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How to Make a Game Demo?

The game market is currently swarming with new releases, so the competition is high and exciting. Game developers are full of interesting ideas, but the real deal is to captivate the target audience's attention.

For this precise reason, game demos are of great importance as they give early access to the players and boost game exposure. So, learn all about how to create a quality game demo for promo purposes, so your project sends waves in the gaming industry. Note that outsourcing game development studios like Argentics can make your journey less stressful.

What Is A Game Demo?

Before we delve into the specificities of game marketing, it is vital to understand what a game demo is and why it is essential.

When it comes to a demo of a game, there is more than just an exhibition of features. It allows players to immerse themselves in the experience and try core game mechanics.

Why Game Demos Are Important?

Releasing a demo version of your video game is essential for various reasons: fundraising, nurturing the game community, getting feedback from early project supporters etc. Also, these days the importance of having something playable to share with the target audience cannot be overstated; especially if you run a small or medium sized studio. It is even more critical for web3 projects.

A playable demo can drastically improve your game's visibility and sales rate. If it piques the interest of the gaming community, then your pre-orders will go up significantly. So, it is essential to increase chances of getting funds, escalating exposure, boosting wishlists, and getting more game developers to join your team.

Types of Game Demos

When it comes to making demos, you can choose from different types depending on which one would suit your case the most:

Overview Demo

Overview demo is made in the initial stages of development. It shows all the features of your game design and gives an overviewing explanation of your game. So, the interested party can see how to navigate throughout your app, how to win points, what buttons to press on the console and other essential information that would explain your game in detail.

Therefore, an overview demo is akin to a guidebook. All the interested players can seek guidance from your demo before they play the game. Moreover, this type is sometimes also used to showcase the changes that have been made to improve the latest version of the product.

Live Demo

A live demo is a little more stimulating as it records your screen during a dummy play session. The audience can see the whereabouts and the details of the gameplay during its recording in action. The showcasing player will guide the audience about the details of the game world and its core features.

This is a terrific option if you're ahead in the development process. Use this opportunity to showcase the graphics, maneuvers, and other vital features capable of piquing potential players' interests.

Trial Version Demos

This last option is only possible if your game is developed well enough to allow the players to experience the product themselves.

Developers opt for this version when their video game is playable, so they can receive feedback for different features and incorporate them before its final release.

Cost factor

Building a quality video game demo might be an expensive endeavor. An experienced development studio would normally know how to cut the corners, but never at the expense of quality and scalability. There is often a way to meet in the middle, provided that game demo goals on one hand, and budget and deadlines on the other are realistic.

New gaming studios often face a dilemma between laying a solid foundation for a full version of the game and building a demo ASAP. Scrapping a quick playable game app might seem as a smart move at first, but in the long run it creates quite a number of pitfalls. The former option proves to be more reasonable, as it saves developers the necessity to fundamentally revise the code.

Game Templates Vs. Custom Demos: Which is better?

Choosing between a game template and a custom demo might be a hard call. The former option often looks tempting and actually proves to be a good one, but only provided that your game mechanics nearly completely match what the template has to offer. And even if that’s the case, you should be ready to completely rewrite the project code from scratch when you start working on the full version, as game templates are known for poor adaptability.

To make the right choice, you need to clearly set your demo goals and define the budget and deadlines.

How to Set Your Goal?
You can use a game template to showcase a general idea of what your game will look like in the initial phases of marketing it. You can easily find ready-made templates for modeled games and create a game for anyone you like. This process is cheaper, faster, and straightforward.

However, if you want to truly convey the selling points of your project, then you need a game development studio that knows a deal about custom end-to-end development. This way, the target audience you're marketing your game to can see that you have a clear-cut idea of what you want to achieve. When you're custom designing your game, you have the option of playing around with its key mechanics, which is something where stiff game templates fall behind.

How To Set Your Budget?
Setting your budget from the get-go is extremely important yet challenging. Without any prior game development or at least software development background coming up with reasonable numbers might be a tough task. On one hand, building a game demo should not be a costly endeavor, but on the other hand quality marketing can’t be cheap. At least unless you have a well established following to begin with.

So what’s the best way to set your expectations? - Just reach out to a game development outsourcing studio with relevant experience. Only professionals will give you realistic numbers and deadlines based on their expertise.

The other option would be to look for freelance teams and indie developers. However be wary that lower costs may come at a higher price. A well established game studio will care about its reputation whereas freelancers may be comfortable with cutting corners while secretly working on several projects at a time.

Steps to Make A Mind-Blowing Game Demo

In today's world, anyone can pay for a promo video. You can buy nice looking game assets and hire a pro on Fiverr to make a fine promo. But there is a catch - you will eventually have to show gameplay with the same level of quality. And this is where a lot of projects fall short and lose a lot of support. As before you make cool looking cinematics, you should know if you can actually hire a team that would convesy a nice looking scene into a playable product.

Making a huge gap between a quickly scrapped trailer and actual game demo visuals and mechanics is a sure way to undermine the integrity of your project. Hence it’s always better to be honest and set realistic expectations. A good game development partner will surely know how to make a decent demo gameplay footage.

Convey Your Selling Points
Speaking of the game demo, it should focus on key game mechanics and the meat of storytelling. You don’t need to design a huge level, produce numerous assets and effects. Instead put the emphasis on must-have gameplay elements that nail your selling points. Extra game art, cool skins, cunning AI ect. Will all come at much later stages.

Choose What Kind Of Demo You Want
You need to decide which of the two types of video demos you want. For example, you can choose between an overview and a live demo. The work of a game developer depends on the kind of demo he chooses since the production method depends upon it.

There might be a significant difference in terms of production costs and respective deadlines between the two options. Keep in mind that whereas screen-recording a scripted piece of an action might save some costs, the game community will surely favor a playable video game application over a fancy trailer.

No Compromise On The Quality
Your demo makes the first impression. And, we all know those last a long time. So, whatever you do, make sure that your early supporters will have something good to tell their friends about your game project. In addition to making a good playable game demo, investing in professional video production is not a bad idea because it may play a massive role in helping you get the attention of your target audience.

Well-thought gameplay based on top mechanics coupled with the right art style tell a good story. What you share with the community should be neat and tidy. Which is why it is extremely important that you are connected to experienced Game Designers, Artists and Developers. So it makes sense to reach out to a game development studio that can cover all your production needs.

Tips To Pick The Best Game Development Partner For Your Project

You must make all the right decisions when recruiting your team for game development. Your game will be as strong as the weakest project link. Now, this task can be daunting, but if you follow the tips ahead, then you should be good to go.

One Big team is Better Than a Handful of Small Ones

If you make a choice between having several teams responsible for different aspects of game development, think twice. There is a common misconception that if you split responsibilities between several game outsourcing services providers, you will have a better control over the project. While on paper it looks fine, in practice it takes quite some time and effort to get people on the same page. Especially, if they are scattered all over the globe and have different views of how things should be done.

And it’s not only about following different best practices and/or art and development pipelines. Chemistry between all the involved people is fundamental to the success of the project. An established game development studio knows how to handle projects end-to-end.

Have a Call

It’s a no-brainer for any game development studio to publish some fancy art on their website or show a strong affiliation with a renowned game title, whether that is actually the case or not. So how do you tell braggers from genuine pros? The easiest way is to have a chat with somebody from that studio.

A good game development partner will not give you an immediate estimate or praise your game design ideas 5 minutes into a conversation. Instead you should expect to hear a lot of questions covering but not limited to your target audience, platforms, references, deadlines, your in-house team and much more.
Speaking of the budget and deadlines, it normally takes a few business days to produce a comprehensive proposal based on rather scarce information about many aspects of the game demo. But rest assured that waiting will pay-off.

We would be glad to hear about the game demo you have in mind and give you a few suggestions on how to nail the development.
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