“I’ve finished my game - now what?” Advice for you...

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Grey Alien, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. LilGames

    LilGames New Member

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    Sounds like some people are lumping two different categories as "shareware". There is the "here is the full version, please pay us if you like it" model, and then there's the "X number of levels, X number of plays, X time limit, etc" model. This latter example seems to be closer to "crippleware". (This message is mostly for Pelican)

    I'd also like to point out the marketing strategy that the "pioneers" used to use, which is overlooked so much of the time: When they released those '1/3rd of the full game for free' files, the full game was not even finished and available yet (which usually was as much as 6 months later!)

    Wolfenstein, Doom, Duke Nuke'em, among others, were all released ahead of the final publish date. The "demo" (if you can call it that) had the release date announced in it, and also encouraged players to pre-order so they could get the game as soon as it was available.

    Think about that for a second. You play this kick-ass set of 7 levels (basically a polished and finished quality "first third" of a game) and are left wanting more. Since the full game is not out yet, piracy is not an option (at this time). Player is left either waiting, or spending their money right then and there to get the game as soon as its out.

    This helped Id and Apogee fund completion of the games. It helped project sales potential, etc, and probably also gather up bug reports ahead of release. (So think about that; Funding, Marketing, Beta Testing, QA all wrapped in one!)

    It would be interesting to think about how this unique model could apply today. In a sense they did this with Rag Doll Kung-Fu, releasing a demo and allowing you to pre-order through Steam (at a discount).

    Back in 1991, Wolfenstein 3D was remarkable for the fact that so much content of such a professional quality game was free, so it helped with spreading word of mouth and the file itself. One major difference today (as already mentioned) is there's ALOT of free gaming available, so it's not a remarkable feat anymore, and the urge to "get more" may not have as much power today unless its a truly innovative game experience.
     
  2. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    very interesting. I never realised there was a time-delay between the demo and the full version! Of course this became irrelevant once the full version was out. I wonder if people "going off the boil" was a factor with the pre-release i.e. they would have bought then and there but because they couldn't they forgot about it. This would need to be weight against the pre-orders and uber-excited people waiting to pay on the day of release...
     
  3. Pelican

    Pelican New Member

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    Thanks for the post LilGames.

    I have always taken "shareware" to be basically the id/apogee model - play a bit for free, but pay to get the whole thing (not necessarily in advance of completion - I didn't realise this was their plan).

    However, I think it's probably incorrect usage of the term. Wikipedia seems to think that this is "demoware", or "trialware". I'll settle for that.

    The idea of giving the entire game away, and hoping for donations, is rather optimistic, or IMHO - "Foolish" :)

    I'm afraid I just don't have that much faith in human nature. If I had the full version of a game I really liked, even with the best will in the world, I probably wouldn't get around to donating, even if I intended to. Not because I'm evil, just because it's a question of getting round to it. However, I would definitely pay up if I only had a demo. Not having what you want is a powerful incentive to pay!

    I agree completely that things have changed, mostly due to the internet, and greater availability of games, and I really don't know how it will work out. It's a very difficult call as to how much of the game to give away, in order to hook people on it.
     
  4. James C. Smith

    Moderator Original Member

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    Why not do the best of both worlds. Work for "the man" making casual games. Or would that be the worst of both? Just about every big casual game company is hiring. If you are interested in something like this, I would recommend you don't even wait for a job posting. Just send a resume to a company you would like to work for even if they aren’t currently advertising any openings. It is so hard for companies to find skilled passionate developers to join a team.

    I am sorry this is off topic but the sentence I quoted just reminded me of all the openings I know of at many, many casual games companies. And it does seem somewhat relevant to the original topic. The easiest way to be successful at making and distributing a casual game is joining as established team/company.
     
  5. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    Yeah that's exactly what I'm doing! I used to work for "the man" doing business software (10 years by God!) now I'm making a casual game for a well known portal and it's great!
     
  6. Emmanuel

    Moderator Original Member

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    We can't hire good developers (especially artists) that Get Things Done fast enough. Besides applying, your best resume is to have finished and released a game already. We asked Grey Alien to work on a game for us because we saw what he could do with Oz. If you're in Seattle, you get things done and are happy to iterate many times over a game, be sure to talk to us.

    Reflexive would also be an awesome place to work at. Every single person that I've met (Michael Mei, Ion and Terri Hardie, and James) are the salt of the earth.

    Best regards,
    Emmanuel
     
  7. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    Yeah I gotta say that everyone at Reflexive seems really nice too. In fact Reflexive and BFG are my two favourite portals (Retro64 and Arcadetown are polite and quick to answer as well). What's cool is they make their own games too.

    ahem, I guess I should be working and not posting on here too...;-)
     
  8. AJirenius

    AJirenius New Member

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    Sounds like it would be the best solution for me as well.
    I guess I just need to make a couple of those quality games and then apply
     
  9. Brent

    Brent New Member

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    Would a lawyer be recomended for dealing with all the contracts? I'm no law student or anything so I'm a bit worried.
     
  10. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    I personally wouldn't say you need a lawyer as the main portals are not out to con you or trap you. They want a win-win situation. It's all obvious anyway kinda like:

    a) you musn't tell anyone your sales figures and other private info
    b) you get a certain percent
    c) you give them your payment preferences
    d) you sign on the dotted line.

    That's pretty much all the important stuff.
     
  11. VinceA

    VinceA New Member

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    other business models?

    It seems that the common trend over time is; less and less for free. Will we reach a point where the one hour free-play-door, will be slammed?
    The accumulated free play time for casual games must be enormous!
    Is this freebee expectance a child disease of casual games consumption? It seems to me that 1 percent of the consumers pay for the 99 percents free ride.
    It could be interesting to hear what other business models the future might hold.. if any?
     
  12. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

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    Here's one I came up with yesterday:

    (7:14:55 AM) Paul Eres: or maybe:
    (7:15:19 AM) Paul Eres: 'Fedora Spade episode 2 costs 5$, but you can also have it for free if you don't have any money, email me why you can't afford it and i'll give it to you for free'
    (7:15:25 AM) Paul Eres: that would be like half way
    (7:15:29 AM) Paul Eres: between freeware and shareware
    (7:16:17 AM) Orchard Lafayette: my email inbox will be full of e-mails from hobos D:

    I intend to try this model with one of my games. Not my current game, but somewhere down the line.

    The reason I think this would work is because most people prefer to just spend 5$ or whatever instead of telling the author of the game directly that they can't afford 5$ for their game but they want it for free.

    Some people have suggested I call this 'pity-ware' or 'shame-ware'.
     

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