Your demo is out! You’ve gotten enough of your game done that you can get it out there. Or maybe you are done. Wow! Go you!
But let’s be honest, even if you are done, tinkering is in the blood of RMers, and “done” is just a matter of perspective. So, of course, you fix a few things here. Alter a few things there. Time to upload V1.01!
But is it the right time to update? Really, it depends on the situation.
Game Breaking Bugs!
This is the one situation, where as soon as you fix a game breaking bug, I think it is time to update.
No questions asked. If the game isn’t even playable, no one will ever complain about an update happening even 10 seconds after the last update. Just make sure your fix WORKS first.
Test your game breaking bug fix thoroughly. Make sure it doesn’t break something ELSE in your game. Otherwise, you are just wasting time. People don’t want to download a fix that needs another fix 30 minutes later. Slow down. Don’t panic. Get it right.
Tiny Bug Fixes!
Sometimes, you’ll notice that people are experiencing a few minor bugs. Nothing that stops them from playing the game, but a chest gives the wrong nonessential item. There is a piece of wall that you can walk on for some reason.
These things happen. And we understand. You want to fix them. And you should fix them. But when you do, collect a large amount of them, and fix them all at once. There is a reason you see changelogs for most games with lists the size of War and Peace. It’s best to get them done all at once.
Go through your minor buglist, document them all, and check them off one by one. Don’t release that update until you have them all nailed down. Or at the least, a large portion of the easy to fix ones.
Adding More Content!
So you want to add more to you demo. You’ve added a new quest! That is like 10 minutes more gameplay!
In this case, I’d measure two things:
- How big is the update?
- How long has it been since your last update?
I generally suggest you wait at LEAST one week between non-critical updates. If you are updating every day, people will just lose interest. “Oh I played for 30 minutes, now I have to start over again because he changed something ELSE gameplay critical”.
Yes, you are probably spending every spare second of your time on your game, but everyone else ISN’T. They have their own projects to work on, or perhaps they just want to sleep. You do remember what sleep is, right?
The other part? Make sure your update is big enough to matter. A single additional quest that adds 10 minutes to a 3-hour game, is not that significant unless it carries the storyline forward. A 1 hour additional update to a 1 hour game? Now that is significant.
And this really carries in to all the reasons for your updates: Is it significant enough compared to the time since my last update? Don’t just add 1 small quest, or fix 1 small bug. Make sure that the user is getting something out of downloading the new version. We know you want to share what you have made with the world, and you are excited to show every single change, but make sure that what you are putting out is a big enough difference for everyone else to be excited, too!
So what are your opinions on updating your demos and games? How often? Have any questions about the right time to update? Join us in the comments section below.