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Found 25 results

  1. Opinions on cryptocurrencies

    It's not really related to gaming, but many games nowadays include an economy a la second life, with their own token/coin and downloadable contents. There even exists a token that has been designed just for games: enjin coin I personally don't believe in this, I think we should have a unified currency that has so much volume that the value becomes stable. fragmenting currencies into 3000 coins like today creates volatility. I thought there were so many problems in general with cryptocurrencies I had to write a long rant, I made a full fledged article about issues here: https://motsd1inge.wordpress.com/2018/02/10/cryptocurrencies-not-there-yet/ So, 'd love to hear your thoughts about its content and if there are points you disagree and stuff.
  2. On the 2nd of November 2017 we launched a Kickstarter campaign for our game Nimbatus - The Space Drone Constructor, which aimed to raise $20,000. By the campaign’s end, 3000 backers had supported us with a total of $74,478. All the PR and marketing was handled by our indie developer team of four people with a very low marketing budget. Our team decided to go for a funding goal we were sure we could reach and extend the game’s content through stretch goals. The main goal of the campaign was to raise awareness for the game and raise funds for the alpha version. Part 1 - Before Launch Is what we believed when we launched our first Kickstarter campaign in 2016. For this first campaign, we had built up a very dedicated group of people before the Kickstarter’s launch. Nimbatus also had a bit of a following before the campaign launched: ~ 300 likes on Facebook ~ 1300 followers on Twitter ~ 1000 newsletter subs ~ 3500 followers on Steam However, there had been little interaction between players and us previous to the campaign's launch. This made us unsure whether or not the Nimbatus Kickstarter would reach its funding goal. A few weeks prior to launch, we started to look for potential ways to promote Nimbatus during the Kickstarter. We found our answer in social news sites. Reddit, Imgur and 9gag all proved to be great places to talk about Nimbatus. More about this in Part 3 - During the campaign. As with our previous campaign, the reward structure and trailer were the most time-consuming aspects of the page setup. We realised early that Nimbatus looks A LOT better in motion and therefore decided that we should show all features in action with animated GIFs. Two examples: In order to support the campaigns storytelling, “we built a ship, now we need a crew!”, we named all reward tiers after open positions on the ship. We were especially interested how the “Navigator” tier would do. This $95 tier would give backers free digital copies of ALL games our company EVER creates. We decided against Early Bird and Kickstarter exclusive rewards in order avoid splitting backers into “winners and losers”, based on the great advice from Stonemaier Game’s book A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide (EDS Publications Ltd. (2015). Their insights also convinced us to add a $1 reward tier because it lets people join the update loop to build up trust in our efforts. Many of our $1 backers later increased their pledge to a higher tier. Two of our reward tiers featured games that are similar to Nimbatus. The keys for these games were provided by fellow developers. We think that this is really awesome and it helped the campaign a lot! A huge thanks to Avorion, Reassembly , Airships and Scrap Galaxy <3 Youtubers and streamers are important allies for game developers. They are in direct contact with potential buyers/backers and can significantly increase a campaign’s reach. We made a list of content creators who’d potentially be interested in our game. They were selected mostly by browsing Youtube for “let’s play” videos of games similar to Nimbatus. We sent out a total of 100 emails, each with a personalized intro sentence, no money involved. Additionally, we used Keymailer . Keymailer is a tool to contact Youtubers and streamers. At a cost of $150/month you can filter all available contacts by games they played and genres they enjoy. We personalized the message for each group. Messages automatically include an individual Steam key. With this tool, we contacted over 2000 Youtubers/Streamers who are interested in similar games. How it turned out - About 10 of the 100 Youtubers we contacted manually ended up creating a video/stream during the Kickstarter. Including some big ones with 1 million+ subscribers. - Over 150 videos resulted from the Keymailer outreach. Absolutely worth the investment! Another very helpful tool to find Youtubers/Streamers is Twitter. Before, but also during the campaign we sent out tweets , stating that we are looking for Youtubers/Streamers who want to feature Nimbatus. We also encouraged people to tag potentially interested content creators in the comments. This brought in a lot of interested people and resulted in a couple dozen videos. We also used Twitter to follow up when people where not responding via email, which proved to be very effective. In terms of campaign length we decided to go with a 34 day Kickstarter. The main reason being that we thought it would take quite a while until the word of the campaign spread enough. In retrospective this was ok, but we think 30 days would have been enough too. We were very unsure whether or not to release a demo of Nimbatus. Mainly because we were unsure if the game offered enough to convince players in this early state and we feared that our alpha access tier would potentially lose value because everyone could play already. Thankfully we decided to offer a demo in the end. More on this topic in Part 3 - During the campaign. Since we are based in Switzerland, we were forced to use CHF as our campaign’s currency. And while the currency is automatically re-calculated into $ for American backers, it was displayed in CHF for all other international backers. Even though CHF and $ are almost 1:1 in value, we believed this to be a hurdle. There is no way to tell for us how many backers were scared away because of this in the end. Part 2: Kickstarter Launch We launched our Kickstarter campaign on a Thursday evening (UTC + 1) which is midday in the US. In order to celebrate the launch, we did a short livestream on Facebook. We had previously opened an event page and invited all our Facebook friends to it. Only a few people were watching and we were a bit stressed out. In order to help us spread the word we challenged our supporters with community goals. We promised that if all these goals were reached, each backer above $14 would receive an extra copy of Nimbatus. With most of the goals reached after the first week, we realized that we should have made the challenge a bit harder. The first few days went better than expected. We announced the Kickstarter on Imgur, Reddit, 9gag, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, in some forums, via our Newsletter and on our Steam page. If you plan to release your game on Steam later on, we’d highly recommend that you set up your Steam page before the Kickstarter launches. Some people might not be interested in backing the game but will go ahead and wishlist it instead. Part 3: During The Campaign We tried to keep the campaign’s momentum going. This worked our mostly thanks to the demo we had released. In order to download the Nimbatus demo, people needed to head over to our website and enter their email address. Within a few minutes, they received an automated email, including a download link for the demo. We used Mailchimp for this process. We also added a big pop up in the demo to inform players about the Kickstarter. At first we were a bit reluctant to use this approach, it felt a bit sneaky. But after adding a line informing players they would be added to the newsletter and adding a huge unsubscribe button in the demo download mail, we felt that we could still sleep at night. For our previous campaign we had also released a demo. But the approach was significantly different. For the Nimbatus Kickstarter, we used the demo as a marketing tool to inform people about the campaign. Our previous Kickstarters’ demo was mainly an asset you could download if you were already checking out the campaign’s page and wanted to try the game before backing. We continued to frequently post on Imgur, Twitter, 9Gag and Facebook. Simultaneously, people streamed Nimbatus on Twitch and released videos on Youtube. This lead to a lot of demo downloads and therefore growth of our newsletter. A few hundred subs came in every day. Only about 10% of the people unsubscribed from the newsletter after downloading the demo. Whenever we updated the demo or reached significant milestones in the campaign, such as being halfway to our goal, we sent out a newsletter. We also opened a Discord channel, which turned out a be a great way to stay in touch with our players. We were quite surprised to see a decent opening and link click rate. Especially if you compare this to our “normal” newsletter, which includes mostly people we personally met at events. Our normal newsletter took over two years to build up and includes about 4000 subs. With the Nimbatus demo, we gathered 50’000 subs within just 4 weeks and without travelling to any conferences. (please note that around 2500 people subscribed to the normal newsletter during the Kickstarter) On the 7th day of the campaign we asked a friend if she would give us a shoutout on Reddit. She agreed and posted it in r/gaming. We will never forget what happened next. The post absolutely took off! In less than an hour, the post had reached the frontpage and continued to climb fast. It soon reached the top spot of all things on Reddit. Our team danced around in the office. Lots of people backed, a total of over $5000 came in from this post and we reached our funding goal 30 minutes after hitting the front page. We couldn’t believe our luck. Then, people started to accuse us of using bots to upvote the post. Our post was reported multiple times until the moderators took the post down. We were shocked and contacted them. They explained that they would need to investigate the post for bot abuse. A few hours later, they put the post back up and stated to have found nothing wrong with it and apologized for the inconvenience. Since the post had not received any upvotes in the past hours while it was taken down it very quickly dropped off the front page and the money flow stopped. While this is a misunderstanding we can understand and accept, people’s reactions hit us pretty hard. After the post was back up, many people on Reddit continued to accuse us and our friend. In the following days, our friend was constantly harassed when she posted on Reddit. Some people jumped over to our companies Twitter and Imgur account and kept on blaming us, asking if we were buying upvotes there too. It’s really not cool to falsely accuse people. Almost two weeks later we decided to start posting in smaller subreddits again. This proved to be no problem. But when we dared to do another post in r/gaming later, people immediately reacted very aggressive. We took the new post down and decided to stop posting in r/gaming (at least during the Kickstarter). After upgrading the demo with a new feature to easily export GIFs, we started to run competitions on Twitter. The coolest drones that were shared with #NimbatusGame would receive a free Alpha key for the game. Lots of players participated and helped to increase Nimbatus’ reach by doing so. We also gave keys to our most dedicated Youtubers/streamers who then came up with all kinds of interesting challenges for their viewers. All these activities came together in a nice loop: People downloaded the Nimbatus demo they heard about on social media/social news sites or from Youtubers/Streamers. By receiving newsletters and playing the demo they learned about the Kickstarter. Many of them backed and participated in community goals/competitions which brought in more new people. Not much happened in terms of press. RockPaperShotgun and PCGamer wrote articles, both resulting in about $500, which was nice. A handful of small sites picked up the news too. We sent out a press release when Nimbatus reached its funding goal, both to manually picked editors of bigger sites and via gamespress.com. Part 4: Last Days Every person that hit the “Remind me” button on a Kickstarter page receives an email 48 hours before a campaign ends. This helpful reminder caused a flood of new pledges. We reached our last stretch goal a few hours before our campaign ended. Since we had already communicated this goal as the final one we withheld announcing any further stretch goals. We decided to do a Thunderclap 24 hours before the campaign ends. Even after having done quite a few Thunderclaps, we are still unsure how big of an impact they have. A few minutes before the Kickstarter campaign was over we cleaned up our campaign page and added links to our Steam page and website. Note that Kickstarter pages cannot be edited after the campaign ends! The campaign ended on a Tuesday evening (UTC + 1) and raised a total of $75’000, which is 369% of the original funding goal. After finishing up our “Thank you” image and sending it to our backers it was time to rest. Part 5: Conclusion We are very happy with the campaign’s results. It was unexpected to highly surpass our funding goal, even though we didn’t have an engaged community when the campaign started. Thanks to the demo we were able to develop a community for Nimbatus on the go. The demo also allowed us to be less “promoty” when posting on social news sites. This way, interested people could get the demo and discover the Kickstarter from there instead of us having to ask for support directly when posting. This, combined with the ever growing newsletter, turned into a great campaign dynamic. We plan to use this approach again for future campaigns. Growth 300 ------------------> 430 Facebook likes 1300 -----------------> 2120 Twitter followers 1000 -----------------> 50’000 Newsletter signups 3500 -----------------> 10’000 Followers on Steam 0 ---------------------> 320 Readers of subreddit 0 ---------------------> 468 People on Discord 0 ---------------------> 300 Members in our forum More data 23% of our backers came directly from Kickstarter. 76% of our backers came from external sites. For our previous campaign it was 36/64. The average pledge amount of our backers was $26. 94 backers decided to choose the Navigator reward, which gives them access to all games our studio will create in the future. It makes us very happy to see that this kind of reward, which is basically an investment in us as a game company, was popular among backers. Main sources of backers Link inside demo / Newsletter 22’000 Kickstarter 17’000 Youtube 15’000 Google 3000 Reddit 2500 Twitter 2000 Facebook 2000 TLDR: Keymailer is awesome, but also contact big Youtubers/streamers via email. Most money for the Kickstarter came in through the demo. Social news sites (Imgur, 9Gag, Reddit, …) can generate a lot of attention for a game. It’s much easier to offer a demo on social news sites than to ask for Kickstarter support. Collecting newsletter subs from demo downloads is very effective. It’s possible to run a successful Kickstarter without having a big community beforehand. We hope this insight helps you plan your future Kickstarter campaign. We believe you can do it and we wish you all the best. About the author: Philomena Schwab is a game designer from Zurich, Switzerland. She co-founded Stray Fawn Studio together with Micha Stettler. The indie game studio recently released its first game, Niche - a genetics survival game and is now developing its second game Nimbatus - The Space Drone Constructor. Philomena wrote her master thesis about community building for indie game developers and founded the nature gamedev collective Playful Oasis. As a chair member of the Swiss Game Developers association she helps her local game industry grow. https://www.nimbatus.ch/ https://strayfawnstudio.com/ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strayfawnstudio/nimbatus-the-space-drone-constructor Related Reading: Algo-Bot: Lessons Learned from our Kickstarter failure.
  3. Contract Work

    I need to make money to fund the further development of my game. So, I've been doing paid contract work in VR. Most of the work is pretty easy for me and consists of producing VR applications which run 360 videos with some interactive GUI elements embedded into it. I also have been helping other game developers produce their games. Initially, I charged $50/hour for my early VR programming work. I believed that I needed to figure out the development process and it would take a bit longer because it was new to me, so I felt bad charging a higher rate. I got it figured out now, so I raised my rates to $75/hour. I... think I made a mistake. The way I came up with $75/hour is pretty straight forward. I took my previous annual salary and divided it by the number of hours in a full working year, and that gave me a rough ballpark on my hourly rate. The flaw in this approach is that I was assuming that the amount of work I have would be constant, that I would be working a full 40 hours a week with billable hours. The reality is that I have huge gaps between projects, so that means I have huge gaps between billable hours. So, the general intuition would be to increase my hourly rate, right? I think that's also a mistake. The problem is that I've gotten too fast. It used to take me something like 10 hours to produce a 360 VR video app. That's because I built it from scratch. Now, I have a code base and template I reuse. It takes me about 2 hours to produce a simple video app. With an hourly fee structure, it's more profitable for me to work slow so I can charge higher bills. But I can't do that, I'm an honest man and my integrity is priceless to me. I'm also a lazy engineer which causes me to strive for efficiency so I don't have to do tedious, wasteful work. Spending 10 hours on a 2 hour project would feel like a waste of time and an antithesis to common sense. So, I'm tentatively thinking that the correct fee structure is to charge a per project cost. If I quote someone for $5000 to complete a project, that's what I'll charge regardless of how long it takes. If I can finish the project in 5 hours, congrats, I just made $1000/hour. If it takes me 50 hours, then I made $100/hour. Now, I'm properly incentivized to work fast and efficiently. The faster I work, the more rewarding it is. This comes with some risks as well. What if I estimate that a project will take 15 hours, bid accordingly, but it really takes me 30 hours to complete? I'm making another mistake here... I'm not taking profit into account. If I step outside of myself for a moment and pretend that I'm an employee to myself, and employees are paid an hourly rate (let's say $75/hour) and I'm bidding on the cost of a project based off of just my raw production costs, then I make $0 in profit. All of the income goes directly into paying for the employee salaries, leaving nothing for the company, meaning growth is impossible and I lose money over time due to overhead costs. Instead, I should be taking the employee salary ($75/hour) and multiplying it by a factor of at least 2.5x. If I replace myself with a hired employee and keep the same fee structure in place, then the company is equally profitable because I am interchangeable with other workers. If I add more workers to the team, then of course my bid estimates will change. So, the total bid = sum of all wages * 2.5x; For clients, this could be a pretty good system as well. Instead of having runaway costs inflate a project budget, there is a fixed cost of production. My biggest challenge will be to accurately estimate the scope of work and bid accordingly. If I underestimate the scope, then I eat the cost difference. If I overestimate the scope, more profit, more reward! But then, I also come full circle to the original problem I had: If I originally took 10 hours to finish a project and bid accordingly based off of that time estimate, but through experience, innovation and increases in efficiency I now reduce that same work to 2 hours and bid accordingly, I would still be losing the hourly difference. So, do I bid as if I'm starting everything from scratch because my competitors would be in the same position? Or do I look at the requirements of a project and use that as an input parameter into a piece-wise defined function to assess estimated cost? Or, do I just pick high numbers in a random ballpark and hope to get lucky? Obviously, if requirements change, then the cost should change proportionately as well. If I charged a flat $10,000 for a project given its requirements / feature spec, and then a few weeks later the client decides to add/subtract a requirement, how would I figure out how to proportionately adjust the pricing to reflect the change in scope? I... don't... know... One other thing I'm finding annoyance at is that some clients aren't good clients to take on. Indies and startups are bad because they often don't have money, no matter their good intentions and promises. If it's going to break the bank for them to have me work for them, it's likely they'll be unable to pay me or that it will take 6+ months for me to get paid. I owe people money, I can't keep them waiting because I'm waiting to get paid. If they're sweating over my up front fee of $150, I shouldn't take them on as clients. My policy should be, "If I think they can't afford me, they can't afford me.". It may be better to risk leaving money on the table than taking on bad clients. Maybe I should increase my fee to weed them out? Another factor I hadn't considered are the non-billable hours I put into project efforts: Responding to emails and answering phone calls. On some projects, I've put more hours into phone calls, conversations and emails than actual, billable hours. Now, I want to be a nice person and to be easily accessible to my clients, but every hour I spend on email or phone calls is an hour I'm not spending making money. Every hour I'm not making money is also an hour I'm not working on Spellbound. I'm tempted to charge for my time here, but I don't want to start a stopwatch every time my phone rings or I get an email requiring a response. Maybe I should just pad my estimated hours to account for time spent communicating? Or maybe I should measure the average amount of time I spend doing administrative stuff on behalf of a project, and adjust my multiplier accordingly? Instead of a 2.5x hourly rate, maybe 3.5x? The last few factors I also hadn't been considering is that I'm a freelancer, with talent and experience, ready to hit the ground running, today. I'm not an employee, so I don't get "company benefits". No medical. No dental. No vision. No retirement fund matching. No overhead costs (HR, managers, office space, parking, cafeterias, admin staff, etc). When the project is complete, I am done and go away -- an employee would still incur costs afterwards. No employee liability. Don't like me or my work? Fire me, no mess, no HR hassle, no legal wrangling. That means I have to pay for all of that stuff out of my own pocket, so I need to charge more as a contractor. My girlfriend has taken ample opportunities to remind me that I'm not charging enough. She told me that based on my skill set, I would be equivalent to a "technical editor" in the Hollywood film industry, and they charge something like $175/hour. Based on my background and experience, and how niche my industry is, she believes I should be charging at least $300/hour. That... makes me a bit pale to consider as an hourly rate. I have a hard time believing I'm worth it. But hey, if I can complete a project in hours which would take other people 5-10x longer, if not more, than maybe I am worth it. I recently went and visited a motion capture studio near my office to figure out how I can use them and what their rates are. They charge $3750 for 4 hours, or $8000 for 8 hours. That's a lot of money for a poor indie like me, but... really, it's not a lot of money at all when you think about it. I should be charging roughly in that ball park, right? Deep down inside, I think I feel afraid to charge a lot of money for what I do. But I think I need to reframe the way I think about this. People aren't hiring *me*, they're hiring *my production company*, and for now, I just happen to be the sole employee. If I staff up in the future, I wouldn't feel bad charging high rates to cover my costs. But staffing up would also mean I have to dedicate a significant chunk of time towards staff training, and I'm capable of training staff, so... that means I'm pretty good, right? I guess I just see the work that I do as "easy" and "enjoyable" and I shouldn't be getting paid for this. But, the work is only easy for me because I've got 18 years of experience and the projects I take on are 10x easier than writing my own game engine from scratch, or building enterprise systems for the military. Truly, the biggest risk for me is that the work is such a cakewalk for me that I am bored by it. I was realizing this afternoon that I'm most incentivized to work on other peoples' projects when I'm getting paid really well for them. $75 per hour is not enough money to motivate me to overcome my boredom, but $150/hour is. My girlfriend also tells me that I'm terrible at business, that I don't really have the head for it. I half believe her because she's a lot more experienced than I am, and she's bringing in a lot more money than I am. I've been thinking carefully about what I'm currently doing, how it's not profitable, and what I need to do in order to make my work profitable and worth my time. With my current flow of contract work and my billing rates, I don't make enough money. Honestly, it's just barely enough to pay my cheap office rent. I'm practically treading water, getting nowhere even though I'm working hard. For the last few weeks, I've been thinking that I need to get more proactive about getting money. I need to get out of my chair, put on a nice dress suit, take my VR goggles, and go door to door at every company and show them what I can do for them and how it can help their business. I need to figure out my sales pitch, refine it, and go get myself some big work. I believe in VR, I think its the future, I am bullish on its prospects, and I can sell. I have proven to myself that I have the personality and capability to sell, I can build what I sell, so... I should just get up and go do it. I'm optimistic that I could do well, but I'm sort of holding myself back somehow. The dream is that I do well enough at bootstrapping that I can work myself out of every job and become more of a CEO/producer type, hiring people to replace me. Programmer? Hire that out. Sales guy? Hire that out. Film guy? Hire that out. Hire people for everything -- delegate -- don't get my hands dirty, don't get into the weeds. If I do, I'm still doing it wrong. While I'm fully capable of writing code and producing everything myself, I can't scale. I would be just one guy, taking on projects with a scope of what only one guy can complete. Big projects = big money. I also sort of think that I should split my time 50/50 between providing services to clients and creating my own software applications and releasing them online. The problem with exclusively doing work for clients is that it fixes my scalability to whatever workload my production company can handle. My throughput is fixed, and thus my income is limited by my throughput. It would be a trap which limits my growth potential. However, if I build and release my own apps at the same time, my growth potential is limited only by my marketing and sales capabilities. Once an app is completed, I can make an infinite number of copies in an instant and sell them. If I diversify and make several apps in several different market categories, a few of them are bound to succeed. I have been particularly infected by an idea which could potentially establish a new market category for content in the VR market (I'll share details after I execute). If I can produce it, market it, and sell it, and it thrives, then I could scale it out and go big. I'm planning on creating a working prototype this spring and releasing it to the market to see how it fares. Anyways, the point is that it would be easier to make $1m by scaling out a successful app than by scaling out client services, but a successful app could also be an additional service category offered to clients. However I do it, I will fund the production of Spellbound and I will have a well funded team working on it...eventually. Anyways, I did something cool the other day. I integrated Leap Motion with 360 videos, so you can use your own hands to pan the camera around. I'm also going to add in finger taps for pressing buttons, so people can feel sort of like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. The placeholder video was shot a month ago at a Dell factory in China as a part of their effort to be transparent about their production pipeline. Check it out:
  4. Is adverts in game worth it?

    One thing I have noticed a lot is people complaining about adverts, saying that it's ruining the game experience. Research based on my own statistics from my games; numbers are rounded and from when the game was at peak. Stats: The question I have is should I even bother to add adverts into the game this time? Last time I used the money from the adverts to pay for advertising my own game, this time I have someone for marketing. If this game gets double the players(1000 000 downloads needed) I could be seeing $500- $600 a month from the adverts, that is actually not bad. Without adverts I could also get more happy players, this could mean more sales from micro transactions. Including the adverts later when I have more players is a bad idea, I have seen games crashing down in popularity because of things like this. If I am going to have adverts in game it should be there from the start. All in all, there is as much argument for me to include advertising in my games as against it.
  5. Hello again! Long time no see! (*wink* laughs) I hope everyone is doing well. What did you think of yesterday’s post? Let us know in the comments! Today we are going to talk about something totally different. Today we will be talking about monetization. Monetization We’ve been thinking a lot about monetization, and how it will work in “Project SpaceVille”. On the one hand, we want to make enough money so that we can live (laughs), on the other hand we don’t want to screw up our loyal players. As such, we came up with 3 ideas. Just to be clear, we don't want make the game “impossible” or less enjoyable to play without paying. Most (if not all) of the game’s content should be accessible to non-paying players. Idea #1 Ads. Yes it’s annoying, we know. (laughs) But it’s one of the ways we can make money without giving out players much of a burden. And to make it even less intrusive, we thought about placing ads in loading scenes only, for example. Better to watch an ad than a loading screen with nothing at all, right? (laughs) And that way you'd be helping us survive as well. Idea #2 The player could buy in-game currency whenever he wants. Let’s say €1.00 or $1.00 can get you 150 coins or so of in-game currency, for example. This way, the player can buy new clothes, furniture, etc. whenever it feels like. Idea #3 There would be an an annual subscription that would unlock all content in the game, remove all ads, and give an allowance to the player as well. Let us know what you think! If you have any different ideas, please share them with us! Currency We have no idea what to name it. Maybe we could use your help? Help us by brainstorming names like SpaceBucks ahah. Share your ideas on the comments! If you want to chat with us, we are very responsive on Facebook. See you soon! The FAXIME Team Follow us and keep updated at: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FaximeGames Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faximegames Twitter: https://twitter.com/FaximeGames Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.pt/faximegames SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/faximegames Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/63892-support-project-spaceville
  6. Welcome to the fourth entry to Indie Marketing For N00bs. This week, we’re going to talk about some things that most developers fail to really follow through on: Marketing Plans. These are both fundamental additions to any successful game on the market. We’re going to take the time here to really explain the importance of these tools, what they’re used for, and how to create them yourself. PLAN? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ PLAN! You’ve designed a game. Go you. What is the first thing most developers do before they make the game, though? They create a game design document, which entails the plan for what’s going into the game, how it’ll be implemented, and something that can be followed through or be utilized by a publisher that wants to take your game under their wing. In theory, you already know how to do exactly this, so why aren’t you designating time to do the same thing for other aspects of the process? A marketing plan is your personal guideline to what needs to be done early on, as well as in post-development when it comes to marketing, public relations, social media, and community management. It’s big, generally. But, it helps developers know when they need to make a post or a blog, or when they need to make an announcement due to hitting a target. This includes when you should do “Dev Diaries” or how often you should tweet. Make a plan and stick to it. I Love It When A Marketing Plan Comes Together! Everyone has a different method for their own versions of a marketing plan. Some people do a simple outline with key points and some people go above and beyond for a true precision strike outward (For instance: My plans tend to be between 9 and 11 pages, including a title page). I mentioned earlier that the plan can be for a publisher. If you ever plan to get picked up by a publisher (even the indie publishers), they want you to be as impactful as you can be autonomously. It’s less work and hassle for them if you come equipped with your own knowledge and tactics. But, maybe I don’t want a publisher. Why do I need a plan? Making a plan for yourself keeps you on a strict regimen to get your game out there. Will it ensure a 100% success story? Of course not. But, it will ensure that you are following my rule from previous entries to this series: “Every eye possible”. Know Your Audience And They Will Know You A plan should include two major sections, split into explanations for each one: Information and Marketing Tools. In the Information section, include a quick description of your game, maybe one or two paragraphs. This is to guide anyone other than yourself that may read this document. If you have any current statistics or analytics about your game or company, include a section for them. Set your goal here, as well. Make an attainable goal based on similar games on market. Knowing what you’re up against and adjusting your expectations to adhere to logic is a perfect way to set yourself up for a win. Additionally, do some research and figure out your demographic. Come up with a range of people that you believe your game is targeting. Include: Age range Is your game more mature themed? Would it appeal more to a nostalgic retro audience? Is it cartoony and kid-friendly? These aspects matter. Gender(s) With women taking to the industry in recent years, more women are likely to play your game. Take this into account here. Languages For instance, if you game is only in English and you have no plans to localize the game to Chinese, China might not be your demographic. Systems Is your game only on PC? Probably shouldn’t focus on console gamers too much then and vice versa. Is your game mobile? Why are you contacting people that only play PC games? Know your audience and it’ll help with future endeavors and needs. List Out All The Tools You’ll Use Marketing Tools should include Social Media, Video platforms, Game’s Website, Community Presence, Press, Paid Advertisements, and Software and Services you plan to use. This section is a lot bigger than the other, but it’s where the majority of the plan is laid out. What social media are you going to use? List them out here. We’ve discussed social media in a prior lesson, so add in any that are going to be linked to this game, no matter how small. Think of this as your reminder to post on Google+ or Instagram. How often will you be posting to each platform? Do you plan to tweet daily? Are you hitting other platforms often? Make sure to include even game developer specific platforms here as well. Any presence needs to be noted and should have a guide for how you handle each one. Do you plan to make videos for your game? Have you made a trailer? Will you be streaming the game during development or post-development for people to see progress or features? Make sure to include if you’re using YouTube, Twitch, or any other video platforms. How will you post these videos and how often? Will you be live for most of it on Twitch and then upload it to YouTube after? What’s the plan? Most indie developers don’t utilize their own website for promotion, but it’s a powerful tool to have a simple domain to send potential eyes to. This looks great on business cards, promotional materials, or any shout outs you make need. Some people even go a step further and implement a dev blog into their site. This can tie to the videos, as well, showing off aspects of the game that may not have been apparent. Dev Diaries, which can be shown on your site, are one of the easiest ways to keep community involvement during the creation of your game. Utilization of the forum structure is always a good way to keep community involvement, in both the traditional sense and the more modern takes. Reddit is ridiculously popular to show off progress and several sub-Reddits (specific sections dedicated to particular topics) are designed specifically for indie developers. Additionally, the use of Discord could be considered a “modern take” to the forum structure. Taking on an old-school IRC style mixed with vocal capabilities like Teamspeak or Ventrillo, Discord is designed for gamers and widely utilized as a community tool for the game industry. Media Shower: Wishing Among The Stars As we’ve discussed in an earlier lesson, the press and media are your friends. List out your plan to contact them and how you plan to keep them notified in your plan. This includes a guideline of when you plan to write press releases to get out to the media and press sites. Figure out what kinds of streamers and “Let’s Players” you want to try to contact and set a target. Include a full plan for a customized “press kit” in your marketing plan. I’m going to be setting “press kits” aside as its own lesson at a later date, but expect a much more substantial detailing of what should be in a standard press kit. Software, Services, and Ads As with any other game-related step out there, tools can and should be used when marketing. This can be a number of things, from minor social media tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, all the way to full analytics reporting programs like Google analytics. A popular free tool to use is Google Alerts, which can set keywords and have Google email you when something comes up in the search engine. If you intend to have people play the game in Let’s Plays, websites like Gamesight can be very helpful in tracking your game. After the game has been published, it’s important to try to get your game on such aggregates as Metacritic, not for any other reason than Twitch and other websites pull from that site for their content. This section should also include any paid advertising you, your publisher (if applicable), or third party will intend to use. Be concise. Since this uses real money, you can utilize the demographics designed in the first section of the marketing plan to focus the impressions and clicks. Ads can be Google, Facebook, Twitter, or a number of other platforms. Understand the difference between sponsored advertisements and "like" purchasing, though. It's the difference between having real eyes see your product and having some company in a click farm boost your numbers in a fake way. Fake followers and "bots"can completely mess up any intended reporting and realistic charts. You'll never know if you're actually doing good. Don’t forget to think out of the box, though. Marketing is only limited to your own mind. Be creative and sometimes it will pay off. Some people get a proper Wikipedia article put up for their game. If you intend to make a commercial, YouTube and Twitter can be tapped for a video-based ad. Heading to small events in your area can help get more eyes. Just make sure you have it all in your Plan.
  7. Pricing Advice

    Hi, I need a get a quote very soon to a mid level game company for a single screen design. A multi-layered 2D reward screen in Photoshop. Size is 5200 x 2048pixels . Game will be ad free and sold as an iOS and Android app. Thanks for any help or advice. Have about an hour to send them one.
  8. As the old saying goes, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that we're already half way through summer. The bad news is that the revenue of a mobile application, game or any other product often drops during the hot months, which has a perfectly reasonable explanation. In this article, we'll talk about such a phenomenon as seasonality in the values of key project indicators, discuss how to find it and use it for your own good. WHAT IS SEASONALITY? Any recurrent fluctuation of the time series is usually called seasonality. Supposedly, you have data on product sales for each day for three years. Our experience in application analytics shows that seasonality is likely to exist in your time series, i.e. you may note some cyclicity in the behavior of the indicators. Most often, seasonality is the most pronounced by the days of the week and by the months. Let's take a look at each of them separately. Weekly seasonality consists of growths or falls that correspond to different days of the week. It can be explained quite logically: there are weekdays, and there are weekends. From weekdays, it is possible to allocate Monday (usually with a minus sign) - a day of calmness after a noisy weekend, and Friday (usually with a plus sign) - a day when you can afford a little bit more than usual. On the weekend, unlike weekdays, the online graph behaves differently (because you can play from the very morning instead of going to school or work), as well as the other metrics (for example, ARPDAU - the average revenue per daily active user). Here are some examples: in many games, the audience on weekends is more active than on weekdays; on the other hand, the revenue indicators are averagely higher on weekdays with a peak on Friday (which is why Friday is an excellent day for promotional campaigns); especially interesting is the fact that the retention of users registered on Friday is slightly higher on average than that of users registered on other days. Probably, this can be explained purely psychologically: by installing application on Friday, you increase your chance to open it the next day as it's a day off. By the way, the last example shows an important thought. Seasonality applies not only to quantitative product metrics (audience or gross), but also to qualitative indicators (retention, ARPU). That is, users even behave differently on different days. Monthly seasonality. If you aggregate the indicators by month (from DAU to MAU, and from ARPDAU to ARPU), you may also notice some seasonal changes: as we said above, in many products hot months are on the contrary the "coldest" in terms of the number of the audience, its interest, and revenue from it; but cold months, on the contrary, attract more users (when it's cold outside, you may spend time at home playing games); especially seasonality is expressed in December - this is usually a month of general upswing: both in terms of the audience and the money received from it. However, seasonality is not limited to weekly or monthly. A little later we will talk about how to find the optimal cycle duration, and for now - a few non-trivial examples: in one of the games we saw that the optimal cycle duration in ARPDAU performance is not 7 days, but 14; we explained this by the fact that people receive the payroll once a fortnight; in some products, by the way, peaks are especially noticeable on those dates of the month, which could be divided by five (and these are the payroll days also); we also found products in which the optimal cycles were 3, 9, 11 days - and in all cases, this was related to the internal events in the product (e.g. tournaments). There is one more way to classify seasonality. It might be additive (when seasonal coefficients are constant in time) and multiplicative (when seasonal fluctuations grow or fall with time). In this article, we reviewed the additive seasonality, as it's more common basing on devtodev's experience with multiple projects. HOW TO FIND SEASONALITY? Below you can find a detailed description of the algorithm for calculating seasonality (by the example of finding seasonality by the days of the week). To make it easier for you to understand the process of calculating seasonality, we have prepared a file, in which all the following actions have already been performed. However, if you use this file to substitute your data into it, calculate seasonality and make forecasts, we also won't mind. CLEARING DATA FROM OUTLIERS Preliminary the source data must be cleared from outliers - atypically high or low values of the indicator that are outside the expected range. Often on the graph, such data looks like significant peaks or, conversely, drops almost to zero, which exceed the usual values by several times. The cause for such outliers might be peak sales on a holiday, the failure in the tracking system, or any of the other one-time factors that somehow influenced the metric. Why do we need to clear data from these outliers? Such values distort the results of calculations and can lead to errors in the forecast. Some statistical indicators, such as standard deviation and arithmetic mean, are dependent on the outliers and, by including them into the calculation, you may draw the incorrect conclusions. So, to clean up the data, there are a number of approaches that allow you to assess which suspiciously high or low value can be considered an outlier, and which cannot. We will not go into more detail on clearing data from outliers, because our main task now is to calculate the seasonality, but nevertheless, we must always remember it when analyzing the data. CALCULATION OF AUTOCORRELATION So, the second stage of calculations, which is applied to the already cleared data, is the calculation of the autocorrelation lag. Autocorrelation is a relationship between the values of a time series taken with a shift. It is used to identify trends and cyclical fluctuations of data in a time series. For its calculation, Excel uses a standard function CORREL, which calculates the coefficient of autocorrelation between two ranges of data. These ranges are arguments of the function and are shifted relative to each other: if we are looking for the first-order autocorrelation coefficient, the first range includes the time series values from the first to the last but one, the second range contains all values starting with the second one. We get two ranges offset from each other for one day. To search for the coefficient of the second order, the ranges should be shifted by 2 days - the first does not include the last two values of the time series, the second does not include the first two. This way, we calculate the autocorrelation coefficients for 7 orders and find the maximum among them. It will be an indicator of the day with the highest autocorrelation. If the maximum coefficient is obtained for autocorrelation of the first order, then this series does not contain any trends and dependencies. And if this coefficient is maximal for the 7th order, it means that series contains cyclic fluctuations with a periodicity of 7 days. CALCULATION OF LINEAR TREND COEFFICIENTS Next, we will build a trend for our series to subsequently make a forecast on it and determine how the chosen indicator will behave further. There are several types of trends, which can describe the metric (linear, exponential, logarithmic, polynomial, etc.). We will use a linear method as it's most simple to build and perceive, and at the same time it shows well the dynamics of the metric. The linear trend is built from an equation of the form y = ax + b, where a and b are coefficients, and x is the ordinal of the day (column D in the given example). So to calculate the equation, we need to calculate two coefficients. This can also be done with the standard Excel function LINEST, the arguments of which are two data sets - the metric that's being examined and the ordinal numbers of the days. Using this formula as an array function (Ctrl + Shift + Enter), we get two coefficients, which we then substitute into the equation. BUILDING A TREND LINE To build a trend line, use the previously calculated coefficients - a and b. The only variable parameter of the equation is x - the ordinal number of the day. Due to this, the trend line can be extended for several days ahead, in our example it's 7 days (column I). Thus, we obtain a further dynamics of the change in the metric. CALCULATION OF SEASONALITY COEFFICIENTS The next step for building a linear trend forecast is to calculate the seasonality coefficients. To do this, determine the deviation of the metric values from the trend line (column K), and then find the average value of these deviations, depending on the day of the cycle. These average values are the desired coefficients. IMPOSITION OF SEASONALITY ON THE TREND LINE AND BUILDING A FORECAST To complete the forecast, you need to "overlap" the trend with the seasonality. To do this, multiply each value of the trend line by the coefficient of seasonality of the corresponding day (column L). This will lead the trend line chart to the familiar form - with regular fluctuations depending on the day of the week. And since before we extended the trend for 7 days beyond the available data, the seasonality will spread to the forecasted part of the trend line, thus providing a forecast for the metric for the next 7 days. WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW THE SEASONALITY First of all, to predict your revenue more accurately and to make correct decisions based on these forecasts. For instance, do not plan a massive traffic purchase in August, but wait till September to do it. The question of revenue planning in general is very important, and every company is probably working on it. Seasonality is one of the ways to make your forecasts much more accurate. Secondly, seasonality can be used for your own benefit. If you know that in December you will have many users and the average revenue per user will be high, then it's worth to increase it even more by offering these "hot" users of the cold month more favorable discounts. There is an interesting question: is it possible to fight seasonality? Let's say you know that in July ARPDAU will be the lowest for you in a year. Should you try to increase it and bomb users with tempting July discounts? Our experience tells us that it's useless to fight seasonality: if your users left for a summer vacation, then they would remain on their vacation, no matter what you do. It is better to focus on multiplying seasonality of the high months and increasing your revenue even more, rather than trying to resurrect the revenue of the low months. A FEW IMPORTANT THESES And again, let’s mention outliers. Before calculating seasonality, make sure that your data is cleaned from them. Any leap in the source data (and leaps are often caused by a simple technical error) can significantly distort your data. Let's say that on one of the days in July the revenue was a hundred times better than the usual average. If you do not clear the series from outliers, then you can get that July is the most profitable month, and incorrectly plan a general discount based on this data. And only later you may find out that the table probably lost the bit capacity on that day, and in fact the number is quite average. By the way, in our file, outliers purification, of course, is envisaged. Seasonality depends on many factors: application genre (imagine how surprised the representatives of tourist services would be when reading about the summer revenue decrease); country, language, religion (for example, in Iceland almost everyone goes on vacation in summer, and it's even almost impossible to schedule a doctor's appointment); weather (the hot May might be better than the cold June); any other factors. That is why the conclusions mentioned by us (about the good Friday, or unsuccessful summer) cannot be applied to all the products at once - this is only our experience that's based on the games' analysis. It is better to calculate the seasonality of your project by yourself and draw conclusions based only on your calculations. So download the file, calculate seasonality and make more effective decisions! This article was first published on devtodev's Education Center: SEASONALITY OF THE PROJECT: DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SUMMER RECESSION
  9. I have written a game client, server, and world designer. I need people that want to help create the world. I am making no money off this yet. It is a top down view Diablo style playing game where the player can also switch to a 3rd person view if they want. The game is done and being played but it needs more content. In order to get people interested in helping, what arrangements do people think are good? I was thinking of keeping track of work done and then paying out once the game starts making money. So someone designs a dungeon and we agree it is worth $300. Then when the game starts making money a % of that is divided between all people or teams that made contributions. Problem: Some people will not spend the time needed for good design work.
  10. So I recently started a Hobbyist Project on Game dev, to turn a project I've already created into a video game. I've recently hired a programmer I think looks promising and we are getting to work on the project. I don't expect profits and my main goal is to complete the project, but just in case I figured I should start a contract between us. I know it's a good idea to just get a lawyer, but for a project that I have no *expectations* of making money, I'd like to keep the costs down. Someone suggest I just make a contract in plain english, so I did, I'm wondering if anyone here can critique it or offer advice. One possible complication is that I am in Canada and my programmer is in Saudi Arabia. The basic thing I'm trying to get across is: 1) I still own the rights, including whatever he makes 2) We both get paid if the game makes money 3) It lasts for 5 years. Anyways, here it is: -------------------------------------------------- This Profit Sharing Agreement is entered into as of (Date) by (My Name) located at (Address) and (Second Party), both of whom agree to be bound by this Agreement. Whereas, (My name) has developed Wars of Keridor (“the game”) and holds ownership of all current intellectual property rights in this product, in addition to those developed by (Second Party) for the creation of the game. (Second party) may not use works created for the game unless for a function that does not compete or hinder the sales of the game, or use its likeness in anyway. The contract will be binding if the game is sold with coding created by efforts by (Second party). If the game is sold with no work created by (second party) the contract will be void. The contract does not apply to any derivative works, including but not limited to expansions or sequels where (second party) does not contribute additional work. (My name) and (second party) will share profits realized from the sale of the game as follows: % of net income will be kept by (My name) % of net income will be kept by (Second party) (Second party) will be paid any profits realized at these times: At the end of each month following the release and sale of the game, if the game makes $250 Canadian or more within that time period. Otherwise, at the end of each 3 months following the release and sale of the game, if the game makes $250 Canadian or more within that time period. Otherwise, at the end of each year following the release and sale of the game. This profit sharing contract will become null and void at the end of 5 years of the release and sale of the game. ------------------------------------------------------
  11. Long-time GameDev.net member and indie developer @cliffski32 of Positech Games has posted in his latest blog a very direct message to aspiring indie developers: you will flop and lose money. While not the message most aspiring developers want to hear, @cliffski32 discusses the challenges for an indie from a financial perspective with all the costs and revenue losses that developers incur when you factor in staff, legal, and investors. Using data from player unknown: battlegrounds as an example of the high end and assessing the mean game in 348 pages of "Top Sellers" of Indie games on Steam, @cliffski32 makes the point that game development is a tough business. Read the full blog post at http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2017/06/23/your-indie-game-will-flop-and-you-will-lose-money/.
  12. Long-time GameDev.net member and indie developer @cliffski32 of Positech Games has posted in his latest blog a very direct message to aspiring indie developers: you will flop and lose money. While not the message most aspiring developers want to hear, @cliffski32 discusses the challenges for an indie from a financial perspective with all the costs and revenue losses that developers incur when you factor in staff, legal, and investors. Using data from player unknown: battlegrounds as an example of the high end and assessing the mean game in 348 pages of "Top Sellers" of Indie games on Steam, @cliffski32 makes the point that game development is a tough business. Read the full blog post at http://positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/2017/06/23/your-indie-game-will-flop-and-you-will-lose-money/. View full story
  13. I'm developing an application that has its own currency (users can earn the point). With this point, they have the ability to redeem it as money or buy a google play gift card. For this the best monetization system is an offerwall. Question: Does anyone know, just an estimate, how much an offerwall generates income? Does anyone know of a case study that shows values ​​in relation to number of users? Thanks
  14. Hi there devs! Is there any website or service where developers can upload their HTML5 games and then charge using a subscription?   Thank you!!
  15. Hello! We are a little studio (consisting of just 2 people) and we are planning out our crowdfunding. The basic thing to do is Kickstarter, which has a lot of successful campaigns and a lot of native traffic which helps getting games and other projects funded (besides classic marketing and promotion, that is of course). We are aiming at about 10 000 - 20 000$ goal, and as we are operating from Poland (central Europe), we are outside of Kickstarter range. Our main option now is IndieGoGo, which gives us a lot of thinking. We have heard a lot of bad things about it, mostly about the abyssmall Succcess Rate of IndieGoGo campaigns (I don't remember exact numbers, but it was about 9% maybe).   We wanted to ask if IndieGoGo is the right thing to do on our side? Is there anything else we can do do make better chances to succeed and to be comparably effective to Kickstarter? (considering that we are not just a 10-year old, making another survival zombie game with Asset Store defaults and templates)
  16. Im finishing a little game I plan to release for Android and PC, and Im considering how to get some profit from it. I dislike the idea of selling any advantages inside the game, as I think that the game demands to offer the same opportunities to all players so they can compare their results (thats why Im not using procedural levels neither). My first idea was to sell it for a small price (0.99-1.99) if the demo had some success, but my cousin, who lives in UK, says that nobody pays for games anymore, and indeed Google Play is full of free games. Not sure if in-game ads could be the solution, I think I have some margin to place ads in the transitions between levels. I hate disrupting gaming experience, but if players dont want to pay...
  17. Well, people keep telling me to mold my work on games towards crowdfunding, but while I of course know what crowdfunding is, 'molding my work for it' is not within my experience. Does anyone know what one should work on (in a game) if crowdfunding is being considered? Any advice is welcome, I don't know funding, I just code :)
  18. I used to earn a lot of money with Flash games 5 years ago. Either by selling whitelabel games to portals or just publishing them on MochiMedia, i was earning about $500/month. Since MochiMedia died and the popular FGL website all died, and everyone went to mobile, i stopped working with that. I was thinking about returning, but i'm curious about the current market state. Is anyone earning money selling games to portals? Are portals buying that? If so, where's the current hub for people to do business on? Is anyone earning money by putting ads into their games and publishing to portals? Is anyone dedicated to desktop web games?
  19. Imagine there's a team of 4, consisting of an investor, a coder, a graphics designer, and a sound designer. What percentage of the end profit should each person get? What if there was another guy for 3d modeling? And what if there was multiple guys doing one part of the job, would they collectively get the percentage that that job gets? I mean, imagine there is 1 investor, 1 graphics designer, 1 sound designer but 3 coders. If 1 coder (like in question 1) would get 25%, would this number be divided among all the coders, or will the number rise?
  20. Hi guys, I'm junior engineer and I have one goal in mind: I'd like to beat my current net salary (40-60k)  in the time frame of 24 months, by starting a solo part-time business, which would over time hopefully grow into full-time activity. Let me point out that the business would be primarily profit-oriented, which means that the 1st priority is to generate targeted amount of income, followed by "doing what I like to do". I have thought about game development being one possible business to achieve my goals. And before you jump on me that I'm trying to do something without any experience,  I'm able to tell you, that I'm not entirely unexperienced in the field of game development. In fact, As a hobbyst I have developed handful number of small flash games, covering the art, programming, game design and sound production by myself, so the whole idea - at least from the standpoint of implementation of a small 2D game - might not be that much of wishful thinking. In addition, during my studies I was also developing C# apps in the scope of enterprise solutions, in order to earn some pocket money.  In regards to game development I have done some googling, which suggested, that game development market is business-wise, almost the same as music production market - overly saturated, high entry barrier, high probability to fail, and for most of the producers, a mediocre payment accordingly to requirements. In business terms, this might be labelled under high-risk/low-reward business. Or in other words,in game development I might have as much chanches to earn 40-60k NET a year as I would have in music production. What is your consensus about this? CLIFFS OF THREAD:
  21. What are some good business models for single-player games playable in the browser? Advertising? Merchandise? Selling more fully featured games (or games as more content) as downloads? I'm asking because single-player web games with a small scope are the easiest for me to make.
  22. I don't know what i should put into the title of this topic.   There is always one thing that i always wondered: How do people release their (first) indie game without falling into a potential spiral of cost and or (high) taxes?   Before i go further into details, let me explain my situation.   I'm a 24 year old student studying/living in Austria (not Australia  :P ) but my nationality is polish. I'm just making finishing touches on my hobby game project which i planned to release commercially on steam (i already passed the Steam Greenlight process successfully.)   Now, in Austria i need to register as a Sole-Proprietorship in order to be able to distribute the game through steam. - no problem here. AFAIK taxes only need to be payed if you have a revenue of over 11.000 euros in a year. (very simplified.)   The bigger issue here is the cost of the (mandatory) Social insurance. Now, you don't need to pay social insurance if you have a yearly income of max 5.000€ and a max turnover of 30.000€.   If you go above that restriction once in a year, you have to pay the yearly social insurance for (at least) the next 5 years (without exceptions). The cost of social insurance starts at 2.500€ (yearly) and can go even higher, depending on your income from the last 3 years. (Which is mind-bogling). As an example, if you have 6000€ income (already taxed) in a year, you will have to pay nearly 41% from your income for social insurance alone. (You aren't even able to live from that in this country.)   And to be honest, this seems to be very restricting. Basically if i start selling a game on steam, my income from the sales can't go above 5.000€ (unless i start to create costs in order to write them off from my income. Which i might have to do in the end...)   Now, given that i never released anything commercially (means that i have no idea how much i can expect to make in the first year) and because i'm studying and doing this mostly in my spare time (means that i don't know how long it would take to release another game... the current project took nearly 4 years to make) i'm a bit paranoid. I don't see how running a company as a Sole-Proprietorship is/would be financially viable once i would hit the given yearly limit of 5000€ (income). (Because after that i would need to pay a minimum of 2500€ yearly for social insurance, even if i don't have any income at all.)     (Obviously games sell at release date in the first month (or months) the most which means that the revenue in the first year might be high and then fall off to nearly 0 in the following years (Austrian law is/was made for self-employed people and companys which have a steady income over the months.) )       What i'm interested in is (if you live in another country) how the law (in your given country) handles Sole-Proprietorships/Self-employment. Do you have (mandatory) insurance? How much can your income be without paying taxes (or insurance?) Are there any kind of other "hidden costs"  which you have to keep in mind?     After gathering the information (reading austrian law, calling the local Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, etc... ) i'm really scared with the attempt to register as a Sole-Proprietorship. (And thus even considering releasing that game for free.)   Because let's face it: I'm in no way able to have a steady and high enough income to pay the insurance. (Not as an hobby-indie dev who released only one game and sure as hell not with a game which no one has ever heard about.) Of course, all that stuff wouldn't affect me if the game sales very poorly on steam (which very well might be the case. Who knows. I just want to make sure to not fall into a financial trap.) And logically, as a student who wants to release a game (primarely as a hobby) and might not release another one for the next 2-4 years (if at all), i shouldn't care about social insurance at this point in time. (and pay for that yearly.)   How are other devs handling this? (Releasing games commercially as a hobby.)   Again, i might be overthinking all that stuff and i could be making assumptions which are completely off. I just wanted to ask here if someone can give some insight in how that stuff works in other countries. (It they also have those seemingly high/costly barriers.)     NOTE: I don't want any kind of legal advice for this specific problem (that's what local lawyers are for.) I'm just interested if your local law for self-employment is similar/comparable to what i explained above.
  23. Hi Indies, I got approached by someone wanting to bulk purchase keys for my game for a bundle, yay! Except they only offer $0.10 per key for a game released in March at $11.99. Am I right to think this is way too low? I'm not unfamiliar with selling my previous games even this cheap for bundles, but I think it's way under what is reasonable at this time. Thoughts?
  24. I watched some business videos on YouTube, and learned a really good tip. Mc Donalds is a role model for business ideas. One phrase made Mc Donalds so much richer: Would you like fries with that? Imagine how many extra millions they made by adding fries to every order.   We all want to sell games right? How many people have sold 1,000,000? Imagine if you had of tacked on another sale. Another $2 sale would have netted you another $2,000,000 dollars, just for asking one simple question.   When you sell your game online consider offering a bonus to every sale. An in-game perk, a mini-game, a mod, a folder with all pre-game sketches. It really doesn't matter. Just remember to put a checkbox beside it, and let the customer decide.   Hope this helps.   If anyone else has business advice, I'd love to hear it.   PS: There  should be a business tips forum in the business section.
  25. I have almost 0 programming experience and exactly 0 art and networking experience and don't plan on learning anything other then the overall general basics I need to know to design a game within a budget I can spend.  I know I know everyone has a idea and you will never beable to do this blah blah blah.  I don't care.  I believe strong enough in my ideas on game mechanics and revenue generation to spend the next year or two trying.  So the main questions for right now before I even begin making a game design document are...   What do I need to learn before it even makes sense to make a game design document and where can I learn it?  Keep in mind the budget for the game is not going to be known until after the document is done as I plan on using that to put the people and resources together to try to make this happen.  I'm hoping based on nothing really that 250k is a bare minimium to make something close to what I want in terms of gameplay.  If I just wanted to make a nintendo nes graphics level game with more advanced gameplay and mechanics and beable to handle 500 concurrent users in a persistant world do you think that would be enough money?  Assuming I'm paying a normal wage for all or most work (could probably get some cheap or free art at this level of graphics)?  If not how much would be needed and how much of that is paid labor for programming, art, networking vs licensing and hardware etc costs?  How much do costs go up as the graphics improve?  Think the exact same game but NES level to GTA 2 level graphics?  What would the extra cost be in $ or multiples of the original art budget?   What is the cost breakdown of making a MMO?  The massive multiplayer aspect is the most important part of this idea (other then my original ideas i'm not going to share).  How much of the cost does this aspect account for in terms of both extra programming and servers and bandwidth needed?  If I have a game that can handle 1000 concurrent users is that going to be significantly more costly then the same game that could handle only 100 users?  Does the size of the ingame world drastically effect the amount of servers or size of servers needed?  Does the maximum number of players that can be in a certain area at the same time or in the same "instance" of the game affect cost alot?  Would having gameplay that "instances" off small teams of players in certain areas be more cost effective?   Are there any patents that I'm going to have to be careful of violating or that basically every MMO has to pay a fee for using?  If so what is going to be the cost of licensing the basic patents to make a MMO?    I realize some of these questions are mostly unanswerable without knowing exactly what the game design is but I'm just looking for very rough estimates atm to determine what to plan for in the game design and business plan.  Any examples of other sub $10 million MMO's and their production costs and features would be useful.  Any questions you can answer or new questions you think I should ask myself or helpful links you can provide would be appreciated.  I have no illusions of making a AAA graphic game and realize that getting any game done with little to no money out of pocket and 0 experience in the industry is completely unheard of so no need to make a negative post telling me that.  Thanks
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