So, the development of blades of the righteous has come to an end some time ago, I’ve stopped actively advertising now and I thought that writing up an overall experience as well as giving more statistics about it could help others in their way of development.
Steam Greenlight Statistics
I’ve put the game on Steam Greenlight at around October 15th. Let’s review the visit/vote graph first.
There are two peaks in visits/votes. Unsurprisingly, I got the highest peaks of attention when publishing info about my game. At first, Facebook greatly helped, netting me around 200 “yes” votes. I’ve posted that MY game is being on Greenlight, and then my supportive friends did the rest, sharing the post and inviting other people to vote.
The second peak is when I got my game sold in a bundle on Groupees.com
There was around 4000 bundle copies sold, my game got 800 yes-votes on Greenlight for that. 1:5 conversion, much higher than I’ve expected. What I’ve learned from this:
- Start advertising earlier. I’ve almost had my game finished when I’ve published a video. I could have gathered more hype (and possibly gotten more feedback) if I started giving sneak-peeks earlier.
- BUT if you are trying to tell the world about your game – have something to show. Either some screenshots or a gameplay video.
- If you don’t have a lot of followers – try to get your game into bundles. It will help greatly. You might have to give out the copies of your game for mere cents, but those are the cents you would not be getting otherwise. Publicity is worth it.
I’ve tried developing some games before, but I could never get them to an end. This time, it has been a bit different.
What made the difference:
- Getting the assets from professionals. This time I have not attempted to draw every game sprite by myself. I’ve simply thought “OK, I hate doing this kind of stuff, better buy it.” Yes, I’ve lost some money on developing the game, but overall I’ve been really glad to see the professional drawings / music. I also could not say “meh, I’m bored, better do something else.” Why? Because I knew that I’ve invested money in my game.
- Having a lot of things to do. Yes, I know that this sounds strange. However, when you know that you have only one hour free today, you simply can’t go and do something else. You know that you must do something to improve the game.
- Issue tracking. I cannot stress this enough. When you write the exact things that you’re trying to do, the project stops being “cowboy coding.” I had a separate issue for all the bugs and new features, be it “rework combat system”, “add orc unit”, “fix the freeze during the combat when both combatants are killed simultaneously.” This helped me to get my aims properly. Instead of thinking “what am I going to do today,” I’ve had my issue tracker open and simply chose the tasks which I need to accomplish.
What went wrong:
- The game was too complicated to develop. Yes, I know that everyone writes that. Still, I can’t stress this enough. It’s better to make a simple game with perfectly polished controls, than a complex game without good feel of controls/UI.
- Polishing. If you think that most of the effort will go to gameplay/feature development, I have bad news for you. The UI/sounds require at least as much effort that gameplay does. At least this was in my case. But the good news: it makes a difference. As soon as I’ve added sounds / blinking / screen fade-in and fade-out, the game started looking much better. Plan to polish your game ahead. Work on controls. See what works and what does not.