Sunday 13 August 2017

The case for a demo

I recently revealed to the world that yes, there is going to be a demo for Mass O' Kyzt.

I'll give a brief explanation of exactly what this will involve. The demo will, as a demo should, be free of charge. Its feature set will be severely limited, only allowing the player to play up to three consecutive waves and only unlocking about half of the upgrades in the final game. In addition, the player will not actually be given any choice over what upgrade they unlock.

While it does pain me to gate off any of my work behind a paywall, I've made such imposing limitations on the demo for a reason. The first(fairly straightforward) reason is to entice people to buy the full product when it is completed and released.

The second reason is because I'm impatient. In all honesty, I just want to create something that people can play. It's been about three months of making YouTube videos and I realize that YouTube is not necessarily where my passion lies. Yes, YouTube is fun and it's a wonderful platform to both accrue and interact with fans, but at heart I'm still a video game guy and I want to make video games.

The third reason is because it will help to drum up some hype around release day. It's still a bit far away to provide a definite date, but I expect the final product should be released some time from late September to mid October. If I can release this demo by the end of August, it should help to get some people familiar with the game, if nothing else.

Also, I am trying to build a long-term business out of game development. Establishing a suitable "tail" of purchases long after release is something to aim for, and I think a demo should theoretically help with long-term discoverability.

My final and perhaps most relevant reason for making a demo at all is because it is a compromise. Repeat viewers of my channel might remember that I find it very uncomfortable to gate off my work behind a paywall. Despite whatever rationale I can apply to it, I always feel like I'm coming off as if I "deserve" recompense for the time spent on my game, when in reality I quite enjoy all the time spent on my game and I'm literally getting paid to enjoy myself.

Creating a demo allows some people to experience a smaller portion of my game without entirely sacrificing the monetary aspect of the game. As I've mentioned previously, it's probably quite important that I get experience with shipping an actual commercial product in a "safer" environment- i.e while I live with my parents, don't pay rent or bills, etc.

It would suck to produce a massive and avoidable commercial failure while also being financially responsible for my living conditions.

Anyway, I feel that this is getting rambly enough so I should cut it short now. Thanks for watching, and stay tuned for even more videos on... some topic, gamedev related or otherwise.

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