Saturday, November 8, 2008

Want a MMORPG on your website? Here it is!

I am now providing code and buttons to allow anyone to put Golemizer on their gaming portal, blogs or any other websites.

The key here is to spread the word about Golemizer without caring about money at this point (I'm referring about the ads on the front page of the website). Advertisement costing quite a lot and not always efficient (and prohibited anyway since I have ads on the website), this is for now the best option available to me until THE possible major review/interview that might help to push this project higher.

Golemizer being an AJAX game requiring quite some space in the browser, it's quite hard to be accepted by gaming portals (that are mostly looking for Flash games anyway, Runescape being a recent exception I've seen on Kongregate and other portals).

So you can learn about it here:

So, what do you think? Good move, bad move? Any other suggestions to approach gaming portals?


Jedaz said...

I think this is a good idea, however I think you may be too concerned with the number of players. I realize that having x many players on consistantly is something which everyone wants to achive, but what you really should be focusing on is the following:
1) What draws people to this game?
2) What gets people hooked on this game?
3) What makes people leave this game?

The question is, out of your 7000+ accounts, how many log in regularly? You have got enough people interested, but you have to ask, what is there to maintain this interest? Or, what makes people not come back that second time?

Personally I have been put off playing Golomizer because it doesn't seem to respond to what I want to do. I click somewhere and I take a while to move, it isn't perticularly something which most people would want. Unfortunatly I don't think this is something easily solved.

You should deal with any issues with the game before trying to get publicity, if there is something that people don't like and they see it then they won't give the game a second chance, even if this issue is fixed later.

Over00 said...

Hey, great to hear a bit from you again! I understand your point but I don't quite totally see the situation the same way.

Yes, there are some identified points that makes people leave the game like clunkiness of movement like you said (that is not easy point to improve considering the technology I'm using but that can surely be improved as I learn new techniques). There is however many other points that don't appeal to the mainstream crowd if I might say so.

Most comments I receives (from random visitors) are in the line of "need beter graphics", "should add weapons", "would be better in 3d (!!!)", "should have a downloadable version". Obviously, these are points I don't plan to take care of since they miss the point of the game. It seems that the main aspect most people don't like is the nature of the game itself. They don't want to build golems, they want to pick a weapon and battle monsters. Once in a while I receive some comments related to the game itself like "since you can't build enough content for everyone, why not let players build their own" which I recently addressed.

When I decided to go for a niched game, I knew it wouldn't appeal to a lot of people. However, being niched doesn't mean it can't be successful. The problem is to get visibility to get the players that are interested in that type of game. Even if the game is "perfect" (I am not saying it is), if people don't know about it, they won't play it. If I consider the majority of comments received, if 4000 of these 7000 visitors were expecting a traditional RPG, then Golemizer won't appeal to them. So I need careful when judging why these players are not around anymore. Was is really because the game is so bugged or boring or because they're just no interested to play that kind of game. Just because they created an account doesn't mean that I can consider them part of my target crowd.

"Dealing with any issues with the game before trying to get publicity" is easier said than done because there will always be issues. There is no clear "finish line" where you receive the "game ready to be liked by a large crowd" badge. From my point of view, the game is ready for more players (even with the responsiveness sometimes annoying). Others might disagree but the question is "Would these people really be playing the game if X or Y issue would be solved?". Maybe, maybe not, hard to tell. My point of view is that the game is still mostly unknown (which is normal, it's only been out since september). Over time, more people will learn about it so I'm just taking measures right now for the long run.

An interesting example is Sherwood Dungeon. I seem to have really bad lag problems, attack animations are often incomplete or running on top of each other and graphics are not of the quality you see in other games. These points surely have driven many people away (and are similar to some problems in Golemizer). However, this game drives impressive number of players even with these problems. No disrespect to Gene Endrody, he accomplished more than I could probably dream of achieving myself.

With that said, that doesn't mean I am not asking myself the 3 questions you posted here. I just think that both improving the game and taking some minimals measures to get the game known can be done at the same time. Of course I'm concerned by the number of players because this is the first way to measure the success of a game. I might want too much in too little time, I admit, but that's just me being enthusiastic about it. That doesn't mean I am not concerned about solving issues.

Jedaz said...

You are quite right. However what do you consider success? Just the number of players or something more?

A game that I'm contributing to has less then 13,000 accounts and typically about 200 active players at a time, and this game has been going on for more then 2 years. I however still consider the game a success because there are quite a few regulars (at least 30) and the players who stick around are satisfied.

Success is more then just raw numbers of players. Doing some quick maths reveals that you are getting more then 70 accounts registered per day (on average) since your official launch.

If you are concerned about getting more players the best way would be to encourage existing players to invite their friends to the game. This is best done by giving free things to players to invite others. Eg, you get 1 point for a referral, after X points you can buy Y, or you can save up to buy something even better. Of course these items wouldn't make a bit of difference game play wise :P

I think in the end the best way for a niche game like this to succeed is by word of mouth. Most of the game portals cater mainly to the main-stream anyway, so most of the people who would click through would not come back.

Well thats my take on it anyway.

Over00 said...

However what do you consider success? Just the number of players or something more?

Success is relative to each person, to what you are aiming to accomplish. I think you summed it well.

For me, success is in no particular order: "Am I having fun with it?", "Would I still play this game even if I wasn't the coder?", "Is there hope to make a living out of it someday?", "Am I able to provide fun to people?".

While I do this first because I like it, I won't lie. I do hope to be able to work full-time on these kind of projects. So success, for me, includes number of players. If I wanted to only keep it a hobby then I would consider it an enormous success as it is right now. It all depends on what you are wishing/working for. For example, EVE Online is far from the amount of players of World of Warcraft. I'm sure they'd be pleased to have 11+ millions of players but that's not their main concerns (and they're still doing money out of it). It won't be the end of the world if I'm never able to make a living out of my games. Just saying it's there I'm trying to get.

I agree with you, the best way is word of mouth OR really good placement (ads or listing). The vast majority of visitors on Golemizer are from Word of mouth provides a solid core and good visibility on major websites provides raw number that once in a while will get you one more regular player.

I guess I should start "rewarding" players for referral and such. For example, I asked interested players to submit to Digg the 2 press releases I have published and none of them got in there, even if there's some really hardcore players around that seem to really enjoy the game. I could have submitted it myself and let players just hit the Digg button but I don't like the idea.

So yes, word of mouth is still the best way to go but you can't push it that much either so you need to help it a bit.