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Myether - My first quality indie game

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by FeetUpGaming, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    I did have a really long post here but i didn't word it very well so people was understandably finding issues with the post so i have just removed it. I will simply now ask 2 questions:

    1. What's the best free way to market an indie game made by a single developer? (So not much time to put into marketing)
    2. Where's the best place to distribute an indie game? (I'm thinking of itch.io and steam as the main two)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  2. Niels

    Niels Member

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    Confident is good, but don't claim things like "better than most indies out there", by saying that, people will see it as a their duty to prove you wrong.
     
  3. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    Sorry to sound a bit strange with that comment but some indie games that are posted on itch or steam at the moment are really quite terrible. It's like they have posted as a joke or as learning games (What the dev used to learn how to make games) they're fine. But as releases they are dreadful. I'm sure you know what types of games i mean and i didn't mean to sound arrogant or anything it's just the truth that about 50% of games posted on platforms at the moment look like they are the developers first ever game (Which when i was making my first games they was just as bad and i would of never dreamed of releasing them as a purchasable game)

    I'm not saying it's wrong to release early games in your gamedev career what i meant was that i have been developing games for many years so of course it's reasonable to assume that it's going to be better than games developed by people who have have only been in game developing for a year or two.

    I do see your point though that it does sound strange and wasn't intended that way so i will remove that statement from the original post. Thanks for pointing it out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  4. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    I also feel you should be careful with this attitude of "first quality indie game".

    I play the guitar for 20 years, but would never say I can without a doubt do better music than some kid who just started one year ago, as I know many cases where this wouldn't be true.
    Never underestimate the talent factor.

    Good game is not about quality - yes it's important but not so much. You can see it on the AAA market - games have large budgets, are made by professional and talented people, everything is high quality... and anyway, some games become a big misfire.

    The best games of all time are in many cases not so "high quality". i.e. how many peaple laughed on the beggining from the Minecraft's lazy and crapy graphic style? And now? You can like it or not but it's now a part of the pop culture.

    Just concentrate that your game is simply good, fun, innovative, fresh and highly playable. If it will be so and you have luck, than the game will go viral and popular without huge amounts of marketing.

    Also, you have in mind that by choosing "pixel art" your closing yourself in a certain circle of potential players? I don't say it's bad, but you should have that in mind.

    Just focus on creating a good game! When you have one, than start with marketing. Currently there is so many indie developers that getting big attention is extremely hard.

    Wish you good luck!
     
  5. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    Thank you for your comment :)
    I guess it's optimistic to say it's quality but again i think it's me not wording things properly (It's quality compared to how i normally develop games [MY first quality indie game], usually i focus on gameplay but with this one i'm polishing it as i go and the overall quality, graphics, gameplay, sound effects, etc are above my usual standard)

    I completely agree, i just hope lucks on my side this time round.

    With the pixel art it's because the game has no budget so i had to make graphics i could do myself and pixel art is my strongest graphical skill and personally i love the pixel art style, i know it can sometimes put a lot of people off the game but i'm hoping the gameplay compliments the graphical assets enough that people give it ago regardless of graphic style.

    Yeah i have been trying to get into the industry for 6+ years (actively releasing games and apps) and it's a very saturated market. My focus is 97% on the game 3% on marketing (Dev log, updates etc) at the moment. Thanks for the luck in this market i'm gonna need it lol
     
    Smiechu likes this.
  6. Niels

    Niels Member

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    There is a big difference in comparing your game to your earlier work and comparing it to all other commercial indie titlles
     
  7. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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    Define "quality"?
    I don't think you can say Flappy birds to be a quality game, but it hit the market without any marketing.

    I think the correct values should be 50/50. Else you need your game to be the next Flappy bird.
    If you market your game you will always get more players. There are 7,633,759,565 people and about 1,800,000,000 play games. At least 1,000,000 of those may love, buy and play your game. Now it's your mission to find those people.
     
  8. YanBG

    YanBG Member

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    @FeetUpGaming
    1) Depends what you want from the game. 100k downloads(free)? 10k revenue? My goal is probably a bit different but i try to find a target group than post on their dedicated forums(the feedback helps during alpha), if you have stable build, maybe ask for youtube playthroughs(small gaming channels :p). My mistake is no twitter etc but in any case you'll have to spend some time doing your own marketing, as to be free.
    2) Yeah these sound good, mine is RPG so GOG too but it's tough to get picked there. Humble Bundle etc.

    Is that wishful thinking? Idk if i believe that anymore, but it could just that my game wasn't finished, when i first tried release. It was on Itch.io, i decided in that state steam would be a bigger mistake.
    I can re-phrase it to even if you have a bad game, it will be ok with great marketing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  9. Smiechu

    Smiechu Member

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    Yeah this is this one shot thing. You have luck and the games/movie/song goes viral. If you create something great the chances are bigger. When not you must do the classic marketing
     
  10. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    Yes i know. I compared my game to early stuff i have made, then i compared what it could be to the you know 1 out 5 star stuff out there (Not ALL other commercial indie titles). My old games was crap too and i wouldn't want anyone pretending there not or i never would of progressed. But i havn't mentioned any game specifically nor called anyone out. All i meant by that statement was; There are some crappy games out there which no one can deny and I believe and i'm hoping mine wont be one of them. That's all i meant.

    By quality i mean polished, decent, 4+ out of 5 that kinda thing (That is only my opinion on my game it's my game of course i'm going to be a little biased but i do think people will enjoy it)

    I see your point but if i focused on marketing i wouldn't have time to make a good game. Honestly i would rather 1 right person (Game developing company, someone who can give me a job in the industry) see a good/great game than sell a million and be known for a mediocre game that sold well but then no one ever played anything else i made because the first one wasn't good enough.

    The plan was to market just a small amount at the moment just a simple devlog kinda thing on twitter showing what's going on then later on once the main mechanics and the more difficult coding is done focus more on marketing 60/40 for example. I can see your method earning money though and maybe i should spend a bit more time marketing.

    Thanks for the comment. My main goal is to make a good game people enjoy and earn i would say 15k revenue or so (Just to make it worth the 8 months or so of development) I was thinking about youtubers now you have mentioned i think it's definatly worth sending some emails out but the game at the minute it's stable enough to play but it's not very content rich and only 1 month into development but later on i'll give it ago.

    I don't think i have heard of GOG but it might be worth looking into, Humble would be great i love what they do so would be a good place to have my game.

    Wish there was an easy way that if you have a good game it sells. Fingers crossed and i hope i have plenty of luck while developing Myether lol
     
  11. The-any-Key

    The-any-Key Member

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  12. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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  13. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    I saw the post yesterday but didn't reply at the time because i was busy. This is partially replying to the old post, but also some of the comments that have fallen here.

    - First of all, perception of quality can be a difficult topic. I've gone through the motions with my own project, both on the side where I feel very ambitious and confident in the project, and then on the flipside where I feel down and doubtful about whether people will actually be interested. The take away here is that ultimately, your own perception can be unreliable, it is good to try and get honest feedback from fans and comments.
    For the time being, I wouldn't necessarily make presumptions about your games "quality", especially given that I believe you are currently rating your game on its "potential" quality, not where it actually is right now. We all have grandeous visions of what we would love our games to look like, the features they want to have, but when you have been working on games for years, you know that while you can achieve some of those goals, and even exceed in certain areas, often times your game will never ever match that "perfect" vision you have for it in your head. At one point, time and money slap you in the face because it is infeasible to do everything, and if you try to, I can promise you that your game will take far longer than you imagine.

    So I would say it's naive to think that "most" indie developers make bad games. I believe that 99% of developers have great intentions, but you'll find it is a lot harder to actually finish a game than you may initially anticipate. Once time pressure and resource limitations become a factor, the majority of developers get forced into the same path, of having to cut features, shorten the scope or force out an early release just so the project can stay alive. The pressures of development force this style of process out of even the best developers, it is simply the nature of the market and its worth considering that you may find yourself in a similar position a year down the line. There are also plenty of technical hurdles that you can hit a long the way too, which is one reason why I'd also be careful about considering alpha releases with progressive updates, because once you release a game, developing to update and bug fix can hold you back from being able to work on the big features that need time.

    - Second of all, I see a lot of game developers talking about "the players" and "gamers" like they are some abstract topic. Making statements like "make a good game, people will come", "players will do this that" "players want this that". This is especially prevalent when talking about marketing, considering followers to be a set type of person, or setting expectations about how willing people will be to buy games. Ultimately, its important to consider that players are people just like you or me, and they will ultimately make their own final decision about purchasing a game. The reason I mention this is because it is important to cater to all of your following, and consider the sorts of decisions they would be making that would lead to a purchase of your product. If anything, it is a good exercise to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer and see how easy or hard it is to convince yourself to buy your own game.

    Some of this can be progressively done during development, some is perhaps best to do later on once you have a clear identity behind your game. From my own perspective, I really don't like being strung along, and I hate that I have to be quite vague with our game's following, given unpredictability of development, therefore i'm personally trying to cultivate more of a long-term plan that hits the ground hard once the game is ready. I feel the culture for following unreleased games has changed in recent years. Repeated disappointment has made people less willing to invest time and energy into getting excited about a game before it is a sure thing, so keep this in mind if you do plan on going through the alpha/beta/release pattern.

    I'll also add that it almost doesn't matter what other games are, if you think other games are bad, then great! that's less competition!

    Upon initial observation, its also important to make it easy for people to even find your project. In your big post yesterday, you talked about your twitter following. I could not find your twitter account at all, even when specifically googling the games name.

    To clear this up a bit, I don't think marketing should be your main concern at this point. It is true that some developers muck it up, but ultimately, the single most important part is having a game, and getting the game to a point where you KNOW it can be released within a given time frame. You can do progressive marketing, however you have to bear in mind people do lose interest and disconnect from the atmosphere around the game if too much time passes. I think what you should be considering right now is the process for finishing and releasing a full game. The big mistake most developers make is getting themselves into a hole where they can't actually finish a game, whether it be down to technical issues (big technical challenges that are hard to solve, or have developed over time in the project as a result of poor planning), lack of time, lack of money etc; If you establish your process from the start, and avoid making assumptions about potential earnings during the process, you'll set yourself up for success. So yeah, I think the hardest part of making a game is actually finishing it, and marketing should take a backseat to that.

    Though, while we are talking about marketing, I don't profess to be an expert, but some ideas that might help you come up with a plan:

    1) As I said earlier, always think about how the players are going to approach your game. What do you think would interest them, and most importantly, don't make it difficult for them, or equally, don't let it be too obnoxious. There shouldn't be a need for people following a project to put an active effort into having to engage if they don't want to. The common things to do:
    - Dev log (Gamejolt, Itch, Own website, twitter, facebook)
    - Video dev log/trailers (Youtube, Twitch)
    - Community and discussion (Forums, Discord servers/groups, skype groups, reddit)

    2) Consider how you expect information to spread, and how people will actually discover these sources in the first place. I.e. at some point, you need a means of expanding your groups. One of the most effective ways of actually getting people to buy the game and play the game is word of mouth. You can start small with this, but if you have a small base following and a few friends, you can try and get them to play the game with their friends, and expand it from there. This can require a bit of active effort from you, but can be highly effective. What's the point in having 10,000 followers on twitter for example, if only 2 of them will actually buy the game?

    3) Release is probably the most important stage, and at this point, you need to be able to efficiently consolidate all your platforms to get a surge of people going to your game at once. If you use a platform like steam, discovery is pretty rubbish unless your game starts generating sales. Once you do that, your game may boop up in the ratings and thus become more easily discoverable, at which point, you can make the most of their platform to actually expose your games to other players.

    Adding onto this, and why I also feel that you should potentially avoid alphas/betas on steam, any negative feedback or trickled sales caused by a staggered release may impact the ability for the project to snowball and generate a mass of sales in one go, so i would save prerelease versions for smaller platforms like itch and gamejolt
     
    FeetUpGaming, YanBG and Morendral like this.
  14. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    First thanks for the reply. I have been in game developing for 9 years or so i get that my own expectations are very unreliable and by quality i meant how i hope the game will turn out (And going by history with games similar to this it should be incredibly successful but who knows so i used the word quality as an indicator that i have hopes that the game will sell a decent amount) I also understand everything in my head wont be able to go into the game, but i should be able to get a lot of it or enough for it to be a decent quality game, but again it's all hopes. I could of put "Successful game" or "Pro game" or "High quality game" they all sounded like i was tooting my horn so i went with just "quality"

    I do know the troubles with developing a game and yes i completely agree with all of that but again i was going with best case scenario kinda thing. I just wanted to put across that the game isn't like a first ever game or another flappy bird clone. And i know i said most but i didn't mean that it just feels like it so i went with it (I made the post very fast without thinking too much about what i was putting).

    Yeah sorry i do have a twitter account MyetherGame, i think myether had been taken by the wallet lol, i made it mainly to just take the name so no one else could before i released the name of it. if you search FeetUpGaming you will get the twitter i use for the game (I should start using the MyetherGame one). But searching "Myether" on itch.io should show you the game

    I have released i think 2 games in total 1 I did not finish (Not enough interest, couldn't see it going anywhere). The other didn't sell (I think i sold 8 copies before i took it down because of a security issue with android SDK which i couldn't solve because i lost the source code) I guess with this game it will never really be finished. It's the kind of game i'm just gonna keep developing until i think it's about done, then release what i will call "Full release" then keep doing updates until no one wants it anymore, or at least that's the plan. How i make games i guess is different to others i have an image of the game and how it's going to be and what's going to be in it and i make it. I write down any ideas i have and if at the early stages i like it i keep going. I think this is the first one i have designed (wrote down all my ideas and what i want in it) but at the moment there isn't really a time frame. I want it in beta and earning money within a year but if it takes longer then it's not really a big deal.

    Thanks a lot for all that. I'm on twitter at the moment i do have a website for the game (Still being developed) Myethergame.com . Videos i will have to do and i did set up a discord just in case there was enough people following Myether to use it so when there's enough people i'll defiantly be on there. All that information i'm sure will help out no end especially the last point. I think your right i should focus pre releases on itch.io. And looking at the other advice later on i'll set a release date and just try my best to get hype up before posting it on steam. I do hope to earn a bit of money for the game from itch.io. The plan at the moment is to make the game free while in this early stage then when i feel it's worth some money and have enough people interested to then put an early access price on the game.

    Thanks for all the advice i'll take it all on board :D
     
  15. MishMash

    MishMash Member

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    The only reason i'm being critical of the process is because its a big mistake myself and many other developers make. Before embarking on any long term project, its really important to thoroughly think about the process. It's definitely something I didn't do, and I was in much the same position as you, thinking it easy just to say "oh yeah, i'll have an alpha and beta ready in x months", and equally "yeah we'll add this feature and that feature etc;". Before you know it, you end up in feature-creep hell, with a project that takes longer than you anticipated to develop, and equally, end up in a spot where the game can perhaps start to lose its own identify if you aren't careful.

    I'm not so much commenting on the game itself, but the expectation of it. If this is purely going to be a part time venture, then fair enough, a lot of the details matter far less, however at the same time, you can also easily fall into the trap where you do not have enough time to develop the game. What i'm getting at is if the success of the game is important to you, you want to set it up for the best chance possible, and that's not just considering the marketing (as you are doing), but considering the process as a whole.

    You don't need to prove yourself to us, that can be done when you make your game, I just think its really important that you make sure that first, you have a game idea that you truly believe in and a clear process that you can follow. If that is all fine and dandy, then i'd say come back when you are at a point where you have a "quality" playable alpha that you are happy to put in front of players, then at that point, you can start establishing the marketing strategy that will take the game to market.

    One last chippet I will throw in, having spent time building up a community of players who only played our free games, these players were not necessarily willing to invest in commercial games developed by us, simply because they originally started following us as developers from our previous work. Therefore, do be careful with having a free demo, because the expectation from any followers you do gain may be that the game remains free (or following a similar pay-what-you-want style). Some people will be willing to, and more beyond that if the game is really good, but you can run the risk of the paid version being too much like the original free version and thus this will disincentivise people to buy. This is why the process is just as important and distribution/development strategy should go hand-in-hand with marketing. There are even cases where players just don't really play free games much, even if they are high quality, because a purchase ties you down to a game and people will want to get their moneys worth, vs just "checking it out".

    But yeah, in the short term, i'd really recommend using https://gamejolt.com/ and getting a devlog going to guage interest. It's also a nice way of progressively accumulating a following
     
    FeetUpGaming likes this.
  16. FeetUpGaming

    FeetUpGaming Member

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    Thanks again for another great comment!

    I understand why your being critical and honestly i appreciate it. I'd rather you be honest than tell me everything will be fine lol.
    The process i have thought about a lot but not really came up with a definitive plan. It is only a month old at the moment and i wanted to get the advice before i needed it kinda thing. I will defiantly now go away and work on a plan and setup a proper design with goals and dates and work out exactly how this going to go and backups if they don't work.

    It is part time and it's not. Like i havn't got everything riding on it but it's the industry i want to work in. I know i'm not gonna make the next Minecraft or Overwatch or whatever but i would like to make a good game that people enjoy that i can earn a living off for a while so i can keep doing this as a full time job. This is my dream and it has been for as long as i can remember. That's why i wanna get this one right.

    I am worried that the people following at the moment won't buy the game when it's finished. I planned to release this very early stage as a prototype to gauge peoples interest by reading the feedback. Then do the basic game mechanics while updating. Then i was going to stop with the updates (let everyone know why i have stopped) and work on the alpha release. Which i don't know if i'm going to put a price on it that early or not but i think i might do. (I will have to make a plan)

    I do have a basic plan to say these are the features i want in the Indev version, these are in alpha and these in beta/pre-release/early access. The full release i don't know when that will come. The early access was going to be kind of the full release because that's where i was going to add multiplayer and without giving out too much the main polished features of the game. It's a plan that says this is what i want to do, but not how i'm going to do it so i'm gonna spend some time working out all the details.

    I'll take a look at game jolt now. I never thought of gamejolt because i don't think i have ever been on it. I'll give it a try though.

    Thanks again for the great comments pretty much exactly what i was looking for. i'll look into it all and come up with a solid plan and fingers crossed with a huge amount of luck and work i'll message you a year or two from now saying "I made it" or i'll be working on the next one changing my strategy and try again :)
     
    MishMash likes this.

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