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 Post subject: Game Size
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:47 pm 
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What are your thoughts on game sizes? Because most fangames are around 10-15 MB in size these days.

Are there factors you would say will justify games bigger than this?

The question is, would you download a really big game? If for instance for the sake of true artistic effect, someone (not me I have to say clearly) would decide to put several movies in?

The fact that Muto games were really big (also largely due to movies) made them extinct. There are hosting and limit problems involved and so on.

To my knowledge color depth and image size (640x480 or 800x600) can many times increase game size. Music (if you don't want MIDI) will also be a factor, effectively inflating the game almost 1MB for 1-3minutes of audio, with reasonable compression.

Kaori's (2.3) design aim was to make a game smaller than Black Pencil (3.4). For this, I was saving on colors and music...

These are random thoughts, but nevertheless, how do you see this? Do you even CARE how big the game is?

The point is, often designers really try and think about every additional "weight" the game might have, so my bottom line question is from how much MB should we get concerned?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:08 pm 
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I think size is very important for fangames distributed on the internet. Since they're not generating profit, bandwidth becomes a real issue. The more bandwidth you need to provide people with a game, the more it costs. Large downloads are definitely a turnoff for potential players due to the time it takes. Even with a broadband connection, a slow server on the other end can ruin things completely.

Maybe a CD-ROM distribution model would be interesting, like a "copy this CD" thing. Make some CDs, distribute them to avid fans who will happily copy and distribute to other fans and so on. The big problems with this would be maintaining the same data on each copy (someone might want to change things/put viruses/add/etc.) and getting the CD to the people who want to play the game.

I say if you're going to have a big download (say 20+ MB) you better have a darn good reason for it. If I'm not mistaken, Muto's games were often big because the music was in .wav format :shock: Mega-space killer! Use Ogg Vorbis or even the hated MIDI whenever possible and good music and small size can both be achieved! *fanfare* Graphics would be the other space-hogs. Putting them in BMP format is good for programming usually, but bad for size. PNGs, GIFs, and JPGs are the way to go. Good compression of the game for download is great, too.

I think the key is knowing what file formats to use and where :D

Ooh, another idea that I've seen used: For music, make the game use MIDI as default. Then put an optional download for MP3/OGG/other hi-quality sound. This lets users choose the download size and quality that's right for them. 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:40 pm 
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Yeah, I really don't give a damn how big the game is, it just needs to be a good game. As long as the game is good, I'll download it.

But, I also have to say that the focus of these games aren't the graphics or the music. Both of those have to be appealing and suit the mood of course, but the strong point of the game has to be the storyline, which( as far as I know ) isn't going to affect the download size too much.

That said, I do like games with high-quality graphics and good music, as long as they don't take my attention away from the game/story itself.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 6:55 pm 
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Well, I will download any new game of any size. (Assuming that it's less that a few gigs... terabytes are out, at least for now.) But I have high-speed internet access and plenty of disk space, so it's easy for me to say this.

Numbers... numbers...

Of the first 996 users to download MW, 174 of them came in on modem-speed connections. The median download speed was 92 Kb a second. So I'd say the bulk of users have broadband, but a substantial minority do not. Please note that this doesn't count people who would have downloaded the game, but didn't due to its size.

A completely stripped-down Ren'Py is currently at 2.1 megs, tightly compressed with no images included. I could probably strip that down a little, but not by much... although a windows installer build includes less and compresses more. ONScripter seems to be about the same size (and actually uses many of the same libraries).

My gut feeling is that size is just another issue that the game creator needs to consider when planning and making a game. Is including an event CG in the game worth it? Probably. Adding the intro from the AYA TV series to your short demo game to balloon it to a hundred megs in size? Maybe not so wise a decision.

I'd need to figure out how the Ren'Ai archive would handle the release of a large (>50MB) game. It may make sense to use bittorrent to distribute it, to magnify our bandwidth. (30gb last month, and growing around 50% a month since January. I'm already starting to consider the use of the Coral web-cache.)

One idea I've been mulling about would be renting a table at one of the big anime cons, and then selling CDs of the content of the Ren'Ai archives, at something resembling cost. Of course, we'd need to get permission from all of the game authors, put together an installer, duplicate the CD a few hundred times, and so on. And I wouldn't want to run this myself. (There are issues like sales tax to consider, and we'd probably want to donate any profits to charity so that none of us profits off of anyone elses's work.) It seems to me that this would be a way to spread awareness in our target market.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:51 am 
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I wanted to use that idea (burn my games onto CDs) as a prize in a little quizlet during one of my Animecon lectures, but I dropped it. I didn't feel all too comfortable giving away my games (like forcing myself into others'). Anyway I know it probably would have helped, right? But it just shows how me and marketing are apart ^_^. I need a person for this :P

I asked this for various reasons. One of the complaints was that for instance many people did not play RT because it was too big to download. I am not going to rerelease RT or anything, but it's of course a concern. On the other hand, sometimes you WANT that extra, those specials without worrying about size. Then, the question is should there be special versions you can (not) download? Like Blue Lemma suggested with the optional d/ls, but sometimes (when not using Ren'Py) the individual game elements can't be replaced easily.

The 50+ large games I don't know, maybe one of the p2p methods could work. Briefly searching BT and eDonkey yielded no results (of course). Still, there would have to be people willing to share it (perhaps a bunch of games - maybe even all...) as well as those who want to download it... (not being commercial h-games and all) and then naturally there is the issue of a "games pack" - not everyone may be pleased with the idea that their creations are distributed with others' (hey, it really CAN happen). But an ISO of that CD on p2p... perhaps it would be successful. It's what p2p was originally meant for, right?

Plus, the non-profit thing would have to be well thought-out. Hmmm... One of the things I use when I critically don't want any *money* from my friend when I give him a CD/DVD is simply I give him the CD with the content in exchange for a blank CD. This way the costs come back to me (except the burning/time factor). But it's a completely moneyless xchange. It would be even easier for USB key holders plus a notebook. Of course this is something that might work well in my country as the people usually come armed with HDDs, and other media, but maybe it's worth a thought. I for one have my USB key always with me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:37 am 
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Heikou was about 10.5MB, and within the month it was released the guy hosting it had to pull the plug on it due to it eating up all his bandwidth :?

He's still fine with hosting Kasuka though which weighs in at a tiny 2.8MB (and that's zipped as opposed to rar'd!).

The size difference between the two amused me.

So downloading probably isn't a problem for most (bless broadband!), but the hosting can lead to problems.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:37 am 
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As a writer, of course I dream of seeing my work in a professional game, complete with an original, two-hour soundtrack and full voice acting. As a writer, I couldn't care less about download size. However, even a relatively small project like MetBlues ended up with more than 10 megs of size, even though I went for MIDI music and not OGG and even though the number of pics was relatively small and the art was found repetetive by some players. I can only estimate that Foxtaile with its much more complicated plot and an MP3 soundtrack will take something between 25 and 40 megs of space. Even without full voice acting :)

The bottom line is that we need to think about new compression methods. Either that, or really go for BitTorrent.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:04 am 
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It is said that "uharc" has a much better multimedia compression than any of the common methods (rar, ace). It's widely used by warez groups, but it has to my knowledge no front end, just some command line so it's not really user-friendly. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:41 am 
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mikey wrote:
The 50+ large games I don't know, maybe one of the p2p methods could work. Briefly searching BT and eDonkey yielded no results (of course).


Well, it's an open secret that the commercial games are shared on P2P, so that's not really a problem. I think the idea with this would be that the Ren'Ai archives would seed the torrent at a constant upload rate, and people downloading it would also add more bandwidth, improving speeds. Something like BlogTorrent could make this easier.

The idea of selling a CD comes from the fact that getting a table at a con is not free.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:30 am 
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Hmmm, that seems interesting. If that could work alongside traditional downloads, it could be a good alternative. Especially if there could be an indication how many people are currently sharing the file, that may animate people to use the BT over the traditional download.

It remains to be seen though, whether this would mean we would get more megabyteish games. Then again, I like the challenge of having to keep the size down.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:57 am 
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Well, my general idea would be to force people to use BT, and plow the bandwidth that would go into normal downloads into seeding the torrents. This is all preliminary, of course, since we're nowhere near the point of worry yet. (I just like looking ahead.)

That being said, I think voiced games are only a matter of time, especially since improved voice support is one of the features I'm planning for the Ren'Py 5.1 series.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 10:56 am 
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I don't worry about gamesize since I have a fast connection but, in general, if someone was to offer a free game that is sizable, then I expect either 1) exceptional graphics, 2) long play-time, 3) quality music, and/or 4) some other feature to recommend itself. Otherwise, I'd feel cheated.

Game-making-wise, crunching down the numbers is subject to how much available time I have before my release date. For example, I would've made my character images all gifs instead of png if I had extra time (and saved maybe 2MB per image +/-). As it happens, this gets pushed back and falls on the wayside for more important items.

As for downloading issues, worse comes to worse, you can rotate downloadable games every nth amount of time. I've seen this being done for AMV sites whose videos are as big as or bigger than our games. My thought on BT: Uggghhhh... it's so sloooooooooowwwww.

Promotion of ren'ai games at a con would be very effective. To save cost on a table you could buddy-up with someone else. Cost-effective marketing ideas: volunteer to make a program at your local libraries talking about game making (I see programs with comic books artists so why not game-making?), trade ad space on your website/manga/other with a friend, if you're doing a lecture on ren'ai games - provide flyers with information on where to get free ren'ai games, and good 'ol fashioned word-of-mouth through friends and family.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:04 pm 
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Hmmm, I wondered whether someone would mention this, but anyway, I'll do it - in my eyes the 10-15MB is already a big download. I am for instance not quite happy with TT and MS having over 10MB, not to mention RT with 36.

It's true what eclipse said about the images and so on, so sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and see that the first one to die because of bandwidth is RT (dramatization - actual events may have varied).

I have told myself NO RE-RELEASES, as I don't want to look back, but well... Anyway, 'the club' takes care of its members, so I am safe for now, but long-term it's the survival of the smallest. Well, my in my current POV at least.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:14 pm 
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I should point out that, for the archives, bandwidth isn't really that big of a problem. Right now, what I'm paying is .10 USD per gigabyte, bought in terabyte increments once a month. (I split the server with a friend of mine, so I don't have, or pay for, the entire terabyte.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 2:34 pm 
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PyTom wrote:
I should point out that, for the archives, bandwidth isn't really that big of a problem. Right now, what I'm paying is .10 USD per gigabyte, bought in terabyte increments once a month. (I split the server with a friend of mine, so I don't have, or pay for, the entire terabyte.)
Really?! Where can I sign up? I'm looking around for a new host for Manga Tutorials. Last month brought me in at over 55GB and by years end, I expect that to double. <.<'

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