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game development

Suicide Guy – Post Mortem (1 Year later)

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Hello my friend!
We would like to share with you what went right and wrong after our latest release Suicide Guy in this post mortem, 1 year after its release on Steam  

store.steampowered.com/app/303610/Suicide_Guy/

 

– SALES

The game during its first year sold almost 30.000 copies on Steam only (Price 4.99 €)

With a rating of 85/100 on Steam

Here a Pie chart of the sales:

 

 

– MARKETING

The marketing we’ve made is still constant, sending constant updates to the gamers to keep high the interest for the game.

The main websites where we market the game were:

1) Facebook

2) Instagram

3) Keymailer

4) Twitter

5) Youtube

6) Newsletter Emails

7) Steam (groups, pages etc)

8) Google Ad Words

9) Linkedin

10) Reddit

 

– CONSOLE RELEASES

The game has been launched even on consoles (PS4 and Nintendo Switch) several months after the Steam release:

PS4: https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP2659-CUSA11105_00-0000000000000000

Nintendo Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/suicide-guy-switch

 

With over 10.000 copies sold on each, but at a higher price (7.99€)

Metacritic score on PS4: 70/100

Metacritic score on Nintendo Switch: 55/100

http://www.metacritic.com/search/all/suicide%20guy/results

 

The rating was lower on Nintendo Switch mainly due to performance issues and long loading times

 

 

– UPDATES AND NEW CHAPTER RELEASE

Suicide Guy has been in constant development with new Updates, bug fixes and new content

And since the game sold well, we’ve decided to release a new chapter of the game called Sleepin’ Deeply on Steam (Soon on Console):

https://store.steampowered.com/app/860860/Suicide_Guy_Sleepin_Deeply/

 

Which sold over 2.000 copies in the first month.

 

 

– CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE UPDATES

In the end the game release and feedback from the public were great and it helped us to continue the development of the game.
We’re actually working on the Xbox One release and the new chapter console release.

Since the game went well we’re actually thinking of new levels and chapters that we would like to release in the future, so expect new content coming soon!

 

The Power of the Universal View

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Hello my friends,

In this post I would like to write about a point of view (or more a way of life) that I think it’s important to achieve during the life of an individual and that could be useful for your work too.

This is a topic that many essays are about for example in “The power of your subconcious mind”, “Mastery”, “Ignore Everybody”, “The book of Nothing”, “My inventions”, “The begin of Infinty” and many others, but it’s never clear how to achieve this kind of attitude. I think in these books there is a trace of what I want to analyze in the following lines.

The way of thinking I’m talking about is something that is beyond meditation that can help you to concentrate and achieve everything you want even avoiding the distractions of the everyday life.
To achieve this there are a lot of methods that can be used, for example the ubiquity (the power of being present everywhere) applied to the mind. This can be useful to get the mental elasticity and creativity needed during your work and life.

You’ll need a lot of persistance, practice and method in order to master it. For example when you close your eyes and imagine something or someplace, your mind is making some kind of instant voyage somewhere in the non-physical world. When you imagine something (like in a dream) what is actually affected are all your senses as if you were really there: if you’re expert enough you can imagine the smell of the sand, the sound of the sea, the breeze of the wind on your skin, all this at the same time.

Now, if you imagine this technique applied in every moment in your everyday life (with eyes opened), you will understand what can be achieved and how much can influece your life.

After this kind of technique is mastered (I’m actually still mastering) another technique that I actually tried and would like to deepen is the power of ubiquity in everytime. What I mean is that this way, the time barrier is broken, making all the events of the existence present all at the same time like in a sort of mental Big Bang. Since no one still understands what time is, it’s interesting to find new ways to distort it and make it yours thanks to just your mind.

One important thing that I think must be achieved first, in order to be able to exploit your mind at the highest level is the annihilation of the ego. This way of thinking is actually the most difficult to gain since we as human beings and animals have the ego structured in our own DNA: we have the istructions to conserve the ego with all the means at our disposal.
I invite you not to think with the objective to preseve and act only for your own good (what most people do) but to act only for a greater thing: your own objectives. This way you can really be in control of yourself without the needs to satisfy your ego that can create concrete distractions during your lifetime.

Overpass you Ego: this is the real teaching that I would suggest you to learn and that can really change the whole world. Once obtained you’ll be able to overcome your mind too and be able to “Play” with it as you want using techniques like the mental ubiquity which I mentioned above. If you think about it in concrete, there is no importance of where you are or who you are in this moment once these techniques are obtained. For example you can be in a place that you don’t want to be and be happy anyway since it has no more importance of where you are in the physical world.

This concept can be really difficult to comprehend and to explain too, but if you really start to think and read, I’m sure that you’ll find out the meaning of what I’m writing.

I wrote this for everyone interested in new ways of thinking and for me too in order to have a written text that I can use to help me with these kinds of techniques 🙂
Thanks for the attention!

 

 

 

Suicide Guy – development blog

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Hello my friend!
in this section I’ll start describing the development process of our latest game “Suicide Guy”, Now available on Steamstore.steampowered.com/app/303610/Suicide_Guy/
and soon on Console!

Here the 9 fundamental steps we used to create this new game!

 

1) CONCEPT

The first concept we had for the game was back in 2011.

At first we were trying to find an original concept for our next game:
that’s when we had in mind the idea that the player had to kill himself in order to surpass every level.

Since the concept and the action in the game has a really strong impact on the player’s reaction, we decided to make the game in first person.
For the first alpha version we had in mind a total of 3 levels that would help the gamer to understand the mechanics, controls (how to activate an object etc.) during the whole game.

The gameplay can be considered as a parody of the most classic videogames in which you have to find a way to save the life of your character, while here you have to find a way to kill him.

 

 

 

 

2) ALPHA VERION

We first developed an alpha version of the game (back in 2011) with 3 levels using Unity3D, you can play the browser demo here.

As you can see it was at an early stage compared to the final version, but the main ideas was there.
The browser version has been played a total of 100.000+ times during the first years.

 

 

 

3) GAME AND LEVEL DESIGN

We started the design of the levels first on paper and then modeling them in Maya.
As game engine we used Unity3D: it is a really suitable engine, except for the fact that it’s pretty difficult to optimize the levels to run at a smooth 60 frames per second as target.

The optimization took a while in certain levels where there is a high amount of details and objects.
The use of lods, compressed textures and new optimization techniques has been a must.

 

 

4) STORY DESIGN

Since the main concept to pass the levels is to kill yourself, we wanted to create a motivation to it.
Why would the character need to kill himself in everylevel to go to the next level?

That’s when we developed the idea of dreams inside of dreams, inspired by the movie “Inception”.

We first made the storyboard to make the story understandable by everyone, then used the cinematics to make a tangible story.
The character had to be characterized since it’s one of the few beings in the game, that’s when we had the idea to characterize him during the levels, thanks to the objects he imagines in his dreams, derived directly from his experiences in the real life.

 

 

 

 

5) PROJECT MANAGEMENT

 

We used Trello as project management tool and Source Tree as repository for the assets.
It’s perfect for organizing the workflow when you have a team of 3 or more people. In our case we were in 6 as you can see in the image below and we divided the work like this:

  • Fabio Ferrara (Game and concept development, Gameplay programming, 3D modeling, Soundtracks and Sound effects)
  • Yan Dawid (Camera programmer and Gameplay)
  • Giulia Airoldi (Concept art and texturing)
  • Fabio Masnari (Tester)
  • Andrea Masnari (Soundtrack composer and Sound Effects design)
  • Selcuk Yagci (Character modeler)

We’ll soon share the trello link when the game is finished.

 

 

 


6) 3D MODELING

We used Maya for modeling the environments, items and the characters, While Photoshop for texturing.

For skinning, rigging and animation we used the animation system integrated in Maya as well as lots of animation references from cartoons such as Looney Tunes, Adventures Time, Studio Ghibli movies and many more.

We used lots of references too found on Pinterest, Instagram and Google images in order to create the best looking levels in terms of colors and forms.

 

 

 

 

7) SOUND DESIGN

Cubase was the main software we used for composing the Sountracks and Audacity for the sound effects as well as a large variety of sound libraries.
We designed the levels so that the soundtrack is alwasy diegetic in the sense that it’s inside the narrative context of the action: It’s aways played by a radio that can be turned off and even used to pass certain kind of levels.

 

 

 

8) LEVEL CREATION

For the level creation, Unity3D has been really useful.
We created the design on paper and then the main structure of the level was modeled in Maya in a single .fbx file. All the elements and details were separate meshes and prefabs.

For the iteractive items, we set the positions in maya with red cubes, and then positioning the prefabs in Unity 3D.
We think this is the best and fastest possibile way to create the levels especially if you want to make future modifics during the development.

 

 

 

9) MARKETING (Before release)

We started marketing the game immediately after the first Alpha was made, with constant updates of images, gifs, soundtracks etc. on our social pages:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Steam groups

…and sending updates through our Mailing list (with over 100.000 e-mails)

 

This blog post was useful too in order to create awareness regarding the development of the game.

 

In May we published the first teaser of the game (2 months before the actual release), here you can take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KtEf6yK-tU

His helped a lot to create awareness before the actual release of the game.

 

 

10) MARKETING (After release)

The day we published the game (on 14th of July 2017) we immediately started to create advertising, here the steps we took in order to improve the sellings:

 

The first days of release went smoothly with thousands of copies sold in the first week and a lot of youtubers playing the game:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=suicide+guy

 

 

After the first days a lot of youtuber videos of the game went viral with over 1 million views, here some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5bDl5_tc-0&t=25s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOBBduW84Nk&t=287s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tw2OOnFKzc

 

This helped the visibility of the game A LOT and infact Big youtuber starts started to playing it, even making more than just one video of it (Jacksepticeye and JuegaGerman) with over 3 million views:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcHwSLXXSPU&t=676s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=83&v=GObKlDCtDw4

 

In the end after the first month, this helped the game to sell over 10k copies, and millions gamers aware of the existence of the game.
The great thing for us is that the game is still selling constantly even after the first few days (with a 20% discount), while generally the sales drop after the first discount.

I would say that for us the youtubers views count was the determining factor that helped the game to be featured on the front Steam page in the most popular games


The first reviews from press started to came out after the first week of release (we sended press copy AFTER the game was out, but probably we should have sent them 1 week before) here some few:

GameNews+ Score: 7.4

Suicide Guy Review

 

SerialGamer Score: 7.0

Suicide Guy – Beer not included – Recensione

 

 

 

Woodle Tree 2: Worlds – Development blog

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Hello my friends!

in this new post I would like to talk about the development of “Woodle Tree 2: Worlds” (now available on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/495350/)

The 8 fundamental steps we used to create this new game!

1) CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT (SKETCHES)

We started developing the story and the characters with storyboards and concept art to give us a general understanding of the mood of the world we were going to build, here some few examples below:




 

2) PROJECT MANAGEMENT (TRELLO)

We used Trello for this and all our other games.
It’s perfect for organizing the workflow when you have a team of 3 or more people. In our case we were in 6 as you can see in the image below and we divided the work like this:

  • Fabio Ferrara (Game and concept development, Gameplay programming, 3D modeling, Soundtracks and Sound effects)
  • Yan Dawid (Camera programmer and Gameplay)
  • Giulia Airoldi (Concept art)
  • Andrea Masnari (Soundtrack composer)
  • Lorenzo Franciosi (3D Characters modeler)
  • Fabio Masnari (Tester)

Since the project is now over, we would like to share with you the entire Trello card, I think could be useful for the new developers!
https://trello.com/b/wvuQUKLt/woodle-tree-adventures-2-worlds

 

3) PROJECT REPOSITORY (SOURCE TREE)

We then created the repository for the game files
Using SourceTree (SourceTree) with Git is the perfect combination for keep all the project on a server, in order to be able to go back to a previous version of your game (in case you brake something :D)

There are a lot of other solutions here like Github and Perforce (used at Ubisoft studios), but I think for smaller projects SourceTree is the best choice.

 

4) DEVELOPMENT (UNITY3D)

We then are finally be able to start the development!
The main engine we use for game development is Unity 3D and obviously we used it even for this new project.
I personally would suggest you to develop your games with the engine you used the most. This way you’ll be able to extrapolate the maximum from it and develop the best possibile game.

Unity3DDevelopment

For the 3D environments modeling we used Maya and blender, while for texturing we used Photoshop and Illustrator.

WoodleTree2

For the soundtracks we used a keyboard with Cubase with lots of sound libraries (VST virtual instruments) and for the sound effects Audacity and a recorder.

 

5) TESTING

We asked our family and friends to try out our game (with a total of 10 testers).
We started testing right after the Alpha version of the game was completed, it’s very useful to find out if the concept and mechanics are understandable and clear to everyone.

I would suggest to ask casual players for first and then hardcore gamers, this way you’ll hear both sides.

Testing has to be done even after the game is finished (you’ll never really complete your game since every game is improvable!).

Screenshot10

 

 

6) EARLY ACCESS RELEASE

The early access of the game was released on 27 of July 2016 and sold over 5000 copies during the first month.
It gained a lot of attention since it was even featured on the Steam home page.

The reviews were good with 140 reviews in the first month with 93% of positive reviews.

 WoodleTreeHomePage

7) FULL RELEASE

The Game has been fully release on Steam on the 16th of september with over 1000 players playing at the same time!

Check out the trailer from the full release!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBSgMcnrk0k

 

in the first week it sold 2000 copies (added to the 3000 from the early access release) for a total of 5000 copies in a month!

The first week went pretty well even considered that we weren’t featured in the most popular releases.
During this week the game had a 25% discount, this improved a lot the selling power of the game.

In the fisrt week has been featured both on the big slider in the home page and among the most popular games.
This improved significantly the impressions and number of clicks on the game page.

woodlehomepage

 

8) MARKETING

A great resource for our marketing strategies is Pixelprospector, used by a lot of developers to find tips about game development and marketing.

In particular here the Big list of videogames postmortems, a great resurce to understand development and marketing of the most famous indie games
and the Big list of game dev marketing were you can find videos and articles, super useful if you’re a beginner marketing manager.

We started writing to all the videogame web journal we knew (even the smallest ones) in order to get attention.
After that we could start sending promo codes to youtubers.

This is the mailing list we used so far, I’m sure it will be useful for a lot of developers, Check it out here.

and the Big Youtubers mailing list.

 

pixelprospector

 

 

9) CONCLUSIONS

Use these steps if you just started to develop your first games, since you’ll probably find your own way to manage the development and marketing of your game.
I decided to write this post mortem since if I had all these suggestions the first time I developed a game, I would have spared a lot of time!

Steam is surely a great platform where to publish your game, but I would suggest to publish yours on all the platforms you can (expecially PS4 and Xbox One).

Thanks for the attention! 🙂

 

MailWoodle3