Xenomic brought up some interesting points in his Touhou Fantasy
project thread that I think a lot of developers struggle with nowadays. I think these are valuable points of discussion for any game designer. =o
I know that many game companies do this often, and I can understand why, but just what exactly is best to cut out?
I really enjoy the process of "cleaning up" and cutting stuff (way too much sometimes lol), so here's $.02 on the whole thing:
There are two ways that I've approached this: intuitively or logically. I always go with my intuition first and cut whatever feels like it isn't as fun for me or the player. If I'm writing a scene, generally I'll go over it and try to measure how much I liked it or get a feel for that while I'm writing it. Sometimes this approach is easier and quicker, but it can be easy to feel caught in between which scenes to keep and get rid of. When I took a class for Narrative Design for Games, my professor always urged me to take the logical approach. Basically, look at each scene / dungeon and measure just how much that contributes to the overall message you want the game to convey. The scene should back up the story quite well, and if you find one that feels like an "extra", it's easier for that to go first.
I usually go with my intuition first because, even if a scene is unnecessary, I don't want to cut it if it feels like something the players will really enjoy. I guess a happy blend between the two of them would be nice. ^^;
How do you determine just how LONG each dungeon is?
Another good technique for both dungeons and story-related events is to push things to the side and make them optional (easier said than done sometimes
). I think it's important to have a little variance in the length of a dungeon, to satisfy players that are impatience and the explorer types at the same time. For example, a dungeon that can be cleared in 30-45 mins may satisfy the impatient types, but the explorer type players are happier spending 2 hours in a dungeon. I think a good way to achieve this is by having a lot of optional content in the dungeon that rewards the more patient players.
Would it be wise to somehow relegate cut content to another part of the game? How do you determine how many dungeons your game has?
I think relegating content is not a bad idea at all, especially if you decide to make it optional or a side quest. Optional quests are great because they give options to the players that like to delve into the experience. Also, you don't have to worry about having too many of them because they're optional.
At least, that's my $.02... Everyone will have different techniques, so I don't think what I said is the right/only way to do things, haha. :p Anyone else have something to add - techniques? Points? Questions?
(I know there's barely anyone roaming around here nowadays and this will probably get ignored, but whatever !!)