Releasing an alpha/demo.

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Infamous8
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Releasing an alpha/demo.

#1 Post by Infamous8 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:40 pm

Hey, guys.

I've been working on my project for a while now and I'm pretty much at alpha stage.

It's currently somewhat rough apart from the writing as I've made do with what royalty free/creative commons art and music. Back when I set out to start this project, my goal was to hopefully find some artists that are interested at this point. But right now I realise that isn't something I should count on but I'm still interested in knowing how people will take it.

1. Is there any advice you would give to someone releasing an alpha version?

2. I'm sure some of you guys have released demos and full games and I'd be interested to know if there's anything you would have told yourself back then?

3. Some questions regarding copyright. What measures should I use to ensure my writing is safe? And is giving credits via a .txt file in the folder and mentions in the credits enough? Do I need to create a studio per se to release it under? Do I just create it or is there a process of verifying it and making it official?

If there's anything else I should know or any advice you can think of, I'd appreciate if you add that too.

Thanks.

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NocturneLight
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Re: Releasing an alpha/demo.

#2 Post by NocturneLight » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:08 pm

1. I wouldn't release an alpha unless you've got original artwork, backgrounds, and the sort put in. I'd want to get people's attention with the alpha and I think having any sort of royalty-free art or possibly even music in there would kill interest. I could be wrong, but I'm going off of how I decide what VN's to play. Why can't you count on finding some artists that are interested? Just ask. It's as simple as that. From what I've gathered, you'll be waiting months if you don't ask, depending on the content of your VN.

3. Define what you mean by "safe". Do you mean safe as in no one will steal it and profit off your script? Or do you mean safe as in there's nothing copyrighted in the script itself? Or do you mean something entirely different? Also, I don't see a point to putting credits in a text file. Credits in the game itself should be fine enough. As for creating a studio, that probably depends on the grand scope of things. If you intend to be making potentially commercial VN's into the future, you should probably create a "studio". But if you're just making a small free game, there's no need to make a studio unless your VN is looking commercial-grade or something. You can make the studio legally official if you have the thousands or so dollars to do it. Might not be thousands, but I'm certain it's a lot of money, enough to make me say "Screw that, I'm not forking out that much money". What I intend to do, (and you don't have to follow this if you don't want to), is create a logo for my "studio" and hope everyone has the decency to not make a studio of their own with my studio's name and to not fork out the money to officially make a studio using mine's name and pull the rug out from under me.

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Re: Releasing an alpha/demo.

#3 Post by Infamous8 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:42 pm

Thank you for your reply!

Yeah, that's my worry too. I can't say I've done bad with what I have, but I know it could be much better. And sorry, I wasn't clear in that I had planned to release an alpha to pitch to artists. But yeah, I haven't asked, so I should give asking a try.

I guess I wouldn't want someone to come along and just claim my project as theirs. I understand they most likely aren't going to finish it or profit off it, but this is the internet. Well, nothing within the script is officially copyrighted, which is all I really own in it. Is there a good way to get the script itself copyrighted? I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable fee.

Thank you, that's good information and a good perspective. I'm not sure about the future, but this project has become a lot bigger than expected. I've always intended for it to be free, though. TBH, if I had that kind of money for the project I'd use it for art. Haha, I like it. I've created a logo for the game itself, but there's not exactly a "studio" behind it.

I'm not sure if this will notify you as I haven't used these forums much. But thank you, I appreciate it. Good luck with your own! :)

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Re: Releasing an alpha/demo.

#4 Post by NocturneLight » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:11 pm

Infamous8 wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:42 pm
Thank you for your reply!

Yeah, that's my worry too. I can't say I've done bad with what I have, but I know it could be much better. And sorry, I wasn't clear in that I had planned to release an alpha to pitch to artists. But yeah, I haven't asked, so I should give asking a try.

I guess I wouldn't want someone to come along and just claim my project as theirs. I understand they most likely aren't going to finish it or profit off it, but this is the internet. Well, nothing within the script is officially copyrighted, which is all I really own in it. Is there a good way to get the script itself copyrighted? I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable fee.

Thank you, that's good information and a good perspective. I'm not sure about the future, but this project has become a lot bigger than expected. I've always intended for it to be free, though. TBH, if I had that kind of money for the project I'd use it for art. Haha, I like it. I've created a logo for the game itself, but there's not exactly a "studio" behind it.

I'm not sure if this will notify you as I haven't used these forums much. But thank you, I appreciate it. Good luck with your own! :)
An alpha to pitch to artists... I didn't have to go that far. I just asked someone whose art I thought would fit the story I intended to tell. The most I did was give them the gist of what it's about since the script for the demo was and still is being written by my writer. Which, if your premise is seldom seen in visual novels, I imagine it'll get their attention and make them interested.

No, since the moment you transferred your thoughts to a document on your computer, your script has been officially copyrighted... if you live in the United States, at least. If you ever have to pay a fee to get something copyrighted, you're being robbed. There are automatic copyright laws here. If you've been writing your script on your computer, there is a time stamp for that document that can prove when it was made. So if you see that someone is using your script when they shouldn't be, you should easily be able to take them to court and win.

I suppose the question that you should be asking yourself at this point is, "Does this look like something that could get big and a lot of people will come to love?" If yes, make a studio so people will have an entity to follow so they can find out about your next game. In my opinion, all the English visual novels that I find to be a step above the rest or are just flat out masterpieces, like "Va-11 Hall-A", "Doki Doki Literature Club", "Sweetest Monster", and "Everlasting Summer", have an entity behind those games for people to keep a look out for their next game. This tells me that they had at least a slight belief that their game could get big.

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Re: Releasing an alpha/demo.

#5 Post by Katy133 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:30 pm

Jim Sterling gave some good advice on this. In one of his videos for a Steam Greenlight game, he said something along the lines of, ".If you feel the need to put a sign at the beginning of the game that says, 'This is in Alpha and the visuals and bugs will be fixed in the final version,' then you're not ready yet. You want to give a good first impression."

Think of the demo like a vertical slice: Complete a small section of the game, and have all/most of the visuals for that section polished. The rest can be rough at that stage.
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