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William O'Connell

A member registered Jun 13, 2017 · View creator page →

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Yeah stay away from r/gaming haha. I've had the most success with r/Games, r/creepygaming, and r/ARG, although obviously it depends what kind of games you make. The way subreddits prevent users with low karma from posting is annoying, but i think if you drop some memes in r/funny or something you can build karma pretty quickly. Or, yknow, actually participate in subreddits like r/gamedev. Shadow banning is annoying but Reddit gets a lot of bot traffic so over the years they've had to implement lots of anti-spam measures; that's one of them.

I don't want to deny anyone else's experience, I'm just noting that, for me, posting on Reddit has been by far the most effective free marketing I've tried (actually it's been more effective than most of my paid stuff as well). I don't want people to be scared away from trying it altogether because it might be really helpful for them. Or it might not. You don't know until you try.

And yet, Reddit bans self-promotion.

Every subreddit has their own rules. There's a site-wide guideline that < 10% of your posts should be self promotion, but I've never seen it seriously enforced. I've actually gotten quite a few sales through posts on relevant subreddits. So I wouldn't completely dismiss Reddit as a marketing channel.

One thing to remember is that most people who pirate your game probably wouldn't have paid for it if that was their only option. Often times it's kids/teenagers who don't have much money anyway. Obviously AAA publishers feel that DRM increases sales to some extent, since they pay a lot of money to implement it, but for indie developers I think you're better off putting more time/money into marketing. Launching on Steam might be worth it for other reasons (discoverability on is very low) but the DRM shouldn't be a big factor (besides as NTTP said Steam games can be pirated too).

You have to hover over the payment and click details, then the username is shown beside the email. The date on the review should help you find the right payment. I agree that responses to reviews would be nice, as would direct messages.

Congrats on selling so many by the way.

I don't understand. If you have their username, I'm saying you can look up their email address in the payments page. So then you would just send them an email.

If you look in your payments tab, you should be able to find the buyer's email address in there (clicking a result shows the associated Itch username). Keep in mind that you're not supposed to use this information for marketing or anything, however it does say that

The email address that provides, along with the email tool, are made available if you need to contact buyers with news related specifically to their transaction.

so I think in this case it would be ok? Someone from Itch would need to chime in on that but from an ethical standpoint it seems ok to me.

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You mention briefly at the top that ACH transfers were "tested for a short time", are they no longer an option? I was under the impression you could get payouts handled that way if you contacted support. I know you said you don't have a bank account, and I don't know anything about you (or even what country you're in), but I'll point out that most people in the U.S. do have bank accounts, including many minors (generally its a joint account with a parent or guardian but still). Your position seems to be that you want to sell things for money online, but you don't have any way of receiving funds electronically. It's not your fault that you're in this situation, but you should recognize that it's not an easy problem to solve.

As it states on the payment FAQ: is not a bank, you should request your earnings from in a timely manner

I know very little about what legal issues may or may not exist with a wallet system like you propose, but certainly from a business/practical side I can see why Itch might be hesitant about implementing it. It would require them to hold funds indefinitely, shuffling them around between various developers' accounts (while still handling taxes and such) until someone finally paid them out. That's a pretty big ask, and Itch is a pretty small company.

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Not a lawyer, but I think the chance of being served an antitrust lawsuit is pretty small since they're a relatively tiny player in a fairly competitive space (Steam, Epic Store, GOG, GameJolt, etc.). I also don't know of anything they've done that could be considered anti-competitive.

My understanding is that once someone owns your game, they'll always have access to the latest version, unless you add separate minimum prices to specific files.

Is there some reason you can't just set it as free on the Oculus store? You could set up your own web page with a captcha if you wanted (let me know if you want help with that). I'm not sure what kind of protections Itch would give you, it doesn't really seem like it's built for that.

It's probably not a great idea, since one person could just request all of your keys.

My CTR this week for Subtext is is 0.5%, so 3% sounds pretty good to me. That's out of ~2500 impressions.

Hey leafo! Maybe this is inappropriate for me to ask but is there any chance you could consider Subtext for the front page? When I first published it it was sort of a soft launch so I'm not sure if anyone at Itch saw it. I understand if it's not something you want to promote but I figured it was worth asking.

If you have your mode set to "Collected by" you don't have to set up payment processors yourself at all.

Very spooky intro. Graphics look a little bit dated, but not ugly by any means. Reminds me a little of Dear Esther in that regard. I think I'm not smart enough for this game though haha. Still stuck in the first room. I see some writing on the walls that's clearly related but I'm not sure where it starts and ends or if I've found all of it.

I think it's probably not worth worrying about unless you start seeing one person with hundreds of downloads. As No Time To Play said, there's nothing stopping them from just giving someone else the files on a flash drive, hosting a torrent, burning it to 100 CDs, etc. DRM schemes can work, but they damage the experience of your paying players and limit their ability to do legal things with their legally obtained copies. There's some question, as well, as to what percentage of pirates would actually buy the game if they didn't have any other option. That number probably isn't 0%, but I doubt it's 100% either, so keep that in mind.

In my experience it's really hard to get people to play a game at all, even if it's free. If people are interested enough to steal it that's better than no interest at all. Just my two cents.

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I don't think Itch will remove your game based on the ideas it presents unless they're highly upsetting/dangerous (nazism, etc. might be as issue). Whether or not they feature it on the homepage is a separate question. I have no idea what factors do or don't impact that decision (hopefully an employee can shed some light on this) but I'll point out that most games don't get featured so if any particular game doesn't get featured it's not like they're trying to suppress it or whatever.

At the end of the day, it's their platform and they can run it however they want. Steam has been very open about their hands-off stance recently, so maybe that's a better bet if you're publishing something really controversial.

It just means someone downloaded the file(s) more than once.

I agree, it seems odd to me that every payout is delayed by over a week after the seven day waiting period. I could see why you would want to manually look over a new creator/product, but if the project literally hasn't changed since the last a payout was approved I'm not sure what the reviewer is looking for.

You can set the release status to "In Development" on a game's edit page.

I'm still in high school, and GDC is on the other side of the country from me, so I wanted to take a moment here to thank the Itch team as well as everyone who's given my game a shot since it launched.

In August, I first launched my weird online puzzle game Subtext. It was slow goings at first, but I got a few really positive reviews and now sales have started to pick up. I originally chose as a platform because I knew they had low payout minimums and I didn't know how many people would actually want to play a game entirely though text messages. That fear was apparently unwarranted, but I'm really happy that I came here because it's a fantastic community of indie devs.

I never would have thought to have the option to add a tip to the game price, but it's a great idea and it's gotten me free revenue that I would have missed if I tried to process payments myself. Big thanks to everyone who's played Subtext, and I really hope you enjoyed it. The game has now sent out more than 40,000 text messages.

I can't seem to get past the first level. Graphics seem cool although its sort of hard to tell how close the ball is to the edge of the platform since the platforms are hard to see and the ball has that particle effect on it.

It's a very calm game, but the actual puzzles get difficult pretty quickly, so there's definitely a lot of gameplay here. If you like the demo it's a no-brainer for $2.

The spiral room is awesome. Thought the part right before where you have to keep walking in the dark was sort of annoying though. Looking forward to seeing more of this!

How precise are the sort options on the games page? For instance, if you pick top selling, is the 3rd game from the left the game with exactly the 3rd highest number of purchases across the site? Is it over some time range, or lifetime? Trying to get a sense for how my project is selling compared to similar games on the platform. Thanks!

Yeah, I was in FF, seems like it works in Chrome. Nice job!

Looks really neat! The control doesn't seem to be working for me though. The buttons show up and everything but no matter how I touch or tap the screen my dot just goes in a straight line.

Ok, admittedly this isn't really a release announcement since the game has been out for a while, but I only just now learned about this forum so here we go. Subtext is a puzzle game that plays out over real text messages, phone calls, and emails. You don't play as the main character, you are the main character.

So far reviews have been pretty good.  Michael Andersen from ARGNet said "If you’re interested in learning more about Subtext, play the demo. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in the full experience, play the demo: it’s that good." Speaking of which, you can play the free demo here. If you like what you see (read?) and want to play the full thing, you can buy it from the page.

Wow, thanks for the video! It's really cool to get to see how people react as they play it. Glad you found the easter egg with the website at the end.

Don't trust anyone!

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EDIT: This has been resolved, and very quickly at that! Game is great, mechanics are clever as always and the updated graphics are sweet.

Bought the full version but when I run the exe a window opens and then disappears. I can see that it's still running in task manager but it's not using any CPU. (I'm on Windows 8).

Yeah the shooting looks and feels really powerful.

Yep, the lite version works great! This is really impressive. Definitely has the warioware vibes. The faces the pancake flipping guy makes had me in stitches.

In my opinion it would be better if all control methods used the same set of icons (directional arrows would work). As it stands, if I want to play with someone else, they have to learn the game using a different set of symbols, and if they go back and play it single player they'll always use letters even if they used numbers before. It's sort of confusing.

Didn't work for me. Ironic, given the name. Looks cool though!

I really like the music. Game is simple but it's clear that some effort went into it.

Seems sort of unfair to me, occasionally spikes would appear for instance in a line right in front of the exit, at which point there isn't really anything I can do since I obviously can't jump down to there but if I stay on the playform a spike will appear there soon enough as well. Obviously this is harder to program, but fewer, more cleverly placed spikes would be better than large numbers in obvious roadblock configurations. That said, the visuals are awesome and I quite like the AI character (although I guess he's not terribly unique). Excited to see where this goes!

Cool game! One technical issue I had: the embedded player on the page cuts off the edges of the game, so I had to fullscreen it in order to see the timer. There might be a setting you need to change in itch, if not you could put a message to remind people to fullscreen.

The background audio is awesome. Very creepy. You might be able to cross fade the end onto the beginning so it doesn't fade out when it loops, although that's a minor gripe. The gameplay was engaging, and it definitely had the feeling of being slowly overwhelmed by a horde of zombies. The graphics were functional (I like the font choice) but I think you could do a lot more with the art if you wanted to. Some shadows or other lighting effects would be neat, as would more variation in the zombies. I wasn't really sure what the spike ball things were.

I beat the game on my first try, so perhaps it could be a touch harder. Keep it up!

This was really weird. I quite like the art, although I got pretty motion sick after a while (which doesn't normally happen to me). I got stuck wandering around for a long time before I found the ending, and I don't really feel like I understood it, so I'm a little bit dissapointed I guess, but I don't regret playing it. I just wish more of the mysteries got paid off. I feel like some aspect of this probably went over my head.