It’s clear now that the vast majority of potential customers don’t like inertia based space games. Out of 1000 signups, the highest I ever reached in simultaneous players is 20, and the average has dropped from 6 to 3 over the last week. This kind of game design worked 10 years ago perhaps, but is an utter failure in today’s market. If I had a 50% retention rate, and just didn’t have enough players, then it’s a marketing issue which can be taken care of. But with a .5% retention rate there’s no way I can succeed like this.

Probably the most notable indicator is that even players of this very genre do not stick around. They’re tired of this kind of game, and just need more stuff. I’m confident it’s not my implementation, since my implementation is pretty solid.

I was speaking with a friend about this, who works in marketing, and he told me I basically picked a design and genre that was doomed from the start.

1. Most people don’t like space games
2. Most people don’t like complex controls (anything more than click and drool)

I was pretty depressed about this for a while, but finally thought of a solution that might salvage the day:

Mechs
Mech

I bought this mech from 3drt.com and am going to stick it into the game. The mech will be controlled through the standard movement keys (no interia), aim with the mouse, and I have asked the artists to model the surface of a planet.

I have it in without effects and sort of working. The main problem is oFusion has failed me once again, and cannot export the animations. This is really too bad, since the animations look great. I have a potential solution in the works via a code partnership to get a real exporter, which might solve this problem.

I’ve even started considering partnerships on this game, something I refused to consider before. Now that I have started contracting to keep the money coming in, I have very little time left for the game, and I’m starting to doubt if I can finish everything by myself. Except for my programmer in Portugal, outsourcing and contracting was a complete failure and everything that contracting was supposed to address is now far behind and/or screwed up. I don’t have a working exporter, I don’t have advanced graphics or effects, the art is far behind, and a lot of game design and game programming still needs to be done, I’m not sure the billing host will work out, and the database is missing features. Full-time I might be able to handle this but part-time it’s just really hard. Most of these problems arose due to telecommuting. You’re much less likely to get someone who claims that the work is done, grabs the cash, and runs out the door if you see him day to day.

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5 Responses to “”

  1. Enrico says:

    Have you tried Paypal and/or 2checkout.com for billing? We use them successful over at viCampus…

  2. mirlix says:

    I finally get time to test your game yesterday and i must at this moment it is was just boring, i played it for about 1 or 2, so i can only describe the beginning of the game. The gameidea itself is really good and i think this game can make fun with a little chances. Like yourself said the controlls are hell.I needed more then 30 minutes to be able to pick up credits from destroyed target drones without several trys. Shooting them was even harder. They are faster then me and my bullets only fly for a few meters and then get blown away, its really depressing for a new player. I had a chance to play against 3 other player on 1 vs 1 and it was more fun then shooting the drones and the energy bar makes it really exciting to battle, cause you have to think when you shot or not, or you die, nice idea btw.
    I would change the controlls to wasd for up,slide left,down, slide right and the mouse top rotate and shot. I know this isnt quite as hard as the old controlls but i think it will make more fun, cause you get more controll over the fight. Also i would change the first weapon or alter all(only seen three yet), so the shot with more speed, more range and dont get blown away, just like in the old topdownscroll shootern. personally i would try to give the game a topdownscroll shooter feeling, they are fun and easy to play. in the lategame you could introduce stronger weapons with little range adn speed which got blown away for more exp. player this would be a nice challange.
    just my 2 or more cent

  3. foobar says:

    I think it’s just your game. I’d work on it a little more before I go mecha. Check out Moonpod’s Starscape for a succesful implementation of a space shooter. (That was done by a 3-man team btw.)

  4. btmorex says:

    I don’t think the base concept of your game is flawed. It would probably be a mistake to change it at this point too (you might lose the players you *do* have).

    Mostly the problem I see it is lack of a consistent base. There is literally nothing to do in the game if other people aren’t on. So, if you login at a random time, you probably will just logoff if no one else is around. 5 people could login and out in 5 minutes and not see each other which makes it sort of hard to get games going.

    The other problem is that the current content is tuned I think for more players than there ever are. The most fun I had was one time when it was like 5v6 or something like that. That *hasn’t* happened since. 2v2 or even worse 1v2 or 2v3 aren’t fun.

  5. Friendly Neighbour Bob says:

    Lots of people like space games: Starcraft, Galactic Civilization, Sword of the Stars, Starscape, Master of Orion, X1,X2,X3 (very complicated controls), EVE
    Perhaps your friend was referring to the MMO market, in which people are used to a Fantasy setting.
    The market is determined by trend-setters, and followers. Usually there is one successful game that sets it in motion, the rest follows.
    You need to be the trend-setter and not a follower.

    /pep-talk mode OFF 🙂

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