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.