I used to believe that the larger mods should release demos, just like games. Now I’m not so sure….
What the best amount playtime for demo for a mod?
There have been a few recent demo releases and I used to believe that this would be a good thing. Unfortunately the releases I am thinking about release very large demos and I believe that may have a negative effect.
We need to think carefully about why demos are released. Are they released to convince players to buy games? If this is the case then mods don’t need to do it because they are free.
Are they released to keep the noise level of the mod higher than if media were released? Maybe, although in the case of retail games it’s got to be the reason above. Therefore do mods need extra publicity? Maybe, maybe not.
What should be clear is that the demo should encourage the player to download the full mod when it is eventually realsed. In that case the mod just needs to be quite small and represent the best that the mapper can make. In fact, I believe the demo shouldn’t feature ANY part of the released mod but a specially built are of the mod, that perhaps can be seen from the full release.
For me anything more than 30% of playtime of the full release is too much. In the case of Mistake and Half-Life: Episode Two it’s highly unlikely I will play the full release because I’ve already played too much and don’t want to go back and start gain.
Of course the authors could release save points for player to continue where the demo finished but it’s not just that, it’s getting back into the story etc.