Here’s an Innovative Game (Now They Just Need to Figure Out How to Monetize It)

Tony from RC Tiger mentioned that they have a pretty innovative gaming idea: remote controlled tanks! I couldn’t make it to test the game today, but I think the idea is really sweet – friends can battle online controlling real (toy) tanks via web.

They are now thinking of monetizing and going with “pay per play” model, but it might not work for so well in a long run – or at least it could need additional ways to monetize. This reminds me about theme parks where you can buy a ticket to try different stuff as many times as you can. You just need to wait in a line. Perhaps they could try something similar: get people in a waiting line, and with a ‘premium ticket’ you get to play faster or something.

Maybe they could help people reserve times to play with the tanks. And maybe they could use various type of advertising (even in the battle field…) – and get direct advertiser deals. They could also try game affiliates for monetizing.

Whatever they decide to do I think one thing is for certain: this is really innovative idea.

Do You Make This Mistake When Delegating Tasks?

I discussed with one (non-game developer) guy who had got assignment to “be at this place at 10:00″. After getting this piece of information, the guy was also told “it would be good if you could come little earlier”.

“Little earlier”? What does that mean? Is it 5 minutes earlier? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? Why not simply say “be here at 9:45″, that would make the task more clear.

Same thing can happen in game production. Sometimes a programmer might ask “we can do this minimum quality, but do we need to do it with higher quality?”, to which game producer replies “Do the minimum level, but it would be nice to get higher quality.”

“Would be nice”?

In this situation, the programmer didn’t know what to do, and when he asks for help he gets confusing assignment and probably goes home to burn some ants with a magnifying glass to release stress.

If the producer is the one who makes decisions, then he is the guy who needs to say for example that “Do the minimum quality” or “Do the higher quality”. Or, if he needs to think about the resources he could say “Do the minimum quality, but if creating higher quality takes less than 3 days then proceed”.

Giving specific details is really important to avoid any confusion.

(And to help ants to survive.)

I Just Bought Some Anime DVDs (Warning: Piratism Rant In This Blog Post)

I bought some of anime DVDs and they arrived today (DVDs cost only 3.33 EUR each). The moment I mentioned about this purchase to my brother he said “why not use Torrent?”. I know it was jokingly said (my bro doesn’t use torrent stuff), but that still got me thinking that it really is so that people with decent Internet connections think first about getting movies illegally.

I spent bit over 10 bucks to get these 3 DVDs.

I think that’s dirt cheap.

And I really can’t see a point in using Torrent to get this stuff. If the stuff one watches is good, why pirate it which basically votes for “I don’t wanna support the authors so that they would make more of this good stuff”? Why not get try work for some bucks or buy less stuff or do something to earn that stuff? I know why: “because it’s so easy to pirate”. Just click and you are done. Click & it’s there.

I feel proud to legally own these DVDs and have them in my shelf.

Sorry for the rant.

Big Fish Games Affiliate Program Income Got Better For Me (You Have Any Idea Why?)

For the last few days I’ve been receiving bit more bucks from the Big Fish Games, and I don’t have a clue why (I haven’t even promoted the program at all for some time now). It’s not anything too big increase, but worth mentioning. Anyone else experience the same? If so, any idea what’s going on there? (Not that I’d mind getting more bucks in my pockets)

Pure Sudoku Sales Statistics ($6,400 Sales, 1+ Month Development)

Mark from Glowing Eye Games was sharing sales statistics for his Pure Sudoku game at the Indiegamer boards and I asked Mark if he’d be willing to share the information here too. I got some additional information about the marketing (and we’ll get back when Mark has info about his $5.99 versus $9.99 price point experiment) and listed the details below.

I really think Mark has done a great job with Pure Sudoku, and we all could learn that creating a game doesn’t need to take much time (like 1+ month), nor it requires newest technology on earth (Game Maker is simple, yet efficient game development tool), doesn’t need to cost much (few hundred bucks, plus your own time) and it can still bring decent revenues at constant pace.

Check out these sales statistics for Pure Sudoku:

Game Title: Pure Sudoku
Developer: Glowing Eye Games

Development time:
The original version took me about 1 month to make part time with Game Maker. 1-2 month part time development for improvements.

Release date:
January 2006 (as a free version), Deluxe version later. Newest version was released in December 2008.

Total sales (units):
640 copies (over the years)

In January the game sold 21 copies and February 27 copies. Monthly sales range on average from 20 to 25 copies, and seems pretty consistent for a while now. (Perhaps due constant search engine traffic)

Price (USD):
$9.99

For the next few weeks developer is experimenting with a $5.99 price point (and we will be adding info about this experiment later here on this blog).

Other income:
Google Adsense (worth maybe the equivalent of 2 or 3 extra sales each month)

Expenses:
Expenses 10 Euros for Game Maker and $250 to pay a developer to update my game last year. There are also a few items like website hosting and domain registration, I’m not really sure of the price of those – but its quite cheap.

Downloads:
Total 250,000.

(The free version has got 200,000 from download.com and 50,000 from various download sites)

Marketing:
2-3 months (part time) spent in marketing:

  • Getting the game to download sites
  • Getting reviews
  • Google.com search engine optimization (Pure Sudoku ranks in the top 10 for the phrase “free sudoku”)

One very important thing was learning basic Search Engine Optimization. For really competitive search terms like “Free Sudoku” this was really important. In fact Mark just purchased two books on the subject, as web tutorials can only go so far.

Other sites:
Solitaire Paradise – Glowing Eye Games is hosting free online solitaire games including one he recently created.

Thanks
Thanks Mark for sharing these sales statistics.

So, Would You Release Your Game On April Fools Day?

Yesterday I spoke about Deadlines and the fact that I have set up my own game’s deadline for the first of April. This morning I realized something that I didn’t think about few weeks back:

It’s the Aprils Fools Day – I doubt I wanna release my game on that day…

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with releasing on that day, but something tells me that the web will be plastered with all kinds of funky April fool things and whatnot, and I don’t I wanna my game out the very same day.

I’ll take another approach I’ll just move the deadline by some days.

What’s your thought on publishing games on April fools day? Do you think some games could benefit from it?

Setting a Deadline Is Good (If You Ever Wanna Finish Your Game)

I’ve set myself a deadline to publish Dead Wake in approximately two weeks, and this morning I was pondering how good it is to have a set deadline. I’ve touched this subject earlier (check out for example these articles: establishing a deadline is pretty easy, deadlines are not evil and 21 things that will help you finish your game), and I think that deadlines can be a good, positive force that will help you accomplish more.

There’s couple of things where I perhaps wouldn’t use deadlines, or at least feel they aren’t so effective:

  • When setting some highly unsure point at very far from the future (“our game is completed in year 2015″ – who cares? Instead one could try break this deadline into series of deadlines)
  • When setting an impossible deadline, it serves no point (“our game will be published in 3 month with all these features – and much more than guys can handle – and we have these resources and won’t get any more help and we’ve already promised this to the press, so start working!”)

I seriously think that one of the practices that has helped me with the Dead Wake project has been establishing small approximately bi-monthly deadlines. Sometime I’ve missed the deadline, and sometimes there wasn’t everything I wanted – but it has still been a good motivator to have deadlines.

I know we all hated deadlines when in school we were forced to deliver essays at a set date… and I know it might seem that it would feel so good to go without a deadline, but I really think we gotta consider using deadlines. If somebody isn’t setting us deadlines, we should take action and set a deadline for ourselves.

Everybody knows we are lazy bastards, so it’s better to set us a deadline and start whipping ourselves a bit.

Finally, Somebody Wants to Give Me Million Dollars

I was out of town for the weekend and after getting back, the first email I saw was this spam email:

Greetings
Hello, my name is Alex Cheng from Hong Kong. I am a credit officer with a finance institution here in Hong Kong. I have a business that I want to offer you. This projects worths Twenty Million Dollars and you will have a 40% share from the total amount.
I will give you the full details in my next e-mail and what I need from you. So if you are interested please contact me back at my personal address (spammy email address) I will be waiting to hear from you. Have a nice day.
Mr. Alex Cheng

Sorry Alex Cheng, but I think I’ll skip the offer this time…

(I wonder if somebody actually believes this crap? I mean, there’s gotta be a reason why we receive this type of junk)

Track’n’Field (Oh, Retro Memories…)

In this week I tested a few games that I used to play on C64 (and with NES). I checked out the C64.com and googled some more to find a pretty nice arcade site where they’ve done Flash versions of some of those classic games. Track’n’field brought some memories. Man I remember Tac 2 getting a real beating when we tried to make those player characters run as fast as possible…

Mike Tyson’s Punchout was a classic (not sure if that really was the real name). I remember that my parents “lost” me and my brother in some amusement park in one summer. We had sneaked to play this game for the whole day… they eventually found us few hours later (and from that point we had to follow them everywhere on that day).

Double Dragon was another awesome NES game. Dig Dug was cool too (I always wanted to create similar game where I could dug something), not to mention Rampage and Joust. Oh the memories… there sure was many awesome games in the past.

What the games you used to play when you were a kid?