Author Topic: Estimating play time  (Read 156 times)

Offline Jadefang

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Estimating play time
« on: March 28, 2017, 10:15:57 PM »
Aside from having someone else playtest your module before you officially release it, is there a more accurate way to estimate how long your adventure might take?
I find playtesting it myself and counting the time spent from that is naturally too skewed toward the short end, since I know all the secrets, correct paths, combat placements, etc.

Offline hans

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Re: Estimating play time
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 11:31:27 PM »
...I find playtesting it myself and counting the time spent from that is naturally too skewed toward the short end, since I know all the secrets, correct paths, combat placements, etc.
 

I have the same trouble.  I wind up just hoping that my estimate is somewhere in the right ballpark. 

I've played other mods where the estimated playtime has been way off in one direction or another, to the point that now I take those things with a grain of salt.  I figure "well, it'll just take as long as it takes."

Offline Donnie Ewald

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Re: Estimating play time
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 03:58:03 AM »
I view these time estimates as more of a t-shirt size. Is it a small, medium, large, or extra-large t-shirt? If I quickly compare a small t-shirt against a medium, I can easily see the difference. If you roll that analogy over to module length, the times may not be accurate; but, I can quickly compare the recent one-week modules against the sprawling, epic designs. As hans said,it'll take as long as it takes. :D

Offline Jadefang

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Re: Estimating play time
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2017, 07:29:11 AM »
I think now I'll just multiply my speed playthrough time by 2-3x and then should be "close enough".

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Estimating play time
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2017, 09:57:03 AM »
I tend to just guess based on the amount of content.  Here's the truth: even if you guess the playtime correctly, it will still not be accurate to most people playing, due to a number of factors, including:

* Number of reloads due to party death.
* Strength of the party and whether a player is using the recommended party or not (it's easy to cheat in FRUA).
* What level the player has chosen to play (easiest will likely be faster than hardest).
* The amount of time the player spends exploring, and whether they bother or not.
* How long someone takes to make decisions in combat.
* How many combats they fight (choice of direction can alter this dramatically).
* Whether or not the player uses "Quick" in combat or fights them manually.
* How long a player spends going back and forth between exploring and their safe base (like a town).
* How long a player spends equipping items, having them ID'd, selling stuff, etc.
* How long it takes a player to find the place they need to go.  I've been known to miss something for an hour that was two steps away when I started looking for it.
* Etc.

Point is, there are a lot of things out of the control of even the designer.  All you can do is guess.  You'll still be wrong, probably.
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Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: Estimating play time
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 04:01:54 PM »
I view these time estimates as more of a t-shirt size. Is it a small, medium, large, or extra-large t-shirt? If I quickly compare a small t-shirt against a medium, I can easily see the difference.

This makes more sense and gave me more chuckles than it probably should have.  Does that mean sleeveless is hacked and plain white t is vanilla? And what about kilts... or those shirts you can get photo-printed at a mall kiosk?

You've opened a can of gummi worms there, Don.