is going to be distributed via new channels soon, and again I found myself wondering: did I include the right stuff in the demo? I was never really sure about it, so I thought I'd better ask here. Please bear with me for a while...
First of all, despite what I said in the introduction, there is a starting point which I've always been and still am totally sure about: I don't want the demo to be crippled as regards functionality, so that people are able to taste all the aspects of the game.
With that in mind, the natural limitation that comes to mind is restricting the play time: yet, rather than hard-coding a time limit (a solution I don't like because it affects the enjoyment of the gameplay), I chose to include only few of the many missions available in the full game.
Therefore, my problem became: what missions should I include? This has always been a hard choice. In fact, if I included only easy missions, players would not really feel how deep and intense the game is; if I included only hard missions, players would be scared away; if I included missions of varying difficulty, from easy to hard, I feared I would put just too much stuff in the demo - much beyond what is needed to wet the player's appetite.
At some point, I believed I had found the solution: including an easy mission, to get the player started, and a multi-phase mission with a per-phase increasing level of difficulty (phase 1: very easy; phase 2: easy; ...; phase 5: very hard), to let the player submerse gradually into the game and appreciate it. It didn't took long before I realized that this didn't really work out: many still found the multi-phase mission too hard. So, I added a bunch of tutorial-like missions to introduce the game to the player more gently. Eventually, I even replaced the easy mission with another much more gratifying easy one.
Now, I'm afraid that the demo contains too much stuff: the multi-phase mission alone provides hours of play, after all. Maybe I should remove it? But how can I get the player to discover the true nature of the game without something of that kind? Or maybe the other missions are already sufficient? Or maybe that doesn't really matter?
I can't decide. What do you think?
Thanks for your attention.