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miminawewe

Game Distribution

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Hi, I would like your input on my idea of distributing my game. I was thinking of releasing it monthly. I will have a website with a purchase system and people can buy then download the game from the website every month. Every month there will be a different level so basically I'll be selling levels monthly at $3.00 per level. The game is a 3D adventure game nearly like Tomb Raider. So what do you think? I'll be making announcements when a level is out in web sites e.g this one i.e gamedev.net. Thanks.

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One of the things you may face is the fact that people are impatient and don't wish to wait a month per level. They may not even want to play the same game, but a slightly different level, over again. The consumer will play the first two or three levels, maybe, and then realise that every future level is just a rehash. Also, who wants to play a game that's plot you must follow over the coarse of a year? Assuming, of course, that you have at least twelve levels. They may not even remember the plot points of the previous month, let alone the plot of levels half a year ago.

Just a few points from a consumer's view. But from a bussiness perspective, it's a good idea, as you are charging them more for less without most of them noticing. 3$ * 20levels = 60$ and you can have more than twenty levels, obviously. As well as the advertisng of people constantly being forced to go to your site to download the levels.

Oh, and ensure you release them on a timely basis. I.E. The first of every month, or the third wensday or whatever. It'll make people want to download it the second a level comes out, as well as make you appear more professional and reliable.

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Yes I agree that people may not want to wait every month for a level. Each level will be very different but at the same time it ties into the main story. Think of it like a financial or entertainment magazine. They publish different stories every month but the stories all tie into the purpose of the magazine. I'll design the game and the levels such that one doesn't have to remember details of the last level in order to enjoy the current level. E.g in Tomb Raider 3 after playing 5 levels I (and most of my friends) forgot what the whole point of the game was and we were just playing to finish each level. Not only Tomb Raider but other games also.
The reason I'm choosing this approrach is to keep the game fresh. I don't want to develop a game for 2 straight years because the last levels of the game will likely be boring (because I wanted to finish the game quickly).
Anyway I value your input that's why I put this post. I hope to hear more from you guys.
Thanx.

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If you have cool tools for level creation you can let the community work on levels and share the profits-
now this is getting complicated, one way to do is:
you will need some testers to evaluate the user-made levels, and the top user-made levels will be "for sale" and maybe spliting the money between you, the testers, and the author of the level.

This way the game levels will be created fast and you have an extra asset you can give/sale - the level editor. (and people will be inclined to buy it - thinking they will make money of it).
And of course to be a tester you need to have a (purchased) copy of the game...


PS. this is not an idea I had just now but rather a plan I had for years, but seeing as Im not making my plan happen at least Ill share it and see the resoponse [smile]

Iftah.

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my above post is meant to a business plan a bit different from yours - I planned to sell the game with 4-6 levels at 5-10$ and then sell each level at 1.5-3$

I think its better since people will be ready to buy a cheap 5 level game and then be hooked and want to buy the next levels.

I also planned it to be some 2d RPG not FPS so level creation is easier... I dont know if this plan can work for an FPS game (where level creation is hard work)

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I'm not planning on having a level editor coz it won't be possible (I think) e.g can Tomb Raider have a level editor. I'm also not planning on involing a group of people (community) in the actual development because I'm an indie developer and I don't have the time to manage people but I will involve the community in ideas for the game and any constructive input. I can even make some 'free' levels for the community's pleasure.
On the business side of this, yes I do want to make money but I don't want to exploit anyone. This idea is not because I might make more money in the long run or because I can make some tools to sell to the community to make extra cash, but I want the game to be under constant development and fresh. I know there are the heavy gamers and this idea might not appeal to them. I want to be creating something interesting every month that will be fun and challenging for anyone who plays it.

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I think something like that is doable. I think you would have to have a ton of levels that are playable when the game launches to keep the player busy for a respectable amount of time. If at the end of that time they really like the game they will want to buy more.

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I'm no expert on selling strategies - that policy might work for you and your game. There's a few issues I'd consider though:

Firstly: Will you be having a free demo of some levels of your game? The most important thing is market awareness; letting as many people know about your game as possible. One thing that can help with that (amongst many others) is a freely distributed demo on the internet. It also helps reassure people that your game is worth buying (you will make sure your game is worth buying, right? [grin])

Secondly: If your game has a continuing storyline you will almost certainly lose customers as the levels go on. Many more people will try the free levels than buy the first paid one. Out of the people who pay for the first level, only a fraction will buy the second, and this trend will continue. This might be less of a problem if the game can be picked up from any point though.

Thirdly: Most internet payment schemes that indies use have a scale that makes it rather unprofitable to sell things cheaply. For example, if your payment provider takes a $2 cut of a $20 game, that still leaves you with $18. A $2 cut out of a $3 level only leaves you with a dollar.

Fourthly: If you are going down this path I'd strongly consider doing something to involve your customer community in the development process somehow, even if it's through an active website. Get people to vote on what happens next, or develop content, or run competitions for the next level, or something. One of the biggest advantages an indie has is the ability to interact directly with their customers. If you can get a small group of people to form a community around your game they will both keep buying your levels and help introduce new people to your game.



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