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Robo-Link

Pr, Marketing, and even posting here?

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Okay, so I've managed to finish my last project about 90%, and I want to get people interested. Believe it or not people don't seem to care. One thing is that I need some kind of idea on who I should and shouldn't waste my time with. With my last project I made a shooter game, like Space Invaders, and when I posted in forums dedicated to those styles of games I aether got posts saying it sucked because it wasn't as good as commercial games, or it just got ignored. I've even gone to shooter dev forums, and I got completely ignored there too. My question is, should I waste my time with game boards when releasing a product? Or should I stick with general dev boards like here? My fear with this place is that my game will be ignored because I'm not good with PR and there are so many games released here every day. Also, taking a look in the game release board (Your Announcements) I notice that most posts don't even get replies. I want to post my game here, but I want to do it in a place where it'll actually get noticed. Since it's in Java could I post it in Java dev? Or game dev since it's in late beta still? And what are some good ways to get replies and feedback for it? Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you'll reply with some good information.

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post your game in as many places as possible. The more exposure, the better. However, always remember that the market doesn't lie and doesn't have an agenda. Just because you like something and think it's awesome doesn't mean anyone else will share your opinion.

It would also help to define what you're looking for. If you're looking for advice on how to improve it, state that. If you just want feedback then state that. (again always remembering that if people hate it, that's just what they think and you have to learn to deal with it)

-me

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The thing about marketing and PR is that indie games don't need it.

Word of Mouth is your best bet for getting your game out there.
Like the guy above me said, post it everywhere, get as much exposure as possible and take the people that tell you it sucks just as seriously as the people that tell you it's great.
Every opinion is a brick in the road to making a better game.

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If PR and marketting are weak points for you then you should make an effort to learn a bit more about them and try to improve. Take note of what doesn't work for you, try different things and see if you can come up with better strategies. Do some research and see if you can find other people who had the same problem and what advice they were given/how they solved the problem. Read articles on marketting and PR in general and see what you can apply to your problem.


Some other things you can try to get a little more attention:
  • Blog about your development to catch the interest of anyone more interested in development than the actual game.

  • If there are any novel or interesting techniques in your game you could write articles about them for this or other sites.

  • When you're done you could write a postmortem on your game about what went right and what went wrong.

  • If you participate in any unrelated forums that allow such things, link to your game in your signature.

  • Post to our Image Of The Day and similar features on other forums.




Lastly, if you're getting bad feedback consider if there are things that could use improvement or suggestions you could implement without too much effort or without ruining your game design. I'm not saying your games are neccesarily bad, and a lot of complaints probably are invalid, but sometimes finding that one complaint about your game or suggestion for something to add can make all the difference.

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Quote:
Original post by Robo-Link
Okay, so I've managed to finish my last project about 90%, and I want to get people interested. Believe it or not people don't seem to care. One thing is that I need some kind of idea on who I should and shouldn't waste my time with.

You are speaking in riddles! What are you talking about?
What does it mean to "get people interested"?
What is it that "people don't seem to care" about? (And I have no trouble believing it, BTW.)
And what kind of wasting of your time are you talking about?

Your quest (and thus your question) is unclear!

Quote:
With my last project I made a shooter game, like Space Invaders, and when I posted in forums dedicated to those styles of games I aether got posts saying it sucked because it wasn't as good as commercial games, or it just got ignored. I've even gone to shooter dev forums, and I got completely ignored there too. My question is, should I waste my time with game boards when releasing a product? Or should I stick with general dev boards like here?

To accomplish WHAT? What is it you are looking for?

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You need to put things in perspective and know how much of an impact your game can have in the first place. A completed, polished release version of a game is certainly an achievement (one that most lone developers never accomplish, including the author of this post ;p), but it doesn't guarantee that your game (or any game) can attract players, even as freeware.

Since I haven't seen the game, I cannot say much, but a game based on Space Invaders isn't really likely to get many people interested and playing it regularly today, unless it's highly polished and has some very distinguishing fun features I haven't seen yet (and even then it's a long shot).

Showing your game on dev forums like this one is a good idea if you're after a (reasonably) objective and (mostly) constructive criticism.

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I think JBAdams' post was some great advice.


Also, when making a variant of an existing game, it really needs to be easy to play than the previous version or more compelling/engaging than the previous versions, otherwise there is little incentive forpeopel to want to play it.

Identify what makes your game unique, what makes it different and what you feel makes it more fun to play than just the latest incarnation of Space Invaders. Push those aspects of the game.



Soooo.... hook us up with a link to it! :)

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Thank you all for your advice. I've learned a lot from this topic.

For those who requested it, and just to have it here for those who want to see it, I've created a topic for my Protoship 2 project. Here is the link to the topic (which has lings to a youtube video and the website). If you can spot anything wrong with my release that might deter people please tell me so I can correct it. Thank you.

http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=514049

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A few comments about your post:

- It's short (+) but talks mostly about the technical aspects (Java 'rant') while saying little about the gameplay (-). It also assumes that being different means being fun (Are those random waves actually more fun? Don't they break certain balances?).
- You provided a quickly accessible movie and webpage (+) but didn't make them a clickable links (-). Your post contains no screenshots (-) and therefor has little 'immediate' impact.
- In other words, too little initial information, too much effort required to find out more. Hey, you want to get people interested, right? Then don't ask them to dig around, present it on a golden plate! If it gets them interested, they'll start digging around themselves. :)


Some about the youtube movie:

- The intro screen is simple, but not very stylish. It's not bad, just not special. It doesn't show anything about the game, which is it's main weakness, I think.
- The art isn't very impressive. Bright, sharply contrasting, basic colors... if it's a deliberately chosen style, then it doesn't work very well imo.
- Gameplay looks a bit too fast and frantic straight from the start. Enemy movement isn't fluid, it's just too rapid.
- There appears to be a weapon upgrade system in the game. Why don't you tell people about it? Those things are interesting! Whether or not the game is made with Java is not (to the majority of people, at least).


Some developer-esque notes:

- Does the player need all those .class files? Right now, the folder looks cluttered and it's not immediately clear how to start the game. I happen to be familiar with batch files, but not everyone is. A shortcut (with a nice icon ;)) would be nice, or an executable.
- About the folder, 'beta1' is not a descriptive name, consider calling it 'Protoship - beta1' or such instead. I know, it's a beta, but if you're sloppy with it now, you'll have more work to do for an actual release. Personally I'm trying to automate this as much as possible, so I can generate a release-worthy package at any time.


Finally, I also played the game:

- The initial login message sounds like some kind of web-based login system. Consider using different terms there ('Create a profile' or such).
- Those messages are very Windows-like (or perhaps, OS-styled GUI-like). It distracts from the games style.
- Nice background image, though the background itself is rather grey.
- Difficulty is set to Hard by default. Is this really what most people would like to play at? Not everyone hops to settings the first time they play a game.
- The first time I tried to play, the game just stopped. Perhaps because I used an empty profile-name ('').
- Entering a profile name manually every time is tedious. Present a list of profiles instead, or simply select the last active profile and provide a switch profile option.
- When leaving the options screen, I'm not being prompted to save the settings, neither does it save them unless I explicitely click the 'Save data' button. It's not data, it's settings, and this menu is tedious.
- The gameplay is so-so: enemies move away too fast, giving little time to kill them. Since killing enemies give weapon upgrades, it's important to be able to kill some early on if you want to stand a chance later.
- That is, if weapon upgrades were actually useful. As it stands, they only help when fighting a boss. Other enemies are dead with a single shot anyway. A useful weapon upgrade would be a spread-shot against the annoying 8-direction firing enemies, because those quickly overwhelm you by limiting your maneuverability with their bullets, so you can't kill the next few, etc.
- The game lacks feedback. When the player dies, it's a small explosion sound and some ship sprite flickering and that appears to be it.
- It's unclear what those bars on the left of the screen are for. Weapon levels? Health? ...?



That should give you some work to do. :)

Overall, it's a game, it runs smooth, you're obviously capable. But the interface is somewhat tedious and lacking, it's just not convenient enough. Both the art and the gameplay feel a bit too amateurish for my taste, but I'm sure you can polish that up.

What helps is getting a few friends or other people to play the game. Feedback is critical to building a fun game. Well, here's some of it, I hope you can put it to use. :)

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Quote:
Original post by Captain P
A few comments about your post:

- It's short (+) but talks mostly about the technical aspects (Java 'rant') while saying little about the gameplay (-). It also assumes that being different means being fun (Are those random waves actually more fun? Don't they break certain balances?).
- You provided a quickly accessible movie and webpage (+) but didn't make them a clickable links (-). Your post contains no screenshots (-) and therefor has little 'immediate' impact.
- In other words, too little initial information, too much effort required to find out more. Hey, you want to get people interested, right? Then don't ask them to dig around, present it on a golden plate! If it gets them interested, they'll start digging around themselves. :)


Okay, I fixed the post.

Quote:
Original post by Captain P
Some about the youtube movie:

- The intro screen is simple, but not very stylish. It's not bad, just not special. It doesn't show anything about the game, which is it's main weakness, I think.
- The art isn't very impressive. Bright, sharply contrasting, basic colors... if it's a deliberately chosen style, then it doesn't work very well imo.
- Gameplay looks a bit too fast and frantic straight from the start. Enemy movement isn't fluid, it's just too rapid.
- There appears to be a weapon upgrade system in the game. Why don't you tell people about it? Those things are interesting! Whether or not the game is made with Java is not (to the majority of people, at least).


The intro screen looks like that so as to not use up a lot of memory. On the video it doesn't show it till the end now. I've added things about the weapons to the site, and post. the gameplay is a little faster in the video than it is irl because I don't have the ability to take any good video that isn't running at 2 frames/sec.

Quote:
Original post by Captain P
Some developer-esque notes:

- Does the player need all those .class files? Right now, the folder looks cluttered and it's not immediately clear how to start the game. I happen to be familiar with batch files, but not everyone is. A shortcut (with a nice icon ;)) would be nice, or an executable.
- About the folder, 'beta1' is not a descriptive name, consider calling it 'Protoship - beta1' or such instead. I know, it's a beta, but if you're sloppy with it now, you'll have more work to do for an actual release. Personally I'm trying to automate this as much as possible, so I can generate a release-worthy package at any time.

Fixed both of those problems, thanks for the feedback.


Quote:
Original post by Captain P
Finally, I also played the game:

- The initial login message sounds like some kind of web-based login system. Consider using different terms there ('Create a profile' or such).
- Those messages are very Windows-like (or perhaps, OS-styled GUI-like). It distracts from the games style.
- Nice background image, though the background itself is rather grey.
- Difficulty is set to Hard by default. Is this really what most people would like to play at? Not everyone hops to settings the first time they play a game.
- The first time I tried to play, the game just stopped. Perhaps because I used an empty profile-name ('').
- Entering a profile name manually every time is tedious. Present a list of profiles instead, or simply select the last active profile and provide a switch profile option.
- When leaving the options screen, I'm not being prompted to save the settings, neither does it save them unless I explicitely click the 'Save data' button. It's not data, it's settings, and this menu is tedious.

Made a new login system where you can select from a list. Made the background look better. Kept the OS like design because that's what I was going for. Options now save if you click the "Play" button as well.

Quote:
Original post by Captain P
- The gameplay is so-so: enemies move away too fast, giving little time to kill them. Since killing enemies give weapon upgrades, it's important to be able to kill some early on if you want to stand a chance later.
- That is, if weapon upgrades were actually useful. As it stands, they only help when fighting a boss. Other enemies are dead with a single shot anyway. A useful weapon upgrade would be a spread-shot against the annoying 8-direction firing enemies, because those quickly overwhelm you by limiting your maneuverability with their bullets, so you can't kill the next few, etc.
- The game lacks feedback. When the player dies, it's a small explosion sound and some ship sprite flickering and that appears to be it.
- It's unclear what those bars on the left of the screen are for. Weapon levels? Health? ...?

I changed a lot about the gameplay. You'll have to tell me if any of these problems still exist or not. I did fix the HUD though.

Thanks for all your help.
Here's a link to my post on here about Protoship 2.

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