Got Dead Wake Version 0.9.8 Out (One More Step To Go)

I just emailed people on my Dead Wake mailing list that the new Dead Wake zombie game version is available (with many new features). I put together a small demo.

Here’s some thoughts about the progress and this release:

  • I got in almost all the features I had wanted, but missed some (and while I started doing the last features, a feature creeper hit in and got me into adding couple of more features. Nothing too dramatic, so I won’t call myself a feature creep right now. I simply need some more time to put together decent levels, and finalize some things (like sounds and stuff)
  • It was a good thing that I publicly announced that the new version would be out on August 8th. On that day, I got pretty much all things except the installer done – and said to the community that I would do the installer the next day. Well, on 9th day I got ill and felt bad, so I promised to do it the next day or the day after that. Well, then I felt a slightly better – but my network was down so I couldn’t upload it. Now I finally got the thing out and got some people to test it. While I think it was good to announce the date in public (it really made me focus on getting it out before that), it’s good to realize that something unexpected can and will happen if you haven’t prepared for everything.
  • I felt the same great motivation burst I felt every single time during the Dead Wake development when I put a new version out: I have a concrete piece of evidence that the thing is moving forward.
  • Player feedback is great to hear: I got some useful feedback and I feel I’m on the right path here.
  • Last step: while my task list isn’t empty (and even though I added couple of new things – not too big things though) I feel confident to make a release version for the next time. A thing that I’m actually selling. I thought I could start selling it already, but some features just weren’t ready, so I decided to make one more iteration.
  • I got a bit more time to think about the pricing model. One thing I’m learned from marketing that it’s best to test things. I haven’t made the final decision yet (gonna finalize the game first), but I will ponder two possibilities for game pricing. The first one is the (1) freemium model: something along lines “one map to play over and over” (plus you get additional features when purchasing the “premium” game) and other is the typical (2) 60 minute demo limitation which many publishers have found working. I thought I could go with one of these models first for at least 1000 downloads and then do the same for other model. (Or simply by doing 2 different installers and randomly let people download the demo version, and then see which one converts better). I have good tracking on the game so I can see which version is launched by how many people, so I can compare the stats.

(The reason I’m doing the testing is that I originally planned to go for typical 60 minute limitation, but during the development the “freemium” model has raised its head in such manner that I simply think it would be foolish to ignore it. If anything at all, at least I will be able to see how this stuff worked for me and write about it for you.)

I’m pretty excited, and will get the last bits and pieces together as effectively as possible.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Ok, but just so you know… :)
    I have downloaded Quake wars: Enemy territory Demo from steam, and it simpley gives one map you can play in multiplayer how much you like.
    So basically you can play as much as you want, but its called a demo.

    I can understand there is a difference between giving “complete gameplay” and giving “incomplete gameplay”.
    If your game is single player and the whole single player campaign is 10 levels, but you give only 5 in the demo. Then you give “incomplete gameplay”.
    Because the people that will play those five levels, and then get the “end of demo” message, will feel like they were stopped in the middle of the action.
    However, if you give one multiplayer map, and can play against real players over the internet, how much you like. Then you are given a complete gameplay.
    Because you can complete a match in this map in the demo, the same way you would in the full version.
    Though I find it hard to see how you can implement the same technique in a single player game.
    How would you give the whole game, and make players want to pay for something more?

  2. I’ll write a blog post about this. There’s difference between “you cannot play anymore” and “keep playing, but here’s more shiny things”.

  3. Cool juuso.
    However, what is the different between the freemium plan you have and a demo\full version scheme?
    It sounds almost the same to me.

  4. 1) It’s good to pay attention to sounds. Many people don’t realize how much different sounds a game needs, and especially with physics, you need also sound physics (=varying sounds depending on impact force and which materials collide with eachother).

    2) I blame the dog owner.

    3) Regular new releases are important to keep the game development alive. It’s also always a big push to finalize a release, and a great relief when it’s out. That’s what makes game development fun, those finalizations of things and getting something done. That avoids the hypnotizing routine work which kills all motivation.

    4) Other people see errors and missing things immediately, which you would hardly see. A good practice is also to try to explain something to someone who has no clue what you are talking about, that shows you what you forgot, and what is not coherent.

    5) It’s good to keep in mind the different modes you can get in, when developing a game: The perfectionist mode, the productive mode, and the theorist mode. The productive mode is what drives games to be finished, but the other modes are also good from time to time to have some change in routine, so they support productive mode, which also would fall into routine hypnoticism and fail.

    6) Every game should have a free shareware version which includes a few levels of the game. Doom, Far Cry, Crysis, they all did that, and it’s what is expected from a professional game. If you don’t provide a free demo, nobody will even think of bying it. Time limited demos raise doubt in customers, as they might fear that they can’t finish the demo if something comes up, and they can’t continue to play the game for a few months. When I see a time limited demo, I would make sure I can finish it in time, so it might take long time before I even start to play the demo, and then I might completely forget about it when I am sure to have a continous period of time quaranteed.

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