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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogs[PC] [Win+Linux] Fumiko! - Finally Released!
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odrez
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« on: May 21, 2016, 03:50:12 am »



Inspired by Serial Experiments Lain, this game takes you on a surreal trip through a twisted virtual network. Uncover the secrets this world tries to hide from you: an artificial intelligence named "Fumiko"!

Fumiko! combines rewarding exploration with a new approach to 3D platforming. You'll quickly be unbound from gravity. No jump will be too short. Fumiko! is a sci-fi thriller that wants to be explored thoroughly.

In a single playthrough, lasting about 6-10 hours, you'll encounter:
  • 16 handcrafted and unique levels giving you a challenge, 14 social areas to explore ranging from small player homes to big public spaces
  • Enemy A.I.s seeking your destruction while you escape from the testing lab, unique abilities to bypass them
  • Fumiko overwriting her jump modules to gain ridiculous jump height, speeding through the air with the dash module
  • Collect 26 memory fragments to uncover the mystery behind the network
  • Supports the Xbox, Xbox360 and Steam Controller in addition to keyboard & mouse controls





(shortened to make this thread less cluttered)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 01:10:48 am by odrez » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2016, 04:47:19 am »

Fascinating!
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2016, 05:10:20 am »

Wow! I love the minimalist artistic design. The colors are so vibrant. Everything is clear, which is why I personally think it works so well. I just followed you on Twitter and Facebook. Can't wait to see more updates!

Fumiko: The Game, ultimately, looks incredibly refreshing.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2016, 08:10:39 am »

I really like the style and the idea of jumping around inside computers. Sounds/looks like that will make for some interesting locales and situations. Nice work!

(By the way, where in Germany are you? I live in Berlin.)
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odrez
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2016, 08:51:07 am »

Thank you so much for your feedback!

@amanfr01

I already received your e-mail! I will reply to it soon but didn't have the time for it yet. Your comment and mail really made me smile that day, because it was incredibly hard for me to get at least some feedback on my new trailer. Posted it everywhere but it had an incredibly bad visibility. It was good to read some good words at the end of the day.

@waru99

Thank you! I hope so too. What I really love when developing the game is that I can create levels that are kind of surreal. If everything is a virtual world that someone designed by will, everything is possible. I am a big fan of surrealism and I like trying out new stuff in each level.

I'm from Leipzig. :)



I waited to have new stuff ready before I answered. Here's the third Trailer for Fumiko!





Enjoy and leave some feedback on youtube or here, if you can. Highly appreciated.



In other news, I have an appointment on thursday where I present my business plan to the IHK. They decide if I can get the necessary support from the german job center to have something to eat in the next 6 months. Please keep your fingers crossed for it to happen.

I'll update you when I have something new to show.
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2016, 05:03:44 pm »

Gorgeous work! I left a comment on your YouTube. Hopefully that'll help gain some traction for the trailer :D

The various "denizens" walking around are magnificent.
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 10:51:09 pm »

In other news, I have an appointment on thursday where I present my business plan to the IHK. They decide if I can get the necessary support from the german job center to have something to eat in the next 6 months. Please keep your fingers crossed for it to happen.

How did it work out? Did you get it? I went through the same last year around May Smiley. Greetings from Munich!
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odrez
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2016, 06:20:58 am »

In other news, I have an appointment on thursday where I present my business plan to the IHK. They decide if I can get the necessary support from the german job center to have something to eat in the next 6 months. Please keep your fingers crossed for it to happen.

How did it work out? Did you get it? I went through the same last year around May Smiley. Greetings from Munich!

It has been difficult. The IHK was great, they helped me a lot. I got everything I needed to for the Gründerzuschuss (
founder grant, 6 months getting the bare minimum) and as soon as I called the job center, they told me to get an additional entrepreneur seminar. This shouldn't be a problem, but since the day I started my business on july 02, I haven't been able to get one. You have to get it from a private company and the seminars will only take place if there are enough people attending. Sadly, currently no one in my city wants to start a business and all planned seminars were cancelled a day before they would take place.

I already started working and I try not too care too much, but it's starting to get annoying. This grant should help you through the first months and I'm glad that I didn't rely completely on that. It seems like I'll get it in the next months, but no guarantees.

Greetings from Leipzig!




In other news, I totally forgot to tell you about the new demo!

You can find the download links on IndieDB:
http://www.indiedb.com/games/fumiko-the-game/downloads

And on the game website:
https://www.fumiko-game.com

If IndieDB wants you to log in, try to download again (it should work without an account)
You can also use the Dropbox Link on the game website.

This preview level acts as a prologue and a tutorial for the game.
It's more linear than the real deal, but I can show off some game mechanics in it.

If you haven't already played the preview level 3 you should check it out!
I also updated this preview level to version 3.1!
This adds better controller gameplay and several improvements to the mechanics.



Tell me about your experiences with the demo! Love to get some feedback.

I also have some other stuff, but this should be enough for one post.

Best greetings,
Odrez
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 01:44:14 am by odrez » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2016, 11:52:31 am »

I'm so excited there's a demo! I will be downloading it tonight Smiley Will give you feedback ASAP!

Really looking forward to playing it!!!
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odrez
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 11:46:32 pm »

I'm so excited there's a demo! I will be downloading it tonight Smiley Will give you feedback ASAP!

Really looking forward to playing it!!!

Awesome! There isn't too much story in these demos, but I hope you'll enjoy. Smiley



I uploaded these two videos recently, they're showing

Ariana the Beauty
"Ariana the Beauty owns multiple servers along the Zeus cluster
and is one of the most wealthy persons in the network.

The homeworld she inhabits and which only can be accessed via
invitation is her estate, where she lives together with
about 10 butlers and gardeners.

Despite the maintainance of a digital world not requiring any
effort, she likes the feeling of people pretending to work for her.

The homeworld contains an island in the sea and beautiful garden."





Ariana's Homeworld
A sneak preview of how Ariana's Homeworld will look like. I was really glad the collisions on particle effects work so well in Unity.



« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 11:56:43 pm by odrez » Logged

odrez
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2016, 03:01:38 am »

A small video preview of a boss fight happening in Chapter 3!



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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 11:25:01 am »

The final boss arena is waiting to be filled with content. What would you do with it?



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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 08:44:30 am »

I updated the demo's with better animations and improved A.I.! Check it out if you haven't played them yet.

http://www.indiedb.com/games/fumiko-the-game/downloads

Thank you!
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2016, 09:47:54 am »

I made a thing with A.I.!



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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2017, 01:42:48 am »

It's happening!                                    It's happening!                                                                     It's happening!Coffee



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odrez
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2017, 03:42:34 am »

Hey TIGSource!

I haven't made a proper announcement here and I'm ashamed. Here's what has happened in the past weeks after the launch of "Fumiko!".

Store Pages & Demos

Fumiko! can now be found on » Steam « and » itch.io «.

The game released with Day-1 Support for Windows and Linux.
I would still like to add Mac support, but current sales aren't looking like that will be possible soon. More to that below.

You can download a fresh and exciting demo on both store pages.
It's a single download that contains four levels to play. Including the dark kronos bridge:





Gameplay & Reception

You can already find the official trailers on the store pages. But what about the gameplay? I am lucky to be able to share these first impressions with you. Give these channels some love for covering unknown indie games! Especially MightyNifty for doing a full review.








MightyNifty Review

You'll be able to find more of these videos in » This Playlist «!



Release & Marketing

The release went smooth, with some few hiccups that were removed in the » Latest Patch «. So far the game has received positive reviews and offered an enjoyable experience for the people who gave it a go.

However, finding the audience so far has been horribly difficult. With all the indie game success stories out there, I thought that it won't be so bad, but the stagnating sales numbers are a direct result of limited visibility. So far Fumiko! has sold 58 copies, which won't even allow me to continue development for a single month in full-time. That part of the dream is over for now.

I competed with several other releases on February 14th, including the highly anticipated "For Honor". Given that Steam visbility alone is highly based on success in the first few days after release, Fumiko! never hit any form of "Top Sellers" list and was in general pretty hard to find. I managed to drive some people to the site with Twitter, Reddit, Imgur and Youtube, but the direct effect in sales was very small. 950 people put the game on their wishlist, waiting for a sale bigger than 25% off (release sale).



I had to learn how to write proper press mails, making my first attempts at reaching out to indie game review websites like RockPaperShotgun useless. Since then I created a proper presskit and added all the fluff that is expected in these e-mails (there are many videos and articles circling around that topic, we all watched them) and sent news to all the indie game websites that I was able to find a contact person for. Almost no effect. I think there are many different factors involved here, but if you're doing your first game release and major indie game news sites plain ignore every e-mail you send them, you're hitting a brick wall. I'll continue these efforts, but you always need fresh news to send. If your initial release itself isn't news-worthy, small content updates probably won't make the cut.

But it's not all bad. There are some reviews that were done by smaller blogs and websites. Without their coverage, I would stand alone in a dark spot. Give them some love!

CueIndieReview - Indie Impressions Fumiko!
IndieGames.com - Become An AI And Explore The Low-Poly Landscapes Of Fumiko!
GamingOnLinux.com - Fumiko! - Lot's of Bugs (the first patch was in response to that article)
Artificial Intelligence Breaks Free in Fumiko
BigBossBattle.com - Fumiko gets a romantic release date
LinuxGameConsortium.com - Fumiko created in Unity3D Linux Editor launches on Steam

So if you have any tips on how get some traffic on a still-new release and how I get RockPaperShotgun, PcGames N, Indie Games Magazine, KillScreen, Gamasutra, Gameskinny, Indiehaven or Kotaku or any other comparable indie game news resource to answer my calls, please let me know!



I successfully used this thread for this quick rant about my marketing failures. Won't happen again, I hope. That the game has reached at least some audience makes me very happy. I'm just a bit shocked by the result and so far no "how to market your game with $0 budget" collection of tips has helped in any way. For most developers mentioned in these guides, success comes from a single post that made the difference. Still waiting for that miracle to happen.

I would be happy if some of you would give the demo a shot and provide some feedback! Or maybe you have some stories for me. Let me know.

Best Regards,
Odrez
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2017, 05:48:19 am »

I'm pretty much in the same boat (soon) and expect about the same result. I watched parts of the videos you posted and it looks like you have an interesting story going on and the game looks good. I hope it pick ups some more good reviews and downloads, but I'm overall pretty pessimistic about chances for indie-games that didn't gather a large following before release. I hope to be proven wrong though. good luck!
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2017, 06:49:42 am »

I'm pretty much in the same boat (soon) and expect about the same result. I watched parts of the videos you posted and it looks like you have an interesting story going on and the game looks good. I hope it pick ups some more good reviews and downloads, but I'm overall pretty pessimistic about chances for indie-games that didn't gather a large following before release. I hope to be proven wrong though. good luck!

I wish you all the best! I think a bit of luck is needed. With social media, you'll never know exactly what a post will get you. Your game looks great, but you also seem to be quite late with marketing. One thing that might help you on release is that it looks like its gameplay premise can be communicated easier. One thing Fumiko! suffers from is that it is hard to point out the "core gameplay value" and I am still not that confident with the product and feature descriptions. Try to find words and descriptions that give people instant knowledge about these things. People like to buy things that they already know they'll like, despite the innovative nature of indie games. A Stardew Valley is a no-brainer to buy for someone who liked harvest moon. Try to stay in the same type of language other games use that are similar to your game.

It seems to be a crucial point to start e-mailing people and websites as soon as possible, so that they already know the game that you're releasing. I only started using e-mail about 4 weeks prior release, which was probably too late. And it's also a matter of your e-mails looking professional and well-crafted, as well as them coming from a trustful domain that is configured properly. For example, something as simple as a missing SPF record or an invalid ssl certificate can put your mail into a spam filter. I started with sending mails from an @gmail.com address and gradually improved the messages I sent. That could've made a difference, had I started earlier.

Also gathering a list of e-mails to write to has turned out to be a slow and tedious task. I feel like I haven't used the full potential yet and I need to find more. Especially matching youtubers - which are hard to find & reach. Watching their videos to get to know them first takes quite some additional time.

Maybe an Indie game just needs enough time and care in marketing to flourish, even after release. A good start can enable this, but it is good to have some kind of backup plan.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 07:05:56 am by odrez » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2017, 01:17:23 pm »

I really like the visuals of your game (thought I'm a bit partial to low poly from my Commodore 64 days when those first came out Wink ).  But, as you mentioned, the marketing (trailer and the main image on the Steam page could certainly be improved)

I'm just curious, did the people who reviewed your game so far found the game by themselves or did you contact some of them?  I'm a bit surprised that it sounds like, you didn't do market much to streamers before game release.  That is one of the most commonly mentioned approach that on average gives better results for "no name" indie game developers.  There are a few streamer lists around.  Some even mentions preferred categories. You can find those and some other tips in this marketing thread: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=47706.0  Especially the one about making a trailer with a story based format could be useful.

Regarding describing the game, you could go with something popular - such as "TRON meets [insert other popular game/movie title]".  TRON also takes place in a computer environment so it's "close enough" which may help getting a few TRON fans to take a look.  Be sure to add those to video tags on YouTube, etc.


About the title: 
The Japanese sounding title gave me the impression of a dating sim game. Grin  Perhaps either changing or adding another word to the title might help: e.g. Cyber Fumiko!   


About the Steam Announcement Trailer:
If you start a sentence, it's better to finish it before starting another.  You show "Prepare Yourself", but then a tutorial(?) like sentence by @wilson shows up before the sentence is continued with "For a journey".  Also, that sentence by @wilson disappears too quickly plus the same thing happens to another sentence later on.

Based on the trailer, the game looks like a *walking/flying simulator* or a screen saver.  You just go ... and go ... and go ...     There's no mention of who you are, what are your motivations, what can you even do in the game.  Yeah, I saw some platforming scenes, but since you mostly showed the other generic moving parts, it'd be similar to playing Sonic without rings or Super Mario without the enemies.

Also, the trailer is way too long since you are showing scenes that just repeat the same ideas (i.e. you can move and jump here and there) but don't add anything more.  1 minute or 1:30 is enough and if you have lots of different or unique things that you want to convey, than maybe up to 2:30 minutes but even that is pushing it. 

Some of the things mentioned at the end could be used at the beginning to pique interest.
Instead of starting with a "Prepare yourself for a journey ..." that sounds a bit generic, starting with the "Go on a date in a twisted place with no return" is much more unique and a better hook.  Or at least much earlier.

In the devlog I've seen another character but didn't see it in the trailer.   Of course, it's understandable if you don't want to spoil everything (like CryTek did with Crysis by showing the entire final alien boss fight on the aircraft carrier before the game was released), or spoil story twists, but it's better to show a little more than less.  Especially, when the other parts are fairly similar.

The Times New Roman(?) font is very common and give those texts a *generic* feel.  Probably not the worst thing, but you can do better than that based on the other images.


Regarding the Steam page main image:
The Steam page description images (THE GAME, FEATURES, DEMO) look great!  But the main image    
has a "mediocre" level of quality due the Arial font and the various image elements compared to the ones mentioned above.  Perhaps something dramatic like Psychonauts:    or something along the lines of your screenshots with many semi-transparent shapes that create certain patterns.  For the font, you could use a similar idea like the font for the Steam page description images. 


The price drop you mentioned on the Steam Page is probably a good idea and will hopefully more people will give it a chance.  Similarly, a story trailer might work better as well.

Good luck!
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odrez
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2017, 01:07:10 am »

@io3 creations: Thank you for all the feedback! I didn't respond, but I read everything and included your suggestions in my motivations to overhaul the presentation of the game. (the new Steam store page) (the new itch.io store page)

The new trailer also tries to communicate what the game is about much clearer.



Fumiko! received a big patch! I've added new content, new dialogue, new mechanics and a better menu. Players will be able to focus more on the narrative of the game and less on searching their way through the network. Many things have been implemented to improve accessibility for players who might be unfamiliar with 3D platforming.

New Trailer

New to Fumiko? Looking for a way to learn what the game is about in less than 2 minutes? Give the new trailer a shot!





New Homeworlds

I was asked where all the social activity is in the biggest social area of the game: Hyperion.

This has multiple reasons. The size of the place was a perfect opportunity to hide secrets. I wanted the first homeworlds I added to be something the players had to look for. Something off track that can be found when careful. But what happens to the players who do not stumble upon the homeworlds? How many homeworlds are there to find? Is there some kind of map guiding them?

Well, there is now. With a new map in Hyperion, players will be able to track down every single homeworld. I also move some objects around and added visual hints to show where the social activity is happening, without ruining the open exploration.

To improve the experience and world building even more, I have decided to add 6 new homeworlds to the road of Hyperion. These places are easy to spot and give a sense of casual social life. They contain new dialogue and are affected by the distortion happening in Hyperion. If things are starting to go wild, make sure to give them a visit and get the new Achievement: Lonely Dancer!

New Ability

With the patch comes a new ability: Dropdown. A downwards jump with infinite charges to navigate through the air like a sea lion through water. This video shows the new ability in action!





New Menu

The main menu received a major overhaul and now supports savegames. This removes the necessity of handling the menu through shortcuts. What I thought would be an interesting and quirky approach to a menu turned out to be clunky and unfamiliar. I can understand if players don't want to rethink how to navigate a menu, so I made it more streamlined.

The savegame menu is especially helpful. The game will still auto save your progress in the 3 savegame channels available, but you'll be able to create your own savegames and safely travel between them. Each time you load a level, the game will create a backup savegame from the place you were coming from. Each major chapter automatically creates a savegame for you. Much convenience.

Player experience

Felt frustrated with the game in the past? I've taken a look at every level and made it a better experience for everyone. The first levels received quite some rework, giving new players and the ones unfamiliar with the 3D platforming better hints. Some mechanics needed better explanation, some levels further guidance. Many jumping puzzles received more platforms to land on or alternative ways to reach the goal.

Players will learn Multijump and even Endless Jumping earlier in the game. This enhances the focus on exploration instead of giving the false impression that Fumiko! would be all about precision jumping.

The I.M. Server is no longer invisible and should be a lot clearer now.

Conclusion

This patch makes Fumiko! easier to explore but doesn't take away from the challenge to figure some stuff out. In the end, it all comes down to giving just the right amount of hints to point to a general direction. Many small and broader changes were implemented to achieve that. Some of it is subtle, some things were completely rewired.

I thank everyone interested in the game for your time and I hope Fumiko! will be able to reach more players in the future. Without your support few indie developers would be able to make games. Thank you for sticking around.

Best Regards,
Odrez
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