How to fund a game with a sandbox version on itch.io
A wise man once said "The best ideas are the one that you have while you stand in the shower"... I think its was Gandhi? So does this story start in a shower.
You might remember this 300vs 300 moshpit thing I've posted back in April? Yeah, fun times! And this somehow boosted me and my little game. I received a lot of mails from people asking me if they can get a alpha of the game but I always had to say "no" since the game was not in a presentable or fun stage. And i also needed some money for plugins and software. One day - in my shower - i had this idea... "why not let people create their own moshpit?" So I created quickly this prototype where you could select the amount of people stumbling into each other and the ability to throw them around.
But i thought, okay, first time its fun but a second time it starts to be boring as hell. so i added traps, like this spinner:
Now that was what i call fun! From there on things where kinda getting out of control. My plan was to put this little Demo out within 2 weeks and now its 3 Months. I added more and more traps, which you could place like in a level editor, changed from a untextured environment to a whole city and after some weeks it looked like this:
It got received pretty okay by the community. Some said they have the feeling I will never finish the game, some said "this is not a Football Game anymore", the others said "its disgusting and just there to satisfy your inner pervert dreams of ragdolls" and a few liked it. So I added more stuff! for example a car soccer arena like in this other game... I somehow forgot the name...
after adding a lot of more stuff like jetpacks, zero gravity mode, local multiplayer and a really really basic soccer mode it was time to set a release date and thinking about a price. So I started a little poll on twitter about how much would people think this game would be worth. And the average number was 5$ which was really surprising for me since i would have thought it would be worth 99cents - I also had a time where i thought I should put it up for free/pay what you want. But gladly i didn't, thanks to some advises people gave me.
Close to release you also need a real trailer and since i post a lot about this games progress, i had enough footage to cover that:
Motorhead is awesome, right? Anyways, the Story is currently taking place around mid August, Footbrawl Playground will be out in some Days, I already sent out a Alpha Versions to some youtubers, Playground Letsplay Videos where popping up on youtube and everything is running according the plan - okay, except that a torrent of this alpha version popped up - It worked so well that i thought I've put the Game already up on the 12th of August on itch.io without telling anyone and it already had 5 downloads at this point(which was a huge thing for me, I know it sounds stupid... 5 downloads.. pff...).
The official release was the 15th of August on https://footbrawl.itch.io/playground. I used the usual channels like facebook, reddit, indiedb and twitter where it got retweeted several times by some really cool dudes and dudeddettes which lead to a view count of 1.000+ at day one, but only 35 sold copies in total.
So what was wrong? was it too expensive? Where my expectations to high? is 35 of 1000 a good or bad number? I couldn't find an answer to that question. Some people told me that they can not buy it cause itch.io only offers Paypal and Stripe payment so I did what I actually didn't want to do, I've putted it up a Steam Greenlight campaign and waited....
How Youtube can change everything
On the 24th of August something weird happened, I woke up in the morning checked my mails and a "you have sold 48 copys of Footbrawl Playground" popped up. I thought "well, cool. maybe everyone finally setup a stripe or paypal account" after that i got a mail with "you sold 179 copies" followed by a "you sold 94" and "you sold 80 copies" mail. And then i knew that something was going on. A quick look in the itch.io analytics told me what was going on:
I Introduce to you: Dan the Diamond Minecart. Until today the Video with the 2.0mio views is responsible for more then half of my itch.io Traffic - The Page has over 35.000 views and I sold a decent amount of copies til' today.
Also at the same time the Steam Version got Greenlit. after 18 days with constant 50/50 yes/no votes and 800 votes in total. Not the best result to be honest.
In the meantime I added some more requested stuff to the game Like a first person mode, gamepad support and other goofy stuff like a giant hand. because.. why not?
I still believe that funding a Game with a minigame is a good idea. I reached my funding goal of 2.000$ at thats the most important thing.
But even for this case, a game still needs some decent Gameplay. I learned: nobody will be happy with a tech demo. Also Steam is the wrong market for this kind of experimental Game. itch.io is the perfect place for Prototypes and experimental preview versions. The Setup is also way more easy to handle and as a bonus, People can decide to pay even more for the Game if they think its worth it. In my case it wasn't that much, but still a few people decided to spent more then 5$ on the Game. Plus the Steam fees are way to high!
So if anybody wants to buy the Game... get it on itch.io https://footbrawl.itch.io/playground
... and please pewdiepie, stop sending me mails... buy the game!
One more thing!
One more thing i wanted to add is: to celebrate the success of Footbrawl Playground, I also released this little game called PrisonBrawl on itch.io for free!
follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/Der_Kevin to not miss whats next!