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Everything posted by vgsmart

  1. vgsmart

    Legend of Fae Launches

    Endless Fluff Launches Legend of Fae First commercial release mixes action, puzzles, and RPG. Feb 22[sup]nd[/sup], 2011 – Endless Fluff (http://www.endlessfluff.com) is very pleased to bring you their first commercial game, Legend of Fae. Legend of Fae takes the classic matching puzzles game as the battle mechanic of an RPG, then, to add their own twist, removes the turn based format. The result, an action packed RPG that will require you to keep your wits under fire. The Island of Sea Cross was a fairly peaceful place, even during the war. However, when Claudia's uncle goes missing, leaving behind only a note and a strange artifact, the peace the island once knew is torn asunder. Creatures called Fae have begun appearing in town and are causing all kinds of trouble. With the power of this strange artifact Claudia calls upon four elementals to help guide her to her uncle and, she hopes, some answers. Legend of Fae features over 50 levels and 30 upgradeable skills for your elementals. The combat is fast and dangerous as Claudia explores deeper towards the Faery Gate. The loveable elementals and the innocent Claudia make an adorable quintet of adventurers that are sure to resonate with young and old players alike. Two difficulties allow you to pick the speed of your enjoyment. A free demo of Legend of Fae is available at the Endless Fluff website at www.EndlessFluff.com. Stop on by! ABOUT ENDLESS FLUFF Endless Fluff Games is an NYC based independent developer that provides fun and challenging games that are easy to get into. Our goal is to deliver a rich and deep experience through our strengths in art, character and setting. We aim to explore many genres and game design possibilities to offer diversity to our fans. http://www.EndlessFluff.com ### Screenshots: Demo: http://www.endlessfl...gend_of_Fae.exe
  2. So funny I almost posted AT because I didn't see the one you posted first SMR :) Should make that puppy bold! -Joe
  3. vgsmart

    How do you generate revenue?

    The only question you asked which has a "not 100 page answer" was are flashing ads neccessary. Answer: No. We removed them from the entire ArcadeTown network in fact because we hate them too :) Flashing ads actually pay less, in general, but they display more frequently and display to international visitors (who are generally worth less also). Suffice to say, if the ad company doesn't have a "real" paying ad to run, they run a crappy ad - like those flashers. Sure you'll get less money from removing them, but hey... sometimes you gotta step up and draw your line in the sand ;-) -Joe
  4. vgsmart

    Effective Internet Advertising???

    Maybe I will make my next article about advertising. There isn't much I can say about it though. The simple fact is good visitors cost good money. It isn't necessarily a question of how many visitors can I get for my dollar, but WHO those visitors are. If the rates found on google, yahoo, adbright, or the CPM rates on website X are "too high" then your first problem is you're not targeting the right audience yet. If you ARE targeting the perfect audience and its STILL too high, the answer is your product isn't good enough. Sometimes you have to come to that conclusion, that your product doesn't sell well enough on its own for ads. There are ways around that, like having more than one product, or making the game better. In your case I dont really see a direct revenue model, so I am not sure what you are measuring. So, there's your answer. I have plenty of experience but the fact is I can't tell you anything beyond "If your game is good and you put an ad in the right place for the right price, you can earn a profit."
  5. vgsmart

    The long story and questions...

    I suggest making sure this kid stays in school and gets through college. While in highschool/college, make some side projects (Non-MMO RPGs perhaps?) and get to know the marketplace, the hurdles, and the quantity of time all those "little" things take - art is easy. Programming is easy. Those aren't what the HUNDREDS of failures out there lack. It's a cohesiveness that transcends the parts. We all have dreams, but sometimes the best way to achieve those dreams is to approach them from an indirect angle. I've worked with several MMOs on several levels now, and I know for a fact making my own (which was my dream at age 13) is no longer something on my list... not till I retire anyway. Find out about the LAST MMO I may work with for a long while (er, that may be months?) Saga :) -Joe
  6. vgsmart

    How do I make publishers crave my game?

    Thanks :-/ Hah, this is because I typed my sig by hand... -Joe
  7. vgsmart

    BEST Casual Game PUBLISHER

    Hah, Xenophobic is a good word Tom! I never think to use dashing words in my forum posts :/ Maybe I am too blunt. I've had numerous business occassions where a language barrier killed a business deal. Usually these are small deals, but then, so is your game (to a casual publisher)... gotta remember I go through over two game submissions a DAY... sometimes as many as a DOZEN in a day! This doesn't really apply so much when you are dealing with something potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more... then you obviously take the steps neccessary to break that language barrier. -Joe
  8. vgsmart

    How do I make publishers crave my game?

    It is always fascinating to me what the various perceptions out there are. Amazing how Frob can write such a lengthy reply and fill it with such generalizations stated as fact. Tom's good articles are always a nice place to start, and he liberally tells the gamedev world about them (But I do the same with my book, so I can't complain). You asked a simple question it takes a simple answer. You make a good game. Ok? Now you ask "Who the hell are you?" Well, I am the guy who makes the decisions for a US publishing company on what we use and what we don't use. It isn't unilateral, but if it doesn't get past me it likely doesn't get anywhere. I also run a marketing company, but that isn't the point. The problem with some of the posts in this thread is they make the assumption that every player in the world uses the same business strategy, while, in the same breath telling you that every situation is different. Every business is run differently. The only factor that is absolute between EA, Tri Synergy (my client), and whoever you are publishing with in Germany is the question of "Is it any good?" Anyway, don't believe what random people tell you. You'll really need to figure out who's opinion to trust and who really knows what is going on... Tom is not wrong, Frob isn't wrong, I am not wrong. We merely have three different perceptions of truth. A post on a forum is a horrific way to ask this question. You need to find people you trust, both on a personal and professional level, and get their opinions. Best of luck, feel free to contact me via my website if you want a private discussion. Sincerely, Joe Lieberman VGSmart Marketing Author, Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games [Edited by - vgsmart on August 7, 2006 7:23:53 PM]
  9. vgsmart

    BEST Casual Game PUBLISHER

    This is a perfect example of why you'd want a native english speaker: The difference between Native American and someone who speaks English Natively is pretty severe. Similar miscommunications or misrepresentations can damage your ability to sell your own product. You want to deal with people in their own language as often as possible, most portals are English- but not all. Anyway, contacts ARE more important than grammar, but really I hate seeing poor grammar from game developers when they're trying to sell their product- in a perfect world we wouldn't see people judge a game based on the e-mail it was sent from, but we do. Live with it :) -Joe
  10. I'm pretty sure it does, I use a gamepad myself :) But I am just the Press release guy, so you'd have to ask the Rage of Magic man himself ;-) -Joe
  11. vgsmart

    BEST Casual Game PUBLISHER

    What other casual game (downloadable market) publishers do you know? I know there must be plenty of them, but which would you recommend and which not? Almost all of the major players are reccomendable from the standpoint of a non-exclusive deal... that is, they will pay you exactly what your contract states... so at least you don't have to worry too much about being robbed. I reccomend ArcadeTown myself as a safe place to start. (www.arcadetown.com) What royalties (%) can you expect from the publishers ? Are they offering payments in advance and royalties as well? Almost no casual publisher offers payment in advance, and certainly not without a pre-established relationship or a literally phenominal ground breaking earth destroying product. %s vary between 20% and 40%, more or less. What royalty (%) do they get from their partners (that are selling the game directly to many people - like portals, ...) ? I'm confused by this question. If you are asking what % do you get when a sale occurs from an affiliate of that portal, it is your same % reduced to the amount they pay their affiliate. So if the affiliate gets 30% you get your % of the 70% left over. How much % is it finally going to be for the developer if cooperating with publisher? Keep in mind most portals don't even WANT exclusivity of your game unless you're willing to give it away for free (that would be stupid). So each publisher will be different. Do you think it is better for $$$ making to contact portals directly ? As opposed to using an agent? That depends on your salesmanship, experience, and contacts. Based on the questions you are asking here, your grammar, and style, I may suggest using an agent if you can get one. If not, the decision is made for you! Agents typically take around 10% of YOUR revenue (not of the gross revenue). Information on publishers, thier %s, and their contact information is all available inside my book, The Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games and it has a whole lot of other useful information as well :) -Joe
  12. That section is run by TryGames; it really doesnt have anything to do with PC Gamer (just an affiliate program). TryGames will likely reject the game due to the demo size... and they aren't particularly indie friendly. They tend to take old "A and B" titles and top selling casual games. Also even when you do get accepted there isn't much chance they will feature your game... expect few sales at best. Anyway, that doesn't mean you shouldn't submit it to these places, but you should always know who you are dealing with. Always find out who is truly in charge of a download area, be it PC Gamer, Trymedia (AKA: Macrovision), or someone else. I also work with ArcadeTown, a leading online portal just like Trymedia :) I'll tell you right now if you can find a way to cut that demo down to 40 megs I would at least try it out on our network, but not if you can't. -Joe
  13. I have to say Dan is right. Look, I run the big PR company for indie games. You made a lot of classic mistakes, but like I say in my book (The Indie Developer's Guide to Selling Games, www.indiegameguide.com) - your first game is almost certain to fail. Get over it :) Here is my post that I HOPE influences a lot of you readers! Some important things you should be learning: It is ok to believe in your product- but be realistic. Did you think retail outlets would want to pick up this game directly from a development house!? You are either overestimating your own abilities and assets or severely lack knowledge about the way the world operates :) It's ok! The worst thing anyone can do is say 'no' ... but you shouldn't have made it part of your plan for success. Your website is your persona and you can tell a lot about a person from the way they look, how they dress, ect. Yeah, I suppose I am a horrible person who would attempt to judge books by their cover... but I DO judge books by their cover and so does everyone else. Good covers on books = higher sales. That's a fact. Your game is HUGE. That is going to negatively impact sales. Portals won't go near a game with a 250mb demo. My research shows you will experience a .2% increase in failed downloads per 1 mb up to 50 and then a SHARP decline after 50. This means you could be looking at a 50%+ start and never finish download rate. Demos need to be small, find a way to make it happen or don't have a game that uses a demo. Your genre makes your life harder than it could have been otherwise. Yes, you should make the games you want to make :) Adventure games are tough. I should know, I have done the PR work for TWO retail adventure games this year (80 Days and Secrets of Da Vinci). When you select your game you need a plan on how to get the word out about it. You've got an adventure game so your first stop should be adventure sites. Here's where you need to go if you seriously want to start building traffic... but you may want to get a better demo, fix your website, ect. ect. before you even begin to try to get customers. Contact: Just Adventure Adventure Gamers GameBoomers and QuandaryLand Those four sites comprise pretty much what is left of the 'hardcore adventure game fans.' They all range between 50 and 60,000 alexa rank, which makes them large enough to impact sales but not large enough to make you rich. So here's my FINAL comment to all the developers out there who consistently ask the same question on this forum. Yes it is possible to make money developing games. No it is not easy. If it were easy everyone would make games. It's 40% making good games, 50% understanding how to create a game that can sell, 10% luck, and 5% ability to see through BS %s. The fact is it is a combination of knowing your market before you start making games, marketing your game after you make it, and occassionally getting lucky as a result of your HARD WORK :) Oh and when you are ready, you may want to do a press release through a cool service like VGSmart ;-) But I wouldn't reccomend it until you fix some of your problems. -Joe
  14. vgsmart

    Starting a business... with nothing

    The best way to start a business with nothing is to provide a unique service. Service is the key words- the "input cost" is your time :) You don't need to hire people to start out, in fact, I reccomend against it. You probably don't realize how hard people management is, its a lot harder than programming will be. In the first stages of a business the only one you can rely on to do a good enough job is you ;-)- so don't go beyond that. Ergo, make an indpendent game by yourself. Add artwork nearer to completion, this will likely be your first attempt to people manage and it will be a great experience why I am absolutely right :) Make sure it is a simple game. Clone an existing game if you have to, but aim for a 3 month development cycle, 5 months at most. If you are unexperienced in developing or in designing you will find that your 3 - 5 month project is going to take you 6-10 months. When that is done there is a 95% chance your first game will fail outright for a million reasons. Expect it to fail (though don't do it half-assed because you don't believe in it!), but plan for it to succeed. When you are done and your 6-10 months of hard work produced nearly no results you can then look back and say: Ok, now I understand how to manage people better. I know how to create a game that will sell better to a target market. I know how to plan my development time better. I learned about ways to increase the speed at which I program ect. ect. And best of all, you now have something to show others to demonstrate your abilitiy. College is about learning. Plan to be able to use your talent and passion for profit WHEN YOU GRADUATE; until then concentrate on learning as much as possible from trying to start a business. I used the same process to launch my company- My first year in business I probably made a couple hundred dollars. My second year (senior year in college) I was making about 5-6k/year. When I graduated I made 19k that year. The next year I anticipate earnings in excess of 36k. A lot? No :) But its a good trend. -Joe
  15. Hah! Edited :) I hate the whole changing years thing... ok back to the subject. -Joe
  16. vgsmart

    Questions and advice

    Most of the people who make games love a lot about them. However, a lot of the people I have talked to and worked with are burned out by the industry. They are sour, bitter, and resentful of the way the larger companies have treated them. So, if you are happy doing what you are doing now I would be very hesitatnt to change to an industry you love; you may end up loving it a whole lot less. If you AREN'T happy doing what you are doing now... well, your pay range isn't unreasonable. It all depends on the company, the task, and the benefits. It may take you longer to find a job in that pay bracket, but they are definately out there and you don't seem to be in much of a rush. Further, there are east coast companies; some in New York, some in North Carolina, and some in Florida (im sure there are a couple in other states as well). I just moved from Florida to Oregon- best decision I made :) It has nothing to do with east vs. west but everything to do with the community you move from and move TO. For instance in Florida I talked to ONE of my neighbors twice in two years and the others I never saw. In Oregon my neighbors baked us cookies for christmas and, about once a week, come chat with us on our lawn while we are doing yard work (or we go to them while they are). Oregon is, in general, nicer than florida... but I am sure if we moved to Portland there would have been no difference from Florida, other than the weather. So, back to life changes: Working in games has been different for me because I run my own company. I have noticed I like games a lot LESS now; my attention span for them has become rediculous. I get 2-3 games a DAY currently and I can't play a single game for more than a week before I am tired of it. It's a little depressing at times :) Sincerely, Joe Lieberman Owner, VGSmart Marketing www.vgsmart.com Video Game Marketing Book
  17. vgsmart

    Budgets for Games

    ROFL, Randy, Chapter 3 of my book is titles "If You Build it, They Won't Come" One-Sentence Summary: Field of Dreams is bunk. Now I am gonna look like I copied you :) -Joe
  18. vgsmart

    What to do about large downloads

    I just said this elsewhere, but consider NOT having a demo. I disagree that a demo is a primary way to get a game of this type out to the market. Marketing work will be a key way, regardless of the path you select, but having a demo that does not accurately reflect the detail and quality of the final version can do little other than make the user CERTAIN they don't want it, as opposed to unsure. Uncertainty of want can lead to sales, especially with a good "return" policy. If you can't adequately represent your game in a reasonable demo, don't make one. You're better off making trailers, teasers, and focusing your time and efforts on PR than investing it in demo design. Sincerely, Joe Lieberman Owner, VGSmart Marketing www.vgsmart.com Independent Game Marketing Book
  19. vgsmart

    Budgets for Games

    Here are some important items I came up with for your thread. First, the majority of SUCCESSFUL indie developers (by volume) have budgets less than 10k. Second, 50k won't get you into stores. You have the option of publishing online or finding a publisher. It isn't that 50k can't get you onto shelves exactly, it is many costs that have to be paid to get there, from printing to having a sales rep to the "shelf fee." Third, consider having the game as CD "on demand" (Silk screen DVD Box) only with NO demo. It has worked and will work if the game looks good enough. If the game is retail size and retail quality and you want to self-publish it online, the odds are a demo will be too weighty and really wont aid your sales. I have clients who can prove demos hurt gamesales when you are dealing with anticipated products. Fourth, any game of that sheer SIZE should be in retail stores for the best hope of success. Send me some information and I will take a look at it for a retail publisher I work with. Send the info to JoeL@TriSynergy.com. Finally, as well intentioned as some of the posts are: I would avoid the following... Advertising indie games is insignificant most of the time. Advertising is merely a very SMALL part of marketing. The game being GOOD is not enough to create sales. PR and Marketing is what you need in addition to the good game; otherwise you are relying on blind luck. Sincerely, Joe Lieberman Owner, VGSmart Marketing www.vgsmart.com Indie Game Marketing Book
  20. Heh, we're very different people :) I noticed a couple questions came up for discussion in this thread so I wanted to touch on them. The 19.99 is the "standard" price as defined by portals, but it is not the only price ever seen. Shareware games rarely fluctuate in price, though you may see them do it occassionaly as they become older. Hamster Ball recently dropped from 19.99 to 4.99 as a test, if I recall. Not sure if it is still there. 60 Minutes is the "standard" time also- and in my opinion too LONG. If you are talking about what the end user wants; of course you want more time :) Everyone likes free stuff... but in the end for most games after 60 minutes the game can be boring. When you are selling your games you want to make sure that when the demo ends the user hasn't had enough! I'd aim between 30-45 for MOST games: 60 Minutes is just what the portals use because nobody wants to invest the time to research the optimal timing for EACH product they release. -Joe
  21. vgsmart

    Finish University or apply to studios?

    Get a degree. A degree says NOTHING more to a recruiter than "This person is capable of learning." However, NOT having a degree says, by default, the opposite. "This person does not have a degree and is, possibly, incapable of learning." What you learn is fairly unimportant, so long as you get the degree. -Joe
  22. vgsmart

    Indie Game Marketing Blog

    Recent Update covering Vertical Niches. -Joe
  23. vgsmart

    Indie Game Marketing Blog

    It's been a busy three years :) Somewhere in there I also got married and moved 3,200 miles across the united states (Florida to Oregon). The book I am hoping for an early summer release, maybe late summer, depending on how much I end up revising it. As it is my first book I am unsure how long it will take me before I am happy with it. I say worst case scenario middle of 2006 for release. I anticipate the first draft will be finished around early December. The publishing is not yet finalized. Assuming I do self publish the book (which is likely), I know for sure it will be available online. I have not yet selected if I will also opt for making it available for stores to order. I will probably make it avaiable to major book retailers as well, but it will be a special order item almost for certain. In the end, I would rather everyone purchase it directly :) Anyway, that is all up for debate still. Till the book is released the blog will tell you all kinds of interesting things. There will be another update friday or saturday :) -Joe
  24. vgsmart

    Indie Game Marketing Blog

    Yeah whoever ends up editing my book is in for a fun couple weeks of challenges. Sadly, I know that my writing is much better than the average American's. Goodness... You asked for a resume basically :) Well, I have nothing to hide! I founded my company 3 years ago and worked for free for a MMOG named FaitH. It is still around today, though I am no longer involved with it. I have a BSBA in Marketing from University of Florida (one of the top business schools in the US... and also has a great football team). That's where our story begins, but it is incredibly distant after 3 short years. After leaving FaitH and Dragon Claw Studio I struck out on my own to see if other indie developers needed me. I worked with small studios that were of varying successes and on varying levels. Some of these included: Rampant Games (www.rampantgames.com) and their title Void War (Multiplayer Game of the Year 2004) Ninjabee Studio (www.ninjabee.com) and their title Outpost Kaloki (Sim Game of the Year 2004). Also I am now working with them on Outpost Kaloki X for the Xbox 360 Live Arcade. Hamumu Software (www.hamumu.com) Zany games and a fairly successful indie ApeZone Software (www.apezone.com) famed creators of Starships Unlimited After helping these and other small studios and doing press releases for dozens of companies I began picking up larger clients in addition to the smaller ones. Over the next year I would have the privalidge of working with studios such as: Matrix Games (www.matrixgames.com) publisher of strategy titles both online and in retail stores including Gary Grigsby's World at War, the Decisive Battles series, and most recently a series of sports titles including Puresim Baseball 2005. Tri Synergy (www.trisynergy.com) retail publisher of "A" and "B" level products including some fairly famous titles such as Saga of Ryzom and expansions for the Postal series. ArcadeTown (www.arcadetown.com) online portal for indie and flash games. AT recieves someodd 2 million visitors a month if I recall correctly (that kinda knowledge isn't really a part of my job) In addition to those "big three" I also had the opportunity to work with some smaller indies including: Inhuman Games (www.inhumangames.com) creators of Trash, the critically hailed RTS Enemy Technology (www.Ioftheenemy.com) creators of I of the Enemy, which has won a couple awards for best story and sound. Silly Soft (www.sillysoft.net) the creators of Lux, which was voted Best AI of 2004. And literally hundreds of other developers in small ways such as press releases, advertising assitance, consulting, and general advice giving. That's not all! I am also published on a variety of other places including having my own column on GameTunnel, a review column on Gamersinfo.net, and even have had columns appear on gamedev.net (with a new column coming soon that discusses an item you will find in Chapter 6 of the book under "advanced marketing theory." Moving into 2006 I anticipate the release of my book and a slightly stronger emphasis as becoming a liason between large companies and indies. I also hope to hire my first employee this year to handle indie marketing while I focus on the larger clients. With my trained and fairly well paid lackey it is my goal to be the bridge builder between media, marketing, and publishing options. My book, hopefully, will lay the foundation for any aspiring developer to begin seriously thinking along the marketing lines. The first five chapters are basics, what you would learn you freshman and sophmore years in marketing. The sixth chapter is advanced theory, taking all the things you would learn and applying them directly to the game industry. The difference between it and a general marketing book is I delve into the specifics of games rather than an amorphic theory. For instance I have a chapter dedicated to selecting a keycode vs. full download and what the pros and cons are and under which circumstances you will want to use each (and the marketing theory behind that opinion). Finally! I write this book as a giant opinionated piece of potential toilet-paper reserve. It isn't fact, it isn't a research paper, it isn't a text book. I use the word you, me, and a lot of "it is my feeling that..." This lets me write down exactly what I think and why I think it. I give the supporting facts for what I think and, if there are any, the dissenting facts: In the end it is a book of my experiences as they are applied DIRECTLY to the game market... and if you find that it is complete rubbish: You will at least appreciate the fact it comes with handy resource guides that list things like graphic artists, musicians, sound effect people, power words, non-exclusive publishers (and their royalty rates/contact info as stated verbatim by the company), vending solutions (and their rates broken down into a chart), and a short list of websites to send your game to for feedback prior to pitching it to larger review sites. *pant....* Ok... any other questions?
  25. EDI: Your sites should really list some kinda contact information :) Makes it hard to get in touch with you when there's no listed ... anything. -Joe
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