Friday, 28 September 2018

The Making of Smash Halloween Pumpkins - The Challenge Indie Game - Developer Story And Postmortem

Hey guys,

After releasing Captain The Runner game, I set out with another interesting platform action game, the genre which I love the most, called Smash Halloween Pumpkins: The Challenge. Yes, it is a Halloween themed platform action game which is released on Steam.

I can still recall when I got an idea of making a Halloween themed game. It was when I watched a GDC talk presented by Jake Birkett and his story of surviving 11 years in the game industry without a hit. He presented some of his games in that video where he had a Halloween themed game as well. At that moment, I made my mind. I said to myself, " Hey! I wanna make a 2D Action Platform based on Halloween theme." Why not? There are obviously not many Halloween Themed games on Steam and the world needs more great Halloween themed game. Finally, I successfully finished making the game within a month. Yes, it took me a month to finish the game.

I have created all the assets of the game myself except for the music. My art style is kind of different from all sorts of pixel art and I am proud of being different. 

The game got released on Steam on 14th September 2018. Today on 28th September, I am writing this article and I can say there is a few weeks sales data which I can show here. But I will not expose the numbers because of the Steam NDA(Non-Disclosure Agreement). A small graph can be more than enough for you to even show that it has sold some copies. 

I have been working on many project all at once and I am trying to get them out to the public within a month or two months or six months. Well, I am no longer working on a year long project because it is too risky for me at this moment. So, I am focusing on small scoped projects. As I have always said that I am a fast game designer, artist and programmer, working around 10 to 12 hours a day including Saturday and Sunday. Well, holidays are not for me to be honest although I sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of work left.  



POSTMORTEM:

The Release: 
The game got released on 14th September 2018 on Steam with a pricetag of $0.99. The reason behind putting such a pricetag for my game is that it works for me but that does not mean it will work for you. Being an unknown indie developer, having a higher price tag might not be the best option. It depends upon lots of things like development budget, timing etc.


It was released with an introductory discount of 30% that means it sold for $0.69 at the time of launch which lasted for a week. After that, it was still selling at a full price. However, people usually don't buy an unknown title from an unknown indie developer at a full price.   

I indeed got some traffic directly from Steam and I used Google Analytics to take a look at some numbers. Here is the information given below:


Here is an interesting data. I did not get much traffic at the time of launch. But as soon as it got a positive review from a Steam customer, the visibility increased by two times than what it got during the launch week.
So, how did the game do on Steam? Well, You have heard about lots of successes but the developers usually don't want to discuss about their failure. I am kind of different person. I have failed so many times in life that I don't have a fear of failure but I just never stop making games. I am madly in love with my work, trust me. I can't live without making games for a single day. 

The sales did not go well. That's given because I am hardly doing any marketing outside Steam and without marketing it is impossible to sell many copies. As an indie developer, Tim Ruswick said, "You sell zero copies of your game by default." That's true.

My game has sold pretty less, that is, < 200 copies. Most of you will consider it as a brutal failure. Trust me, you can sell around 100 to 500 copies a week on Steam now-a-days due to increased number of releases without external marketing. There is also an article written on Gamasutra about it.

Conclusion:

It does not matter even if it fails because I am very proud of the game I made and I am really glad to be able to publish it on Steam and get it out to the public. You should always remember that Launch day is not the end of the life cycle of the game. You can use many post-marketing strategies to keep selling the games you make. I love launching and shipping games. I am honestly less embarrassed to put my work out to the public. People often get annoyed by negative reviews but it really does not matter if it gets bad reviews or good reviews as long as you learn something from them. 
You can check out Smash Halloween Pumpkins: The Challenge game on Steam:  http://store.steampowered.com/app/886010/
   
I am currently working on a new game called The Christmas Gifts and I hope it does well on Steam but I highly doubt it though. 

Thanks for reading the article and I hope you found it useful.


Sunday, 15 July 2018

Gaze At Maze - an Upcoming 2D Maze Game on Steam! - Developer Story

Hey guys,

Developer here! I have decided to share my stories regarding the game and my life while I was working on this game. 

I wanted to make a maze game long time ago. I had attempted to create Gaze At Maze game in 2015 which was in prototype phase for a very long time. I had at first published it on itchio and sold some copies. This has led me realize that I should make this game as good as possible. I did not have good art skill at that time. But now within just three years, I got much better at pixel art. So, I had decided to revamp the whole game and make a new game based on the prototype which was created in 2015. The game was really fun to play and when I published the prototype on Gamejolt, a few people made a walkthrough of the game. They did enjoy it and played it for more than 10 minutes.

After all these years, I decided to work on this game and finish it within the least possible time. It took me three months to get it work and running. I have done all the artwork, graphics, programming etc.

You can take a look at the old version of the game:
 

It was a great experience for me and after making couple of indie games for Steam, I gained confidence in myself to be a finisher. The things which I have learned is priceless. 

After finishing The Mystery of Devils House game I immediately started out with another project. Since I made lots of platformer I wanted to try something new. So, an idea came to my mind and I started working on and build the prototype I made long time ago into a full fetched indie game with good graphics and challenging game play. I can't really say if people on Steam would love it or hate it. Either Way, I will accept and move on from there. 

I am pretty lucky to have a supportive community around all of my game and most of their feedback were tremendously helpful to me. That's the very reason why my latest game called The Mystery of Devils house got mostly positive reviews. 

Animating lots of characters, creating props, textures and all is pretty challenging. I consider myself a fast game designer. I can create and animate a 2D character sprite within a few hours or a day if I work full time. (Around 12 hour a day). Someday I couldn't work at all and someday I worked like crazy to finish the game. 

The game turned out to be a science fiction themed game based on the story which I had created for the game. I had to change the story many times to make it suitable for the current theme of the game and it turned out alright in the end. I was really surprised by the improvement of my own art work and my art style is kind of different and unique as compared to other pixel art for Western styled games. 

Finally, I finished it within three months only. Meanwhile, I was working on a new little title called Captain the runner. 

Here is the official trailer of Gaze at Maze game:




I hope those who will play it will love it and I will post about the postmortem of this game once it is out on Steam and I finsh gathering enough data for the first week of launch. 
Postmortem: Link Coming soon! 

Saturday, 28 April 2018

The Mystery of Devils House - A 2D Horror Action Platformer got a Release Date - PC Windows/ Linux

The waiting time is over! The Mystery of Devils House, a new 2D Horror Action Platformer has got a release date. This game is created by Anamik, a solo indie game developer, who has been working on this game for more than 6 months. 

The Mystery of Devils House is a 2D Action Platformer based on the story of the Haunted House located in Massachusetts. The owner of the house called The Ghostbusters Crew: International to investigate the whole building to prove the existence of evil spirits and the Devil. There was a dark history associated with the William House which is a popular Haunted location in America. The Ghostbuster crew consists of four team members like Ankush, Annie, Tomoko and Steve. 

The Mystery of Devils House is scheduled for release on 11th of May, 2018 on Steam and will be available for both Windows PC and Linux. It also has Steam Achievements which can be collected as you play the game.

The Official trailer of The Mystery of Devils House is given below:
 

Are you looking forward to the release? Cool! 

Want to be a fan of this game? Subscribe to the mailing list to get notified about indie game discounts, new releases and some goodies here: http://www.amaxang-games.com/2018/03/the-mystery-of-devils-house-indie-game.html 

 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Top 5 Places to promote your indie game Generating Gif images

In this article, I will cover some techniques by which you can promote your game and if you are lucky you can also build a fan base using your "promotion materials"  before your games are released to the public.

For Pre-Alpha phase of your game:

This is the phase of development where you have some concepts ready for showing to the public. However, I would not recommend you to show the gifs at this stage. But if you have some sketches or any animated model ready. You might show it on the various communities.

But, for the games which are in Alpha, Beta or Stable state, it is strongly recommended that you start making some promotional materials including gif images, screenshots and banners(if you have one). 

There are several places where you can upload gifs and promote your gifs online to get some potential customers and at the same time building your very own audience surrounding your brand. 

1. Uploading and Sharing on Imgur Community:

Have you head about Imgur website? Well, it is an image hosting website where you can upload your gifs and screenshots. Nice, if you know that why don't you upload gifs of your games on that site. 

But if nobody sees my gif on Imgur what is the point of uploading there? Good question. Actually, there is a way to post your images by adding some texts, links and sharing with Imgur community. As soon as you share on Imgur community you can see more and more people are watching your gif image.

But one downside which I have noticed on Imgur is that any posts are going to receive more downvotes than upvotes and that should not matter as you can not satisfy all the customers ever.

2. Share images on Social network site like Twitter:
Upload your gifs on giphy image hosting site because these images works the best with Twitter. Just post 5 times per day or a week to get most out of it. Gif images might be a great way to receive more attention. Don't forget to use #gamedev hashtag while sharing the post on Twitter.

3. You can post it on some of your favorite game dev forums like gamedev.net, tigsource. This might not be as effective as you think because game developers are NOT your target audience. However, you can still show the gifs in Gamedev forums during the development solely for feedback.

4. Share your gifs on some well known subreddits like /r/gifs and that is really effecting. Make sure your game is really polished. Choose the best possible gif to show it on this subreddit. In order to receive feedback, don't forget to post your gifs of your games in /r/gamedev "Gamedev subreddit". Moderators on Gamedev subreddit arrange Screenshotsaturdays thread every Saturday and that is a chance for you to show off your indie game to other game developers.

5. Upload your gif images to gfycat.com and share your gifs on vine.co and other similar sites like giphy. It does not gurantee that it will get more visibility but there is still a chance of getting some following. You can post about it on your own websites and blogs like Tumbler.com. 

These are some of the ways you can promote your Gif images. It won't be that easy to get a following for your game but it will certainly get more visibility and some potential sales when the games come out, than doing nothing. 

I hope that it will be useful for your indie game marketing adventure.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice) Anime Review - My Opinion [Released in 2017]

About:
Ishida Shouya was in the sixth grade and that is when a new transferred student who was known by the name, Nishimiya Shouko, was bullied by Shouya to the point where she was compelled to transfer to a different school. Consequently, he was ostracized by all the students of the school. He later felt the guilt, got bullied by his friends and he lacked confidence in himself completely. 

A brief summary:

Being a fan of anime, I would say, this is one of the best anime movies I have ever seen. 

The movie begins with the main character named Shouya, who was in a high school and decided to commit suicide. He had depression, social anxiety and guilt within himself and he had attempted to commit suicide many times without luck. This section was well explained in the second part of the story.

While Shouya and Shouko were in sixth grade of the same school. Shouko was a transfered student and a deaf. She got bullied especially by Shouya and his friends. This anime portrays the bullying in elementary schools from the perspective of a bully rather than the victim. When she was introducing herself to the other students, they were all surprised hearing that she was a deaf. However, only Shouya over-reacted for her deafness and he, from that time onward, started to hate her as she was a deaf. The teachers asked all the students to befriend her and to treat her well. But she constantly got bullied by Shouya and his friends. She was bullied to a point that she was compelled to transfer to a different school. But for such activities of Shouya, Shouya's mom had to pay back 7 million yen as damage to Shouko's mom. Shouya was shocked seeing the bleeding ear of her mom. It was the trigger of the changing of Shouya as a person which was portrayed well in the second part of the story. The first part of the story make you hate Shouya but you will have different opinion of him in the second part of the story. 

Five years later, when Shouya was in high school, he was bullied by others and he was almost alone because when he was in elementary school friends spread the word about such activities. Consequently, Shouya got detached from all the students and he was suffering from social anxiety to the point where he was unable to look at the eyes of other people. This is the best part of the movie where the people who he did not know were marked Cross "X". The director of the movie has done a great job at that and I personally have never seen it in other anime movies till today.  

Shouya was learning sign language in a sign language learning class and he always wanted to apologize to Shouko for what he had done in the past. While he was attending a sign language class he met her and asked her to be his friend. Shouko was surprised to see him and she realized that he had changed a lot. However, he tried several times to apologize to her but in vain. It is quite obvious that a person can change with time and this movie is the prime example of the one which demonstrates the change in one's personality with time. However, these changes are the result of such experiences. 

However, the story ironically brings both the characters together. But Shouko's mom did not accept the fact that Shouko and her little sister was talking to that guy as she used to hate him from the core of her heart. But her opinion about him soon changed when Shouya saved Shouko's life by putting himself in danger for her. This incident had created a great impact on her family members especially on her mom and her little sister. They also begged for apology from Shouya's mom for this incident when Shouya was in the hospital, still fighting to survive. 

However, the God had given him last chance to make everything right and finally, both of Shouko and Shouya met again. While he was in the hospital, Shouko took a stand to reinstate everything which she had destroyed and she was undoubtedly successful at her mission in the end. 

Finally, Shouya reincarnated into a new person who was no more afraid of looking in people's eyes, openhearted and the crosses fell off everyone's face around him and he no longer felt any kind of social anxiety or guilt thanks to Shouko who was always by his side.

My opinion: This anime movie is undoubtedly one of the best movies I have ever seen which is as good as Kimi no na wa (Your Name) but with more realistic plot. The art style, animations, story are nicely done. It could not have been executed any better than that and I am quite satisfied with the ending. However, this anime does not focus much on the romance between the two characters, Shouko and Shouya but on the moral of the story. It portrays a realistic picture which I have never seen in an anime. All in all, it is a great movie and has a nice back story which is understandable.

Review Score: 10/10

Have you watched this movie? Did you liked it or did not you like it? Share your opinions below.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Is Game Development Business/Career any good for making a living? - My Opinions

Hey, if you are reading this post make sure to check some of the great Gamasutra Articles on this topic which I will link from this post. There are some great resources which you can find every single day, being posted by many experienced developers.

I have been in the game industry for more than 7 years(5 years hobbyist developer + 2 years professional developer). Well, let's get to the main point.

The fact that some people are making a living out of their games is true but that is the lowest percentage of people who are actually successful in this career. It might sound harsh to the new comers to the industry but it is the harsh reality. However, there is nothing to be afraid of. If you love making games you should do that and nobody in this world can stop you. 

There are some facts you need to understand before you consider to make money out of making games. 

1. Read the market thoroughly. Play some games(well not necessarily required but that might be useful for you) and know your limits in terms of skill.

2. Don't try to make a first commercial game which require skill which you currently don't have. Well, you can learn it online or through other means but it is always a safe bet to start with a simple game. I worked on my first commercial game for more than a year and it was a biggest mistake in my life. I currently focus on making small games.

3. Be aware of the assets you use in the game which permits you to use them.

4. Don't be in this industry with the sole intention of making money. You need to make quality products and focus on making great products that consumers want and you will be good to go. 

Now, the question is, " Is the Game Development career any good for making a living?"


"It depends on your financial situation, skills and perseverance"

It depends from one person to another. It depends on your financial situation, skills and perseverance. But I would like to make things simpler for you so that you can choose any one of the following which better suits your life style.

1. If you have enough savings already you can work on your game full time irrespective of the money you make when your game is released on Steam. However, now-a-days, PC market is saturated and it has become harder to get visibility for smaller indie game developers. Average games make $1000 in average in the first month on Steam. Since you have a lot of money you can invest in marketing. You can invest millions of dollars to market your game effectively. If your game is really good, it will sell thousands of units and it might sell millions. Who knows?

2. If you have less money and you are working solo or with a small team on your project it would be hard to make a living considering you don't know how to market your game. Then, you can sell hardly 500 units in average in the first month from a mediocre quality game. But generally speaking, working with teams can give you an exponential return. It is advised that you have a day job or other source of income alongside what you are doing(making games). It would be a safe bet for you as per my opinion.

3. If your game gets viral and becomes so popular that you are making millions of dollars in a year. Well, you can work full time on your game without worries and you will be able to market your product better than most of the developers.

4. For mobile game developers, it is really hard to compete on Google play store as it is flooded with crappy games due to the low barrier to entry. Most of the developers make free to play games and if you want to make some money use IAP(In-App purchases) in Free to play games. Ads are no longer a great way to make money off mobile games. However, in most of the cases the average downloads can be somewhere around 100 units only if you have no marketing budget or luck. 

5. Making games for Consoles might be a costly affair. There are high upfront fees and it might become quite challenging to publish in consoles. I have never ported my games on Console yet but the entry fees are pretty high for me as a solo developer.

6. Now, if you have a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and if you believe you are really good programmer you can apply for jobs in various Game Development studio in your area and you can also approach to Giant companies like Ubisoft. Well, I personally have never done job in any Game Development companies and I have been working on my own Game Development studio for years(Amaxang Games).

In conclusion, it is not an impossible task to make a living out of your indie games. Well, you need to learn to survive in the market for more than decades and in that way, you might become successful. Failure is common in creative fields and you better get used to it because your first, second, third... commercial project is gonna fail no matter what.

Here are some great pieces of advice based on this topic which you should also read.

YouTube: GDC 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmwbYl6f11c&t=369s

Quora post: https://www.quora.com/Is-video-game-programmer-a-good-career-choice

Gamedev: https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/627953-game-programming-as-a-viable-career/

Gamasutra: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MartinNerurkar/20120710/173898/Game_Development_Career_Poster.php

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Top 5 New Releases on Steam - 1st January 2018 - Buy New Steam Games

Hey guys,

This is my first post covering top 5 New Steam Game Releases and I will mention those games which can never be heard in major news websites and I have got interested in these games personally and I would like to recommend you to check them out and support the indie game developers who have tried their best to make the best game possible. 

Now-a-days, Steam is full of low quality, asset flip games and I will also point that if I find one and I will post about them in this blog too. It has almost become harder for gamers to find new gems and great new games which are being released on Steam every single day. Moreover, with the change in Steam store algorithm it is ever harder to find new games as it shows only the popular titles which has already been promoted. So, I will cover games which deserve some attention starting from 1st January, 2018. 

Here are 5 top New Releases on Steam mentioned below:

1. Bloodworks (Free to Play)

 Bloodworks is a free top-down survival action game where you fight against an endless waves of monsters. The odds are not in your favor!
 Check this game out on Steam

2.  TileDynasty FPS Arena:

Set in an Apocalyptic World, you play as a renegade with incredible endurance and speed, demolishing enemies with arcade like weapons.
TileDynasty is an FPS Arena, where Players can work together against AI Enemies or go head-to-head accomplishing objectives within each game mode.

3. Carnage in Space: Ignition:
Use your fighting skill and superior agility to outmaneuver and dismantle foes in a fast-paced, vicious action-platformer! Fight your way through fierce battles and frantic platforming challenges! Earn your place as one of the galaxy's legends - if you can survive to the end!  

4. Blockship Wars: Roguelike:

BlockShip Wars: Roguelike is an action roguelike/RPG where you build your own ship, explore huge procedural maps, and battle computer controlled enemy ships entirely made out of components that you can salvage and put on your ship.

5. Christmas Santa Troubles:
Collect all sweets during the game, avoid saws, spikes, icicles and falling to abyss - you will help main character come back all gifts and Christmas will be saved. Santa will prepare his sleigh and move on worldwide giving out presents for all kids on the planet. help Santa, save the Christmas!

These are the TOP 5 New Steam Game Releases for 1st January, 2018. Kindly check them out. Thanks! For more Top New Steam releases subscribe to our newsletter!