as soon as I started my current project Tera Lo Mania I had three primary goals:
Build up a community
Create a playable tech demo
Start a Kickstarter campaign
Build up a community
I learned a lot from my first three games and what you need as an Indie game developer is feedback as soon as your project starts. To achieve this you need to build up a community, which is interested in your project. So far so good, but how to we do this? I thought it was pretty easy by sharing my development progress being consistent in creating content and I started a video log diary on YouTube to create a community …
Create a playable tech demo
I already knew at the beginning of my project, that I will need additional budget to finish the project. So, the idea was born to create a Kickstarter campaign to gather the missing budget as soon as possible. The clue – I wanted to have an early downloadable version of my game, which showcases that I can achieve the game and I could use some scenes in a trailer. I achieved that and thought everything is going fine …
Start a Kickstarter campaign
The time has come from September 2018 till mid of March 2019 I was able to finish a tech demo and build up a community for the game. At least I thought so. That said the Kickstarter Campaign has gone live! And it still is …
So I achieved my goals and the Kickstarter Campaign looks just horrible …. by today we have 11% funded and already 5 days gone. Even with the minimum funding reach by the end of it, it is not that what I expected and as you all know the first days should be the strongest to get the Campaign going. The goal is calculated with the very very very minimum and I will have to pay on top to get the game working and release it.
What is the problem? What did I miss?
I had the demo and my Video Logs, I thought I build up a community and created lots of marketing hype by sending out thousands of emails. Lets investigate:
The community I build up wasn’t that big I expected
As you can see in the numbers. Yeah, I was able to gain follower on every platform, but in total the community is still very small and not very meaningful. There was already the first indication that my game isn’t that attractive to people, otherwise the numbers should have raised higher.
Problem: I hadn’t any comparison and was too busy spending time on developing the tech demo (which nobody wanted).
By the way speaking of the tech demo, when I was releasing a first playable version I just had round about 15 Downloads and nearly no feedback at all. Slowly I got some bites of feedback and it told me, that those who downloaded the game didn’t even know what to do, because they didn’t played the original game. The tech demo was of course so early that there wasn’t polishing possible to explain how the game actually works.
Problem: I ignored the fact, that the playable version wasn’t intuitive enough and not well received by my small community.
I have had quite a lot of fun to create my video log diary and showcase my development status. Nevertheless I was always a bit shocked by looking at the video statistics after releasing a new video log. Nearly nobody watched it and the watch durations were really really short.
Problem: I didn’t see the signs of unattractive content at all.
What can I do now, after realising the problems with the crowdfunding?
If you get a little bit of distance to your game, which I got after 5 days of running Kickstarter and thinking about the situation, you start to realise, that I was too hyped for my own game and I didn’t noticed that there wasn’t a big interest from the community for my project at all. Now, I know that this campaign is as good as done and it won’t develop very well anymore. The daily views are sinking with every day, I wasn’t able to impress the press or YouTuber or Blogger to create a hype. So, I guess the campaign will slowly but surely end without gaining very much interest anymore and funding.
What are my options at this point? I already spend a lot of time and money into this project, but acknowledging that there is so little interest it won’t pay off to finish it with paying even more time and money. I still didn’t lost all hope and I will of course continue to try make the most out of the last 25 remaining days to keep this project alive, but I know I have to look forward and find a way for me and the company how to deal with this or giving up the dream of being an indie game developer after 4 projects without any real success …
after working a whole while as freelancer, round about 7 months now, the time has come to go back to game development and start another project. Luckily, I wasn’t idling in the meantime and finished all the planning stuff already. Today I would love to share some first insights and upcoming changes compared to the last projects.
So let us start with some basic informations about the new project. As real time strategy fan, I will stick to strategy games and how could it be different – The new project will be another strategy title, which is more or less real time. It will be a remake of one of my first strategy games I have ever played and enjoyed a lot 🙂 I will not spoiler the title yet. The header image provides you a first hint. The second hint: The game will be “more or less” real time strategy. Would love to read your guesses in the comments. So please leave your comment! 🙂
As you can see in the header image, it will be my first 3D title with a low poly art style. The game will be focused on PC / Steam first, but it will be possible to distribute it later on every platform.
Lets get into a bit more details on the technical site. My last projects were written in libGDX with Java as main language. Nevertheless, for this new project I decided to achieve it with Godot, an open source game engine. The main language I will use for the code is the in-build GD Script, which is fairly similar to Python in general.
The decision is based on the following reasons:
I want to learn something new
I want to use a game engine instead of a framework
There is a big change team structure wise this time – I will work with a bigger team than ever before! Timbertales, FlatFatCat and Space Unicorns were developed and distributed by myself with a lot of help from my girl friend for all the art stuff needed. This time I hired an 3D artist for all the models, animations and vfx, who is fully dedicated to the project. This helps me to completely focus on the game code. We hopefully gain a much higher quality with this change in both art and code.
The game itself is planned to be done within 6 months. This includes development, alpha / beta and a first release candidate. The first prototype / demo should be out very soon after start, to have more early feedback and start a kickstarter campaign to gather more budget if needed. The official start for the project is scheduled for mid of September this year. So round about 6-7 weeks from now on!
Thanks for reading, I hope you looking forward to this game project. Of course there will follow a lot of artwork, dev blogs etc. by the time. If you want to be in first place and also be involved in the development / testing etc. don’t miss to become a Patreon and get any peace of information much earlier 🙂 I would also love to read your comments.
I would love to share my first steps and first learnings with Godot 3 with you guys 🙂
Export Blender Models as .dae files
As one of my first tasks I tried to export models from Blender to Godot. For my first approach I used .obj files and imported them into Godot without any problems so far. After a while I realised, that my artist also created some materials, which weren’t included in the import. I figured out that Godot advices to use .dae files, which includes the materials correctly. So we exported the files as .dae. Surprisingly every model was imported as a Scene in Godot, which first confused me, but it is the right workflow. I will explain it within the next chapter.
Use Scene instancing
Having each Model as a scene has one big advantage: We can instantiate them. In UE or Unity this is called a “Prefab” as far as I know. In Godot we can use a Scene as a prefab, this is why .dae files represent a scene. It is a good practice to have everything as a scene and then in your game scene instantiate all the other scenes just like that:
Game (Scene) Human (Instanciated Scene) Landscape (Instanciated Scene)
Use Unity Tutorials, if you can’t find any for Godot
Actually there are more tutorials available for Unity than for Godot, but nevertheless just watch the Unity ones. Most likely it is really easy to transfer the knowledge from Unity to Godot, since most options have the same names or working in kind of the same way.
GD Script is not Python
Even if they look quite similar GD Script is not Python, it is just inspired by Python. Why is it worth to know that? I was confused, because I encountered some ‘What the fuck’ moments when writing GD Script for the first time, since I have a strong Python background. So you should definitly check out the GD Script syntax first to get an overview.
I decided to start a Vlog (it will not replace the Blog) on YouTube within my project (Remastering MegaLoMania). I will record the first introduction video within the next days, so make sure to follow me on my social media channels to get informed. In the Vlog I would like to share all learnings and progress I made day by day.
After the release of the latest patch for Timbertales it is time for a new game project. I gathered the required budget and already created a full concept for the new game project. I will shift my focus a little bit, but first let us speak about Timbertales and FlatFatCat.
The Version 1.3.0 improved a lot of the graphical interface and I am quite happy with the changes. Additional we added a new version to itch.io, I updated the version of Timbertales on Steam and I updated the mobile version on Google Play Store and Apple Store. Now, it is time to wait for user feedback to finally build the full release candidate. Since Timbertales is still in early access, I will gather more feedback over the time the third project will be developed. So I can take a look afterwards in which way Timbertales will be improved for the final release. If you haven’t already check out the new promotion trailer:
This game is a little bit harder to describe. Actually I like the game very much and I think we created a very cool game, which is a lot of fun and offers a lot of levels and diversion. Unfortunately it didn’t hit on the market as expected. The main reason for that is the lack of marketing budget in my opionion. The mobile market is quite hard and you need to create a buzz around your game to actually get some downloads. Otherwise your game is lost as many other good games in the void of the app stores. The steam version of FlatFatCat wasn’t performing as good as expected, since the game was fully planned for mobile devices. So in the end we will leave FlatFatCat as it is for now – willing to commit some budget in marketing in the near future.
Shifting focus of Rainware
As I said before I want to realign the focus of our games. With the experience made with FlatFatCat, I made the decision to avoid the mobile market and focus fully on core games. The vision needs to be “Creating games – I will play” that said of course I like Timbertales and FlatFatCat and I am also very proud, that I could release them, but I am a PC gamer since ages and love other types of games. Also the release platforms will change. Of course there will be Steam for PC, but I also want to extend to itch.io and GoG as well as I want to enter the console market including Xbox and PlayStation. (Nintendo switch would be a dream as well :))
Reveal Project III
Last but not least I will give you a small insight for the next project. What can you expect? We plan to create a game mixed with well known Moba aspects in a sandbox type of game. This also includes a lot of gathering, fighting, collecting and crafting. There will be rpg parts as well. This time we will have our first 3D game in an very atmospheric environment. Stay tuned for the next blog entries. We will update you with everything related to the new project and keep you updated about the development progress. The project is scheduled for at least 6 months.
Thanks for reading. Leave your questions or feedback!