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How much work is needed to make a dollars worth of game?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arowx, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I forgot about this. I imagine @Arowx you are already working on your game so this may or may not apply at this point.

    For what it's worth I was going to suggest you choose the tiniest game that is a fun game... looking at your games on GameJolt... choose the one with the best ratings and most plays (and ideally Followers). Figure out the minimum way to make that game much better OR design a new tiny game that captures all of the best of that game while eliminating the worst and add maybe one more thing to it all.

    The most important part there is the tiny part because the less time you need to spend on the game dev itself the more time you can spend on marketing. Set up a dev log on GameJolt. Add News posts to your most popular games at GJ that are very similar to the new game pointing to your dev log. In your dev log point to your game landing page where the game is for sale. Promote your game dev page on your Twitter and anything else you use. Set up a WIP log here and at TIG both pointing to your game sales page.

    Anyway, good luck!
     
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  2. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    Pretty much any combination is possible right ...

    MoneyVTime.png

    (Not to scale obviously)
     
  3. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Fixed the Typo for ya - Zombieshooter #1999
    ;)
     
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  4. HonoraryBob

    HonoraryBob

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    You're still missing a digit - 19999.
     
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  5. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Is it time for this image again? :p

    Unity Zombie.png
     
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  6. HonoraryBob

    HonoraryBob

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    If only people would be creative enough to make a combination Zombie - Slenderman game ("Slenderzombies").
     
  7. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Darn it going to plan B, well I just don't know why Unity have not added that Make MMO Button Yet! :p
     
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  8. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    How bout just teleporting fast zombies! That $hi+ is creepy!
     
  9. HonoraryBob

    HonoraryBob

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    What we really need is a Ninja-Slender-Zombies game.
    There's already been a Slenderman-SpongeBob game ("Spongebob Slenderpants"):
     
  10. Arowx

    Arowx

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  11. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I think maybe zombies will always be fun to battle but I don't quite understand why werewolves, vampires, skeletons, pumpkinheads, mummies, ghouls, Headless Horsemen (or maybe only one for a boss) and so forth aren't featured more than they are.

    This reminds me last year I had planned to return to work on my Halloween game this year. Have a whole new plan now... but one day.

    Vampire shooter could be really good especially if the super strength, speed and jumps were a part of it. Make for an interesting scenario. The "weak" human vs any of the undead (and werewolves, etc) could be very interesting.

    I guess maybe part of it is zombies are just so dumb usually. And people enjoy shooting the thing that used to be the mailman and slicing & dicing them in general. Plus some probably feel that zombies are more realistic than ghouls, mummies, etc. Unbelievers!
     
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  12. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Lack of imagination on the part of the people who mindlessly copy everyone else. :p
     
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  13. HonoraryBob

    HonoraryBob

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    If you lead the way with a successful vampire shooter, I can guarantee there'll be a thousand more following your example. You just need to blaze the trail.
     
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  14. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    It's already on the list in my mind of things to do someday. I look at this stuff like iteration is the key. So it'd take a couple attempts released as free web games to really nail down how it should feel and play.
     
  15. RichCodes

    RichCodes

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    This is going a bit back on the original track...

    I kind of agree with @GarBenjamin about luck and timing.

    I only build games for myself for fun. Its very rare, and it is normally a very un-polished game with horrible art.
    I build games for others for a living.

    April 6, 2010 I launched this game on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.htf&hl=en
    It was an awful looking thing built with copy + paste in Gimp.

    HOG1.PNG

    September 30, 2013 I launched this sequel. The art was professionally done, and I paid for other people to test/polish and advertise the game. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=atgames.hog.TreasureSeekers

    HOG3.PNG

    Yep, the first one was built with around 20 hours of programming and exactly 0$ spent on everything else.
    The second one took almost 3 months, and cost around $15k all told.

    The original game still has more active players than the second one has had total installs ever.

    Now you see why I prefer building other peoples games, I stink at everything but programming. :p
    ... and that I'm not the best at either ...
     
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  16. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Thanks for sharing that.

    Granted, I don't seem to have the artistic eye that some folks have but I don't see much, if any, difference in the graphics between these two games. I think it has to be something else that made such a huge difference in the earnings. But what exactly? Could have been simple timing/luck on the first one. Maybe the market was just burnt out on FTHO games in 2013 and had you released in 2014 it would have far out performed the first. Very hard to read the tea leaves. lol :)
     
  17. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    I have a particular fondness of Yeti myself. Although Lycanthrope into most any creature is extremely cool lore and could be very interesting when used for more than just monster fodder.
     
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  18. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Thanks for sharing your results and release dates.
    I really think though - 2010 to 2013 is like night and day - two different eras that can only be compared to show the changes that took place in consumer expectations. In 2010 what was the initial price for the game? 2013 did you attempt to replicate the same price point as the first game initially?
    In 2010 consumers were willing to pay higher prices for games, and the market had less competition. In 2013 ads were going strong, free with ads and iap have saturated the market, spoiling any chance for premium models except for the highest of quality games on mobile.
    If the games are nearly identical in respect to mechanics - nothing new, and they are both solid working products, what is the expectation the customer will purchase a new game that only has improved/modified graphics?

    From personal experience - I've skipped sequels that when reviewed amounted to nothing more than visual upgrades. Unless a game which is a sequel improves on mechanics along with visuals I think a lot of folk hold the same opinion. With that said I have never had much interest in hidden object games, played a couple - seemed they were all VERY similar with not much going on except - find the hidden thingie. I can play that game at home any time I want searching for my favorite art pencil that my son used for homework last week, so I'm unfamiliar if hidden object games have advanced in mechanics beyond find the hidden thing, timed event, verses, not much else to them, right?
     
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  19. RichCodes

    RichCodes

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    Well if you guys want to hear my thoughts...

    Both sold for .99, originally with no ads or iaps.

    In 2010 I think there were two different factors.
    A. There wasn't really all that many games for Android yet. Only a couple AAA studios had turned their eyes away from iOS at that point. So their was a lack of competition.
    B. AMOLED screens debuted, one of the phones being the Droid Incredible which I had just purchased. I picked backgrounds that had brilliant ranges of colors like the jungle scene that really popped on those screens compared to the older LCDs. (Remember those old phones tended to be discolored or washed out). In person, people were amazed by the colors and didn't seem to notice the shoddy job I did cutting out the different pieces and that the perspectives rarely matched. I got a lot of word of mouth just because of this.

    In 2013:
    A. There was much more competition, both low quality and very high quality in the HOG market on Android
    B. F2P ruled the roost
    C. There doesn't really seem to be such a thing as "fan base" on the casual market. Sure you can pick up some people, but not near as high a percentage as on PC. I had around 300 people on Facebook, and out of them less than a dozen responded to my announcement of the new game.
    I could pick up that many people with just a few screenshots of a PC alpha.
    D. HOG games are all art, and despite paying for a professional artist I did not go out and plunk down tons of money on the best art I could find. I was being lazy from a game publisher point of view. Slap anything on it and go, I thought.
     
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  20. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That all makes sense. I know a lot of folks here seem to not think the number of games on the market makes any difference but I agree with you two. That I think is definitely a factor and a big one in why folks used to be able to make a good game put it out there and get some attention and now can make a great game put it out there and get less attention.

    I've often thought if a game doesn't do well at first it would be interesting to relaunch it at a later time. It's a fact that many things can kill a game's success other than the game's quality. It wasn't that long ago I read about that with No Man's Sky.

    The other games released around the same time basically came and went with very few people noticing. There was so much hype over NMS to begin with and then after release it only grew as NMS and HG received most of the attention in gaming focused on the whole did HG lie to you thing. A terrible time to release any other game. And an almost guaranteed way to fail.

    Anyway, it seems like a very reasonable thing to me to take a good game that was overlooked circle around and relaunch it again later. In some cases maybe that means waiting for quite a while until that kind of game is interesting again.

    Popularity of things comes, goes and returns. And I can see people working hard to make a great game that is currently the really big thing. And by the time they finish and release people have burned out on that kind of game. Need a break and something else is popular now. It seems better to wait a while in such a case and then release. Sooner or later people will want to play that kind of game again... just not now.

    Alternately I've thought it would be an interesting experiment to just release the game over and over until it "hits". If a game is released and nobody noticed I see that basically the same as the game was never released to begin with. In such a case maybe wait a month and release it again. And again. Until it is noticed.

    TotalBiscuit and other YT and mags do this from time to time. Where they will cover a "hidden gem".

    One video in particular I remember TB talking about a very good game and he said unfortunately it sort of came and went and nobody noticed. He said and I blame myself in a big part for that. Because I intended to cover the game but got busy with other games and just never got back to it.

    These people say this fairly often. There are just so many games out there they can only cover a tiny very tiny % of the games. And they certainly aren't covering every great game. Or even necessarily the very best games.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
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  21. derf

    derf

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    Wow, that is kinda funny that you mentioned this when I was working on something for Halloween time this year.:)
     
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  22. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That's awesome. I like holiday-themed games in general. Is it mobile only?
     
  23. HonoraryBob

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    I think another factor is the evolution of HOGs to the point where people came to expect more than just searching for objects: many of these games now have elaborate puzzles (e.g. placing objects in specific locations to trigger an event or pass the level) and an in-depth plotline and characterization. Many of them are also extremely large, with a lengthy gameplay time.
     
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  24. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    This is an interesting point. Something that I have never heard before - thanks for sharing this info.
    To be able to identify 'why' maybe one version of the game sold better than the other when both are equal in stability and visual presentation is very important. I hope in the future I'm able to evaluate wins/losses as well as you have done.

    I was going to ask about this after looking around a bit.
    I could imagine some have attempted to improve/expand the genre of HOG by making a game similar to puzzle quest. Replacing the match 3 puzzle mechanic with HOG mechanics.
     
  25. HonoraryBob

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    From what I've seen, the puzzles are things like placing five statues in the correct positions on a clockwork device, or similar activities. But it was about a year ago that I last looked into that type of game, so the genre has probably gone in different directions since then.
     
  26. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    How's it going @Arowx? Have you started on a new game or marketing an existing game?
     
  27. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Resurrecting an old game, now Unity is faster might even work, lots of bugs and hiccups to fix.

    Sneak Peak
     
  28. RichCodes

    RichCodes

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    I would be game to try it. Maybe with a better name and a few updates to remove any bugs that may have cropped up with new hardware, and give it an immensely better ui. (I've built multiple HOG's for clients since 2013).
    I mean, it made $45 the first time around, with less than 100 sales. I don't have much more to lose :p

    However as others have pointed out, the genre has expanded well beyond the simple find and seek mechanics in that game.
     
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  29. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Often when a type of game changes and becomes more and more involved there is a group of people who miss the way such a game used to be. I wonder if you could market it that way. Enjoy the classic style Hidden Object game you've been wanting for years.

    Something like that. Coke Classic. :)
     
  30. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    Almost any game is worth a dollar... and in a way that's the problem (competition).

    Aim higher than a dollar.
     
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  31. RichCodes

    RichCodes

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    I'll let you know if I try it.

     
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  32. Arowx

    Arowx

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  33. Arowx

    Arowx

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