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



Hello, TIGForum! I haven't been here for some months but I really wanted to get more into the community.
I wanted to do a DevLog here for quite some time now, so here.. now it happens!



Fumiko! is a dark Sci-Fi Platformer that let's you see the world through the eyes of an artificial intelligence named "Fumiko".

You''ll be visiting computer networks and virtual machines from the inside. Each level represents a part of a wide network and will unlock information about the virtual world or your own existence. Not every server can be accessed easily and antivirus systems and firewalls will block your way. Levels can change or become hostile to stop you from reaching your goal.

Despite the setting, the game has a big focus on the story. I want to introduce puzzle elements in Chapter 3 (there will be four), but the main focus of the game is to tell a story about the woman named Fumiko and the network itself.



I'll start with some media, I'll post enough stuff in here. No one wants to read too much.

















That's not enough! Give us more stuff to look at!

You can find a lot of stuff if you're going through my different media channels:

Twitter
Facebook
Youtube
IndieDB

For example, you can find a complete resumée article I wrote about chapter 1 here or on the game's main website www.fumiko-game.com!



What about a demo?

There is one! I thought I would do one level that is not part of the main game and update it whenever I have something new to show off. This level is currently available in version 3 and I already desperately want to do a version 4 as soon as I can.

You can find the preview levels on IndieDB



What about you? Who are you?

I love making games. Sadly, making games in germany is like saying you want to be a professional unicyclist.

My curriculum is a bit messed up, but I always did something. I started an apprenticeship in gastronomy, switched to IT, switched to graphics and desktop publishing and got a diploma, started studying, stopped to work in Q&A for a medical IT solutions company, went from there to a company where I worked as a Web App Dev and now I'm going to start a business with my first game. Much fun.

I started developing games when I was 12 years old - with the old RPG Maker 2000. Since then a lot of time has passed and I learned a lot about programming, storywriting, graphic design and game design.

What is Fumiko The Game again?

It's a project I started two and a half years ago as a small side-activity in addition to my work. It soon became a passion and now is the game I always wanted to create and my hope to jump in the gaming market.

How is it made?

I'm actually using the new Unity3D Linux Editor Alpha to create the game. I started with the windows version and switched with the very first version of the Linux Editor. It works great, despite some random crashes.

As a random data sheet:

Code:
OS: Linux (currently Linux Mint 17 and Fedora 23)
Engine: Unity3d
3D Editor: Blender
2D Editor: GIMP & Krita
Audio Editor: Audacity & FL Studio
Video Editor: OpenShot
Recording: Simple Screen Recorder with JACK
Coding IDE: Vim + Vim Plugins + Terminator
Project Planning: Kanboard

That's also why one of my first posts here was about Unity3D + Vim, a slightly updated version can be found here.

So much Text

You are right!



Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm looking forward to it.

I'll make a call when I have new stuff. :)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2017, 02:12:39 am by odrez » Logged

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

Fascinating!
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Siddhartha Barnhoorn
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Composed music for the games Antichamber, Out There, The Stanley Parable and Semispheres.

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amanfr01
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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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foofter
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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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Now on Greenlight! http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=905017346


@_monstergarden (game) and @williamzwood (me)
See Monster Garden progress here: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=56012.0
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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amanfr01
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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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odrez
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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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odrez
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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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odrez
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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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odrez
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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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