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How to get people to play my free, finished game?


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#1 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 04:37 AM

Hi everyone,

I have made a little 2D arcade game over the past couple months. I drew inspiration from Centipede and Bomberman, but the gameplay is somewhat different. I have spent some time crafting nice graphics and polishing the interface so that it doesn't look like a half-baked game. I even made a little intro "cutscene" (although it's useless for that kind of game, but I thought it would be a plus).

Now, I don't pretend to have made the best game in the entire universe, but it's fun to play for 10 minutes every now and then if you like to blow up stuff.

Since it was a lot of work for me, I'd like to spread the word about it so that people can play it and tell me what they think about it. I don't want to charge anything for the game. This is the first game that I manage to complete, so it'd be really encouraging for me to know that people have tried it out.

So fellow programmers, how did you promote your free game?
Thanks for your time.




EDIT: here are links:



Sponsor:

#2 SillyCow   Members   -  Reputation: 899

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 04:57 AM

How about posting a link where we can play it?

My new android game : Enemies of the Crown

My previous android game : Killer Bees


#3 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 05:05 AM

How about posting a link where we can play it?

Right. :) I posted links in the original post. I am open to any suggestions.



#4 Stefano A.   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 05:14 AM

What did you use to do the animated UI?

#5 Rakso   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 05:58 AM

Wow this game looks realy good!
Realy good job man! What langage did you use for this?

#6 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 06:38 AM

What did you use to do the animated UI?


You mean the main menu and all that? I use SFML for handling input, sound, and drawing sprites (saves me the hassle of messing with OpenGL). It's an excellent library.

I wrote my own UI code on top of that (SFML itself is pretty low-level, it leaves it up to you to do these things). There's still much room for improvement in the UI, it's pretty simplistic and could be made to run much faster. But, since the UI code isn't used in the actual game loop, I decided I wouldn't waste time optimizing something that runs well enough, outside of the speed-critical routines.



Wow this game looks realy good!
Realy good job man! What langage did you use for this?


Thank you! It's a mix of Python and C++. Most of the code is Python, it is a beautiful language in my opinion. Some critical portions of the code ran too slow when implemented in pure Python, so I re-wrote them in C++ for a very noticeable speed boost. If you're interested, you can download the source code (but be warned, it's pretty messy in some parts).

#7 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:11 AM

Do you have an english version?

Looks groovy. I will be honest that I have no idea what is going on in the video, but it looks sweet :P

#8 0Circle0   Members   -  Reputation: 343

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:13 AM

Looks very nice, not something you can just jump into with out reading the controls :). Tried that, didn't work out well. I like the graphics and intro was a nice touch. Putting the control keys close together was a plus too.

Make sure you put a link to your game in the youtube video description, some people will play through there.

EDIT: FUN AS HECK, first time I saw the cow drop on the screen, HAHAHAAHAHAAHA though I just ladle the crap out of everything and drop bombs as I run around :) Don't really collect much unless I need health.

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#9 Serapth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5793

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:19 AM

First off, congrats. To even finish a game is an impressive feat, but yours appears quite impressive.



As to getting people to play it, thats the tricky part... These days, casual free games are in one of two places... Flash or iPhone/Android. I just don't know what you would do otherwise... maybe upload it to a shareware download service like download.com?

#10 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:20 AM

Do you have an english version?

Looks groovy. I will be honest that I have no idea what is going on in the video, but it looks sweet :P

Thanks! and yup, the game lets you pick your language when you start it up for the first time. English is there, of course ;) I've translated the game to the languages I know, but if anyone wants to translate it to theirs, that would be awesome.

Basically, you play as Tux and you have to blow up the white and red antennas (circles) with your ladle/bombs/cows. The lemon and the hammer try to prevent you from doing so by spawning more antennas onto the field, or by 'nailing' them so that they are harder to destroy. You can also capture the antennas so that you get bonus points and free health. The game progressively explains what to do, you're not thrown into intense "omg wtf is happening"-action from the beginning.






#11 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:36 AM

Looks very nice, not something you can just jump into with out reading the controls :). Tried that, didn't work out well. I like the graphics and intro was a nice touch. Putting the control keys close together was a plus too.

Make sure you put a link to your game in the youtube video description, some people will play through there.

I just did. Thanks for the idea :)


Yeah, I was afraid the game could be a bit weird. For example when I watch people playing it, they almost never use the shield even though it's crucial in the later levels. I thought, oh well that's my first game, it can't be perfect :)


First off, congrats. To even finish a game is an impressive feat, but yours appears quite impressive.



As to getting people to play it, thats the tricky part... These days, casual free games are in one of two places... Flash or iPhone/Android. I just don't know what you would do otherwise... maybe upload it to a shareware download service like download.com?


I'll try to do that.

I thought of porting the game to phones, but it would require a complete rewrite since the game is mostly pure Python, so I didn't bother.




#12 0Circle0   Members   -  Reputation: 343

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:45 AM

rewrite for the phone would just be that which handles the graphics, the math involved more than likely would not change. I took a C++ project and ported it to java for a mobile device before I even knew anything about java in about a few hours, that only involved learning how variables are declared, though java and c++ are very close. You obviously know C++, therefore the port to java, which most phones use, would be easy. Just time consuming.

If you want to hit the game market running, Go for droid and IPhone. Free games get a TON of downloads.

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#13 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:55 AM

Yeah, I was afraid the game could be a bit weird. For example when I watch people playing it, they almost never use the shield even though it's crucial in the later levels. I thought, oh well that's my first game, it can't be perfect :)


Have you asked why they don't use it? Maybe you could add something that pops up and says, "use your shield more!" if they are never using it.

#14 thePyro_13   Members   -  Reputation: 629

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:55 AM

I remember seeing this on the SFML forums. Its a neat little game, nice to play for a while every now and then, kinda like Dwarfs!?

#15 0Circle0   Members   -  Reputation: 343

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:47 AM

When a person first plays a game, not all controls are going to be used, they may even just button mash. As the game gets played more though a person develops more of an understanding and begins to adapt. This can be said for near everything in life. I have implemented manual shield in my games, but from what I have seen in popular games, more often than not, the shield is an automatic response to getting injured, reducing the shield at the same rate as health but also taking a portion of the health that would be lost.

If an injury takes 10 life away, and shields are max, then shields are reduced by 10 instead and health reduced by 5, This gives the appearance of having more health as long as there are shields to expend, In this example where Shield strength and Health are at 100, the person can be thought of as having 125 life instead of 100, Not a big difference but keeping the manual shield and if it is pressed while keeping its current function might help the game. If you don't ever use the shield you still get some functionality out of it where as manually using the shield you get full functionality.

Just an idea.

If you did port for mobile devices though, removing the manual shield and making it automatic would most likely be a must, more so for the IPhone where there are no buttons, however the IPhone does have tilt sensors and can tell when it is being shaken, using that for bombs and using a box reticule then when clicking on the penguin could cause you to use the ladle would easily be implemented as well. Not sure how you could exploit the IPhone more as most games I have seen only have a few things you can do with them due to not having extra buttons.

Another EDIT: In the event of porting to a phone one must look at the memory imprint as phones are limited, highly doubt a 24mb unpacked program will fly on the IPhone, not with out storing all the files in a database or "If ported to Java" all that is compressed in the JAR anyways, So it will be smaller, but still around 16mb, now remove all the dll's that are used roughly 7mb and you get a 9mb game, as well removal of what looks to be sprite masks so half of 1.4mb making the game just above 8mb in total. Is still a decent size game but workable for phones. Then it is just hours of optimizing, where what is smooth and working on a PC might not be on a phone where the CPU is severely limited. And the dreaded Out Of Memory error (Which is thrown at compile time instead of run time) will end the project almost instantly.

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#16 Serapth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5793

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 10:24 AM

Another EDIT: In the event of porting to a phone one must look at the memory imprint as phones are limited, highly doubt a 24mb unpacked program will fly on the IPhone, not with out storing all the files in a database or "If ported to Java" all that is compressed in the JAR anyways, So it will be smaller, but still around 16mb, now remove all the dll's that are used roughly 7mb and you get a 9mb game, as well removal of what looks to be sprite masks so half of 1.4mb making the game just above 8mb in total. Is still a decent size game but workable for phones. Then it is just hours of optimizing, where what is smooth and working on a PC might not be on a phone where the CPU is severely limited. And the dreaded Out Of Memory error (Which is thrown at compile time instead of run time) will end the project almost instantly.



You may be shocked at the level of resources available.



Amazingly phones are about comprable to the original DX9 machines these days. Now the OS's though, they often limit more than the hardware, especially Android.

#17 Knackebrod   Members   -  Reputation: 132

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 11:13 AM


Yeah, I was afraid the game could be a bit weird. For example when I watch people playing it, they almost never use the shield even though it's crucial in the later levels. I thought, oh well that's my first game, it can't be perfect :)

Have you asked why they don't use it? Maybe you could add something that pops up and says, "use your shield more!" if they are never using it.

I guess they just don't think about it because they're too busy blowing stuff up. Even when I tell them, they don't use it -- I'm testing the game on mostly casual players, maybe 2 action buttons is the right amount for a casual game and 3 is too much to manage?

I did put reminders at the beginning of some levels, but some people just skip any screen that has text on it.

Like you said, an in-game reminder could be the most efficient way.

Another EDIT: In the event of porting to a phone one must look at the memory imprint as phones are limited, ....


Well, among those 24 megs, a lot is due to Python and its libraries, so that would be gone if I rewrote it in the phone's "native" language.

Also, I could shrink all images to a lower resolution, the current images are nice for a high-def PC screen but overkill for a phone screen. I'd also probably get rid of the music. All in all, the core game assets could easily fit in 2 megs, if not less.

What puts me off the most, though, is rewriting the entire game in another language. That's 210 KB of python code to rewrite plus a switch to another input/graphics library since I don't think SFML has been ported to phones yet. Plus the inevitable debugging.

I would probably give it a shot if there was a reliable way to run python on mainstream phones, but there doesn't seem to be -- that's a lot of work, and since I've worked on this game a lot already, I think I'd rather work on a fresh, new project, this time with phone compatibility in mind (i.e. no python).

#18 0Circle0   Members   -  Reputation: 343

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 12:42 PM

Probably a good idea to start a project with phone compatibility in mind, what I think I am suggesting is that the game might have been quite successful on the IPhone. It is compact screen wise, has very fast action, great graphics, and a great concept off 2 games that are already popular in design and you pull it off without making it look anything like either.

The most popular games for phones are usually casual games with fast action and great graphics someone can play usually while waiting for something and quickly drop it for a call or what ever else they are waiting for. Sounds oddly familiar :)

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#19 Laypoof   Members   -  Reputation: 104

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:00 PM

damn! that was very nice!
(To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many, is research) :)




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