February 3, 2016 at 2:57 pm #2937
We just released our first game to the public yesterday, and I figured I could share some of our information/story about the process of going from having some ideas tossed between friends to have a game that exists (albeit a Flash game on Kongregate, but it is pretty good!).
We’re just hobbyist devs, and our only goal was to make a great game and release it to the world. We hoped to recoup costs, but never expected to make any money. Thus far we’ve made nothing, and spent hundreds of hours and maybe $1000 USD.
In 2010 we were some friends discussing concepts for a game (Rampart with zombies!) and decided to have a go at making it into a game. We chose Flash (AS3) with the Flixel library as a language/framework, because we figured we could quickly go from concept to playable, and Flash was still popular at the time.
For the next 4 years, we went through various nightmares to finish the game. Some friends working with us (understandably) lost interest. We struggled to find an artist to work for peanuts. We had family deaths, births, mortgages, career changes. Anything that could go wrong did, but we just kept slowly toiling away.
We did extensive playtesting, first forcing all of our friends and family to play and give us detailed feedback. We found the best method was to have them stream to Twitch so we could see their problems. Then we paid for outside playtesters to provide feedback. This was from FGL, and while some of it was useful, I feel our original method was more valuable to us.
Eventually around 2014 the game was in the basic state it is today, and we put it up on FGL.com to have publishers bid on it for licensing. That never happened. The Flash game market was long past its prime, and a noname dev like us with no industry connections had no chance. I sent dozens of emails to portals, some replied with helpful advice, but none wanted to bid on the game.
For 2 years it sat languishing waiting for bids. This wasn’t an entirely passive process, as wWe discussed embedding ads and distributing it, but most of those systems died with Mochi.
Finally last week my partner asked if I wanted to start working on the LibGDX version again (which will allow a mobile/PC release) and I decided we need to release the original we’d spent so much time and effort on. Kongregate is the only realistic method left we can ever hope to recoup any of our investment, so I embedded their statistics API to increase our revenue and released it.
We have so much information available. Chat logs, design docs, play test documentation, emails, early art, early builds.
If anyone is interested in more info let me know. I’ll share whatever I can that is helpful to others.
February 3, 2016 at 3:09 pm #2938
Oh, and if my post seemed negative, I didn’t intend it to be! Just realistic.
Everyone involved in this project was a lifelong gamer and we are excited to have made a game released to the world. The two of us that saw the project to the end are currently working on “porting” (though really remaking entirely) the game to libGDX, which will allow us to release on Android/iOS.
Just don’t go into game development expecting to get rich. Or everything to be a joyful smooth transition from concept to reality. Also, from my experience, social problems are a much larger factor than design or programming problems. Especially if you are going in with friends and don’t have professional experience or a salary.
February 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm #2939
Dug through some early builds for screenshots.
This is from the first proof-of-concept build:
And here is one of the first builds with most of our primary design concepts but no art assets:
One thing I found remarkable in the process was how long it takes to get from “Hey this game is playable exactly like we conceived” to “I think this is a decent game”. An enormous amount of time can be spent playtesting, polishing, balancing, playtesting, polishing, etc.
February 27, 2016 at 6:58 am #2941
Oh definitely, polish can take a ridiculous amount of time!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.