A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisement

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Viniciuskk
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A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisement

#1 Post by Viniciuskk » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:54 am

Hello lemma. I... Am in desperate need of advice and orientation in pretty much everything beside the development of the game itself.

Sorry, I've been so frustrated for a long time that I'll... Babble a little.

-------

First off, some of you may know me and will think "Gosh, is this dude is still trying to make that game?" Yep. I am. It has literally been about 4 to 5 years since I started developing Spring Breeze, and despite having a decent game on my hands with a demo ready, my voice can't be heard. I feel like a mute person in midst of this crowd of developers.

The focus of this topic isn't my VN, but if you'd like to know about it before reading further, here are some links:

http://www.indiedb.com/games/spring-breeze
https://www.facebook.com/HRinteractive/

Now, I'll point out my main concerns/questions:

• I've been told over and over to start a twitter, and I finally did a few days ago. I know how hashtagging is important and all that, but... I have no idea how to get the first followers other than depending on sheer luck. I don't think my tweets are bad, but beside depending on the hashtag search, how will anyone even see it if I don't have a single follower? Is there no other way than having to contact fellow game developers/anime fans/etc... on twitter and ask them to check what I have to show?

I've made 5 tweets in three days. If you're curious, check them out: https://twitter.com/Interactive_HR

• A website. I've also been told a million times a website is simply a must. I don't know HTML, and all I might manage to do is one from those "Make your own website" sites. If I somehow make it look good, will it still be considered amateurish since it's not my own domain / it has been created with a cheap website creator?

• Proper advertising per se. If you happen to have a game published or a at least a fan base, how was it when you started? I thought I could depend on those that created art and music for my game to at least start spreading the word, but turns out that despite them being highly skilled professionals, they barely have any fans themselves. I just fell flat on my face when I tried Kickstarter (Got a measly 300 page views after 30 days of campaign) and a Patreon campaign (Still sitting at $0 after almost a week since launch).

If you'd like to check those failures, here are the links:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11 ... sual-novel
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3028917&ty=h&alert=1

I did all that, and yet I haven't achieved anything. I'm still a no one. Geh. I guess I've been doing it all wrong?

Well, that's it for the main issue. Now, a more of a personal concern of mine (because why not?). (The things below are useless babbling.)

• IRL I suck at social interactions. I guess such flaw is also reflecting on my internet social attempts? It's weird though. I'm the kind of person that everyone likes despite being shy and reserved. I gain elderly and youngsters' trust easily. Everyone sees me as a genius and I'm asked for advice all the time in pretty much all subjects. Dating, studying, planning for the future... All that kind of stuff (Even if the most romantic conversation I've ever had was on the same level as this thread. I.e I've never had one. And people seem satisfied with my answers.)

:o : "But if you do all that, how do you suck at social interactions?"
Well, my smiley friend. I don't have anyone who I can call my best friend. There is no one whom I've told most of my secrets and whatever. No one who seems to have understood what goes on in this skull of mine. Everyone is always like "Woah, you don't cease to surprise me!" "Woah, you knew that too?" "Woah, why do you know so much stuff?"

Thanks for your time ~~

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#2 Post by trooper6 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:24 am

How old are you and are you in school or in a job?
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#3 Post by SundownKid » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:02 am

1) Your Kickstarter was for a 100% free game. When games are free, it usually brings less interest in a kickstarter because people dont feel they are "getting something" in return for their money - or that you dont have any faith that the game can sell for actual money.

Generally when people release free games they fund them, or self develop them out of their own pocket/skills, as a hobby, not using Kickstarter. Kickstarter suggests "this is a commercial game".

2) No demo on the kickstarter, another major red flag for potential backers that most likely prevented people from backing it. And since you had screenshots its weird there was no demo.

A kickstarter needs certain things already finished such as a developer website and a demo. You will need to raise money out of pocket to fund the creation of a website and finish a demo. These are just things you have to learn (and apparently the barrier to entry isnt too high, since there are 100 indies coming on Steam every day)

3) Did you ask for people's feedback on the game's premise? Off hand, it doesn't feel engaging. "You play as a guy, who has a chance to do different things". It doesn't have a synopsis that grips the reader at all because all the branches merely sound like different slices of life with no real conflict. If I read the synopsis I would shrug and move on because I don't see why the story *needs* to be told.

If the synopsis read like "You play as Tatsuya, a teenager who realizes that he can share memories between different choices that he makes. He is suddenly aware of the existence of the Butterfly Effect and must use his newfound power to prevent tragedy from occurring in only a few days by using his different incarnations to discover information." You suddenly have a lot more engaging of a plot summary because it has conflict and raises the stakes.

---

So even if you lack social experience or experience in marketing you are still making some basic mistakes that are hindering your game. But yes, marketing is 90% of making an indie game since if you dont learn how, nobody will know about it. Even so, if the game is lacking then people will still shrug and move on.

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#4 Post by Viniciuskk » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:43 am

SundownKid wrote:1) Your Kickstarter was for a 100% free game. When games are free, it usually brings less interest in a kickstarter because people dont feel they are "getting something" in return for their money - or that you dont have any faith that the game can sell for actual money.

Generally when people release free games they fund them, or self develop them out of their own pocket/skills, as a hobby, not using Kickstarter. Kickstarter suggests "this is a commercial game".

2) No demo on the kickstarter, another major red flag for potential backers that most likely prevented people from backing it. And since you had screenshots its weird there was no demo.

A kickstarter needs certain things already finished such as a developer website and a demo. You will need to raise money out of pocket to fund the creation of a website and finish a demo. These are just things you have to learn (and apparently the barrier to entry isnt too high, since there are 100 indies coming on Steam every day)

3) Did you ask for people's feedback on the game's premise? Off hand, it doesn't feel engaging. "You play as a guy, who has a chance to do different things". It doesn't have a synopsis that grips the reader at all because all the branches merely sound like different slices of life with no real conflict. If I read the synopsis I would shrug and move on because I don't see why the story *needs* to be told.

If the synopsis read like "You play as Tatsuya, a teenager who realizes that he can share memories between different choices that he makes. He is suddenly aware of the existence of the Butterfly Effect and must use his newfound power to prevent tragedy from occurring in only a few days by using his different incarnations to discover information." You suddenly have a lot more engaging of a plot summary because it has conflict and raises the stakes.

---

So even if you lack social experience or experience in marketing you are still making some basic mistakes that are hindering your game. But yes, marketing is 90% of making an indie game since if you dont learn how, nobody will know about it. Even so, if the game is lacking then people will still shrug and move on.
THAT'S what I needed *sigh*. It's so hard to get a decent critic. Most people just say they liked it or can't point out anything important. I've been asking so many people over these years so I didnt run in circles, but none were that helpful.

You just put my synopsis to shame in three lines haha. I gotta work on that. Convince people it has to be told. Thanks. A lot.

Yes, I do believe I should've put a demo in Kickstarter, but I don't remember why I didn't. That was a year ago I think. I'm sure it was pretty much ready other than a small missing detail that kept me from uploading it.


@trooper6

...? Over 20 and in last year of medical school.

@other folks: Sundownkid has given me a lot of clarity, still, do give me your opinion if you stumble upon this topic. I'd love to hear it.

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#5 Post by firecat » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:14 am

1) I don't think my tweets are bad, but beside depending on the hashtag search, how will anyone even see it if I don't have a single follower?
I dont use twitter but people do sometimes see my game without it, using social media is only small chance to be seen. followers dont mean anything in twitter, you must be thinking of youtube where people think it matters (it doesnt).

2) Is there no other way than having to contact fellow game developers/anime fans/etc... on twitter and ask them to check what I have to show?
they will ignore people who will do that, the best way to talk to anyone in the game development is being active in the forums or website.

3) will it still be considered amateurish since it's not my own domain / it has been created with a cheap website creator?
there's no shame in doing that, my official websites are wix and they are doing fine with bring in people to the game's page.

4) how was it when you started?
i started with nothing and i'm still at nothing, however i do now have better connections to sites that will help spread the word about the game. i get about a few views a day on itch.io which is a lot to me because when i started it only was 0 views. take your time to build your connections, you may not get that AAA game but you do have something to show for the hard work.

5) I guess such flaw is also reflecting on my internet social attempts?
try being you on the internet, no one likes the robot talks, heck i dont even try correcting my sentence because for me that is a waste of time. just being you will have people notice you for just being you.
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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#6 Post by BáiYù » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:34 am

As far as twitter goes, you need to follow more active devs in the VN /indie community. Start following PyTom and check who he's following, and follow them too. Someone is bound to follow back, especially if they're devving on similiar genres (in your case, look for people making BxGs as well. Their followers may follow you). Once that happens, tweet conversations with them. When you're showing off screenshots or other progress, try using hashtags like #renpy, #gamedev, #vn, #visualnovel, and the like. And definitely get that demo out soon. Give people a reason to talk about your game and follow you on social media. Realize that garnering a fanbase can be a slow process, so don't worry if it takes a while.

It's true that a bad website can make you look unprofessional, but you still should have somewhere to call your homepage. Try starting with an account on itch.io and write about your studio on your page. itch.io also has the bonus of being able to host your game/demo and having a community for it. Many people may stumble upon your content using the tag system.
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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#7 Post by Viniciuskk » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:34 am

All right, thanks you two! I'll definitely give that itch.io a try, and will get a website too.

PyTom has a twitter? I had no idea. Can you send me a link to it? Can't find it through the search.

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#8 Post by trooper6 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:07 pm

I asked about age and school/work for a couple of reasons.

First thing I noted is that you don't have "Honest Feedback" in your sig...so it wasn't clear if you actually wanted critical feedback or if you just wanted cheerleading. A lot of people just want cheerleading to help with their motivation...which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if a person wants a "You are awesome, Keep going!" then something a bit more substantive is a waste of everyone's time.

So, not knowing if you want real feedback or not...and even if you said you wanted real feedback...well...we have quite a few people here who are under 18. According to the 2014 Survey (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=26915&hilit=demographics ), 20% of the LSF respondents are under 18. And we have 11 year olds hanging out here. I have found it not that useful to give a 13 year old the same sort of feedback as a 20 year old. Also, you are asking about difficulty of generating a social network...and the way I would respond to a 13 year old would be different than a 30 year old.

Similarly, a person who is in school has different avenues for social network building than someone at a full time job. Also school tends to mean more time than money, and job tends to mean more money than time.

So that is some background on why I asked...so some blunter feedback.
Viniciuskk wrote: • I've been told over and over to start a twitter, and I finally did a few days ago. I know how hashtagging is important and all that, but... I have no idea how to get the first followers other than depending on sheer luck. I don't think my tweets are bad, but beside depending on the hashtag search, how will anyone even see it if I don't have a single follower? Is there no other way than having to contact fellow game developers/anime fans/etc... on twitter and ask them to check what I have to show?

I've made 5 tweets in three days. If you're curious, check them out: https://twitter.com/Interactive_HR
BáiYù makes great points about Twitter usage. I'll add a few more. Twitter is a conversation. It isn't traditional advertisement. People in the social media don't want to be "advertised to" so much as they want to be in a relationship with you. Looking at your Twitter feed, you aren't in conversation with anyone. You only follow 15 people and it doesn't look like you have commented on any of their tweets. Why would people follow you and check you out when you aren't really doing that in return. So follow more people...a lot more people. And interact with them. Favorite tweets you like. Give people shout outs...basically...be present for real. I really don't use Twitter hardly at all. I mean...it is embarrassing how little I really use it... and I don't advertise it...I follow 252 people and am followed by 320 people. Now my main Twitter account is full of a random mix of people and people are following me for all sorts of random reasons...so I wouldn't want to promote my game/dev persona on that twitter. I'd want to make a new Twitter account that is focused on game dev so I'd have a more focused audience. How would I find people to add? Well, bunches of people here on LSF have their Twitter handle on their profiles/sigs. Follow them...then look at who they follow and follow them. Then read their feeds and respond/retweet/favorite. In other words, reciprocity.
Viniciuskk wrote: • A website. I've also been told a million times a website is simply a must. I don't know HTML, and all I might manage to do is one from those "Make your own website" sites. If I somehow make it look good, will it still be considered amateurish since it's not my own domain / it has been created with a cheap website creator?
You have no website? How am I going to get to know you as a game maker beyond that one game? How am I going to connect to you and become invested in you? How am I going to know you are serious? If you are only planning on making that one free game and then doing nothing else...then maybe you don't need a webpage. But if you want to build something, you need a webpage. It could be Wordpress like many use. It could be Tumblr. Now you say you don't know HTML so anything you do would be bad...that doesn't give me confidence in your game...which also involves programming. If you can learn Renpy, you can learn HTML...though most places don't even require you to use complicated HTML anymore. If you got someone else to program the Renpy for you...then you can get someone else to make the website for you. But if you are wanting bigger audiences, then you need to lay the groundwork for it.
Viniciuskk wrote: • Proper advertising per se. If you happen to have a game published or a at least a fan base, how was it when you started? I thought I could depend on those that created art and music for my game to at least start spreading the word, but turns out that despite them being highly skilled professionals, they barely have any fans themselves. I just fell flat on my face when I tried Kickstarter (Got a measly 300 page views after 30 days of campaign) and a Patreon campaign (Still sitting at $0 after almost a week since launch).

If you'd like to check those failures, here are the links:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11 ... sual-novel
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3028917&ty=h&alert=1

I did all that, and yet I haven't achieved anything. I'm still a no one. Geh. I guess I've been doing it all wrong?
Yeah, I could have guessed your Kickstarter/Patreon wouldn't have gone well.
Why? One is that you have no website...you want all this money and don't have any track record and no website? How do I know you aren't just some scammer?

Next, you wanted $13k dollars for a VN? That is a lot of money...and you have not finished any previous projects. So you have no experience finishing a project. So why should I risk my money on you? If I had played one or two games of yours in the past, I'd be more likely to support a Kickstarter in the present...but you have no past games. Also, $13k is a lot of money and that turns me off a bit. Especially considering you never said how much was done. You've been working on this a long time...is all the writing done? Is the project just half done? What is your time line?

As for the Patreon...I think of Patreons as a way to support a creator more than just a project, as a way to give you money every month because I like you and support you. But why would I give you money when I don't even know you or have any connection to you? You have no web presence, you have no track record of releasing games...and more importantly for me in this context, you don't even have a presence here on LSF. I looked through your posts...of which there aren't that many...and the overwhelming majority of them are asking for things/advertising things. Rarely are you giving anything other people...feedback, commentary, answering their questions, giving them reviews, etc. There are people on these boards who may not have made a game yet, but they've made a great impression as someone giving back to the community. So when I decide which free games to play...(and I don't have so much free time), I prioritize their free games. And if I played their free games and liked them...and they were good citizens, I'd be more likely to support them in a Patreon. At this moment, just on the basis of their good citizenship, I think I'd easily throw xela money in Patreon just because they are so dedicated to being helpful in the Questions thread. They are so giving, I am willing to give back in the form of a Patreon. What have you given to the community?

But really, I don't give money to people with no track record of finishing things...and things I like...unless there are extenuating circumstances: which are usually a combination of a) them having a long track record of good citizenship, or b) their project being something I think it is important to support either because if i) its politics being something I care about passionately or ii) it is such an underrepresented or original topic I think there needs to be more of them in the world. You are doing a BxG game in anime style with not much diversity. So...it doesn't look all that new to me and I'm not in the core demographic for that genre. If I were a BxG anime slice of life fanatic who would consume anything that falls in that category, maybe I'd support it (though, the lack of demo and no track record is still going to turn me off), but the only thing about the game that is drawing me to it is that you can not romance someone if you don't want to...but then the Kickstarter seems to say there won't be many branching endings? I don't know. Not enough.
Viniciuskk wrote: • IRL I suck at social interactions. I guess such flaw is also reflecting on my internet social attempts? It's weird though. I'm the kind of person that everyone likes despite being shy and reserved. I gain elderly and youngsters' trust easily. Everyone sees me as a genius and I'm asked for advice all the time in pretty much all subjects. Dating, studying, planning for the future... All that kind of stuff (Even if the most romantic conversation I've ever had was on the same level as this thread. I.e I've never had one. And people seem satisfied with my answers.)

:o : "But if you do all that, how do you suck at social interactions?"
Well, my smiley friend. I don't have anyone who I can call my best friend. There is no one whom I've told most of my secrets and whatever. No one who seems to have understood what goes on in this skull of mine. Everyone is always like "Woah, you don't cease to surprise me!" "Woah, you knew that too?" "Woah, why do you know so much stuff?"

Thanks for your time ~~
I think being good at social interactions is a different thing that having a best friend. There are people who have deep best friends, but suck at social interactions. There are people who are great at social interactions but have a problem with trust/intimacy and can't open up on a deep level for a reciprocal best friend. And one way or another, I don't think that is relevant here. For advertising people don't need to know your deep inner self, they need to feel a connection to a developer persona and/or be invested in your work...which only happens when you have a track record of work.

So you might ask me...but how do I have a track record of work if no one will give me money?
People do it all the time.
One answer is: Make a less expensive first game. I'm going to spend less than $500 for my first game. All of that for art. Since it is my first game and I'm self funding, I'm only going with very few sprites, very few BGs/CGs. I'm being conservative so that I can do it without outside funding.
Another answer is: Gather a team of people who will work for free. But then they are going to want to be part of the creation process...to be team members. A number of people work together for free to make some cool free game (see NaNoReNo...and a bunch of other teams that have come out of it). But then, again, that is going to be a situation of reciprocity and sharing.

I would really recommend working on your online/community presence. And maybe working on a very small, free game that won't cost any (or much) money to make first.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#9 Post by Viniciuskk » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:24 pm

@trooper6

Yep. I knew I should've started with something shorter. The second demo has an appropriate "ending" to it. It's not a cliff hanger. Everything that has happened up to that point was solved, but there are still many mysteries in the air. I'll use that as something to show, even if it's not a complete product as you've mentioned. I don't think it's a good idea to try to make something else from stratch right now. It is decently long and should take about 2 to 3 hours to finish.

Oh, as for the "Small stuff that won't cost much" I do have such a thing, but I'm still working on it. It'll be a Neonmob card series

--> https://www.neonmob.com/vote/detail/6065

As for your twitter idea, yeah. I haven't really contacted those I followed or shown much interest in their stuff, though... It kinda pains me to do it with second intentions... (In my facebook, even if I'm genuinely interested and liked whatever a post is, I usually don't press like or comment in it either way...)

tl;dr, I agree with everything you've said. Sometimes a brick to the face is just what you needed to wake up. Thanks :p

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#10 Post by trooper6 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:16 pm

Viniciuskk wrote: As for your twitter idea, yeah. I haven't really contacted those I followed or shown much interest in their stuff, though... It kinda pains me to do it with second intentions... (In my facebook, even if I'm genuinely interested and liked whatever a post is, I usually don't press like or comment in it either way...)
As for the interactions, don't think of it as second intentions...think about it as building community and being part of the community. If you see a post on Facebook you are interested and you like...then press the like button and comment. Make comments here on the forums on other people's threads--not to promote your game, but just to be a good citizen of the boards. Be genuinely interested in other people and express that interest. Then people will be interested in you, too. That's not second intentions, it is just building relationships.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#11 Post by PyTom » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:06 pm

BáiYù wrote:As far as twitter goes, you need to follow more active devs in the VN /indie community. Start following PyTom and check who he's following, and follow them too.
Note that I follow people for a number of reasons. What tends to get me to follow people is that they say something interesting (that I see, but I ego-search Ren'Py relatively often), and then I check them out and see they've said a number of interesting things (and not too many things I find uninteresting), and I click follow.

I suspect that having multiple twitter accounts that are on-topic is better than one that rambles, especially if those rambles are high volume. In general, less good posts are better than more bad ones.
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Re: A noob's compressed pack of questions of game advertisem

#12 Post by BáiYù » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:15 pm

PyTom wrote:
BáiYù wrote:As far as twitter goes, you need to follow more active devs in the VN /indie community. Start following PyTom and check who he's following, and follow them too.
Note that I follow people for a number of reasons. What tends to get me to follow people is that they say something interesting (that I see, but I ego-search Ren'Py relatively often), and then I check them out and see they've said a number of interesting things (and not too many things I find uninteresting), and I click follow.

I suspect that having multiple twitter accounts that are on-topic is better than one that rambles, especially if those rambles are high volume. In general, less good posts are better than more bad ones.
I figure that you follow accounts that tweet often about developing Ren'Py games, so that's why I suggested that.
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