Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Magogan

Two weeks until "release" and almost no one knows my game...

Recommended Posts

Hi.

I have developed a game for 5 years and today I finally got it to the point where I can actually show it to people without feeling terrible. Until today, the characters didn't have textures and animations...

I released the game in an unfinished state on Steam Early Access back in April 2018 but didn't do any sort of marketing because of the missing textures and animations. I took it off Steam for various reasons including algorithm changes, the 30% fee, etc.

I had the time to work on it without the pressure of having to release an update every month (so I could work on a big update) and a few days ago I finally got everything I need from 2 freelancers that I paid with the money I made on Steam.

I essentially have the USP that it's a block game with procedurally generated quests/storylines and smaller blocks (0.5m). Other features include a universe with space ships, different "classes" based on the player's weapon, crafting, etc.

It's basically a mix between Starbound and CubeWorld.

I think I know most of the stuff about marketing for indie games - or at least know where to find it - but I have no idea what I should do now. It's still an in-development game (I don't want to call it "Early Access", that sounds pretty negative given all the failed projects on Steam) and I need to get a lot of people to buy it in order to develop all the features I want it to have.

I will create a trailer tomorrow and then what? Which YouTubers/Streamers do I approach? Which news websites?

I think it's not your typical indie game, there is a lot of advanced programming involved to create such a game so it is pretty unique I think. So do all those indie marketing guides really apply here?

I have almost 0 budget for marketing except for the stuff I can do myself. The thing is... I have never done marketing before so even though I can read thousands of guides I still don't really know where to start.

Does anyone have any useful advice for me?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

Definitely release to early access (if at all), it's no where near release ready as I'm sure you know. You've still got a lot of work to do. Anyone who downloads your game expecting a finished and polished product will be really disappointed.

The tutorial needs work, I picked a random place on the map and was surrounded by raptors and I don't know if it was bugged but I had no way to attack them. The first step to craft a torch, find a cave? Where... Why not make it a bit easier? In Satisfactory I press a button and it literally points me in the direction i need to go.

I'm not really sure what the USP is, typical block building with smaller blocks is not that unique to be honest. And Minecraft mods have multiple planets, many more biomes, etc... Quests are nice but Planet Explorers had them so it's hardly the first time in a game as claimed in your promotional material, and Portal Knights of course has them in a far more polished way.

Anyway, as for the trailer don't just spend a day on it, spend a week, make it look as good as possible and really show off what is unique and most exciting about your game out of all the current features. Are there some really cool quests coming? Show them off. Are there some really amazing environemnts? Show them off too. Build some awesome creations with the tools you have made and make sure to show them off. Just make them look as beautiful as possible because to be honest in my 10 minutes playing the game nothing really wowed me, I'm not sure why I should continue.

Past that figure out your target audience, Minecraft players, Starbound players, find the youtubers and streamers which play those games and target them. As you say there's no shortage of advice out there on how to write e-mails to them so follow that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

If you can't attack an enemy, you have probably forgotten to equip your weapon. That said, I forgot to add the keys to the ability bar UI.

Planet explorers doesn't have procedurally generated quests, they are very likely made by hand. Everyone has the same quests in the same place.

Portal Knights does indeed seem to have procedurally generated quests but it seems they are on relatively small islands only which makes the generation much easier. So no epic mountain ranges to explore. And the blocks are still the default size. I have to say, it does look really cool though. The quests appear to be hardcoded though, so it's not easy for players to add mods with new quests. In Cube Universe, you can do it with some simple XML definitions. The studio that developed Portal Knights has 60 employees though, compared to me as a single person that is 60x as many. I don't think that's a fair comparison.

You may want to play it for longer than 10 minutes - there is a lot more to see. And you should really read the tutorials.

Edited by Magogan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

...

I know that my system could be easier but you cannot expect that much from a game that is in development. And it's literally the third tutorial message that tells you to equip your weapon. Do you expect me to add a video for every sentence of tutorial so you know what to do without having to read?

I could make it so using the weapon automatically equips it, apart from that I have no idea what you expect.

Edited by Magogan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this thread was about marketing. Let's stay on marketing. Or start a thread in another forum if the topic is the design and features of the game under discussion. 

7 hours ago, Magogan said:

If you can't attack an enemy, you have probably forgotten to equip your weapon.

I just realized this was NOT a metaphor about having forgotten to start marketing before releasing the game! If you can't get people to know about your game, you have probably forgotten to "equip your weapon" (load up and wield your marketing weapon).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

It is really hard to design a tutorial if you know the game. I've had people trying to break their spaceship and falling into the vacuum of space. You can never really predict what people will do, it depends on their personal experience. I personally would always try to equip weapons because I've been playing MMORPGs for a long time.

Anyway, back to marketing. Should I try to find someone who is more experienced in marketing? I don't think I can learn marketing and become good enough within two weeks... Or is it not that hard? I kinda feel lost but that may just be my sleep deprivation that makes it hard for me to focus right now.

Edited by Magogan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Magogan said:

Anyway, back to marketing. Should I try to find someone who is more experienced in marketing? I don't think I can learn marketing and become good enough within two weeks... Or is it not that hard? I kinda feel lost but that may just be my sleep deprivation that makes it hard for me to focus right now.

I actually wrote up a ton of information last night, but decided to not post because at the end of the day you really need to consider a few things.

1. Is your production quality good enough to generate revenue based on the other similar games available in the market place in which you're competing with?

2. Did you do any form of testing to see if the game is ready for release? (based on the above posts there seems to be problems with how players might navigate your game - you need to weed out these problems or you'll face negative reviews, and refunds.) - Some advice in business, if your customers have to spend too much time figuring something out they will just leave and go else where.

3. As a developer are you prepared to take on constructive feedback and work with the community to improve your game so they can have a more enjoyable experience? The quickest way to ruin your reputation is to argue with players who give you feedback and take a defensive stance. This is a business, the opinion of your target audience matters because without that target audience you will never make sales and retain customers for future purchases. - Don't even bother with an early access unless you can take on feedback.

-----

Based on all the "indie" marketing research you've done and the guides what have you actually done? Do you have a social presence? Are you working to build a community? If you have a community how are you engaging them so they feel part of the project in some way? Did you reach out to any reviewers? If so, what feedback did you get?

Beyond that I don't personally believe you can spend zero money and push your game out with any expectation to generate decent sales. A lot of indie games flop and if they make money it is usually at a loss, and there are several reasons for that, but two of them being poor production quality, and a non-existent marketing budget which makes it very hard to generate exposure.

If you're looking to give yourself a good shot then I would suggest getting a marketing person on board. I have one in house, and one of my old business partners did marketing for our mobile projects awhile back in the USA and he spent a lot of money and time testing the market and building up these campaigns, it's really a full-time job if you want to do it correctly.

Just a final note.... two weeks isn't enough time to market and release your game. I would suggest pushing off your release to go back and constructively review your game. Is it ready for your target audience? Do you even know who your target audience is? What are features people would like to see in such games?

Best of luck.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@Tom Sloper I have read some in the past and remember them roughly, but I'm reading those again because I forgot most of the details.

@Rutin I released the game on Steam Early Access in an early stage and still got 70% positive reviews. I don't think I made the game worse since then so it should be ready for an Early Access release on my website.

I had some friends play and test the game. I fixed almost all of the bugs except for crashes on my very old laptop (I'm looking into it) and some other minor stuff that's not important right now.

I am listening to feedback but I also need the players to figure out some stuff on their own. It's not that hard to press "I" for inventory and see that you have to equip a weapon - but I'll make the weapons equip automatically in the next update. I am aware that the tutorial isn't perfect but it is an early access game so people should expect that it's not perfect. Other games had no tutorial at all when they were first released (including Minecraft).

I have some social media accounts and post there when I have something new to post (mostly screenshots) but so far I am not reaching anyone.

I, too, think two weeks are not enough but I obviously couldn't do any marketing without having animations and textures for the characters. They should have been done by May 31st but it took my freelancer 200% longer (9 instead of 3 weeks) to create the textures. I should have hired him earlier but I had so many people who promised me to do the textures for free and so few money left that I waited until it was too late apparently. I hired a freelancer for the animations in time though, those were finished much earlier.

I have rough ideas what features people would like to see from reading through some comments on CubeWorld and Hytale - and on my own announcements on Steam. I think I'm on the right track there.

Edited by Magogan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!