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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

What was your semi related project?


I'll show everyone in a few days. I'm just polishing things right now.

I did find the missiles to be a real treat. You think you have the game down to a science, then the twists come out :)
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I started my own portal (flashbound.com) and it was going to be a site that I could promote with my own smaller flash games. However, when I tried "self publishing" Evasive Maneuvers, it'the results were abysmal. I'm not sure how the sponsor who bought Chicken Strike did it, but it's now been on 350+ sites, with 330k plays... It's has since flatlined since it was initially launched but I'm still getting 1.5k-2.5k plays a day. When I tried my own hand at listing Evasive Maneuvers, I'm only getting a few hundred plays, and it never had a big peak like Chicken Strike. Obviously Chicken Strike is a much larger game, but I feel it's still something I'm not doing. I spent a whole day sending out emails, filling out forms and uploading it to sites, but no real progress (most of these sites are smaller flash sites).

This was the new strategy I set on. Instead of waiting 3 months or whatever for a sponsorship per game, I was going to try to crank out above average quality flash games and promote my own site (which I wanted to be clean, and not rife with ads) with them... but progress has been slow. Has anyone dealt with writing press releases or getting the word out on a game? Obviously flash games aren't treated the same way by the media as full fledged "indie" games, but I'm sure's got to be some overlap. Anyways, this has all been a little discouraging and is motivating me to just give up and take a job working at a big evil oil company (I live in Texas, yeehaw).
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PoV
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marketing is hard. There's just so much volume these days that unless a game is truly great, it's all down to luck.
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Alex
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's only down to luck if the game is like every other game (assuming it's advertised equally). if you want a game to get noticed, you have to cater it to the audience and what they are looking for/wanting, whether that is something specific they know or don't. How this happens might not even involve anything game related, but rather things like art style/content/theme/etc.. I can't count how many times I've seen a commercial for a video game and they don't show any actual game footage.. but don't listen to me.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Hanson-White wrote:
it's only down to luck if the game is like every other game

Correct. Many people mistakenly think they have something unique. Using different animals than Angry Birds, or even changing the goals, if it still statically looks like Angry Birds, people will think its like Angry Birds.

It's not just popular mobile games clones that have been done to death. 2D platformers, Shmups, FPS, RTS, puzzle games, gimmick games, you name it.

There is some logic to marketing, even things rooted in a core design that simply "market better"' than other games. You can't always sell anything.

Also luck is proportional to opportunity. I won cars, cash, computers, phones and tablets *because* I ported Smiles to strange and obscure platforms, knowing exactly how good my chances were going in. Most platforms I can get free hardware. 25% or so, I get more than that. Some markets are smaller and curated. Sometimes your timing is just right, to be accepted by a gatekeeper.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so I'm not looking for a million bucks with these first few games. Chicken Strike was really more of a complete test game for my engine. Evasive and Toilet Hero were games that were meant to be smaller and catered more to flash gamers. However, none of these games were strict clones and all brought something.

That being said, I think my original point was that Chicken Strike, who was distributed by someone else (he owns a few very small flash sites) is doing multitudes better than my own distribution. At the same time, being a flash portal owner, I have to sift through hundreds of games every day to root out the bad, and the amount of quality flash games out there is actually pretty rare. Flashbound.com is currently on "a game every hour", and many sites will add 5 games a day. I've been perusing what is essentially the entire history of flash games stretching 3 years back, and I've burnt like a 8th of the games already. Most of the flash games that are released daily are dress up games or really bad match-3 games. So, even though my games aren't groundbreaking, I feel they are better than your average flash game. Hence, my frustration, since it seems like I'm not doing something right in the marketing/distribution area.

As for good art, design, etc... there's nothing more I'd like, but I'm learning how meager flash game budgets really have to be. Both Toilet Hero and Chicken Strike cost me an arm and an leg in art. Toilet Hero hasn't been released yet but Chicken Strike, like I said, only had moderate success. If you have any advice, Alex, on improving appeal, I'm all ears.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right sorry. I didn't mean to imply anything of your games specifically. But to the question of marketing, uniqueness and quality don't necessarily equate to popularity or money.
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Alex
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot that can be said in regards to game art. I've often considered creating a site that focuses on critiquing game's art specifically (I don't know if it's worth my time though?).
hm.. I took a look at your evasive maneuver and chicken strike.
hopefully I don't bang you up too badly, I'm tryign to focus on what can be improved..
chicken strike appears to have more visual interest than the evasive maneuver game (there's more to look at, so it hold your eye more). I kind of was left confused with evasive maneuver, are you able to shoot?..
Evasive maneuver also has a pretty plain background compared to most spaceshooter, are there any type of environments to go through?
chickenstrike's art seems amateur- nothing too amazing. plus it's kind of an odd mix, I would have liked things to be either more bubbly and colorful, or instead, more realistic and dark. You can't really mix styles and expect it to look put together. Choose one and cater to it (it doesn't matter how unusual the ideas are, use the style to pull it together). I think evasive maneuver lacks a strong starting screen. Alot of the game appears very light which also impresses the sense to the player that less work has been done.
You could also have like a demo that runs if you wait at the beginning that shows some of the deeper levels.. I lost interest quickly when I played because things didn't move quickly enough. If the story is shallow, then don't expect people to be hooked to it for very long; make them get into it quickly.
Also, some concept art made specifically for ads/promotional material can help.
Idk.. I can get more picky, but this is just some things that popped out at me.
Also, I'm available for freelance.. about $13/hr. Idk how much you budget for your games though..
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, Alex, where were you a year or two ago? Your rate is pretty good but it all comes down to how many hours does it take you to finish up the art for a game? As for those games, I agree with most of the stuff you said. Chicken Strike was a really big project and I felt the artist, who though proficient, wasn't really into it (he had a lot of personal stuff going on), and made a lot of art that mixed in style like you said.

Think you can make art for some small games in a few hours? If so, we should collaborate. I'm ready to just start making multiple tiny-small games a week.

BTW PoV, I didn't take any offense on any potential implications you were making. When I decided to make flash games instead of regular deving, I was prepared to sell out some of my soul for functional, simple games that I could milk for money. Any discussion on marketing, and the game industry is always appreciated. I'm just trying to get in, really...
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Alex
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

depends what you need specifically. If you have a list of what is needed along with details such as the scale of sprites/tiles/framecount/etc.. I'd be able to give an estimate. The more detail you can provide the better the estimate as it allows me to get a feel for everything involved. Usually the larger and more detailed the graphics, the longer it takes to make for obvious reasons. The more detail you want, the harder things become to animate, so it becomes a balance issue regarding style and what things will have more importance, and how much time to put into it, etc. Bigger and more complex things aren't necessarily better; i'm sure you understand that though.
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In regards to the marketing angle, I suspect that many of the flash sites may to some extent depend on one another to sort through the submissions they get. Assuming flashgames1.com, flashgames2.com, and flashgames3.com, the 3 sites probably receive a lot of "duplicate" submissions. If flashgames1.com approves of Game 1, then they may send word to 2,3 about Game 1. This may happen even without any kind of "collusion"; flashgames2.com and flashgames3.com might just set up a watch on flashgames1.com, leeching off of its screening work to populate their own portals.

In the end, I believe probably 90% of a game's success depends upon its visual art assets. I bet anime does really well; also, if you could get something that looks cell-shaded, I bet that would go over fairly well too. If all else fails, you could try to pattern after some of the more AAA titles on the market these days: Have you thought of adding more shades of brown to your palette? ;)
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Mike, weren't you supposed to help me with flashbound? ;) Anime would almost certainly work well with the newgrpunds crowd I think. As for site to site trickle down, it is happening with my games but the initial seeding seems to be key in ensuring it doesn't die out.

Alex, let me finish up what I have on hand and we'll try to work on a few games.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Launched Toilet Hero today. I also found out that my mochibot counter implementation was not 100% correct on my previous games. There's a probability that a flash game getting loaded won't increase the counter (it was hooked up to a certain load even that turns out won't always get called). Not sure what the discrepancy would be, but I'm confident the host/website count is still correct.

Toilet Hero can be found here:
http://www.flashbound.com/ViewPage.php?ID=383
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Gil
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joshua is doing your art? Awesome

Been ages since I heard from that guy
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, Josh... very talented but a lot of personal baggage. I tried for almost 2 years to get his life together and be able to produce steady art. In the end, one day he just crossed the line and I could no longer support someone who was so inconsistent (I had just left my job to pursue this seriously). Good art, but it was just such a struggle... without going into too much detail, it was 2 years of shipping him used laptops, paying for his rent and various other emergencies, hoping that he'd be stable enough to produce consistent art. At the time I guess I didn't mind as much since I had a really cushy job.

In other news, I only uploaded Toilet Hero onto 3 sites, but it found its way to 14 more. Sitting at 25k views in just 1 day... hmm.... so it's probably the game after all...
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, a game called "Toilet Hero" is probably going to get more play just because of its genre. The demand for plumbing games vastly outweighs the supply, I bet. The novelty probably plays a significant role.

I wonder just how many flash games actually get repeated plays. Very very few, I would wager. In that case, you would primarily focus on getting hits to your game more than anything else. It only has to have enough quality to get people to mention it to their friends.

I think you should aim for very very easy difficulty levels for these games, and I think you should shower the player with points and other reinforcements with aplomb. After the player has beaten the game on easy mode, you can present them with the "reward" of a higher difficulty level. With any luck, this would actually prompt them to return to the page at a later date to try to complete the harder mode (getting you return traffic from the player).
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point, Mike. I can see how Toilet Hero could be popular among the aspiring plumber flash gamer community. Especially with a toilet unclogging simulation as realistic and accurately modeled as mine. I spent a week researching and modeling the fluid dynamics on that toilet.

I feel like flash games and cell phone games all face this problem of instant gratification. Most players will give you maybe 30 seconds to impress them. As for flash replay value, there's a a lot of accordance on flashgamelicense that sequels are the real money makers. I feel like this may be the "replay" value of flash games. Of course, there are games that I can think of at the top of my head that people will play religiously games such as fantastic contraption, match-3 games (bejeweled?), etc...

One of the things I really regret about Chicken Strike was that I didn't put enough wow elements in the first few levels. I should've at least shown all the enemies, like the giant walking chickens in the first level. I might try to revisit that game down the road though.

Edit: Oh yeah, in its first full day of release, Toilet Hero got 58+k plays... I have no idea how that compares with other flash games, but I know it's very good relative to my own games.
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey guys, can I mine some ideas from you guys? This is a really early prototype of the pest control game. I just have no motivation with this project because I feel like I've painted myself into a corner. The original idea was okay, some kind of exterminator game... but the game is too experimental and I don't know if it'll ever work:
http://www.optionalquest.com/Developer/523881697/PestControl.html

So press 1 to lay a mouse trap (splash damage) and press 2 to put down bait. I need ideas for different traps (right now I have the mouse trap and a cat...). The game'll also allow the player to control the exterminator and directly attack pests as well as lay traps. However, I'm apprehensive about the current gameplay choices and I want to curve it more to a tower defense game if it doesn't work out... So:
1. Do you think the current model (please extrapolate, the prototype is pretty bare) would be fun and scalable enough for maybe 10 levels?
2. What kind of traps are there? What I have planned are: Mousetrap (splash damage, slow), Cats (high damage, but single target), Glue paper (slows pests down), Fumigation (poisons the bugs and causes slow damage while on field).
3. Mitigate potential game play issues by adding traditional tower defense components? Traditional tower defense towers are usually some kind of splash damage cannon, some kind of fast but single target towers and a slow but high damage single target towers. All these tower models are ranged and in the extermination business I can't really think of models for each of them. Traditional tower defense has specific paths that enemies walk along, I'm pretty sure I can't implement that and still call it an exterminator game...
4. If I can come up with a ranged "tower" should I add something like flies? They can be baited but since they're in the air only ranged towers hurt them?

I just don't know if this thing will end up being fun... Any kind of feedback, wild ideas, advice would be greatly appreciated...
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Edited by I_are_n00b on Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:52 pm; edited 1 time
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We game in an era where many games play somewhat similarly to one another. This trend most strongly establishes itself in sequels. By just how great of an amount, for instance, does Call of Duty: More Money differ from Call of Duty: Saharan Swindler?

Today, though, we have reached a new low. You have taken your Toilet Hero game, changed the name of it to "some kind of exterminator game," and you have attempted to pawn it off on us as a completely new game! Let me admit: this tactic of re-releasing previous products with a fancy new name (seen occasionally in the realm of literature, for example, where an old book will return to print with a new cover and title) might lead to a very easily achieved increase in your web traffic. However, I feel that some visitors will start to catch on to this scheme.

tl;dr - bad link (it looks like), fix it so I can try it out ;)
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I_are_n00b
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Link fixed -_- threw me for a loop, Mike, didn't even realize the bad link until the end of your post. I thought you were just saying that all of my blue-collar job simulators were the same product.... someday maybe, when I make enough of these games to release The Sims: The Lower-Middle Class.

Disclaimer: Plumbers actually make a lot of money.... often more than software developers...
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mikedoty
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably should have just gone with my original idea, "this game plays a lot like Toilet Hero." :)

I wonder if this could be turned into something of a dual-layered tower defense type of game. You would set predefined paths through each room of the house, and the player would place their defenses (let's just say they're turrets for sake of theory) at the sides of the paths. Most of the mice and stuff, though, would stay toward the center of the path, out of the turrets' range. To stop the mice, you would also have to use the baits (cheese, sexy lady mice mannequins, etc.) to lure the mice toward the edge of the path on their way through the room.
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm.... it looks do-able. You can make just about any idea fun if you find the right balance of controls, challenge, and presentation. Admittedly I'd guess some ideas take more work than others due to current trends and conventions.

You've got potential for a variety of traps, and pests. Ants, roaches, worms, flies, spiders, mice, etc. All of them can behave in wildly different fashions and may even require different traps to catch. Cats, from personal experience, work well with mice, spiders, and roaches... but they ignore anything small.


Quote:

someday maybe, when I make enough of these games to release The Sims: The Lower-Middle Class.


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