... visits page, discovers it has absolutely no content on it for those of us paranoid enough to disable JS on all non-privileged domains... : )
I'm at about 1000 downloads (at least in terms of MBs of site traffic) with my new game Tsunami Sweeper now, and have yet to see my first sale. I really think I have a fun little puzzle game (it's similar to mine sweeper but requires quite different solving strategies).
So my questions are:
1) Am I expecting to much by hoping for a 1% conversion from downloads?
2) Are there any clear problems, or missed opportunities with this game, or website that might be hindering sales?
Most of my marketing up to this point has just been toward the general shareware + puzzle + game sites/communities... This seems to be a tough market to really stand out to, but I've also just started finding interest in publishing print versions of these puzzles. Several publishers have mentioned that puzzle games in general are just a hard category of games to really move. I'm interested in hearing any experiences that back the relevance of any of these factors.
Finally, I'll be very interested in hearing what people think of the way the shareware version of the game is content limited. My initial thought was to ship with 5 puzzles that are randomly shuffled through when a user plays. My thinking was that by the time a player starts recognizing which level is which, he/she should be ready to buy, or move on. I ended up releasing the first Trial verion with 10 random levels. I know 10 doesn't sound like a lot, but even with 5 levels, it takes a while before you really start recognizing repeating puzzles. I'm now starting to think that 5 might have been better after all. What do you think?
Thanks for you time, Ash.
Minor nitpick, but why can't I scroll via my mousewheel on your product page?
Thanks for the feedback.
EpicBoy: I've noticed the no mousewheel scroll problem in FireFox/Mozilla/NS browsers, but it works fine in IE. I assume this is because that middle section is a seperate <div>, but haven't been able to find a good way to fix that. I like the <div> better than <frame> for control reasons, and haven't thrown them out because I like the layout, and like you, have basically classified this as a "minor nitpicK" (at least for now).
Papillion: I thought I had tested this, and expected you would at least get a link to the site's text only version. There is some excessive .js in the page that loads in the internal content etc., but it's also used for positioning/layout, so I figured it would be best to just send people without .js browsers to the text only page. I'll look into finding a more automatic way of doing this tonight. I would like to hear what browser you are using though, so I can try to replicate what you are getting. (I believe I tested the site in IE, NS, Firefox, Mozilla, and Lynx.)
Edit Update: Papillion: I replicated your problem, and believe I have fixed it. Non-Js browsers will now get redirected to the TextOnly page. If they've also disabled redirect, they should just get a friendly link.
Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing what you think about the game.
Wish I had a 1% conversion for my games - mine is more a 0.1%! So, don't lose hope and keep the faith.Originally Posted by LiquidAsh
Frankly, I think the graphics of your game a bit too dull. Doesnt mean you have to go all saturated and bright and shiny, but right now it feels too dark and unappetizing. Maybe introduce some near-white for game pieces or such.
Also, the background is too active and busy and distracts greatly from the board itself.
It was hard to find New, Help and Quit buttons in-game. They`re too small, took nearly ten seconds to find and recognize them for me.
Out of curiousity - why is game called *Tsunami* Sweepers? Maybe i didnt play long enough, but there wasnt anything tsunami-like
On your website - why not give at least one "full screenshot", not just the board itself? From web-visitors perspective, it seems that there`s nothing much in your game.
Just my two cents. And I hope I dont sound like a grumpy nay-sayer
From what I've seen of the trial levels the game seems to be a little off. I could be wrong though.
Is it supposed to be that only the numbers on the outside of the board will be in the matrix of a correct board? I've played through some of your games and all the options don't seem to be listed on the outsides...
Do you get what I mean?
Also... it's pretty hard to figure out, so maybe you just have a bunch of action/quick/thrill-kill gamers coming through and not ordering.
On second thought... I just don't get it.
It's getting late though.
Last edited by nemo54321; 09-01-2004 at 12:09 AM.
Thanks on the feedback guys.
On Nauris' Comments - There is now a screenshot on the tsunami sweeper page (before it was just on the games page, oops and thanks). The Tsunami element of the game is in cross referencing numbers between rows and columns. This is a delicate point in that Tsunami numbers work a bit differently (ie they specify the number of consecutive elements of a type, rather than just the type). I agree that the graphics are somewhat lacking, and am having a hard time putting my finger on what to do about it. I do want a somewhat subdued look... Anyway about the menu buttons, I think I'll move the new, help, etc. to the top row of buttons. Do you think that would help, or is it just their size that's the problem. I know they are on the small side, but really like having them all sitting there in plain view.
On Nemo54321's Comments - I think communicating how to play this game is my biggest current problem. If anyone who does, or does not understand how to play, could point me to any confusing, or alternative ways of explaining this game, I would be very greatful. I think I have a pretty clear and concise description, but am sure it could and should be better. I've recently been told that puzzle games without action elements are very hard to sell. This sounds about right considering what puzzle games seem to be doing well out there(?).
I really appreciate the time you guys have taken in giving me feedback here.
Many thanks, Ash.
here`s a quickie mockup of how IMHO could your pieces look. I`d have edited existing files, but i see you`ve embedded them and i cant access them.
its by no means anything grand, but a quick try to spice up the look. I think it looks a bit more eye-appealing this way.
just a tuppence.
When I saw your site I immediately asked myself: Why should I even download something that doesn't look as good as Microsoft's Minesweeper, but otherwise seems to be exactly the same as Minesweeper? Normally I would leave your site within 30 seconds...
Maybe you should make it a bit more prominent what is special about your game.
(Hope this doesn't sound too harsh... )
Captain Nemo - What gave you the impression the game was just the same as mineswepper? My hope was that the column and row numbers would suggest the difference (ie those numbers are actually used for something).
Nauris - I appreciate the effort in putting together that mockup, but I think I was just personally going for something different. It probably would have been easier (for me anyway) to do a more fo-3d rigid "minesweeper"-esque design. This path probably would have lead to a more standard commercial puzzle game look and feel, and one that fans of minesweeper would be more familiar with. Intead I tried to play on the Tsunami part of the name, creating the crazy wavey background, and somewhat rickety looking wood planks. In retrospect, I'm not sure this was the best decision business-wise. Personally though, I'm still very happy with the choice.
A continued thanks on the comments folks, keep them comming .
P.S. I'm asking for feedback here, so absolutely no worries about being harsh.
Since your competing in such a saturated genre (puzzle games) I think you'll need to "up" the graphics quality of your game. Right now, the graphics quality isn't up to the same level as the competitions' (IMO).
Nauris' stuff is a good start (and definitely a step up). I would look at that as a good starting point.
p.s. don't feel bad - our first product had the same problem... You just have to remember - casual games != lesser graphics quality. The graphics quality bar is actually pretty high for casual games (including puzzle games) if you want someone to pay for your game..
I hate to look dumb, but I've read the "How to play" section and I still have no idea how to play this game, despite having played a LOT of Minesweeper (who hasn't). I have never heard of the 'Tsunami' game.
Don't get me wrong. It looks like an interesting game. If a lot of people had the same experience I had, though, I could see it turning away a lot of people who like to be able to play a game shortly after installing it. If there were a tutorial that took me partway into a game, graphically ~showing~ me how to use the information presented, it would make me a lot more willing to go on a bit longer.
Well, I saw the first picture on your page and the first sentence describing the goal and the sweeper influence which sounded exactly like Minesweeper, and since I wasn't impressed by the graphics I didn't even look further. But since you got at least those 1000 downloads, it seems not everybody reacted like meOriginally Posted by LiquidAsh
I would suggest a little info page about what a Tsunami Game is, I played it and still don't know
Also I found it just too difficult to play without reading the directions. I even selected tiles and numbers, but I could not even figure out how to lose!? I do not read directions, but a little Condensed info blub would go a long way.
I'm sorry but I just did not like this game. Don't feel bad, I was not a real big fan of minesweeper anyway.
I appreciate all the feedback everyone. Unfortunately the overwhelming consensus seems to be that the game is too hard to figure out how to play. The graphics could use some improvement, but I'm not as concerned about that... who cares what it looks like, if nobody knows how to play.
If anyone has any suggestions for the instructions, or even just questions about how to play... it would be great to hear them. I'm don't care too much about not making money with this game (since this is really more of a: for fun endevor), but it seems a shame that I can't find a good way to convey how to play this game quickly to players. Specially since several of those who did figure it out (including myself) have gotten quite a bit of enjoyment out of the game. Hey and if anyone did figure it out, please let me know.
Re: Sunshine's Comment - how's this for a condensed blurb?
The object of this game is to find and mark exactly those grid cells that conceal a mine. As in other sweeper games, all non-mine-concealing cells should instead be labeled with a number 0-8 to indicate how many of that cell's neighbors conceal mines. All of the labels you will need for each puzzle are listed (in order) outside each column and row. These listing do not include labels for 0's, mines, nor do they repeat numbers when consecutive cells have the same number of neighboring mines.
This may be pretty similar to what's on the website, but it's really hard to describe the game much more concisely than that. Maybe that information just needs to be presented a little differently .
I think you've hit the nail on the head here.Maybe that information just needs to be presented a little differently .
Try putting these phrases into the blurb : "..by pressing left mouse button", "..by pressing right mouse button..", "..by pressing the number of your guess.."
I don't think it's really too hard, just too hard for people like me that won't read directions
I like a quick splash screen at the first, then if I need help....Well, let's put it this way, I'm one of those guys that never stops to ask directions I just click randomly.
I would make a Blub that assumes knowledge of minesweeper, then a button that says "show full instructions."
I would avoid sentences like thisThese listing do not include labels for 0's, mines, nor do they repeat numbers when consecutive cells have the same number of neighboring mines.
Try : "The lables may be used more than once."