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Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Arowx, Sep 10, 2011.
Updated my homepage with a countdown timer!
And the progress bar is up to date!
The reality is that people don't just expect a lot for their dollar, they expect a lot for free too. There's so much stuff out there that there's a significant barrier to getting a customer to even watch your trailer or click a link/app-store entry. Boring pre-load image? Pass. Uninteresting name? Pass. Poor logo or amateurish copy? Pass.
It's true that there's a long-tail but if you could plot a "quality" vs sales/ad revenue curve I'd bet that 99% of that tail is lying on zero income or so close that it makes no difference. Putting a game out for free with ads or "freemium" doesn't allow you to skimp on quality if you want to earn money.
Yes your right my game although it is a 'good' game from the perspective of my development level it has to be good enough to attract a player, hold their attention, and get them to tell their friends about it! And it must do this in a very busy and crowded competitive environment!
So what should I do to overhaul Lightning and make it the best it can be?
To be blunt, I don't think you can "overhaul" what you have and make it a commercial game. By that I mean that there's no reasonably definable list of tweaks and improvements that will get you there. What you have is a prototype and you're confusing it for a full game idea -- the gap is too large to close by gathering piece-meal suggestions.
I would just stop and look at what you have as a prototype and extract the bits that "work" from the bits that don't. Then take those good bits and design a game that uses them, giving due consideration to the problems raised in this thread.
If you want my personal opinion, that would boil down to keeping the idea of an action-oriented Boom-Blox and throwing out pretty much everything else.
Would you buy this for a dollar?
A 2.29 score on Kongregate means that almost nobody is going to play the game more than a few minutes, even though it's free. So if nobody wants to play it as a free game, what do you think the chance of somebody wanting to pay a dollar for it is? I'd say that if your game can't at least score a 3.8 on Kongregate/Newgrounds, you've got basically no hope of making any serious money from it.
If you don't believe me, please go ahead and try selling it, then let us know how well it does.
Pity Kongregate doesn't do a rating count and breakdown, not everyone who plays rates, I should have released a new beta to get fresh ratings.
But that means I only need an extra 1.51 so it needs to be 65.9% better thankfully there is lots of room for improvement!
We went from zero to roughly minimum wage in about one and a half years. It was on iOS, though I'd suspect the main principles are roughly the same on all platforms. Our first game was similar in the way that the core gameplay was nailed in about two days. Actually completing the game took around 3 to 4 months, however, and it wasn't a very complex game even then. There was a lot of learning, of course, as we had pretty much no Unity experience at all, for comparison, you'll can find the game here (the paid iOS version only has a couple of extra game modes).
My five pence:
* Get an artist. It's probably easier to make £24,000 with a good artist than £12,000 without one. Like it or not, visuals are extremely important.
* Don't make a one dollar game. It's way too difficult for an indie to compete in that market. Going with that price will devalue your game and rob you of one of them most effective marketing methods: sales (at least on iOS, that is)
* Make something that looks genuinely interesting. As an example, take Almost Human's Grimrock. They banked on modernizing a game that a lot of people have very fond feelings of. That generates interest, but naturally you'll also face a lot of expectations.
He really should do that.
Either way it goes, it will end up a great deal of experience for him and help for future attempts.
The first game I released, some people were giving it little chances to make money, and it ended up making a boatload of it. Just an example that standing by your beliefs can work, sometimes, and even if it fails, well you can always learn from your mistakes and do better next time.
Here's my take on it:
If, after the countless hours of playtesting you'll have to do, you still enjoy playing the game - you might be on to something.
Keep in mind that initially, you'll be biased, and you'll be "seeing" things that aren't there (yet), so this isn't something you can reliably tell from a few hours of testing. (Obviously, this doesn't really work if the main attraction of the game is a captivating story.)
Also, regardless of how brilliant and addictive the gameplay is, you need to make an impression to get people to start playing in the first place.
I've done a shout out for artistic help on here http://forums.indiegamer.com/showth...ist-Animator-up-for-a-12-month-12-k-Challenge
Does that look OK, unfortunately I can only pay a small fee for artwork but ideally the artist will consider a royalties share?
There are FAR too many kids out there demanding people work for free on projects which will never be finished and never earn a cent. Don't expect people to consider a royalty share unless they know you personally, you have a track record, or they fall personally in love with your project and get to take a strong lead in directing it.
+1 to papillon. However, based on your site you do at least have a track record of finishing lots of smaller games. Are any of them commercial titles that have a decent amount? After my first commercial title I was able to get people to help me with my second and subsequent games for low payments + royalties.
Specify Decent? ;0)
My Mah-Jongg Challenge game made an OK amount on iWin.com, and got me started on the going fulltime indie. If I was able to put a game like it out once a month I would surpass my targets.
Why not get this game on all the other portals out there?
Ah, so not quite the newbie I was at first making you out to be then. Actually just saw your other game cancer wars as well, which is actually fairly decent too. Guess I was far too quick to judge your abilities based on one early prototype. Now I feel like a real jackass for my previous comments. Sorry about that :-\
The problem that you have, is that customers do not care how many people developed a game. I'm not saying your game is crap, but customers will not buy crap just because it was made by one guy. Your game has to stand on its own merit, as that is all that's going to get you sales. Being free also isn't an excuse for crapness as there are loads of free games about that aren't crap.
Anyway, some feedback. I kind of liked the idea - it reminded me of The Sentinel in a way, but it got boring very quickly. I frankly didn't know what I was doing, and could not understand why I couldn't shoot the orbs that were trying to kill me. Only then did I figure I must have to knock the tower over to kill it, but nope, that didn't work either - the orb just stayed where it was, floating in mid air. At this point I shot at the orb again out of desperation and killed it. After looking around and seeing five more of these things, and an otherwise barren landscape, that was enough for me. I also didn't like the fact that my boomerang thing took ages to come back if I didn't hit anything, plus the aiming seemed a little off at times. Also on one occasion my boomerang didn't come back at all. I think it must've got stuck somewhere but I couldn't find it.
@Nexic I did link to my previous games on Kongregate and to my website, but should have put a few screen shots up of each one. I will get back to cancer wars and finish it but Lightning is the current game that has my focus.
@Desktopp Gaming - Thanks for trying it out, so in game help needed or more visual feedback like a shield on the orbs! If you left click again the hammer will start it's return journey. Still got to add a stuck check on the hammer it's just flying back towards the player relying on bouncy physics to avoid getting stuck.
@indenira - Tried only iWin took it on, it's a very simple mah-jongg game and the casual markets top Mah Jongg game has an animated storyline, thousands of tile layouts, loads of modes and amazing artwork, you get the picture!
Oh well, the more you get the word out about your game, the better. Didn't you say it did well on Iwin?
My cunning math says the Mahjong game made > $20000/12.