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Game Marketing

Suicide Guy – Post Mortem (1 Year later)

By | game development, Game Marketing, Games, News | No Comments

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!

 

Suicide Guy – development blog

By | game development, Game Marketing, Games | No Comments

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

By | game development, Game Marketing, Games | No Comments

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

 

Paradise Island VR MMO – New Steam game

By | game development, Game Marketing, Games | 969 Comments

Hello my friends!

Here I would like to talk about our new release Paradise Island VR MMO and the development process as well as the feedback from the community.
Link to the game: Paradise Island

ParadiseIsland22  Screenshot1

We started the develpoment of the game thinking about Virtual Reality and trying to create a game that would fit well for the upcoming Oculus Rift and Steam Vive.
Since it’s really difficult to create an action game for the oculus because of the problems regarding motion sickness, we wanted to develop a calm and relaxing game.

 

We started to study the most relaxing environments and to do this we read
Origins of Architectural Pleasure taking inspiration from the Renzo Piano’s designs too.

 

OriginsOfArchitectural

 

The main statement of the book is that the human being chooses the most confortable places based on his primitive instincts (survival, procreation and safety)
It’s a really interesting book that I suggest you to read, here some of the concepts we took as guidelines for the envinronments:

  • One thing that we really need and we have always needed, is a place that protects us. We need a place that protects us from the outside dangers: Cold, Rain, Snow, Sun and even animals expecially when we are vulnerables for example during mating. Our search for intimacy is the key for building a confortable environment.

  • It’s obvious that we like to have natural archetypes or simulation of it. But not all the natural settings are places of tranquility reassuring: natural denses settings creates often create anxiety in the observer and there is a real terror in the thought to be lefts in an open space in the African savannah since it was our first home as humans.

  • The pleasure of order and complexity are innate, so much that it is hard to see how it could be otherwise.

  • Order and complexity are not simply useful, they are necessary: Order without complexity is monotonous.

  • Complexity without order is not satisfactory, it’s difficult to organize.

  • The Falling Water designed by Lloyd Wright presents these features. The house is in a large amount of vegetation and stones arranged like a cave that anchor the house to the hill , giving everyone a haven of security and peace.

  • Emphasize the importance of light and darkness is the most difficult part of the considerations on the architecture. Determine some of the most deep comfort emotions and interest in the setting. The contrast of the amount of light has been a key element in the architecture of spaces for several millennia. We evaluate the darkness of concelment also. this is the place where we sleep, procreate, meditate and we restore by injuries and diseases.

  • Prospectus, Shelter, Eticement and Danger are essential features for a place to live in, and belong to the priciples of architecture.

  • It is in danger or pleasure or both into the hidden. Explore could reveal the presence or absence of a place to live, food, water and even the danger of other creatures. The chances of survival are improved if we are driven to get this knowledge in relative safety.

  • Appleton defines three different groups of Dangers: accidents , disability or deficiency. The defense by the latter intensifies the value of the refuge.
    
    
  • Darkness keeps the information while the light gives it. In the churches, the light is only enough to suggest that there are other information nearby. exploration always leads discovery of new parts of environment.
  • Adding a river is key to survive: you can drink fresh water at frequent intervals, and provides fishes to eat. this is essential for life.
  • Large Windows give the possibility to better spot the outside and the dangers.
  • Psychology studies have found out that people working in places with no windows, have mental and psychological disorders.
  • Blue and Green color are seen as restful since were present in our old houses. 
  • Red color attracts attention from the animals.
  • One of the functions of the arts, including architecture, is to provide sensory experience not parallel to the complexity of nature.
  • There’s a Darwinian argument regarding the creation and performance of music: the listening pleasure that we feel and the pleasure that he feels in composing it, are visions of a universal pleasure. 
  • We take pleasure in discovering new different types of materials in our collections, things related to primordial experiences but somehow new.

 

These principles really helped us a lot in order to have a guideline to follow for the development of the environments.

 

 

We decided to implement even an online feature so that every player would be able see the other players in the form of souls and be able to interact with them.
It really help us a lot to understand even what were the most interesting environments for the gamers and where they used to gather.

Background6

 

With a total of 20.000 copies sold on Steam of this first game in VR, we concluded that Virtaul Reality combined with confortable environments and Massive Multiplayer Online features, are a new beginning for the gaming community!

We’re now expanding the game based on the feedback from the community as well as a new mode dedicated for the Steam Vive VR, so stay tuned for new updates!

 

 

Game Marketing – the importance to communicate with your audience

By | Game Marketing | No Comments

Hello my friends!

In this post I would like to talk about one aspect of the marketing that many developers don’t consider: The importance to comunicate with the gamers and create an empathic connection with them.

 

As of today, we have a great platform to establish a direct connection between the developer and the gamer. Thanks to Steam infact, the developer is able to chat in the forums or directly in the steam chat with all it’s fans, a way to communicate with your gamers that was unthinkable few years ago.

 

Many devs criticize the Steam platform for not having a good visibility for their game since a lot a released every day. But they do not understand what great platform they have at disposition.

 

For example, I pass few hours per week chatting with gamers that ask me for suggestion, keycodes, life problems, tips on game development, compliments on my games, and even signing their Steam profile (that’s a new fashion on Steam!).

 

What I’m trying to say is that developers should act like the youtubers of today, like Pewdiepie or Markiplier.

Not everyone knows that their audience loves them not because of the silly videos they make (many are incredulous asking why they have so much success insulting them and their audience), but because of the empathy they create with their audience and they know it very well.

 

I think that the youtubers of today are the new clowns of the past, in the sense that they try to cure people and kids with problems (or that feel lonely) through the internet, establishing an outstanding connection with their audience.

 

Today this is the best weapon that every Indie game dev have to contrast triple A games.