The Word Count

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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Scarlet-Kokoro
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The Word Count

#1 Post by Scarlet-Kokoro » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:18 am

Hello... I wasn't really sure where to put this since it is just a general question that does not pertain to the RenPy engine, but for the game itself. And I suppose that answers will vary greatly however I am curious. Is there such a thing as a game that is too long? What is a word count you all feel generally comfortable with?

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Re: The Word Count

#2 Post by redeyesblackpanda » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:03 am

If there are more words, there's just more game to play. Katawa Shoujo ended up with around 500,000 words (I think I read that somewhere, anyway). A lot of mainstream commercial VNs have a very high word count.

The important question is not if you have too many words, but if you're just stretching the story without adding content.
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Re: The Word Count

#3 Post by PyTom » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:36 pm

Scarlet-Kokoro wrote:Hello... I wasn't really sure where to put this since it is just a general question that does not pertain to the RenPy engine, but for the game itself. And I suppose that answers will vary greatly however I am curious. Is there such a thing as a game that is too long? What is a word count you all feel generally comfortable with?
I fairly arbitrarily put this in the writing section - it probably could also have gone in Creator's Corner.

IMO, a game being too long is two things. One is a comment by the players, and the other is a criticism of the game.

The first is the recognition that the longer a game is, the harder it is to allocate a block of time to playing it. Think of it as opportunity cost - is the time I spend playing the game more important to me than the sum of the other things that you could do with your time. That also varies based on how much free time you had - when I was in college, I could afford to take a week to play a Final Fantasy game. Now, holding down a job and working on Ren'Py, I have less free time - and so I don't play many long games, since playing them would take an unacceptable fraction of my free time.

Now, it's possible for something that's long to be so incredibly good that it's worth the allocation. But the standard rises the more time it take - I can spend a half hour on a mediocre work, but it takes a really good work for me to spend a weekend on it.

"Too long" can often be a synonym for "poorly edited". If you put in stuff that doesn't contribute, make the user click three... times... a phrase, or are overly wordy, then your game is likely poorly edited. One way people express that is "too long" - that is, the game is much longer than a well-edited game with the same impact would be.
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