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A Serious Discussion About Demos
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Selyp Offline
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Post: #11
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

I agree with everything you just posted Cry. That's exactly why I've decided to complete my entire story before releasing any more of it. Chapters are pretty good, but they also run the risk of never being completed, and that's even worse cus it's like a book you can never know the end of!

Atlantia - An Amnesia: The Dark Descent Full Conversion Mod
08-07-2011 07:38 AM
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palistov Offline
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Post: #12
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

EDIT: I kinda got lost in my rant and realized just now I kinda reiterated, if not repeated, almost everything Cry said. O_O But my personal story might be of some use here!

I figure since Cry wrote a lengthy post with his opinions, I should contribute as well!

I do agree with you on the idea that the word 'demo' is used cavalierly. I do agree that the best beta testers are, well...beta testers. Not the entire modding community. I do also agree that when demos don't receive amazing feedback they fizzle and die.

I don't know if you've read about it, but before OLitD I was building a story named The Scarecrow. This as a while back now, when I was less experienced and, quite frankly, very naive. I was trying to build a quality custom story while also being a full-time student and an avid video gamer. Basically, I never left my dorm except for class XD

Anyways, I released a 'demo' of my story, which was the product of quite a while, probably something like 6 or 7 weeks of work. It wasn't bad work, but most of it was just a showcase of atmosphere and some neat scare events. I got some healthy feedback, but soon after I kind of lost steam. I'd spend significantly less time working on it, especially on weekends. I remember I would sit down for 3 hours building or detailing a level, but once I didn't get the huuuge flood of approving comments I was expecting, I kinda kicked back and just worked when things got really dull.

So I can attest that if you hope to make a quality product, you had best keep things on the DL until you can release a polished version of your work. If you release a subpar or buggy demo, interest in your project may fizzle and so might your motivation. Another mistake, I believe, is to release a demo which is basically all work you have made up to that time. It seemed to leave a huge tear in my story. I had thought "Ok, the demo is released, so that part is all done. Now I can move on to the next part and completely ignore the last". Unfortunately a lot of the work I had worked on after the demo (but before my unfortunate hardware problem) really didn't fit in with the demo, and I would constantly be going back and tweaking things on both ends...kind of like trying to tape a torn piece of paper back together, but when the tear still shows and you rip off the tape, you mess up the paper even more. Sad

Now, when you release a demo, you want to make sure that the end of the demo makes sense, and matches up with the storyline. A lot of demos, as Cry said, simply end with you walking through a door or falling over and seeing a grunt walk up to you. This, in addition to being overused, makes no effing sense. Your demo is, presumably, out there to spark interest in your project. How do you spark interest? Cliffhangers, hooks, unique features and storyline, etc. Make your demo have a climactic, even episodic ending; something that will leave the player saying "NO WAIT I HAVE TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!" instead of "Oh, crap there's a grunt. I'm dead." or "Oh look a new level. I wonder if I'll trip on my way in and pass out, waking up in the full release."

Anyways, the whole spiel I'm trying to give here is that a demo should indeed be a furnished product, just like your full release!

(This post was last modified: 08-07-2011 08:49 AM by palistov.)
08-07-2011 08:46 AM
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Tanshaydar Offline
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Post: #13
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

There is one thing you all forgot. The undeniable urge to share something you created.

I'm working on my story more than seven months, so, I might be the one with the most strong urge with this. However, I know if I do this, all atmosphere and immersion I'm planning to give will be gone. As usually that's the case with most of the demos out there.

I'm not playing demos, after playing one or two of them, as soon as I immerse myself in game, it finishes.

My personal opinion is just that demos are just very long games, more than 4-5 hours to show what the experience will be like.

08-07-2011 09:35 AM
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plutomaniac Offline
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Post: #14
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

(08-07-2011 09:35 AM)Tanshaydar Wrote:  There is one thing you all forgot. The undeniable urge to share something you created.

I'm working on my story more than seven months, so, I might be the one with the most strong urge with this. However, I know if I do this, all atmosphere and immersion I'm planning to give will be gone. As usually that's the case with most of the demos out there.

I'm not playing demos, after playing one or two of them, as soon as I immerse myself in game, it finishes.

My personal opinion is just that demos are just very long games, more than 4-5 hours to show what the experience will be like.

In your case though you mainly deal with a story and plot so you're right, a demo would definitely ruin the immersion and overall experience.
08-07-2011 07:21 PM
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Phoroneus Offline
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Post: #15
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

The demo of my current WIP (in signature) is not actually the start of the overall story. Instead of putting you in the protagonist's shoes, it puts you in the shoes of one of the victims (the protagonist of the main story is investigating the disappearance of said victims).

It does, however, include one of the features found in the overall game (that being a carry-able torch that can be moved wherever the player needs light, but is its own physical object as opposed to a lamp) and once I get a couple of the custom models functioning, those as well.

Oh, and it's very short. It's really only meant to showcase some of the models (and test their viability when it comes to polycounts and such) and set up a little bit of backstory.

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08-09-2011 01:10 AM
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Rapture Offline
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Post: #16
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

I think video previews are more interesting than demos.
08-09-2011 04:36 AM
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Phoroneus Offline
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Post: #17
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

(08-09-2011 04:36 AM)Rapture Wrote:  I think video previews are more interesting than demos.

My problem with video previews is the same as my problem with movie trailers: half the time, they're not representative of the game/movie.

If you watch a movie trailer and it's full of funny moments, even odds are that those are the only (or at least the funniest) funny moments in the movie, and the rest is filler.

The same goes for video game previews, in my experience. You get several clips of really cool scenes and grand vistas, showing off the amazing engine and the creative ways to interact with the environment (and of course the obligatory awesome fight scene, which involves either someone jumping out sideways from behind something while shooting, leaping at something/someone with a sword, or firing a giant explosive at something else - but the scene cuts away just as the explosion should happen), and then when you actually play the game, you find out that there are only two grand vistas (one of which is in the first level/map/chapter/etc and the other of which you don't have time to stop and admire because you're fighting/running/something for your life at the time) and the "creative interaction" bits are focused on a few areas separated by long stretches of run-of-the-mill shooter content or exploration. In the worst cases, you end up with what Ben Croshaw described as (paraphrased) "rubbing everything against every other thing until you discover the one single combination that the developers intended for you to progress".

Personally, I like to see firsthand what a developer is capable of. If the demo is mediocre or unoriginal, or doesn't have much of whatever their big selling point of the game was supposed to be, it's usually a good indicator that the finished product isn't going to be spectacular either. For a recent classic example, see the Duke Nukem Forever demo. Thousands of people were turned off of buying that game after trying the demo, whereas they might've been fooled by a video preview.

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08-09-2011 04:49 AM
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Rapture Offline
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Post: #18
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

(08-09-2011 04:49 AM)Phoroneus Wrote:  My problem with video previews is the same as my problem with movie trailers: half the time, they're not representative of the game/movie.

If you watch a movie trailer and it's full of funny moments, even odds are that those are the only (or at least the funniest) funny moments in the movie, and the rest is filler.

The same goes for video game previews, in my experience. You get several clips of really cool scenes and grand vistas, showing off the amazing engine and the creative ways to interact with the environment (and of course the obligatory awesome fight scene, which involves either someone jumping out sideways from behind something while shooting, leaping at something/someone with a sword, or firing a giant explosive at something else - but the scene cuts away just as the explosion should happen), and then when you actually play the game, you find out that there are only two grand vistas (one of which is in the first level/map/chapter/etc and the other of which you don't have time to stop and admire because you're fighting/running/something for your life at the time) and the "creative interaction" bits are focused on a few areas separated by long stretches of run-of-the-mill shooter content or exploration. In the worst cases, you end up with what Ben Croshaw described as (paraphrased) "rubbing everything against every other thing until you discover the one single combination that the developers intended for you to progress".

Personally, I like to see firsthand what a developer is capable of. If the demo is mediocre or unoriginal, or doesn't have much of whatever their big selling point of the game was supposed to be, it's usually a good indicator that the finished product isn't going to be spectacular either. For a recent classic example, see the Duke Nukem Forever demo. Thousands of people were turned off of buying that game after trying the demo, whereas they might've been fooled by a video preview.
Uh huh... Umm... They have about 30seconds - 2 minutes to show off their movie. If their competitor shows a awesome trailer that gets everyone hyped up about their "thing". They will have to do it to too.

And I think the point ChaoticMonki is making is that he doesn't like demos because their unfinished released stories that will never be finished!
08-09-2011 05:07 AM
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Phoroneus Offline
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Post: #19
RE: A Serious Discussion About Demos

(08-09-2011 05:07 AM)Rapture Wrote:  Uh huh... Umm... They have about 30seconds - 2 minutes to show off their movie. If their competitor shows a awesome trailer that gets everyone hyped up about their "thing". They will have to do it to too.

And I think the point ChaoticMonki is making is that he doesn't like demos because their unfinished released stories that will never be finished!

Correct. And I agree with ChaoticMonki on that - a lot of demos, especially ones put out by hobbyist developers, end up being the "finished product" even though they're not the promised product.

I'm just saying that I prefer demos over short video clips because they give you a better feel for what to expect from a game instead of being a short montage of all the best parts.

To each his own, of course.

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08-09-2011 05:14 AM
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