Bash Cas 2009

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by princec, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. GolfHacker

    GolfHacker Member

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    Yeah, it's hard to get a business off the ground and make it successful when you're only doing it part-time. It's hard to crank out enough new games to keep web traffic growing. That's one of the reasons I'm going full-time at the end of the year... to try and crank out a bunch of smaller games and build up my product list.
     
  2. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    I'm still really curious as to how your XBox port is selling. I completely understand your reasoning behind sticking with Java for making games, but lets face it, doing so has certainly left some doors closed (Xbox, PS, Wii, iPhone, etc.). I can't help but wonder if the choice you (and myself for that matter) have made is what's limiting income possibilities. Even Flash (which I also would rather not use) has choices available for ad-based revenue streams that Java does not.

    I suppose if your game isn't selling on the XBox either, then this is a moot point and it's something else holding you back. So, please, let us know once you hear about your XBox numbers. :D
     
  3. SteveZ

    Indie Author

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    Your game converts well and you don't get many downloads - so it looks like pumping up the latter helps. Back in the indie days of Cactus Bruce I tried measurable marketing to ramp up the downloads. It's nothing fantastic but it works:

    Example 1: Download.com used to offer paid download. I scored it at 11 cent a download. That means it costs me $11 for 100 downloads. CB can average 1.5 sales per 100 downloads. 1.5 sales x 18 profit/copy = $27 gross. Net income per 100 downloads gives me $27-$11=$15. I would get a couple thousand downloads per month and that gives me a nice little revenue stream. Measurable.

    Example 2: I used GameBanners back in the days. They helped me track conversion rate to my website. From my website I had a somewhat effective way to track total downloads. From there it was another measurable way to get more downloads and sales to make up the cost.

    Now things are slightly different, but I'm sure there's more marketing strategies you can do to blow up on downloads and rack in the sales.
     
  4. wazoo

    Original Member

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    Given that you're just about the most well known game development outfit using Java, I'm still floored that SUN is doing squat on your behalf.

    You've been an evangelist for years, with no reciprocal aid from Sun.

    At the very least, you'd think it would be pushing the puppygames brand on their Java download page, instead of giant images of smiling models in front of a computer.

    Anyways, best of luck to you man and I hope the strategies you guys try out bring some success. I'm constantly getting bitten by needing "office work" for project funding as well. :(
     
  5. princec

    Indie Author

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    XBox - no idea about sales. M$ have the stats, Paul Cunningham's handling the details.

    Sun - we've done a lot of (unpaid) work for Sun in the past and a fair amount of evangelising, but largely keep quiet about it these days because I don't want the competition :p I was just about to start working for Sun when an edict from on high froze the recruitment process for several months so I'm doing a contract instead while I wait for them to get their asses in gear. I won't give you any more details but I'll just say that Java will soon have full 3D acceleration out-of-the-box, the security dialog stuff will be handled rather better, and that it'll also be on PS3 this time, which suddenly makes it a massively attractive platform.

    (As for frontpage stuff... well, I honestly don't think our cheapass games are the best advertisement for Java)

    Tracking downloads - if anything we are the masters of statistics and tracking :) We are having terrible trouble getting any volume of traffic to our site for reasonable money though. Our $200/month advertising budget just about breaks even in sales I think. But what we're looking for is that sustained 10x leap in traffic that will probably only come from releasing a killer game or having 10x as many games.

    Cas :)
     
  6. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    If you want quality traffic the only way is paid advertising or releasing a new game. Releasing a new one and a PR is the best for me, and that's what works best for portals too, so...
     
  7. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I'll bug you once I'm happy with my design docs on the idea.

    Hell, I'll just post 'em and let folks critique them.
     
  8. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    Sorry - I'm just a die hard believer in viral marketing. As far as I've seen it always works - but never quickly.
     
  9. princec

    Indie Author

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    Not reliably either. You need a whole load of factors to hit the right spot at exactly the right time, not all of them entirely in your control.

    Cas :)
     
  10. princec

    Indie Author

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    I agree Jack, it's just that we can't seem to write games quickly enough to keep the traffic flowing in. If we could do one game every month we'd rapidly become a big fixture on the net but once a year just won't cut it.

    Cas :)
     
  11. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    I'm also a believer in viral marketing. Do you know how it works? You get something incredibly interesting/exciting/amazing and people tell other people about it. As I said, an indie portal isn't remotely interesting enough.
     
  12. KNau

    Original Member

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    Could be an indication that it's time to move into doing some publishing. How are your sales of Gravitron 2 and Tribal Trouble in comparison to your own titles? Even if sales are lower, the ROI may be better because the time overhead to affiliate those games is minimal.

    You have enough experience and a growing audience that you could probably publish other developer's games that are in the same style as yours and release a new game each month, at a rate better than standard affiliate commission. For a non-exclusive (or maybe timed exclusive) deal at a better rate than the portals (say 50%) I can see you finding some takers. You just have to find the games and make sure they suit your brand.

    Or, what about finding a Flash game that suits your style and doing a site exclusive sponsorship? See if that will bring in buying traffic (and settle that argument for good). An even better scam is the "Flash contest" where you get shitload of games and traffic for next to nothing.

    Lastly, if you recall the advice of the Great and Mighty Pavlina you should be releasing expansion packs for your existing games, which would require significantly less time to develop but show users you're continually supporting your titles. Hell, you could even contract out the level design.

    The one thing that won't work is doing more of the same at the same pace.
     
  13. princec

    Indie Author

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    All good suggestions but there's a few problems along the way...

    We seem to do pretty badly selling affiliated games for some reason. Even with a newsletter to announce them going to 4000 odd people we literally make a few sales and that's it. There are also very few games in our style or even vaguely like our style that have the level of polish we require. Gravitron2 for example though very nicely presented is way too difficult and frustrating, not available on the Mac, and annoyingly very cheap. As for Flash games... well, we're still thinking about the "browser game" space. I don't want it to detract from our primary objective of selling downloadable games.

    WRT expansion packs -- well, by the time we finish a game we're usually bored shitless of developing it. We tend not to make very expandable games as well... I can't think of any meaningful way to "expand" any of our 3 main titles. We need to develop titles with this in mind from the start. (Which we are, next time)

    Cas :)
     
  14. elias4444

    elias4444 New Member

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    Well, not to toot my own horn, but you're welcome to affiliate my last game. :p

    So, in Sun years, soon = about 2 to 4 years from now? Their track record for "soon" hasn't proven very well in the past. I hope you can change that. I'm repeatedly shocked by Sun's unwillingness/inability to catch up on the client-side of things. I also think a main Java issue right now is their lack of packaging options. JavaFX seems to be heading in the right direction with that, but even on Sun's own websites (check out the Java Media Framework site), more than half of their applets won't load anymore. They really need to simplify distribution somehow. Even launching a standard Java app is tedious with the whole classpath having to be specified. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer Java, but it's lack of simplicity hasn't helped at all.
     
  15. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    Er... No, that's not quite the idea I'm thinking of.

    Viral marketing takes advantage of every single free/cheap avenue available. This can be anything and everything depending on your networking skills. Email lists, encouragement to tell other players about the game, gimmicks such as getting people to send in pictures of their face for characters, myspace bulletins, cheap adverts on web comic sites, usenet postings, forum postings, posting links in all your messages so that google picks it up from blogs and forums, allowing PC manufacturers to install the demo on their PC...

    The list goes on and on. A big issue is of course getting quality traffic.

    Hmmm... Maybe we should move this to a separate thread and see what kind of offbeat stuff everyone can come up with.
     
  16. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    About JavaFX: unless there is an artist friendly Flash-like graphical designer that produces JavaFX files where writing code is totally optional and you can make some nice smooth animations without leaving your mouse, then i don't see JavaFX replacing Flash anytime soon.

    From what i've seen from JavaFX so far its basically a simple(?) scripting language that reminds me of Quake map files. Even if it is a simple syntax, it is still a script, thus requiring some coding knowledge. This isn't a good thing because most visually "cool" stuff is made by artists and most artists have the coding part of their brain totally damaged.

    In other words for JavaFX to succeed, it needs to target artists not coders. And with target i don't mean put a red target on their heads and shoot them :p.
     
  17. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    Maybe someone could bug the Inkscape folks about this?
     
  18. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Inkscape is about SVG not JavaFX. I don't think these two share much :).
     
  19. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Viral maketing means "people tell people who tell other people". Making a forum post about your game doesn't do that unless your game is interesting. Likewise - nobody talks about your indie steam unless it's interesting. From the way you talk I guess you've never done any of the above and therefore have no idea how well it actually does or doesn't work.
     
  20. princec

    Indie Author

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    Viral marketing isn't just about people telling other people who tell other people. Everybody does that about everything. Viral marketing requires some extra mechanism, the "marketing" part, that makes people tell more people quicker.

    Cas :)
     

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