ENDLESS RPG — A POST MORTEM

Data data data

(I cannot make bricks without clay)

Project time:

  • Start: 21/Oct/2017
  • Finish: 28/Mar/2020

Release:

  • Early Access: 17/May/2019
  • Steam Spring Sale 2019: We expected this to start on Thursday, 23/May/2019, but there wasn’t a spring sale on 2019;
  • Full Release: 04/Dec/2019
  • Steam Winter Sale 2019: December 19/Jan/2019;

Work days:

Oh yes, I keep track of every single thing I did on the game on each day. If you are interested here is the full document. But let’s digest this a bit.

  • 2017: 21 days
  • 2018: 182 days
  • 2019: 91 days
  • 2020: 11 days
  • Total: 305 days
  • Work hours per day: 2 to 12 hour
  • Average: 4h/day

Costs and Revenue*:

*aproximate values due to currency conversion

  • Sprites: USD 1,200
  • Proof-reading: USD 50
  • Steam entry-fee: USD 100
  • YouTube Ads: USD 50
  • Taxes and Fees: USD 1,000
  • Revenue*: USD 5,500
  • Total: USD 3,100

Sales:

Total sales on 02/Jun/2022: 1,776

  • December/2019: 20 sales/day
  • March/2020: 10 sales/day
  • July/2020: 10 sales/day
  • Selling around 1 unit a day since Sep/2020

Analysis

Workdays:

I was very lax, but determined to make Endless RPG. I sat at the computer almost everyday to do something related to the game. It wasn’t too hard to me, but some close people and friends often told me it was basically “a second job”. In many occasions my brother said things were too fast and told me to take a break. This probably avoided a nasty burn-out that plague many indie devs. I kept sane and healthy through all the proccess. It was fun and engaging, but I had only my brother to talk about the project. For technical difficulties and mishaps I resort to the amazing people of the Game Maker forum where people helped me a lot with the GM code particularities.

Costs and Revenue:

I was planning to expend nothing at all on the game, but sprites made by me were very very bad. So I hired Nicky Oryzano to commission all the game’s art. As I already had every sprite that I need with all the dimensions and all, I just needed to make a list and send it to Oryzano. I did like his work and I got value for what I paid for, very professional guy that I found on Game Maker’s forum.

What went right?

The bare minimum:

  • It sold and cover the costs;
  • Players liked the game;
  • Fluid gameplay;
  • Ticked all the proposed features boxes;
  • Many ways to play and tactics possibilities;
  • Gears and Items were clear to see and understand;
  • Made the game fresh and new on every playthrough;
  • (but it was a nightmare to test);
  • It was very cheap;
  • Targeted a lot of people;
  • Got a little retweets and exposition;
  • (but not a lot);
  • Do not distribute keys to complete strangers, use this;
  • You can send it to many Steam Curators;
  • Pick and choose the ones that have to do with your game;
  • (but they are not obligated in anyway to review it);
  • Always be on top of it;
  • Talk to players to solve problems and doubts;
  • Get good feedback and implement changes;
  • A good mark is 10% to 20%;

What went wrong?

Development time (bottlenecks):

  • GUI: 4 months;
  • Made it after Endless RPG to not have to develop a GUI in the middle of a game development proccess ever again;
  • Also and I’m distributing it for free to help others;
  • Very little market projection;
  • Too difficult to some people;
  • Didn’t cover the development cost at all;

Advices

Listen to the players:

At the end of the day, they are the ones that bought the game and are using your product. Listen to them, some have very valid criticism and much could be improved. I only feel sorry because I was just able to do that once the game was on Early Access. I plan to get a Discord Server for the next projects. Twitter is good to show to other devs whats going on. It’s important to show your work there, but there aren’t many players. Discord and Reddit seems to be the way to go to get some attention to your game.

Early Access:

Use it and use it right. If you are a solo developer or a very small team, chances are that you can’t possibly test every single part of your game. My brother helped me a lot and we catch all bugs, but there were still bugs related to antivirus shenanigans and Windows mishaps that we could only got as there were people complaining about them.

Pricing:

Not too low, not too high… right? But how? What I did was to look for a game on Steam that is related to mine. Avoid Triple As and games with too few reviews/sales. SteamDB is a very good tool to gauge this. Ask yourself: is this game better than mine? Does it have more features? And don’t get just one. Have a look at on 20 or more. This will help you figure out how much people are paying for what you will be offering.

Communication:

Listen to your players and engage with them, talk, respond to the messages, be interested on their opinion. Even if they don’t say good things, always (and I mean ALWAYS) be respectful and the best person you can be. Transform that bad review on a sign to other players that points to the right direction. As a developer you can respond to a review even if the player lock it down.

Many Hats:

Be prepared to wear a lot of hats. Sometimes you are a developer and code for days. Other times you will spend a month over sprites and graphics. In others you will be selecting musics and sounds (and editing them too if not making your own). And there will be weeks that you will be planning the game design and not code a single line of code.

Conclusion

Is Endless RPG a failure? Hell no! It was a hobby game that I entertained myself doing. Some parts were more interesting and others not so much. What is important to me is that people played it and had fun with it.

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