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Author Topic: Finding an audience?  (Read 1427 times)

Glenjamin

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Finding an audience?
« on: 12 Feb 2019, 18:17 »
Anyone have an experience with finding an audience?

I've become all too familiar with the feeling of publishing a game at the end of a lengthy > 6 month long dev cycle to receive very small metrics, if any.

We've improved, promoted on social media, diversified, added routine non-game content for retention,  It just doesn't seem to be working out.

In the past I've discussed going to expos/conventions and demoing the game but realistically you can only really see about 30 people a day. Of those 30, maybe 4 or 5 will follow up.




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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #1 on: 12 Feb 2019, 19:38 »
Contact a youtuber covering indie games

Bavolis

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #2 on: 13 Feb 2019, 04:20 »
My conclusion after finishing a full game, a 5-year project, and releasing it for free with zero impact is that it's more about luck, having some advertising money, or hitting a trend than anything. I suppose if you build it up as a Kickstarter first, that's going to get you some attention.

On my $0 budget, I've done quite a bit to get the word out. I've contacted many game news sites, youtubers, made sure to post frequently on social media and using game specific hashtags, but I get maybe 1 click on my page per day. I've uploaded youtube videos with trailers and in-progress footage. Ultimately... I've accepted this game wasn't *the one* and I am moving onto the next one with the hopes that if THAT one finds an audience, people will be curious and go play the first. I'm even targeting the new one at a more modern streamer audience than old adventure game farts like myself with the hope that I'll hook more fish.

I feel your pain, though. I would settle for bad reviews/reception than no audience. I didn't even make it on the Aggies reader choice pull-down list, which has over 100 adventure games released last year. I would never expect to win with the competition out there (some of it from this very forum), but it's sad when your game doesn't even ping the radar!

Best of luck to you! I hope you manage to crack the code on this. Be sure to share insight if you do. :)
« Last Edit: 13 Feb 2019, 04:22 by Bavolis »

Danvzare

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #3 on: 13 Feb 2019, 12:58 »
My conclusion after finishing a full game, a 5-year project, and releasing it for free with zero impact is that it's more about luck
Well that sucks. But I guess it comes with the job.
You've got to make indie games as a hobby. Something that you make for yourself before anything else. Because otherwise you'll end up feeling really down when no one ends up playing it.

But I will be keeping up with this particular thread, to learn how to GET people to play my games. :D

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #4 on: 13 Feb 2019, 15:37 »
maybe adventure games are dead?

*hides from the pitchforks*

 8-) :-D :(

Glenjamin

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #5 on: 13 Feb 2019, 16:40 »
Quote
maybe adventure games are dead?

Hey guys, maybe if we're looking for an audience... we should go to the CINEMAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

Nailed it.

I've neglected a big part of my business training which is fail hard and fail fast. The truth is I realize now that I had no reason to expect a large reception.

Within the next few months I'm going to do extensive research into the games zeitgeist and see what works. I have a few leads. I'll be making ultra-light short yet meaningful projects.

I'll be sure to share any findings with you guys. I do believe there's enough people in the world for each dedicated artist to have a decent fanbase.

After all if this were about being successful we'd all draw hentai and be done with it.

Danvzare

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #6 on: 14 Feb 2019, 13:15 »
maybe adventure games are dead?
Point and click adventure games aren't popular anymore, but they're far from dead. Just niche.
But there are plenty of other sub-genres in the adventure game genre, that are immensely popular.
Almost all horror games are just basically adventure games where it's easy to die. Visual novels are basically just adventure games with next to no puzzles. The type of game Telltale used to be popular for, was basically just a 3D visual novel. And Hidden Object games, are basically just adventure games which focuses on pixel hunting.
I find it funny that all of the poplar sub-genres of adventure games, just take an element from point and click adventure games that's considered "bad-design", then builds an entire game around it.  (laugh)
So yeah, adventure games are very much alive and well. It's just the traditional LucasArts-styled point and click adventure game that's not doing so well.

Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #7 on: 15 Feb 2019, 03:01 »
Anyone have an experience with finding an audience?

I've become all too familiar with the feeling of publishing a game at the end of a lengthy > 6 month long dev cycle to receive very small metrics, if any.

We've improved, promoted on social media, diversified, added routine non-game content for retention,  It just doesn't seem to be working out.

In the past I've discussed going to expos/conventions and demoing the game but realistically you can only really see about 30 people a day. Of those 30, maybe 4 or 5 will follow up.





Maybe building a YouTube following as you develop would help? Filming content that covers some of your development day mixed with comment on trending topics would net you a following that's invested in you as a personality and wanting to buy products from a person of interest. Plus, comment on trending topics would get you traffic from outside this niche community.
man n fist AKA manifest AKA manifest class AKA hello123

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #8 on: 15 Feb 2019, 06:17 »
This link that was posted on the Discord seems related: https://medium.com/@perplamps/game-design-is-marketing-6028be90158b

Bavolis

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #9 on: 15 Feb 2019, 12:50 »
This link that was posted on the Discord seems related: https://medium.com/@perplamps/game-design-is-marketing-6028be90158b

Great article, thanks!

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #10 on: 15 Feb 2019, 15:40 »
I feel that a lot of what makes an indie game a hit these days is insta-gratification.

More and more people are likely to be playing indie games on the go while on the train or while waiting in the doctor's office etc.

They will play the triple-A games when they get home and have some hours to do so, but few of them are going to pull up a full-length indie game to play during this block of their gaming time.

I've been thinking on this a lot recently and am putting this idea to work in my latest project.

Now, insta-gratification doesn't have to mean that the gameplay is shallow, although that's usually the zone such games aim for: to be consumed on the fly and thrown away and forgotten faster than the next one can download.

I was fascinated by the Undertale model and why such a simple-seeming game hooked so many people and created such a furor.

The game immediately shoves almost every mechanic you will have to learn in your face in the first 5 minutes. It keeps exposition to a bare minimum. It then lets you try out everything you just learned immediately and continuously while plugging in just enough story and world building to tell its story.

Undertale turns out to be quite complex in the many different strategies that a player can take, but no one would ever find that out unless they played for some length of time.

It hooks players in with its seeming simplicity and reveals depth of gameplay a little at a time, all the while providing insta-gratification every minute or so.

This is the model I feel will work very well for indie games. And no, my game is not an Undertale clone. It has nothing in common with Undertale at all except for these basic hooks that I noticed and wanted to point of here.

And, in closing:

DISCLAIMER: DO NOT make an Undertale clone. You will be torn apart by a pack of toxic, rabid fan-boys and the courts will rightly rule that you deserved to be.


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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #11 on: 15 Feb 2019, 18:35 »
The game immediately shoves almost every mechanic you will have to learn in your face in the first 5 minutes. It keeps exposition to a bare minimum. It then lets you try out everything you just learned immediately and continuously while plugging in just enough story and world building to tell its story.
I love it when games do this.
Just give me everything, then let me bumble around figuring it out myself. If I need help, I'll seek it.  :)


DISCLAIMER: DO NOT make an Undertale clone. You will be torn apart by a pack of toxic, rabid fan-boys and the courts will rightly rule that you deserved to be.
As far as I'm concerned. Only copy a game, if you think you could do it better. Which is why I prefer Saints Row over GTA (I think they did better).
And uh... courts? Gameplay can't be copyrighted (it can be patented though). I think Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times pretty much proves that. (And for those of you too lazy to look that up, it's literally Animal Crossing.)

Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #12 on: 15 Feb 2019, 20:04 »
This link that was posted on the Discord seems related: https://medium.com/@perplamps/game-design-is-marketing-6028be90158b

That was a very interesting and informative read.  Thanks!

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #13 on: 16 Feb 2019, 10:43 »
DISCLAIMER: DO NOT make an Undertale clone. You will be torn apart by a pack of toxic, rabid fan-boys and the courts will rightly rule that you deserved to be.
As far as I'm concerned. Only copy a game, if you think you could do it better. Which is why I prefer Saints Row over GTA (I think they did better).
And uh... courts? Gameplay can't be copyrighted (it can be patented though). I think Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times pretty much proves that. (And for those of you too lazy to look that up, it's literally Animal Crossing.)

This was just a joke about how toxic the Undertale community became, to the point where the very tip-top of YouTubers refuse to touch it anymore for fear of attacks on their channels or even RL harm.

Danvzare

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #14 on: 18 Feb 2019, 18:27 »
DISCLAIMER: DO NOT make an Undertale clone. You will be torn apart by a pack of toxic, rabid fan-boys and the courts will rightly rule that you deserved to be.
As far as I'm concerned. Only copy a game, if you think you could do it better. Which is why I prefer Saints Row over GTA (I think they did better).
And uh... courts? Gameplay can't be copyrighted (it can be patented though). I think Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times pretty much proves that. (And for those of you too lazy to look that up, it's literally Animal Crossing.)

This was just a joke about how toxic the Undertale community became, to the point where the very tip-top of YouTubers refuse to touch it anymore for fear of attacks on their channels or even RL harm.
Now I just feel dumb.  :-[
Thanks for the clarification though.  :-D

Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #15 on: 19 Feb 2019, 06:20 »
Getting any number of people to play your game apart from a handful of friends and fans is tough, no doubt.

I've been fortunate to be able to be a full-time indie game developer for the last two years and have sold in the thousands-of-copies range of Neofeud. I see many great games moving less than 100 units, and even free games with barely any downloads.

Of course making games that people want to play and promoting those games is important, but a lot of indie game success is definitely luck, even if you really know your marketing, and I am no promotion guru.

But here are some things that have seemed to help:

-Finding a particular niche - in my case, cyberpunk-flavored pnc adventure games - and then finding where those people are hanging out. On forums, social media of various types, Discord, etc. and then trying to spread the word, talk to people.

-Let's players/streamers can have an impact. When my game got featured on Rooster Teeth's Funhaus, that got 250,000+ views, there was a visible spike in the sales graph. But even smaller Youtubers playing your game can tell people, "Hey, someone is taking time to play this, maybe I should look into it too."

-I've done podcasts, Youtube devstreams, etc.. I find that often at least one person will decide to buy my game while people are just dropping into the stream to see how AGS gamedev works, or just hanging out and chatting, giving feedback about their experience having played my game.

-Don't be afraid to ask a fair price for the game, if you do decide to go commercial. Having a price on a game can signal to people, "Hey, this is 14.99, maybe some serious effort went into this." Of course you need to have put a fair amount of work and content in it or people may feel ripped off. But conversely, if you have tens of hours of gameplay and you ask for just a few dollars, people may skip past it without realizing. Ultimately, indie games aren't super expensive compared to AAA games, and the ultimate commodity is really time for many gamers. Just think of how many people you know who have a back log in the game library :) (I've got a mountain).

I also highly agree with the point that visual novels, Telltale-style games, hidden-object, and several other genres all basically borrow facets of classic pnc games, and many have been hugely successful.
« Last Edit: 19 Feb 2019, 06:26 by SilverSpook »

Danvzare

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #16 on: 19 Feb 2019, 18:21 »
-Don't be afraid to ask a fair price for the game, if you do decide to go commercial. Having a price on a game can signal to people, "Hey, this is 14.99, maybe some serious effort went into this." Of course you need to have put a fair amount of work and content in it or people may feel ripped off. But conversely, if you have tens of hours of gameplay and you ask for just a few dollars, people may skip past it without realizing. Ultimately, indie games aren't super expensive compared to AAA games, and the ultimate commodity is really time for many gamers. Just think of how many people you know who have a back log in the game library :) (I've got a mountain)
Really? I thought putting a price on your game would put people off, with the higher the price, the more likely it is that no one would ever play it. (Unless you have a reputation behind you.)
It's quite reassuring that the opposite is in fact true.

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #17 on: 19 Feb 2019, 18:39 »
I think a lot of gamers, specially AAA gamers, probably associate "free game" with "crap game"... why else would it be free?  (roll)

Probably the hardest is to find the right balance in the price, so it doesn't come off at "cheap crap" but doesn't come out as over priced either. Cause if you set it too high, you'd probably have it hard to sell (they would rather give money for that "sure" AAA game) and the ones that pay the asking high price would probably complain that it's bellow their expected quality...
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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #18 on: 19 Feb 2019, 18:47 »
Really? I thought putting a price on your game would put people off, with the higher the price, the more likely it is that no one would ever play it. (Unless you have a reputation behind you.)
It's quite reassuring that the opposite is in fact true.
I have a problem with itch.io's "pay what you think it's worth" pricing model. I am used to be told how much to pay, and my choices are "yes" and "no". Trying to figure how much to pay in most cases leads me to "no" only, because I can't find the right balance between too little and too much.

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Re: Finding an audience?
« Reply #19 on: 19 Feb 2019, 22:51 »
Really? I thought putting a price on your game would put people off, with the higher the price, the more likely it is that no one would ever play it. (Unless you have a reputation behind you.)
It's quite reassuring that the opposite is in fact true.
I have a problem with itch.io's "pay what you think it's worth" pricing model. I am used to be told how much to pay, and my choices are "yes" and "no". Trying to figure how much to pay in most cases leads me to "no" only, because I can't find the right balance between too little and too much.

Yeah, plus how do you know how much you would want to pay for something before you even download it?

Or are there people who bookmark every single game they download and then go back after they have finished it and decide how much to pay? Seems unlikely.