Today Andy reviews Amol Wagh’s book “Market your indie game like a pro” and compares it to his real life marketing experiences. You can get the book on Amazon via this link.
Can you market your indie game like a pro?
Marketing is a constant struggle for Indie Devs.
I’ve got my own views on marketing which are slightly opposed to conventional “wisdom” banded about the community. So when I was messaged directly on twitter about this book I thought I would compare it to my own experiences and see what matched (or didn’t).
Before I get started I will say I’m in no way stating I am some kind of marketing god. Clearly that isn’t the case. But Rich and I have been doing this for a few years. We know what’s worked for us and we know….we really, really know what doesn’t.
Blitzmax has been my development tool of choice for over 10 years now. But I’m about to move permanently…
Back in 2005 a very exciting thing was happening in my world.
I’d been using Blitz3D to mess with 3D game development for the last 2/3 years. It had even helped me get my first programming job. I’d finished a couple of basic games in it and was pretty well versed in it’s eccentricities.
Ignore the prototype number. We don’t really have one.
We were on version 0.001 of Tribloos 3 for about 6 months so. Also Rich hates numbers so let’s just say it’s *A* prototype.
We spoke about this a couple of weeks ago on our Live Stream “The Kitchen” show which we run every weekend (this weekend it’s on Saturday). We had a discussion about how we want to run the development. We kind of covered this in yesterday’s “The Fear of the Unknown” post but you can hear us vocalise this in the video below.
Some progress has been made since this version was shown but we thought we’d extract it from the live stream feed and put it on YouTube. This way we can specifically show what we’re currently working towards for anyone who doesn’t want to wade through our (pretty awesome) 2 hour show!
The good stuff happens about 8 minutes in (obviously our developer chat is awesome but if you just want to see the game then start from there.)
Creating games is fun but it’s hard work. It’s fun, otherwise we would be doing it, but it can also feel pretty daunting.
One of the core principles we want in Space Farmers 2 is the ability to evolve the game. We want to take feedback from players and add it to the game. The idea is that if someone comes up with a cool new gadget we want to take it and add it to the game. Now I’ve written that down it sounds too easy – we’re not even coming up with the ideas!
Setting up the foundations for that to happen though is where we are at the moment. But trying to build foundations for a house, when you don’t know what the house will look like, is not simple. In fact it’s something that I find quite paralysing.
Every thing we add to the game requires some kind of compromise. For example; the characters currently look like even more basic than Space Farmers 1. But the foundation has been lay for a far more complex avatar system. If someone now comes up with a great idea which required the players to have 3 feet (I would say legs but they don’t have legs). That would involve changing a fundamental part of the game so may not be possible.
Thankfully I am reassured by the knowledge that between us Andy and I have about two hundred years of experience of people asking us to perform impossible programming feats. I hope that by being open and honest about what we’re doing people will understand what we can and can’t do and why we make the decisions and priorities we do.
As 48% of us here in the UK think – we’re better together.
We need your help!
So with all of that said, we need YOU to help us add as many crazy features and cool ideas to our public Trello board as possible!
Get commenting below, tweet at Rich and Andy or, even better, come visit us on our weekend Live Streams. Let us know what your priorities are in the game. Talk about the features that we, and others, have requested. Together we can make this game even more awesome than the first!
So part 3 and this week I’m focused on buildings and their buttons.
I’ve decided to change things up very slightly this time around. In Tribloos 2 if a building button was unavailable (eg. the building could not be built due to lack of workers/resources) it was faded out. If it was available it was presented with a green glow. I wanted to make the distinction a bit stronger this time. Now if a building cannot be built yet you’ll end up with a “dotted-line-button” that should be instinctively un-clickable.
And of course the opposite is also true; eg. if the button is visible at all it’s clickable! Exciting stuff eh?
Uh, okay that’s not exactly “mixing it up”, so lets talk about some real change.
Let’s make some wood
This is probably one of the highest requested features for Tribloos 2 but something that wasn’t easy to add that late in development.
And it’s centered around resource production in buildings like sawmills and toolsheds. Previously when you had sent a worker to a sawmill to make wood you’d have to count down or guess when they’d be finished. This was to be as efficient as possible so you could click on the toolshed to get them to make some tools the very second they’d produced that wood. Well guess no more!
When a worker now reaches a sawmill or other production buildings (again such as toolsheds, refineries, locksmiths, etc…) and starts to make resources, a small progress bar will pop up on the side of the building. This will show you how far through that particular worker is done with making wood or tools or whatever.
I’m especially pleased about the way this has worked out.
Like I said this was one of the most requested features from the previous games and I’m really pleased to have finally managed to get this in!
That’s it again for this week, I hope you’re all excited about the game so far. Next time I’ll be talking about the new cut-scene manager and how it effects the story.
Hey, do you know us? Or, alternatively, should we know you? As we’ve restarted our blogging efforts we thought we should restart our link building efforts.
We’ve now got a links section in the side bar showing 5 random links from our collection of, well 5 links at the moment so they’ll all be the same! But we’re hoping to add many more in the near future.
Link building, as in, with you!
We’d like to do some kind of building links exchange with as many of you as possible. Currently we only have a few categories so far and we’re sure that’s not enough so as long as what you do is vaguely related to what we do give us a shout.
What we need from you is:
Your name or organisation name (obviously)
The URL you want us to link to
A 100x100px logo we can use (or we can just put a blank square there if you’ve got nothing)
A few additional points:
Please no betting sites. No, not even if you’re offering money.
It helps if we know you or know of you at least
It’s an exchange so if possible we’d love a link back to us!
So get in touch either by adding a comment below or by tweeting Rich or Myself or maybe Facebook if that’s you’re preferred network.
The links we currently have will appear below here – thanks for joining in!
In September 2016 the development of Tribloos 3 went on the road! Or, well the rails.
I got a contract job in Swindon which is a fair distance from my home in Gloucestershire. I did about a weeks’ worth of driving before realising how dangerous that particular journey can be. Also it was total dead time and I wasn’t getting back home til gone 7pm most nights.
But the big issue (aside from, y’know, not seeing the family) was that not much got done on Tribloos 3. Even less than the weeks leading up to that when I moved house and refurbished the garage into an office. Well that last job was still ongoing however I decided I must do something.
So I bought a folding bike (which I named “The Bumpkin Flyer” after the cycle track I was using of a similar name), got up at 5am and got the train from Cheltenham each day. It was pretty nice to sit there and get on with things whilst someone else did the driving. The first job to do was the scary clown face from the circus levels (ooer). But the main task I wanted to get done asap was the level select screen.
I didn’t want to move too far away from the previous incarnation of that but at the same time I realised I had a lot more areas than in Tribloos 2 (In fact, double the number of areas!) So to make it less confusing I decided it would be completely button controlled this time around.
One day when I’d missed my train I sat, rather embarrassingly, in the Swindon Train Station Cafe and drew on my laptop this terrible image of what I wanted the level select to look like.
I came up with a design with the world map on the left and then the level areas on the right. With wanting to make it a bit fun so I put simple animations in when you hover over the area button. I say “I” did that, really I did the first one then said to Catherine (That’s Catherine Bennett, our incredible artist for this project) “Pllleeeeaase make that look good!”. Continue reading “Tribloos 3 – Development Diary Part 2”→