Trying to figure a base level draw for audience

Discuss game development design and post your game ideas

Post » Tue May 09, 2017 8:55 am

I've made a few games now and I can't say I've gotten much traction in terms of plays. Not looking for millions of plays, just ten or more recorded scores.

I'm looking for a quick turn around on feedback, so a short number of development hours (under 15?). I'm attempting something zombie related, because that seems a grab for a number of audiences. To me, it's possible to bolt on a number of themes on top of zombies - ie, it doesn't really have to be about the zombies at all.

I see some games in the arcade here with a fair number of plays...and it's a zombie shooter, for example. Or do you guys have any other ideas for what will draw an audience?
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Post » Tue May 09, 2017 2:49 pm

I think it's really hard say what will draw an audience. If you're only spending 15 hours per game, I assume you're not really aiming for very high quality games with so little time, but produce more average games in general?

I probably would suggest to invest time in these things instead of just pushing out games like a factory.

* Find an eye catching and unique art style. Nice graphics and screenshots will always attract more. Ugly games are probably less likely to be played.
* Nice music and sound effects can enhance the overall feeling of the games.
* Spend some time with a good description of the game. When people search they are more likely to find it.
* Make a good video trailer.
* And also (but obvious) make fun games, that people would recommend to their friends.
* If you plan on earning money from AD's, you want to make a game that lasts long time, or people play very often, with high replayability.

And I would also suggest to spend way more time than 15 hours on a game. Make something fun, and unique. There's plenty of shovelware and copies already.
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Post » Tue May 09, 2017 7:52 pm

Thanks for your reply,

The thing is I've read an account of a developer who put many, many hours into a game as well as money for development and advertising - and just didn't find an audience.

The point is to develop quickly to find audience response, then develop more slowly with the confidence of actually engaging an audience. Instead of throwing hundreds of hours into a direction and find no one else is going in that direction.

As developers, I think we've got to stop using the 'put your head down and just keep pushing in a direction for dozens of hours at a time' model of development. There's plenty of unique games out there that nobody plays, as well. Never mind how many developers start projects then never finish them because instead of capping the number of hours, they let feature bloat extend the dev hours indefinitely and eventually break their morale and they let the project die.
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Post » Wed May 10, 2017 7:57 am

I'm not really suggesting you spend hundreds and hundreds of hours, but 15 hours seems way too little if you want to compete on any level. Even if you want to make small short games, and clones, I still think it's good to invest a bit in some nice unique art style, or some unique feature for example to stand out of the crowd a bit, and at least polish it, to make if feel polished and professional.

And also. If you spend 15 hours developing, i would suggest spending just as much or even more in marketing. Contact reviewers, youtubers, etc etc, to get some feedback and exposure. If no-one even knows the game exists it's hard to get downloads. If you only rely on people stumbling across the game in an app store, you should probably spend another 15 hours, tweaking description, screenshots, etc optimizing your chances of people finding the game, and wanting to download it.

I'm just saying that 15 hours development time and then just uploading somewhere hoping for the best, seems wayyyy tooo little, for any decent quality production at all.

Multilply those 15 hours a bit.
15 hours developing
15 hours artwork and animations
15 hours testing and feedback, bug fixes and polish.
15 hours marketing, description, video trailer...

Take pride in your work, make something to the best of your ability and that looks fun and is fun to play. :) Even if it's short, small games. The effort will shine through.
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Post » Wed May 10, 2017 11:11 am

Good points by @tunepunk here. If I am looking through a list of games, the first thing that catches my eye is the art. If I am looking through the Scirra arcade, for example, I am more likely to click on artwork that incites an emotional response.

Artwork that incites this response typically takes effort. Concept sketches can be quick, but polishing and refining might take many hours or days for each character.

I wonder if the better approach to see what attracts an audience might be a beautifully crafted character in a convincing pose. Once you have people's attention, then work on the game itself.
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Post » Wed May 10, 2017 12:02 pm

cjbruce wrote:Good points by @tunepunk here. If I am looking through a list of games, the first thing that catches my eye is the art. If I am looking through the Scirra arcade, for example, I am more likely to click on artwork that incites an emotional response.

Artwork that incites this response typically takes effort. Concept sketches can be quick, but polishing and refining might take many hours or days for each character.

I wonder if the better approach to see what attracts an audience might be a beautifully crafted character in a convincing pose. Once you have people's attention, then work on the game itself.


Yeah but it's good to remember that even if you spend a lot of time on beautiful art, that does not mean the game is fun to play. Beautiful Artwork will certainly catch the eye, but game has to be fun also. If your art is pretty but the game is boring - maybe you will have bad reviews and comments on it. If the game has very low quality artwork but fun to play, chances are low that people would not download in the first place. It's better to make a simple game, but do everything well, and very good. Good artwork, music, and fun gameplay. That's why i think 15 hours is very very low.

I can only speak for myself. I would never ever release something I'm not proud of. I've spent almost 2 years (on and off) on my first game already, and it's mostly because I'm learning as I'm doing it, and I'm very critical of my own work. If i'm not satisfied with a certain feature, I start over and try again. Like for example the touch controls. I spent a lot of time to just to tweak one small part to make that feel perfect. For my characters i did several drawings until i found a style that I was happy with. I'm pretty sure I could have been finished with the game long long time ago, but it would probably not be something i would be proud of, and not a very good and pretty game.
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Post » Thu May 11, 2017 9:50 am

tunepunk wrote:Take pride in your work,


Seems a little insulting? I'm sure you've heard [urlhttp://www.davidairey.com/picasso-and-pricing-your-work/]the story[/url] of the artist who draws something in a second then asks five thousand for it.

I'm not claiming great skill, but more time doesn't somehow make it real and others aren't, or it has more skill involved than something done in a shorter time. There are a number of 24 hour game dev comps out there as well.

On my main point, take 'Idle Slayer', where I talked with the developer and he said it took maybe 12 hours to make. 134,000+ plays.
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Post » Thu May 11, 2017 10:54 am

Callan S wrote:
tunepunk wrote:Take pride in your work,


Seems a little insulting?


How is that insulting? If you love what you're doing, why not go the extra mile to give your creations a bit of extra love, than just setting a time limit of 12 hours, publish and hope for the best? :D

If you're not a good artist, team up with one, or practice & try learn from other artwork, or find free assets. There's plenty of good free to use assets around if you look. :)

The "idle slayer" game you linked is a perfect example of that. I'm sure it's a pretty fun idle game, and he would probably have gotten WAY MORE plays if he spent some time on the artwork, some sound FX, etc. If I was browsing around and saw a game with this level of artwork, I probably wouldn't click on it, and rather chose a similar game that looks much nicer.

Not trying to be insulting at all, but to give some good suggestions.
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Post » Thu May 11, 2017 3:05 pm

While it is true that a master might be able to make a beautiful game quickly, it is highly likely that the master spent thousands of hours honing their craft to get to the point where they can do it quickly.

Thats the big advantage of doing lots and lots of small games for practice. While you are gaining skill, don't expect any of the hundreds of projects you will create along the way to be popular or successful. There will be a few gems, but most will not be worth publishing.
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Post » Fri May 12, 2017 4:17 am

cjbruce wrote:While it is true that a master might be able to make a beautiful game quickly, it is highly likely that the master spent thousands of hours honing their craft to get to the point where they can do it quickly.

Thats the big advantage of doing lots and lots of small games for practice. While you are gaining skill, don't expect any of the hundreds of projects you will create along the way to be popular or successful. There will be a few gems, but most will not be worth publishing.


As I said said in the OP, I'm not looking for millions of plays - just ten recorded scores or so. I have a few plays on my games, but there seems to be rebound so they don't actually play enough to register a score (and I make registering a score happen very quickly in the game)

What are you practicing towards by making lots of games if you are not aiming towards an audience?

Currently it seems like 'idle' is the main draw card, along with killing stuff. I have a game with 'slayer' in the title on kongregate which is an idle game with 5000 plays, and an idle game about growing lettuce with 3000 plays.

My newer small games I'm trying out on Scirra arcade, which is a smaller userbase I grant, but I thought I'd see a touch more traction. Then again 'Khloro Slaying' on the Scirra arcade is mine and got 62 players, 85 plays - the range I'm expecting (slightly better, actually).

I guess having 'you're killin' stuff' in the title probably is the main draw card. I've been trying to avoid the topic of violence and killing.

I guess I should have figured that already. Maybe I was trying to avoid acknowledging it.
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