No Unreal II demo...Legend's to busy

[i]"As much as we‘d like to create a ‘true‘ demo, it‘s simply not possible. Legend have moved on to other projects and the production of a demo - even from already existing levels would require time and effort that we just don‘t have. It would then have to go through QA - another organization that is working on other projects and cannot dedicate time to a UII demo. It‘s all about the allocation of ‘assets‘.

However, as I mentioned above, we plan to put something out that as you say - will allow people to see what the game looks and plays like without any editing or ‘tricks‘. Raw gameplay."[/i]

Just has to make you pause and think somethings up. I mean the vast majority of games get demos. Its basically become a standard practice. Even Blizzard eventually releases a demo for its money maker titles.

It’s likely one of two things:

  1. The game’s got real problems, so better not to release a demo. (Conspiracy theory favorite!)

More likely:

  1. The publisher didn’t pay Legend to do a demo. It takes quite a bit of time to strip down and QA a demo. They talk about time, but if the publisher had paid them for that time, I’m certain they’d have been happy to spend it.

This sounds more accurate, remember the drama with the UT2003 demo? All the whiny fans asking for it week in and week out?

Blizzard does them months after a game’s release.

Why would anyone need a demo of Unreal 2? Either you want it RIGHT NOW or you’re willing to wait until reviews. Or you could care less.

Keep in mind that a game is playable months in advance of its ship date. Certainly at least one early level is balanced, playable, and optimized. More than likely, the beginning of the game has been done for some time. Granted, it still takes an effort to rip that out, put in an installer and test it, but demos on the whole are very little effort compared to the opporunity of getting part of your product in the hands of your core audience.

I’m in the camp that sees this as a bad sign.

This could also go back to the discussion about whether demos kill demand for the actual game… It might be that this game doesn’t suck at all, but the publisher is concerned that too many people who might otherwise buy will have the curiousity satisfied by a demo instead.

Well, if you are a subscriber to the “demos hurt sales” idea (and I wouldn’t say that I necessarily am), I have to say this is a title that might make sense in that scheme. The fact that there will be no multiplayer and no future chance of it means that if you see too much of the single player game and are either dissatisfied or satiated, there’s no big reason to pay for the game. And there’s a good chance you might have paid $49 for an Unreal product or two last summer/fall and may not be raring to do it again.

Their explanation holds water though - I’m sure they’ve already licensed the tech and need to support/develop for new titles. Maybe they figure they’ll sell this many copies on name, sell this many copies on reviews, and ditch the “this many copies on demo” portion in favor of new business.

Hmm. With this sort of SP shooter, a demo wouldn’t satisfy me. If the gameplay and graphics were good, it would whet my appetite, making me want to see the rest of the game’s settings.

“Why would anyone need a demo of Unreal 2? Either you want it RIGHT NOW or you’re willing to wait until reviews. Or you could care less.”

Or you might want to actually try the game some out yourself so you can make up your own mind? I agree that the main reason is that they think the game will sell fine on its own name and hype but the “not enough assets” is a lame excuse. The cost and time would be a fraction of the budget this game probably had.

So the choices are:

  1. Publisher is too dumb to give them money, because it’s a virtual certainty that making a demo is profitable.
  2. They’re trying to hide a crappy game.

There’s also the “how does it run on my system” aspect of demos which shouldn’t be denied. Here’s a comparison specs difference from UT2k3 to U2):

Operating System: WIN 98/ME/2000/XP
CPU: Pentium III or AMD Athlon 733MHz processor (*Pentium or AMD 1.0 GHz or greater RECOMMENDED)
Memory: 128 MB RAM (256 MB RAM or greater RECOMMENDED)
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB
Audio System: Windows compatible sound card (*Sound Blaster Audigy series sound card RECOMMENDED) (NVIDIA nForce or other motherboards/soundcards containing the Dolby Digital Interactive Content Encoder required for Dolby Digital audio. Also RECOMMENDED)
Video System: 3D Accelerator card with 16 MB VRAM (*32-128 MB VRAM RECOMMENDED) 16 MB TNT2-class DirectX version 6 compliant video card. (*NVIDIA GeForce 2/ATI Radeon RECOMMENDED) DirectX version 8.1 (Included on game disc)

Unreal 2
Operating System: Windows 98/2000/Me/XP
Processor: Pentium III or AMD Athlon 733 MHz or higher (Pentium® or AMD 1.2 GHz or greater recommended)
Memory: 256 MB RAM (384 MB or greater recommended)
Hard Disk Space: 3.0 GB Free
CD-ROM Drive: 8X Speed
Video: 32 MB NVIDIA GeForce2 MX or better (NVIDIA GeForce3/ATi Radeon 8500 or better recommended)

Doesn’t seem too bad for me for a 6 month tech change but the recommended specs have definitely increased, as expected.

There have been reports of interminable load times on fast machines from at least one of the previews though.

Since when was a demo an absolute guarantee of whether or not you’ll like the full game?

piracy… the only option, the only true answer. :D

Well, that’s just fucking great. You go, you rebel, you…

With regards to a demo, I can personally attest to the fact that it takes a significant amount of work to strip down a game to a level or two and QA it. Especially with an expandable/moddable game like Unreal – you need to ensure that people can’t use other maps, scripts, or assets from the retail game. If you’re supporting multiplayer in your demo, you have to do more legwork to set up another game ID with Gamespy. You might have to localize your demo, along with sell screens and the installers (which themselves can be prone to bugs). To keep the download size down, maybe you strip down some of your assets, or downsample your voice files, take out your movies (or replace them with static screens)…lots of stuff like that.

Then you have to have all that QA’d to the same level as the shipping game. It’s actually quite a bit of work.

“Since when was a demo an absolute guarantee of whether or not you’ll like the full game?”

Its not a guarentee. Its one of the ways to help gamer to determine if they want to buy it or not.

God forbid that he’s telling the truth and they are busy. C’mon, benefit of the doubt please? Thank You. :D

Why? How many entertainment items can you actually buy from a store, take it home, try it out, then decide if you like it or not? C’mon. There is NO rule that says ANY dev/pub has to release a demo. Its just folks have come to expect it. As such, once a plausible reason for not doing one comes along, the conspiracy theorists grab a perch, a beer and a prayer.

And yes, Blizzard - with all that money - do demos months later

Apart from that, there is no real incentive to do a U2 demo either, I mean, its single player and given that Unreal titles are predominantly multiplayer, the whole premise is a tad off. Even the Max Payne demo wasn’t the reason people wanted it or bought the game. Everyone was gaga over the much overused and overhyped bullit time.

A “virtual certainty”? Sure, if you take the word “virtual” to mean “non-existent”. Since we only have one universe (and no “control” to run experiments on), we really don’t know what effect demos have on sales. In direct terms, making a demo costs money to create content which they then give away without receiving any money in return. Sure, that might lead to increased sales of the retail product. But it’s certainly not proven. And how many increased sales is also a relevant factor. The publisher has to guess (and it really is just a guess) how much sales would be increased by a demo, factor that against the cost of creating that demo, and then see if it’s a good return on investment. Maybe they’d rather get the next full game out a month earlier, rather than get an extra 5,000 sales on the current one.

Personally I practically never buy a game without first playing the demo. I suppose it’s an old habit. I was stuck on a 486 for four years, back when the first P-2’s came out. I always needed a demo to be sure that the game would run on my machine. And then there were the DOS games before that. EMM and physical memory and all that crap, getting games running was a game in itself.

I see no reason to give up this habit really. It would be like buying a car without going for a testdrive first.

It would be like buying a car without going for a testdrive first.

Well, slightly less of a gamble, given that it’s $50 at stake, not, say, $5000.

I suppose that depends on how much disposable income you have. I’m a student. Buying a video game for 50$ could very well mean that I’ll be eating noodles and nothing but noodles for the rest of the month unless I plan carefully.