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-Liam-

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 16:41:45 -

What's your preference? Personally, I like a short game that can be played many times, rather than one that drags on and you'll likely only place a few times.

This is a problem I'm having with my currently game project, and I could really use some advice from the community. I'm definitely not building a "long" game, but I'm concerned a lot of people will be put off with how short it currently is planned to be. Here's the gist of it: 3 Worlds, each with 2 levels, for a total of 6 levels and 6 boss battles.

Now, that probably sounds incredibly short, but I was hoping I could get away with it. It's a platform game, but will have a scoring system for how fast you can beat the game. Think something similar to Metal Slug, only less difficult. But then, does Metal Slug manage to get away with it because it's such a challenging game?

My idea was to have a unique set of graphics and music for each level, so if for example, I had say 4 worlds with 4 levels, I'd probably start reusing graphics and definitely would reuse music. That really goes against what I wanted to do, but how do you guys feels about this?

I'd like to release my game on iOS early next year for either 0.69 or 1.49 which I think is more than fair for a short game, but like I said, I'd like to hear what you guys think first.

Edit: Just to clarify, my game is a pixel art platformer, with unique graphics and audio for each stage. The stages could take anywhere from 2 minutes to 5 minutes to beat, on average. Is 6 levels too short? Would it put you off buying?

Edited by -Liam-

 
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monkeytherat

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 16:55:00 -

Well people may be annoyed at only getting levels for their money, but then again you could pull it off. Personally, I believe that there are 3 kinds of platformers when it comes to deciding how long you should make it. If it's a puzzle platformer, e.g. I wanna be the guy, the more levels the better! If you decide to go for a platformer with a really in-depth story, e.g. Princess Light, then, again, as long as you keep the player interested, more levels are better. But if you want to go for a fast-paced game where the whole point of it is to jump and run to finish quickly, e.g. the original Sonic and Mario games, then I would say you might be able to get away with only a few levels on one condition: These levels cannot be linear.

What I mean is, there should be many ways to go through the level. This way, when you're going for a faster time, you aren't just trying to perfect the timing of each jump, you are also looking for more efficient ways to get to the end. I could the same level of a game like that for hours, assuming they made the level big and complex enough.

 
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-Liam-

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 19:40:09 -

Thanks monkeythreat, exactly what you said in your last paragraph is what I'm wanting to achieve. Having said that, I'm going for an iOS game here, I've no idea how well the game will run until I get the exporter - if my levels are too big for the iDevice to handle then I'll have to make them smaller. Then I guess I'd have to add more levels in. We'll see as time goes by.

Thanks for your thoughts.

 
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s-m-r

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 20:51:42 -

Another variation you can explore with a shorter game length is unlockable content. Some games can be played in a very short amount of time from beginning to end, but the sheer volume of unlockable content that is revealed through successive play-throughs of the game keep players coming back.

If you can develop distinct additions or challenges to a game to change the flavour or tactics of how the game is completed, then I think you'd be on to something impressive. For example, here are a few variations on unlockable content that you might want to mess with, while keeping levels relatively short:

Different characters or character classes; playing as an enemy character beaten in previous play-throughs
Different weapons, each with their own special effect on enemies
Secret levels that are unlocked only when playing at certain times of the day
Same as above, but they are unlocked with different combinations of equipment or items
Achievements based on an EXACT time of completion
Completing the game without taking any damage, or while restricted to only one hit to be killed (obviously, for games where you have more hit points before player death)

There are a lot of different ways to go about it. I'm sure you'll come up with some fitting solution that you think is best to work with your game's theme.

 
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monkeytherat

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 21:06:03 -

First off, I'd like to say that I agree %100 with what smr says


Originally Posted by -Liam-
Thanks monkeythreat, exactly what you said in your last paragraph is what I'm wanting to achieve. Having said that, I'm going for an iOS game here, I've no idea how well the game will run until I get the exporter - if my levels are too big for the iDevice to handle then I'll have to make them smaller. Then I guess I'd have to add more levels in. We'll see as time goes by.

Thanks for your thoughts.



If you want I can build the game for you (I have the exporter). It would only be a one-time thing, as I can see it getting annoying having to build a game many times and transferring it to another computer (I know this from experience making my app). But if you just needed to be able to have a basic test of quality on the iPhone, pm me your MFA and I can get you a project.

 
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s-m-r

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Candle
14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 21:26:59 -

Cheers, monkeytherat.

Another thing I hadn't thought to mention before is random generation. This is another way to add to replayability, and happens to be one of my favourites. I use this principle in board game design all the time.

Roguelikes are built on this premise of randomization. At some point, usually at the beginning, the number of options, alternatives, and possibilities seems only limitless. The best roguelikes are the ones that allow players to navigate this field of randomness, develop patterns or tactics that are effective for the given randomly-generated set of variables, and at least do better than previous play-throughs of the game. Eventually, "best practices" are developed; the game-makers either enhance these best practices, or work to counter them through adjustments or addressing the game mechanics (i.e. nerfing or buffing).

Randomness is often an aspect of longer game lengths, or rather high-difficulty games where you end up playing the game without winning several times in an effort to learn more about the game itself and familiarize yourself with all the random aspects and their various combinations.

Apologies if my contributions to this discussion is going too far afield, but it's a topic I'm personally fascinated with. Liam, you started my gears turning.

 
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monkeytherat

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 21:55:31 -

Randomization can certainly be applied to nearly all genres of game, so I don't think you are going to far from Liam's question. For instance, When you think about level randomization, chances are FPS isn't the first type of game that comes to mind. But if you look at Wolfire's game Receiver, the only reason you could ever play that game for more than an hour total is that it randomizes all of the important things in a level, despite it only having 10 of them and each being fairly small.

 
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-Liam-

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14th August, 2012 at 14/08/2012 22:20:48 -

Thanks for that monkeythreat, but don't worry about it - I'm currently waiting for Jason Darby to get back to me about a discount so I'll have it in a day or so now.

smr, you're not far afield at all - Research is what's important to me right now, so hearing about anything, even only somewhat related, is a great contribution! That was a great list of bullet points, too - Definitely got me thinking!

 
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hapsi



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15th August, 2012 at 15/08/2012 22:00:31 -

Depends on a game type. Example: I've played Hitman: Silent Assassin (back in a day) with just killing all, and with killing only the targets. And there is lots of ways to eliminate the targets in Hitman series. Point is that if you can play the game through several times with different expiriences, it has a replayability value.
(currently playing RS Vegas 2 through for about 20th time)

 
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16th August, 2012 at 16/08/2012 00:26:06 -

Good to see you making games again Liam!

I prefer short games personally, so those are the kind of games I also make. For a platform game, I'd want to see something more than just running right while jumping and shooting, although if the level design and pacing were all well-balanced I'd probably be okay with it.

I think 6 levels is a good size if the levels are interesting and the bosses are balanced and creative. Arvoesine comes to mind - I love that game and happily paid $5 for it. I don't care for highscore challenges (which Arvoesine also has) but I enjoyed the levels and bosses so much that I've played through it a bunch of times.

 
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16th August, 2012 at 16/08/2012 12:15:37 -

I prefer long games, but I know that's hard to pull off, with variating, level design, enemies and etc.
But I think long games(at least klikkspeaking) is reserved for RPGs.

A long RPG I've been hyping for a while is Strife's FableQuest, which looks spectacular.

But when it comes to platformers I don't think it's a crime to keep it short.

Every platformer I've been working on have all been short, but not sure if people would like them or not either, so I'd say you have a hard and interesting question going here, Liam.

 
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-Liam-

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16th August, 2012 at 16/08/2012 18:43:33 -

Thanks guys, lots of interesting points are being brought to the discussion. I'd say in terms of what I'm currently working on, people would probably accept the fact that it'll be a fairly short experience. It's not a hefty price tag at all, and it sounds like people expect a short experience when it comes to pixel art platformers. Having said that, I'll definitely be reading through this page again to help me think of ways to add replay value. There are some really good ideas here.

From what I've seen in the AppStore, you get two types of platform games when it comes to pixel art. "Mission" based games, where you have a fairly simple, but solid game engine and some interesting level design, usually with the same level graphics used over and over a lot of times. I'd consider most of these games to have a lot of content, in terms of levels.

Then you have (very few) larger platform games. I find it more difficult to define these games, but to name a few: Frogato, Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Swords and Sworcery. Sorry I couldn't name any better examples (in terms of a traditional platformer), but honestly the AppStore seems fairly sparse when it comes to rich pixel art experiences. Hopefully I'll be able to add a great experience to it which will stand out. I've yet to prove to anyone here that I can make a solid game yet though.

Sorry for mentioning Swords and Sworcery, it's not a platform game at all. Still a very enjoyable experience though.

Edited by -Liam-

 
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hapsi



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20th August, 2012 at 20/08/2012 14:08:24 -

I'm going to OFFTOPIC a little here:
What was the name of that klik made platformer where you could use 2 different weapons simultaneously. First boss was a guy on a train with 2 Uzis(somewhere above the player) and it had a cool jungle level. It was fun and loooong. I never finished it and i played it for many hours. I'd like to play it again.

Another OFFTOPIC that somebody might find interesting:
Arvoesine is finnish word, and it means "valuable object" or "item that has a lot of value"

And an advices to Liam:
-Don't make the game too hard (even on last levels). Also remember that you are always probably the best player of your own game.
-Create lots of save points (if it fits to the game). It is very annoying to play "level x" 10 times especially if you have to do it in a same way.
-Have non-friend beta testers. Friends might not want to say to you that something sucks. Or what they think should be done differently.

 
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s-m-r

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Candle
20th August, 2012 at 20/08/2012 14:55:58 -


Originally Posted by hapsi
I'm going to OFFTOPIC a little here:
What was the name of that klik made platformer where you could use 2 different weapons simultaneously. First boss was a guy on a train with 2 Uzis(somewhere above the player) and it had a cool jungle level. It was fun and loooong. I never finished it and i played it for many hours. I'd like to play it again.


Maybe you're looking for the "Gunner" series? I've not played them in quite some time, but I could easily imagine at least one game in the series with those features.

 
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20th August, 2012 at 20/08/2012 17:20:43 -

Honestly, I hate long games. I hate even more that it's a common selling line that "my game gives you 50 hours of fun, whereas a movie only gives you 2 hours". No, most games give 10-20 minutes of fun, 50 hours of fluff. But you've already paid for that fluff, so you play it anyway.

Would be happy to see people making short games that are actually fun. Metal Slug really kept you on the seat. There were no quite periods, like in all the modern games you see today. It was just pure, immersive fun.

Sounds a bit on the expensive side, but I dunno about iOS games pricing.

 
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hapsi



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20th August, 2012 at 20/08/2012 18:09:30 -


Originally Posted by s-m-r

Originally Posted by hapsi
I'm going to OFFTOPIC a little here:
What was the name of that klik made platformer where you could use 2 different weapons simultaneously. First boss was a guy on a train with 2 Uzis(somewhere above the player) and it had a cool jungle level. It was fun and loooong. I never finished it and i played it for many hours. I'd like to play it again.


Maybe you're looking for the "Gunner" series? I've not played them in quite some time, but I could easily imagine at least one game in the series with those features.


No it wasn't Gunner. Gunner is more retro-like.





 
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21st August, 2012 at 21/08/2012 11:02:13 -

Bob The Schizophrenic Arsonist, perhaps?

 
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hapsi



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21st August, 2012 at 21/08/2012 13:25:23 -


Originally Posted by The Chris Street
Bob The Schizophrenic Arsonist, perhaps?


Bob The Schizo! Yeah.. thanks. Old DC download link doesn't work. Here is another: http://www.softsea.com/review/Bob-The-Schizo.html

edit: oh that link sucks (10kt/s) Heres better: http://games.brothersoft.com/bob-the-schizo-download.html

Edited by hapsi

 
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24th August, 2012 at 24/08/2012 09:25:07 -

short and fat like danny devito

 
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Chris Donovan



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24th August, 2012 at 24/08/2012 17:24:32 -

If the game is memorable, it will be worth it.

Check out this guy's work. Especially passage:

http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/jason-rohrer/

When you play that little game, you remember it forever.

I haven't looked into it, but if this is going to be an app, I think making it free with advertising would increase exposure and downloads. That way, you wouldn't get the negative comment like: It's too short for the money.

 
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7th October, 2012 at 07/10/2012 09:52:56 -

I like this game.

 
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7th October, 2012 at 07/10/2012 15:09:16 -

Honestly i prefer longer games, but with work and life in general i rarely have the time to play long games nowadays. And when i do i always play them in short sessions a few days apart so its not uncommon for me to forget what i was doing the last time i was playing. So id say maybe shorter games for an older audience and longer for a younger?

 
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