SPLITTING ONE LARGE GAME INTO MULTIPLE SMALLER GAMES

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I've been thinking of doing this with one of my projects. Instead of making one large game, I would split it into smaller chapters and release each chapter as it's own game. Kind of like the Final Fantasy IV sequel when it first came out.

So, I was wondering what your thoughts on this was, and how would you find a concept like this could be properly developed?

One of the things to note is that I'm not planning to have any data transfer from one chapter to another, so each chapter would really be it's own game. Some of the ideas I have right now are to not have any leveling at all and to simply scale the characters and enemies as chapters advance. That way the player won't feel cheated that s/he leveled for nothing.
With no insult, this is something that has been done many times as you can see with the Way series. Without a data transfer, it can work but it would feel like the players choices in chapter 1 have no meaning in chapter 3 and ect. However, I advise you to look at the Way and Legion saga 2 and 3 to see how you can do a game in parts and make it successful. Legion saga 2 and 3 were separate games, but they have one of the best save transfer systems that have lasting effects in game I have ever seen before.

Basically, when it comes down to it, there is no real difference if you make a solid game or one in parts. The only difference is if the player's choices can be remembered, which reenforces the players chances of immersion.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
Well the other difference is how likely you are to finish it in each case. It's been shown that when you release something in increments like that, especially when the increments feel like whole projects, that the sense of satisfaction and completion you get from the release makes you feel like you're done and kills your motivation to keep working. (Releasing something to a limited audience has a similar effect.) But continuing to work on a single project for years without ever feeling like it's getting close to being done can also kill your motivation, and can also result in eventually wanting to redo the earlier parts as you learn more, creating an endless cycle of never being done. So it depends what kind of person you are and which problems you think are more likely to affect you.
I'd say go for it. If I ever get anything out, I'm guessing it will be via this method. Also, just because you release something as several cut up chunks doesn't mean that it has to exist that way on your system.

You could go ahead and build the game as a whole, releasing sections as they are completed. That way you don't have to worry too much about save transfers. Barring that, you can make an event to rip all the relevant data you want to transfer into variables and set the character position to a blank map (map 1, something that would be common across all projects). If only variables are being tracked at that point, lets say you have the export event strip all party members and items out as you extract your data, there should be no conflict when you load that data into a new game.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
author=Killer Wolf
You could go ahead and build the game as a whole, releasing sections as they are completed. That way you don't have to worry too much about save transfers.


This was how I released my game. When it got to the end, I had this scene that looked like the chair from Xenogears disc 2 where the main character sat on a black screen with a pendant swinging in the background and talked vaguely about what was supposed to happen next. XD I think a lot of RPG Maker games are released this way; when you see a 15 hour long "demo," this is really what the author's doing.
You could also do it so each chapter includes the last chapter too. So chapter 1, then chapter 1+2, then chapter 1+2+3. So it's stacked until you release the whole game plus final chapter.
I've been wondering about this as well. I guess it'd work with an RPG with a long story, but the game I'm going to make next is an action game and the story isn't that long.

So my plan is to release in a stack ,like King of Games has mentioned, but also add a save transfer that allow people who already play the earlier version to continue their progress. Though I think in my case, it's more like I'll be updating my demo, rather than releasing a small stand alone game as one chapter.

I also suspect that we'd have to do some kind of level cap as well, or else players can keep on grinding in the first chapter and things will become too easy in the following chapters.
The only problem that I found with these is that save files become defunct if you do major script updates like fixing a bug and all those stuff :(
author=Archeia_Nessiah
The only problem that I found with these is that save files become defunct if you do major script updates like fixing a bug and all those stuff :(

Isn't that the case as well even if you just update a completed single game?

author=Archeia_Nessiah
The only problem that I found with these is that save files become defunct if you do major script updates like fixing a bug and all those stuff :(

Careful design of how to load and save your game can avoid this problem. Always check whether the save file can provide what you want before using that data, and provide a default value in case it's missing.

Still, this is not an easy task and I can see how this become a big problem when you overhaul some parts in the game :/
You would need some loader for the scripts in the game so it would update the scripts in the savefile data ;_;
K-hos
whoa You guys are hi-chaining without me? That's just not right. :<
721
author=Archeia_Nessiah
You would need some loader for the scripts in the game so it would update the scripts in the savefile data ;_;

It would probably be best to keep the data (stats, items and branches in the story) that needs to be carried over in a separate file than the save till everything is finished.

In otherwords carry over and start a new game from just a minimal amount of data.

EDIT: I don't know how robust rpgmakers use of ruby is but you could probably embed the engines save data in your own save file.

And then just use custom loading and saving functions.

EDIT: I don't use rpgmaker so this could all be way off. :B
Yes, you can do that since RMXP, actually. I remembered doing something like that. I'm sure it'll be easier with RMVXAce with XML/JSON/YAML serializing libraries.

I think I've seen a JSON script here on this site, actually. You could serialize whatever you need to save into a JSON string, then write the encrypted JSON string into a file. Loading would be as easy as loading back the string, parse it to Hash or Array object, then check for variables you need.

EDITED : Found the script -> http://rpgmaker.net/scripts/187/
dragonheartman
Developer, Starless Umbra / Heroes of Umbra
2879
So, I was wondering what your thoughts on this was, and how would you find a concept like this could be properly developed?

I've been working on a chapter-based project for a bit now. The only way I could manage was by releasing small pieces of the plot just as little checkpoints here in there to get adequate feedback. I would recommend keeping it all a single project--you likely will want to go back and change older things and it's nice to have the flexibility to easily do so.

I've also noticed a lot of people really want a save transfer feature. Whenever I released a chapter that broke save compatibility, people got pretty bummed they had to play through the project again, even if I changed things around a lot.
author=dragonheartman
I've also noticed a lot of people really want a save transfer feature. Whenever I released a chapter that broke save compatibility, people got pretty bummed they had to play through the project again, even if I changed things around a lot.


Maybe build in a chapter skip feature? Highly recommend not to use it if you changed the previous chapters significantly, but at the same time have that option available for anyone who will unlikely play the old chapters again.

I think an issue arises with maintaining the choices the gamer makes, if such features are a part of your game. Maybe do something like in Mass Effect, where if you happen to not load the previous game's save data, you can at that point choose what choices you wanted to affect the continuity.

It's not ideal, but I'm not sure how much you can do about save compability in long games that are bound to be updated.
While this worked pretty well for The Way games, I'm not so excited by the idea of episodic releases in general. I tried doing it one time and it completely destroyed all motivation for doing anything on it.

I much prefer complete and separate games with file transfers (which I'm doing now) ala Mass Effect.
I'm doing the same thing sbester ;w;
Interest sparked! With which games?
CAVE_DOG_IS_BACK
On sunny days, I go out walking
1142
That's a great idea. I'd say that, if you gamed the system right, you might even be able to win every single misao with this plan. I don't know if there's any evidence to support this theory, though.
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