Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse

Comments

  • I think maybe having a tiny bit of overlap animation on the main core of the mech will make it seem heavier. If the mech is running full speed ahead and suddenly the player kicks in reverse if the top of the mech carried of forward just a little that slight hint of momentum might help sell some weight.
    Thanked by 2roguecode joshken
  • Oh, watching the gif more I'm suddenly noticing how rigid the top part of the mech is. Bobbing up and down and adding the sway you are talking about will probably add a lot, thanks!

  • edited
    Ok, so finally an actual release date, February 26 2018.

    I made a trailer as sort of a parody of the Transformers totally over dramatic style.



    It was actually a lot of fun to play around in After Effects for a change
  • That looks super cool! :D

    I know this is coming months late, and in your post you said you're already aware of the legs moving simultaneously, but in case it helps: for four-legged animals, when they're walking/trotting, the order that they typically move in has diagonals moving immediately after one another (e.g. front-left, back-right, front-right, back-left). For heavier creatures (I don't know what weight you're aiming for) you try to keep three legs in contact with the ground at a time to give the impression of trying to support a heavy weight. When the creature breaks out into a run, then the order changes to being both front legs together (with a small offset) followed by both back legs.
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • Thanks @Elyaradine!
    I decided that I'm continually adding stuff but not getting anywhere meaningful and I just need to actually call it "finished". So I abandoned the leg improvement stuff, and will come back to it after release (I guess if anyone actually buys the game).

    Thanked by 1Elyaradine
  • Apologies for being almost totally MIA from MGSA recently :-(


    New trailer
  • edited
    9 days until launch. This end part is significantly harder than the dev

    Some person played the game here, at 8m
  • Unfortunately Xbox has been delayed a few weeks until mid-March. Steam will be going live on Monday though.
    I'm pricing it at $14.99, which is my best guess at a good price after talking to a lot of you over the last few months.

    But now a question: Should we be doing a launch discount? And should it be 10% or 15%?
    I can't find all that much solid data on the matter. Some people say definitely, some say definitely not. Without input I'm currently leaning towards 10%.
  • I think having a small launch discount is a good idea because it can generate a bigger launch, which feeds into Steam store presence and a few other things. I'd go with something in the range 10-20%, so I think 10% is good. This is all very hand-wavey tho
  • I feel the same way. It's such a massive list of pros and cons. I will add, though, that there are fans that have been following this game for years and have been looking forward to the launch so a discount that they get to take advantage of will engender goodwill.

    (Also, hurry up with that PS4 version please :)
  • edited
    @francoisvn @watman, cool, thanks people :)
    What we really need is parallel universes to be a real thing, and then A/B test across them.

    ----------------

    This was an interesting stream to watch for me: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/231500619?t=03h24m5s
    He starts off saying he assumes it is bad (fair enough). But seems to warm up to it as he starts understanding that it has a proper unlock system and such. And then at the end he says he's "playing just one more time" like 3 times. So I'm going to call it a net win :P
  • Absolutely do a launch discount. Your likelihood to be chosen to be part of future sales on Steam depends on your sales performance. You want your launch to be as big as possible because it affects all your future earnings opportunities on Steam.
    Thanked by 2roguecode garethf
  • Absolutely do a launch discount. Your likelihood to be chosen to be part of future sales on Steam depends on your sales performance. You want your launch to be as big as possible because it affects all your future earnings opportunities on Steam.
    Thank you! Can you recommend a %?
  • @roguecode The standard advice is definitely to do a launch discount of what @francoisvn suggests. It's a traditional pricing model.

    Steam is in a weird place though. So a leftfield suggestion might be to avoid a launch sale maybe? I think a lot of Steam audience is trained to wait for sales now, so I wonder how much impact a launch discount really has on sales these days - who is the person that is convinced by that 10-20% launch discount more than the full price? Does the 10% discount make them buy instantly instead of waiting for a (expected) deeper discount later?

    I find it very interesting that Celeste, and Iconoclasts had no Steam launch discount, for example. Perhaps in the new rhetoric, launch sales aren't worth it. Up to you if you want to try something different though :).

    Thanked by 2AngryMoose roguecode
  • +1 for launch discount. I believe it helps you convert wishlist fence sitters. They've already waited a long time for your game so waiting a bit longer isn't going to feel that strange to them. The one week sales discount gives a little loss aversion nudge to convert now instead of "down the road or maybe never". I've not noticed the trend of no launch discount. I'd only try it if I was pretty confident I had a strong audience with a healthy appetite for the game ;)
    Thanked by 2roguecode garethf
  • edited
    I really appreciate the perspectives here @Bensonance and @TheFuntastic, thank you.

    I've been thinking a lot about this, and have decided to do a discount. While I think that was probably a really good idea for Celeste, I think no one is under any illusion that that this is a Celeste. We definitely don't have tens of thousands of people eagerly waiting the release that will buy it regardless of discount. I barely know how email works let alone how to market a game. (I'm joking, we actually sent out about 700 hand written emails, eek, and got like 20 replies, eek again).

    Anyway, no idea if this is correct, but if having a discount at launch has potential to make some potential buyers into actual buyers, then I think we need to capitalize on that even if it mean losing 15% a sale.

    -------------

    So a bunch of small and medium streamers have been playing this, and it has been very interesting to watch. Reactions have ranged from "this is the best game I've played in the last 3 years next to Nier: Automata" to someone dying twice and moving back to another game.
    The thing I'm noticing is that there are elements to the game that we simply did not explain enough because we assumed the people buying it would be a roguelite fan and would understand. Turns out that people that have never played a rogue-anything will play it too :P
    This seems completely obvious in hindsight. Either way, if someone plays through about 30 minutes they seem to cross a barrier of understanding and then play for a couple hours. If they don't understand the game, and don't play it long enough to naturally start getting it, they seem to hate it.

    The specific elements of the game I'm talking about are things like:
    - There is no health in the game whatsoever
    - You start off with no weapons or perks every time you die, however your unlocks persist.

    Now, those things are pretty confusing to an average player, understandably. At the same time, those are things that are very specific to how the game works, and what makes it the game it is. Isn't something that I'd change, even if I could go back. What I would have changed possibly is how the game introduces you to stuff.

    I'm assuming that this is going to cause a sort of split in reviews (or I guess they might all be negative if our target market hates it too :P).

    tl;dr takeway: When making you game, maybe assume that people that aren't your target market will play the game too, and test with them too?

    Going live on Steam at 11am PST Monday, 9PM SA time.
  • Less than two hours! Grab it on sale while you can people, you won't regret it!
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • Congrats on the release dude ... now you are a "hippy" too. :P
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • edited
    Very quick update: I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting for release (never having released a game on Steam before), but this is significantly slower than I expected. There was no flow of hate for the game, or love, just...not much. 48 hours later and more has happened. We now have enough Steam reviews to have an average of "Positive" (89% positive with 19 reviews).

    Within minutes of the game going live a torrent was released with it. Along with a follow up torrent with a fixed crack. Comparing Unity Analytics and sales data, it looks like we have significantly more pirated players than purchased ones.

    I was also interviewed by CBS5/3TV News in the US (which is where we got the llama footage for the trailer)
    https://twitter.com/RogueCode/status/968962286357565440
    Totally the wrong audience so wouldn't effect sales in any way, but I thought that was cool :)
  • roguecode said:
    Within minutes of the game going live a torrent was released with it. Along with a follow up torrent with a fixed crack. Comparing Unity Analytics and sales data, it looks like we have significantly more pirated players than purchased ones.
    Yep, this is the same thing we experienced ... not much you can do about it unfortunately. I did create my 13U77H0L3 system to try and catch this if you don't sign in through Steam ... it seemed to cut down on the pirated versions but only the newer releases had this code in.

    How are the review requests going? How are you handling those?
  • Yeah, System Crash was up on pirate sites within 24hrs, IIRC.

    Did you manage to get onto the "Popular New Releases" list at all? That makes a big difference. SC managed to get on for a couple of hours, it helped gain some momentum. But I think it's getting a lot harder, with the flood of games growing ever larger.
  • garethf said:

    Did you manage to get onto the "Popular New Releases" list at all? That makes a big difference. SC managed to get on for a couple of hours, it helped gain some momentum. But I think it's getting a lot harder, with the flood of games growing ever larger.
    We were on the Popular New Releases here (http://store.steampowered.com/explore/new/) for about the first 48 hours, but slowly crept off as new titles came out. Never made it to any list on the actual front page though.

    While on the list above we had roughly 150 people on the steam page at any given time. Now that we're off it, it is down to between 10 and 20. I'm sort of hoping that although the views are ~10% of what they were, that the people that are still getting to the page are much more targeted, and likely to buy. If so, hopefully the sales won't go down to 10% of what they were as well.

    @quintond, out of interest, did the crack force steam to return a static user ID or something to you? I'm noticing that it doesn't seem like pirated people (from the numbers) are making it to the leaderboard, so I think most of the Steam code is crashing at some point.

    Thanked by 1JamesRay
  • roguecode said:
    @quintond, out of interest, did the crack force steam to return a static user ID or something to you? I'm noticing that it doesn't seem like pirated people (from the numbers) are making it to the leaderboard, so I think most of the Steam code is crashing at some point.
    No, so initially I stupidly believed that Steam DRM would be sufficient and it primarily forced a player to have to launch the game through Steam ... little did I know that a quick search on Google and there are tons of scripts that remove this DRM. So I deserve to be punished for that lapse in judgement.

    So what I then did in a patch, was check if I was being sent a valid Steam ID (they all follow a similar pattern) and if they do then I let the game play, if not I return them to an error page where I tell them to contact support. I also geo-locate their IP Address and store the information in to a special table.

    The only way to send me a valid Steam ID is to launch the game through Steam. This is not a silver bullet but now the pirates at least have to work a little harder and I know it will never stop piracy but I feel vindicated when someone contacts support and sends me a screenshot of the "BUTTHOLE" error code ... it is some extra amusement that I get.

    As I said, won't stop piracy but it is quite funny to watch people get the error page on YouTube. I also use the same Steam ID in the scoreboard, so there have been a couple of YouTubers that caught using a cracked version earlier on and when I explained to them what they were seeing the videos were removed and much apologising ensued.

    I always make sure not to do it publicly and try not to get in to slinging matches with them, if they fail to respond I use the YouTube tools to take care of them.
    Thanked by 1watman
  • Congratulations on the release! at the same time it is defiantly worrying to see just how fast pirates act.. if only we had them working four service delivery departments :0
    Thanked by 1roguecode
  • VALA came out on Xbox One and Windows Store today!

    Also, Windows Store currently has two SA games featured :)

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    1385 x 1126 - 214K
  • edited
    Some quick numbers.
    Xbox sold more in 2 days than Steam in 2 weeks.
    Unfortunately both of those are drastically below what I imagine we would have needed for it to ever break even - but from when we started I decided to consider the money lost, and are not below R0 (although will be soon because of GDC and American beers being R86 :P). Basically...school fees.
    It has made about 10% of what it cost so far.

    Steam simultaneous players peaked at 18 on launch day, and have since been between 5 and 10. Xbox has been out 3 days, and peaks to between 40 and 50 during mid-day America.

    Steam reviews are "Positive" with 85% being recommended, with 27 total reviews (I don't know how to view an average including free press copies, but my rough guess thinks that less people with free copies liked it than paid).
    Xbox (1 to 5 star review system) has 24 reviews so far. 2 are 4*, 1 is 3*, the rest are 5*. That gives us an average of 4.9.

    There have only been 2 press reviews from recognizable places. IGN Africa gave it 4.6/10, Xbox Tavern gave it 6.2/10.
    I have no idea if this is a normal trend between press reviews and user reviews. But my very wild guess is that press people are reviewing the game with the distinct purpose of deciding "is this a 'good' game", whereas users are reviewing it based on "is this fun". So if press reviews continue to be low, it might point to VALA not being a well designed game, but being really fun regardless. And if so, I'm OK with that.

    The general complains about the game fall into these:
    - No online
    I'm sure y'all will appreciate how this was a technical and money burning exercise that we simply couldn't do.

    - Grindy progression system
    I think the IGN Africa review even goes as far as to assume we made it grindy to pad out the play time, which is wrong. The numbers we decided on were just a descision based on what felt right.
    Since then I've changed a bunch of things to make it feel less grindy for the people that complained about that. Unfortunately IGN Africa reviews it pre-update and doesn't look like they'll mention or edit it based on what changed.

    - Repeating environment
    I don't disagree. The game is based in a city (well, first 2/3rds. We made tons of unique city areas, but since it is a city, they all look like a city. I'm not really sure how we could make it feel "less repeatey" without either making super recognizable areas (then we'd get complaints that we're repeating areas), or to have no made it in a city.
    I'm also not entirely sure why I don't see similar complaints for other games that do exactly the same as us - it is likely that there is something about the game design that makes you not care if every room is the same (Binding of Isaac for instance), or simply that I don't read as much about other games as VALA.

    - Slow at the start
    In the beginning you start with pistols after every death. This makes it have a slow start and you feel underpowered. My lack of actual design experience likely made me not realize that people wouldn't like this. It is a fair complaint, and I've changed a bunch of stuff in the latest update to make it feel less like this. Also considering just dropping pistols altogether. Will see.

    Overall I'm really proud of how well we've done from knowing almost nothing about game dev. I've learned a ton and I image so have Brad, Jamo, and others on this project.
  • Yes, definitely learned a bunch making this and very proud of what we achieved. Thanks to Matt for giving me an opportunity of being a part of VALA. Not only did I learn a lot but it got my foot in the door to a game dev career and for that I'm eternally greatful. Were we the first SA Xbox release?
  • It's interesting that Xbox is outselling steam. Perhaps it just comes down to less competition on the platform, and it being a distinctly console-friendly title?
    Were we the first SA Xbox release?
    You may be the first Xbox One title out of SA, I really don't know, but no you're not the first Xbox release. I-Imagine released Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver on Xbox and Football Genius on Xbox 360 (and PS3), and I think there have been others on XB360 as well
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