I've been doing research - as I said I would - about the games promotion and marketing scene, and while it all does seem daunting, the more I learn the less scary it becomes, just like with anything. It ceases to be 'impossible' and becomes merely 'challenging'. I've got a lot left to learn, but I'm getting there.
One of the biggest things that I've learned is how other developers present themselves and their games on a personal level... By which I mean it seems that few do. Present themselves on a personal level, I mean. It's much more acceptable - more professional
- to separate your human self, your mind and your feelings, from the product that you want to market to people. This is... sensible, I know, and I should probably make efforts to redesign my own self-image in order to come across as more professional and less like some kind of whiny weirdo or something.
I'm torn about that, though, because I get many messages of praise for my candour... For the way I seem human
rather than like a games-making machine. I suppose it's just a matter of finding a happy balance, though, because I'm sure it puts off as many or more than it appeals to.
The recent nadir in my personal life has made me consider this kind of thing all the more... A particularly relevant piece of wisdom is that if you carry on as you always have, you'll always get more of what you already have. Or something to that effect. I'm unhappy with my life, but if I don't change, neither will the factors that make me unhappy. To that end, I've been exploring things such as the wonders of positive thinking and mental reframing in order to reprogram the way that my mind works. Hooray for self-development!
BUT that's me talking about me and not my games, when instead I should be talking about those. So I will!
I may upload a playable version of Yden tomorrow - or at least soon - so then I can get some feedback from select people about whether or not it's even fun to play, or what might need changing. I'll continue to do research in the meantime.
Steam and mobile seem to be the two choices I have to consider. I had a look at Steam Greenlight's list of games seeking approval recently, bracing myself for all kinds of things well beyond what I'm capable of alone, but was surprised to see many games that, uh... weren't amazing. This gives me hope! And yet I don't know if Yden is the sort of game that the Steam crowd would really go for. It's very... static, I suppose; the people don't move at all, and there's no action to speak of.
It might work better on mobile, though that's got its own difficulties. It'd be better if I'd designed it to work as a freemium game, but I haven't, so either I release it for free and get nothing, or I release it for a fee and probably sell barely any copies. Unless I release a free Flash version to portals and stuff, and a paid mobile version... I don't know. I'm hoping the research will show what's wisest.
I'll use Yden - a fairly quick project I'm not massively attached to - as a way of getting my foot into the market again; exploring what works and how. It'll be an experiment, in many ways.
After that's done, I'll try and make those preview quests for Creation, and then I'll consider how to release that. I don't know what I'll do there; I'd prefer it as a web game, as it'd be deeply integrated into this site and stuff, but I don't know if there's any profit in that, since any income would be based on advertising and I'd likely have to attract a huge number of visitors before the numbers started to be significant. It could work as an additional revenue stream, though... AFC would never work on mobiles, but Steam might be an option, though I don't know how users would go about sharing their quests. Again, research is key!
With AFC out of the way, I'll begin to focus on Miasmon again. I like the idea of this being on mobiles for the same reason I like that Pokemon games are on handhelds... but it's not really a casual game as such so that might not work. It too was conceived as a browser game, drawing an audience here to this site, but again I'm unsure about the potential profit there... However, the game has great potential for premium content. Possibly.
Speaking of drawing people here, though, something that I notice few developers doing is forming communities around their games. Most seem to have forums, but they're usually out-of-the-way and seem more of an afterthought than anything. Perhaps it's because I'm a 'social player' in Bartle Type terms, but I see the possible emotional connections that might grow from shared gaming experiences as a really important part of games in general (though in saying that, I've never been into playing games socially with others!). I'd really like to build a culture
around my games rather than just having them as throw-away experiences, and I particularly like the idea of community involvement (quest building, Miasmon design contests, etc), but... well, we'll see how all that works out.
I may also focus on the sequel to my MARDEK games at some point soon, too; I get the feeling that it would guarantee me at least some amount of money if released on Steam since people have existing emotional connections to the previous chapters. I'd also like to move forward with the story - I left so many loose ends - and it'd be particularly enjoyable for me to show how all my art and design skills have improved since the old versions. However, this will probably take months to do, so I'd rather get around to it once I'm comfortable as an Indie Games Developer rather than someone who's deeply unsure about what I'm doing with my life!! Having Yden, Miasmon and AFC as supports to fall back on as I develop MARDEK 4 would be wise, I think.
So yes! To summarise:
- Yay, positive thinking!
- I'm still researching how to release Yden.
- I'll try to get AFC out after that.
- Then I'll work on Miasmon.
- I'll also be thinking about MARDEK 4!