Why such short run times?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by XIIIthHarbinger, May 22, 2016.

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  1. XIIIthHarbinger

    XIIIthHarbinger Part Time Super Villain Veteran

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    Greeting gentle people of the interwebs, XIII here.


    I have a question to pose to any who wish to give their opinion on the topic. Of late I've been having a look at games that people have made with various RPG maker programs, both here & on steam; & perhaps the most curious thing I've noticed while doing so, is just how many people make really small (less than 10 hours of game play) games.


    I find this curious because when I play an RPG, I am very much a "look under every rock & tree" type; searching for the hidden items, character interactions, quests, or even random bits of data which grant me a greater understanding of the game world's mythos. So an RPG that takes less than ten hours to complete seems rather counter intuitive to me.


    Is there some particular reason why so many people are focusing on such short run times for their games? Are they using these smaller games to get their metaphorical "feet" wet, before trying a larger project? Or is that simply a preference for many in the community at large?


    I am rather curious to "hear", people's their assessments & reasons why or why not.   
     
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  2. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    Simple - the development time needed.


    As a general rule of tumb it's considered that every hour of play time needs around 100 hours of development time, and in the case of RMs that's usually from a single person or a very small team of 2-3 people.


    So one of those 10-hour-games requires around 1000 hours of development time - for a single person, that would be around six months full-time development (if we consider 168 hours per months a full-time in the same way as that is a fulltime job at any regular company).


    Now consider that a lot of people can't develop games fulltime because they need another job to pay rent and get food on their table.


    Under those conditions, 10 hours play time is a rather long game, you can't compare those conditions to A-companies where a dozen people work fulltime three years to get a single game done.
     
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  3. Bex

    Bex Veteran Veteran

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    Because there are different types of games and not every popular rpg maker game is a rpg.


    10Hours for a non comercial rpgmaker rpg Game is not too short in my Opinion (If its not all boring repetitive time sinks and boring battles forced upon one +not repetitive).


    Please tell us some example Games. Did you played Demos? Unfinished Projects? Maybe you played short playtime genre rpgs


    (so called fun rpgs or troll games, those are ment to be not to long in game time it fits best to there nature)


    We have also a big amount of Children/Teenager learning and playing with this tool.


    And dont forget no matter if you use UNITY , UNREAL Engine,


    Game Maker, Construct2 , Scratch mit EDU or RPG Maker Series, more than 90% of those projects and maybe more will sometimes be refered to as crap.
     
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  4. beenbaba

    beenbaba Slowly getting there Veteran

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    I agree with @Andar time is indeed the biggest limitation for creating a longer game. However, what I will say is this. A game shouldn't be measured in the amount of time you have to invest in it, a quality 10 hour RPG with good story, well designed characters and world and a fun battle system is a tremendous feat to accomplish and would be a much more enjoyable experience than a 40 hour RPG that doesn't do any of these things as well.


    Many people have the ethos that hours = value, when really, it should be enjoyment = value.
     
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  5. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I do really wish people would stop thinking hours = good game. Some of the best games I've played recently were under 10 hours, and some of the worst games I've played recently were 100+ hour time sinks, where it was dead obvious the entire game was padded to hit a mythical hour mark.
     
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  6. XIIIthHarbinger

    XIIIthHarbinger Part Time Super Villain Veteran

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    Length no, depth yes, depending upon the game. 


    Some games quite obviously don't require a great deal of development of in world mythos, contemplation of how that world works when the "camera" i.e. protagonist POV isn't observing it, etcetera. For example the average side scroller beat'em up, platformer, or mobile game like angry birds.


    However, RPGs have always seemed more story intensive than other genres to me. & to me one of the marks of a good RPG has been that inspires the interest of the greater world in which the game occurs in those who play them. & I don't see how you can develop a world to that kind of depth, if you're aiming for a speed run candidate. 



    Actually I was primarily referring to how people described their own games. I was comparing how people described their individual games, versus how they were perceived by those who played them. 


    While doing so I noticed that in the synopsis of the game presumably written by the developer, many people describe their games as being less than ten hours as though it were a selling point. An idea that seems perplexing to me, as if I enjoy a game I want to spend more time playing it, not less. If I find exploring a game world rewarding, I want to see more of it, not less. & if I find a character or characters interesting, I want to know more about them, not less.



    I would say that is not exclusive to indie games, but something fundamental to the medium itself. Most people have two or three genres that they play, & have less than glowing opinions on at least one or two genres. Nearly all gamers seem to have VERY negative perceptions of AT LEAST ONE major franchise, often more. Even an old hand like myself that has been playing PC & Console across a plethora of genres since the days of Reagan & Thatcher, has some fairly negative opinions about a decent number of intellectual properties.



    I see no reason why not.


    Yes obviously a person operating solo who doesn't have a full metaphorical "toolbox" for game development that would be found amongst a full development team, (coding, artwork, music composition, etcetera) & thus will need to find workarounds or alternative solutions. I don't see that as a reason to "lower the bar" on what a person should want to create, but rather a challenge to rise to. 


    Personally I would rather spend five years working on a game that I should be making, that never gets released. Than release a few six month in development, couple hour, "good enough" games. The project I am working on now, I already have more than four hundred hours invested in, & am still working on what I would consider pre-production work. If it takes another three years to get it to a level of where I think it should be, that's fine. & if a time comes where it doesn't meet my expectations, & doesn't appear that it will; I would wipe the files without a second thought & start from scratch.


    Wouldn't be the first time I wiped out everything I've worked on in a creative medium.     
     
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  7. slimmmeiske2

    slimmmeiske2 Little Red Riding Hood Moderator

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    I tend to avoid hour sink games. I have enough other games to play, as well as other stuff going on. Lately even when I play a game that hits the 10 hour mark, I go "Wow, this is a long game!", though that's probably because I've been playing Adventure/Story-oriented games.
     
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  8. XIIIthHarbinger

    XIIIthHarbinger Part Time Super Villain Veteran

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    Personally I very much prefer more lengthy & indepth games.


    Of late I've been bouncing back & forth between Civilization V & Civilization After Earth, & prior to that I was playing Fallout 4. With the exception of the infrequent venture into the fighting game genre, Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, DOA, or Soul Calibur, I can't recall the last time I played a game that I beat in under ten hours.
     
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  9. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Xllthharbinger: It depends on how much time you have free. I've found that as I get older I don't have 50+ hours to sink into a game anymore, as work and such gets in the way. Therefore, if a game takes too long, now I forget what in the world is going on and end up never finishing, due to having to at some point take 1 - 2 weeks off of the game.


    Though, this reminds me of an old joke review I saw a couple weeks ago:


    16 year old reviews Dark Souls 3: Con: < 100 hours to finish.


    36 year old reviews Dark Souls 3: Pro: < 100 hours to finish. 


    Now, that aside, just be careful with length. I've often said on the board that I could make a game that takes 200 hours to finish, just by putting a random fight against a 100000 HP slime every step. I think the reason you are finding the lower run time right now is most RPGMaker games that are finished avoid the long time sinks of the games of the past. For example, I've gone back and replayed a few Gold Box games, and the one I played can actually be done in near 10 hours on current computers. Reason is...you can now x out of the game whenever you run into a random fight that is not worth your time to fight. Previously, you had to fight through those as there was no other way to proceed unless you wished to power off the computer. Now, x out the window and reload, and it takes less time than to do the fight that is going to give you 25 EXP when you need 350000 EXP to level up.
     
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  10. Nuxill

    Nuxill Ok Veteran

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    I want to make short games because I like to play short games. I don't have time to get through a 20+ hour game in a few days and often leave games alone for large periods of time, so when I come back to them I have no idea what's going on or where I was. I'm much more likely to buy something if I can either beat it in less than ten hours, or can pick it up and play whenever without worrying about remembering plot or characters (like rhythm games) 


    Besides, as said before in the thread, a lot of people making games on this forum are doing these games as solo projects or with very small teams, and don't make games for a living. Of course there's going to be a lot of short games being finished. The longer the game, the more time it'll take to make. It's easy to run out of steam or lose interest while working on one big project for a long time, especially when you're not getting paid to make it... Just because you're fine with spending years on a product you might not even release, doesn't mean other people feel the same way. I want my games to be seen and hopefully enjoyed by other people. I want players to get something out of walking around in the worlds I created, even if they're not perfect. I'm willing to sacrifice perfection for actually getting something out there. 
     
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  11. Henryetha

    Henryetha Veteran Veteran

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    I just think quality > quantity



    Now looking at a small game: Hero of the Kingdom I + II
    Played through each one in a couple of hours, but enjoyed them so much.


    But sure, I wished they had been longer.


     Now looking at quality: Theres a well-known hack&slay: incredible adventures of van hellsing
    I generally like hack & slays, not saying, the game was bad.. however, I left it behind pretty fast.


    Grim Dawn has been better (atmosphere!).


    Path of Exile has been better (gameplay mechanics!).


    Victor Vran has been ALOT better (op german voice actor! great story).


    So.. what is the suppose of many playable hours, if the player won't go back playing the game anymore? It's just that today there are alot of games out there, alot of them of very good quality. The game industry is booming and it won't be enough, just to release "something".


    I'd say, in best case as a dev you want to achieve, that the player is "bound" to the game, until he finished it. The game shall be exciting. Making the player want to find out, how it continues, how it will end. And finally make the player WANT to beat it.


    The idea isn't to just create your own story in hope, someone will go through it.


    And if a short or long game, imo one just may never forget to imagine, how the PLAYER will feel, playing your game.


    Myself, I always imagine myself as the player of my game. Myself I play my maps many many times. Sometimes I sit 2 hours doing battles in my own unfinished game (and even enjoying it and then I think, okay, you've done good so far). 


    But I also know, it won't be finished this year.. 


    And I got no idea about next year.


    Also my ideas for the game are developing with the time and become more detailed.


    I've spent yet over 700 hours in making my game and I'd consider it still at the begin. But I enjoy it and I got time..



    If I couldn't invert so much, I'd maybe also go for sth short, as in any case quality comes first.

    Sorry if I'm writing in a weird way, 2am here D:
     
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  12. kaukusaki

    kaukusaki Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire Veteran

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    majority of my games are 8-10 hours only a few hit the 20 hour mark. I actively plan short stages as most folks don't have time to play anymore. Hell, I goofed off in morrowind for 80 hours before touching the main quest (and still not done after 120 hours in and playing it off and on for 10 years lol) XD
     
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  13. EliteZeon

    EliteZeon Third-Rate Noob Veteran

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    Looks like most people said my answer already, but I'll toss a penny into the fountain. 


    Making a very good project solo or with a small group is difficult. I spent over 450 hours working on my RPG and only deemed 30 minutes of it playable. There is constant rebalancing, reimaginings of scenes, creating or finding  your own resources, figuring out mechanics, testing, more testing, etc...


    As much as I'd love to make a long and high quality game that is at least 20 hours long, it's a very long road to pave out with just a one man army.
     
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  14. Azurecyan

    Azurecyan Veteran Veteran

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    As a solo project maker, I've spent many hours on projects that I believed would be long 20+ hour games to only scrap them because I lost interest and I found it too time consuming to the point of making barely any progress. Yes there's resources, plug-ins, and tutorials, but even with all that it doesn't shave off much development time. Some of the small project games are sweet and sometimes to the point. 
    You can make a 20+ game but it takes a lot of dedication and time if you're truly passionate and want to get it out there. I haven't even released a single project because I would lose interest and bum out 1/4 way through. 
    No matter if I take five years to make a game, I'll probably only achieve 50% of what I achieve. Maybe for me I had a long term outlook and it may have been out of reach for me. I've always been fond of long epic stories that make you dive in and enjoy it, but attempting to replicate that takes a lot of time which is why I've decided to set aside my big project for smaller games in order to learn more and get criticism for more projects to come.
     
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  15. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    As a primary video game player, I tend to avoid anything more than 15 to 20 hours, or at the very least put everything longer than that on low priority. I work full time, have a family, and a life outside of games, so it usually amounts to me having only about 10 to 15 hours a week for games, although some weeks feels like a lot less.


    If I focus on a 50+ hour game, I'd have to dedicate close to a month or longer to just that one game without playing any others, or break it up into smaller segments so I can still play others at the same time; but when I break it up into smaller segments, I find that I became even more distanced from that game, especially if the last time I played it was over a week. Not to mention, some of the 30+ hour games I recently played I wound up hating about halfway through, so it felt like a wasted effort.


    That doesn't mean I don't play 50+ hour games, because I do. But I'm very selective of the long games I play, as a result of the above. I have to be greatly impressed by the reviews and the videos I've seen, and the marketing behind the game. If your game is within the 10-15 hour range, it has a greater chance of being played by me sooner rather than later. Anything longer than that, it either has to impress me enough to want to play, or it goes on low priority where it may or may not ever get played.
     
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