Monthly Archives: August 2009

Bribe Me! (Just Got King of Fighters XII to Test)

Here’s me with my just received bribe in my hands.

I recently got a review copy for King of Fighters XII and while I haven’t checked it out yet, I wanted to mention that I’m open for similar bribes. Right now I’m interested in physical copies (since they look better in pictures), and especially games for Playstation 3.

I look forward into checking in how this game runs… I have no idea if I’ll like it but this certainly brought me memories about the visit I did to Turkey 15-20 years ago when we kids played Street Fighter II every day… anyway, I’ll report back later.

Here’s a King of Fighters XII trailer for those interested.

Small tip for bloggers: using ads and stuff like that isn’t the only way to “monetize” your blog, just ask people to send you goodies and you’ll be surprised on the stuff you can receive.

I’m a Casual Hardcore Gamer (And Developer)

Kind of.

Some days ago I was pondering what kind of games I like to play, and what kind of games I like to develop.

I kind of feel that “hardcore gamer” and “casual gamer” are a bit limited categories. I think that ten (or more) years ago I had tons of free time to spend into gaming. I played a lot. All sorts of action/rpg/sports/whatnot games over and over. All games I played could be considered to be “hardcore” type of games.

Today, I still play “hardcore” games. But the difference is that I play them casually. I don’t play 8 hours in a row. I don’t play every week. Sometimes a month or two might have passed and I notice that I haven’t played any video games. For the past weeks, I’ve taken some time to play some games casually.

A typical playing session for me could be that I spend like one hour playing some online multiplayer game, where the map hardly changes and rounds last like 10 minutes or so. The game is hardcore, my participation casual.

I feel this also affects on what sort of game I’m developing (and to some extend on what I’ve developed, or planned to develop).

I don’t see myself doing casual games, nor I have much interest in playing them. (With that being said, I’m of course checking them out and figuring out what works there, that could work elsewhere…)

Any other casual hardcore gamers (or developers) out there?

Cooperative Online Multiplayer Games?

I typed words “cooperative online multiplayer game” in Google and wanted to see what kind of list of games I could get. Well, not a huge one. Take a look at here:

In the top of the list, I could see list of cooperative games for Xbox 360 (Wikipedia).

Then, quite near the top was some free coop game (I have no idea what this game is)

And then there was some links to discussion about “where to find cooperative online multiplayer games” – threads such as this.

Steam of course has many multiplayer games (and Half-life mods). GameStreamer also has their list, but I wonder if there are any publishers strictly focused on cooperative multiplayer games?

Interestingly, from (physical) board games, there’s a big list of them available (at board game geek).

Where are the coopeartive online multiplayer games located? Who is publishing them?

People Are Great At Finding Exploits (See What This Brainiac Did)

My zombie survival game demo has a “nag screen” done so that after you’ve played the game, it opens the browser and comes to Dead Wake game website. I added a simple version parameter after it opens the webpage, just to get a bit of information about who got in the site from which version.

So, for example, if you try the demo it will open browser in an website address like this:

http://www.deadwakegame.com/version=0.9.8

Now, this worked pretty okay, until I saw mysterious urls in my analytics page:

http://www.deadwakegame.com/version=1

http://www.deadwakegame.com/version=1.0

http://www.deadwakegame.com/version=1.0.0

“Version=1?” I thought.

Then I realized that some guy had decided to type different version info directly in the browser (I suppose she really wants the game…). So basically, somebody did a tiny “hack” in my system.

So, the bottom line here is:

  • If you want to use Google Analytics to track your players, you can open browser window but it’s a good idea to give some code name to each version. Like instead of version=0.9.8 it could say “version=YARD” or “version=GUTS” or something like that.
  • Consider serializing/encrypting the information if you want to keep it more hack proof.
  • If you are using some other system (like the game discussing directly with your server – which my game actually does when submitting scores, but I don’t track these numbers right now) then of course this type of things are hardly needed.

And the other bottom line is that no matter what I do… I’m always getting surprised on how creative human species is. It’s fraking amazing what kind of ideas and ways people figure out to solve things, when you give them something to ponder.

Pure Sudoku Sales Stats Update (Pricing Experiment That Worked)

Mark from Glowing Eye Games kindly shared his Pure Sudoku sales statistics in the past and now he approached me and wanted to share an update for his stats.

Game Title: Pure Sudoku
Previous sales stats info: available here

Update by Mark:
“Pure Sudoku had its price changed from $9.99 to $5.99. Sale numbers increased significantly partly due to the price change and partly due to additional promotional efforts that brought in 50% more visitors to the website each month. Below I have made sure that my figures compensate for the additional visitors due to the promotional efforts.

Before the price change I was selling 20-25 copies of the game a month. So $200 to $250 in income before commissions being paid each month (but note I pay a European sales tax for copies of the game sold in Europe).

After the price change here are the numbers (income, before commission, but including sales taxes on European sales).

March = 45 copies = $302.06
April = 31 copies = $183.15
May = 38 copies = $225.80
June = 79 copies = $463.45
July = 64 copies = $380.06

Now if we take an average income of $225 before the price change we can see that my overall income for March to April was nearly unchanged (average of $237, a 5% increase). However even with a 50% increase in visitors for at the old price point which would have expected to get $337.50 for each month, it appears that my price change may have brought me an 11% increase in income for the June and July months.

What is great is that the game continues to sell and find fans, and even though the results aren’t a major increase it does make me happy to know that more people each month are enjoying the deluxe version. It’s likely I will keep the current price.”

Bottom line
Price change from $9.99 to $5.99 resulted in 11% increase in income for the June and July months.

More information
Mark’s main development site is: Glowing Eye Games
His Solitaire Games website: Solitaire Paradise

Thanks
Thanks Mark for sharing this story, and update. I find it really great for us all to get these type of stories where you experiment with the prices and see how things go. For Pure Sudoku this certainly worked.

In case you want to get informed when new sales stats become available, remember to subscribe to the spam-free-good-stuff-only game producer mailing list.

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.