I greatly enjoyed playing PnC games in my younger days, but in all honesty I’ve not played video games of any sort for a number of years (with the exception of Thimbleweed Park which I never actually completed!)
I did get through most of the TellTale PnC games before they put all of their efforts into The Walking Dead franchise and subsequently imploded, but that was almost a decade ago.
As a result, I would consider myself a designer, a developer (to a limited degree) and a storyteller, but I am not a gamer myself. As such, I need to rely on the opinions of other gamers to guide me on what is excepted of me and my game at each stage.
I’m not going to be led too much in terms of the narrative as I (perhaps foolishly) trust my own instincts on this front, but as an industry, gaming is pretty much unknown to me, and I don’t want to break any unwritten rules.
So, last week I created a poll on this blog and on a Point and Click Facebook Group to ask the hive mind a couple of questions about what they would expect and like out of a point and click demo. I asked about the demo content, and I asked about its overall length.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part! I love you.
The results are in!
How long would you expect a pre-launch demo to take to complete?
This surprised me.
Apart from a couple of respondents who wanted a 4-hour demo (why not?) the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of a length between half an hour and an hour. This is also a great relief for me as I was expecting it to have to be more in the realms of 4-5 hours, so I can cut down my original plans a bit and instead concentrate on getting a bit more detail into the demo instead.
In an ideal world, a pre-launch point and click game demo should (website):
This is in line with what I had hoped. I wouldn’t want to just have exactly the same puzzles that will appear in the full game.
I’m planning to treat the demo as a mini episode/prequel to the full game. There may be a couple of non-exclusive/non-snarky in-jokes or references to the demo too, so that people who enjoy the full game can go back and play the demo retrospectively and enjoy it on a different level.
In an ideal world, a pre-launch point and click game demo should (Facebook):
There were different results on Facebook, although people were allowed to vote for multiple options, which has skewed the results slightly (hence why I’ve not included them in the same chart as the website poll).
Most people seem happy just to meet the characters and have a bit of fun. But I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a few puzzles thrown in to show the level of absurdity and complexity to expect.
Overall I’m relieved and pretty happy with those results!
Some of the comments have been interesting too. A few people made a special effort to say “Please don’t make it just a long cut scene of dialogue.” which never even crossed my mind. I might make a short video trailer too, which would do that job. But for me a game demonstration should do exactly that.
Other people pleaded with me to make it free. This confused me slightly, do people charge for demos? Surely that defeats the whole point of producing it in the first place. Maybe they meant the full game if/when it is produced. If so, then sorry but I may have to charge a small amount for it. I love the process of creating a game, but I do have to eat too. 🙂
Note: There are still votes coming in, so I’ll keep the stats on this post updated.