We'd had enough, just 100% fed up of buying sequels to games I loved to find I nearly always needed to buy something extra, then something on top of that again, How about some extra cars to go with that "Superior Platinum Deluxe Edition" game you just bought for $100? no fucking thank you, Imagine buying a game only for a couple month later to be told you now also need a subscription. Is this really the industry we want?
Rage over it was time to get to work on a solution and time to dust off those old programming skills we'd picked up as a youth. It was originally just going to be a simple top down game, a->b selling your wares with a little risk and some random event's based off a clicker called "dopewars" I played as a kid, progress was going fast and feature creep has most certainly set in with a lot more added to list for the final game.
So we'd got the basic systems in place and didn't really fancy going the Kickstarter route I know the place has created some amazing projects but from my research it turns out the most successful projects donate to themselves via the PR teams, and well We didn't have cash and I was never a fan of selling a dream so I went with a shell instead of nothing, plus I'd hope it would help with early day testing but hey at least each one of the 40 or so purchasers got something. It did not go well, I knew it was a harsh world but wow I expected a little leeway on a solo early access title. The reviews weren't good but I was chuffed one guy made a video linked to his review comparing my effort to GTA5. It's no where near I am not under that delusion, but hey it could have been worse.
"I'm willing to pay for the new Steam DLC. It's called QUALITY CONTROL. "
"Something stuck together on a knee in a drunken stupor. It's hard to call this a game. "
"Maybe it's a GOTY game, but i couldn't even made it run properly, cause it's full of bugs, for that price better pick anything else"
and even a few copy/paste's
"Maybe it's a GOTY game, but i couldn't even made it run properly, cause it's full of bugsfor that price better pick anything else"
I mean it was far from great, very little for the player to do other than explore a few sparse locations but the world was slowly coming into form, the graveyards where filling up nicely and even though we couldn't license any popular talent we got some pretty good tracks in the release. All for under £1,000 cash investment(yeah you should see my bank balance). After a year of updates, many for underlying systems, bringing stock markets to the game, property management with world event pricing and so many more hidden little features under the hood with plenty more to come, after one year we still hadn't made enough for a single Steam payout.
What did we learn, first off I was far to naive and forgot what the internet really is, a beautiful resource for knowledge and communication surrounded by a cesspit of scammers and fraudsters. I was excited this was my first game and I thought it had come a long way in the 10-12month development it had before launch, and well they all sounded so excited as well. In the week up to launch the terribly short promotion period I had picked, it was a case of no funds and hope for the best and turns out the worst thing I did in that week was hand out keys to "streamers" without really doing many checks into who they were, all on the back of a email and a few pretty pictures.
Our keys were up for sale before we had even got to the end of the week, top it off we'd fell for running a giveaway on a small "indie" site as well. Very few of the keys got claimed on the day of the competition so we only presume that was a con as well. We did get a lot of web traffic that day for there site but not one of the 250,000 even bothered to watch the trailer or go to another page so its safe to presume it was bot traffic in my mind. We even got a offer to "share some sausage, talk secret secret mi5, you give us keys to sell we give you good reviews".
Marketing and PR are certainly the most important thing when launching a game, I maybe shouldn't of used firstname.lastname@example.org for my correspondences in that area.
We had big plans and obviously our shell needed a lot more work, we had hoped to achieve a few thousand pounds in sales to help fund some servers and get the art work / ui upto scratch and hopefully pay a couple of the locals to do some voice acting for the story line but we had seriously cocked it all up and the funds were far from rolling then the world got to experience Covid and the fight to get our freedoms back, it became a nightmare so we decided to stay quiet and keep on adding new systems to the world while we try and figure out how on earth to keep Tegridy Ltd up and floating and food in my tummy while I continue the develop my games.
It was really more an enjoyment so it wasn't a great deal, and still a great way to pass some time and with a little luck and a lot of work change those reviews.
So the time had come, we needed to do something drastic, we were developing on a FX-8350 and the poor CPU needed a break it had been ran hard for sometime plus 19" monitors made blender a horrendous experience and we really wanted to get some more audio in place. Leaky roof on the back porch was also a bit concerning considering it housed my one and only beast.
It was time to call upon the power of the student. Yup it was an expensive option but considering our credit it was the only one we had. I still can't believe they let me in :P
Turns out Covid has been a great excuse for pricing to go insane as well, the budget I had worked out for upgrading the studio, aka my home and my computer/s was now nearly doubly what I had expected. This was bad, time for the students other great power, the make do.
The walls still needed to come down so next priority item was the cheapest carpet we could find and I reused some of the old flooring for the first work area to make spinning in my chair a little more fun, and to create a reasonably sized work area that could one day accommodate a few people comfortably. We a load of boxes left over for the electrics so that wasn't a worry but we wouldn't be able to run any new sockets yet, we were lucky to get the light switches in without buying some cable.
The budget was not at all looking good and we still needed to get a ton usb and dp cables for the new computer eating up more of our already tiny budget. But I needed a reasonably quiet area for recording so it was a must so the lumber we had planned to get for the desk was put on hold and we got some old shelfs out the workshop to use as legs with our old worktop. Wasn't perfect but gave us plenty space for now even if it wasn't 4 workstations we'd hoped to see, but hopefully time is kind.
"Room complete pics"
It wasn't looking to bad and we'd got just enough paint to cover the room which was good as the penny pot was now empty, the only real cost for the transformation was the carpet and paint well that plus the favour I owe to the man who helped me get the carpet upstairs.
Our projects where compiling nice and fast again and it was no longer a 30minute wait for things to load up. Yes the desk was a little high and didn't look great but hey if we could keep up this student life we'd have it replaced in no time and keep a little extra food in the belly during the process.
Back to work, until the next chapter.