What is a good length for an RPG maker project?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MrZalgo, Dec 14, 2017.

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What is the optimal length for a project

  1. 20 hours

    42.9%
  2. 40 hours

    14.3%
  3. 60 hours

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. 70 hours

    14.3%
  5. How about split it into episodes

    28.6%
  1. MrZalgo

    MrZalgo I am not Edgy, I am Fabulous Veteran

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    I have the characters and the setting for one of my future projects, but after looking at it, it's pretty overwhelming. I'd say in order to get the story put together nicely, have a good gameplay scenario, and keep it interesting and engaging, the project would be pretty long in length.

    Basically, I want to know what is a good length for my project. I have a poll set up so that I can understand what would be a good length of time I should put the game in.

    Any advice will be well appreciated.
     
    #1
  2. Nightblade50

    Nightblade50 Developer of "Delta Origins" Veteran

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    You should split it into episodes. It will make it far less overwhelming. At least, whenever I split up a game into episodes, it is a lot easier for me.
     
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  3. blade2000br

    blade2000br Villager Member

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    Jesus christ man! try not to burn yourself down while making it!

    I belive the correct here would be to do what you think it's best and suits you.
    I, for example, make my series split into anime-esque episodes, that takes 40 to 60 minutes to complete (or 24 if you are a filthy speedrunner who cares minimal to plot and character development)
    but in the end, it's what suits you better!
     
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  4. SweetMeltyLove

    SweetMeltyLove Veteran Veteran

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    I would say 10 hours is already a lot. Be careful not to think longer = better. Tell the story you want to tell and get enough mileage out of your game systems, but don't pad things out. I don't want an RPG where I spend the first 6 hours fighting rats and slimes, get me to the meat of combat quickly!
     
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  5. MrZalgo

    MrZalgo I am not Edgy, I am Fabulous Veteran

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    I understand what you're saying. I'm starting to think episodes might be a good idea. Thanks though.
     
    #5
  6. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    20 hours is already enormous by indie standards imo
    most of my favourite games (JRPGs) can be beaten in under 10 hours. Parasite Eve (7h w/o speedrunning) Makai Toushi SaGa (5h w/o speedrunning) Parasite Eve 2 (8h w/o speedrunning) Helen's Mysterious Castle (5h w/o speedrunning) (these are my personal endgame time counts)

    all complete experiences that tell their story, dont wear you out, dont bother you with fillers and leave you wanting for more. I'm personally enjoying of small games because: They're easier to make and playtest (duh), with less content, balance and interest becomes easy and you dont have to worry about keeping the gameplay fresh through a 100 hour romp (which is very problematic and leads to the final fantasy xiii syndrome where the first 10 hours of the game are endless tutorials and spoonfed mechanics lol), you dont get tired yourself of the project (a game that's made by an inspiring author definitely shows that through), you'll be able to finish it soon and iterate all your new ideas on your next game rather than adding clutter to your current project...
    there's so many reasons i'm against the ambitious 20 hour game thing hahahaha

    but if that's what you want to do though, more power to you! I love me some long games and admire the authors that push through it and make a good lengthy game.
     
    #6
  7. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    As far as I can see, this is not specifically a commercial game issue.

    I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.



    I believe it is a profound mistake to go into a project with the determination that "this game will last X hours". It should last as long as it needs to, and not one minute more. "As long as it needs to" is determined e.g. by the story you have to tell, or the number of interesting levels that you can create in a dungeon runner. A player can tell when a game has been padded out so that it is X hours long.

    Also, bear in mind that one hour of decent game play requires at least 100 hours of development time. At 2 hours a day, every single day without any let up, that means a 20 hour game (the shortest option you list) will take more than 2.5 years. Your first game will take you longer because you will have to learn so much. Sure, people can turn out a game in less time than that. If they do, it will be for one of 3 reasons:
    1. They have a lot of experience in making and completing games (completing is itself a skill which, sadly, a lot of people don't have).
    2. The game is shorter than 20 hours.
    3. The game is shoddy.
     
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  8. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    My experience says, you made a game with 2 hours worth of gameplay if you play it yourself. Others played it around 4 hours or even someone reported that they played it almost 7 hours. I didn't get it how it became 7 hours, as it really lacks of content to be worth as 7 hours.

    6 hours is reasonable amount. Personally, beyond 6 hours is a fun check for me. If i played 6 hours and the game is nowhere near improvement, like the battle is still boring, and the story is not really engaging, then I might stop playing it. 12 hours is already overwhelming. At this point, my character should have at least reached a high level, and expected to close to end of the story. If I want to continue, I might want a different game, with a different game mechanic so it will feel fresh while still telling the same story
     
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  9. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    i kind of disagree with the 100:1 rule when it comes to RPGs though, mainly because time spent isnt necessarily linear to lengthier games, and depending on how you design your game the work:length ratio can get bigger for longer games. That's because stuff like doing base spell / character graphics, base tiles, getting an art direction, creating and designing the game systems (from scratch) take a chunk of development time that is independent of how long the game is. (other things like playtesting, on the other hand, get drammatically harder with longer games)

    just wanted to add my 5 cents bc i see this analogy thrown a lot -- but when it comes to JRPGs, often the lengthiest part of the development process is setting the game up, and once you have all systems and base graphics up, adding more fun content can be a breeze.

    extreme example: most disgaea games
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  10. Llareian

    Llareian Jack of All Trades, Master of None Veteran

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    70 hours is a ludicrous length for an RPG. The Witcher 3 clocks in at 70 hours, as a Triple-A game with (in my humble opinion) a LOT of junk filler, but nevertheless a HUGE amount of actual content. Final Fantasy 7 was about 70 hours long, and again, was a Triple-A game with a huge amount of content and a pretty linear story, and it was remarkable for its length.

    Open-world games can reach higher gameplay times because of the sheer amount of time you spend walking. While this is an interesting side-effect of the open-world scheme, I would urge you NOT to add more walking into your game to pad play times.

    I think if you're aiming for 70 hours as an indie developer, you're going to miss the mark on quality.

    If, as an indie developer, you told me you made an RPG with 20 hours of content, I'd be impressed. If you told me 40, I'd be very skeptical. Anything over that and I'm going to flat out assume that it's either a lie or a junk game, and I'm not going to buy it.
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Depends on the game. My save file going into my final battle is 20 hours, 30 minutes, and Steam says I've used RPGMaker for over 6000 hours.

    This proved really accurate for my game. I'm at 3.5 years now, and still polishing so as to avoid case #3. And that was even with me having made 6 games with DOS game makers way back in the 90's.

    Still...one thing I'd suggest is if you have never made a game before in this engine, make a short 1 - 2 hour game first. I didn't...and wish I had.
     
    #11
  12. MrZalgo

    MrZalgo I am not Edgy, I am Fabulous Veteran

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    This is why I'm considering going for episodes in order to have the time needed to get good quality for a project this big. The reason it's so big is mainly due to the story, as I like to develop the villains just as much as I want to develop the protagonists.

    Think Xenogears like storyline. (If you don't know about xenogears, look up the explanations, as it's hard to explain the story)
     
    #12
  13. Llareian

    Llareian Jack of All Trades, Master of None Veteran

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    If you really think you've got that much story, then yes, the episodic method would be best. It's more believable that a developer made a 10-hour "episode 1" than a 70-hour massive game. And that's because it's a more reasonable chunk for you to develop. You're just more likely to actually stick with and complete a 10-hour episode (which is still a pretty huge project, mind you) than you are with a MASSIVE 70-hour project. And you can always apply any lessons you learned from your first episode in making your second episode, thus reducing the "oh no, now I have to redo every instance of XYZ in this massive project because I just realized there's a better way..." problem that keeps most projects from getting off the ground.
     
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  14. hp4000

    hp4000 Veteran Veteran

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    As long as it needs to be!
     
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  15. trouble time

    trouble time Bearer of the Word Veteran

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    TBH for me the answer is "until it gets boring" I don't mean to condescend even though it kinda sounds that way. Don't shoot for a certain playtime IMO, shoot for a complete experience, take all the time you need to make your vision, it doesn't matter if its 40 hours or 20 minutes.
     
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  16. MrZalgo

    MrZalgo I am not Edgy, I am Fabulous Veteran

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    Oh I'm definantly not starting off with this right away. It's a project I have planned for quite a long time, but I have worked with 3-D engines and understand how difficult it is to work with a completely new engine.

    I'll take your advice and get some practice in before I feel competent enough for this undertaking.
     
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  17. OnslaughtSupply

    OnslaughtSupply Ssshhh... Veteran

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    Your story should dictate the game play length. No filler fetch quests that serve no purpose other than to pad game time. If you have a 70-80 hour story in your head, get that out on paper, eliminate some of the looping back and forth plot twists and otherwise filler junk like go to point A for the McGuffin and then return to point B with McGuffin to return back to point A with new found power to move/open this object you couldn't before. Backtracking is fine in small doses but after awhile it gets really old.

    I vote episodic, if your vision is really that huge. Its unlikely that you won't change things in terms of graphics and gameplay between episodes as you become a better game developer.
     
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  18. Sauteed_Onion

    Sauteed_Onion Mmm Tasty Veteran

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    Not sure what all I'm adding to the conversation here but I'll throw my input in.

    JRPGs that had 70 hours or more that I can think of off the top of my head had long battle sequences, like Final Fantasy Seven, it had lots of summoning animations, (Shiva.. Ramuh... Knights of the Round.. yick.) Some of this time was also added in for long cut scenes, and also padded by extremely long travel sequences, and at times, annoyingly bad encounter rates, slow loading times.. etc. Don't get me wrong though, there were legitimately entertaining elements within some of these faults.. Excavating at Fossil Valley or whatever that place was called, chocobo breeding, and for some, even watching the stupidly over the top summoning animations, (I'd run if I were one of the creatures watching poorly animated and rendered dudes from space flying toward me and beating me senseless with sticks and swords of most generic nature conceivable for 30 minutes), but I do think they kinda just wanted to make some things take a long time because they wanted people to feel they were getting their $40.00 USD worth back then.

    Other examples of games that had ultra game length, 7th Saga for the SNES, I never beat this game, but hideous level grinding, terrible fights with beefy versions of people looking for the runes you were looking for, very little in the way of pointers of where you should be going, and very little incentive to keep trudging along kind of made this game a boring yawn fest that turned me off of it. There were some things I thought were cool WAAAY back then, like a mini map that showed monsters relation to you in the upper corner of the screen. This was replaced with actually being able to see monsters in future RPGs. It had different starting characters, but I didn't like you all started in the same place, and had roughly the same quest. It just kinda fidgeted with the relationships your character had with other characters in the game. And I do recall the game being an intensely boring yawn fest if I didn't already say that. Oh wait, I did.

    I will probably be despised for saying this, but Xenosaga for the PS2. It focused on telling a story. This is a good thing. Normally. But what it did was tell a very long, boring, disjointed, and often ridiculous story. It had comical moments, which genuinely made me chuckle, but, it also just kinda fell flat on it's face in term of making me care about anyone in the game. I liked a lot of elements to the game, I remember like a 'email' system that seemed pretty advanced in terms of what games of the time had, and unique. On top of having an overly 'intrigue' based story that came across as low thought process melodrama, it was addled and plagued with sleep inducing combat sequences that really just felt like it was in the way to me. Boring and in the way. I was glad I did not buy this game, but at the same time, I'm glad I played a bit of it because within the harsh recollections I have of it, I still think of a few cool things that were in it. And maybe it needed more time in the "cooking" phase of it to get it where the developers wanted to get it. As I understand it, it was supposed to have many 'episodes' but I think they were trying to be a little over ambitious with each one, and couldn't devote as much time as they needed to the individual games. I think funding was pulled after the second Xenosaga game, which I did not play.

    Another game that had an unusually high time investment associated with it, (at least for me) was Dragon Warrior 2. Wow. I remember the Movie/Video Game Rental place I frequented when I was a kid. Mom and Dad would let us pick one game and a movie each weekend or sometimes more, and for whatever reason, I always wanted to get Dragon Warrior 2. I had played and beat Dragon Warrior before hand, but when I saw that opening title screen play out with Prince of Midenhall walking out of the darkness of the cave, then Prince of Cannock and Princess Moonbrook joining him and that theme music playing I was PUMPED. Years and years ago, when dinosaurs were said to rule the world, and people used "home" phones, I spent many laborious hours grinding for gold to get random now generically named armor and weapons. What did not help this game in terms of being a tight action packed adventure was that it was too open world. I remember being hung on the "gold key".. for weeks. I finally decided to follow a dog and search around it after I followed it. Yes. Finally, I could go on with my life. And this game. Other issues were similarly estranged from video game decency. In some ways, this could be a good thing, to have odd bits hiding in bizarre or initially unthinkable locations, but main story progress blockage caused from hiding items, to me at least, is cruel and unusual punishment. No I do not think everything should be talk to a guy in a village who spills the beans ad nauseam, but essentially ending a game for someone who wouldn't think to chase a dog down in a small village in the middle of no where and searching by it with no other references to this dog is basically failure on the devs part. Yes, if you some how ground your characters the needed experience to learn the "Open" spell, maybe you could continue, but this would increase the game length to already obscene levels. If you 'knew' where everything was and went straight to them, game length was still obscene due to the Hit Point bloat of enemies in the later points of the game, and also the ultra horrible difficulty of the last parts of the game, if you mention the Road to Rhone to older JRPG players, they will hit you. Maybe more than once. Some will cry, others will just stare despondently into the distance, looking through you.. succumbing to the madness, and hit you. Repeatedly. This added with unnecessarily counter productive team members (you need team members, just not ones that suck like this), grueling treks across stupidly designed dungeons and poison traps, very little story, and pretty much ear shattering mind decimating "music", as well as terribly low inventory slots, made this otherwise fun game, well.. not fun. It starts off hard, gets moderately difficult, then just sucks the rest of the way. I think there are lessons in the early Dragon Warrior games Enix learned from, but they were savage lessons that hurt them badly. But they have put a few good games out that lasted a long time.

    A few good examples of games that drug the length out I suppose. I really don't know why now, but I really dug the game Star Ocean 2, but not for the story so much. I actually didn't like the characters either. It was the combat, (well I think what my imagination saw possible with a combat system like this), and the extras they tacked in it. And how they tacked them in there. I liked seeing a treasure box in an obscure place on a planet I knew I would have to revisit sometime in the future. And I liked getting bonuses for map completion also. The delivery of the bonus could have been handled differently, instead of just getting the last little bit discovered and instantly getting a prize, but the concept of rewarding exploration is a good concept, and if it wasn't particularly painful and boring or inordinately obtuse, I would spend the extra time yammering around and exploring to get a prize. There was a fairly linear 'main' story, but there were different ways to go about doing that story it seemed. And I could choose which people to take in my party, which I liked. The story was terrible, as is the case with a lot of games, but they are after all, just games, and can be fun and have horrible stories, or be fun and have great narrative and writing. I liked certain characters dialogue, some great examples being Cliff, and Nel. Everybody else was just kinda terrible to me. The character designs themselves were awful. And I don't recall ever beating this game, but I put an enormous amount of time into it, just figuring stuff out. Because I had fun with it. I did NOT enjoy the crafting segments at all. I found that to be needlessly complex, very confusing, and not fun at all.

    A long game I won't replay but had a lot of fun with was Temple Of Elemental Evil, from Troika games. It had a modified dungeons and dragons 3.5 system, as the core of the combat, and the combat was excellent and smooth. It also had A LOT of interesting quest options, quests in the dungeons, quests in the town(s) depending on mods, and also 'starting' quests based on alignment I think. Maybe class and alignment? It's been a while. The game was not particularly uber long, you could probably beat it quicker than I ever thought possible, but I spent a lot of time just exploring and messing with combat. Game length may actually be longer than what a save file says, simply because you get decimated by an encounter or trap and have to reload from way long ago and replay a segment. I remember an encounter with some frog monsters that really ticked me off, and made me spend a lot of time fighting it, either because a character would get eaten by them and die, or everybody would get decimated by some random adds. That game had a lot going on in it. Character customization and up to 6 party members I think. Not a bad game, in terms of just going out and kicking tail.

    Another game with length, that was legitimately attributed to it is Baldur's Gate II. Some of the length of this game came from the intensely difficulty encounters. Granted there were ways to "cheese" it. This is another game I never beat, I found the characters were just inane and boring to me. I could not stand Jaheera, at all. And Minsc. Boo on the other hand was not too bad(squeak). The combat was enjoyable if you liked strategy, and micro managing your team. There is a term "RTwP" that means real time with pause for those who don't know what that means. Essentially, all of your characters will auto attack something, but you can hit space bar and the game pauses, and from that paused state, you can assign your moves or special skills or choose specific targets. I actually like this a lot. Some of the pre-rendered back grounds of Baldur's Gate II are wonderfully made, and really kind of pushed the envelop in terms of immersion and atmosphere. The background ambience while possibly out classed in terms of production value now, still works amazingly, and also sets the tone for deeper immersion still. Some people felt the characters were the major draw of BG2, and that it is the pen ultimate expression of what RPG's can and should be, that and Planescape: Torment. I am not one of those people. It doesn't take much to 'enthrall' me, but trying to seem overly philosphical in a video game does not do it for me. It comes off as wasted time. I'm not playing a game to change my views or, or 'relearn me them there things that can change the nature of a man.. *Onion gains 1250 XP*'.

    I'm playing them to have fun. Fun is a subjective thing. For some it is reading good dialogue and a lot of it. Good in this case is subjective. A "dark" story is very subjective as well. I believe a "Dark" story could be as simple as waking up wanting a jug of milk only to go outside and see there are no more grocery stores.. anywhere, and everyone goes insane. For some people a "dark" story is following the tale of a World War 3 espionage agent who was tasked with killing a foreign leader's children and it haunted him, and struggled with it having to choose whether or not to show sympathy with the foreign 'opposition' or possibly commits suicide, and or worse, gets turned on and "burned" and has to deal with psychological issues stemming from his deeds while protecting himself and trying to keep a friendship with his own family.. or has to restart again somewhere else altogether. And the whole while there is the countdown to the apocalyptic climax everyone fears will be nuclear annihilation. There is all kinds of subjective things associated with what a 'good' game length is. And it really just kind of boils down to what you want to do with the premise of the game maybe. If it's a story in and of itself about friendship, ask yourself where does that story happen.. what does the player need to see the story through. Why do you need to tell it is another good question to ask yourself. And alot of other questions I think answer themselves when those get answered. Does it need to happen in intervals? Does it need to happen in the future? Maybe the real question.. does it involve tasty onions? Meow?
     
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