Flash game promotion basics

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by lennard, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I've just started trying to promote my first Flash title, Dungeon Brawl. Now that I've got something to play that's kinda sorta solid - it's time to start trying to build some buzz.

    I've hit Games Press Digest with a press release.

    I've sent some emails to a few Flash review sites. I'm planning on sending some more out to the mainstream game review sites.

    I'm planning on submitting to FGL at the end of the month when I have 9 complete playable levels and the game is complete. Not sure if a sponsorship is my best play or not but if a good deal comes along I think I'll keep it simple and take it.

    If no decent sponsorship deal is forthcoming in March then I plan to launch on NewGrounds and take my chances with the game finding a niche.


    What am I missing?
     
  2. AdrianC

    AdrianC New Member

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    In case you can't get sponsored, you could try Mochiads. Also, I would upload the game to more then just one flash game site, Kongregate is another big one.
     
  3. andrew

    andrew New Member

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    #1 Immediately: Site-lock your current game to your own site, you don't want some Chinese portal running across it and stealing it off your site), for now just check this.loaderInfo.url and make sure it matches wherever you're serving it from

    #2 Add tracking code so that you can see if it does get stolen/viral without your knowledge. MochiBot is one easy option, but I'd suggest Playtomic since it has more features.

    #3 What is your goal? The next steps depend on whether you want traffic to your own site, or want to make money per-play with it being played on a lot of sites. It's difficult to get both.

    If you want traffic to your site:

    - Forget sponsorship, you want wide distro with your branding
    - Make a slightly cut-down version (but do NOT call it a "demo"), and have visible upsell links to your own site (ex. "Play more levels at DungeonBrawl.com!")
    - Remove all site-locking in the cut-down version
    - Put the cut-down version on Kongregate, Newgrounds, Mochi distro, FGL distro, etc, and hope that you get good enough ratings to get front-paged. At some point, hopefully, it'll start going viral and you'll getting plays on tens if not hundreds of sites, with hopefully a decent 1-5% clickthrough to your own.

    If you just want $$:

    - Try to sell a sponsored version on FGL
    - Stick in preloader ads if the sponsor allows it
    - If you get a primary sponsorship, you can still sell site-locks to other sites
    - Try to sneak in a link to your site anyhow, many sponsors frown on this but you can often get away with something, somewhere

    Hope that helps...

    - andrew
     
  4. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    wow great tips thanks! I look forward to trying them out myself one day soon.
     
  5. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    I know about the others, but this one? What is FGL distro? Has flashgamelicense started doing something like mochiads?
     
  6. MarkSponge

    Original Member

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    He is talking about http://flashgamedistribution.com/

    It's like Mochi distribution but doesn't have ads. It's just a straight up distribution service to sites that pull games from the FGD feeds.
     
  7. Dogma

    Dogma New Member

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    It depends on what route you want to take. If you want a sponsor, then don't place a version online at all. A good flash game is much more valuable to a sponsor when it is not playable anywhere yet, because most flash games are only extremely popular for maybe a couple of weeks, maybe 2 months. It is usually a snack, not a full dinner. If a sponsor gets the impression the game has already peaked they will show far less interest and will pay less.

    As for distribution, FGL has a distribution API that will distribute the games to maybe? 500 sites or something at once, and it will automatically send out updates when you have a new release. I have created a flash game before (nomnom.tangrin.com), and it quite easily got over a million plays. I should have installed a traffic counter, on some sites it had over 500k plays. It also did generate quite some traffic to my site. This is not a big hit or even an original game, it was just a fun sideproject I did with a friend.

    My advice, think really hard who you are targeting and what you want to achieve before you release. There is pretty much no way to correct any mistakes once a flash game is out. I created Nom Nom to be pretty hard, but it has cute graphics. It turns out it was viewed as a casual game.

    This surely left a lot of people in frustration. It turned out my target group was young girls with a passion for squirrels, and I did not see it coming!?! I also got a lot of traffic from girl sites and sites where girls play games. So yeah, think about who it will target :D.

    As for your specific game, Dungeon Brawl. There are some things you should change to increase its chances. I think you might be disappointed with the reaction of the flash community as it is now, and it will have nothing to do with the basic gameplay, but with the accessibility of the game (for lack of a better word). On flash game license you can buy impressions, they will give you an unbiased opinion of what people are thinking when they play your game. I could go into details on what to improve, but this is not a feedback thread.
     
  8. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    It's up on your website already? You definitely need to site lock it and encypt it with something like secureswf, otherwise it'll be easy to edit out the site locking.
     
  9. Roman Budzowski

    Indie Author

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    You're missing mute sound/music button somewhere... that's what I can say about flash games requirements for me (and I see all other games have those buttons). Surely it will get better rankings if you don't get annoyed by sound (don't say it's bad, it just interrupted other things).

    As for distribution can't help you much. I still haven't done it right for Soccer Cup Solitaire.
     
  10. jrjellybeans

    jrjellybeans New Member

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    Do you happen to have that list of Flash review sites? Would you be able to send it to me?

    I didn't know that Games Press took info about Flash games. That's neat!

    Anyways, something that I would suggest trying is the indie game weblog and submitting your news to indiedb.

    I used the indy weblog for Society and it drove some traffic to the game.

    In any case, the whole thing about Flash games seems to be the reviews/scores the games get. So, if the game has a bad score, it probably won't go anywhere.

    I'm not too sure about the niche idea - since people aren't spending any money on the games, it's hard to build a business when there's no audience...
     
  11. Colm

    Colm New Member

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    ++ to andrew's advice.

    There's also a third option: sell to the players. Go with the first option above, then on your site have a widely expanded version that's for sale.
     
  12. andrew

    andrew New Member

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    It's true that sponsors very much dislike games being available on the internet pre-sponsorship, however if it's just on your site, and you don't get huge traffic, that shouldn't hurt you.

    Also, if you want 100% honest neutral feedback about how your game is going to do, I would suggest trying FGL's First Impressions service. (http://www.flashgamelicense.com/view_library.php?page=firstimpressions-faq). You don't have to have the game listed for licensing, you can keep it private while you do this.

    Basically, you pay $1 per mini-review, and a random person plays your game for at least 5 minutes, rates it on various categories, and potentially leaves some comments. Sometimes the comments are incredibly helpful, sometimes they're just total gibberish. But if you order 30-50 at once, you get a reasonably accurate picture of how your game will be received. It won't match up perfectly with the review scores you'll get on Flash portals, but it'll at least be a guide. It's also a VERY good way to know if you have enough tutorial screens, mute buttons, quickly engaging gameplay, etc etc.

    - andrew
     
  13. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Thanks all.

    Andrew, very comprehensive and helpful. If/when it lands on FGL I will buy some of those mini-reviews, seems like a good idea to pay a $1 to get directed reviews from Flash authors. At the moment I'm being opportunistic - if a good sponsorship deal shows up then I'll keep things simple and just take it. And... a couple have shown up over the past 10 days with a front runner today. If it comes to fruition then great otherwise driving more traffic works for me as well as the micro-transactions $.

    JR I don't have such a list but there weren't that many - I'm going to branch out into more mainstream gaming press when I put out the next level next week. JayIsGames was the big one, I will look at indiedb.

    Thanks for the input Dogma, will consider it. I recall playing nomnom a year or two ago and was impressed by the polish of the game.

    Nexic it's site locked and you can't download the .swf in any way I know of (of course you could always memory capture if you have the tools).

    Roman, a music mute is on the short list - the lack of it is messing up my ability to listen to tunes while debugging and testing the game.
     
  14. Maupin

    Original Member

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    Umm.... yeah... so, anyway, .swf files run on the client's computer. They're downloaded by every single player. :p That's why they absolutely must be encrypted and sitelocked. Even that won't stop a dedicated thief, but it makes it hard for them.
     
  15. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    All I have to do is grab it from the browser cache, then open it up in a free AS decompiler, remove the site locking code and voila. I can stuff your game full of ads to my site, launch it on 20 big portals and get all the benefit of your traffic. You'll then have no chance of getting it sponsored :)
     
  16. Over00

    Over00 New Member

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    Just to be clear this service is not reviews from Flash authors but selected players that might not have any development experience.

    When using this service assume that half of the reviews you'll get will be useless (if they really are you can mark them as useless and get a refund) and the other half should prove somehow useful.

    You can however make your game visible to other Flash devs and if they feel like it they can give you feedback. Can be useful to catch some typicial Flash games traps.

    And yes I would avoid putting any version that gets close to the final result on your website. Every now and then we hear stories of someone who uploaded his game somewhere (to show to very few people) only to find later that his game has been spread around without his knowledge making the game worth nothing for sponsors.

    For encryption: http://www.kindisoft.com/secureSWF/features-editions.php
     
  17. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Nexic - thanks for the explanation of how to do this. Hadn't occurred to me that the thing would be sitting in my browser cache.

    Anybody had bad experiences with any of these things introducing bugs? Anybody selling these as an affiliate, I'd be happy to buy one from a fellow indie's site.
     
  18. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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  19. Over00

    Over00 New Member

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    The software from kindisoft has been working nice for me so far. In case of trouble playing with the settings should do the trick.
     
  20. Maupin

    Original Member

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    Same here. In fact, the "Standard" preset mode of encryption in SecureSWF has worked on all of my games, even one with tons of nongraphic, nonsound embedded data that I thought for sure would need tweaking.
     

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