How do you go about making a demo?

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bluemoonaspect
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How do you go about making a demo?

#1 Post by bluemoonaspect » Sat May 05, 2018 6:26 am

I don't think I'm ready yet to make a demo of my otome, but I was curious and would like to know for future reference how other people go about making or putting together their visual novel/dating sim/otome demos?

Is it a completely separate script or is it bits and pieces of the actual script itself? Do you make a summary out of the entire thing that includes parts of the actual or separate script which compiles different parts of the actual or separate script's chapters or acts, etc so that it plays through like a really short version of the game? Or would it just contain bits and pieces with transitions in between? Do people make summaries with information not in the script? Could someone offer examples? :O

I'm just curious as to what everyone else does on theirs, and would like to see everyone's opinions en masse/compiled into one place kind of. Thank you for taking the time to look or respond, and sorry if I did anything wrong or am not seeing something I should be <3

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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#2 Post by kivik » Tue May 08, 2018 6:05 am

I think it really depends on the type of game and what the demo would actually differ from the final game. For example:

If the demo is the first number of days in a linear game. That's pretty easy, you structure your code into folders so that the demo days are in your demo folder, the rest of the game content in a separate folder. Then when it come to building the demo, duplicate your project folder and delete the locked content.

If the game is really non-linear (say you have multiple characters you can develop relationships with), and the demo locks off everything except a specific path (one character). You can follow the similar approach, put the content of your other characters in a different folder - but make sure the basic character initialisation (images, character creation) isn't locked off for them - or the demo can't show the extra characters and will probably crash.

There was a big blunder last year when a professional developed game basically released a demo with the full game in it - and it just locked off the game in demo mode until launch day and you've paid to unlock it. Well in that instance they basically didn't bother segregating their code and essentially checked a persistent variable to determine whether the game is in demo mode or full game mode. Problem was people were able to hack it and got the full game for free.


I'm not a profession developer by any means so this is just the thought from someone who knows a little bit about programming for many years (long time coder, but only occasionally coded and typically for hobbies).

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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#3 Post by Aviala » Tue May 08, 2018 3:12 pm

In my case, the couple of demos that I've done have been pretty much just the beginning of the game, no other stuff included. And then the actual game is a whole different build with everything in it. I think that's the easiest way to do it: No need to make extra content specifically for the demo and no risk of people hacking the files to see content that wasn't supposed to be in the demo.

That's for offline computer games tho, mobile and Free to Play are a whole different can of worms. Anyways, it's probably best not to offer any full routes for free for Premium/ Pay to Play games imo, since I can imagine a lot of people just playing through once and not buying the game after to play the other routes? I don't have any actual data on this though, so I might be wrong (maybe the positive attention gained would offset the lost sales?).

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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#4 Post by Mutive » Tue May 08, 2018 6:31 pm

The best way to think of a demo is to remember that it's a piece of advertising collateral. Generally you're releasing a demo in order to get someone to *do* something (usually buy your game). So with it, you want to demonstrate the best parts of your game.

This usually means showing off the most polished art, music, writing, and gameplay.

This may be naturally what happens in the first 15 minutes of game. But it might also make sense to strip away a part of the game that better highlights what makes it special or unique.

(I believe the demo for Mass Effect 3, for instance, had us doing a mission fairly late in the game rather than playing through the first scene. It's a very different genre, but...)
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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#5 Post by morinoir » Tue May 08, 2018 10:02 pm

As for me, my vn has 3 linear chapters and the demo will be some part of chapter 1, tastefully ended in a cliffhanger. Some people use placeholder assets for their demo, but I prefer that demo is the actual gameplay with finished assets, or at least 80-90% percent of the assets are something that you will see in the actual game. It's because demo is supposed to make people want to play your game and for me, placeholder assets are kinda off-putting and it gives me this impression that the developer is rushed.

If you have several feature in you vn, let's say day to day event or stat rising, you should put those feature in the demo too. Just like everyone said, highlight the best part of your game.
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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#6 Post by bluemoonaspect » Wed May 09, 2018 9:29 am

Thanks guys, this is really helping me, and it's really nice to see what you guys would personally do or what you personally like c:

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Re: How do you go about making a demo?

#7 Post by Fuseblower » Wed May 09, 2018 1:44 pm

As for blocking certain paths : I think it's a good idea to still show the option that takes the player on that path but show it disabled. This way it piques (hopefully) the interest of the player, especially if the option is a highly interesting one. Perhaps it would also be a good thing to show the percentage of the total story that is reachable in the demo version if there's a big difference between the demo version and full version (let's say 25% reachable in demo) or simply the number of all possible endings (let's say 4 out of 15 endings reachable in demo). This way the player knows that it is rewarding to buy the full version.

It all depends on the game itself, of course. In the case of a game where the player can chose from several protagonists, it's easy : just enable only a single protagonist and disable the rest (but still show them so that the players is aware of the choices he/she can make in the full version).

And there's also the notorious "ecstasy version". Play the otome for free, pay for the nukige :lol:

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