One Game A Month No. 1 Post Mortem and The Market

My January submission, Dig Diggity, is available to play online here and also available for free on android here

In this post, I will be providing my viewpoint on creating my first #1GAM game for 2017, as well as some backend processes I employed to release the game for android!

First, harkening back to my New Years resolutions, it is much easier to follow the three great tips from the Mcfunkypants post when you are busy all month! I will again state that a one month timeframe is likely the ideal duration for a game jam for the following reasons

  • You are provided with enough time to brainstorm (average 3 -5 days) before jumping onto an idea you may not enjoy later on
  • Ample time to determine if a feature (or three) is viable + worth it for the duration. One example of this was the save feature in my game. It only made sense to add it in given the surplus of time I had
  • There is the chance for small marketing attempts on the game, which I will get into soon
  • A greater feeling of success! when you've completed a longer project that is a little better than a trivial weekend jam
The game I created, Dig Diggity, is a puzzle platformer (maybe also strategy?) game where your main objective is to dig vertically down each level. But it is not a straight shot down; you need to dodge obstacles (some which can kill), moving enemies, and consider what the next long drop may do to you. Each move is calculated in much the same way the original LoZ controls were - each move is a discrete step, which triggers the movement of enemies. Fans of roguelikes can understand what this would look like immediately. 

To be honest, I found a similar game on the app store about digging that did not have that level of strategy behind it. I found myself crafting a story around why the protagonist digs (easy since the theme is Friends) and built on my ideas of what makes a game "good" - shallow learning curve, slowly ramping difficulty, and requires some thought. Hopefully the Feb submission will be more of a realtime gameplay experience similar to Saison 

In short, it was incredibly easy to take into account Mcfunkypants' mantras, and I highly recommend them!

With the additional time I had (core gameplay was completed halfway through Jan) I decided to take the game to android as the primary platform. On my side this was a trivial task - having moved from Java/Libgdx to Unity, I had the ability to port to many devices almost immediately. The difficulty, it seems, is marketing!!

Ugh. I did not go to school for Marketing... But it seems almost inevitable. After all, no one person is creatively creating things to share with no one.  I want people to experience my games. What do I do?

Reading through the following article on marketing indie games, I see many things I naturally started doing already, albeit not optimally. The main points made in this article are...
  • Gain traction through publicizing your personal website
  • Take part in the (hateful) social media foray and post game update status often
  • Reach out to random strangers with connections to promote your game
  • Try to have your game added to gaming markets e.g. Steam,
While I agree with the above steps, I have not yet sold my soul enough to do them optimally. While I do have a site its heavily under construction, and my Twitter does not show constant dev progress.

Now that I have the essentials of #1GAM down, my next goal is to make strides marketing my work. Wish me luck!

If you feel so inclined, please check out my Jan submission Dig Diggity. It's available to play online here and also available for free on android here!

-stencil chris

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