Thursday, August 25, 2016

[IndieDev] The Aftermath of Launching Our Game

Okay, so it's been like 2 months since I've done a blog post, and it's not for the lack of wanting so much as the lack of time. But let's talk about the launch of Eon Altar, and where we're at today.

Launch and Beyond

Launch itself went relatively smoothly, if a little disappointingly quietly.

Only one major game breaking bug at launch that I had to hunt down, which actually only repro'd on specific devices on Android 4.4. It was bizarre to say the least, and I ended up buying two phones via Craigslist, and our Studio Manager drove down from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA to get a device that could repro the issue into my hands. It would've cost $300 to ship, apparently, so he and his fiancé made a day trip out of it. But I managed to use that to get a fix within 2 days of the bug being reported, so our customers really appreciated the responsiveness especially since the fix got pushed out on a Sunday evening. Instead of going to Seattle Pride I got to stay in and debug. Fun times, that. But such is the life of a developer.

We were in the Top Sellers for Newly Released Games on Steam for over a week, though, and even made #1 in the Popular New Releases for a brief period of time, which was pretty cool. Sadly we haven't been able to keep that many eyeballs on the game since, which is a little worrying. However, hopefully with PAX West upcoming we'll be able to remedy that a bit!

Taken August 23rd, 2016
The game itself has been absolutely gangbusters as far as Steam reviews go. We're at 92% lifetime, and 95% recent. At one point we were at 100% recent, but someone left a negative review because our game won't work on a publicly-run network that blocks UDP and P2P network traffic, which I mean, yeah, that sucks and is true, but feels bad that there's pretty close to nothing I can do about it. That said, given at launch we started at 88% lifetime from Early Access, our review score going up is frankly massive success as far as I'm concerned.

Post-Launch Development and Marketing

We've managed to put out an update at least once a month since a few months before launch, and even the past couple months as well post-launch, which is great for players. Content fixes and bug squashing continue apace!

But even more, we've been extremely hard at work on Episode 2: Whispers in the Catacombs. Our teaser trailer for that launched just a few hours ago, which you can see above. We're hard at work on a new Combat Arena of sorts for Episode 2, which is less an arena and more just a standalone scenario that takes shades of the Arkham Horror board game mechanically. We've done plenty of streaming every Thursday at 1 PM PST showing off us in active development, including design work, programming, and testing. And of course, can't forget the next part of the campaign, either!

Add to that what we call "dev confessionals", which is basically a micro-vlog of sorts where we talk about what we did that week and what we're excited about. These have proven moderately popular, though we missed last week's because PAX madness upcoming.

PAX West 2016

Speaking of PAX, once again we'll have a booth, and it's going to be our biggest booth yet. This is it, we've launched, we're well on our way to delivering our first piece of DLC, so we'll have lots to show (including a working Combat Arena from Episode 2!), and lots of folks at the booth to show off the game and answer questions (and give out sweet buttons). If you're going to PAX West this year, check us out on the 6th floor of the Expo Hall, booth 6909.

I'll be doing a panel at PAX Dev as well: "Mobile Enhanced: Designing for Multiple Simultaneous Screens". The talk is basically what it says on the tin, but I'm super excited. Our Lead Designer/Art guy also made me a cool social media poster, so come check that out if you're interested. I'm hoping to have it recorded, but logistics have eluded me so far.

We'll also have some folks on another panel during the convention proper, "AAA to Indie; The Struggle is Real" which will be pretty awesome. Sadly I'll be at the booth so I won't get to watch it, but it should be great, so check that out too!

Full Steam Ahead

Last year PAX West was absolutely exhausting, and frankly, I expect this one will be as well. We're going to miss the boat on an August update to the live game because PAX and marketing is pretty much all-encompassing as far as developer time goes right now. The perils of a tiny team, unfortunately.

Immediately after we're back to the grindstone to get Episode 2 done and dusted and out the door, so no rest for the wicked. I'll fully admit I'm going to need a vacation, and probably soon. My blogging will likely also continue to take a backseat until I have a few more hours in the day to myself. We're definitely crunching, and crunching hard, but there's little we can do about that. We don't have infinite money to take the extra time we'd like.

But at the same time, I'm extremely excited that we're doing as well as we are, and I can only hope that we get the eyeballs we need so we can continue doing this post Season 1, because I think we have something pretty amazing here, and based on our reviews, the folks who've played it think so too. #IndieDev, #EonAltar