No spoilers. No significant story payoff. Demo. And hopefully, a good hook.
 

Popoto_milk

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A demo should be the bare minimum required to get a feel for the most pertinent aspects of the game. I don't want to be spoiled (something long demos tend to do) or have to excessively re-do part of the game.

Aside from that, there are good points and bad points to cut things short. You gotta hit the goldilocks zone with length. Too short and the player is still unsure. Too long and it'll hamper the full game's experience.

Related-but-not-actually-the-game demos get the benefits of short and long lengths...but that does need a workload balance.
 
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Kes

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All my games have followed the same pattern. No demo before the game is complete. Things are being adjusted and changed right up to the last minute including (and especially) balance. So for me releasing a demo before then would not be showcasing the game at its best.

The demo is the first 1.0 - 1.5 hours. The time depends on how thoroughly and/or slowly you play, and ends at a particular point. BUT NOTE, your save file carries forward into the full game if you buy the full version, so you do not lose any progress you have made.

In my just completed project, with a typical playtime of around 9 - 10 hours, the demo covers dungeon + town + dungeon + cut scene showing how your 5th character ended up where you found her. That gives plenty of time to show all the basic battle mechancs, the skill tree and general style of play, a good taste of the story, and you've met all your characters. By that time you will have a good idea of whether or not you like this game.

I have a secondary reason for releasing a demo of about this sort of length. If you release to Steam the player has the option of getting a refund if they change their mind. However, I always sell on the Aldorlea site first, before going to Steam. There is no refund there. It seems to me that a free demo of this sort of length is a reasonable alternative to a refund.
 

RivalRamen_Games

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I feel like a tiny taste of what's to come is great! Just enough to introduce the main mechanics, such as battle, shopping, and other main stuff, then end the demo with a cliffhanger so the players would be all like, "What the- WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN?! I. NEED. TO. KNOW!!!"
Player: "One full version of *Insert gamename here*... please?"
Dev: "It's not finished ye-"
Player: *Yeets credit card at Dev* "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"
Honestly, if I did that, I would get thrown out of the store and probably banned and arrested for disturbance of the peace...
 

peq42_

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for a demo on a paid game, I'd say 30min-1h of playable content is ideal. It'll bring enough content to let the player decide if they want to buy the full thing

for a game in development, release a demo with as much bug-free contr t as possible, to keep players interested
 

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