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Rickard
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« on: February 27, 2023, 12:18:00 AM »

Hi,

I'm wondering what limitations you add to your demo version. What is worth pursuing?

For Marvelous Marbles, a marble run builder / simulator, I'm thinking along the following lines:

Disable loading of scenarios, but allowing saving. This makes it possible to bring creations from the demo to the full version. But you can't continue in the demo in the next session.

I'm also thinking of adding a time limit, let's say 30 minutes per session. But I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

I don't plan on cutting any other features. Should I?

Do you have any other ideas worth considering?

Cheers  Gentleman
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2023, 12:33:55 AM »

It's become common practice to release the full game as a demo. That's what I've always done. I think players don't care about money but will happily take something for free.

EDIT: I lied. As a baby dev, I released a demo with a 30-second timer and watermarks all over the screen. It went about as well as you'd expect.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 12:43:17 AM by mse » Logged
Rickard
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2023, 02:03:24 AM »

Thanks, I've seen this on a couple of occasions (Rings of Saturn comes to mind).

I should have mentioned I'm targeting a more casual crowd than the "hardcore" indie gamers. Would this still apply?
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Schrompf
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2023, 07:57:37 AM »

In my experience, demos aren't useful. The difficult lies in getting people to play your game. If their attention is diverted to a demo, some part of them will realize your game is not for them. On the other hand you have the people who hesitate to buy your game, but you *might* convince them if they can try a demo first. If your game caters for a mature audience, these people have some money, but probably no spare time. In this case a demo is a net loss. If your game caters for a young audience, you're competing with Free2Play games. In this case, you're doomed whatever you try.

So in my books no demo is best demo.

Edit: realizing I missed the actual question. I once made a demo for a multiplayer-only shooter. For this I selected a few weapons, arenas, items that deliver the most punch per play, and hoped that people who're annoyed enough after a few runs will spend money for the full experience. We sold exactly 5 copies, but this was 1995, so all of this is just an beer story. I later did a demo for a story-based shooter - I selected 2 of the 26 story missions and adapted their introductionary texts to give context. Don't know what the conversion rate was, but the demo made it to the cover CDs of several magazines. My latest try was 2014 on a story-based shooter. Cutscenes and voice-over prohibited adapting the introductions, so I choose the first 2 levels for the demo. This also allowed players to carry over their savegames to the full version, which I think is important to not waste people's times. It's been a long time, so I can't tell exact numbers anymore, but IIRC the first sale we did outnumbered the total number of demo downloads, so we scrapped the demo soon after.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 08:11:08 AM by Schrompf » Logged

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Rickard
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2023, 10:46:27 PM »

Thank you both for your insights. It's not the advice I expected, but that just makes it more valuable.

To prove your point; I bought the above mentioned Rings of Saturn, without trying the demo first. I then realized it wasn't for me  Smiley

For this I selected a few weapons, arenas, items that deliver the most punch per play, and hoped that people who're annoyed enough after a few runs will spend money for the full experience. We sold exactly 5 copies, but this was 1995

The good old Shareware days.
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2023, 11:11:05 PM »

It sounds like the question has now become "demo or no demo"? I would say demo, going by the slight boost it gave my first Steam game. That's not competing with F2P in the traditional sense because indie F2P games are almost exclusively art/promotional/passion projects and don't have microtransactions. Your competition is still premium games.

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I'm targeting a more casual crowd than the "hardcore" indie gamers

How casual do you want to go? Winnie-the-Pooh's Home Run Derby? It's hard to break through to "mainstream" "casual" gamers unless you're on the Switch and making a cartoon game for 10-year-olds. On most platforms, you need players who can see the game through the rough edges. Otherwise, your highly-polished cartoon game will necessarily be very small because you spent all your time on friendly graphical polish. Small is fine if your price is super low, but at that point, why do a demo?

EDIT: Apparently Zukowski browses TIG. I would take his advice.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2023, 08:17:28 AM by mse » Logged
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