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Mephistopheles: Not All Linux Games Sell Well

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Teho View Post
    They are represeting Phronix community not Linux. Phoronix forums are the nesting place of the worst trolls in FOSS community and isn't exactly a good pick if you are looking for serious input. Most sane people have left these forums a long time ago.
    While I mostly agree with that, and even though I might've become accostumed to the tone used over here, I don't think the posts contained in this thread are trollish, offensive or particularly harsh. Actually, there are some nicely balanced responses, some people announcing their intention to supporting the game and some words of encouragement here and there. Of course, others are not impressed and, surprise, are not shy to say it.


    • #62
      Originally posted by motorsep View Post
      I don't know, I am not a marketing / PR guru
      Yup. The problem is not your game. It's your video. Marketing ANYTHING is all about the packaging. That video is not a good game trailer, even for a pre-alpha. It needs the touch of someone with an eye for such things, someone who knows how to put together good trailers. The video you have (and your website, for that matter) are not going to get people excited about your game. I say this having some actual experience with marketing on released commercial titles. I too suck at making videos and doing marketing material; that's why I don't do those, and if I need them for a small project, I find a friend or pay someone to do them for me.

      A couple obvious issues with your video that should be fixed if you try for another round of funding:

      1) It's waaaaay too long. A trailer has no reason to be more than 3 minutes long, and rarely needs to be more than 30-60 seconds.

      2) The intro text is hard to read. It takes a bit of squinting to read through that font. Pick a better one. And spruce up the title screen. That's literally the first thing people see, so it had better be pretty and/or interesting enough to make them want to watch the video.

      3) The video has a lot of filler. It starts out staring at a fire, then jittering around looking at things, then walking. That's not intersting. Start out with action. Make every single frame of video shown interesting. Show only the cool, awesome, fun, innovative, amazing parts. The parts that are just walking or looking at walls is just a waste of time (see point 1) and detracts from the awe of the video. Remember that an experience is only as good as its worst part; if you have even a second of boring video, users are going to come away thinking the game might be boring.

      4) The HUD looks like a debug console. If you've got something that's there from the very beginning of the video and then is present throughout the entirety of the rest of the video, it had better look good. You should have spent more time putting together a decent looking HUD for the video. Especially given that making a nice HUD is one of the easiest art assets and game logic to put together.

      5) The audio is low quality. There's some intense popping here and there, which immediately makes many users want to turn the audio off, if not the entire video. The music and sound effects are quiet, even when the speaker is silent, making it hard to get an idea of how good the game sounds. Sound is really really really important to games.

      6) The voice over... I'll talk more about that in a bit. Short version: either do it interview style, hire a professional narrator, or stick to just text (with really really nice transitions and titles, not low-quality overlays).

      7) The dungeon environment is very repetitive, and it's the only environment we see in the video. This will get boring in a real game very quickly, and it gets boring in the video even quicker. Show more variety. If you don't yet have those assets, prioritize them, and get at least a few more in before your next marketing video.

      8) You never tell us why we want the game. No, it's not obvious. Even if you had the most amazing game ever, at some point, tell us: "This is the most amazing game ever, and you should fund this because you'll never play anything else like it." Or whatever spiel is best for the game, of course. There's a lot of games out there. Why do I want _this_ game specifically? Tell me. Sell me. Herd the sheeple.

      I'm sure an actual marketing guru could give better tips. Point is, if you're making a video for marketing, it had damn well better be an awesome video. This is after all something you're putting out in order to get people to give you money. The video is basically more important than the game itself at this point. I know as a dev all you want to do is write code and features and gameplay, but none of that sells a game, even if it's awesome.

      I want to talk a bit more about the voice over. A friend of mine just recently had a Kickstarter for a game of his, called Pixel Sand. While it's a very small and simple game and he wasn't looking for much money, the Kickstarter was clearly a big success; he pulled in +50% of what he needed. The video is a similar style to yours: the developer talks during the whole thing and shows you the game. However, his was (to be blunt) far superior in quality. There's a few things he did very well that I'd like to point out for you and others; it's just a great example of The Right Way to make an indie game funding video like this.

      First, it started by showing us the developer (Trevor). He was smiling, enthusiastic, spoke clearly, introduced himself, and immediately connected us to the speaker. Since we were listening to him throughout the whole rest of the video, that human connection was very important to making sure that we _cared_ about what he was saying. He wasn't some disembodied voice, he was a person with a name and a face.

      Second, Trevor's voice recording was very professional. Not a lot of "ums" or "ers." Very clear, never mumbles. Upbeat and enthused throughout the whole thing. Speaks with purpose, doesn't fumble around. Gets in there, tells us about the game without a lot of fuss, and tells us why we want to play it and why the game is cool. This could easily have been a pitch to a game studio executive or an on stage game pitch brief at GDC. Quality work.

      Third, he recorded his speech first and then added in game footage. Your video was the opposite, as it was basically a short run through some content and then commentary about that gameplay. The difference is pretty clear; in his video, he could list off features and you'd see clips showing those features as he spoke about them. When he says "multiplayer" it immediately shows a clip of four players being dropped into the world. When he says "you can throw fire around" it immediately shows a clip of a big fireball being waved about. When he talks about being able to blow up gasoline, it jumps right to a clip showing that feature off. You didn't have to watch him fumble about in menus or watch him complete some content just to get to the next interesting talking point. He went through almost a hundred game features in 3 minutes, and was able to talk about the major ones in a very natural fashion. Good video editing skills are critical for these things.

      Fourth, when the gameplay footage wasn't directly relevant to what Trevor was saying, it was still interesting. He managed to go through those hundred game features without talking about most of them because every bit of footage he had was showing something off that you hadn't already seen in the video. You were constantly being showed something new and cool.

      That is a video to emulate if you're trying to market a small indie game.

      Hope that helps you (or anyone else looking to fund an indie game).

      p.s. I haven't asked Trevor if a Linux version of Pixel Sand is possible. It's written in C#, currently using XNA but he's looking at other frameworks to make porting to iOS and Android possible. He may go the MonoTouch route. Thus a Linux version seems quite feasible, but obviously I can't speak for him.
      Last edited by elanthis; 03 March 2012, 06:44 AM.


      • #63
        Originally posted by elanthis View Post
        I'm sure an actual marketing guru could give better tips. Point is, if you're making a video for marketing, it had damn well better be an awesome video. This is after all something you're putting out in order to get people to give you money. The video is basically more important than the game itself at this point. I know as a dev all you want to do is write code and features and gameplay, but none of that sells a game, even if it's awesome.
        I agree.. This is why the humble bundle does so well.. They have absolutely amazing, hilarious videos that people love to pass around... The trailers for the games that are part of the humble bundle, in my opinion, are really bad.. The humble bundle guys though, they've got a Sean Connery and Arnold Schwarzenegger sound-alike voice in there, some jokes and a whole lot of other things that makes watching the video over and over again a lot of fun. It's something I love to show people.. Even though they're simple Linux games that look like they're from the 1990s, the Humble Bundle trailers do so much to sell the games and I think that's what this Indie Dev is missing. On a couple of the bundles, I've spent over $60 even though I didn't have to.

        The Humble Bundles wouldn't be anywhere near as successful if they made boring trailers. People love to pass around videos these days, a lot of people have Android phones and it's so easy to just zap somebody a link to a Humble bundle video that they can watch anywhere at anytime and then pass it along. It's the Humble Bundle secret sauce.
        Last edited by Sidicas; 03 March 2012, 04:25 PM.


        • #64
          Originally posted by motorsep View Post
          In any case, you guys represent Linux community. And now I clearly see the mentality here. No wonder any sane publisher / developer will not support Linux unless they have successful alpha funding or the game has been released elsewhere and made enough profit.
          That being said, thank you for your support, you just made our life easier and now we see that supporting Linux platform in the future is the priority #last.
          First of all I have all the numbered HumbleBundles, so that includes SS, so you'd know that a client of your game posted. Then, if you came here for help selling your game your are failing at PR big time and you should expect a trolling conversation as long as you alienate your target customers with threats. If Linux gaming is a small thing then it would be easier for you to hear all the gamers speak and make a game that many would find fun and worthy of their hard earned money, because that's really the issue here, their money that you want. And that does not mean to listen to all the things we say and remake Skyrim in Quake, BTW. But DO hear us.

          Originally posted by motorsep View Post
          NOTE: Gamers who disagree with many negative opinions expressed here and who would rather not see Kot-in-Action dropping Linux support in the future, should combat trolls in their community.
          'Cause people who would like to buy your game when it looks fun to them and not EXACLY RIGHT NOW are trolls?

          You are not a PR guy and it shows, so I don't understand why are you here talking to us, do you have a guy from accounting designing your dungeons too? You need someone you knows how to talk and how to take criticism because YOU as a game developer ( I presume ) are too close to your game and everything regarding the game feels too personal for you, you love your game and this love blinds you, sorry.

          i don't know...


          • #65
            "Not All Linux Games Sell Well".... not ANY linux games sell well... to me.
            Or any games for ANY platform, for that matter.

            Games are boring. Its much more fun to do things that are PRODUCTIVE.


            • #66
              Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
              "Not All Linux Games Sell Well".... not ANY linux games sell well... to me.
              Or any games for ANY platform, for that matter.

              Games are boring. Its much more fun to do things that are PRODUCTIVE.
              You are dead to me.


              • #67
                I see nothing comparable in the Linux environment so far so its piqued my interest. I would love to see Grimrock come to Linux but nothing has even been discussed so I'm not holding my breath.

                Comparing it to AAA titles is unfair. Most AAA titles look beautiful but bore me to tears with the same old rehashed game play. Plus, they are on windows. I would love nothing more to delete my windows partition and never look back. I only keep windows for netflix and videogames.

                All that being said, there's just not enough content there to generate a large amount of interest; Its a dungeon crawler, good. I appears to have skeletons, ok. Are there going to be more variation on enemies? Will there be different types of weapons? There just isn't enough there yet to justify any investment.

                Also, your timing is unfortunate with the announcements of wasteland 2 and double fine adventure game.

                I hope you will stick with it and blow us away in a couple of months. You'll have my money if you do, no question.


                • #68
                  There is FAQ where all these questions you asked are answered:



                  • #69
                    thanks! Looks very cool. Now get that content increased and blow our undies off!


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by motorsep View Post
                      There is FAQ where all these questions you asked are answered:

                      Why does Tomes of Mephistopheles have a download limit?

                      Unlike some independent games, we are aiming at a AAA level of content. This increases our costs for downloads. Content delivery networks cost a lot and as the game will grow in size, so will our bills. So to keep things affordable, we have this in place.

                      OMG! My download links have expired because I didn't bother downloading the game after I purchased it, for two weeks. What do I do next?

                      Contact the developers at support /at/ kot-in-action /dot/ com and ask to reset the expiration date.

                      How will I get alpha updates if I exceed my download limit?

                      The updates will be provided as separate downloads. Each of the update files will have its own download limit. Please use the resources wisely, don't waste bandwidth.

                      Why is it more expensive to buy the game on Desura?

                      There no such thing as free distribution. Desura charges us hefty fee (I think it's hefty because currently Desura is nothing more than autopatching + storage for the developers, unlike Steam, that actually sells games rather well). We need to maintain our profit margin and therefore it costs more to sell game on Desura, to compensate for the distribution fee.
                      So Desura will offer your customers a proper download service that you complain is too expensive to provide yourself and still think that they charge you for nothing?