Monday, 14 November 2016

The art of game demos

The art of game demos
Demo, short demonstration, is a portion of something, a piece to taste , this cheese taco in an exhibition, those five minutes listening to music on an isolated cabin after waiting a long line at the Nth mall.

And not only try, you can just see it, smell it . That click in the perfumery is a demo. A performance test published on a new graphics engine is also a demo - a tech demo -.

Video games are perhaps the most permeable medium time. They mutate, adapt and create synergies with other cultural sectors convenience. And, at this point, the demos are an ideal place to talk about the good and bad scale , nostalgia and the future. Is there more or less than two decades ago? Why are almost all multiplayer demos?

What good is a full demo in 2016?
Today, if you want to get a pristine reading a game before buying, just enter Youtube channels. A boy capturing a gameplay is all you need a publisher to promote your game. It is the equivalent to watching play in a recreational neither literature thousand lines offer such a direct feeling.

The art of game demos

The demos are sometimes paired with bad free to play : the first tests a portion, on the second play until the game itself forces you to pay to continue playing. Any form of limitation on the complete work can be considered proof. Even those first 10 hours 'Fifa 17' EA Access service offers: allow play that time, but not on any function, capando story mode (El Camino) in the fourth inning.

This is the reason why the lease (rent) the entire life has lost presence: not piracy, but by flat rate services that reduce fixed cost , from Netflix or Yomvi in film and television to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live with their games "free" -while Conserves subscription activation. At this point we could say that yes, there are more demos than ever.

Nobody just games
The current consumption is reduced to peck games and deepen bit much. Not always, of course, but it is a real trend. In 2011, CCN said that no one had the games. In 2014, The Verge reversed the question and concluded: games are too long and repetitive .

The art of game demos

Out Steam statistics showed that only 39% of the players who took on the 'Season 1' 'The Walking Dead' reached the fifth. While 66% did the same with the first chapter. Just over 30% of buyers 'Skyrim' came to see the end of the epic. And 'Portal', 'that great favorite game "47%. More than half would not pass and more than half of that half do not pass the first four levels.

We want more and longer games, but it turns out the games with better completion rate are those that last an afternoon, games like 'Firewatch'. And not only for life, but because they promote another form of repetition: not mechanical, but narrative .

If you look at the highest percentages in the table we can conclude that the "first episode free" is a successor form of shareware , that old distribution system in which the user could evaluate the early stages, with time constraints, use or number of facilities. It 's not about starting a game in 8 blocks of 60 euros : the episodic game feeds the cliffhanger and "to be continued" pilot episode for free , and if you want to know how the story goes , pay.

And nobody wants to do demos (single player)
Except for the material created on purpose that demo-like appendage ' The Stanley Parable ' - the demos are part of the marketing (distribution costs) with the goal of encouraging the purchase.

But some completely distort the perspective of the game: the demo of 'Dead Space' hinted at shooter full of action. What are you doing, you offer the first level tutorial that has more than the game itself, or metes players at level 30, so that , end up with a curve artificial difficulty because of that encounter? Demos are a headache for developers .

So publishers no longer want to demos, discouraging developers for that avoidable extra cost . The only people who are forced to "beta-testing" are those games focused on multiplayer , and do, or statistics to balance between the characters, to study gambling habits, or stress tests on servers.
The art of game demos
capture Demos
The team Extra Credits came to the conclusion that , generally speaking, there are more reasons not to create a demo to make. Among the nine possible variables could highlight these:

*Your game is ugly and is in a primitive state of development, ergo can not prove how they finally see your game . The player will tell you, please look háztelo. It will not buy because you will leave all interest.

*Your game is ugly but the demo looks better than even seem the final game: the player will get angry because you will feel cheated , so not only will not buy it will give a negative and harmful feedback. And there we press, forums, youtubers feeding the wheel of poop. Yes, by the way've got some sales to set the bar so high.

*Your game is nice but your demo is ugly: You will depend on word of mouth or return to point 1.

*Your game is not bad but your demo is slightly lower than expected: back to point 1. Mal.

*Your game is nice and your demo also: much will have to try to engage people because some will settle for that test. This gives rise to post-launch demos, mere revolting to boost sales: if you have not, try it, you're going to engage, it is part of that. We must be very sure on these points. In addition, it will already be amortized investment. 'Overwatch' I look at you.

The art of game demos

Summary: even the best demo of the world ensures you a millionaire sales. The game has to keep up. How do you manage expectations? Demos, in general, are losses. In the best case will invite to seek more information, but hard to buy like crazy. And we go back to the beginning: the demos cost a lot of money: not copy and paste. It's like trying to take a
The art of game demos

 slice of an orange without altering the shell .
In addition, demos also pass certification, quality controls and validations old and, my God, all that is time and efforts and more money. So every time we find more betas to sign up and download it from the website of the developer, distributed over their platforms and under the disclaimer "this is just a block of cheese '. We can download delete, but that we try as a folio roll up and throw in the trash do cost money .

The paper demos
In the Golden Age these were treated as an extraordinary added and even today some developers understand that this feeling of exclusivity enriches the final work .

Take a look at this link : PlayStation 1 demos were a core element in promotional campaigns and regional distribution. But now we have internet . Usually accompanied other games company, within a packing special, culminating the total value of another game, like the goodies in limited editions of movies.

Marcos Garcia, known as 'The Elf', who has been in the trade press video game since 1991 (Hobby Consoles, Micro Hobby, Super Games, PlayStation Magazine ...) tells us that "readers had a good amount bought magazines just for the demos. "

Although there are cases that almost turn it over to the situation. There is a particular anecdote to the demo of Sega Mega Mickey Mania. Mark tells us that " pioneered the market for magazines consoles . The CD included the full game but was encrypted and locked so that only could access the first level. The gamberresco spirit of the magazine was such that instead of highlighting the exclusivity to bring that demo, we are dedicated to CD using it laugh coaster and other barbarities, and we even got to the good of Mickey Mouse. The magazine should have gone up in price, which he did not by mistake and it took a little upset . "

The art of game demos

So why did they disappear? Mark continues: "I think it's easy to explain, you can now download them . We tested with the first numbers of PlayStation Magazine, and focused on PS3, which included demo, and sales were hurt as we had to raise the price considerably. Being blu-ray format, the costs were quite high. Everyone could download demos and, although the speed of ADSL was more limited at the time, but things had changed and not all readers could spend about 10 euros in a magazine with Blu-ray . Now would be unthinkable include demos again, it would be illogical and more at a higher price. "

The demos of PlayStation Official Magazine became objects of worship -some small photos of this article will constatan-. We asked Mark as director of the Spanish division: "the great success of these demos was that at that time could not get game demos in any other way. I remember the first demo of PlayStation 2 Official Journal, February 2001, only included a couple of games . "

He continues: "the issue of choosing demos depended directly on the content generated by Sony in the UK, the European headquarters. All depended European magazines and we relied on the matrix content UK . I remember that sometimes, especially in the beginning, we sent them demos listings we would like to include. What I was totally dependent on us was the amount of DVD's to double and art of the cover, which we designed in drafting and subsequently was approved in the UK. The duplicate and manufacture were made in Austria. "

If music magazines usual was found with a CD with groups that debuted this month and are now a mere link to some Bandcamp to download a handful of MP3, demos of games they have had worse : its power "exclusive" and volatile small jewelry made them in playful snatches to spend the afternoon for a minimum- that of the publication - cost, because you could not afford buy a game every three days .

Of memories and history
The demo of 'Silent Hill' in 'Metal Gear Solid' to the jewelry each month annexing PlayStation Magazine . We give up in complete games, in the form of easter egg : in 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' (2014), we could play the first level of 'Wolfenstein 3D '.

In 'Yakuza 4', the arcade 'Virtua Fighter'; within 'Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped' could unlock the demo first 'Spyro The Dragon' by clicking on the menu screen buttons the following string: ↑↑ ↓↓ ← → ← → ◙. We even have historical examples such as 'Panzer Dragoon Saga': Sega Saturn came in Magazine (UK), and is the first full album. Even the printing is accurate to the original , just putting "Demo Disc."

But you do not go back into the past to find jewelry. The demo 'The Prologue' of NBA2K17 is one of the best examples in recent years.

It is simply the beginning of the story mode. It has tutorial, a handful of games - Games 20 euros less and contents - trophies (1 gold, 6 silver and 3 bronze) and all progress is cumulative for the final game. One technique, playful and artistic demonstration when the game can offer. And what about cases like PT (known as Silent Hills ), a bombshell, an example of how to present a product from the total uncertainty and conquer the players .

The art of game demos

Produce video game demos nor how, nor easy, nor cheap . But do not look at only the negative side: Internet has brought huge repositories of abandonware . The information is immediate and direct, unfiltered. And players have a more direct than ever with the developers communication.

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