My Short Bio: I'm the CEO of an indie game development team 6 (3 on a salary) man strong, located in Finland. I've been in this business for close to 4 years now. I've put my heart and soul into this, survived through panic attacks and constant disappointment. I did this because I wanted to be passionate about something again, after not knowing what I wanted to do for 7 years while studying something I had no passion for.

 

We jumped into this together with my brother, just the two of us. We didn't know much about developing games when we started, my brother had coded a couple of simple ones using Flash in his spare time. I myself had no experience what so ever. We were gamers, we thought we could be great game developers.

 

For the past two years we have been working on a game series called Battlestation and our second Kickstarter is about to fail once again. Our newest mobile release Battlestation: Harbinger Google Play (Battlestation: Harbinger Apple App Store) was a huge success for us in a sense that the game was featured by both Apple and Google as "Best new games" and "New&updated" respectively. Still the sales are not enough to cover the development expenses.

 

As our last effort we will bring Battlestation: Harbinger to Steam this year, once we get the game improved and the user interface sorted. I know a lot of the industry, ask me anything!

 

My Proof: Battlestation Twitter

 

Update: Oh wow this is blowing up! Our home pages can't sustain the traffic! I'm so humbled by all of your questions. I will do my best to answer all of them!

Comments: 2089 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

BryceW5183 karma

Edited because I should have asked a question to keep it here. So my question is: What was the marketing plan after creating the game? You have created a great game for sure, but what was the next step after completion?

Original post:

Not a question, just a comment. I love this style of game, I went to the website to see what its about and.... I cant tell right away. I study sales page conversions a fair bit in my line of work. I dont say this to be nasty, but rather to give you a little guidance.

This is the flow of the website:

Join the Kickstarter! - Umm.. you havent told me what it is yet

Battlestation Harbinger out now! on GPlay or App store - You still havent told me what it is.

News and announcements - You still haven't told me what it is..

Login - Login to what?

What is Battlestation... AAHH here we go. Ok, thats cool, I like Bab 5 and loved FTL. Lets play the video..

Umm, looks pretty primitive. OOH, this first video isnt the actual game but a early concept (which I dont care about, you might as a dev to show where you came from, but as a buyer I dont care, show me what I can have now). Scroll some more.

Ahh, finally a trailer of the game. Looks pretty cool. Again, loved FTL, reminds me a little of BSG which I also loved. Should I get First Contact or Harbinger? Oh, maybe I wont buy now because a new game is coming (there is a reason why Apple doesnt mention whats up next, because it hurts sales of the current model)

It took me all that to convert. You need to say what it is INSTANTLY, dont have what makes me want it half way down the page.

If your conversion rate is 2% of the total traffic, and you can raise that by just another 2% up to 4%, you essentially double your income.

In the copy of the App itself, Im reading the details trying to learn whether I want to press that "Buy Button" and instead you are telling me about your OTHER games. Make me convert on the one that I have my finger on the trigger. If I enjoy this one I'll get the others.

Its too much text in the description too, most people wont read that much. Instead have the key bullet points up high. IF I am interested I'll read more.

A developer mind generally shouldnt do marketing, they arent the same. I can tell you are a brilliant developer, but the marketing basics arent in place and its really letting you down.

Kickstarter campaign video takes 35 seconds to even start telling me what its about, most peoples attention spans arent that long.

I feel the text in the Kickstarter video isnt enough, its kind of telling me how to play a game that doesnt exist yet. Plus reading it in the bottom left makes me not watch the screen. TELL me why I should back this, what I am going to get, rather than teaching me how to play a non-existent game.

Tell me about you and your team, can I trust you to finish this? Kickstarter and unfinished games go hand in hand.

Your latest social media post is "The Kickstarter is looking dire". While it shouldnt work like this since its not what Kickstarter is about, but "noone wants to back a loser". I think: "Noone else is backing it, do they know something I dont know?", "This restaurant is empty, maybe there is something wrong with it? I'll goto the next one". Write about your successes and it makes you more attractive.

A few other conversion problems scattered all over the place, "Join the forums!" at the bottom of the page... but no link TO the forums unless I scroll all the way back up to the top.

Again, please take this as a little guidance rather than harsh criticism.

Edit: Wow this blew up. I dont want to take any glory away from OP, but this is actually my line of work. If people want paid advice/consultancy for me to check out your stuff, please send me a PM. My primary industry is IT as I run a site to help techs get more sales/customers/calls at Technibble.com

fairly_bookish2223 karma

I also have a comment-not-a-question, so I'll just piggyback yours:

OP's headline makes it sound like being featured by Google and Apple is what led to his company's bankruptcy.

mouth4war1350 karma

I read it like a despite being featured Idk

IfeelLuckyTonight870 karma

Well yes this is what I meant!

IfeelLuckyTonight912 karma

Thank you for the feedback, appreciate it.

The home pages could be better you are right.

zerodotjander2544 karma

I hope you are taking him seriously and not just replying with a polite thanks because everything he said is dead on.

IfeelLuckyTonight279 karma

I'm on it, if only the home pages would sustain all of this traffic! Too much for our little server.

IfeelLuckyTonight3 karma

Our marketing plan was to create a Kickstarter for another Battlestation game and use cross-promotion between the mobile game and the Kickstarter. Additionally to this we posted on the TouchArcade forums and were very active there. We also contacted journalists and got some coverage in Pocketgamer and in TouchArcade. We also tried to do our best so that our game would be featured in the app stores. We have also tried to use Twitter and Facebook, as well as built up an e-mail list through our web site forums. We have contacted a lot of Youtubers but we haven't had much success with them, mobile games are a really hard sell.

But besides this we do not know what else to do, so we could surely use advise here. We feel like other game companies use paid cross-promotion through ads and video ads, but that is not something we have finances for.

Any tips would be highly appreciated!

rkoy12341119 karma

Have you thought about editing the page on the app store/play store?

The biggest turn-off for me was that I have no idea what the actual gameplay is like even after reading the descriptions and watching the video.

The strengths of this game looks like the mechanics and gameplay, but your video and descriptions do a really poor job of showing them. All I'm seeing is:

  1. a ship moving around shooting things that doesn't really show me how the player actually plays the game
  2. rapid flashes of gui that are really hard to understand at a glance
  3. meaningless descriptors like " Many achievements to unlock" "Discover new technology and..." "Intense and gripping story" "epic sci fi adventure"

I would have never downloaded this game if I haven't heard of it from other people.

What I do think is necessary in your description is:

  1. How critically acclaimed your game was from reputable sources
  2. Clear description/video of how the game is played
  3. Strengths of the game (the replayability with randomly generated scenarios/ constant updates/ various customizations)

this wasn't really a question, so it might get deleted, but that's my highly personal (and non-professional) opinion as a consumer on some of the reasons for your poor sales.

I do love the game though, which is why I'm quiet frustrated that it isn't more popular :/

IfeelLuckyTonight472 karma

Thank you for this! This is something that could change our conversion rate from view to purchase for the better. It's great to hear from a possible customer why he wouldn't buy!

vehementi32 karma

These posts pointing out the large potential for improvement in your marketing / website stuff should make you super fucking excited. It's huge low hanging fruit to multiply the success of your game.

IfeelLuckyTonight24 karma

They do!

FallenWyvern233 karma

Knowing that paid games are a rarity in the mobile space, and particularly ones above the 99 cent price point, how did you guys handle marketing your game?

Also, what about plans to expand to other indie friendly platforms like steam, xbla, wii u and so on?

For the record, I'm the sort of person who only buys games. I hate free games because they are annoying. Your game is one I considered but didn't have money for at the time so I bookmarked it for the future so I don't forget.

IfeelLuckyTonight143 karma

Battlestation: Harbinger was our first paid game. All our previous games have been free and it became apparent to us that one has to reach the top lists and stay there in order to be successful. That is extremely hard, and it also forces a developer to make a game that is as universally appealing as possible. Making sci-fi games we have already lost to the others there.

This is why we decided to try out a paid game. It is the same thing there but I would say it was the right decision. We used our contacts and tried to awaken the medias interest. We got covered by TouchArcade and Pocketgamer, so it was a success. We also got featured by both Apple and Google, which is huge! It is also the reason why the game has sold as much as it has, even if it isn't enough to keep a company up and running.

We are bringing Harbinger to Steam! The engine we use makes it possible so that is a good thing. Console is something we haven't focused on yet.

Harbinger is now at half price compared to what it was before :)

vomundzumstein120 karma

How were you able to pay the 3 persons on salary? Did you get an investor, or was it out of your own pocket?

In the title you are talking about bankruptcy; to whom does the company owe money, except employees?

IfeelLuckyTonight153 karma

We got a pretty hefty loan and grants from Finland. Finland has been really supportive to game development companies, because of Rovio and Supercell. But in order to get the grants we had to take a big loan to cover our own part of the budgets.

We owe money to the person we took the loan from, luckily it is not a bank and we have time to pay it back.

slashquit111 karma

If you've ever watched Kitchen Nightmares you'll know that one of the main reasons restaurants go out of business is because the owners got into the business because they love food and the idea of owning a restaurant but they had no real knowledge of how to run a restaurant.

This seems like a similar story. You love playing games. So hey let's make games. With no real knowledge of how to do so.

Why didn't you develop a game as a learning exercise before starting a business and paying employees?

IfeelLuckyTonight42 karma

In the beginning it was just me and my brother. We lived on savings and a small grant from Finland. It kind of was our exercise. But the thing is we didn't have someone wiser than us telling how things are. That would have helped immensely.

antonbe11 karma

As someone who also learned how to run a business from scratch, the one hard thing to learn is most of the time there is no one to hold your hand and tell you how things should be done. I've found it's one the biggest pain points of starting a business. You fumble around in the dark turning knobs until you hit something that works. I already have 2 failed businesses under my belt and really hoping the third doesn't go in that direction as well.

IfeelLuckyTonight4 karma

Indeed. Hope things turn out well for you!

colmcg62 karma

How are you health-wise? How are you coping?

Is there anything in particular that you would change from the very beginning if you could?

IfeelLuckyTonight86 karma

Right now I'm ok, but I have been in a very rough shape a couple of times during our journey. At one point I had real trouble surviving a trip to the grocery store because of panic attacks. I just pushed myself to the limit, I had to go out of my comfort zone a lot because it was beneficial for the company. This means that if you are scared or stressed about something you still have to do it, otherwise you wouldn't be doing all that you can.

It hasn't been all bad, I have grown a lot as a person and feel I have become much more mature. I am also more confident in myself seeing how much we have gotten done during these years.

It's always easy to look back and say we shouldn't have done that when you have experience. But copying other games and trying to replicate success that way is something I would not do now. I would also strive to be more professional and make more contracts on paper, had a bit of trouble with that.

zer0w0rries56 karma

$2 feels like a lot now days for a game that looks like an update for Asteroids. Freemium games seem to be the best option for developers now. Is there a big difference in developing a freemium game and a game paid for up front? Why did you choose to do the latter?

IfeelLuckyTonight97 karma

Well Battlestation: Harbinger is much more than an update to asteroids :) At least in my mind it is.

There seems to be some kind of misconception that developers are actually making money on freemium games. I can tell you for a fact that most games that have 1 - 5 million free downloads have made something like $1000 - $20 000 revenue. The download number looks huge but the cash just isn't there. Couple this with how hard it is to get over 1 million downloads for a game in the first place it just becomes a daunting task.

Making a freemium game monetize well is a BIG task! Do it wrong and your players will give you 1 star ratings for having the audacity to ask for any money. You have to know a lot of the psychology of your players, and how you can "trick" them to not give you those 1 star ratings even though you are asking for money. It just becomes a real hassle to do in a way that would work. It's almost like you have to put an equal amount of time into this and testing as into developing the actual game.

All of our previous games have been freemium, we got a lot of blackmail from users in First Contact stating they would change their 1 star rating once we open up the game completely free for them. This has severely affected the rating of the game and actually cost us money. It's pretty frustrating to have to deal with this from players that actually enjoyed the game but feel wronged when we ask for money for additional episodes.

This is why we chose to try a paid game and it has been our biggest success yet.

zer0w0rries71 karma

Star rating black mailing? The nerve of some people. Is there any way you as a publisher can retaliate, like reporting those users, getting their ratings removed, etc?

IfeelLuckyTonight51 karma

No way to retaliate, no way to report or anything like that. I agree those users should be punished somehow.

An_Aggressive_Duck18 karma

I've experience in game development, and I think the issue here is your perception of what your game is and is worth, versus what the public perceive it as and what they're willing to pay for it.

I hope you make a success of your company, I really do. We need more free-thinkers and less Activions in the world of video games.

IfeelLuckyTonight15 karma

Well said. The industry has driven itself to this I would say. People are now expecting to get games for free and who can blame them, most mobile games are free these days. They just have clever psychological tactics in them to milk thousands of the so called "whale" customers, these pay the bill for everyone.

aerojoe2348 karma

Why does the app need:

Device ID & call information Allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call

?

Just stopped me from getting it.

IfeelLuckyTonight58 karma

I'm not the coder but I assure you we don't do anythning malicious. From what I can tell it is in case the game is interrupted by a phone call it can react in the right way to that.

highassnegro43 karma

Are you open to new schemes? I have a pretty nice app half developed.

IfeelLuckyTonight41 karma

We most definitely are, feel free to contact me on this.

Brain_Beam30 karma

Honest opinion from a cross platform gamer. The game looks good and the concept looks sound in the video. Build your ships up, stats and weapons, travel and fight.

What I didn't see was any text in the video explaining this. Have you thought about adding some? Text like, hundreds of modifications! Strategic space battles! Etc. As a gamer, and this appears to be a game for gamers (not your hello kitty, crop farmer, build your city audience), I purely rely on gameplay footage. I could care less about anything else. If your game does offer deep strategy, have you tried selling it as such? The video does not do it justice enough.

IfeelLuckyTonight16 karma

Hi! Thanks. Yes you just reminded me of this and we will make a better trailer for our Steam release of the game.

CuteDorky119 karma

Is your name Curt Schilling?

IfeelLuckyTonight7 karma

Nope!

longhairbrah716 karma

Despite this misfortune, are you still glad that you gave an challenging undertaking such as this a shot?

Also do you feel that this experience will help you achieve success in the future?

IfeelLuckyTonight34 karma

Absolutely! I think this is what life is meant to be, to try stuff and fail. It is ok to fail, good even, as long as we learn from them and strive to do better next time. Sure it is hard when it starts to sink in that success was not to be found here. But as one man said: "Much more important than success is the kind of person you become in the process."

I more confident than ever and I have a whole new perspective on business as a a whole, how people work, how it would be best to go about a new business idea and so on. I just feel like I could evaluate any idea so much better now reflecting on my previous experiences, and I would take a much different approach now than before.

PhonicUK15 karma

Did you consider a freemium-content model, whereby a smaller amount of content is available for free to get people 'into' the game, to then charge small amounts (£0.49-£0.99ish) per campaign/mapset/etc?

Fellow developer here. The biggest thing to overcome with a traditional paid game is people aren't prepared to take the (albeit very small) risk that they don't enjoy the game. I know it seems silly for £1.99 but people seem to have an inflated sense of risk for mobile apps.

Letting users 'taste' the game for free and then only buy as many 'scoops' as they want in their own time after the fact gives users a way to feel more in control of the degree of risk they take on and to what extent they get invested in the product time-wise.

Do you think this might be a viable business model for your mobile games moving forward?

IfeelLuckyTonight29 karma

Freemium has been our model up until our newest game Battlestation: Harbinger. You can go freemium but know that you are competing against all the crossy roads out there, games that appeal to the masses. If you don't stay on that list you won't get downloads. Simple as that.

Also if you don't monetize your freemium game just right it will hurt you a lot. Players can be really demanding and even blackmail you trying to get your game for free. Or just a 1 star rating because your game is not truly free, is it?

We have had a serious problem with players giving us 1 star ratings and actually writing that they will give 5 stars once the game is given to them completely for free. This even though they enjoyed the game for a couple of hours already.

Freemium works if you spend a lot of time developing and testing it. You also have to have the right type of game to do that, you have to get a steady stream of downloads.

broknd20 karma

Hello,

Thank you for posting. I have gone through a very similar experience to you guys during 2012-2013 when the indie games wave was just starting.

We did not get as far as you guys did because we were only working off savings that we had from previous jobs that we quit to pursue the dev dream. Our savings ran out before we could ship a finished product and my partner had a health crisis in the family.

I believe our failings were due to our own flaws but I do not regret what we did because the timing was absolutely perfect. Steam greenlight had just come out, kickstarter was just getting big and there weren't yet millions of potentially trash games for customers to have to trawl through to actually see what they wanted.

games that appeal to the masses

I want to ask you a question about this concept because this is something that we struggled with the entire time. Part of the reason why we decided to quit our jobs and get into game development was something we called "dev salt". Essentially, we both hated seeing really shitty projects being successful on places like kickstarter and mobile stores.

We thought to ourselves that if shitty games were getting this much attention and funding, getting a "real" game noticed would be relatively easy. How naive we were.

Eventually, we became aware of how niche our ideas actually were and began to constantly debate this every time we wanted to add new features, obscure mechanics or even certain types of humor. Eventually, we even began to go too far in the opposite direction by putting things in to specifically "appeal to the masses". Soon, we realized that going in this direction would lead to us becoming the "shit" projects that we used to despise.

One side of the extreme is that what you're making is purely masturbatory; something that you really like a lot that few others can appreciate. On the extreme other side, constantly trying to appease the least common denominator strips us of identity and making sure no one hated our game was also causing it to have no one that loved it.

My question is: How did you guys manage the balance between trying to make money and therefore wanting to appeal to the largest demographic vs staying true to what you actually wanted to make?

Personally, I came to the conclusion that having creativity restricted by business is actually worse than having no creativity at all.

IfeelLuckyTonight8 karma

The first game we made was something we really did want to make. The second game was something we thought would sell better, same as all the other games out there.

Then we said to heck with this and went back to making our own games, but we do compromise and try to find ways how our ideas would work a little bit more with the masses. It's restricting but it is also a challenge. Right now I don't know if this will work but we will try!

faulparker14 karma

Hi

Sorry to hear you are in difficulties.

Roughly what are your income and outgoings per annum? I ask because the Kickstarter target is only $25K. Does $25K do anything meaningful to rescue your business? Have you sold any equity to raise money without owing a loan?

IfeelLuckyTonight27 karma

Outgoings around 100k€. Income might be something like 30k€ this year.

We have an investor that will invest if we get $25k from Kickstarter, essentially that would double the budget. We could make the game with that. That is how it has been for a longer time; Asking ourselves how much time do we have and what kind of game can we make in that time?

We haven't sold any equity. We have tried to find investors but it's very hard to seal a deal. Most investors go with experienced developers, which is understandable because the investors often do not understand the game industry and then rely on the experience of industry veterans.

Malhiem10 karma

Well, this game seems to be in my wheelhouse. Love Sci-Fi space games.

How many copies would you need to sell in order to break even?

Hope your AMA gives your sales a boost. You got a sale out of me, best of luck!

IfeelLuckyTonight6 karma

Well at this price 25 000 copies. We are at something like 8000 now. Thank you so much!

BuzzBomber876 karma

Hello, I'm a gamer interested in getting into game production, do you have any advice on how to start? I have no programming ability to speak of so I was wondering, since you started in the same boat, what advice would you give to someone who wants to start a gaming company? Thank you for your time, have a wonderful day, I hope your game takes off.

IfeelLuckyTonight8 karma

Get into a team and get some experience first. You will learn a lot from more experienced game developers, it will save you a lot of trouble. Find someone with experience and suck him dry out of information!

You also need to figure out what part you want to play and learn that part well. I see three major parts in game development: Programmer, Graphic artist and a Business Developer/Marketing guy. It's good to learn a little bit of every department.

I would really suggest you try to find a good team and your part to play in it.

KezzBee5 karma

I would love to know, how much of your outgoings are to cover customer support?

I used to sell electronic products in the web design space, and a big part of the reason I quit was support made me miserable. I tallied up that only three percent of my support requests were actually legit, and the time spent on support requests that were nothing to do with me or my products was hugely taxing.

Since getting out of that daily, fruitless grind it scared me off pursuing my dream of selling games. I couldn't deal with all that again.

So I'm wondering how much of a time sink dealing with customer requests / complaints has been, and how much of a factor it's been in your overheads? Do you think my concern on that front is well placed from your experience? Or is it a different deal with games customers?

IfeelLuckyTonight10 karma

I take care of customer support myself. I have our support e-mail come straight to my phone and I will answer most questions within minutes. Is this smart? Maybe not but boy are our customers surprised when they get an answer right away. I try to separate work and free time but it's not always easy.

It is taxing, players bombard us with feature requests to the game and expect us to deliver within weeks. We have to make them come to senses regarding this, most often they do not understand how long it takes to develop a game. They are completely oblivious.

When we launched the game it was seriously taxing, because the negative reviews tend to affect you whether you want it or not. When you know it affects your sales and what how other customers might see your game because there is a bug and a bunch of 1 star ratings drop in it can be quite overwhelming.

I would say it is best to have another person do this, someone hired and not the developer directly. They won't take things personally.

If you succeed well enough you will definitely be able to outsource customer support. So I would keep that in mind :)

KezzBee10 karma

Hmm, sounds like a very familiar story. I'm guessing your days go something like this:

Check emails

  • oh nice, some positive feedback!

  • oh, a bug report. Check into it. No sir / ma'am, that's not the product at fault, it's your <fill in the blank>

  • great, a fraudulent chargeback from someone trying to get things for free, sigh....

  • aaaand this person is angry because the product hasn't done their dishes and cooked them dinner on top of what it's meant to do

...tell yourself you won't put yourself through it all again till the afternoon, compulsively check every five minutes anyway.

Repeat cycle.

IfeelLuckyTonight9 karma

Yeah, that's about it :)

stevem21m4 karma

How much do you spend on advertising? Also, what channels do you use (iAds, etc)?

IfeelLuckyTonight6 karma

None. It would cost us more to get one user to install the game than the revenue we would receive from said user.

suaveitguy4 karma

What's the mood of everyone there at the company? How do you keep others, especially unpaid ones, motivated?

IfeelLuckyTonight10 karma

It's a bit down, we've been disappointed so many times that we always try to bounce back and keep on working. I can tell right now that motivation is hard to find for everyone, working for 4 years without a real victory is very tolling. It's like you just want to throw the towel in and say: That's it! What I do personally is think of myself as 60 years old and what I could do right now that would make me proud then.

We use a lot of humor and try to laugh at the circumstances, it helps. We also provide a relaxed and fun environment to work in for the unpaid ones. They are interns that have to do this in order to get their papers from school.

Busman843 karma

I am aspiring to do the same thing... what platform did you develop with? Do you have one that you recommend? (I have used unity personally and am trying to learn Swift right now)

IfeelLuckyTonight5 karma

LibGDX and RoboVM. Unity. I recommend these. :)

aerojoe232 karma

I just looked on google play and it only 2 dollars. Reading the comments here I think I saw that that is half of what it was before. What was the original market price and if it was less than $5 why are you valuing your work/product so low?

It sounds like you really care about your game, I've watch the video and read some reviews, at 2 bucks I'm going to try it.

At $5 I'd need to read more reviews before I'd try it. Around $20 and I'd really want a recommendation from a friend but videos of game play would probably be enough if the game is good.

Have you tried charging more?

IfeelLuckyTonight6 karma

The launch price was $3.99 at first. We got into top 5 paid strategy games in 88 countries on Google Play. This means we had a good steady daily sales every day. Then it started dropping, dropping hard.

We had to do something so we tried a sale 50% off. It stopped the drop and the game is now holding at around place 16 in the top paid strategy games category.

If our game falls out of that list that is it, the game is dead. If we up the price less people will buy it and since a lot of the ranking seems to be on volume it would not be a viable choice.

We would absolutely want to charge at least the $3.99 for the game!

1smashthrowaway2 karma

No direct questions, just some stuff you might look into:

Any plans to balance the game?

Complaints that your rewarding losses over wins (by play time/xp), tech tree is not worth investing in (cheap weapons/ best ship).

You're telling people to turn sound off if it freezes, why not get a list of phones sound freezes on and just make that a loading variable? (detects S5, soundOn=false;) It's just weird that 1/3 of your reviews mention that sound is bricking the game.

3 missions on a pay game is not much. Lots of reviews complaining that the game is a one time thing, complete it fast and delete it.

Also, maybe don't copy and paste a reply to every single review.

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

Yes we are working on a content update. And ses the experience system is something we will fix as well. We run out of time since we run out of money, we had to publish the game a bit unfinished unfortunately.

Did you know that Samsung S4 has different components inside of them depending on where they are sold? One Samsung S4 does not necessarily equal another Samsung S4. Our game has some problems on some of these devices that are sold in the US or Germany. We live in Finland, tested our game on these devices but since the components are different we would have to order a device from USA and hope it is one that has the issue. 10 000 Android devices to cover, not an easy task.

The game is randomized just like Faster Than Light, every playthrough is unique. some players don't understand this. It is on us though we should somehow make it more clear. Also the average rating for the game is 4.6/5. 90% of players still have the game installed.

We have only copy pasted an announcement to the positive reviews that more content is coming, or the users with the exact same problem.

Georges1002 karma

How did you manage to get covered by TouchArcade and Pocketgamer, and also managed to get featured on the app stores?

IfeelLuckyTonight9 karma

We posted on TouchArcades upcoming games forum and it was clear from the comments there was an interest for the game. We then used this as proof to journalists that it would be worthwhile to cover the game. We have come to know publishers and people who can help get the game noticed by Apple and Google, you can find these people in industry events. It's a lot about networking in that sense.

PoliticoG3052 karma

Question: why the fuck should I fund your game development hobby?

IfeelLuckyTonight3 karma

You can fund it if you enjoy playing our games. But I wouldn't call this a hobby, we've worked hard and looked at this as a business.

Half_Past_Five1 karma

I have some experience coding in swift, but not a lot. Where would you recommend someone start that wants to learn the gaming side of iOS programming?

IfeelLuckyTonight6 karma

We use LibGDX game engine and robovm to make our game to iOS. With this combination you can code in Java and it works fantastically well! Highly recommend this.

Also Unity works well for multi-platform development.

iamvegu1 karma

Hey man, sorry to hear that you're having such a rough time. Since you said your game is targeting a niche market do you think you could have gotten away with a higher pricing tier?

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

No. The top lists are what gives a steady daily income and to get there you need volume. Higher price means less volume and a lower ranking in the app stores.

gredgex1 karma

What did you do before? Why didn't you outsource your development considering you didn't know anything about it before?

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

I had just finished my Master's in Computer Science, my brother had been working for a year and his contract ended at the same time I graduated.

He asked me if I want to make games, I thought about it and decided let's do it!

My brother is one helluva programmer, he learned quickly and has now programmed all of our 4 games alone. We wanted to make the games ourselves, not hire someone else to do them.

Sormaj1 karma

What games inspired you to become a dev? What are some of your all time favorite games?

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

Games from our childhood has been inspirations. North versus south on Nintendo, Super Mario, Fallout series (Especially 1 and 2), Warcraft 2, Master of Orion and UFO: Enemy Unknown. Action Quake 2 and Counterstrike. From never ones League of Legends.

Hermiesterberger1 karma

Has your dev team started looking for work elsewhere yet?

IfeelLuckyTonight3 karma

Not yet, once it is over it is over. We still have the possibility to publish Battlestation: Harbinger on Steam. The game has been greenlit and we are going to improve on it, change the user interface to fit PC better and see how it goes. Since Steam has taken huge steps to let every game in and become just like the app stores regarding visibility it is hard to hope for much. But we haven't given up yet and will do our best to make Harbinger great for PC!

BitteWenden1 karma

Would you do the step of creating such a company again?

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

Oh wow, this is a tough question. There is something special about creating something of your own and sending it out to the world. Working together with a team and sharing that vision, sharing that journey of frustration and times of joy.

I'm glad I did this, it has taught me a lot. But I wouldn't go through this again unless there would be a lot of financial backing behind us. The pressure is immense and it can only be relieved with a big enough budget that allows for enough time to create games.

Groggolog-1 karma

Jesus how does one fuck up that bad?

IfeelLuckyTonight6 karma

There is a Finnish saying that goes: "Tekevälle sattuu". It roughly means: "He who does has shit happen to him".

varial2 karma

You shouldn't take Groggolog's comment too serious, making a succesfull game nowadays is a lot harder than people can imagine. Hell, even finishing a game is a lot harder than people think. Finishing a game and getting that kind of coverage/stuff is already a an achievement to be proud of (especially when you finish two games).

And I guess managing a company like that must also be really hard for 4 years (managing itself is usually underestimated).

You mentioned that you started this company because you didn't know what to do, so after all this time, do you know what you would like to do (if you cannot continue to do this)?

PS: Most people don't know how much pain and heartbreak is involved with making videogames, how it can wreck you emotionally and make you feel like a complete failure, even though you've done something great. I've been there/more or less still are there :)

IfeelLuckyTonight1 karma

Hey there! Thank you so much. Your words lift my mood.

You know what I would like to do something meaningful, I would like to succeed with something and then give something back to the world. I've had a hard time to be really passionate about something for a longer time but having my own company has ignited that spark inside of me again. Right now it is tough though.

If I cannot do this I will try to find something new that ignites a spark in me, I might have to try a lot of different things but I will feel it when I find it.

Bumrak3 karma

Being featured doesn't guarantee success. A large percentage of games featured don't go on to be super profitable.

IfeelLuckyTonight2 karma

Exactly this. Many game developers think that being featured is the key to sure success, I know we did.

Bumrak1 karma

I feel for you and hope you guys find success. I work for a small indie mobile game company and our last featured game bombed. Working on a test release at the moment and it's nerve wracking knowing if things aren't just right, most of us are being laid off.

IfeelLuckyTonight1 karma

Stay strong brother! Hope it goes well.