Lately, luck has been a hot topic among game developers. Many would argue that good luck constitutes the game reaching the right streamers, or a sudden burst of word of mouth. Some would even argue that a good game is merely a lottery ticket towards success.
And to be fair… it do be like that sometimes.
But in many cases I see the word luck being thrown out is usually as a deflection. When the game succeeds it is because of my hard work, pashun and desiyah. When it doesn’t it’s because I am unlucky. If you think like this, it says a lot about you and it’s not a good outlook.
Perhaps there are things you could do better at, like marketing, etc. Even pricing! There is a reason that Mixue is such a hit in Indonesia.
I have been consistent in my beliefs that luck plays its role in one’s success (not just games). Where most examples believe that it’s important in the shipping part where you sell the game, I believe luck comes much much earlier in the development process…
Mixue is cheap, but before everything else, it is good. The same applies to “cheap games” such as Vampire Survivors. We can talk all day long about luck, but the first thing I’d look in a game is its quality, and whether what I see briefly can interest me enough.
So if your game is not doing well, perhaps there are things that you didn’t do… well enough. It could be marketing, presentation, pricing, and even the right timing. The last part, to be fair, has dependence on luck.
In lieu of timing, take for example the changes that have occurred due to the pandemic. A lot of people began raising cats and dogs as they are locked up in their homes. Games that feature such pets are in luck! If you want to cash in on the trend, make sure you do your research and that the dev cycle isn’t too long so that the hype hasn’t gone away when you release the game.
But the most sobering factor remains… on whether the game itself is good, and whether it looks good!
It doesn’t mean hyper-realistic graphics, or artworks that are drawn by top-notch artists. VS debunked that theory. A good game, and a good look on it depends on a lot of things coming together. I suppose the consistency is the most important factor in this. Like luck itself, we could talk all day long about this, but it is something that is decided by the beholder.
Before you think of the streamers, content creators, etc… which is what many considers to be the “luck” part of game development, you need the good game first. To make that, you need as many of these people as possible. You don’t have these and I’m afraid it may even be owari da before you even think about selling the game.
Three things that have to be right at the same time! This, I would say is the most important luck factor in game development.
To my luck, yes we have found such people – composers and artists alike – even others beside them. It even includes you, the one reading this blog. I owe it to them to release this game as my form of respect to their hard work and willingness to help.
Rome isn’t built in a day… and it’s certainly not built by one person alone.
On another note, I do hear stories about how some people are screwed by their teammates and thus, the game cannot be finished or otherwise, not in its ideal condition. In the group projects during college, we may sometimes experience this. There was a period during my studies when I was… out of sorts, to stay the least, so I experienced both positions – the leech and the leeched. I lost a good friend because I enjoy the present too much and had I continued, it’s likely I lose my future as well.
Well, that’s the end of the sobering story time, for now. Maybe another time.
Ultimately, we are not immune to this. Although a painful thought to think, and let alone express, the possibility exists that SparkLine can be a flop. If it is simply not good enough, then we have to look at it honestly and take valuable lessons going into our next game. I do not plans to quit game development no matter what happens, for better or worse.
On the other hand, if we are good and the right effort is put into reaching out to people, then I think we have a chance.
As it stands, we can prepare content for up to 6 months after launch. But beyond that, we will have to finance development independently. Considering the scale of SparkLine and the effort we need to maintain its support, other games we make shouldn’t take longer than 3-6 months to finish. The budget too, won’t be high. Like less than 3000 USD for everything, including localization, artwork, music, etc.
However, let’s consider those other games at another time. We have one game to finish right in front of our eyes, in this moment for sure.
As the release for our game draws ever closer, I would like to update you on what to expect for the next beta test. It is scheduled to start by the end of this April, which is after Eid/Idul Fitri. Based on the experience from the last beta test, it is best to conduct the next one after major holidays.
Here are the additions you can expect:
If we have time, we will put a good chunk of the game data in our servers so that the APK size isn’t so big. Beyond that, we will include 1 more song to the beta test. It’s a last minute addition, but really fits the story we could show so far, haha.
Speaking of the updated Key Visual, we can reveal it to you… right now!
If you looked at the closed beta test feedback form, there was a poll on whether the splash screen is attractive enough for you to keep playing through. As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, the earliest things you see will most likely decide whether this game is worth it for you. After that, the tolerance is much bigger.
The previous Key Visual also doubles as the first mini album art. In retrospect, it is perhaps not ideal that it serves a dual purpose, as it is a landscape-oriented artwork in a portrait-oriented game.
Additionally, we have a new logo and we will use this one going forward.