Update on Development
We’re still keeping on. I’ve almost got the combat inspector ready to go, and hope to have the victory screen handled this week. I have to work at my day job again so development will slow a bit.
Urimas is getting sprites, Hund is getting overlays, Chicken is doing art. You know, the usual.
String Tyrant Pre-Steam Retrospective
In case you didn’t know, String Tyrant comes out on Steam on June 4th. Put it on your wishlists or just get it on itch.io.
Now is therefore probably a good time to discuss the launch of the game and how well it did on itch.io. This post is mostly for other indie developers who are thinking about their first launch or want some insight. If you’re not an indie developer then by reading past this point you are pretending to be one. Be sure to put on your Crime Hat.
Here you can see the analytics page for the so-far lifetime of the game, which was released March 21st. The number of views is pageviews, downloads is all downloads (including the demo), payments is purchases in total (note that paying more is an option on itch.io, so a payment is at least 5$ but can be more).
As you might expect, high interest at first and then a tapering off as all the people who were predisposed to play the game got it and played it. Since then, we’re in a steady state of people finding the game and checking it out, but we have not done any new advertisements.
This is the last 30 days information of where the origin of a pageview was. I can’t get information before the 30 day mark, but I can tell you that the majority of the traffic during that time was from the blog/patreon/tfgs. Itch.io’s internal search has taken over as the primary discovery method.
So why these various places? We did advertisements on hypnohub, which can you see in this pool. For deviantart, all of the artists posted an update, particularly Goop-Sinpai who did some art for the game. That drove a lot of traffic. Artist inkyfluff (who if you don’t follow on twitter, you should) drove a lot of the twitter clicks.
As for youtube, we got letsplayed by RiskRim who does a lot of horror game LPs.
The moral of the story: Advertising works. Get everyone to advertise and the clicks come in.
Disclosure: We did not give a free copy to RiskRim, that came out of the blue. We’re still happy he played the game!
We did send keys out to various LPers, mostly horror LPers. None of them did an LP though two did get back to us. One was busy as they are a healthcare worker and there’s something of a pandemic on, and the other has a backlog but is interested. More on this as it develops, but blindfiring to people who don’t know you has a low success rate. Still, you have to get the word out and it’s not like it costs you anything, keys are free.
I will be doing a post about Steam’s interface later. It’s worse.
Itch.io’s interface is quite easy to use. Almost everything about the game’s page is on a single interface. This includes screenshots, description, pricing, tags, and uploads.
The game is uploaded as a zip file, that’s it. You just upload the file, mark it as paid/demo and which OS it’s for, and you’re off to the races.
The only complaint I have is that the uploads section gets a little hairy to manage when you have a lot of game versions. All of the String Tyrant patches are on itch.io but most of them are hidden, so I have to bubble them to the top of the list when I add a new one. This is my complaint. It sure is minor isn’t it?
This is called foreshadowing.
All in all, itch.io is a great platform that’s easy to use and I encourage every indie developer to put their games on it. If you have the technical ability to make a game, you have the technical ability to put it on itch.io.