Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When Asteroids Attack - Promotion

First off, happy Halloween everyone!

Starting yesterday, I began my search for media coverage for When Asteroids Attack. I don't know if any of you have done it before (and if any of you HAVE a blog or website, no matter how small, I'd be honored if you'd give the game a play and a review or even a statement!), but it's really an overwhelming thing, but it's really awesome too!

The When Asteroids Attack website is complete, but I won't be releasing it to the public until Friday (I'll do a blog post on it alone!), so keep in mind through this that it's VERY important you make the website first for reviewers and bloggers and such!!!


Let me preface this by saying that When Asteroids Attack isn't a game I'm expecting to retire off of... In fact, my "very optimistic" goal is to make $5,000 on the game. The game's initial price is $10 and is preselling for $7.50, which means that between 531-717 copies (including paypal fees)... And while I can be overly optimistic, I am also a huge fan of rounding off like crazy... So let's call it 600-850 copies including fees from other websites (Indiecity/Desura, Indievania charges nothing). As such, I'm not aiming to spend any money on marketing, although I am researching costs for the future, so any time I find a blog or website that states they do advertising, I request their costs and options.

So, how do I do it?

Note: I've learned the lesson from doing all of this that it is VERY important to get started on this as early as possible! Start feeding interesting information to media as early as you can and keep it up. It's incredibly time consuming, but I'd rather spend some extra time on it and having people interested than finishing a game with no one around to play it!

First off, I had to publish When Asteroids Attack - the .exe file version. Then I made a demo version - two of them in fact, one for the web and one for download. Then... I tested them all. AGAIN. Just when I thought all of my testing was done, I did more. The game hadn't been tested published as an .exe file, so I wanted to make 100% sure it worked... You ALWAYS want to cover your bases! Can you imagine if the game actually became hugely popular, then no one could play it because it was broken?!

I've found a few lists of websites that do game reviews:

  • Pixel Prospector has a LOT of awesome lists, one of which is The Big List of Indie Game Sites. Now, not every single one of these allows you to submit your game, but it's a phenomenal starting place! I spent about half of yesterday submitting the game to sites, and ended up submitting to 14 of them (from all of the banners there, plus one banner I haven't done yet). You'll note there are 18 banners, so the vast majority of them were indeed good!
  • Indie Game Bundles has a great list of, well, indie game bundles. While I've never purchased an indie game bundle myself, the concept is AWESOME! If I had more time to actually play games, I'm sure I'd do it - they have super awesome bonuses and collections of games, and the game makers are well supported as well. From the developer's viewpoint, it's a great way to help get your game out there - and with other great games too! Even if someone might not be a great fan of your game, they might love the other games and buy the bundle! I haven't messaged them yet, but I definitely will; around half of them have specific ways to suggest your game for a future bundle, and nearly all of them have a contact email at least :)
My next steps will be to finish the two lists up, Google a LOT and hit up Twitter to search. "Twitter?" You ask? Yes! Twitter seems to have a great search option for indie game bloggers, and it's a fun way to get in contact too!

I have until November 9th until the game "releases". I picked the date because it gave me enough time to really focus on promoting the game as much as possible. Even if it doesn't sell a single copy, I've learned a lot!

Do you have any tips for game promotion? Do you promote games yourself? Do you want to buy When Asteroids Attack? If you said yes to any of these, you're my hero, and leave a comment! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not Every Day Has to be Perfect!

This is something I go back and forth with in my own head, usually a few times a day, unless it's one of those super-fantastic days where I get on a roll and kick some major booty. I tell myself that I should get x amount of work done, and if I don't manage to do it, I suddenly feel like I'm gonna take 50 times longer than I should on a project... That if I was actually "at work" I would be working much harder... And so on.

But the reality is, I doubt any of us have ever had even one solid week at any job where we were 100% all day every day. Little breaks, slacking off, checking email or Facebook or whatever on a work computer, texting while working, making things last a little longer than they need to.. Who hasn't been there? So why, then, is it unfair to think that none of these things are going to happen when working from home? Where is the magic switch in one's brain that says, "Sure, since I'm working for myself, I won't slack off any more AND I'll put an extra 10-20 hours of work in per week, no problem! And I'm gonna LOVE IT!"

That's not to say I don't love what I do - I really do! The freedom to work on whatever project I want, to get my message to hundreds of thousands of people, to be able to do it from home sitting next to my fiancee all day... Who wouldn't love that? I just need to remind myself that I am the type of person who's better managed by encouragement and respect than through being battered for not getting something done... Including when I'm my own boss! Heck, imagine if you lived with your boss!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ABOUT The Adventures of Rubberkid!

I talked about my to do list with Rubberkid, but never really talked much about the game itself!

About The Adventures of Rubberkid

The Adventures of Rubberkid is a game that's all about showing others how horrible bullying is! The player dons a suit made of rubber bands, bouncing insults back at the bullies who fire them at innocent critters. A level is failed if the player lets enough insults through to destroy the happiness of the critter they're insulting.

Before the game even begins, the player enters their name and is able to print out their own dedication - a certificate that shows their pledge to protect those who are bullied and to never bully others themselves.

(Note: the images below are all from the still-in-progress game, so the graphics are subject to change. Click on the images to make them larger!)
After an intro level where the player learns their controls, they help out their first fellow students and start up the ABC - the Anti-Bullying Club.

Each saved critter child has their own little bio, which not only explains why the poor critter is picked on, but also what would have happened if you hadn't helped them out, and what will become of them now that you have. Poor little Penny here is a fine example.

Once you've founded the ABC, you've got to help other critters and fill the seats (each desk will be filled by the end of the game). To do so, you've got to go through the eight levels of the game - using a Mega Man-like level select screen where the player can save whichever they want in any order they'd like.

There are essentially four types of levels:
  1. Some scroll sideways (like Carrie in her wheelchair at the mall) and end after a certain period of time.
  2. Some work like a simplified breakout, where you have to constantly bounce a thrown piece of paper up at the bullies until all of them are gone.
  3. Some simply ask you to protect an innocent critter until all of the bullies run away (like Alan - the chess player - hiding between the desks)
  4. And some involve protecting a critter until the time is up (like Cathy, the purple critter who is picked on for being "different" and coming from another island while she eats lunch).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back to Development

I read a good dozen or so articles on promotion, marketing, sales etc. and one of the major things I read stated that running a blog is actually one of the most important things! And really, why wouldn't it be? Facebook isn't exactly great for keeping track of news updates, and a website is more for static information (unless the blog is posted right on it)... So here we go, it's time to get to posting more of my work here on the blog! Look for it tomorrow! :)

"Other Stuff"

Everyone has their own "other stuff" they want to do. For me, I always wanted to make games, which is largely development of course; my "other stuff" consists of learning new skills (making mobile games, learning to be better at art, actually doing some marketing that's fun!) and those have very largely been put off. It's so easy to look at making a game and just think "I don't have time for anything else in the world, this has to get done right now so I can do that game, and then this other game, etc."

I came to the realization yesterday, though, that it's just impossible for me. Some of you out there may be able to sit down and code for 10-12 hours a day 5, 6 or even 7 days a week in a row, but I can't. Five months of trying has made me realize it.

"But that's not okay," my brain shouts, "if I can't make games for a whole day, what the heck am I going to do? It already takes forever to make games!"


Every Wednesday from now on, or any day that I just can't wrap my brain around coding, I'm going to do "other stuff." Mix it up. Do something fun. Learn something, do some research, make some marketing stuff up, all that kind of stuff that's still work!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October 16th (Goals for 16th-19th)

Going back to my version of the Pomodoro method - using half hour blocks instead of 25. I earn a point for each block a task is given, regardless of how long it takes (so, for example, Level One below is worth four points whether I finish it in 2 hours, 1 hour or 5 hours. I have a goal of finishing 15 points worth per day (7.5 hours) which gives time for lunch, little breaks, etc. If I manage to get more done, then sweet, but it's not expected.

This week will (again) have me completing every level in the game, leaving just the SFX/music, credits and an "about" screen that gives a little background to the game.

Tuesday, October 16th
15 points total

1 pointGoals for the week
1 pointBlog
3 pointsGet saving/loading to work properly. Call SaveGame() after the setup finishes, then after the intro level that dumps the player into the ABC.
2 pointsPut Carrie in the game - in the "more info", ABC and "Popup - Win"
4 points(LEVEL ONE) The genius chess player in the classroom. Also make sure that once the player goes to use the level select popup again, that critter is shown as helped
4 points(LEVEL THREE) The learning-disabled critter at the blackboard - the first timed level, but uses the same background graphics

Wednesday, October 10th
16 points total

1 point - Blog
5 points - (LEVEL EIGHT) Hand Me Down Critter on the Bus
4 points - (LEVEL THREE) The purple critter in the lunchroom
6 points - (LEVEL TWO) The wheelchair-ridden girl in the mall

Thursday, October 11th
15 points total

1 pointBlog

4 points - (LEVEL FOUR) The Critter Crushing champion in the Critter Crushing fields.
3 points - (LEVEL SEVEN) The cheerleaders in the Critter Crushing fields
7 points - (Get started on...) Add the ability to use either the mouse or keyboard through the entire game, and allow the player to choose which one to use in the options (4 more blocks tomorrow too)

Friday, October 12th
15 points total

1 point - Blog
4 points - (Finish...) Add the ability to use either the mouse or keyboard through the entire game, and allow the player to choose which one to use in the options
7 points - Go through and make sure that all dynamic text fields are embedded and that the game works properly!
3 points - Get a list of what music/SFX are needed for the game