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Read December 29, 2005, 03:51:44 PM #0
Matt McFarland

Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

I was thinking about making my game quite long, but would feature many different backrounds and different enemies and gameplay.  Do you think that people would quit playing if the game is too long?  do you think that a long game would intimidate someone to purchase the game?  Or is it the other way around?


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Read December 29, 2005, 04:39:41 PM #1
Olofson

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

Well, I don't have any first hand experience selling games (yet), but some logical reasoning might be in place.

I can see a few different aspects here.

If you're playing the demo and considering paying for the full version, what would you rather get; just a few more levels, or enougt action that you're likely to give up or put the game away for a while before you run out of levels?

At first, the answer might seem obvious - but I'm not so sure! Finishing the whole game is a big reward. And a great game always has some replay value. I think you're more likely to return to a game that you "dropped" because you finished it, than a game that you dropped because you basically got sick of it.

More importantly, what's better if you plan on selling a sequel? Wink


//David
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Read December 29, 2005, 05:17:54 PM #2
joe

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

From a players point of view I think the more levels the better, but don't think to make 200 levels and only change a few details in each level.

You should introduce something really new in every level so the game doesn't get boring. Something new can be a new weapon, a really new enemy (by that I mean not only change the sprite or the movement pattern, make the enemy really new visually and the way he acts), bonus elements/levels (for example a asteroid sequence where the player only must avoid some objects and its getting faster and faster), new bosses and so on.

But I think - just as I - you will learn a lot from your first game. When I  would have to do Absolute Blue again it will have complelty different levels because I learned a lot in gameplay design and today I see the mistakes that I've made designing the stages.


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read December 30, 2005, 09:28:41 AM #3
Nexic

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

Joe is right. You need to make as many levels as you can, whilst still keeping each one new and interesting. Doing loads of similar levels will get boring quickly, which is Xeno Assault (my own game) biggest flaw.

In XA there is only really a handful of different enemies , but each one is reused with different colour and greater power, but still work in the same way. In retrospect I should have spent another couple of weeks and added as many new enemy types as I could. Its funny, and rather annoying how I spent several months on a game, and then crippled it by not spending an extra few days to finish it off properly.
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Read December 31, 2005, 06:48:49 PM #4
Ian Price

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

It doesn'y matter how many levels you put in if the game is crap.

Make sure the game is playable and that the player WANTS to play more levels before considering making hundreds more of them. Gameplay is king. Put out a small demo and ask for feedback. Don't waste valuable time on a project that nobody wants.

Besides, if the game is too short , then you're leaving the players wanting more (sequel time $$$$!).


Maybe tomorrow...
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Read January 01, 2006, 07:45:19 AM #5
Taiphoz

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

The longer the better, there is nothing more rewarding for a customer than the feel that they got their monies worth out of a product, most gamer's equate this out to how bug the game is and not how complex it is, they tend to see the face value and not the effort..

So a long game will show them that you put more time into it and that they have more game for their money.

BUT

it would be all to easy for the game to get boaring or repetative so make sure you try and combat this, try splitting it up with bonus levels that are unique and try chucking in some things that split up the mechanics of the game so your not just shooting and dodgeing the same bukllet types for 5 hours.


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Read January 01, 2006, 02:55:05 PM #6
Nexic

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

Quote
Besides, if the game is too short , then you're leaving the players wanting more (sequel time $$$$!).

You really run the risk of them being angry the game was so short and asking for/demanding a refund. But I do agree that a short but exciting game like Raiden is better than a 1000 level boredom fest.

Maybe instead of saying "make the game as long as you can" I should be saying "Add as much content as you can". A lot of content compacted into a short space can be really exciting.
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Read January 02, 2006, 11:51:43 AM #7
joe

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

Probably a little bit offtopic, but when I first started to work on Absolute Blue the last thing I thought of was the Gameplay. I just thought: Hey I will write a cool level editor and then I'm able to create high quality gameplay. But I was so wrong. I had figured out that it won't work just to put here and there an enemy and selecting some waves. Later on I started to design parts of the levels on paper, writing down how the enemies will attack the player and thinking a lot of stuff like that and tried to enter it in my editor. Something's didn't work so I had to rewrite/extend my editor serveral times.

Today when I start on a game I always first think about the gameplay stuff.


Jochen Heizmann, Germany
Absolute Blue - Side-Scrolling Shoot'em'up-Game
www.intermediaware.com
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Read January 04, 2006, 05:13:34 PM #8
Matt McFarland

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

Thanks guys, some good info here.  Right now I'm kinda on the fence how I want my whole game to go.  I want my game to be somewhat repetetive so its enjoyable, but not TOO repetative its boring.  I suppose that there is a happy medium and I can't fathom what exactly it is.  What do you think?


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Read January 29, 2006, 10:43:19 AM #9
gamesmad

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

If there are lots of levels, then it is important that they feel different to the player, or its easy to get really bored really fast.  Having all the levels with an extremely similar background and all the same enemies is boring if it goes on for more that 2 or 3 levels.

Will
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Read February 03, 2006, 04:47:41 AM #10
kemical

Re: Would a long game be good or bad for sales?

well, the thing I dislike most is a shooter is levels that drag on way too long themselves, or are filled with boredom..   I kind of think that starting off with shorter levels that start getting longer and longer as the game progresses is good.. but it depends on how everything plays. That way you're player is likely to beat the first level, and feel some kind of accomplishment etc.. especially for a first-time player.  if the level is long and boring they may never even play through any of the other levels.

if the game is a scrolling shooter, maybe some type of balance where a really REALLY sucky player can most likely die and bomb their way through the first level and at least get up to the boss before having a game over..  because this way if the game has kept their attention to get them to that point, they will most likely be like "crap!" and want to play it again knowing they had reached the boss or end of the level, but this time they will want to play carefully and hope to beat the boss.  I think some kind of balance like that is really important for first-time players, or even demos.

If the game's first level is long to where a sucky player gets a game over in kind of a boring.. in-between section, then they might not feel compelled to retry the demo to get further..  But then if the first level is wayyyy too easy and short they might not want to replay it much, and ontop of that if it's boring they may not even want to buy the game.
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