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1212495 Posts in 52629 Topics- by 43413 Members - Latest Member: gabev

May 06, 2016, 01:19:50 am

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1  Developer / Portfolios / Re: Video editor available to make trailers! on: March 27, 2014, 10:56:34 am
Just wanted to pop in here and say thanks to Derek for his awesome work on our Humble Bundle trailer:

Very easy to work with, fast, and professional!
2  Developer / Business / Re: Desura - any sales success stories? on: October 04, 2013, 10:40:19 am
I don't know how to go about marketing this one.

Well, at least you're in good company. Nobody I know, myself included, count themselves as experts in marketing Smiley

I think it's commendable that you've managed a release that requires little patching. So kudos for that! That may mean you want to shift your marketing to occur earlier, while you're in development.

E.g. you're doing "remote control" work, so maybe that's what you post news about each day/week/month. Start a dialogue with players somewhere about what they'd like to see next. Run a contest to give away a few copies. Do a limited-time discount.

Marketing produces a flash of interest, then nothing, so a sustained effort is needed to keep the fire going. It's hard work, it requires creativity and cleverness, and it takes time away from development, but without it, how will people learn about your game?

Think about your own buying habits. Where do you go to buy games? How do you hear about them? Which communities do you trust with game recommendations?

For most, it's not browsing deep into the catalogs of places like Steam, Desura, or Greenlight. Most just look at the front page, what's on deep discount, and then leave. So getting the message out there means supplementing your presence elsewhere. (e.g. puzzle game forums, YouTubers, reddits for the indie/puzzle genre, etc.)
3  Developer / Business / Re: Desura - any sales success stories? on: October 04, 2013, 09:40:04 am
Any idea why it has more watchers than sales still to this day?

I'm not sure how watchers would correlate to sales. I haven't really kept an eye on that number. I'm fairly certain that's the case for NEO Scavenger as well, though.

Some things which might impact sales:

  • Windows-only: I think a lot of Desura's users are on Linux (hence the open source client), and by not having a version for that platform, you could be missing out on potential sales. It might also suggest that some "watchers" are Linux users waiting for a port. E.g. franbelle's comment on your summary page.
  • XNA: I suspect some users are put-off by having to install additional libraries, and may bail if that comes up in the demo. I realize there may not be much you can do about this now, but it may explain some fall-off.
  • Marketing: How consistent have you been on marketing? At first blush, your Desura page looks sort of fire-and-forget. There's one news release since May 2013, so it may appear inactive to visitors. Plus, I'm assuming "watchers" get an alert when you post news, so if you're not posting news, they may not know to come back.
  • Greenlight: I'm not too surprised that Greenlight didn't send much traffic to your Desura page. In my experience, links on the Greenlight page are more often missed than not. The sense I get is that for many Steam users, if it doesn't exist in Steam, then it doesn't exist period.

That said, you appear to have a solid product there. I'm struggling to break a rating of 8.9 on Desura, so your 9.8 is commendable. And the comments you've received on the Desura page are some pretty high praise.

If I had to guess, your issue is probably marketing. 8500 visitors isn't too shabby, but maybe they're the wrong visitors (e.g. Steam hold-outs, non-puzzle gamers, Linux/Mac users).

Desura could be part of the issue, though I suspect those 8500 visitors wouldn't have come to the page at all if it was a foregone deal-breaker. Still, you could try other sales channels (personal site, IndieGameStand, etc.) to see.

Re: support, I'd agree it can be fairly spotty. The few times I've emailed Scott directly, he was very responsive. But forum tech support is something I'm not confident in.

Changing the installer shouldn't be that hard, though. The client-based MCF upload just asks you for a directory to package, so it doesn't care what's inside (AFAIK). And for stand-alone files, those too should be just a matter of uploading the new file (ZIP, EXE or whatever) you want to replace the old file.
4  Developer / Business / Re: Desura - any sales success stories? on: October 04, 2013, 07:58:21 am
Hey Guys!

Since I've been selling NEO Scavenger on Desura for a little over a year now, I figured I'd share some of my experience. Particularly, since it contrasts some of the other posts here.

First, a bit of big-picture info.

  • NEO Scavenger's been in development since April 2011.
  • I launched my company website (Blue Bottle Games), and beta pre-sales (via said site) in March 2012.
  • Desura approached me later that summer, and I began selling there in September 2012.
  • I participated in Groupees's Be Mine 5 Bundle in October 2012
  • NEO Scavenger was added to Greenlight in August 2012, and Greenlit exactly one year later.
  • IndieGameStand approached me this summer, and added NEO Scavenger in September 2013, corresponding with their store launch.

To-date, services which carried NEO Scavenger have produced the following revenues (rough figures, USD)

  • Blue Bottle Games: $31k (FastSpring is the transaction handler)
  • Desura: $12k
  • Groupees: $5k
  • IndieGameStand: TBD (only a 5 sales in the first week or so)

Looking at the above, Desura isn't insignificant. Launch month alone saw $3.5k in sales. On average, monthly sales are about $0.5-1k. Not quite enough to pay rent reliably, but definitely worth having.

In my experience, putting effort into selling (publishing interesting news, contests, etc.) seems to drive those monthly sales closer to $1k, while quiet months simmer down to $0.5k. My BBG website similarly drives $0.5k when quiet, $1.2k on active months, and spikes of $2-5k on major events like launch day, Greenlight launch/acceptance, big-name press, etc.

For reference, I'm still losing money month-over-month (even ignoring the year of early development when no copies were sold). We're a household of two, and Rochelle has returned to school, so it's mainly my income and our savings paying bills right now. However, NEO Scavenger is still in beta pre-sale, and I'm hoping launch day combined with Steam launch makes up for lost time.

So is Desura worth it? I definitely think it can be, though I wouldn't purport to know the secret to guaranteeing it.

As for the technical questions, Desura does have a Linux client. Two, in fact. There was an "official" one which I started using, but it was woefully broken. Later, asking for help on the forum tipped me off to Desurium, which is an open source, community-maintained Desura client. The compiled version can be found here. And, I dare say, it's in as-good shape or better than the PC client.

Finding it was less-than-intuitive, though, and I've heard rumors that Linden Labs is trying to address that issue.

I am unaware of a Mac client.

As for distribution, Desura offers both in-client and stand-alone methods for download on PC and Linux, and stand-alone on Mac. NEO Scavenger takes advantage of all of those, and I believe people use all of them. (Some folks are Desura users, others just prefer the established brand-name for order-handling and no client.)

There is an approval process for each new build and news item, which is something I'm not thrilled about. If I post a new build or news piece, it can take up to 1 business day to get approved, which makes timing a hassle. On the plus side, however, approved news items will hit Desura's front page. And often their twitter feed, too.

Finally, Desura is one of the few vendors that offers a Connect feature, allowing one to connect their order at Desura to an off-site system. I use this as a way to reward Desura customers with access to builds on my site. I also setup a reverse process (BBG site gives access on Desura), though there's a manual step there I must perform daily. (Through no fault of Desura, though. Lazy programming by me.)

This "Connect" feature is cool, but few other sites accommodate it. Thus, my lofty plans for "buy once, play anywhere" are blocked by that, even if I could figure out how to manage the permutations as the number of vendors increased.

Hopefully, this info sheds some more light on Desura for those who were wondering. It certainly can pull it's own weight, and then some. But I'd leverage other sales channels if you can.
5  Feedback / Playtesting / Re: Amp, Watts & Circuit, a robotic puzzle platformer on: August 17, 2012, 09:28:37 am
Hey jamogames,

I think you've got a good trailer there. The game footage was pretty easy to interpret, and looked both well-produced and engaging. Lots of level variety. Calling out the cross-platform bit about the user-created levels was a big win too.

If there was one thing I'd critique, it'd be length.

On the first view, the first 17 seconds seemed a bit too long for non-gameplay footage.
Watching it a second time, I see what you were trying to do (I think): introduce the characters. The "Free holiday...suckers" bit is where I really started being engaged, though. Perhaps that 17-second assembly line portion could be dropped to maybe 5 seconds? Fast-forward the time spent slowly panning between the characters, and linger on each one for a second?
The other stand-out portion that seemed a bit long was the cross-platform call-out. It's great that you mention it: big selling point. But then we watch the hovering platform/phones for nearly 20 seconds. As with the character intro above, maybe this can be cut down to a handful of seconds, and use quicker movements to animate each platform into place? Get them on-screen fast, one by one, and hold them there a few seconds.

You might need platform logos/names near each if you go faster, though. I dunno what the recognition speed is for folks looking at iPhone vs. Android handsets.

Watching it again, you could probably double-time or even triple-time the create-your-own level bit too. Folks won't need to see it in real time to understand that the level is being made. Rapid-speed going from empty grid to full puzzle would actually drive the point home better than seeing the level built slowly and never finished.

Again, you do all the right things, in my opinion. The game looks professional, accessible, and appears to have depth. I'm not a huge puzzle gamer, but I already get the impression it's above most offerings in the category.
The trailer just lingers a bit too long on some parts Smiley

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your upcoming launch!
6  Feedback / Playtesting / Re: NEO Scavenger Trailer Feedback on: August 17, 2012, 08:37:13 am
Awesome. Your reactions are better than I hoped for, thanks!

And the "N ways to die" to Benny Hill just might have to be one in the series. I didn't realize the Benny Hill theme was Yakety Sax. One more mystery solved!
7  Community / Townhall / Re: The Obligatory Introduce Yourself Thread on: August 16, 2012, 05:21:20 pm
Thanks Gabriel! Nice to be here!

Also, judging by your blog, looks like we have similar taste in pixel art Smiley
8  Feedback / Playtesting / Re: NEO Scavenger Trailer Feedback on: August 16, 2012, 04:49:48 pm
That's great! Sounds like an endorsement of the trailer to me Smiley

The the mouseover icons on the hex map suggestion is a good one. I'll add that to my list. Thanks, and hope you're enjoying your foray into turn-based hex land!
9  Feedback / Playtesting / Re: NEO Scavenger Trailer Feedback on: August 16, 2012, 02:50:05 pm
Cool, glad to hear it! I guess that's one vote for keeping it as-is Smiley

And yeah, down with Lloyd Blankcheck!
10  Feedback / Playtesting / NEO Scavenger Trailer Feedback on: August 16, 2012, 07:50:42 am
Hi All,

First off, forgive me if this is the wrong thread for trailer feedback. I saw the Guidelines sticky that said trailers should go in "Workshop," but I did not see "Workshop" anywhere.

While NEO Scavenger's already been in public demo/closed beta for months now, it's finally starting to take shape. I'm gearing up for a round of PR, and part of that is a gameplay trailer.

If you have a minute-thirty or so, I'd love to hear what you think of the trailer I've got:

I've shown it around to a few folks already, though they're mostly people who already played the game. I was hoping for some unbiased feedback from fresh eyes.

In particular:
  • Does the trailer entice you to learn more about the game?
  • Do you understand what's going on?
  • Are you a fan of games like Fallout 1, Nethack, or STALKER?
  • Do you feel at all insulted by the use of "stupid" in the first sentence?

Thanks for taking the time to read and watch, and I look forward to your comments!
11  Community / Townhall / Re: The Obligatory Introduce Yourself Thread on: August 16, 2012, 07:35:56 am
Hey All,

My name's Daniel Fedor, and I founded Blue Bottle Games in January 2012. I look something like this:

I worked at BioWare from 2004-2011 as a lead technical artist on DA (and a bit on DA2), and later, as an associate producer on ME3. In April 2011, I decided to take the indie plunge, and turned in my resignation. I started a blog about the experience called Game Dev Gone Rogue.

My big thing right now is my first game, NEO Scavenger. It's a turn-based, isometric survival RPG set in a post apocalyptic, future Earth. It's pretty hardcore, with a lot of focus on the details, such as inventory management, metabolic maintenance, strategic movement/combat, and has some choose your own adventure thrown in. Think Fallout 1 or STALKER meets Nethack.

I've been a long time lurker, with only a few posts to my name. But I dig the community, and think it's a great resource for indies just starting out like me.

Thanks for reading, and great to meet you all!
12  Developer / Business / Re: Game company name. on: January 20, 2012, 08:02:30 am
@mikejkelley - I recently setup my .com using internetbs.net. I did quite a bit of shopping around and review scouring before I chose them. They had a reasonable price (not the lowest, but much lower than many), good features (like free private WHOIS), and folks seemed to have good things to say about them in the past few years.

I can't speak to their longevity yet (only signed up a week or so ago), but fwiw, been pleased so far.

Others I looked up:

For best results, I found searching for a handful of the above names together turned up pretty good forum threads and reviews.
13  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: September 08, 2011, 09:00:38 am
I'm sure like many people here I grew up with games as a constant part of my life (the NES came out right before I went to kindergarten) and I grew up with stars in my eyes thinking about writing games for a living.

Always remember that feeling. That thing that made you want to become a game craftsperson. I keep a black portfolio alongside my desk that contains some crudely drawn video game designs a friend and I made when we were 11 years old. Looking at it reminds me of those days of optimism and magic. And I think those feelings are some of the most powerful tools in our toolboxes. They power us to make great things, and guide us to do what's right.

Sorry, didn't mean to derail. These are all good points. That comment just resonated with me.
14  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: September 06, 2011, 08:46:49 am
For those interested, I've compiled a follow-up report on the survey. It talks about some of the more significant findings, as well as recommendations for improving working conditions for studio employees:


Of course, the findings are only my own interpretations, and readers are welcome to make their own hypotheses based on the freely available raw data:


Thanks again for the input!
15  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: August 30, 2011, 06:44:15 am
Part-time indies are definitely a category I missed, so yeah, you're right. I was thinking I had part-timers covered when I did up the employment options, but the way it's worded seems to exclude them. Sorry about that!
16  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: August 28, 2011, 05:37:13 pm
Yeah, in retrospect, I didn't adequately provide for part-time indie developers. My bad. There are some "Other" responses in there that I missed as well.

I'm thinking this may be a survey worth re-issuing periodically to compare data across time. I'll have to look into how best to include these new fields such that the data comparison isn't difficult in the next iteration.

Thanks for the tip!
17  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: August 28, 2011, 04:41:29 pm
Yeah, that employee/employer ownership of side projects was definitely an area in debate where I came from. I most employers want employees to feel at home and free to hone their skills in their spare time. But they have a sticky situation with conflict of interest, and ensuring they don't set a dangerous legal precedent. There's not an easy solution, really.

Still, there are some studios (e.g. Double Fine) who are trying novel approaches, and I'm hoping they'll show the world that it's possible.

Also, I find it interesting that so far, those from outside the games industry cite "needing others to help" as a major concern for going indie more often than those within the industry. Does this point to outsiders having less confidence? More complicated ideas for games? Or maybe less game dev friends they think they can turn to?

The survey results are probably too sparse to tell just yet, but there are definitely some trends forming.
18  Developer / Business / Re: Why experienced game developers goes indie? on: August 28, 2011, 07:28:34 am
Hey all! I was about to start a new topic related to this, but it turns out Shackhal beat me to the punch!

That arstechnica article got me thinking as well, and I wanted to know more about what motivations were driving devs to go indie (as well as what was holding them back). So I created a survey to help gather some statistics. You can see the survey here:


I've also shared the results, so people can follow along in real-time:


Do give it a look. And pass the word on, if you know of any indies out there who might have missed it!
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