How long should be a game at minimum?

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Banya
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How long should be a game at minimum?

#1 Post by Banya » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:03 pm

Kinda literal question: how long should be a game at minimum according to you?
I mean, how long should be a game to be considered a game and not an amateurish try? Just being curious.

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#2 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:51 pm

Length is not a factor I consider when judging if a game is amateurish.

The game should be long enough to be worth the time I spent downloading it and the space it occupies on my storage.
So to answer you, there is no answer. People are different, and this question is rhetorical.
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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#3 Post by D.ray » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:00 pm

If you're talking commercial 3 to 4 hours minimum, for a price that reflects that playtime of course. If free then as long or as short as you want it. I don't mind shorter playtimes, and in fact sometimes I prefer them over long games that I will probably never finish. And by short I mean between 3 to 5 hours long. If they have a good number of routes, say 3 as a minimum , they have increased replay value and thus having a shorter playtime isn't a negative IMO.

i would further contend that the amateurishness of a game comes from the quality of it's parts and it's overall execution rather then it's play time.
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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#4 Post by Banya » Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:27 am

Thank you!
It's because, besides my main project, I have another one I'd like to finish before university exams start again... but I really fear it might be rushed, and I don't know how to measur the game lenght in hours ;__;
(But I'm putting effort in what becomes part of it)

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#5 Post by Imperf3kt » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:02 am

Banya wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 1:27 am
... and I don't know how to measur the game lenght in hours ;__;
(But I'm putting effort in what becomes part of it)
A reasonable estimation can be garnered from a words per minute scale.

Perhaps find a short story online, run it through a word count to find the average word length and total number of words. Set a stopwatch and begin reading it at your normal pace, maybe a touch slower. When you finish, check how long it's been and divide the number of words by how many minutes it took to read them. you'll have an approximate number of words you can read in a minute. Take your game, run lint from the Ren'Py launcher and find how many words are in your game and their average length. If its about the same length per word, then you can reasonably assume the number of words divided by how many you can read per minute, will give you the number of minutes of playtime.

For example, (all numbers are imaginary. I read a lot faster than the examples given here) lets assume I read a 300 word story in 5 minutes. That is 60 words per minute Now I look at my game and it has say, 30,000 words. 30,000 divided by 60 is 500, so I should expect roughly 500 minutes of reading. Now, 300 minutes is 5 hours (300/60) so 500 minutes is about 8 and a third. Lets call it eight hours.
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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#6 Post by JenneMK » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:20 pm

Well, if it's any help, I once made a visual novel that was 12,000 words long and had very minor branching. It was mostly kinetic. I had thought that 275 words per minute was the average reading speed, so I estimated the length would be approximately 45 minutes. However, when I watched someone play through the game, it took them an hour.
Now, when I googled 'average reading speed' it came back with 200 words per minute, which is more in line with what I saw. So maybe you can divide your script by 200 to find the average reading time for your game. ^^ Unless it branches heavily, then you'd be better off figuring out the word count of an average path.

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#7 Post by runs » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:24 am

A lot of VN have cool graphics and long gameplay, but are a little shi**y regarding its story... I mean boring. I prefer a VN of 10 min max than one more long but forgettable.

A lot of creators fill their NVs with too much dialogue and more and more over and over and over. Noooo. Sometimes less is more.

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#8 Post by Milkymalk » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:06 pm

I personally don't bother much with VNs that tell me they have "5 mins" of play time unless the visuals strike me as extremely interesting. One such example is Clockwork City (viewtopic.php?t=25899) and another is a game that I can't find any more - if anyone remembers the title please tell me: It was about a cute but antisocial... witch? that was dragged to a fantasy people party by her friend and is talked into trying to hook up with one of the guests. It was very short, but had a LOT of routes and was pretty cute.

Remember that downloading means committing to something. So if you want me (or somebody with a similar mindset) to download your short game, the pitch must be very good. Give me something that sets you apart from the dozens of other short games out there. The easiest way to do that is to have strikingly interesting visuals. They don't have to be GREAT, they have to be interesting and different.

Concerning crappy longer games: Yes, don't bloat your game to increase its play time. Everybody hates to read games that drag on and on. If your game gets longer and longer, present it in bite-sized portions. Don't make scenes too long, avoid monologues, and get to the point. After a long dialogue, throw in some movement on the screen. Or better, do this during long dialogues.
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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#9 Post by Aviala » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:58 am

If you're planning on going commercial and releasing the game on Steam, you should probably aim for at least 2 hours of playtime. My game, Your Royal Gayness takes most people a few hours to play through (maybe 3-4, but it varies a lot because there is randomized content), and I've had a couple of comments saying it's too short. Someone said they played through in an hour, but I find that a bit strange since even when I fast forward most of the content when testing the game it usually takes longer than that.

Anyway, when developing for Steam, you should try to make your game longer than 2 hours for another reason as well: Steam has a time limit of I think one or two hours of playtime during which the customer can return the product and get their money back. If your game is super short, people can just play through all of it and still get their money back. At least this is how it worked when I last checked. I don't think a lot of customers would do this, but some might, so it's worth taking into consideration.

From an artistic standpoint I definitely agree with the others: The length is not an indication of quality. I'd rather play a short, good game rather than a long, boring game. Sadly, gamers tend to expect games to be at least a few hours long, especially if they cost money. If the game is free, then people tend to be more lenient since hey, it's free!

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#10 Post by mikolajspy » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:12 am

I'd say the length should be as much as it should be. There's no point to artificially expand it.

For example, my game on Steam takes roughly and hour, maybe even less if you're fast reader, for one playthrough, but has replayability.
Even though you can finish it very fast, under the refund limit, I don't have many refunds.

Just make sure you'll set the right price for the content!

Regardless if commercial or not, I'd say one hour of rather good story should be a minimum if you want to look more serious.

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Re: How long should be a game at minimum?

#11 Post by Mutive » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:41 pm

It depends a lot to me. I 100% prefer a great, short game to a long, boring one.

With that said, a game that's super short and is charging me money feels like a money grab. (This is especially true if it feels especially short compared with others of its genre. Gorogoa, for instance, was fine being a couple hour game...but it's also a very unusual game.)

So it depends. If I paid $15 for a game, I'd probably expect to get a number of entertained hours out of it. (All the more so if it's not super unique in concept/execution.) Add more money and I probably expect more...for a few dollars (or free) I care substantially less. (I've had a lot of fun on itch.io with free games that take maybe 15 minutes...which is fine as they're polished and free. But I wouldn't buy one for $20, either...)
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