Game too short for STEAM release?

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by DigiChain, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. DigiChain

    DigiChain Member

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    Hi, I'm currently working on what I had planned to be my first game released on Steam.
    However I'm concerned that as a short game Steam may not be the best home for it.

    The game is a unique narrative driven adventure / puzzle game - with a current play through time of about 1 hour (dependant on the players adventure / puzzle solving abilities).
    This is the WIP thread for the game:
    Tusker's Number Adventure WIP

    So my question:

    Is this too short a game for Steam (especially as Steam has a refund policy for any game played less than 2 hours)?

    Should I look to bulk out the game with additional levels / puzzles etc? - this wouldn't really be ideal though as the game structure/narrative plays out very well in its current time frame.

    I'd love hear peoples opinions / advice on this. Thanks!
     
  2. Kyon

    Kyon Member

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    Don't stretch your game for these reasons. If you feel like your game is finished, release it as it is.
    Many people really like "shorter" games over long games.
    But just think about the price maybe, some people might not like a high price if a game is short. (even though it shouldn't really matter that much)

    Also if you feel uneasy about Steam why not release it on another platform?
     
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  3. NightFrost

    NightFrost Member

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    If game is short but by your yardstick complete, then release as-is instead of padding it. I've paid for and played short games, understanding that they will be short. However I also feel that the price must reflect that. If a game has an hour's worth of content and no replay value, then I wouldn't pay something like 10€ for it, no matter the quality, production values or industry veterans behind it.

    You can always release on Itch or Gamejolt if Steam doesn't feel like proper place for it.
     
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  4. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    The game sounds a lot like a kids' edutainment game, have you had actual kids in the target audience test play it? If it takes an hour for an adult that knows programming (which involves a lot of advanced maths) to beat it, maybe it does take over 2 hours for a kid to beat.

    Also, players usually aren't cynical enough to refund everything they can just because they beat it in <2 hours. (Steam support also will react if people do a lot of refunds, because Steam also loses money if people refund too much). If they liked the game, they'll keep it, even if they completed it. Better than people refunding the game after 30 minutes because everything is 4x slower than the ideal pace and it gets super boring...
     
  5. DigiChain

    DigiChain Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts guys - they are reassuring!

    The game is actually aimed towards adults. The title is deliberately misleading and the game starts out as though it's one thing (a kids education game) but quickly takes a different darker turn.

    Yes, I haven't really looked at the other stores but obviously should. I've only ever developed for mobile before so still finding my feet with the PC market!

    I'm now thinking I'm going to take a break from the project for a couple weeks, think it over and perhaps then add some additional content to help extend the game experience a little - but taking care not to do it at the expense of the game flow so far!
     
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  6. sitebender

    sitebender Member

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    There are 5 minute games on Steam and endless arcade games that can last 1 minute to infinity. If a person likes it... they'll keep it and won't get a refund. There are $20 games like Firewatch that people can plow through in under 2 hours. I made it through Gone Home in under 2 hours. Dear Esther is under an hour. Perotius is 15 - 30 minutes.

    You can pad your game with extras. Your story or "main game" is complete, but add bonus challenges or something if it's something that would fit your game. Even Mario is doing challenge levels now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  7. Cpaz

    Cpaz Member

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    I'd also add tge Stanley Parable and Beginners Guide to this list. Both of which are absolutely worth the price of admission.

    I think the point is, so long as the experience is short, but well executed, not many people will mind paying for it.

    Of course, that'll likely depend on how much it turns out to be. For that, unfortunately, you'll have to use your own judgment.
     
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  8. Yal

    Yal GMC Memer GMC Elder

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    Another idea could be to have optional hidden items throughout the game, to get the best ending you need to collect them all (and it maybe even lets you access the true final boss / true final level). If the player gets the bad ending, show them that they missed some items (and maybe unlock some hint / item counter for later playthroughs) and encourage them to play the game again and try to find them all. The items could offer more lore (e.g. you can see flashbacks to see how all the scary monsters are the trapped souls of kids that died in a restaurant, like in FNAF), could give you new special powers that are necessary for the final level and lets you solve puzzles in new ways, or just be thematically appropriate (e.g. to fight the devil in the haunted arcade machine, you need to collect a crucifix, a bible and a prayer bead necklace).
     
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