Five Nights at Funkin' Freddy's
That way, you get two big fanbases swarming to your game. Don't worry that that's nothing to do with what your game's about- just take the money and run XD
Without knowing what you're going for exactly, the large overworld map in Super Mario Bros 3 can be a good inspiration for how the player can quickly transport between sections. Early Zelda games also have good ways to, basically, teleport around the map, which you'll probably need as the scale gets bigger to stop the player constantly trundling through the same sections.
Saying that, I'd always try to make sure the screens are interesting and do a lot of work. Better to have 4 screens that are always evolving (based on character triggers, time of day/ seasonal cycles, items/ money that can open up different sections, NPC activity etc. etc.) than 100 screens of boredom. Again, the early Zelda games are a real masterclass in how to do this well.
Thanks for playing- glad you're enjoying it! And, it's true, Daisy Fluffington is unlikely to win any personality awards... Sorry the game didn't agree with your nose- we'll try to put a patch out to fix that XD
That's certainly good advice :) I'm more wondering where the people who've seen the devlog and then want to play the game will be on release day, and how they'll know when the game comes out.
People will be notified if they follow the developer but I find the number of people who do this to be quite low. I'll use Newgrounds as an example here because I can make a direct comparison- more people have added our game to their favourites than have followed us. Far more people have given our games a good rating than have followed us.
Social media's a good point too, although the number of people who follow us there from the games is even lower. Also, the number of people who visit our games from Twitter- according to itchio analytics- is negligible. Admittedly, this could well be because I suck at social media XD
So, let's say you put out a devlog with a playable demo- some people really enjoy it, but it won't be be released for ages. What's the best way to notify them when the game's ready?
On Steam, the players can wishlist it, on GJ, they can follow the game itself, and I'm just wondering if there's an equivalent on itchio? As far as I'm aware, the players' only options are to the follow the dev or add it to a collection (but this still won't notify them about changes). I don't think email notifications are an option for a devlog either.
I've never been very good with devlogs (mainly due to laziness!), so any help would be appreciated :)
Thanks for playing :) Good video- that's got to be the best reading of The Lady of Shalott I've seen here! Also, don't worry- there are definitely not >1,000 pages! I'd say you're halfway through but... prepare for puzzles...
Thanks for the nice comments- and glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I don't see too many VNs that are set in England, so I thought it would be a bit different, and I was really happy when coder Mike got the jukebox working, so nice to know it's appreciated :)
Thanks for your comment! Yeah, the main influence for this was probably the old Hammer horror films, so it might have a slight retro feel. Glad you enjoyed it. You've certainly got a point about the text too, and other people have mentioned this- we'll try something different with the UI next time :)
Thanks for an entertaining video! That bit of white you highlighted was a plastic bottle someone must have thrown on the roof. I'm going to try and pass it off as an easter egg- so congrats on finding it :D
This was cute, enjoyable and has some really good ideas! As well as the emojis which generally worked pretty well (only occasionally tricky) and makes the game very accessible, the use of parallax was really good. Some more branching would be good for future projects but you didn't have long for this. I didn't know you could do so much with Ren'Py.
Enjoyed this- only got through a few days so far, but thought I'd comment anyway. I'll try and put aside the uneasy feeling that I'm hitting on a bunch of demons who had, erm, relations with my gran (she certainly had an interesting life) and focus on the playfulness of the game which is really well done
This is summed up for me by the 'waiting for the food' animation, which cracks me up evry time. The art, writing and music all compliment each other really well, and I'll look forward to deciding on a demon to 'liberate'- and trying to find out where the blood and the cauldron for the meringue recipe are coming from exactly!
So... here are 16 games. 8 are real video games, and can be found on itchio. The other 8 are either made up- or taken from a different context.
See if you can guess the real games. Best guess wins the last slice of my tandoori chicken pizza. Unless I eat it first. Or you don't know where I live to claim your prize. No cheating!
The other endings are tricky though and we were a bit harsh with the optional puzzles- with two of them you only get one shot. You did get the salt puzzle tho! That helped you save... well, I won't spoil it for anyone- but well done XD
Awesome- that's some good persistence! I do sadly have to tell you that that was the worst of the three endings ;) Also, on a factual point- 999 is the number for the emergency services in the UK. 911 is for America.
Sweet! Yeah, don't worry about not getting around to it immediately- everyone's got their own lives.
And I'd be happy to chat, hopefully Mike will be too. It's getting a bit late here so I'll send you an email tomorrow, if that's ok. Look forward to checking out the video :)
Hi, nice to hear your story :) I'm in more or less the same boat but I started out writing short stories, occasionally selling them to publishers for very small sums (you'll have heard of Yappy the Happy Squirrel, obviously? What do you mean "no"?). I then self-published a choose-your-own-adventure game for kindle, which got nominated for an indie book award, and that helped give me the confidence, and will, to make a video game from it.
Like you, I can't draw or code, so I tried to find ways around these problems.
I started a thread on Kongregate and found a guy who was willing to collab on the coding. After over 6 months of inactivity, though, we agreed he'd be too busy. Fortunately, an old workmate who was improving at Unity offered to help for an equal share of any profits. Our graphics are currently a mixture of Deviant Art stock models, photographs, and actual props all edited on Gimp (this looks better than it sounds- honestly!). This is a good option if you've got a fair grasp of graphics programs. I'm now commissioning an artist for our next game who responded to a notice I placed in my work's intranet.
You mention 'application' so, this might not be the advice you need and I can't offer any help with applying for professional companies but I'd certainly imagine being able to show them video games you've already made would be a massive plus- and don't think you can't do this. Ren'py for visual novels and RPG Maker for traditional Zelda style games are programs for people who have no coding experience and could be worth checking out.
Yeah, that's a good point. I think raising important issues is a good thing, but it always depends how it's done. In this specific case, it might have felt a bit incongruous and out of place.
So, I've realised we've been making games for five years now and, being in a reflective mood, I've sat down and tried to think of some of the the things I've learned in that time: the things we got right, the mistakes and if there's any tips and advice I can provide. These are all from a creative point of view, so there won't be any coding tips... but plenty of other stuff. Feel free to share your own :)
Here we go...
Being strong in graphic design is one of the best non-obvious skills you can have as a dev. Having to put out about a dozen banners/ thumbnails/ of different resolutions is not something I’d have expected. Then there’s avatars, overlays for videos and all sorts of other stuff.
Do not underestimate the value of fonts as one of the simplest ways to improve the perception of your game- in about 95% of cases where the font’s low-effort (e.g. arial), so is the game.
Before having someone let’s-play your game on Twitch or wherever, make sure you know what kind of streamer they are and tell them what they’re getting into. Someone having a fun, party stream, for instance, might not like having an upsetting murder in the first few minutes (I say ‘for instance’, but you clearly know this happened!)
Always mine your regular life for game-inspiration and opportunities. I work in a hospital, and I’ve been able to find an artist by putting an ad out on the intranet. Local pubs and landscapes have appeared in backgrounds on our games as edited photographs, and I even visited a castle in Staffordshire to take interior shots.
If- like me- you suck at social media, try thinking outside the box for publicity. We got the Bunny Hill Horror castle on Google Maps and it was actually in the top five most prominent locations in Stoke on Trent for a few months, until someone spoilt the fun and told them it doesn’t really exist.
If you make visual novels, custom made bookmarks are an excellent publicity tool. You can use them like business cards and leave them around libraries.
Unleash your creative side- I’ve had to do so many things for the games that I never thought I would: making props, audio recording, foley work, audio mixing, ‘modelling’, photography, animations, recruitment, negotiating copyright and commission terms, video commentary and it’s all great experience, fun (sometimes) and really helps make your games stand out.
The creative programs I’ve found most valuable are MS Word, Gimp and Audacity. I’m also starting to learn Inkscape now I understand the value of vector graphics. All but Word are free, and you probably have that somewhere anyway.
If you don’t fancy recording your own sounds, freesound.org is invaluable.
Mixing sound effects is the most fun part of making a game! I don't know why.
If you’ve got no budget, there are plenty of places you can go for music. Soundimage.org by Eric Matyas is probably the main one, but look around (I think there’s an itchio forum too). Also, sometimes people will donate their old stuff if you ask.
When commissioning someone for art or music, always choose people who have something similar to what you want already up (on Deviant or Soundcloud, or wherever), and don’t assume that when people say they can adapt to different styles that they actually can.
Always make sure you’ve got good stories about your games, or even your dev name. This is handy for streams, interviews and game-blurbs.
Always help out streamers/ Youtubers who play your games. Share their videos on social media, like/comment/subscribe and above all, be patient and pleasant. You’re helping each other out.
Cultural standards vary more you might think- what’s fine in Europe isn’t always fine in America.
Similarly, a lot of British words don’t travel. Americans don’t use ‘squiffy’, and assume ‘whinging’ is a typo of ‘whining’. There must be hundreds of examples of this...
Try and avoid proximity to hot button issues. I mentioned the KKK in passing in Bunny Hill Horror (as an acronym for Karen, Katy and Keith), and that turned into the most contentious part of the game for many people. (edit: this might be better phrased as 'avoid hot button issues if they're out of place within the context of your game'- by all means raise important issues if that's your theme.)
When dealing with criticism, I tend to respond in kind. If someone’s being respectful then I’ll be respectful back even if they hate the game but if someone is being abusive... well, I’m never exactly abusive but can’t stand seeing it when devs are meek and apologetic in the face of trolling...
Checking the itchio forum at least weekly is a very good idea. There’s often something going on like a sale or a bundle, or someone wanting a game like yours to stream.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that things like creative problem solving, expanding your knowledge, making friends with people from other cultures you’d never know otherwise, doing things you wouldn’t do otherwise etc. is part of the journey, but it’s also something very valuable in itself, and the journey never really ends (even if you make the most successful game in the world, you’ll still be worrying about the sequel), so always make sure you’re enjoying yourself :)
Anyway, this is all I can think of for now! Feel free to share your own lessons learnt, and advice.
I'm frankly embarrassed to say, but we have certainly reached the conclusion that hoping people will donate for a free game is not the optimal strategy to make money! Especially when the donation screen appears before they've even played the thing...
And our games are rated pretty well- 4.3 and 4.5 for our last two...