A twitter follower asked the question that often comes up in discussions of Blizzcon preparations; how much work is it to prepare a playable demo for a game expo?

    I’m curious, does it take a lot of work (outside of everyday devving) to put together a playable build for blizzcon?—thRobHimself

    It’s a fairly large concerted development push to make a playable demo, but we try to ensure the work we do isn’t throwaway.—Diablo

    We’ve heard other game developers talk about this in the past, sometimes ruefully. It’s more work than you might think to cut a chunk out of a game for a playable demo. Besides fixing all the bugs to avoid crashes and removing plot and interface elements that they aren’t ready to reveal yet, the whole presentation has to be polished and brought up to the same standard. During usual development, some elements are nearly final release ready, while other stuff is way behind, time-wise. The monsters might be nearly done while the quests are still rough drafts, or the itemization has hardly begun, or the NPC dialogues haven’t been recorded by voice actors yet, etc.

    This creates a lot of juggling to get everything to an equivalent level, to remove things that aren’t ready, to make sure the story and plot are consistent within a limited excerpt of the game, to balance the gameplay so complete noobs can have fun while skilled players aren’t bored, to turn up the item drops so players see some cool stuff, to include enough monsters to feel dangerous and new without giving everything away, etc.

    Game developers go to the trouble since they think it’s worth it, in terms of publicity and fan interest, and they also like to get some outside input on their efforts. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of work, which is largely irrelevant to their larger, ongoing game development goals.

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