How to create a "good first impression" of your RPG Maker game and have a "good flow" throughout your game?

A_Higher_Plane

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I thought that if your game has a demo, then this is most important. I think that a good game would be gripping to the player. But it should continue to be fun, good and exciting. What can be done to especially make it look good for first time players?

I thought that a "good flow" for a video game should be exciting. The game with a fast-paced story would be exciting to a player like myself.

What visual and sound things would make the game look so good and be so gripping? Maybe adding audio voices to the written text can help you?

I thought that another very important thing is to have a good "reward factor". You put in effort for something and then you receive a reward. That is so psychological. Maybe side quests would do.
 

ATT_Turan

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I always say that one of the most vital aspects of a good first impression is your use of language (English, if that's how you're marketing the game).

Yes, you want your combat to show off interesting things that require choices and you want your demo to show something of how your characters progress. But I have tried so many games where I don't even get far enough to fight something...I'll read several messages worth of poor English and I know that no matter what the rest of the gameplay is like, I won't want to put up with an entire game of that, so I uninstall.

If you're going to make a budget for anything before releasing a game you'll charge for, a professional proofreader for your script is a really good idea.
 

r66r

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I agree... for a "good first impression" we always think about the quality of the graphics, the "wow" special effects, the captivating music. But the poor quality of the writing, with spelling or grammatical errors, is really what hurts the eyes very quickly... and makes our interest in the rest of the game drop.

For the "good flow", I think it's mostly consistency that's important. Keeping the same tone of speech for characters, consistency of graphics between maps of the same genre, if sound effects are used for small details, then they should be used throughout the game, etc.
 

Zeireth

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Don't listen to the naysayers. Don't cater to everyone. Make a game you want to play. Don't worry so much about the opinions of others.

There will always be haters. Find enjoyment through your creation. Show that interest, show your enthusiasm. You will draw others around yourself or your game that want to play it. Your game isn't AAA or professional, and so what.

There are many great games that never see the light. You are doing the right thing asking for help. Never see it as weakness.

I understand your language is Russian. It is okay to create it in your local language. If you have to use Google translate or an online translator, then so be it. Who knows you might get a fan that can help translate because they care.

Not all good games have amazing stories or graphics. Could you imagine if the original Legend of Zelda wasn't created back in time, but rather in modern times. It would have most likely not seen the success as it does now.

You are spiritual and a self improvement geek. Please continue improving. Thank you for asking a question on this forum. I hope you can find your solution to your question. Remember there are helpful kind people here. Most of them are silent like me. I rarely post.
 
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I agree with the above posters that general "polish" is very important for a good first impression, including well-edited dialogue. The graphics, music and other aesthetic elements attract the viewer.

However, they are not the most important elements in a demo. The gameplay is. Players play demos to get a taste of the game, and for them to want to play the rest, they have to enjoy the gameplay. I play demos to see whether or not I will enjoy a game before buying it, so a demo's gameplay should be both engaging and give the player an idea of what the rest of the game is like. If I don't enjoy playing a demo, I won't play the rest of the game, regardless of the quality of the graphics, soundtrack or dialogue.
 

r66r

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However, they are not the most important elements in a demo. The gameplay is. Players play demos to get a taste of the game, and for them to want to play the rest, they have to enjoy the gameplay. I play demos to see whether or not I will enjoy a game before buying it, so a demo's gameplay should be both engaging and give the player an idea of what the rest of the game is like. If I don't enjoy playing a demo, I won't play the rest of the game, regardless of the quality of the graphics, soundtrack or dialogue.
True if, in my opinion, it is a demo of a game still in development (and explicitly mentioned as such to the player). If it's a free demo of a finished game, the best gameplay wouldn't, I think, make up for the lack of other aspects.

Another point came to mind when I read @Zeireth's post. The larger (and more international) your target audience is, the higher the quality of your game will have to be if you want to get noticed and attract players. And the more players you attract, the more you will have to deal with criticism and high expectations from them. In that case, choosing your target audience well, and adapting the content of your game accordingly, is an important aspect not to be neglected either. So there's no magic bullet, I think, that can answer all your questions in the OP. It really depends on your target audience and their expectations... and what you are willing to concede in terms of development time, content and quality to meet them.
 

StarCrunchRPG

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You see, everyone has a different way of doing this and mine is the most generic. I'd say first make a general outline for the game. Some people (Me) don't think things through which is why you need to figure out the basic Idea.

Write out lines of dialogue and cutscenes and correct the mistakes. I can't stress the fact enough that when I look at such a cool preview to a game, then I see the dialogue is all jumbled and misspelled. Now if you are making them have some sort of speech impediment or accent, Then I understand.

And some people (Me) aren't very organized, which is why you need to keep track of your progress. Put your goals in a notebook, and mark those goals when you get one done. It's really stressful and annoying to give up an Idea halfway through.

Just start with the characters and dialogue first for your game. Then move on to a new thing and finish each piece of the game one at a time. And make sure to take breaks every once in a while. I think that is the best way to make sure you can put good flow in the game.
 

Tai_MT

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I'm going to fall a little out of the norm here, I think, but I'll add my two cents.

If the question is purely "How do you create a good first impression?" in terms of your game, then that answer is going to vary wildly depending on what your game actually is and who it is targeted toward as an audience.

These are, invariably, questions about "Marketing". As such, you can learn a lot about how to do that effectively by simply watching trailers for movies. Well... most trailers.

Is the movie an action movie? Guess what's in the trailer? A baseline set up of who the heroes are, who the villains are, the general motivation of both, and then it's like 2 minutes of action and one-liners. The more bombastic and funny, the better.

Is the movie a romance movie? Guess what's in the trailer? Who the romantic leads are, the premise behind how their relationship gets started, the set up for what is keeping them from "true happiness", and then just a bunch of scenes of them being romantic and contemplative and maybe sad.

Is the movie one of horror? The trailer is the basic set up for whatever you're meant to be afraid of, and then a lot of disturbing imagery and a few scares thrown in to give you a "sample" of what you can expect.

On and on.

This is typically pretty great marketing.

For me, video games need to rely on this same sort of presentation.

Who are the main characters? What is the premise of the game? Now show me what I can expect. If you have a demo, it needs to establish this stuff as well... except it needs to MAKE ME CARE about those things (which is why a lot of demos for games don't really translate to sold copies... Because the people who make the demos have no idea how to market anything, and aren't really giving you a good impression of their game that makes you care about what is going on).

Then, your game actually needs to match what that marketing is portraying. Especially in terms of pacing.

If you advertise your game as, "You're going to run around on the island and overthrow the warlord and blow up a lot of stuff in crazy ways!", then your game sort of needs to do that decently frequently. This is why Just Cause 2 was a ton of fun... and Just Cause 3 and 4 just... aren't. Just Cause 2 advertised itself as "You are blowing up stuff constantly and grappling all over the place and doing crazy stuff with the physics". The gameplay of Just Cause 2 is "You can't go 30 yards without finding something you should be blowing up to advance the plot, enemies and vehicles and random objects to grapple hook onto, and playing with the crazy physics to make your own fun. Guns are the least fun thing here." Just Cause... 4, was it? Advertises doing a lot of crazy stuff in storms and wingsuit gliding and all sorts of action packed stuff... and the game is... "Wander through empty landscapes, never really see storms, you can't interact with them in interesting or meaningful ways, your tools are boring, and even grapple hooking isn't fun".

If your game doesn't match to what you're advertising, you will not have good sales. Your pacing can kill anything your marketing may have done.

This is one of the things I've always found to be weird about RPG advertising. These are invariably games about story, characters, and setting. Combat is a tertiary concern. Yet... most advertising for these games basically just shows nothing except combat. Turn based combat. The animations for the combat actions. The bland and boring stuff.

I pick an RPG to play based upon its premise and its main characters.

I picked up Final Fantasy X because the demo was so good. The music hit the right spots, there was enough mystery to not know what is going on, and the main character seems like a likeable, albeit very spoiled, kid. I wanted to know what was going on, what this place was, and what this kid was meant to accomplish in terms of the plot.

I picked up Mass Effect because the advertisement for it was basically, "You will have to make choices that affect the entire galaxy, and not all of those choices will be easy.". The game didn't really disappoint on that front either. I made a great many choices in the series... Everyone did. So many that the third game in the franchise was lambasted for the final choice "not really mattering at all". That's how effective the marketing was in telling the player was the gameplay was... and then in the gameplay delivering exactly what was promised by the advert.

For RPG's, I need some sort of set up. Who are the heroes? The villains? What's the challenge?

Heck, let's look at even MMO's and their advertising.

World of Warcraft's advertisements pretty much exclusively set up crazy storylines and action scenes and a "world defining event" for every expansion. Then, they don't really deliver all that well, or all that often. The gameplay doesn't reflect this and is instead "grind until you pass out from boredom" or "the story just got incredibly stupid and they retconned most of the story up to this point".

Then, you've got Final Fantasy XIV, which ONLY advertises the storyline in its trailers. Seriously, that's it. They give you some awesome music, they show off the "new content", they deliver "out of context" snippets of the story, with phrases ripped out of different chunks of the story, so that when you see them in the game, they are recontextualized. It's exciting, bombastic, and promises you a story that absolutely delivers. Meanwhile, their website just says, "Oh, we got crafting, housing, fashion, emotes, mini-games, racing, guilds, etcetera". Their game is primarily about the story... and the rest is stuff you stick around for after the story is done. Or, when you need a break from the story. The marketing sets the pacing of the game very well.

So, when you engage in marketing for you game, you need it to advertise exactly what your game is and what the pacing to be expected is.
 

gstv87

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write a good story and stick to it.
don't drop an exposition dump on the player.... the player is supposed to be the main character, so they should know what kind of universe they're in.
give it for granted, and only reveal information that the character isn't supposed to know beforehand.

if a player meets a wizard in a world where magic is a thing, the first thing they should ask is not "Are you a wizard?" but "What school you go to?" or "How long have you been doing this?"
magic is granted, specialization is unknown.
 

A_Higher_Plane

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Oh my English? English is my best language and my Russian is a distant second. Russian is my native language but it isn't my best language. But I have long-term "thought disorders" and that is why it seems like I am not good at English. And it's not about the spelling as that is not problematic to me. I make grammar mistakes due to these thought disorders. I call myself now "semi-dyslexic". I make far worse Russian language grammar mistakes and have a rather limited Russian vocabulary. I can't even say properly different grammar words with the Russian word "exam".
 

Zalzany

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Yeah to get on bandwagon the writing. I don't expect 3d immersion or AA or AAA studio quality. If you got really cool artwork and cg that is neat as hell. But if your writing is bad, as it looks like a child wrote it I cut some slack for people who english is not first language but its number one thing I see people rage about, that MTL they can't stand that. After that how well is writing not just did you follow grammar nazi rules, no no does it hit me in feelz where it suppose to. Is suppose to make me laugh at this point is it? This looks like it suppose to be sad it doesn't feel sad.

You can use cg and music to help with those very very much same with lighting and many other things. I mean there is games out there just with tone of the music, some basic art, and a lighting change can hit smack dab in the feels.


And that is where other stuff comes in. The writing is good but visually nothing. Every one is just standing still for 5 minutes while a short story unfolds a good one right, but its like ok why still being show, fade the screen and show me like a CG image instead I don't want to read some dramatic event and see the MC just stand there next to a waterfall emotionless. Use the balloons icons make the jump, or step back in shock or awe, make them sprint at the person they been chasing after and you finally found. Don't be afraid to jsut use in game effects my last tech I had a more spunky rogue charactor she hits people a couple times I used the generic battle sounds for that, and played one of battle effects for her hitting some one. If its big hit you take a step back durring the cut scene minor screen shake. I mean there is a lot of assets we got with just the basic RTP to work with.

That is what captivates me I want see some one I love to hate, best ones I played there is person shows up early on in story you hate him just on first meeting you hate him you suppose to hate him, he is better then the MC but not really. Like there one guy's name is Dave I think it was, he mayors son, a complete jerk, starts off more fit then you, and well mayors son so gots money, and power and your just some poor son of the town hunter. And girl first thing he does is try to embarass you in front of the love interest you meet in game.

From that point on him and his dad I always want to **** over every chance I get. Like I legit relished idea of it. And that is all intentional. You suppose to see him as bully who is legit better then you in every way but personality. Your really enjoy when you start to do well in game. And he isn't main char persay but is there. Like one mission you get to rob the mayors house oh man I loved that missions its 100% optional, but its like I want to stick it to the mayors family I hate them so much!

Like that I love that game has a rival who isn't really there a lot but he gets you worked up, I seen like 3-4 cutscenes with him in total over a ton of hours, but every time he is such a horrible bad person you just feel it, what MC feels like I hate this guy BUT I can't do nothing but this little thing right now, but one of these days oh were gonna get him and his crooked dad!

Like that is great writing to me. When there is something you love to hate, and some people even like Dave ewww, but that is the thing you either hate him with every fiber of your being, or like him lol. And there innkeeper like that to, he treats barmaid fair most the time, but also kind of creep if she is low on tips you can see him bother her in hall in the inn after the bar closes about her take for the night. And that is another one some side with stingy creep, most hate him, and you want be her knight in shining armor. That I love so much more then some stuff I seen where its like "oh he is jerk ok, hope I don't see him again." Like in pokemon garry was more annoying as rival then anything else but Dave was hardly there and he got my blood pumping with hate lol.

I am for example still working on prolugue tutorial part of my current project. There is guy Bruce he is MC hero you win a chance to train under him, and by the end it turns into a don't meet your heros learnable moment. He isn't there for rest but posters of the great Bruce the Mighty can be found in every town all over the kingdom, as nice salt on wounds as he leave mc for dead in a dungeon declaring you not worthy of his time in the prologue. He character I intend for people to love to hate. Not even be part of the game directly after that point but be some one every compares modern heros to those days. I love that idea, that this guy turned out to not be a real hero just a jerk and glory hound, and you get to be compared to him till locals see you as their own local champanion.

You got live in that shadow of him, and plot wise it will help mc want to be better, but also be part of his struggle. I love that idea. But it was hard pitch at first to my professor was going "so you antagonist never shows up again?" its like yes and he succefuly still antagonizes you just by reputation alone lol. Once I explained how i wanted that to work he was 100% on board and loved the concept that its more personal struggle for the MC and Bruce is just part of it that comparison to a guy you hate you can't get out of and if you talk smack his fans will go "oh no you didn't Bruce would never do those things you just a jealous jerk!" And I love it as not a lot people been in that spot, where you got suck up people calling some one a hero you don't like because its not worth the fight but many can relate to it. Maybe its relative or some one at work or school, that you at one point felt like every one wouldn't stop talking about and comparing you to. That is what I want. That depth to it.
 
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IschmarVI

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Okay, I am really bad at the "first impression" part but when it comes to flow, I believe that it is a good idea to add new mechanics/ideas/gimmicks throughout the game but to spread them out somewhat evenly. I am currently working on a ... let's call it "jrpg-inspired turn-based puzzle/strategy battle game" and the way I am approaching this is having every fight do one and ideally exactly one of the following things:


- introduce a new mechanic that is going to be used in future battles (and I basically introduce EVERYTHING this way)

- feature a unique gimmick that may not be used again - this gimmick has to be unique but still somewhat self-explanatory.

- gives you an opportunity to "practice" certain important sequences or patterns. There's not a lot of these fights but there is a small number of key mechanics that I deem so important that I essentially just throw "some chonky monster" at the player so that they can apply and play around with those mechanics.

- forcing you to apply several strategies introduced to you in recent fights and to use them in a single fight (usually the design I use for boss battles)


This keeps the fights challenging and entertaining while also never overloading the player with too many new things.

Another important rule to remember is "show, don't tell". If you can illustrate something in a natural way, do it. Only explain stuff if it is necessary (for example, in my game, opponents can use different types of abilities - and the game shows you what type of ability they have based on the color of their "mana" bar(s) - this is something that probably demands a short(!) explanation because it may not be all that obvious to the player. But when it somes to stuff like "reduce the health of the enemy to 0 to defeat them", this is already "explained" the first time, the player reduces the health of an enemy to 0, because well ... that makes the enemy collapse. Pretty standard stuff.



Of course, my examples were all related to the combat-system but you can apply this to other areas of game design as well like plot and lore. Keep it interesting but don't overload the player with new information or they will feel lost very quickly.
 

sugarcr4sh

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Everyone's referenced "polish" and good grammar etc., but I'd keep in mind the same principles as when you first see a movie trailer or pick up a book.

What catches your interest? What's your target market? If you're making a battle focused game, maybe open with teasing a boss fight.

I'd also focus on your strengths - if you are confident in music composition, highlight that in the beginning of your game to enthrall the player.

You can also look up writing guides about story flow if you aren't sure how to pace things properly.
 

Milennin

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For first impressions, all the things that can be seen at a quick glance and are experienced in the first 5 minutes are that matter strongly. Spelling and grammar errors are an easy turn off. Big, empty maps without a sense of direction are a turn off. The first couple of encounters being nothing but Attack spam are a turn off. Having your first cutscene be 2 still standing NPC's talking to each other while nothing else is happening is a turn off. Bugs that show a lack of playtesting are a turn off.
Those are all basic things that are easy to fix and could be applied to a general RPG Maker project. Just spellcheck your texts. Design maps so there's stuff to see on them and are easy to follow. Start introducing your battle mechanics within the first encounters the player gets into. Have stuff happen in your cutscenes to make them visually more interesting. Playtest your game a lot and try out all the options players have available to them to check if they function properly.

And of course, it also depends on the kind of game you're making. More emphasis should be put on the parts that matter the most in your game, and ensure players experience those as soon as possible. A story/dialogue heavy game should work hard to make sure there are no dumb spelling or grammar mistakes, and that their cutscenes are interesting to watch. An exploration game should have maps that encourage taking different routes and lets players find new stuff around every corner. A combat game needs to have encounters that encourage using skills to get an advantage and introduce new mechanics or strategies over time.
 
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Zalzany

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Everyone's referenced "polish" and good grammar etc., but I'd keep in mind the same principles as when you first see a movie trailer or pick up a book.

What catches your interest? What's your target market? If you're making a battle focused game, maybe open with teasing a boss fight.

I'd also focus on your strengths - if you are confident in music composition, highlight that in the beginning of your game to enthrall the player.

You can also look up writing guides about story flow if you aren't sure how to pace things properly.
To be fair I always thought that was common thing to know. But at same time its first thing my professor for game design quizzed us on with our first game design doc, "what is your target audience? How are you gonna get their attention?" Like he quizzed me, liked the rest went "that is to vague on the document remember the info I showed for age groups and their presences. What age groups are you targeting this determines how the story is done, you don't do E rated script for a game that's target demo is 20-40 year olds who want action. You do it if you want a casual game for 10+. You want to be edge it will up your rating with young adults too edgy and older adults will be annoyed."

But falls under what others said bout good trailers and like I said you got humor in it, show the humor style you are using in game with screens shots trailers and game description. Horror make them feel like it will be spooky as hell. Do jump scare in trailer if you got them in game.
 

SGHarlekin

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Frankly I don't care about demos whatsoever. And from my small sample size data I got from my game, nobody really does. That seems to be especially true when you sell a game for under 10 bucks. Your first impression does not start with the demo. It starts with the store page. If you can interest me in your game on the store page, I'll just buy it. Especially on steam. Why would I bother with a demo? If worst comes to worst, I can just refund. (Mind, I'm NOT saying don't have a demo.)

With that in mind, I would recommend putting a lot of effort into your story page. Awesome trailers, nice art, proper language, and a good description of your game's features is what I want to see.

And I'm not talking about stuff like "This was inspired by *Random popular game*" And certainly not "This is my first game" (Looking at you, itch game devs)
 

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Frankly I don't care about demos whatsoever. And from my small sample size data I got from my game, nobody really does.
I noticed that I used to play Demos a lot more when I was younger. I think it's mostly to do with having money now as an adult. Before I had income, my only choices were Demos or Piracy, lol.
 

Zalzany

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Well yeah if its under 10 bucks why demo? I want to do 14.99 steam price And 7 day opening sale 20% off so 12 bucks. That is little bit different then guys doing 99 cents to 6.99 RPG maker games lol. But I am also skeptical at start so I see less 10 bucks and go "is this even gonna be worth my time, they don't even think its worth that much..." Like I saw some one doing sale for 99 cents on their games and selling like 10 games at that price I just went "god damn they put out 5 a year? Are these episode games where you just pass the steam refund policy and its game over for that price?"

I noticed that I used to play Demos a lot more when I was younger. I think it's mostly to do with having money now as an adult. Before I had income, my only choices were Demos or Piracy, lol.
Yeah that is also part the demographic stuff you are aiming for younger players, demo is bigger deal older not so much. You are going broad put demo in, and shotgun blast that you got target audience focus on that add some shotgun pellets later if you want.
 

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