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How can I help the game grow?
#1
This game has a rediculously low internet-profile, for how good it is: 300 likes on Facebook, no reddit page, hardly any user activity on the forums here and on Steam. From this, I can guess that there is a correspondingly low number of paying players, and that makes me sad to the point that I am almost unable to play. I do find it incredible that this one-man project has come so far and beyond, in this state. 

I am sure that any marketing/exposure efforts will cost a lot of money, not just to perform but also to manage them, you will need a company, offices and employees like in the game-dev tycoon games, and just taking care of all that will take much of your expensive time. I don't mean to interfere with your business running, but I realize that even you have limitations and priorities. I wish I could help, even without getting anything in return, just to help this game grow in a manner that matches its quality.

I saw in an old post a few years back you said you might have to get a day-job to keep going, I hope that never happened and never will - a man like you should never have to work at any job but making the things you want to make. While the player-base may be small (?), I'm sure many of the other players are very hard-core and dedicated (in reciprocation with you), and will gladly chip in for any crowd-funding initiative, myself included of course.

If there are other ways myself or other users can help with this project, please tell us. I saw there was a request for translation, but I'm guessing this is no longer happening (and there are probably only a handful of potential players in my own native language). So if you need money or certain user activity, please advise, Eric.

Thanks
Ace-af

Edit:
I've only been playing for 3 days, but once I get some more play time, I'll proceed to write a new player tutorial on steam guides. Just a basic welcome to the game, this is how you do this and to achieve X etc. Personally, I don't like in-game tutorials at all, and similarly dislike watching videos for information, so when I just started playing, I was really missing a text-based welcome guide. I can imagine how such an experience might deter new players from getting into the game, so a guide may be quite beneficial, I think.
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#2
(11-14-2017, 09:52 AM)ace-af Wrote: This game has a rediculously low internet-profile, for how good it is: 300 likes on Facebook,
I'm not really into Facebook (or social media in general), thus the small profile on there. I generally use it to announce major updates for folks still playing on the free demo version of the game.

Quote: no reddit page,
There is actually a reddit page, offcial unoffical one: https://www.reddit.com/r/GearCity/
Feldmeijer was supposed to do some additional work to it to improve it, but I believe he went AWOL on the project.

Quote:hardly any user activity on the forums here and on Steam.
The steam forum gets a pretty decent amount of posts. Most of the posters who used this page have moved on to Steam's forums.
Compared to most games, I think we're doing pretty well in terms of post.

Quote: From this, I can guess that there is a correspondingly low number of paying players, and that makes me sad to the point that I am almost unable to play. I do find it incredible that this one-man project has come so far and beyond, in this state. 
The game is actually doing fairly well when it comes to people playing. http://steamcharts.com/app/285110 as of this post, from public statistics, 31 people are playing the game right now. Last hour we were tied for 1,701 most concurrent players for that hour out of 17,914 tracked projects on Steam. We also generally break into the top 100 on Steam's Early Access "What's being played" http://store.steampowered.com/genre/Earl...rrentUsers

I think this is calculated on a current players to sales ratio.

Anyhoo the point being, the player count is not low by any means, we're actually near the peak it has ever been when it comes to monthly averages.

Quote:I am sure that any marketing/exposure efforts will cost a lot of money, not just to perform but also to manage them, you will need a company, offices and employees like in the game-dev tycoon games, and just taking care of all that will take much of your expensive time. I don't mean to interfere with your business running, but I realize that even you have limitations and priorities. I wish I could help, even without getting anything in return, just to help this game grow in a manner that matches its quality.
We actually have an agreement with a publisher to handle marketing. http://www.kiss-ltd.co.uk/ The thing is, with the game in Early Access you don't want to push marketing too hard. The tutorials for example are not very good, and it would be a waste of time and money to improve them until all the major features are in the game. (And this game needs a good tutorial system.) Anytime the game goes on sale or a lot of marketing is done, what I like to call "Low Quality" sales occur. These are people who do not research the type of game this is and are the completely wrong demographic for the game. Having a poor tutorial system more frequently results in poor reviews from "LQ" sales, thus lowering your sales from people in your target demographics.

Make sense? With that in mind, you only really do heavy marketing and steep discounting (where most of the sales come from) when the game is finished and the product is more solid.


Quote:I saw in an old post a few years back you said you might have to get a day-job to keep going, I hope that never happened and never will - a man like you should never have to work at any job but making the things you want to make.
The second half of 2016 was a pretty bad year for GC. I believe a lot of it had to do with Steam's store. 2017 seems to have improved sales somewhat. As of right now, I am funded well enough to finish the core game (v1.25). Several features have had to be pushed back to the potential expansion, and I am considering releasing out of early access with v1.24 instead of v1.25.

But worries about me taking a real (stable paycheck) job as of right now are nil. I might be losing some programming time here in the near future, but I will try to minimize it's effect on GC progress.

Quote:While the player-base may be small (?), I'm sure many of the other players are very hard-core and dedicated (in reciprocation with you), and will gladly chip in for any crowd-funding initiative, myself included of course.
I am currently exploring ways to fund an expansion to the game. Along with funding translations that I wouldn't be able to fund out of pocket. As of right now, a crowd sourcing campaign is an option.

Quote:If there are other ways myself or other users can help with this project, please tell us.
Best ways to help us:
1) Leave a review on Steam. Good or bad, the Steam algorithms utilize reviews and review scores for product placement on the site.
2) Spread the word to friends who might enjoy the game. Folks who like business finance related stuff, car history wonks, grand strategy gamers, and anyone who complains about how easy or cartoony tycoon games have become are the general type of people who enjoy the game.
3) Help out with the translations. (More info on that with the next paragraph.)
4) Keep on the look out for any more news or requests. The game, steam, and this site should inform you of any major news. (Duplicated on all three sites of course, so no need to check every single one.)

Quote: I saw there was a request for translation, but I'm guessing this is no longer happening (and there are probably only a handful of potential players in my own native language).
The request for help translating is still out there. The problem is we had to switch to some custom software as all the available software out there had some issues of some kind. The gentleman writing our custom web-based translation has been very slow. But I know his work is good and more importantly for me, cheap. Smile

Quote:I've only been playing for 3 days, but once I get some more play time, I'll proceed to write a new player tutorial on steam guides. Just a basic welcome to the game, this is how you do this and to achieve X etc. Personally, I don't like in-game tutorials at all, and similarly dislike watching videos for information, so when I just started playing, I was really missing a text-based welcome guide. I can imagine how such an experience might deter new players from getting into the game, so a guide may be quite beneficial, I think.

In the past, we used to have a very detailed tutorial. We then simplified it, and it was much more well received. I will probably stick with a simplified approach when the final tutorials are written, however there will be more popups for all the various things you click. Moderately detailed information will continue to be behind the "?" buttons, and in-depth info and the manual will be hosted here: http://wiki.gearcity.info/doku.php

The main thing is, finishing the important features of the game before writing the tutorials.


Thank you for your kind words, feedback, and concerns. Hopefully this answers some of your questions! Smile
"great writers are indecent people, they live unfairly, saving the best part for paper.
good human beings save the world, so that bastards like me can keep creating art, become immortal.
if you read this after I am dead it means I made it." ― Charles Bukowski
Reply
#3
I think our expectations are different, and I mean that in a good way. Like I said it's your business to make such determinations, but my basic suggestion is that this game should be up there with big paradox titles and top simulators like train simulator, with hundreds / thousands playing at any given time – or at least in a similar order of size / league, and I don't care what the difference in man-hours is :Smile 

And I also argue that the fact that this isn't the case isn't because of the quality, nature, or price of the game, but must have something to do with exposure, or everyone not knowing what's good for them. I realize it's a rather small nieche of a genre, but there are still plenty of die-hard fans for even such "numbers, graphs and functional engineering" games. 

I do hope that you take this as a (well-deserved) compliment, even though it's not said for mere flattery - that the game has a much greater potential, in many level, and I believe it can be very successful.

Asaph

(11-14-2017, 11:41 AM)Eric.B Wrote:
(11-14-2017, 09:52 AM)ace-af Wrote: This game has a rediculously low internet-profile, for how good it is: 300 likes on Facebook,
I'm not really into Facebook (or social media in general), thus the small profile on there. I generally use it to announce major updates for folks still playing on the free demo version of the game.

Quote: no reddit page,
There is actually a reddit page, offcial unoffical one: https://www.reddit.com/r/GearCity/  
Feldmeijer was supposed to do some additional work to it to improve it, but I believe he went AWOL on the project.

Quote:hardly any user activity on the forums here and on Steam.
The steam forum gets a pretty decent amount of posts. Most of the posters who used this page have moved on to Steam's forums.
Compared to most games, I think we're doing pretty well in terms of post.

Quote: From this, I can guess that there is a correspondingly low number of paying players, and that makes me sad to the point that I am almost unable to play. I do find it incredible that this one-man project has come so far and beyond, in this state. 
The game is actually doing fairly well when it comes to people playing. http://steamcharts.com/app/285110  as of this post, from public statistics, 31 people are playing the game right now. Last hour we were tied for 1,701 most concurrent players for that hour out of 17,914 tracked projects on Steam. We also generally break into the top 100 on Steam's Early Access "What's being played" http://store.steampowered.com/genre/Earl...rrentUsers

I think this is calculated on a current players to sales ratio.

Anyhoo the point being, the player count is not low by any means, we're actually near the peak it has ever been when it comes to monthly averages.

Quote:I am sure that any marketing/exposure efforts will cost a lot of money, not just to perform but also to manage them, you will need a company, offices and employees like in the game-dev tycoon games, and just taking care of all that will take much of your expensive time. I don't mean to interfere with your business running, but I realize that even you have limitations and priorities. I wish I could help, even without getting anything in return, just to help this game grow in a manner that matches its quality.
We actually have an agreement with a publisher to handle marketing. http://www.kiss-ltd.co.uk/ The thing is, with the game in Early Access you don't want to push marketing too hard. The tutorials for example are not very good, and it would be a waste of time and money to improve them until all the major features are in the game. (And this game needs a good tutorial system.) Anytime the game goes on sale or a lot of marketing is done, what I like to call "Low Quality" sales occur. These are people who do not research the type of game this is and are the completely wrong demographic for the game. Having a poor tutorial system more frequently results in poor reviews from "LQ" sales, thus lowering your sales from people in your target demographics.

Make sense? With that in mind, you only really do heavy marketing and steep discounting (where most of the sales come from) when the game is finished and the product is more solid.


Quote:I saw in an old post a few years back you said you might have to get a day-job to keep going, I hope that never happened and never will - a man like you should never have to work at any job but making the things you want to make.
The second half of 2016 was a pretty bad year for GC. I believe a lot of it had to do with Steam's store. 2017 seems to have improved sales somewhat. As of right now, I am funded well enough to finish the core game (v1.25). Several features have had to be pushed back to the potential expansion, and I am considering releasing out of early access with v1.24 instead of v1.25.

But worries about me taking a real (stable paycheck) job as of right now are nil. I might be losing some programming time here in the near future, but I will try to minimize it's effect on GC progress.

Quote:While the player-base may be small (?), I'm sure many of the other players are very hard-core and dedicated (in reciprocation with you), and will gladly chip in for any crowd-funding initiative, myself included of course.
I am currently exploring ways to fund an expansion to the game. Along with funding translations that I wouldn't be able to fund out of pocket. As of right now, a crowd sourcing campaign is an option.

Quote:If there are other ways myself or other users can help with this project, please tell us.
Best ways to help us:
1) Leave a review on Steam. Good or bad, the Steam algorithms utilize reviews and review scores for product placement on the site.
2) Spread the word to friends who might enjoy the game. Folks who like business finance related stuff, car history wonks, grand strategy gamers, and anyone who complains about how easy or cartoony tycoon games have become are the general type of people who enjoy the game.
3) Help out with the translations. (More info on that with the next paragraph.)
4) Keep on the look out for any more news or requests. The game, steam, and this site should inform you of any major news. (Duplicated on all three sites of course, so no need to check every single one.)

Quote: I saw there was a request for translation, but I'm guessing this is no longer happening (and there are probably only a handful of potential players in my own native language).
The request for help translating is still out there. The problem is we had to switch to some custom software as all the available software out there had some issues of some kind. The gentleman writing our custom web-based translation has been very slow. But I know his work is good and more importantly for me, cheap. Smile

Quote:I've only been playing for 3 days, but once I get some more play time, I'll proceed to write a new player tutorial on steam guides. Just a basic welcome to the game, this is how you do this and to achieve X etc. Personally, I don't like in-game tutorials at all, and similarly dislike watching videos for information, so when I just started playing, I was really missing a text-based welcome guide. I can imagine how such an experience might deter new players from getting into the game, so a guide may be quite beneficial, I think.

In the past, we used to have a very detailed tutorial. We then simplified it, and it was much more well received. I will probably stick with a simplified approach when the final tutorials are written, however there will be more popups for all the various things you click. Moderately detailed information will continue to be behind the "?" buttons, and in-depth info and the manual will be hosted here: http://wiki.gearcity.info/doku.php

The main thing is, finishing the important features of the game before writing the tutorials.


Thank you for your kind words, feedback, and concerns.  Hopefully this answers some of your questions! Smile
Reply
#4
Sorry for the late reply on this, anytime around a release date I get super busy. I tend to put off as much stuff as I can during that time.

(11-16-2017, 03:47 PM)ace-af Wrote: I think our expectations are different, and I mean that in a good way. Like I said it's your business to make such determinations, but my basic suggestion is that this game should be up there with big paradox titles and top simulators like train simulator, with hundreds / thousands playing at any given time – or at least in a similar order of size / league, and I don't care what the difference in man-hours is :Smile 
The big difference is, the games you mention have budgets in the millions of dollars range. (Especially if you include the work on the game engines.) Where as at best, if I were paid, GearCity's Budget is in the $400,000 range. In real money, less than $40,000 was spent to make GC.

As such they have much higher production values.

Add to that, they have a broader audience. War games have always been MUCH more popular than Business games. In fact war gaming is one of the more popular genres out there. You could argue that Tycoon games are popular, but they're no where near as popular as war gaming.

GearCity isn't a Tycoon game. We're a Business Management game. A genre that tycoon games killed off in the 90s with the success of Roller Coaster Tycoon.
Just as most Paradox titles are not Star Craft style strategy games, they're Grand Strategy games. The subniche Paradox works in has much more customers than the subniche we work in. Likewise, add in themes (HOI WW2, Crusaders King 2 Medieval, etc.) and you have a recipe for much more successful games than the less popular theme GC works in (Car Manufacturing Management...)

The short of it is, they have more money to spend, and more potential customers than us. Even if GC was perfect, which it is not, we wouldn't come close to a mid-tier PDS game just because of demographics. Not to mention the production value and marketing it requires to reach that next level.

Quote:but must have something to do with exposure, or everyone not knowing what's good for them. I realize it's a rather small nieche of a genre, but there are still plenty of die-hard fans for even such "numbers, graphs and functional engineering" games. 
Well, as I mentioned before: "The thing is, with the game in Early Access you don't want to push marketing too hard. " You don't want to put all your marketing dollars into the game when it is still Early Access. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and in general, while the game is trending better, we do get a lot of returns due to little things like poor tutorials. Since I assume my publisher is only going to put one major effort into GC marketing, and since I can't support the game forever, it is better to put all that marketing effort and exposure when the game is at it's peak and final quality. Thus maximizing the marketing's impact, review scores, and customer retention.

Instead the general plan is to get enough out of Early Access to build a fan base, organically grow the user base large enough that they provide enough feedback to improve the game without overwhelming my limited resources, and to provide me with enough resources to, at the bare minimum, continue working on the game. Luckily all three of those goals are being met. Now I just need to finish the game, then push marketing heavily with the hopes of getting more ROI out of marketing than I put into it.

Quote:I do hope that you take this as a (well-deserved) compliment, even though it's not said for mere flattery - that the game has a much greater potential, in many level, and I believe it can be very successful.
Thank you much for your kind words. On the economic side of things, the game is a success. We have been profitable on capital expenditures since the first 6 months. It is just a matter of making it worthwhile for my time. As of right now, I would have been better off working these last 8 years at minimum wage. However, there is a thing called a long tail, in which I will continue to make money off GC while I'm not working on it anymore. Once I enter that phase it shouldn't be long before my income from those 8 years of work exceeds 8 years of the salary of the job when I started working on GC.

On the less numbers side of things, I have grown a fan base, some of which would probably buy my next product. I have a working engine and much code that I could reuse to make minor spin-off projects before working on my next big game. I have learn a lot about processing heavy data on consumer machines, so I can make an even better management game next time. And finally I got a pretty good resume piece if everything fails and I have to get a job. Since I don't have a college degree, I needed something like GC just get a foot in the door for an entry level programming job interview...

So all in all GC has been a win win, even if I only sell better than 5-10% of Paradox published games! Smile
"great writers are indecent people, they live unfairly, saving the best part for paper.
good human beings save the world, so that bastards like me can keep creating art, become immortal.
if you read this after I am dead it means I made it." ― Charles Bukowski
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