What if No One Plays It

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PassiveChicken
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What if No One Plays It

#1 Post by PassiveChicken » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:58 pm

Well, your big day is here. All your hard work has paid off and you've actually finished the game you've spent months, maybe a year or more on. You go live, and...no one plays it. No one talks about it. You're a kid at a lemonade stand and the rest of the world just walks by, thirst quenched already.

Obviously all of us want to complete our games for ourselves, but at least for myself, there's a part of me that really wants people to enjoy what I've worked so hard on. So if something like this happened, what's your next move?
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#2 Post by Zelan » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:03 pm

PassiveChicken wrote:Well, your big day is here. All your hard work has paid off and you've actually finished the game you've spent months, maybe a year or more on. You go live, and...no one plays it. No one talks about it. You're a kid at a lemonade stand and the rest of the world just walks by, thirst quenched already.

Obviously all of us want to complete our games for ourselves, but at least for myself, there's a part of me that really wants people to enjoy what I've worked so hard on. So if something like this happened, what's your next move?
Keep making more stuff. If I've publicly released multiple projects and literally no one has played any of them, I'm clearly doing something very wrong. Otherwise, it's highly unlikely that no one at all will at least try your game if it's got a decent hook to it.

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Re: What if No One Plays It

#3 Post by PassiveChicken » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:17 pm

That's a very good point. Just keep on chuggin' along, I guess.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#4 Post by rito » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:28 pm

That's something I'm terrified of too, actually. Guess starting with a WIP topic and presence in social media instead of dropping it like a ninja would help know if people are interested?
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#5 Post by Imperf3kt » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:57 pm

Take the lemonade, even if its sour, and start forcing it down people's throats.

Just kidding.

Just raise more awareness about the game. There's somebody who is interested, but they're not going to play it if they don't know about it.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#6 Post by indoneko » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:59 pm

How often do you mingle along with others (in forums, facebook groups, or other places) ?

If the answer is "not so often" or "never"", then you can't expect people to know you or your game (and this is regardless of how good/bad your game is).
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#7 Post by SundownKid » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:45 pm

PassiveChicken wrote:Obviously all of us want to complete our games for ourselves, but at least for myself, there's a part of me that really wants people to enjoy what I've worked so hard on. So if something like this happened, what's your next move?
Marketing, marketing and more marketing. Someone once said marketing is 90% of indie development and that's kind of true. Too bad I'm terrible at it.

But anyway, your game could be terrible and if you push it on people like crazy you will get more players than the best game in the world. I'm not saying to go and market a terrible game, hopefully it's actually good.

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Re: What if No One Plays It

#8 Post by PassiveChicken » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:55 pm

Marketing seems to be a good answer to the age-old question of how to get people to notice yer stuff. The forum seems to be a good place to get a good grounding, since everyone here's passionate about visual novels. I guess, the true answer to the original question is: Don't let it get to that point in the first place, if you can, through proper preparation.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#9 Post by Katy133 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:01 pm

There's a wonderful quote by artist Mike Falzone from one of my favourite inspirational videos of his, Putting Yourself Out There.
In this world, there is nothing easier than talking yourself out of doing something scary...

Think of it like this: You want to swim, okay? It's just you and the ocean out there... Maybe you want to swan dive off of rocks and make big splashes and impress all of your mer-friends.

You have all these big plans and aspirations, but the problem is, you won't even dip your toesies in the pool.

Maybe you're thinking, "What if I put myself out there, and nothing happens?" Well, then your life is exactly the same as it is right now. How is it right now?
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#10 Post by Zelan » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:22 pm

rito wrote:That's something I'm terrified of too, actually. Guess starting with a WIP topic and presence in social media instead of dropping it like a ninja would help know if people are interested?
indoneko wrote:How often do you mingle along with others (in forums, facebook groups, or other places) ?

If the answer is "not so often" or "never"", then you can't expect people to know you or your game (and this is regardless of how good/bad your game is).
An interesting answer that incorporates both of these points:

My first game was pretty much exactly what rito described - I worked on it all on my own, had my family (not on LSF) test it, and then just dropped in in the Completed Games forum and waited. Usually, this is a recipe for disaster.

However, going along with indoneko's point, I've been extremely active on here since I joined almost a year ago. I don't know that I can say I'm "recognizable," but there are people who know me from repeat visits to their forum threads. I noticed that a good many (although not all) of the people who played my game were those same people.

It all loops bak to exposure, one way or another, but there is a little bit of a difference between spreading the word about your game and spreading the word about yourself.

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Re: What if No One Plays It

#11 Post by Mammon » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:54 am

This is one of my fears and one that happened when I put my game in beta and received no comments for two months. Solution: Never use only the Demo's and Beta testing section for your game, that place is deserted. :lol: But when I placed it in the completed game section there were people trying it out.
rito wrote:That's something I'm terrified of too, actually. Guess starting with a WIP topic and presence in social media instead of dropping it like a ninja would help know if people are interested?
SundownKid wrote:Marketing, marketing and more marketing. Someone once said marketing is 90% of indie development and that's kind of true. Too bad I'm terrible at it.
But anyway, your game could be terrible and if you push it on people like crazy you will get more players than the best game in the world. I'm not saying to go and market a terrible game, hopefully it's actually good.
Zelan wrote:My first game was pretty much exactly what rito described - I worked on it all on my own, had my family (not on LSF) test it, and then just dropped in in the Completed Games forum and waited. Usually, this is a recipe for disaster. However, I've been extremely active on here since I joined almost a year ago. I don't know that I can say I'm "recognizable," but there are people who know me from repeat visits to their forum threads. I noticed that a good many (although not all) of the people who played my game were those same people.
Lot of truth in these words. I just said 'Hey! I'm completely new here and only lurked thus far so you don't know me, but here's a game I made!'. Not a ton of people checking it out right away. But by being active on the forum with that link in my signiature did draw a few more people to the thread.

But marketing... Yeah, that's a tough one for me too. Me does not market gud. I should to get more people checking out my games, but I'm terrible in asking that stuff from others. If I cared not about whether the quality of my games is good enough and whether those people might be annoyed by my mails, I would spam letsplayers, bump the thread, get more activity on the other VN sites, etc. But the comment that bad games with good marketing get more readers than good games with no marketing is painfully true. So I'll at least make a WiP thread before releasing the game in the future. I don't think 90% is a realistic number, but I think that 50% of your time sinking into it from a certain stage onwards like lateWhiteRabbit said once may be a frightful truth.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#12 Post by Donmai » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:14 am

Mammon wrote:But when I placed it in the completed game section there were people trying it out.
I see myself as a hobbyist and as an apprentice, that's why I release my finished works only here, on this developer's community site.
When I finish a project, and I put it "on air", my list of expectations is:
  • people noticing it, of course;
    people alerting me about any problems;
    people making suggestions on how to make it better;
    people enjoying it.
As someone said in these forums some time ago, the "worst answer we can receive is silence".
My last year's NaNoRenO entry, for example, received only a few precious comments, and they were all made by people who were involved with the project (nothing to complain here, as they fulfilled three out of four items in my list of expectations :) ). But I guess I will never know what the few people who downloaded the game for entertainment thought of it (Too sour? Too much sugar? Simply tasteless?). Their thoughts would surely help me to improve my next lemonade.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#13 Post by Fuseblower » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:44 pm

PassiveChicken wrote:So if something like this happened, what's your next move?
Then I'll make Hentai! It'll have everything : tentacles and giant maggots, quad amputee lolita's, devil-worshipping nuns with torture cellars, raping dog-demons from outer space, etc. It'll be brilliant and it will make the term "Visual Novel" equivalent with "Sick Shyte" :lol:

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Re: What if No One Plays It

#14 Post by Sonomi » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:38 pm

Building upon what was already said, making yourself active on this and other forums can be a great way to self promote. Remember that it's not just your project that people care about; it's also you, the developer. Consider how often people purchase music from their favorite artists to support them.

Having that name recognition and building relationships with people may prove beneficial, because if people like you/your game, they might share it with their family and friends (hopefully!)

Unrelated, but I watch a particular YouTuber who posts let's plays. He goes out of his way to build rapport with his fans: giving his fandom a nickname, talking to them in the videos, mentioning the comments they left and listening to suggestions, etc. Because I like his personality in addition to his content, I always recommend him to people who're looking for a funny channel to watch. Maybe it's a very obscure example, but I feel there's a bit of overlap between this discussion and that line of thought.

Based on my experience with software I released, I can say participating in game jams and community events like ludum dare or things you find on itch.io can help draw eyes to your game as well.

Social media. I've not explored that avenue, but I can see the value in exploring that side of marketing.
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Re: What if No One Plays It

#15 Post by Pommy » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:52 pm

Woof. Dumping yourself into a project, being incredibly excited for your launch, and getting total silence...worst feeling in the world. It's easy to over-invest yourself into a project that's very personal and meaningful to you and want to share this really cool thing you made. Then, days or weeks later, poof! There go a lot of the happy feelings you had investing yourself into said project.

Making something like this, for me any way, is more about personal expression and wanting to "give back" or say "thank you" to those that have inspired me, and I try to keep that in the front of my mind when completing large projects, be they games, written articles, or podcasts, but there's still a part of me that wants someone to just...say ANYTHING. Getting a nothing is worse than getting an "I hated it."

It's kinda difficult to fit into established communities a lot of the time, or be "recognizable." I read a lot of topics and check out a lot of games here, but balk pretty much 100% of the time at really saying much because it's hard to understand what I'm contributing or if what I have to say matters, or if I even fit in. It can be hard building up that recognizability or forming bonds with others.

It can be the same with social media. Social media is saturated with content, and even when you feel you've done something that might stand out, there's so much noise and things move so fast that it's pretty easy for anything you do to get lost in it.

I guess I've reached a point where I kinda throw things out there and hope for the best. I'd say 90% of the time things are just gonna get lost in the noise, and I'm not sure, even with all the suggestions in this topic, how to remedy that.

All I can really say is, "I feel ya." Best of luck in getting your stuff out there a little more. We're all trying. <3

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