Game flop

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Posts: 196
Joined: 2002.04
Post: #1
I just made a mario type game called Larm's Adventure. So far I think it's going to be a flop since no one has registered it yet. I even had a $50.00 contest for the best map Blush. My game before this one was a puzzle and it did quite well. The problem is I just can't think of any new puzzle games. So does anyone have any suggestions for Larm's Adventure or a new tile based puzzle game.

[update] I got one registration
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jspoon
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Post: #2
Good, that you got one registration. I see you have like 280 downloads in version tracker so maybe a few more will trickle in, though I can see you're not expecting a deluge.

So I just downloaded it. I died fast the first time, on my second game I made it through level 1 without losing a life. Then I hit level 2, died once on the spikes and gave up. I sort of suck at platform games. My thoughts:

The character animation seems a bit off. Like if you tap a direction key to just move a short way, the run animation flickers on then off which doesn't look natural. Also, if you jump then let go of the jump key, Larm returns to a ramrod straight posture which just doesn't look natural. Maybe there just isn't a good way to do this with a character more than twice as tall as he is wide? I don't know. Sort of related but more of a bug-once I started running on the ground and the run animation didn't work, it looked like I was just on a conveyor belt. I wasn't able to reproduce this though.

The other problem I had with it was that the height you can jump and the amount you can maneuver in the air seemed pretty non-intuitive. That might just be my platform inexperience though.

On the plus side, I really liked how you did the backgrounds. It's simple but interesting without being distracting. It does make your character sprites look worse though. Also, the music was pretty good for setting the pace/energy. Since I just played a level and a half I don't know if you have more than the one tune and if not how long it takes for that one to get old.

Anyway, I thought it was a nice enough game, those were just the things that came to mind when I tried it.
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Post: #3
Some thoughts just from playing it quickly for the first time:

I like the graphics in the background! Very funky, with the 3D perspective - break up the textures a little more and you have a really really funky, awesome graphic engine going!

Maybe be a little more forgiving on hit detection - hitting near the top could maybe kill the guy?

Why do the enemies look just like me?

Jumping is a little wonky... not quite sure what to say to improve it, but something. Maybe have him accelerate more, especially when coming down.

Only 2 levels? Awww, I was just getting started... if you're only limiting me to 2 levels because it's a demo, let me know, and have a few screenshots of levels I could be playing later on in the game that look exciting.

Good job, I like it, with only a little bit of work I think you'll have a great platformer!

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Post: #4
I also noticed that the game was added to download sites on the 16th.

Here are my thoughts:

- The 2.5D style is definitely cool.

- The sprites however are a huge turnoff. The two stride poses in the run animation look too similar, making it look like a two-frame animation. And the player sprite desperately needs to show more of the character. The straight-side view is no bueno. From the side the guy looks like a toothbrush. I'd suggest he face sort of a 45 degree angle between side and front, so you can see the character's eyes and facial expression.

- As far as registration, keep in mind that you're selling the DIFFERENCE between the demo and full versions. You unlock 2 out of 8 levels for the demo, but you also unlock nearly every map element. For instance, in the demo I encounter all enemy types, and all obstacles except the moving floors and platforms.

- I also beat the 2 levels within 5 minutes- so by doing the math I can expect another 20 minutes out of the full version, not accounting for difficulty. The perceived value is not very high, and the 5 minute demo was not long enough to make any kind of lasting impression. Keep adding content: levels, obstacles, enemies, powerups... I think sales would improve if the demo had 20 levels, the full version 100 and enough cool new things to span all 100, and the price was jacked up to $15 or $20.

- Also, don't be afraid to gloat about the game on download sites. I checked out the description on VT, and to be honest it's a little lame. That's your space to gloat about how cool the game is, so take advantage of it! 100 levels! 20 unique robotic enemies! Over a dozen different powerups! Collect treasure maps to unlock secret levels! Don't hold anything back.

All in all the game has potential to be a more action-oriented Lode Runner type of game. I think you're losing a lot of players/sales on the download page (needs to demand more attention) and on the amateurish graphics (player sprite in particular.)

I wouldn't see the one sale as a "flop", but as the beginning of the cycle. Each loop through the cycle you add features and content and increase sales by say 50%.

Steve Pavlina of Dexterity has an article that is a really good source of advice/motivation. Give it a read if you haven't already found it:

Shareware Amateurs vs. Shareware Professionals

And keep us posted on progress and updates! Shoot for an update this time next month to keep your game from slipping away on the download site listings.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Post: #5
I like the 3d-ness of the 2d game (a little like Yoink) - however it needs better graphics and animation. Your guy and the bad guys are the same sprite - make different enemies maybe? When I land on an enemy he just disappears - he doesnt squash or explode or crumple or anything. Im not sure I like the physics/control yet - but it may take time to get used to it - its very abrupt.

Even at $5 - think about all the classic free 2d games everyone can play on MAME - what does Larm add gameplaywise?

Have you had better response with your Robot Rover game - did you get many registrations? Have you sent out an email to your registered RR users telling them about LA?

Thanks for allowing me to play in a window which I prefer - but dont hide my cursor when you arent in full screen please.

hth,
Codemattic
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Post: #6
this game should be free

but you should make more ennemy and better graphics
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Post: #7
We've discussed where to find inspiration for game ideas many times here but if you're really hard up on game ideas, try remaking or porting games from long ago to work on OSX. For example, the last game I posted here for others to look at was made in 1995:

http://www.idevgames.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8894

I, in fact, have a folder full of games from when I was using a Blue & White G3 that I've been holding on to to use as the base for future game projects for OSX (some of them run in Classic great, some so-so, and some not at all). One of my other projects that I hope to have posted soon was a game I used to play on my C64 back in the 80s.

So there's some great ideas out there. You just have to find one that you like.

The brains and fingers behind Malarkey Software (plus caretaker of the world's two brattiest felines).
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Max
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Post: #8
Larm's Adventure is fun. I like the 3D visual effect. Like Dan said, you should improve the graphics and add more enemies. I also recommend you make your characters larger.

Freelance video game artist and video game compliance tester at Enzyme Testing Labs.
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Post: #9
Thanks for all the feedback. I kind of shamelessly stole my game idea from yoink. I already have 10 more levels that I'm going to add next month. I like the idea of adding more power-ups like extra high jumping and invincibilty and more enemies like cannons and jumping enemies. Another thing I want to make is the chopper/airburst extreme nighttime and daytime background effect with different music for nighttime and daytime.

Btw I just found a bug where the user can't get past level 2 even if they register so it's a good thing most people didn't register.

[update]
I just uploaded a version of Larm's Adventure here's what I did in the version
- Fixed the bug where you couldn't get past level 2 even if you registered
- Added the system mouse to the window mode instead of the opengl rendered mouse before
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Post: #10
I saw the similarities to Yoink! right away.

My suggestion is make it free - if only one person has purchased, you can refund that purchase and make them a very happy buyer Smile

Keep it free until you have it real nice and polished, then change it to shareware once you have a good following. Lots of people will have gotten to play it a long time for free, and those who are interested in supporting you (the ones who would have bought it before you went free, anyway) will say, "You know, this guy deserves some cash."

That's pretty much my business plan there Rasp

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Post: #11
funkboy Wrote:Keep it free until you have it real nice and polished, then change it to shareware once you have a good following. Lots of people will have gotten to play it a long time for free, and those who are interested in supporting you (the ones who would have bought it before you went free, anyway) will say, "You know, this guy deserves some cash."

As an aside, does this tend to work? I asked this on the macsb YahooGroups list and didn't get a real definitive answer (perhaps because they're not mostly game developers).

I've got some projects here that were ported from the Dreamcast or started from scratch on a whim, and I'd like to eventually make them into shareware. Thing is, they are nowhere near far enough along for me to feel right asking money for them, and I'm not sure I should pursue it if no one is going to want to register it after I add a bunch of extra features for registered-only.

There's got to be a certain number of impulse buyer types that will play your free version and who would hit the "Buy" button in a second, but if there's no "Buy" version yet, they'll just forget about it completely after a while. I guess the proper response to that is "well, your game must not have been very good to begin with". LOL

Anyway, does that work, releasing a demo version before there's a pay version available? Or is it more advisable to try to develop them in parallel and get small upgrade fees from people (and more VersionTracker hits)?

Cryptic Allusion Games / Cryptic Allusion, LLC
http://www.cagames.com/
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Post: #12
I just added 10 more levels and a bonus level. The demo version now has 5 levels instead of two. You can dowload it here:
http://www.solarfusionsoftware.com/Larm/larm110.zip
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Post: #13
Any more sales? Perhaps we could help out a forum member by doing some viral networking Wink
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Post: #14
Iceman Wrote:I just added 10 more levels and a bonus level. The demo version now has 5 levels instead of two. You can dowload it here:
http://www.solarfusionsoftware.com/Larm/larm110.zip

Glad you got an update. The very unforgiving hit detection is still in effect, though. Also, it would be nice to have something else happen other than the game stop when the user dies - have a little Mario "Oh no!" animation of some sort, have him drop off the screen or something.

The menu when selecting a level to start from does not work very well - the mouse interferes with the keyboard control: when I click, it just advances the level number instead of starting the game at that level like clicking "Start Game" does. Also, I can't press "Return" or "Enter" when on that menu item.

Keep working on it, it still shows lots of promise!

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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Post: #15
Dan Potter Wrote:As an aside, does this tend to work?

The games that I've received the most sales from followed this strategy.
Coincidentally, they were both also uDevGame entries.

So... release a game for uDevGame to get name recognition for it, keep improving it while it's free, then change it to shareware once it's ready for prime time.

Quote:...I'm not sure I should pursue it if no one is going to want to register it after I add a bunch of extra features for registered-only.

You'll never know if you don't try.

Quote:There's got to be a certain number of impulse buyer types that will play your free version and who would hit the "Buy" button in a second, but if there's no "Buy" version yet, they'll just forget about it completely after a while.

Not if it's a good game they keep coming back to. If it's sitting on their hard drive and they open it up every once in awhile, they'll remember about it. And if you have an automatic system for notifying the user, "Hey, there's a new version, download it now!" then you can get updates to be downloaded fairly smoothly.

Quote:Or is it more advisable to try to develop them in parallel and get small upgrade fees from people (and more VersionTracker hits)?

No way. The good will you'll receive from having a free game available to players is way better than bugging people for upgrade fees all the time. Some players will realize, "Hey, this guy just wants to create games, and now he wants a little money for it. Eh, why not," and take out the credit card.

I'd say give your game three to six months as a free title before thinking about moving it to shareware, if you only get to code once in awhile like myself. It takes longer than you think to discover and iron out all the annoying things about a game and add the few extra features you have in your head that you know would really improve your game, but you just don't have the time or energy to implement in a 1.0 release.

Free first, free updates for months, shareware only when popularity and feedback are both very positive.

KB Productions, Car Care for iPhone/iPod Touch
@karlbecker_com
All too often, art is simply the loss of practicality.
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