Monthly Archives: December 2009

Last Day of Year 2009

It’s the last day of year 2009 (at least for those who don’t live in China…). I’m on another holiday trip and will return tomorrow. I will do a “post mortem of 2009″ blog post within some days and look also to the future.

Happy new year everybody!

How was your year 2009?

Have You Created This Type Of “Hidden Object Game” That I’ve Made?

My email inbox is flooding.

I’m looking at my desktop. It’s flooding as well. I remember seeing something useful somewhere. I think there was a web camera somewhere here.

There’s tons of stuff waiting here. Well, unorganized stuff, but it makes the desktop looks junk. The piles have been here for some time now due move and other stuff. But now I’m going to do something about this.

(7 minutes later)

Alright. That didn’t take long and I can now actually see my desktop. Feeling great. (Also found the webcam)

Next step: unsubscribe from 90% of the newsletters I keep receiving. Right now I get too much spam and stuff that I’ve subscribed into and it turns my inbox in some sort of “hidden object game” where I need to figure out how to find useful stuff.

(22 minutes later)

Phew.

That was a big thing. It was relatively fast just until I tried to figure out how to unsubscribe from the xbox.com newsletter. Well, they say in their newsletter that “you can modify your newsletter options from your account”. I go there. I see nothing about newsletter. Then I find a sub-section saying how to subscribe to newsletter.

But nothing about unsubscribe from the newsletter. Then I go bitching about this to one of my friends and googled (found quite interesting link, heh) about this but found nothing but trouble. Well, people having trouble unsubscribing from the gold account – nobody knew anything about mailing list.

Maybe it’s somewhere in very easy place but I couldn’t find it and I’m really close to doing an email rule that gets rid of those emails. If somebody knows how to unsubscribe form xbox.com mailing list, please let me know.

Anyway. This was perhaps the most awesomenest half an hour I spent I spent to become more productive next year.

Now, if only I’d know how to unsubscribe from all those pill emails, and my hidden object game would be totally solved…

Target Audience: Me (Part 2/2)

I wanted to split this post into 2 parts, since I wanted to say a few words about the Dead Wake target audience. Which is “Me & community”. Dead Wake development started from the pretty original idea of seeing what would happen if I’d let players help design the game. I have made it clear that (1) there’s certain guidelines that are fixed (like, the game is about survival and no, there won’t be bazookas with 50 missiles for you to use running around the field naked.) (2) all player ideas are ideas that might get in the game or not get in the game and (3) that there’s frequent releases (every 2 months or so was the average so far).

I will most likely write more about how this arrangement has been working, but I want to bring out another thing about the target audience.

In this game, I did test other games and I started working on this game after playing flash game Last Stand. This is between you and me, but seriously: this game was something I really enjoyed and wanted to bring something similar in a 3D world. With unique touch. (Very briefly put, naturally there’s other factors too).

I like testing & playing Dead Wake – I feel that this game has target audience mainly “me”. Other players and testers have been giving tons of (good) ideas and I’ve managed to keep on working on a game that’s “for me”. It’s also for others, but I also like playing Dead Wake.

Getting feedback is essential, but so it’s also making sure that the stuff I do is fun – and that the stuff I do is the stuff I decide to do.

Otherwise it sounds like work, right?

Target Audience: Me (Part 1/2)

Around 2001 – when my gaming hobby had grown to such point that I could actually make game stuff in 3D – I had no courses nor experience in marketing. When I started doing that “battlefield 1942 but in fantasy world with elves & orcs” game I had a very clear target audience: “me”.

I managed to finish some sort of network system (was crap, but hey – it somewhat worked with at least 2-4 players) and some 3d models (very low poly, but hey – those were animated!) and it even had some fighting (not much, but hey – at least the guys died). It even had this cool looking torch and I remember testing the game thing with 1-2 friend of mine and we were simply chatting in the game. 1 troll, 1 goblin and 1 dwarf were standing next to each other – watching torch light to burn. I had my first touches in network programming and also I had a clear vision to whom this game is made.

When learning more about games and marketing, I got introduced to this idea about “making game to others.” And “defining your target” audience. I have studied (and practiced) marketing where “finding your niche” and “selecting user segments” are important. It felt right, and “doing game for others” made sense.

Now… after eight years, I’ve kind of gone the full circle.

I’m not sure if this thing works for big studios and big corporations who go to big mass markets with big money. I have no experience on that.

But, my gut feeling that for indie guys… this is how you determine your target market:

Ignore everybody else, and do what you feel is fun to play – the tarket market is you.

I believe Cliff Harris is somewhat in favor of this tactic. He mentioned in his game’s post mortem that the strategy game idea evolved from the idea about having a game where he wouldn’t need to micromanage things – but that he could have time to prepare the fight – and then watch it happening.

I know that the recent book I read Ignore Everybody (that’s an excellent book for any indie whether you agree or disagree with me about this target market thing) has affected my thinking, and it might be that right now I feel more strong about this market segment thing.

Anyway.

I do this stuff for me
I think it’s okay to do some market research. I think it’s good to see what others have done and do something unique or different… but I kind of feel that the most important factor in game creating should be that creating the game should be fun. I think it should not be about money.

Somewhere it was asked “passion” or “profit”? And I’ve usually answered “both” in the past.

Now I’m leaning into answering “passion”.

I feel that the target audience should definitely be “me”. All the stuff I do needs to be fun (Hmm, by thinking back – I think this probably has been true). Money is okay – but it should be secondary thing.

If there would be an indie tree, then Fun is the root. Money is the fruit.

And if there’s no fruits (money) – at least you have had great fun growing the tree.

1100 Kilometers And Counting…

I’m coming back from my xmas trip… just to leave soon to another xmas trip. The total amount of kilometers is about 1100 within one week. That’s not a big deal but compared to my usual driving miles it’s pretty big.

Especially when it’s winter.

But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do… even if it means going the extra mile.

Where You Go For Indie Games?

Indie Xmas site got me pondering about selling more indie games. I’ve been a BFG affiliate for quite a time now, but there’s not so many indie games. Well, there is… but they are kind of match-3 type of games. Or hidden object games. Most of them.

Semantics aside…

Where you go for Indie games?

Currently for me it’s Steam. Occasionally BFG (you can try dig some games from there too). And then I used to check Game Tunnel (which seems pretty much offlineish nowadays). And then there’s some places like D2D. And then some review sites like Indie Flux and many, many more. Manifesto and Kongregate used to be places to go… but not for me any more. Manifesto shut down and Kongregate is more like a Flash portal (nothing bad about that)

But where do you go when you really want to try & buy Indie games?

Did The Indie Xmas Calendar Thingy Made You Sales?

I couldn’t resist blogging, and I’m going to ask around to see what sort of sales people got via Indie Xmas. I might also share some more stats later when I get back from my holiday trip (this is a scheduled post you know), but at least on 22th day there was like 65000+ pageviews and 8000+ unique visitors which is pretty nice.

In case you participated, please feel free to share some stats about traffic or sales if you got any. Naturally there was tons of games, so for individual games the stats might not be that big. Possibly some sales here and there I’d say. (Who knows).