It's Asian Electronica by HookSounds
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No problem! Market research can be fun too! The best part is that itch io's algorithm seems to like to make sure older games never get forgotten. The site developer really made it out of love~
From what I've personally experienced, good tagging, naming and labeling does help quite a bit. I've noticed that our games sometimes show up when someone clicks through another game of the same tag, or they pop up when someone filters through tags. There are also some who search through the bar at the top - that one filters in games with matching titles.
Another way is to join game jams. Don't submit games you didn't make for them, though - join them properly. If you can make a good game that's relevant to the theme, there'll likely be a spillover audience looking for more from the same developer who'll visit your profile and play your older games.
Imo the best form of marketing for game devs is our reputation as developers - work of a quality we can be proud of plus content that suits our brand and style. Even our experiments say things about us sometimes!
Ikr??? that's how humans get horses to run for them for... FREE! Imagine that! Running for free
Totally below a thoroughbred. Gotta clop on ahead and find your true horse family
No kidding! I'm telling you horses are the richest beings on earth. They don't even need to buy a sportscar to join a race!
Sure! I'd prefer if you credited and linked back so others can find and use it too~ Thank you~
Aha! Thanks for the interest!
Yeah, I'm not surprised to hear Steam doesn't have as many R-18 BL games. As for regular BL games, I don't really see too many anywhere else either. We do seem to have a slightly larger amount of it on Itch that has a BL main plot, fortunately!
I know what you mean. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to start developing our own stuff when we can't find the content that we're looking for. The best part is that you don't need to censor them here.
I don't think you need to adhere 100% to existing cultivation terms - a lot of novels have settings that differ from others, including world rulesets. So you probably don't need to worry about it. Just go with the flow and enjoy the process and I'm pretty sure you'll be fine. If you need a glossary, you can always add one to your game's page.
No problem! I like writing journals anyway. Let me know what you think of my cursed cultivation games, the more cursed you feel, the better hehehehe
Wait, are really there that many MDZS games? I've only found five so far, excluding the fanzine. But then again, I'm only looking for English language games to link to in my socmed, so there may be a limit as to what I'm seeing. A number aren't tagged, so I have had difficulty finding them.
It's a bit odd that you don't have access to Reddit and Twitter because I know a number of mainland Chinese people who're on both these platforms. I've got a number following me and interacting with me on both platforms so I know they exist. Perhaps try a VPN or look up ways to circumvent the block? There are folk from China offering to translate my fics and post them on Lofter, so I know it can be done because AO3 is blocked in your country and they've been able to send me messages.
Yeah, Steam seems a lot more formal and "curated". You'd definitely feel the pressure of having to put out something longer and of a higher quality, and that leads to more time sunk into developing a game. More time sunk into development means less of a churn time... meaning less games being published. It's just a vibe difference, not a censorship issue, imo.
Aha, so you've noticed the fan games huh? I've noticed a handful too, so maybe we can exchange notes on observations here. Fan games probably do well thanks to Twitter and Reddit, where most of the MDZS fan communities reside. Not sure about Genshin, though, but it's a good idea to promote your fan games on social media if you're posting them here.
A number of foreigners seem to have gotten into Xianxia and Wuxia, thankfully, and appear to be looking for more material, at least in the form of translated novels. The eastern English-speaking ones seem to come from the South East - likely from Singapore and Malaysia, like myself. I can't speak for the others from my region, but I can only speak my family dialects and not actually read and write formally in Mandarin. That's probably why I need translations like the Western fans do..... but the upside is that I can communicate very easily with them and bridge our differences. I've noticed a few translators are from Singapore, so that has helped with bridging.
It's nice to see people from all over the world come together to enjoy culture. I'm a fan of Victorian and English stuff myself, so it's been very lovely to be able to share, give and receive, and not just be confined to the latter.
Design-wise, Wuxia/Xianxia long hair and dress-like costumes may put off a number of BL fans on this site. Bara games seem naturally more popular here. Perhaps we might get more clicks if we added more muscles... but long flowing robes generally hide muscles anyway.
Ahaha yeah, agreed, don't make games just to introduce a culture, it's extremely difficult. You'll probably end up worrying more about the mechanics, promotions or translations instead of just enjoying the process. It's not a bad idea to just post games in Chinese, though, if you find it easier. There are a number of games that are just in Korean, Japanese or Chinese only. Just be sure to add your main language as the Supported Language in the Metadata tab so your game can be found by the folk who are looking for it.
If you ever make games, I'm sure they'll be very welcome! Diversity means having different flavors, never confined to one type of offering. You'll never know who'll enjoy your game!
Someone asked me very nicely to make an MDZS game.
I came, I saw, I delivered
Edit: Google locked me out. I can't access forms anymore. If you have any requests, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or Tumblr for now until I figure out a better approach.
Well, we all know he'd do it if his back were better. Thank goodness for his bad back, eh?
Ooo thank you!! Poor Harlowe lol! His good endings aren't exactly the best, given what he's like hahahahahaha
Oooh! Thank you for explaining! Can Lord Harlowe be called "Lord Harlowe" as well if he's a duke? It would make sense if he's above the other lords in rank, because this would mean he can get away with anything he wants. He can get pretty nasty!
Aww, I love Willow too! He's the first love interest in the story, bless~
Yeah, there's no real right way or wrong way to translate them - which can make it hard in its own way. If we neutralized everything and made them completely western, quite a number of westerners who're already very used to cultivation will find it odd or too dumbed down. And yes, your disciple brothers and sisters will all have seniority and junior names depending on ranking. "Senior Disciple Brother Yi" would be a mouthful compared to "Yi-shixiong". You can't run away from that in cultivation, unfortunately, unless you're making a story about a hermit...
Yeah, there's also the issue of it sounding rude if honorifics were dropped. Alphonse calling Edward by name wouldn't be odd at all since they're westerners from the start. But in an ancient Chinese clan/sect setting? Oh boy.
I don't know about "potion master" but fortunately the ones who make pills can easily be called "alchemists", "herbalists" or more accurately "pill forgers". If they can also make potions and decoctions, the easiest way is to simply call them "pharmacists". It's not so straightforward when making a distinction between "Shifu" and "Shizun" though. Using the latter usually highlights the cuteness of the disciple, after all. As always, the cuteness of a big wolfish clan disciple is a most important thing!
Mm, yeah, I think I know what you mean about footnotes and explanations. A lot of novel sites have modern footnotes (popup tags), that you can click at to find a glossary or explanation of the words. They definitely help newbies with the terms and teach you a bit more about the culture as you go without you needing to refer to a search engine. I write these footnotes when posting cultivation novels on regular sites. But like you mentioned, it's an absolute pain to program that sort of thing for a short VN - and a free one at that where we're not going to get much payout or much thanks for. The cons outweigh the pros, really.
But if it helps, think of it as something folk who already know cultivation can have as street cred! They'd be like, "here's how I can test my knowledge! I no longer need footnotes to understand the game!" In fact, if they're streaming it, they can work as a translator too to the audience and that might give show off their skills and knowledge. There's always a silver lining to doing things on medium to hard mode. We don't always need to spoon-feed our audience. Quite a number may prefer to learn to fish on their own, or show off their fishing skills. It might help to label it for advanced cultivation readers only, which may be what they're looking to be known as.
I see. It does make sense that non-Chinese folk are scared to start because of the naming conventions and cultural differences. Everyone's working hard to make a VN and the last thing we'd want is for folk to laugh at us or tell us off for getting something wrong. As it is, we're already mostly not paid for whatever we're doing... and then there's this additional stress! I totally get ya.
I know I've talked about making Wuxia/Xianxia games more available to others, but honestly, after some retrospective, there's nothing wrong with leaving it as a niche too. It's just that there's this misconception that making Wuxia/Xianxia BL games will get a developer views because The Untamed and Faraway Wanderers are popular. Wuxia/Xianxia's like K-pop; it looks big but not everyone's actually into it. If views makes someone happy, I don't recommend they do Wuxia/Xianxia unless they like the genre, or can market their games very well.
I'm only really making Wuxia/Xianxia games because I so happen to be Chinese and it's naturalized for me. The upside is that I don't really need to market it because people will be clicking on it out of curiosity anyway. It's probably pretty rare to see something ancient Chinese pop up in BL adult games. Even if people are not interested, they would click to see what it is.
But now I find out why Wuxia is rare here. People are too scared to make them.
Thanks for your insight! I'm not sure if it's just a niche on itch.io - it does seem like a niche everywhere else as well. The upside to it being a niche means that it's usually sought after by folk who are specifically and actively looking for it. I feel that if more niche audiences know that itch.io houses Wuxia/Xianxia games, they would visit this platform and we'll have more developers making them since they also share the same niche. But if we're looking to get a lot of views and plays on the get go.... that's not going to happen. It'll take some time before it catches on.
You bring up an interesting point about translations and origin languages. To be honest, I had thought of using simplified English words such as "Master", but they don't always fit the context - "Shifu" doesn't always translate directly to "Master", since "Master" can also mean one from the household or an employer of a servant, and it's a very different thing if it's a martial father ("Shizun"), because it's more clan-based than technical-based ("Shifu"), but like "Shifu", can also mean "Master". As it is, I'm already taking a risk by using the general term, "young master" instead of the more specific "gongzi" and "shaoye", which have different meanings but both can translate to "young master".
If I'd used generalized words for all of them, it'll alienate the ones who are already into the genre as it would confuse them. It would also unfortunately confuse me, since I'm directly translating it from my head to English with these specific meanings. Therefore I'd left some of them directly untranslated - they're shorter, easier to manage, and keep an original flavour that makes Wuxia, well, Wuxia. It's a bit like "-sensei", "-kun" and "-san" suffixes in English-translated Japanese games, novels or comics... swap them out and it'd feel weird to a native English reader who's been exposed to anime translations for a long time. That said, I ultimately chose to write for the native English reader and not the peripheral audience who aren't natively English-language consumers; sometimes you need to choose between a rock and a hard place. That's the challenge of producing stuff for a niche - you tend to need to pick one and stick with it.
Getting into Wuxia is mainly about prolonged exposure, I feel. There are times when I think it isn't so much about educating the audience, but rather inviting them to stay and learn and explore at their own pace. What this means is to make it as enticing as possible, whether it be in character design or humour. This will draw them in, and then they'll figure if they want to know more about the genre or if they don't.
The only thing I can say is that Chinese names don't necessarily require a meaning either - we're sometimes named by our parents without that much thought. There's literally an uncle in my family named "Small Dog" because my grandpa liked dogs, and I'm literally named after the fact that I came out of the womb ass-first. So I wouldn't really worry about names were I you.
The only thing you might want to worry about are the oufits, though. It can look pretty jarring if we don't understand the components and layers of the outfits before tweaking them. The idea is to make them look less like costumes and more of something that fits into the world it's from. But if your consumers are mostly Westerners I don't think it's something to worry too much about either. I can't speak for other Asians, but... where I come from I don't really think it's our culture to call you out on that sorta thing. In turn, the Westerners haven't really called me out for getting anything wrong about Western culture either. I feel we're quite alright on the give-and-take bit.
No problem! And yeah, learning's always a great thing! You'll be able to participate on Yaoi Jam Plus next year, maybe. I think they have one where you can submit your unfinished games to once you're finished.
Hmmm... if it helps, growing up remembering those books does help with marketing CYOA games. They're basically electronic forms of the books, at least.
Yeah, there are pros and cons when it comes to marketing naughtier games. They're definitely harder to talk about on regular platforms, so I don't really promote there. What helps is that my audience is niche though, and they don't seem to favour Twitch very much. I'm personally not on Steam, Gamejolt or Newgrounds either - not a lot of the stuff are my cup of tea, so I haven't bothered with those places, and a number of the ones I know don't either. They just swarm away like flies once there's no more naughty to be had and... go elsewhere where there is. So that's where I go too.
The only games I've had difficulty marketing are ironically SFW games.
Oh yeah, the other one I really liked was the mixologist at the lounge. Drunk of handsome, baby!
Does he though??? I'm with you, he's definitely my first choice for a protagonist too - some guys do look rough but they're gentle and fun on the inside. I like that sort! Can't judge a book by its cover, you know?
JUSTICE FOR JOSH, I SAY! JUSTICE FOR JOSH
Argh, oh man, that does happen to the best of us! Model everything, make the whole thing work... then BAM! Absolutely no story to go with it. You're definitely not alone. It's happened to me too. I tossed out the whole game, characters, backdrop and all... so I know how you feel.
That feeling at the pit of your stomach when you're like, "oh nuts, I did all of that for nothing"? Yeah.
If it helps though, it does look gorgeous - so don't give up on it if you're still willing to plod along post-jam to add more stuff. At least you have a demo up in time for folk to get a look and feel of it. That is something! Well done!
Aaa sleek graphics and pretty animation! The scary dark part was scary too.... but then again I scare easily.
Was hoping to score as Chris with the bar guy or with Josh hehehe. You know my tastes! But it's so good to just be able to look at Josh, what hot stuff!
Uuuuuuuugh, late to the party but I won't lie - marketing can be a poopoo to do! It's even more difficult when it's not the intended demographic or market that you're reaching out to as well.
But if it helps, I make CYOA games as well - and visual novels, a cousin of some sort to text-based CYOA games. Normally I try to market those either on Twitter/Tumblr (with not so much luck) or on my own original novels (with sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiightly better luck). From personal conversations, I've found that quite a number of people who read novels don't seem to know that there are CYOA games out there; a more game-based version of what they're used to, which doesn't require you to move around and destroy targets, and, which, just like novels, aren't as graphics-heavy as other types of games.
The other thing I've discovered is that novel readers (who are more inclined to at least give the text-based CYOA games a try) seem to generally find it iffy to need to download, unzip and play games, or to download and install an app, which appears invasive or adds additional steps for them to access it. I've made it a point to make my smaller games have a web-based version recently, so they can have a go at it easily with just a browser. It's worked to my advantage so far, so I recommend it.
I do like the name-card in library idea you have! I just can't leave those, because... I'm a bad girl who makes... naughty games hahaha! I might give that a shot with my tamer stuff though, which need more eyes on them. They're not doing as well as my adult-oriented games, for very obvious reasons.
And yeah, adult games don't really need marketing. They seem to market themselves very well on their own LOL. I've gotten rather lazy thanks to it.
Oooh! I hadn't thought to upload zines here! It was often just the developer's log, really, that I'd used. I might poke around - it would be interesting to have something like that on here! Maybe a character-based fashion zine, etc... sounds nifty!
Hahaha thank you so much!! Yeah, Birdy's easily the MVP here - he needs to be there to support his himbro (himbo + bro, get it? LOL)
He's definitely the dominated one here. If it's not by his partner, it's by Birdy...
Anyway thanks for the comment! You totally made my day~