1 long vs. three short

Started by Valdred, April 05, 2010, 10:13:55 am

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So what's the best idea?
putting all the storyline into one long game, or splitting it up in three shorter parts?
I need opinions.


As you probably won't finish your game like most people it's kinda pointless even to try to make a long ass game. Most people give up like 2% of the way.
So go for the 3 shorter parts or make just one short game(30 minutes parse) and shorten your storyline.
It would be by far the easiest and probably the best idea. As after you finish the first game you won't want to make another one, you will get bored with RMXP and move onto more important matters like parties ;D

Just try and finish the first game and if you still feel like you wanna keep going with the same storyline and make another game then have at it. Don't worry about the future right now just try to figure out what your going to do for your game right now. If you do 10 things for your game a day you will have it done in a month, but if your lazy you won't.

But really it's all up to you what you do, our say has little to do with it and you have probably already made up your mind about what your going to do. Our decisions might persuade you to do something else but that's unlikely unless you give into peer pressure really easily. Not saying you do mind me, but just saying.

Perseverance is the way to go, if you don't have that then don't even bother starting cause you won't finish it. I guarantee that. Now you should try and prove me wrong by actually finishing it like the .15% that use RMXP.



Yeah 2% is even kinda generous.  I know i haven't finished a single project (other than a demo for a maze game) in my 6 years of rmxp.

i say go for the short games as well, start with 1 see how you like it and if you're still interested like Landy said, and go from there.
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April 05, 2010, 11:10:13 am #3 Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 11:17:10 am by Tyril132
I apologize in advance. I started typing this two minutes after the original post, and just now finished. Needless to say, this is going to be a very long post, as this is a very serious question that has a lot of considerations.

Whether or not to split your game up into multiple segments is not a decision to be taken lightly. Speaking from experience, this is something I've wrestled with myself. Hopefully the research and thought process I went through can help benefit you in making your decision. There will be a lot of questions you need to ask yourself honestly as a developer, not least of which is how ambitious the story you're trying to tell is.

Take the Xenosaga series, as an example. The story presented in the series is so layered and complex that they had originally planned for it to span six (!) games. The series was cut short after the third game, the story compressed greatly to try and give fans a sense of closure. The project was so ambitious that it was ultimately an impossible goal.

So, you first need to ask yourself a few very important questions.

How serious am I about this project?: ShowHide

This is, hands down, the most important question you need to ask yourself. How much do you want for this game to happen? If you don't have the drive to see your project through from conception to completion, you're better off stopping here.

Speaking personally, the solo project I'm working on right now is extremely ambitious, in terms of what can be realistically achieved with a single dedicated developer. However, it is something I have been working on in at least some capacity for years. I want more than anything to see it become a reality, so I'm willing to commit as much time as it takes to see it become a finished, professional quality product.

If you're just looking for something to do because you're bored, you're probably not going to have the drive necessary to build a game that spans several installments and is also worth playing. You need to want it.

Am I trying to tell one very long story, or several much smaller stories?: ShowHide

It's a very simple question, but both answers lead to totally different development considerations. If you're telling a long, overarching story that is very complex, you may be tempted to split the game into smaller chunks. Similarly, if you're telling an "episodic" story, the individual plots will have a significant disconnect and may be better off as separate games.

Can the story I'm trying to tell be conveyed properly in a single game?: ShowHide
If the answer to this is yes, you might be better off with a single game. Episodic gaming is a relatively new thing: it allows players to experience smaller chunks of the game's story and content at a smaller pricepoint, helping to fund future installments and cutting down on development time.

Unless you are releasing a commercial game, this is not really a consideration. As a small team, it will likely take you just as long (or longer) to make three games of 20 hour length as it will to make a single 60 one, and you risk making the experience disjointed.On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your game is pushing 60 hours of storyline gameplay (not including sidequests, etc.) then splitting it into two games may make it more manageable for players.

Can I split the story across multiple games and have each one be interesting?: ShowHide

This is just as important a consideration as the first issue. Properly pacing a story of any significant length so as to constantly remain interesting can be a difficult challenge. Splitting that story up into multiple segments that each need to be equally engaging can be even more difficult. Do they each have a distinct, beginning, middle and end with suitable climax and build-up points, and can they be tied together well?

If your story does not lend itself to being separated into multiple games, you will be facing an uphill struggle throughout development.

Will this impact my game's fundamental gameplay? Will I use the same engine for each?: ShowHide

This is perhaps the most important issue, but will probably be your last consideration. If you've determined the story can be effectively split up into multiple games you then need to ask yourself... how can I keep the game fun? In some cases, repetition of the same fundamental gameplay mechanics can, itself, be fun as long as you keep adding content. The Pokemon series is a prime example of this. The fundamental gameplay is virtually unchanged after 10 years and it's still fun to play.

Games like this are the exception to the rule, however. How will you go about making each game a fun experience without having players "burn out" on too much of a good thing? Will you use an entirely different engine for each game, or just make subtle modifications to each one based on player feedback?

You need to figure this out before you start production on the first game.

What kind of development resources do I have available?: ShowHide

Last but not least, what kind of resources do you have? Are you a one-man development team, or do you have a team of dedicated specialists at your disposal who are willing to work with you through multiple games? How much combined experience do you have? How much free time? Are you the kind of person (or team) that jumps from one project to another very easily, or do you start something and see it through no matter how long it takes?

I'm speaking close to the heart on this one. The DSC project I'm currently working on was originally written as a trilogy, and has a story spanning thousands of years. The basic framework of the story itself was written over the course of seven years. However, based on the level of control that I want over the game (and my inconsistent availability for development,) I determined it was best pursued as a solo project. Realistically, this means there is no way I can finish the entire story arc in any kind of appreciable time-frame and also have the level of professional polish that I want.

As such, I focused on what I could control. The three major parts of the story each have a distinctive beginning, middle and end. As such, I am concentrating all of my efforts on releasing the first part of that story as a stand-alone game. This way, if I decide to continue development in the future (with, say, a team,) I leave the possibility open without giving players an unsatisfactory conclusion to the story.

I know this has been a very long post, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Hopefully this will have given you a few things to think about as you make your decision.

Best of luck with your project.

Edit: ...some editing/formatting. Added another question.
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Thanks a lot everyone. And especially tyril for your great answer.

I will try to answer those questions.

How serious are you about this project?
I am building it upon a story I really like, and that I made before I decided to make a game. I am very serious about it. And I have spent a lot of time into it already. However, sometimes I get overwhelmed by the fact that so much is left, which makes me like the idea of three shorter parts which will change one massive load of work into smaller ones.

One story, or many small?
It is one big story, but I have found a pretty good way to split it.

Can the story work in a single game?
I am not quite sure, there are points in the story where it's very natural with a pause.

Can I split it into several and keep it interesting?
This is what worries me most. The second part (if I decide to split it) will mostly be explanations of what happened in part 1, however, if I manage to turn that into gameplay in a nice way, I think it might be interesting. The first and third parts is where the action is, so I think those will be interesting enough.

Will I use same engine?
Yeah, same engine, some minor changes maybe, but that's all.

How much resources do I have?
I got lots of custom faces, charsets and I have a guy making a tileset, so a lot. Everything I need + more.

My conclusion is that splitting it will be best. I'm not quite sure yet though.


Hmm... in regards to part 2:

Kingdom Hearts: 365/2 Days (or whatever its called) was VERY well put together, and definitely made for fun, entertaining gameplay and storyline.  All it pretty much did was fill in gaps though, there were even large breaks in the timeline, but it still offered a lot as a game by itself.  I haven't played the other kingdom hearts games all the way through but I was still largely entertained by the game.

Having said this, I believe you could successfully make a stand alone 2nd part to your storyline as long as you went about the storyline in an effective manner as to keep it both interesting and action packed.
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The last question refers mostly to what kind of time and expertise you have at your disposal (solo project vs. team debate,) but I'm very glad to see you're taking your project seriously.

Projects that people have a vested interest in are the ones that usually turn out to be genuinely good.

Frankly, it can be really hard to get motivated for a long database-entry grind. However - I find that taking just an hour or two and plugging away at it really leads to noticeable amounts of work adding up rather quickly. An hour of mapping here, an hour of data entry there, an hour of play-testing here...

The bottom line is that if you're willing to work for it, it will come together. Focus on making the best game you can and try not to worry about how long it will take. In the end, if you can make something that you're genuinely proud of, you won't have to justify how long you spent on it.

Lastly, regarding your concern over the second game... ideally, you should do something that adds to the story of the first game while setting up the events that precede the third one. Hex brings up a good point, and since the second game may be the weakest link in your story you need to be especially careful in regards to keeping the player engaged.
Lv. 7 Writer | Lv. 7 Composer | Lv. 7 Mapper | Lv. 4 Eventer | Lv. 0 Scripter | Lv. 1 Spriter
DSC Project Soundtrack
Personality Index:: ShowHide