Download.com worth it?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Chaster, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Chaster

    Original Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I've just finished up a new game, and we're in the process of spreading it around the internet as much as possible. I was just wondering what everyone feels about Download.com... Worth it? Our game is a Word Find Game (similar to Bookworm) targeting the casual gaming audience. Do you think there are enough members of this demographic to justify the listing on Download.com? It seems like a good thing to do, but been hearing some mutterings about it not being worth it....

    Chaster
     
  2. Devman

    Original Member

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    I enjoyed your game, and I am a "hardcore" gamer, so I think you should. If you can make 4 or 5 sales off it, then it's worth the $80 price tag.

    In November I am also going to try their pay per download program, probably $0.15 per completed download, and some increased exposure I think.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Chaster

    Original Member

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    Thanks

    Hi Devman,

    Thanks for taking the time to try out the game & the kind and encouraging words... It really helps!

    I think I will try the Download.com listing... =)

    Eric
     
  4. siread

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    You won't regret it!
     
  5. merovingian

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    This is Spellunker, yes? I tried it out. You've created quite a few nice twists on bookworm with it. My only real complaints are that one, the games on places like Real Arcade tend to be rendered at 10x7 32 bit color. Your art assets look kind of dated in comparison. And, the music skips on my machine. That's a no no.

    I suspect the likes of Steve Pavlina would say it's far more important to market rather than improve your game, but your game's already great and the two things I'm saying here are all about first impressions. Once you grab your customer, I suspect they're there to stay. And as always, my advice is worth every penny you paid for it.
     
  6. Chaster

    Original Member

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    Thanks for the feedback merovingian! =)

    Hey merovingian (you've pretty vocal lately... cool :)

    About the art - we identified Bookworm as our main competition, and Bookworm uses 640x480 (really! surprising eh? they have very clean art). Our game uses 800x600, and we decided that was sufficient. We considered going 1024x768, but found that it upped the system requirements (more pixels being blitted) for not much improvement in appearance, so we just stuck with 800x600.

    The music thing is kinda strange - we used a 3rd party sound library because we were planning on doing a PocketPC port of the game (still might - but first things first... gotta take care of the initial release platform.. =). Unfortunately, it seems to not like certain sound chips (manifesting as no sound or music.. doh!) . We haven't been able to track down the problem either because it's an intermittent thing... gah.

    Well, thanks for your feedback either way! =)

    Chaster
     
  7. 3dben

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    Which one? (if you dont mind me asking).

    Thanks.

    -=ben
     
  8. Chaster

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    Sound library used in Spellunker

    We used Hekkus Sound System - it's a pretty unknown library, but it has cross compatibility with PocketPC, and since we were planning on doing a port to PocketPC (hence the reason we also used Gapidraw for graphics) we wanted to make the port as easy as possible.

    I *believe* the url is something like www.shlzero.com - but if that's not it, you can always do a google for Hekkus Sound System.

    Chaster
     
  9. simonh

    Indie Author

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    I've had my game on download.com for about a day or two now, and so far it has generated the grand total of about 20 hits. Seeing as I've paid $70 to get it listed, so far I can't say it's been worth it.

    I fear the glory days of download.com where it would generate thousands of hits in a few days are long gone. :(
     
  10. Mike Wiering

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    Now that download.com hosts your downloads, you won't see the hits in your own logs.
     
  11. mkovacic

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Are you sure you're counting the downloads right? Download.com's counter shows 150+, and since you're using their hosting not all downloads will be from your site.

    Download.com can get you a *very* decent spike in traffic with a bit of luck. If your game gets a top rating (5 stats) it helps a bit. If you get it quickly enough your game will be placed on the main (games) page for quite a while (in the most recent top rated titles list at the bottom of the page), this can get you 100+ downloads a day for a few weeks. If you don't get it quickly enough, do a small update, they will re-review it much more quickly.

    And there's always a chance something like this will happen, that got us about 1000 downloads a day for a week or so.

    Anyway, I'd surprised if you don't manage to recoup those $70 in a month or so.
     
  12. simonh

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    Sorry yes it appears I misjudged the data. 150 downloads is not so bad.

    I also paid Tucows to have it listed on there. It will appear in their What's New section on the 31st, so it should be interesting to see how many hits that gets me.
     
  13. EpicBoy

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    I've found Tucows to be fairly useless. Way too many titles and too much developer traffic ... your game can be run off the "what's new" page the same day it goes up.
     
  14. Jason Chong

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    Hekkus tips.

    The sound skipping could be due to the mixing buffer being too small and
    Win9x machines have poor multi-tasking.

    open up sound.h and double up the constants to these values

    #define MOD_MIXBUF_11025 496
    #define MOD_MIXBUF_22050 984
    #define MOD_MIXBUF_44100 1968

    Or double them to whatever you have there in your sound.h

    Then test it again and let us know!

    Recompile (maybe the library too)
     
  15. Chaster

    Original Member

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    Hey, thanks Jason! Much appreciated! =) But, I must be using an old version of Hekkus, because I don't have those defines in my sound.h... I have:

    #define MIXER_BUFFERLENGTH 135

    #define MIXER_BLOCKLENGTH 20
    #define MIXER_BLOCKMIN 3
    #define MIXER_BLOCKMAX 32


    And unfortunately, I can't repro the bug - it only happens on some random machines out there in the internet ether.. :(

     
  16. Jason Chong

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    Well, maybe you're using a newer version. I am using 0.97.6 and have
    encountered the breakup problem mentioned here.

    You can easily reproduce that problem on a Win9x based system running
    an old 16-bit Soundblaster ISA card. hehe.

    I'll recommend increasing the length of the buffer, the one specified even
    in the new version is too small, try giving it 1024 or 2048 bytes or something.
     
  17. simonh

    Indie Author

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    You were right. The 31st came and went (my one day on the What's New list), and I must have got barely 10-20 extra vistors to my site. Waste of money.

    So that's two of the big guns out the way (download.com and tucows.com), and they've barely helped at all. I think I really underestimated the difficulty of driving traffic to my site.

    I would urge everyone else to think carefully before throwing money at download.com and tucows.com like I did. There are probably better ways of spending it.
     
  18. Chaster

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    Hi Jason,

    I just went and downloaded the latest HSS (0.99.1 I think?) and the header files are completely changed again, but I went ahead and doubled buffer sizes anyway (at least, jacked them up for win9x machines to 1024). Hopefully, that will help with the bugs..

    Thanks again!

    Chaster
     
  19. mkovacic

    Original Member Indie Author

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    So do you still feel the same now that they've put you on the front page? ;)

    I don't know what you were expecting, but we'd be *very* happy if there were 10 websites that could generate us download.com-like traffic for measely $79 (each). We'd pay them all. Hell, if there was an infinite amount of such sites we'd be rich right now.
     
  20. simonh

    Indie Author

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    OK I changed my mind - download.com are well worth it :D
     

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