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Uploading an unfinished demo

A topic by Powered By Decaf created 57 days ago Views: 155 Replies: 17
Viewing posts 1 to 8

Hopefully this is in the correct location to post this. I'm currently working on a demo of my game, however the complete demo, as I envision it, is many months away from completion. I was wondering about the practice of uploading an incomplete demo and gradually updating it over time till completion and polish. I am aware that some devs do indeed do this but I'm wondering about how it's perceived as a practice. I don't want to give the impression that I'm a sloppy dev who uploads unfinished work. 

A part of me simply feels impatient and wants to upload something for people to play so I can get as much feedback as possible, but another part wants to build a reputation as a hard working dev that cares about quality. I've never posted a game to itch.io before and would ideally like to go in armed with knowledge. Thoughts?

Would need someone to confirm this but I think you can upload a game and classify the Release Status as 'in development', which you can accompany with a Devlog. Once it's ready, just change the release status to 'Release' :)

Moderator

I was wondering about the practice of uploading an incomplete demo and gradually updating it over time till completion and polish. I am aware that some devs do indeed do this but I’m wondering about how it’s perceived as a practice. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a sloppy dev who uploads unfinished work.

It happens often. An indie dev doesn’t have the resources to publish something only when it’s finished, so it’s very often the case that they upload work in progress and keep updating it.

I would say, uploading a game in early stages, and steadily update it looks more hard working, than uploading a finished product once and never updating it, at least in the Indie scene.

A part of me simply feels impatient and wants to upload something for people to play so I can get as much feedback as possible, but another part wants to build a reputation as a hard working dev that cares about quality.

Nobody will judge you or remember you from one game, especially your first one. You need at least 2-3 successes before people start noticing who you are and your reputation.

I’ve never posted a game to itch.io before and would ideally like to go in armed with knowledge.

Uploading your very first game is a massive step. I would say go for it. The only thing you’d need to keep in mind is to be perfectly clear to potential users that the project is unfinished. There is an option to set the project as “In Development”, but also mention in the description that this is a work in progress.

Hope that helps, good luck and looking forward to seeing your projects around :)

Thank you, this is encouraging to hear.

I currently have a page with the listing as 'in-development' but it's not indexed because it's just a store page. Shameless Plug
I could probably do what you say, but I worry that people won't read the dev log and simply just download the demo and think "Wow, this sucks and it's buggy. This dev should go dunk themselves in a volcano." This is why I'm asking. Not sure how friendly the itch.io community is towards demos in progress. I'm still feel the need to bathe after reading some of the comments on Early Access stuff on Steam...

(+2)

For what it's worth, I'd say Itchio is a much friendlier place than Steam.

Moderator(+1)

Users expect indie projects on Itch.io, games made by a single dev (or a small team) while they have a full time job. There’s all kinds of projects here. Although this is a personal opinion, I would say that users looking for indie games are for the most part looking for a unique experience, something creative and innovative, that would be too risky for a big company to implement. So make sure to let your creativity flow.

Steam is higher profile, with a higher bar of entry. That’s a platform AAA companies also use, so your game will sit next to other high profile games. It’s easy for a user to judge your project with AAA standards.

(+1)

First I want to say your game looks very professionally made by those screenshots.  I will surely come back later when you're ready to share more! Now I want to comment on your post with my thoughts. Well, it's true that anyone can be a game developer. But only few can actually pull it off with such passion, commitment, and grace. It can be highly discouraging when you start to give yourself unrealistic expectations or compare the success of other projects. But I always say to myself to keep trucking along because you genuinely love your own work. And the effort always shows.

Now personally, I have my current project in "Draft" mode so nobody can see it other than the editor-myself.  It's just a nice way to see what your page will look like before you're ready to take the plunge and publish it. I really like the itch.io community because you often see supportive people and a non-judgment zone. I totally understand the "impatient" bit. I am super eager to share my heart -my projects- with the world. I would say you just need to be brave and go in not really expecting anything, but also allow yourself to be excited for all the successes you've made so far. And you should be proud of all of your hard work. We're all artists and creative people here. Just remember that all indie devs start at some place-at the bottom. You will gradually earn experience points the more you develop your game! The biggest final boss is yourself, essentially. Anyways good luck!

(+1)

First of all, I'd like to say that your game screenshots look very nice and I'm sure the game will be great.  As far as having a demo and updating it as time goes on, I've done it myself several times.  In fact my newest project (a Visual Novel adaptation of my e-book) is a demo that I'm updating over time.  In different cases, because of how long the finished product will be, you have to have a demo you update over time and that's totally fine.

Thank you for your feedback. I'm now leaning more towards releasing an early demo and updating it till completion. One thing stops me though, my game is an adventure RPG. It will have replay value (emergent storytelling) but the demo won't really reach the point where you see too much of that. If I release a demo and people play through it, what motivation will they have to play through it again when it is updated? I can understand with a roguelike/lite game or some actiony game with fun combat mechanics, but story based games kind of burn themselves out after the first go. Thoughts?

(+1)

First of all, I can understand your concern in regards to whether or not people would replay the demo.  At the same time, though, it doesn't mean that people won't.  In general, in regards to stories and story based games, there are people who read a story once and there are those who like to re-read the same story several times.  Also, there are those who could replay the demo because they want to see what updates there are.  

In general, what I would say is to work on your game until you get it to a point where you feel like you can upload a demo.  After that, when you update things,  you should write a devlog to let people know there are updates.  Also, if you'd like, when the demo's available, you can write a post in threads having to do with Youtubers playing games and see if anyone is interested in playing the demo.  Also, there have been times when Youtubers have replayed demos when there have been updates.

Seems like there are ups and downs for each side. However this thread has shown me that at the very least the itchio community is understanding and supportive. I'll upload a short playable demo probably in May and hope for the best. Hopefully I can get some solid feedback so I can improve on it.

Deleted 56 days ago
Moderator

Self-promotion on unrelated threads is against the rules.

Deleted 56 days ago
Moderator

Self-promotion on unrelated threads is against the rules.

Sorry but where can I post that?

Moderator

It’s always a good idea to read the rules of a board before posting. The rules of General Discussion state:

SELF PROMOTION:

If you’re advertising a game, then don’t post here. Use the Release Announcements board to self promote your itch.io projects. Follow the rules there when posting.

You can post it there, but make sure to read the rules to ensure it all goes smoothly. Hope that helps :)

ok

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