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Ion Fury demo discussion  "Split from Ion Fury"

User is online   NightFright 

  • The Truth is in here

#1

IF going kinda "shareware" would indeed be nice and another fitting nod to the games of the 90s era.
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User is online   Sanek 

#2

^Steam's 2-hour trial is kinda shareware these days. It's been told thousands of times.

But yeah, it'll be a nice touch to release some part of the game for free, like the first Early Access level.
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#3

View PostSanek, on 10 September 2020 - 06:20 AM, said:

^Steam's 2-hour trial is kinda shareware these days. It's been told thousands of times.

"Shareware" means that users are/were granted the right to freely copy and distribute ("pass around") the shareware version under certain provisions (usually making no modifications to the programme or trying to sell it). Not sure how anything that needs Steam to work, much less is time-limited, is compatible with this definition.

I personally don't believe that a monopoly/oligopoly of one/handful of video game vendors is a good thing, especially if they have near complete control of how you use their products.

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 06:35 AM, said:

There are no plans to release a demo as they are quite obsolete in this day and age. 20+ years ago it made sense when it was a matter of downloading 10MB rather than streaming hundreds of MB worth of video on a slower connection.

Watching someone play the game is not the same as playing it yourself.

What are you losing if you release the demo? Just add a note that you're not providing tech support, and change the logo to Ion Fury. You wouldn't even need to build a new one from scratch, keep the old version with brown cultists to make it more interesting.
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User is online   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#4

People who ask for a demo are the ones who already own the game ;)
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#5

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 09:46 AM, said:

People who ask for a demo are the ones who already own the game ;)

That's because I can easily imagine myself wanting to try before I buy, and would be glad if others had this opportunity :) I also believe it's a good thing on its own if everyone could have a bit of Ion Fury for free, no strings attached, and then buy the full game if they truly liked it.
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User is offline   Fox 

  • Fraka kaka kaka kaka-kow!

#6

View PostMrFlibble, on 10 September 2020 - 09:21 AM, said:

What are you losing if you release the demo? Just add a note that you're not providing tech support, and change the logo to Ion Fury. You wouldn't even need to build a new one from scratch, keep the old version with brown cultists to make it more interesting.

Shareware is dead.

It only existed when it was necessary to purchase the game via mail. The amount of work involved required developers to dissuade the consumer.

Even back then, Carmack said that they didn't make a Shareware version of Doom II because most people considered they "finished Doom" when they completed the shareware episode.
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User is online   NightFright 

  • The Truth is in here

#7

Besides the fact Doom II's sole purpose was to cash in hard after its predecessor's success. GT Interactive realized this fast, flew over to Dallas and provided 2 million bucks as promo budget to create a sequel. Nobody thought about a shareware release back then. People knew Doom and wanted more, there was no modding scene as we know it now. Easy money.

This post has been edited by NightFright: 10 September 2020 - 12:25 PM

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User is online   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#8

View PostMrFlibble, on 10 September 2020 - 10:12 AM, said:

That's because I can easily imagine myself wanting to try before I buy, and would be glad if others had this opportunity :) I also believe it's a good thing on its own if everyone could have a bit of Ion Fury for free, no strings attached, and then buy the full game if they truly liked it.


I will repeat myself, only those who already had the game have ever asked for such :)
It would just be a novelty thing as demos generally have a worse reputation these days than they did 25 years ago.
You might believe it but the feedback shows otherwise.

Only critique has been when it was still EAP and people basically paid closer to full price for what was a shareware length affair.
However this is different. Preview was never intended to be free and it was just something for EAP.

Even then, it's about releasing what's essentially pre-release code, with worse performance and more bugs, isn't really the best way to represent your game either.

Some people even rather pirate a game instead since they get to experience the game for real instead of a stripped down experience with nag screens and buy it if they like it.
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#9

View PostFox, on 10 September 2020 - 11:50 AM, said:

Shareware is dead.

I'm asking for a free-to-download, free-to-distribute demo version. Nobody asks Voidpoint to resurrect the marketing model that has indeed become obsolete.

Playable demos exist for games that are not, and never were, distributed via the Apogee/Scott Miller shareware model. Free demo versions still exist and are made for modern games, just look at the selection of free downloads at GOG for just a few examples.

View PostFox, on 10 September 2020 - 11:50 AM, said:

Even back then, Carmack said that they didn't make a Shareware version of Doom II because most people considered they "finished Doom" when they completed the shareware episode.

Um, this is not what he says. There was no shareware version of Doom II because that game was sold in retail stores only, not ordered by mail. In fact, people could only buy a retail version of Doom 1 with the Ultimate Doom release in 1995. I think this is mentioned somewhere in an LRG review.

Anyway, here's the quote from that interview:

Quote

Carmack: DOOM 2 was explicitly a commercial release. We sort of half heartedly did some shareware distribution with Quake, but I think the industry has almsot (sic) unanimously decided that the three or so level demo is the best test vehicle. [emphasis added]

Back then, "commercial"/"retail" and "shareware" were opposite marketing concepts, but the line between the two gradually blurred until it disappeared altogether.

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 12:53 PM, said:

However this is different. Preview was never intended to be free and it was just something for EAP.

Even then, it's about releasing what's essentially pre-release code, with worse performance and more bugs, isn't really the best way to represent your game either.

Alright I'll put it this way. I, personally, would install and play the latest preview version (with the Heskel mansion) as a separate product, which I missed because I pre-ordered the game on Steam but played the DRM free version of the preview which I bought with the Bombshell Digital Deluxe Edition (I got it solely for the sake of the preview), as no GOG pre-order was available then. But once it was, GOG was all like hey, you don't get any more preview with the BDDE, so I did not get it (and I didn't use the Steam version if only because the client was broken on my Linux distro that I used back then).

Why don't you, then, release the preview as a historical pre-release version marked as such? It's not like the 2018 builds have become unplayable or hard to make them work on modern systems. Change the offending title to Ion Fury, keep the brown cultists.

I honestly don't understand this reluctance to release the demo. If the pre-release code/build was this lacking, why would it receive such positive reactions, even from the people who had no interest in supporting you or your project?

I would assume that a demo can potentially reach more people who just fell for the get-it-for-free part and then genuinely liked the game. At least, that's my impression but feel free to prove me wrong here (especially when backed by some studies or something).

I can't think of any costs to Voidpoint for making the preview a free download for everyone -- but again as an outsider I cannot know the details. I have no idea how hard it would be to get a separate demo page on GOG or Steam like the games that do have such a thing, but you could always upload it to a file hosting service with a free account.

As someone who takes interest in pre-release versions of various games, I would appreciate the preview campaign builds being available in any form, even if as a bonus. Because the campaign levels in the full version are just the levels, not the whole experience that gives you an idea how the game evolved, among other things.

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 12:53 PM, said:

Some people even rather pirate a game instead since they get to experience the game for real instead of a stripped down experience with nag screens and buy it if they like it.

Are you implying a cause-effect relation here? Demos make people pirate games that they otherwise would not? That's a novel concept to me.
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User is online   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#10

View PostMrFlibble, on 11 September 2020 - 06:22 AM, said:

I'm asking for a free-to-download, free-to-distribute demo version. Nobody asks Voidpoint to resurrect the marketing model that has indeed become obsolete.

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 12:53 PM, said:

Preview was never intended to be free and it was just something for EAP.

You do know that shareware/demo is not just a charity thing ? :P
It was done as a necessity, it had always been about marketing & promotion.
Demo and shareware are interexchangeable. Main thing with shareware was to give 1/3 out to make it feel less like a stripped down experience, along with encouraing distribution (Sharing a floppy was much easier than hundreds of megabytes of high quality footage or mailing VHS tapes).
EAP did have a parallel with this model since we wanted to have a medium sized stand-alone experience with a distinct beginning - end (Plus when preview was started, it was potentially going to be the swansong for the project).
What was released was not a demo, you paid for the full game and got an "early access preview" to help you through the wait & feedback.
We don't have /a/ demo (free or paid) we could release in a state that would demonstrate the game, more on that below.


View PostMrFlibble, on 11 September 2020 - 06:22 AM, said:

Alright I'll put it this way. I, personally, would install and play the latest preview version (with the Heskel mansion) as a separate product, which I missed because I pre-ordered the game on Steam but played the DRM free version of the preview which I bought with the Bombshell Digital Deluxe Edition (I got it solely for the sake of the preview), as no GOG pre-order was available then. But once it was, GOG was all like hey, you don't get any more preview with the BDDE, so I did not get it (and I didn't use the Steam version if only because the client was broken on my Linux distro that I used back then).
...
As someone who takes interest in pre-release versions of various games, I would appreciate the preview campaign builds being available in any form, even if as a bonus. Because the campaign levels in the full version are just the levels, not the whole experience that gives you an idea how the game evolved, among other things.

With this, your argument changes to more about getting access to early versions as a game owner as a curiosity instead of wanting it as a demo for everyone. That's fine.
Also based on what you request, some of these would require having specific internim updates for eap.
Remember, demos are meant be actual marketing samples of the product, what you can expect when you buy it, not a museum.
Still in many demos you'd have pre-release code but these are generally patched out later on and you could expect to only have access to the latest version.
This again was done out of necessity, they had to build hype before release and demos worked out really well for them.
Sharing a download-sized (or Floppy/CD) sample of the game was usually the only realistic way to even see the game in action as you couldn't just go to youtube or a livestream to hear someone's impressions.

As for Fury, if you were losing actually something then yes, however all the "exclusive" content was already fixed for release version.

We are now at the point where we're wrestling about few users not having direct access to specific versions of the game for archivist / research purposes.
I fully understand the desire, I'm sure things can be arranged on obtaining these for personal curiosity.
Distributing these is not practical in mass (more below).

View PostMrFlibble, on 11 September 2020 - 06:22 AM, said:

If the pre-release code/build was this lacking, why would it receive such positive reactions, even from the people who had no interest in supporting you or your project?

But it did get a lot of critique for poor performance and was practically unplayable for many.
If the purpose of a demo is to advertise a game, we don't want pre-1.0 code (last eap4.1 had even more issues compared to 1.0) to represent what they would get.
There have been a ton of refunds just because of how poor the performance was around eap1.0 and the game has gone through HEAVY performance boosts on almost every major patch, to the point where the eap1.0 is embarrassingly slow and even 1.0 of retail is night and day. 1.1 is yet another huge leap.

View PostMrFlibble, on 11 September 2020 - 06:22 AM, said:

I can't think of any costs to Voidpoint for making the preview a free download for everyone -- but again as an outsider I cannot know the details. I have no idea how hard it would be to get a separate demo page on GOG or Steam like the games that do have such a thing, but you could always upload it to a file hosting service with a free account.

We have very little access over gog, bombshell DDE owners still have access to what's around EAP update 1-2 I think as the updates stopped there.
For Steam, we have no interest in setting up a separate repository that only exists to serve an older version of the game with no actual new content (remember, EAP stuff is on final as well under extras).
The user base who even want to play unfinished old versions is extremely minimal, remember that again you are not really losing out on anything content-wise except minute changes.

Cost would be that someone would have to rebase and strip all the stuff, test that things work. This is manual effort that can take at least a week of work of our spare time... so nope :)
We don't see any value in providing a demo when steam has a 2hr refund system in place, you get to play the full game without any nagscreens and make a decision.

Now I can chat about this but I really want to say that the lack of demo was a concious decision, you can always find someone in the mass who legitimately could have made his decision based on it.
But nowdays there are so many tools that replace the need for a demo to the point that it's main purpose has virtually no real return.
It will not happen.

TL;DR
- Releasing a demo != releasing early pre-release builds
- A demo would need to be made, it doesn't exists
- EAP was never meant to be free
- Demos are obsolete, i.e. 2hr steam refund / livestreaming
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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#11

View Postoasiz, on 11 September 2020 - 11:01 AM, said:

You do know that shareware/demo is not just a charity thing ? :P
It was done as a necessity, it had always been about marketing & promotion.

View Postoasiz, on 11 September 2020 - 12:20 PM, said:

Anyway, it's true that we don't offer a road to play the game in any way without buying it.

I'm understanding from this that there is indeed a concern that a free version will hurt sales. Pity, that, because I have always assumed that a demo was a supplementary product to pitch the sales, not deter people from buying a game.

Please don't get me wrong, I brought up the topic not only to satisfy my own whims but because it is my understanding that I'm not the only one curious about a demo, and the question has not been answered previously.

I get your point with the necessity to update the code, except if default EDuke32 builds recognise the preview campaign datafiles that would kinda solve the problem?

BTW, I'm pretty certain that there are games that have nothing for a demo except an obviously pre-release build with some features missing. Redneck Rampage comes to mind (BTW, I would call that one a real bad example of a demo anyway) but I think there were other, possibly more interesting examples as well, I just can't remember. Not that it bringing them up will change your mind on the issue, I'm generally interested in this topic. Maybe a creating a separate thread is in order.
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User is online   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#12

View PostMrFlibble, on 12 September 2020 - 05:58 AM, said:

I'm understanding from this that there is indeed a concern that a free version will hurt sales.

I never said such a thing, please read what I wrote. It's stated pretty clearly that we do not have something that the closest thing to a "demo" without having to strip down assets (also explained in previous post) is the eap4.1, which is severely outdated in code (also explained)
I say the opposite there and acknowledge that there might always some where it would make a difference but it was a concious choice to take this.

View PostMrFlibble, on 12 September 2020 - 05:58 AM, said:

I get your point with the necessity to update the code, except if default EDuke32 builds recognise the preview campaign datafiles that would kinda solve the problem?

No, Eduke32 is just engine and there are tons of changes that always get done on CON/art/etc..
Preview versions might not even work on latest engines since the game script was often changed since things would break due to updates (i.e. major collision overhaul)

View PostMrFlibble, on 12 September 2020 - 05:58 AM, said:

BTW, I'm pretty certain that there are games that have nothing for a demo except an obviously pre-release build with some features missing. Redneck Rampage comes to mind (BTW, I would call that one a real bad example of a demo anyway) but I think there were other, possibly more interesting examples as well, I just can't remember. Not that it bringing them up will change your mind on the issue, I'm generally interested in this topic. Maybe a creating a separate thread is in order.

You are arguing about the points I answered in the previous post, I'm sure something for earlier versions can be done case by case basis.
If we released a demo, it would not be what's essentially an unfinished beta from 1 year before release, you want pre-release versions which is an entirely different matter.

I will split this discussion for now.
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#13

View Postoasiz, on 10 September 2020 - 12:53 PM, said:

It would just be a novelty thing as demos generally have a worse reputation these days than they did 25 years ago.
You might believe it but the feedback shows otherwise.


That I find very odd, because the Ultrakill, Gloomwood, HROT and Cyberhook demos actually got me more interested in those respective games than I would have been without.
But of course, I may just be the complete outlier here.

This post has been edited by Doom64hunter: 12 September 2020 - 10:40 PM

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User is offline   MrFlibble 

#14

Thanks for making this a separate topic!

View Postoasiz, on 12 September 2020 - 11:28 AM, said:

View PostMrFlibble, on 12 September 2020 - 05:58 AM, said:

I'm understanding from this that there is indeed a concern that a free version will hurt sales.

I never said such a thing, please read what I wrote.

I got the impression that something along those lines was implied. Apologies if I was wrong.

But you did say that releasing demo versions "is not charity" and is done "as a necessity", and that users are not supposed to play IF "in any way" without paying. If anything, this seems to imply that a playable demo is undesirable exactly because it is free and cannot be sold. I just took one more step along this venue of reasoning, assuming that perhaps giving users a demo to play will take away from them playing the paid version.

If I misunderstood what you said, at least here's the basis of my interpretation of your words.

Anyway, I understand that this is probably not the best time to bring up the demo subject while the expansion is in the works. But thank you for your willingness to provide detailed feedback, this is really appreciated.

I really want to apologise if my questions were annoying.

View Postoasiz, on 11 September 2020 - 11:01 AM, said:

We don't see any value in providing a demo when steam has a 2hr refund system in place, you get to play the full game without any nagscreens and make a decision.

On a slightly unrelated note, am I right in my assumption that when a user refunds a game, the money is reverted to the Steam Wallet of that user (and not to the bank account/credit card or other means of payment)?
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User is online   Sanek 

#15

View PostMrFlibble, on 13 September 2020 - 03:43 AM, said:

the money is reverted to the Steam Wallet of that user (and not to the bank account/credit card or other means of payment)?


This.
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User is offline   fgsfds 

#16

View PostMrFlibble, on 13 September 2020 - 03:43 AM, said:

On a slightly unrelated note, am I right in my assumption that when a user refunds a game, the money is reverted to the Steam Wallet of that user (and not to the bank account/credit card or other means of payment)?

You can choose between steam wallet and your original payment method.
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#17

View PostMrFlibble, on 13 September 2020 - 03:43 AM, said:

On a slightly unrelated note, am I right in my assumption that when a user refunds a game, the money is reverted to the Steam Wallet of that user (and not to the bank account/credit card or other means of payment)?


I have refunded several times on Steam, and at least the times I've done it I'm given the option to choose between getting the money back as steam wallet funds or for my credit card to be refunded. Choosing to get the money back as funds for the wallet means that the cash is granted to you instantaneously (after you wait for customer support to reply to your ticket) while choosing a refund to your payment method takes a few days to process.
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User is online   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#18

No worries! This is why wanted to explain, to clear misunderstandings.

I believe it is steam wallet, yes. Never used the refund option myself so I'm not sure. Might depend on payment option as well.

"not charity" refers to that even free demos back in the day had an agenda, it was released because it WAS one of the most effective method of advertising (shareware was built around it & BBS distribution). This didn't specifically target Fury but games in general.

As for hurting sales, you might have been mislead since I was specifically referring to releasing EAP versions as demo when I /was/ referring to Fury.
Releasing a pre-release build from over half a year before the final game (Skipping a ton of the final stretch stuff) isn't the best way to advertise your game and not something we would want.
At this point you could argue (1 year in) that the amount you get would work well and I don't disagree there, just that it's already almost 1.5 years old at this point since 1.1 is a game changer to many.

Since we'd have to specifically prepare one with most recent code, test it, etc.. so the only winning move is not to play.
As of the moment we don't have enough time/interest on preparing one.
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