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Gearman
Dec 6, 2011



RazzleDazzleHour posted:

So if I'm putting in applications for Environment/Texture artist jobs, what are some things that employers like to see? I've talked to like six or seven people about this already but I seem to get different answers every time so I like to collect responses since I usually base what I'm gonna do next around the answers.

This is right up my alley. What I looked for:

- At least a few environments that were really strong and showed good fundamentals. Good lighting, materials, camera, and preferably with comments about thought process and considerations that were needed for the space if they were game environments.

- Any reference, or concept images you used for your environments.

- Wireframes and breakdowns of assets and a few textures. I need to see how you put together your environment, how you used your textures, and if your modeling is half-decent.

- For texture artists, I liked to see a really nice image of the material, with different channel breakdowns with five or six really strong materials in the portfolio.


Within a few minutes I need to know:
- If you have good art fundamentals,
- If you can put together an environment that matches a concept
- How efficient you are with texture usage
- If you can work in the style that I'm looking for

If you're even "sort of good" in all of those just from your portfolio, I'd likely be giving you a follow up call.

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Lord Lambeth
Dec 7, 2011




For those with experience in VR, is there a ballpark estimate for number of polygons in a scene? A budget basically.

mutata
Mar 1, 2003

You walk in with the Turnips, you leave with the Bells.



Oculus's recommended budget for Go was 100k. 150k for Quest. PC VR can have more, but it all depends on how heavy a scene is in other ways, hardware, cpu, etc etc.

Rectus
Apr 27, 2008



Lord Lambeth posted:

For those with experience in VR, is there a ballpark estimate for number of polygons in a scene? A budget basically.

The nice thing about polycount in PCVR is that it scales nicely compared to everything else. Pixel shader effects scale with supersampling and overdraw, while vertex effects and transform are pretty much constant. Combine that with the minimum requirements being a beefy midrange graphics card, and you can put in a surprising amount of geometry. I've even seen recommendations to put in more complex geometry over normal maps.

The only concrete number I've seen though is Valve putting a practical limit of 2-3 million triangles on unlit photogrammetry scenes.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

I'm having some generalized anxiety about my game, in part precipitated by watching Rami Ismail's "you're going to fail" talk. In particular the bits that resonated:
  • This is my first game, or rather, first game that I'm trying to commercialize. Prior to now I've never worked on a game for more than a few months and have only finished a couple of small puzzle/arcade games; this one's been a full-time effort for over a year and probably has a similar amount of time left to go to be done.
  • The scope is laughably huge; my current estimated playtime to see all the content (once said content is made of course) is in the 10-20 hour range. 30-35 handcrafted missions, each one takes 5-15 minutes to play assuming you don't fail, plus time spent at the drafting table refining your ship design in-between missions.
  • I don't have a clue about the business stuff pretty much at all. I think I have a handle on the stuff that costs me money, like running an LLC, paying contractors, and going to conventions (), but not the stuff that makes me money.

Where I am fortunate:
  • I have a lot of experience as a software developer. I know my skills, I'm good at what I do, and I'm going to be paying other people to be good at what they do (esp. music and writing) instead of trying to do them myself.
  • My burn rate relative to my finances is in a good position. I'm not about to be in danger of not making rent. This is up to now a solo endeavor, which helps.
  • The game's systems are all in place and very low on known bugs! It's all content grind and polish from here. Plus, y'know, the whole "getting the attention of the gamers who would be willing to buy it" bit.

I'm trying to figure out how to de-risk things, to the extent that that is possible in indie gamedev. I'd appreciate a sounding board from others in the biz. My big risks as I see them are a) getting the attention of gamers, and b) loving up something business-wise (missing out on opportunities I don't know about, mostly -- I know there's nothing I can do to even remotely guarantee success). I don't know how to fix either of them. Getting a publisher or a successful crowdfunding campaign would help, but those are both not remotely guaranteed.

Another potential option would be to try to take the systems and content I've made so far and build a smaller-scoped game that I can iterate on and publish faster. For example, instead of a 30-mission game where the player can design their own ships, have a 10-mission game where each ship is pre-set for each mission (or you can choose from one of a small set of presets). The main advantage of doing this would be that I'd be able to get to the parts of gamedev I'm not experienced with (viz. finishing and selling) faster...but the resulting game also wouldn't be as interesting to me. In particular, I think most of the ship customization would have to go out the window, since it really needs a fairly long campaign to dole out parts over. I'd also have to come up with a different storyline and appropriate content; I don't think I can do a world-spanning epic in 10 missions.

Uh, that was long and rambly. Apologies for the wall of text. tl;dr am indie, what do?

Vino
Aug 11, 2010


At a basic level risk is basically the probability given the data you know that you're going to make enough to have a viable business. There are a few parts of that to break down.

Right now, how sure are you you'll make money? Sounds like not sure at all. You may not know your probability, or you may know it's low. If you can raise that probability to 100% then you have no risk, and you should invest all of your money. If you discover probability is low or payoff is low then you should cut your losses. You can do things to increase how much you know about that probability, but exactly what you do and what results you get vary depending on what you're working on. But it'll probably look something like building a vertical slice and putting it in front of the players you're trying to sell to and collecting their feedback. You could write a series of books about how to do each part of that last sentence but that's your direction.

A primary way you can ensure you invest in your own company responsibly is to expand your investment as you decrease your risk. You stairstep your investments with your risk reductions, each risk reduction unlocking another investment. When you start out your risk is high (you have no data) then you invest a small amount into decreasing your risk (collecting data on the market you're trying to enter, talking to customers in it.) Once your risk is lower (you did the previous) then you can invest a modest amount into decreasing your risk some more (build a prototype and collect further data based on it, try to attract an initial following.) Finally your risk is very low (you have a growing Twitter following/active users/good retention rates/etc) and you can invest a lot (finish the game and go crazy on promotion.)

Book recommendations: Running Lean by Maurya and Crossing the Chasm by Moore.

SerthVarnee
Mar 13, 2011


Big Super Slapstick Hunk

As a way to get people to talk about your game, have you considered going into the lets play part of this very forum and ask for volunteers who want to stream their playing of the game, potentially with you doing a director's commentary sidekick with them as they play and talk about the game?

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Vino posted:

At a basic level risk is basically the probability given the data you know that you're going to make enough to have a viable business. There are a few parts of that to break down.

Right now, how sure are you you'll make money? Sounds like not sure at all. You may not know your probability, or you may know it's low. If you can raise that probability to 100% then you have no risk, and you should invest all of your money. If you discover probability is low or payoff is low then you should cut your losses. You can do things to increase how much you know about that probability, but exactly what you do and what results you get vary depending on what you're working on. But it'll probably look something like building a vertical slice and putting it in front of the players you're trying to sell to and collecting their feedback. You could write a series of books about how to do each part of that last sentence but that's your direction.

A primary way you can ensure you invest in your own company responsibly is to expand your investment as you decrease your risk. You stairstep your investments with your risk reductions, each risk reduction unlocking another investment. When you start out your risk is high (you have no data) then you invest a small amount into decreasing your risk (collecting data on the market you're trying to enter, talking to customers in it.) Once your risk is lower (you did the previous) then you can invest a modest amount into decreasing your risk some more (build a prototype and collect further data based on it, try to attract an initial following.) Finally your risk is very low (you have a growing Twitter following/active users/good retention rates/etc) and you can invest a lot (finish the game and go crazy on promotion.)

Book recommendations: Running Lean by Maurya and Crossing the Chasm by Moore.

Thanks for this! I'll look into the books, and the advice about making a vertical slice makes a lot of sense. I think I'm pretty close to that now -- I have five playable missions, which is enough to get a basic progression going; all I really need is music and ideally some portrait art to replace my stick figures.

Regarding how sure I am that I'll make money: I'm aware that something like 5% of indie games are profitable. I feel like I ought to have at least somewhat better odds than that since I have more experience and resources to throw around than your average fresh-out-of-college startup, but I have no idea how much better. 10% odds is very different from 75% odds. And of course, to some extent the more I spend on the game, the more likely the game is to sell...but the greater my costs are as well, so the more it needs to sell to be profitable.

I have a (now badly out-of-date) demo up on Itch, which did get me some very valuable feedback about how players were confused about what was going on. I've since done a lot to improve feedback and give more or less subtle guidance on various aspects, though I'm still missing a tutorial on combat mechanics. What I don't have though is data on if the game is fun. And it's just really hard in this day and age to be able to watch other people, especially non-gamedevs, mash on my game. They need to be set up for streaming, or they need to record their video and send it to me, or else I just get scattered "I couldn't figure out how to do X" feedback.

...I guess in principle I could add some kind of session recording functionality to the game that would record inputs and game state in enough detail to let me replay their sessions after the fact, but oh lordy that sounds complicated to retrofit in.

SerthVarnee posted:

As a way to get people to talk about your game, have you considered going into the lets play part of this very forum and ask for volunteers who want to stream their playing of the game, potentially with you doing a director's commentary sidekick with them as they play and talk about the game?

Oh, absolutely -- you can bet that when I'm ready to start marketing in earnest I'll be leaning hard on even community I'm in. I'd be a fool not to. And of course I'll also be reaching out to general streamers and game journalist sites (and, because my game is a war sim, wargamer journalists). I don't think it's smart to start doing that before I have a fully-polished section of gameplay to show them though. At the very least I need music.

MJBuddy
Sep 22, 2008

Now I do not know whether I was then a head coach dreaming I was a Saints fan, or whether I am now a Saints fan, dreaming I am a head coach.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

What I don't have though is data on if the game is fun. And it's just really hard in this day and age to be able to watch other people, especially non-gamedevs, mash on my game. They need to be set up for streaming, or they need to record their video and send it to me, or else I just get scattered "I couldn't figure out how to do X" feedback.

...I guess in principle I could add some kind of session recording functionality to the game that would record inputs and game state in enough detail to let me replay their sessions after the fact, but oh lordy that sounds complicated to retrofit in.


You can implement telemetry recording in your game that tracks some summary data of the events as they're occurring. Implement it along your core game systems (ex: skill usage, fight success failure, using items, finding secrets).

Then issue surveys with play tests to probe player response. Make sure you can identify the player in telemetry to the survey. Correlate responses to telemetry results to ensure engaging with the gameplay loop correlates to fun. Use overall engagement to figure out if everyone is finding that loop, or if there's some other edge case loops that are driving people out of the fun zone or into an even more fun zone. Lean into what's fun (this would seem obvious and yet).

xtal
Jan 9, 2011



Important note: Make sure telemetry is opt-in and that the scope is well defined and explained. Otherwise your software just became spyware.

MJBuddy
Sep 22, 2008

Now I do not know whether I was then a head coach dreaming I was a Saints fan, or whether I am now a Saints fan, dreaming I am a head coach.

xtal posted:

Important note: Make sure telemetry is opt-in and that the scope is well defined and explained. Otherwise your software just became spyware.

I doesn't need to be opt in, but it should be clear it's being done.

But I'm talking about play testers. Public release would be different.

Vino
Aug 11, 2010


TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I'm aware that something like 5% of indie games are profitable. I feel like I ought to have at least somewhat better odds than that since I have more experience and resources to throw around than your average fresh-out-of-college startup

Those 5% that are profitable aren't evenly distributed by experience, they're the ones that already have experience. Nobody makes a profitable game with no experience. So you can't improve your odds on that basis.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

And of course, to some extent the more I spend on the game, the more likely the game is to sell

You seem to think that how much your game sells is 100% a function of how many features are in the game. Untrue. Features matter, but the marketing work you do is a larger factor. You as a business owner need to be putting more thought and effort into the marketing than you are putting into the game.

Another problem here is that you're working on features with (I assume because it sounds like) no idea of what features your customers want. It sounds like you may have assumed your players want some set of features, that without those features the game won't sell as much, and that if you build those features the game will sell more. You'd be wrong to assume any of those three things.


This game looks cool. One promotion model for you could be something like Skate Story or Untitled Duck Game where you use Twitter as a video dev log to grow an audience.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

What I don't have though is data on if the game is fun.

That's not the data you need. You can tell whether the game is fun by playing it yourself. You're a game designer, it's your job to make fun games. The watching-over-the-shoulder playtests you're talking about are for testing the first-time user experience and you can do them by streaming over Discord, but they won't get you the business data you need, which is not whether your game is fun but whether it will sell. Think about what conditions need to be in place for your game to sell a lot at launch and work backwards from there.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Oh, absolutely -- you can bet that when I'm ready to start marketing

You're ready now. If you don't start now, you will fail.

Reaching out to media like streamers and game journalist sites is an important step that won't work for you unless you complete a dozen other steps first. Without you having earned media people's trust, you'll reach out to them and they'll ignore you. You need to gain their trust - ie their confidence that if they stream/report on your game then people will watch/read the reports, because you've already shown somehow that the game has an audience. Media aren't audience attractors for game developers. Sometimes a popular streamer will play your game and bring you users but that's lightning in a bottle that you can't count on. Rather, media deal with games that are already popular. Your game needs to demonstrate an existing audience before you can get media attention.

Marketing isn't selling, it's earning trust. You have to start now if you want to be ready by launch day. You don't need a complete game to start.

Question: When is your game ready to be sold? You probably think the answer is "when it's done". This is false. The answer is "when people buy it".

One way you could collect data that would reduce your risk is to sell preorders. What if you make a preorder button and people start pressing it a lot? Then you have some data. If not, then your goal is to make people press it and you've lowered risk (therefore justifying increased investment) when a lot of people have.

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Thanks for your detailed and blunt advice, Vino! I really appreciate it. It's hard to find communities that don't sugarcoat their advice these days.

Vino posted:

Those 5% that are profitable aren't evenly distributed by experience, they're the ones that already have experience. Nobody makes a profitable game with no experience. So you can't improve your odds on that basis.
Out of a population of 100, 5 are profitable. If 50 of that population are so inexperienced that they're guaranteed to not make a profitable game, and I know I'm not in that 50, then my odds of profitability compared to the average person in the population are better. Of course these numbers are made up (maybe only 10% are so inexperienced as to be guaranteed failures), but I believe the basic principle is sound. Anyway, it doesn't matter; the numbers are so handwavey that I can't derive any useful conclusions from them.

quote:

You seem to think that how much your game sells is 100% a function of how many features are in the game. Untrue. Features matter, but the marketing work you do is a larger factor. You as a business owner need to be putting more thought and effort into the marketing than you are putting into the game.

Another problem here is that you're working on features with (I assume because it sounds like) no idea of what features your customers want. It sounds like you may have assumed your players want some set of features, that without those features the game won't sell as much, and that if you build those features the game will sell more. You'd be wrong to assume any of those three things.
These are reasonable critiques, to some extent. The game I'm making is, mechanically, a clone of a game from 2005. That game wasn't a huge success but it did well enough, and I have no reason to believe that its core concepts (customizable vehicles, a loot treadmill, and a war-themed singleplayer campaign) are any less popular now. I will freely admit that I haven't actually tested those assumptions, except insofar as when I've shown my game off, people have said "Oh, that reminds me of Warship Gunner 2! I loved that game!"

quote:

This game looks cool. One promotion model for you could be something like Skate Story or Untitled Duck Game where you use Twitter as a video dev log to grow an audience.
Thank you! And yes, I've been posting on Twitter quite a bit. Unfortunately I had zero Twitter presence before I started development, and gathering followers is a slow grind; despite regular posts, participating in Screenshot Saturday, and some other miscellaneous "get the word out" activities (including writing an article about the game for a zine) I'm up to all of 280 followers after a year on the platform. I also used to do Twitch devstreams, but I fell off that bandwagon after a depressive phase last month. Those also weren't exactly garnering a huge audience though.

quote:

That's not the data you need. You can tell whether the game is fun by playing it yourself. You're a game designer, it's your job to make fun games. The watching-over-the-shoulder playtests you're talking about are for testing the first-time user experience and you can do them by streaming over Discord, but they won't get you the business data you need, which is not whether your game is fun but whether it will sell. Think about what conditions need to be in place for your game to sell a lot at launch and work backwards from there.
Right, right. I keep thinking "a good game will sell, and good games are fun, therefore I should focus on making a fun game", but the initial premise is flawed; plenty of good games don't sell. A well-marketed game will sell.

Thinking in terms of the conditions I need to have in place for the game to sell on launch:
- People need to know about it. This implies a lot of getting the word out, through word-of-mouth, articles, streams, Twitter, what have you.
- People need to want it. That implies making the game look good in all or most of the above.
- People need to be able to buy it. That implies good storefront presence and a price point that's in-line with their expectations.

This feels kind of uselessly high-level, did you mean something more specific?

quote:

You're ready now. If you don't start now, you will fail.

Reaching out to media like streamers and game journalist sites is an important step that won't work for you unless you complete a dozen other steps first. Without you having earned media people's trust, you'll reach out to them and they'll ignore you. You need to gain their trust - ie their confidence that if they stream/report on your game then people will watch/read the reports, because you've already shown somehow that the game has an audience. Media aren't audience attractors for game developers. Sometimes a popular streamer will play your game and bring you users but that's lightning in a bottle that you can't count on. Rather, media deal with games that are already popular. Your game needs to demonstrate an existing audience before you can get media attention.

Marketing isn't selling, it's earning trust. You have to start now if you want to be ready by launch day. You don't need a complete game to start.

There's something of a circular dependency / snowball effect in what you say that I'm not sure how to resolve. You need to demonstrate an audience before the big names will care enough to give you spotlight time, but in order to get an audience you need people to be able to find out about the game. Is this basically "bootstrap through word-of-mouth until you can say "I have all these metrics (followers, preorders, wishlists, etc.) saying this game will be big, you [streamer/journalist/etc.] should pay attention to me"? I'm not clear on how to do more effective word-of-mouth marketing; my impression has been that self-promoting in most communities is counterproductive unless you're already a member in good standing, and I can only maintain membership in so many communities without cutting into my time to do other important things.

quote:

Question: When is your game ready to be sold? You probably think the answer is "when it's done". This is false. The answer is "when people buy it".

One way you could collect data that would reduce your risk is to sell preorders. What if you make a preorder button and people start pressing it a lot? Then you have some data. If not, then your goal is to make people press it and you've lowered risk (therefore justifying increased investment) when a lot of people have.

One of the many tasks on my plate is to set up a Steam page for the game, not for Early Access necessarily, but just so people could wishlist. That had been blocked on me getting the aesthetics nailed down, which has finally happened in the relatively recent past.

I'm not really sure I want to be in the position of directly taking preorders on a self-run site...aside from Steam and Itch, are there other places you'd recommend an indie set up shop, so to speak, to help garner attention while they're still in development?

edit: fix a bbtag.

TooMuchAbstraction fucked around with this message at 00:43 on Sep 21, 2020

bob dobbs is dead
Oct 8, 2017

STANFORD IS PULLING AN MKULTRA ON THIS POSTER, PLEASE DO NOT ENCOURAGE THEM


Nap Ghost

the experience that counts is marketing experience

Vino
Aug 11, 2010


TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Thanks for your detailed and blunt advice, Vino! I really appreciate it. It's hard to find communities that don't sugarcoat their advice these days.

You're welcome!

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I will freely admit that I haven't actually tested those assumptions

Well OK then, you know what to do

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Thank you! And yes, I've been posting on Twitter quite a bit. Unfortunately I had zero Twitter presence before I started development, and gathering followers is a slow grind; despite regular posts, participating in Screenshot Saturday, and some other miscellaneous "get the word out" activities (including writing an article about the game for a zine) I'm up to all of 280 followers after a year on the platform.

This is great. Looks like you're already doing some of the right things.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Thinking in terms of the conditions I need to have in place for the game to sell on launch:
- People need to know about it. This implies a lot of getting the word out, through word-of-mouth, articles, streams, Twitter, what have you.
- People need to want it. That implies making the game look good in all or most of the above.
- People need to be able to buy it. That implies good storefront presence and a price point that's in-line with their expectations.

This is good. You've built a model that you can test. If you can make each more concrete then you have something to work on. How specific can you get? I find it helps me to pretend my boss or an investor is asking for a report and write everything down in a document somewhere. "People need to know about it" - How will you do that, in particular? Twitter is a good start. If people will be streaming it, what streamer? Pick a specific one as an example. How will that streamer decide to stream it? How will they know about it? "People need to want it" - You can do art tests for this. Find some players who like this kind of game and show them art of other games in the genre and ask them for their opinions. Cross-reference that with what games they've bought. Ask your artist to art one or two pieces and then throw those into the other examples and ask for more opinions. Maybe you'll discover you can get away with simpler and cheaper art. "People need to be able to buy it" - That ones easy for game devs, there are already a lot of solutions out there.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

There's something of a circular dependency / snowball effect in what you say that I'm not sure how to resolve. You need to demonstrate an audience before the big names will care enough to give you spotlight time, but in order to get an audience you need people to be able to find out about the game.

Yes. It's hard, and that's why your primary attention should be focused there. You're already an expert in technical development, so you don't have risks there. You should put your time where your risks are, answering the questions about how to start that snowball.

It's probably not as simple as "Hey streamer look at my data!" because as an oversimplification the data they look at to determine what to play is this page. If your strategy is to use streams to gain an audience then you need to make it onto that page. Your streamer strategy might be more like finding streamers who are already playing similar games and inviting them to play your game, asking for their feedback, and using it to direct development. If you can get them bought in to your game then you may be able to get them to stream you on release day. I would say all this only works if your game is multiplayer, if not then you're probably best off abandoning the idea that streamers can help you.

The entire previous paragraph is subjective and depends heavily on the type of game you're making, it's your job as a businessperson to try to find the answers there.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

One of the many tasks on my plate is to set up a Steam page for the game, not for Early Access necessarily, but just so people could wishlist. That had been blocked on me getting the aesthetics nailed down, which has finally happened in the relatively recent past.

Why is it blocked on aesthetics? Is your game the type that people will judge based on the aesthetics and then never look at again if they don't pass the visual bar? If your game is like a first-party playstation singleplayer experience then that might be true, but maybe it's not? Have you tested that assumption? If you can invalidate it then you can put up a Steam page and get wishlists sooner.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I'm not really sure I want to be in the position of directly taking preorders on a self-run site...aside from Steam and Itch

Why not? Set up Stripe and send anyone who pre-orders Steam codes on launch day. (Again I'm not saying this should be your strategy, just that it's a possible strategy you can consider. You've got to figure out what your best strategy is.)

TooMuchAbstraction
Oct 14, 2012

Hubris

Fun Shoe

Vino posted:

This is good. You've built a model that you can test. If you can make each more concrete then you have something to work on. How specific can you get? I find it helps me to pretend my boss or an investor is asking for a report and write everything down in a document somewhere. "People need to know about it" - How will you do that, in particular? Twitter is a good start. If people will be streaming it, what streamer? Pick a specific one as an example. How will that streamer decide to stream it? How will they know about it?

These are excellent questions that I don't know the answer to. I will work on this. I know a few mid-range streamers (who can reliably pull in 50-100 viewers), but I'm not at all confident I can convince them to try my game since it's a bit outside their usual wheelhouse. For a total stranger? I don't know what I'd do beyond cold-calling them. I also know plenty of smaller-time streamers who I'd have an easier time convincing to give it a shot, and I will be doing that, but the snowball potential seems small.

One recommendation I got from the Dogpit Jams discord was to trawl Twitch for streamers that don't seem to have much going on and just straight-up ask them if they want to try my game. Could be a good way to get some playtesting if nothing else.

quote:

"People need to want it" - You can do art tests for this. Find some players who like this kind of game and show them art of other games in the genre and ask them for their opinions. Cross-reference that with what games they've bought. Ask your artist to art one or two pieces and then throw those into the other examples and ask for more opinions. Maybe you'll discover you can get away with simpler and cheaper art. "People need to be able to buy it" - That ones easy for game devs, there are already a lot of solutions out there.
I've been doing all the assets myself so far, and I've made >300 models so far so I think I'm likely stuck with the quality of 3D art that I've got, at least. Of course, materials and lighting can make a big difference to how those assets are received; one of my big challenges is making the daytime and nighttime environments as nice-looking as the sunrise/sunset environments, which routinely get positive feedback on social media. For example:

https://twitter.com/byobattleship/s...258800842293249

quote:

Yes. It's hard, and that's why your primary attention should be focused there. You're already an expert in technical development, so you don't have risks there. You should put your time where your risks are, answering the questions about how to start that snowball.
Excellent point, and I can't believe I needed to have someone tell that to me. Focus on your risks! It's product development 101.

quote:

It's probably not as simple as "Hey streamer look at my data!" because as an oversimplification the data they look at to determine what to play is this page. If your strategy is to use streams to gain an audience then you need to make it onto that page. Your streamer strategy might be more like finding streamers who are already playing similar games and inviting them to play your game, asking for their feedback, and using it to direct development. If you can get them bought in to your game then you may be able to get them to stream you on release day. I would say all this only works if your game is multiplayer, if not then you're probably best off abandoning the idea that streamers can help you.
My game is singleplayer because haaaaaa its scope is already ludicrous, adding multiplayer would be awful. That said, I have wanted to add some "crowd-control" features (where Twitch chat can cause things to happen in-game by voting or sending specially-formatted chat messages), which might make it more appealing to streamers.

quote:

Why is it blocked on aesthetics? Is your game the type that people will judge based on the aesthetics and then never look at again if they don't pass the visual bar? If your game is like a first-party playstation singleplayer experience then that might be true, but maybe it's not? Have you tested that assumption? If you can invalidate it then you can put up a Steam page and get wishlists sooner.
It's not blocked any more. My worry was that I only get one chance at a first impression, and if it's not good then that person is basically lost forever. Maybe that's too absolutist when it comes to visiting a Steam page for a game that you can't even buy yet.

My graphical quality is very roughly like if you took a Dreamcast game, replaced the textures with flat colors and gradients, and then used a modern resolution. And then replaced that with what people imagine when I say the previous sentence. In other words, it has moderately detailed models, but they're visibly chunky and almost entirely untextured (because I knew I don't have the resources to texture hundreds of models, especially as my 2D art skills are relatively weak).

quote:

Why not? Set up Stripe and send anyone who pre-orders Steam codes on launch day. (Again I'm not saying this should be your strategy, just that it's a possible strategy you can consider. You've got to figure out what your best strategy is.)

I guess I've been tacitly avoiding techniques that involve collecting data from my playerbase, due to not wanting to deal with a privacy policy. But the telemetry discussion reminds me that metrics on player interactions would be really useful, so I may need to just bite the bullet on that and add a privacy policy to the game.

Vino
Aug 11, 2010


TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I don't know what I'd do beyond cold-calling them.

Cold-call them.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

That said, I have wanted to add some "crowd-control" features (where Twitch chat can cause things to happen in-game by voting or sending specially-formatted chat messages), which might make it more appealing to streamers.

Just to beat the horse dead: Make sure you talk to streamers about this before you go through the effort of building it.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I guess I've been tacitly avoiding techniques that involve collecting data from my playerbase, due to not wanting to deal with a privacy policy. But the telemetry discussion reminds me that metrics on player interactions would be really useful, so I may need to just bite the bullet on that and add a privacy policy to the game.

Collecting data doesn't have to mean through analytics. Data doesn't have to be rows in a database, it can be a half dozen conversations with players who are likely to buy your game because they've bought similar games.

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1337JiveTurkey
Feb 17, 2005



College Slice

I'm some random dude who just tried running the game as compiled for the operating system I'm using (Windows) and it's not going anywhere. I'm a programmer so my system is probably in some weird state that I'll try to send back to you. Otherwise yeah you probably want to focus on peoples experiences that are outside the bare minimum. If I can ever BYO My Battleship I'll be happy as can be.

edit: I got it working! I think most people don't know who an XO is and I'm not sure who's the RATC, but I understand that people who want to get the game going this far are willing to spend time understanding who they are. I just think they're a bit beyond me and may need to be better defined for people just picking up the game at random.

1337JiveTurkey fucked around with this message at 05:02 on Sep 21, 2020

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