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Piracy & Technical failure after launching my game.

I completely agree with this, you are better of saying to people, if you want to try it out first, go ahead, but if you like it please consider buying it than just shutting them down.

You were rushing a little. I tried to suggest planning some more in pm’s etc.
But overall, look how far you’ve come already in 5+ years as a 3D artist etc.
So its cool you’re looking at things philosophically reassessing / re-planning.
Like film games = art, the ones who make it are the ones who don’t give up!

I want to start with piracy. You won’t be able to combat piracy directly. The best way to deal with piracy is offer things you can only get by paying. I don’t mean create a cash shop in the game. What I mean is that certain things cannot be had with a pirate copy. Steam achievements and card drops are a great example of this I think. If you launch on steam make sure to take advantage of the platform specific features that will not be accessible in the pirate versions. A pirate steam game cannot access any of the extra stuff steam offers in most cases so use it to your advantage to get more people to pay so they can have access to those things.

Ok so technical failure? Dude you made 2Gs from a game you put out there. To me a couple extra thousand bucks is no failure. I once listened to a guy talk about how a game he launched wasn’t really successful until years after the launch. I can’t remember exactly what it was that ended up changing but it wasn’t much the game basically didn’t gain traction until long after the release though. Never simply give up on or toss out any title that isn’t selling like hotcakes within the first couple months it may take time but the title may end up making you a lot of cash. I think that guy said he made around 90k on that title most of which didn’t happen until like 5 or 6 years after the release when it suddenly gained popularity.

It is great that you got a game launched and earned something from it. Just going through the process once is an important step to getting good at putting successful titles out there. Read the reviews see what people did or did not like and be careful about weeding out useless reviews from ones that provide real feedback on the game. You say your focus is more on art and not technical I suggest trying to find someone who can help you on the technical end. When you make cash from a game like the current one use the loot to hire a programmer to help on the next title. Once you have someone who can help you can get another title up and in better shape. If that one does better you now have cash to continue paying the programmer and if you are lucky maybe enough to go bigger on the next game or hire additional help such as a musician to do some original audio.

This is what happens when you don’t properly market your game before launch. If your game doesn’t sell 5000 copies within the first hour of release you have done something horribly wrong marketing-wise.

Also, you made yourself vulnerable to the review-score system of steam. 11 reviews in total, 5 negative with less than 15 minutes playtime (so noone would give a **** about their one-line review), 2 negative who like the game but thumb it down because of long loading scenes (really!?) - you basically only have ******** reviews there. But you are not going to recover from that, because “Mostly negative” means your game doesn’t get recommended by Steam and 99% of the people who even see your game don’t give a **** even looking at it because of that score.

Now while this experience can be devastating i’ll urge you not to give up. You made some critical mistakes, it’s time to adept.

At this point you have 2 options :

  • Pull it from Steam, rework/spin it and give it a new name.
    or
  • Sell it to some studio that might be interested in the assets/code/IP and spin it themself. (In case you want to start something new instead)

On the next game you know you either need a marketing/publishing partner or really focus on it yourself.

Did you submitted some free alpha version of your game for ? This would help you a lot to get quickly what people think about the game, sometimes developpers vision and ideas needs some modifications to please the majority players. Seeing some gameplay videos, your game looked very rought on gampelay and presentation aspects that would have needed more love and attention, but i haven’t played it to be sure.
About piracy it happens for any games, but you should not bother about it as it never stopped good games to make record sales.

The good news is you can make incremental version that will be lot better and more polished until you get a game that most people will find awesome.

Thanks for all the comments everyone, clearly there’s a lot of things I missed and a lot still to consider, 1 of the reasons I launched when I did is because financially I couldn’t sustain development any longer, its been 4+ years since I originally began the project and putting it aside and coming back to it later didn’t seem like a good idea, for fear of never finishing. But no regrets on my side, it was a very learn-full experience. I’m still making updates and fixes on the game but I’m not sure if I’ll go as far as an episode 2. The idea of working on something new that’s less technically complicated is very attractive, and even the idea of joining a larger team on a bigger project for experience seems like a very good idea at the moment, I’ve never actually worked with a game development team due to my physical location but after finishing a title I feel it would be a good path to take before attempting to make another game.

 @qdelpeche     @franktech     @Galeon     @ambershee Thanks guys, for all the help earlier as well.

Great concept. It seems like, according to the reviews, you just didn’t beta test it. The game looks decent overall, and storytelling is a really overlooked aspect of gamemaking that’s hard to teach people. The bad reviews aren’t unreasonable. They seem more like constructive criticism to me rather than people trying to tear you down. I would listen and implement what they are talking about. Also, from a marketing perspective on a PC you should probably have male characters to play as well. I think most guys have a problem playing female characters. Also, while you are very strong in terms of artwork and storytelling, I think it’s fair to say you lack in the more technical details. Game levels shouldn’t be taking forever to load. It’s okay to get help, or get a consultant, to help you fix those things.

man, that’s terrible, I saw some of your youtube video’s and thought they were amazing, your game looks really good! I might buy it on steam when I have some money :), you’ve got my support, never mind the scumbag freeloader hate machine, they have no respect for anything, never understood what makes people like that tick, I admit, I’ve pirated games in the past but… usually ones I already own on playstation, so as far as i’m concerned I already own the game, i’m just trying to get a copy for pc. but to be honest I don’t really pirate games at all. I mostly stick to playstation games cause they are guaranteed to run and look the way they are supposed to, which means I pay for everything. I have had some issues with the engine, and i’m not sure if it’s hackers stealing my game or what, but just today my entire game contents folder was totally deleted and my entire project was blank, ue4 gave me a memory error and told me that it had to shut down, and when I reopened the project everything was gone. I have a suspicion that if I actually looked around the web I would find a copy of my totally unfinished game somewhere, but that’s life… have you looked into getting your game on xbox or playstation? much harder to pirate a playstation/xbox game than a pc game, food for thought…

Your game looks great, it was not what I expected after reading through this thread!

It’s really visible that you spent a lot of time with this and that you’re a good artist. But the issue is, a game that looks bad and plays well can be a lot of fun and a huge success, while a game that looks great but doesn’t play well won’t be fun at all. Art is important, but having good gameplay and constantly good FPS is a lot more important.

No matter how much time you spend with art, you have to make sure that on your minimum recommended hardware (“i3-2100” and “NVIDIA GTX 650 2GB or AMD HD7770 2GB”) the game runs with constant 30 fps. And its honestly a lot of work to make a game like that run good on such low spec hardware. You probably need to spend quite some time with improving certain parts of UE4s source code and shaders and stuff like that for optimizing it best for your specific game to get good performance on such hardware. I think your game is really far outside of what makes sense to do with only blueprint.

look at number 6.
“Most of the Early Access games that fail are the ones that don’t provide updates on broken things or answers to questions. People will say ‘hey it’s been months since we received a last update, what’s going on with my money?’ And then the person just doesn’t respond. So I would say, as long as you respond and give proper context and a proper response to people’s concerns and questions, you should be fine as long as your game is good.”

A lot of people have been burnt by Early Access (the cases of this are numerous and too many to list here) and as a developer you need to realise that you are in essence taking someone’s money on good faith that you will continue to develop the game and provide frequent updates.

We chose not to do Early Access as although we were in the position to provide rapid updates we were an unknown entity in the market. So we chose to release a very polished and working demo for FREE and even now while the game is released we still have people trying the demo first before they choose to buy or not buy the game.

well the OP’s game isn’t early access, it’s a full released title

Some constructive criticism: Your game wasn’t successful because it had a lot of technical failures and design failures, not because of the negative reviews. It’s very, VERY important for you to recognize that so you can improve upon it.

After reading your post, I checked out your youtube channel which lead me to someone doing a play-through of your game (located here in case you’re curious: - YouTube).

First let’s start with what that youtube link is:
It’s a youtuber that does “let’s play / gameplay” of <insert game name>. The people who do these types of youtube videos get viewer based on how entertaining they are. A “huge” factor in how entertaining they are is how vocal they are and also how descriptive they are on their thoughts of the game they’re playing. Whether it’s a game that they are having fun playing … or if it’s a game that completely bored them out of their mind, they need to keep up their dialogue.

The reason I’m pointing this out: If you watch the video, he’s subconsciously critiquing your game and telling you what you did right and what you did wrong (or what needs improved). I highly suggest that you watch his video. I only watched the first video he did on it, but apparently he did at least 3 videos on your game. So there’s a lot of information there for you to analyze.

From the youtuber’s video that I watched:
(1) Your overall story line seemed interesting. It looks like a story based type game (I actually really enjoy those types of games).
(2) From what I saw, it seemed like there were too many pointless level scenes that didn’t add much to the storyline or the gameplay. No point in adding a level just to run down a hallway, have a 5 second cut-scene that added only a very small part to the storyline, then load into another level that did the same thing. I would suggest putting as much storyline and gameplay as possible into individual levels. As you can see in the linked video the youtuber was starting to get annoyed with the loading scenes, not only because of the time needed to load … but also because very little was getting accomplished in each level.
(3) From the graphical standpoint, the game “looks” good. If you read the comments on that guy’s video you’ll see a lot of “How can a game this bad, look soo good”. This is actually a good thing, depending on how well you take criticism. You said your focal point is the art-side of development … so it’s good that people are praising the art-side of the game.

Now I understand why you’re upset that your game isn’t selling that well and it probably feels like you wasted a lot of time. It’s important to understand that even if you don’t sell another copy of your game, that you at least can add this to your portfolio and use it to possibly find a job in an actual studio (even if it’s just a small one). It’s a stepping stone that wouldn’t be there if you didn’t do this game. Most people never even get to release a game at all.

I also noticed on one of your youtube videos for the game that someone asked about the art in the game. You answered them saying that you got some from the market, but made most of the stuff yourself. They then asked what exactly “you” made and you didn’t answer them back. You never know who you’re talking to on the net, that random Bob or Jane may just be a curious gamer … or they may be someone working on a game in need of help … or maybe they know someone who needs an art hire … or perhaps someone else looking for an art hire sees the comment. You should try to be more interactive (as that’s still a part of not only marketing yourself, but also presenting yourself to new opportunities that wouldn’t be there if you’re aren’t interactive.

All in all, keep fixing the game and working out the kinks for now. It has a lot of potential. As you push out fixes and updates, be sure to market those updates as well (via youtube or whatever).

Just saw the clip which axenation post, I was total agree with axenation.

Add on. I can see there are three choice, ( I want to say two choice because I don’t like third choice.)

Choice 1. Turn all short cut scene into one large cutscene and allow player play more. Add “20 min later” or “a hour later” between those short cutscene then player will know you just skip all of boring stuff instead of teleport everywhere. Example, there are when you play around the character’s flat… walk to that lift… sudden you are outside the pub/nightclub?
There! You can create cutscene at that point instead of 2 second of game play time between cutscene.

It will work. And less work :slight_smile: plus fix all of those bug/glitch where reviewer complain.

  1. Tell everyone on steam community that cutscene is in alpha stage while gameplay is compete ( example! ) and try contact Steam to change your game into “early access” instead of full release. Then focus on your weakness and fix/upgrade it, expansion the level designs ( mean that instead of “2 second gameplay time” into “5min gameplay time” between per level map.

  2. Follow your gut.

Overall- you should have proud of yourself that you just got your first game out ( I hope it is), experience it and learned your mistake is valueable. Once your are better and experience, you can always go back to this game and made it “enhanced edition” or “directors cut edition” and re-release it :wink:

I just want to congratulate you on releasing your game on Steam, please do not see this as a failure, you have gotten much further than most and managed to follow through with your development. You’ve also acknowledged failures which is more than the few developers that actually get a game out on Steam would ever do. The correct course of action would be to patch up your already released game so its in a functional state (and to familiarise yourself with post-release development practices) and plan your next game.

As for piracy I’m afraid there is little you can do, however there are things you can do to help reduce it, the first and most obvious is to release a playable demo. If you can’t or don’t want to release a demo of your game you could instead build a version of your game that is fully playable, but includes a heartfelt message about piracy and how it hurts the developer, and include that you don’t mind if people continue to play it but if they enjoy it to try and buy the game to help you out. Maybe include an eye patch, or some other small cosmetic changes and then release the torrent yourself on the various torrent sites. There will however be pirates and your game WILL unfortunately be pirated. You could make sure you use Steam’s built in DRM to make it not quite so easy, without this its simply a case of copying game files and anyone can run them, with Steam’s built in DRM people will need a valid Steam account that owns the game for it to run, it’s not going to stop the problem but it will mean that your game won’t be pirated quite as much.

I wish you much luck and not to give up but instead to learn from this.

You can prevent Piracy by adding steam check but your game will not be playable once the player lose his internet connection .and btw it only works for steam games .

The good news is the game did get noticed. (good or bad this is good)

The only thing I can call out is as a character driven game there is not much character in the animations or mannerisms.

Just an added note … this can be hacked off your game in about 30 seconds using scripts freely available on the internet. It happened to Riders of Asgard about 30 minutes after launch.

Thanks for all the helpful advice guys, I will salvage what I can and go the only way left to go, that’s up :cool:

I would say next time let other people test your game before you put it out. You did a great job at marketing and you had a good initial start. Be proud that you sold some games on steam. You had a few reviews on youtube and had a nice following. From what I saw on youtube there were too many problems with gameplay and the final quality of the game. There were some positive. You got your game on steam, you got people to review it on youtube, and you sold some copies on steam… Take a look at some of the reviews and try not to have thin skin and learn from them. Don’t give up the next game you make a game it will be better.