Games July 11, 2020

Game devs, let's share our projects!

Chris McCormick @chr15m

Thought it would be good to kick off this group with people sharing the game or games tech they are working on. Fire away!

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    This is my first game - be gentle haha

    Backstory: I was on reddit and someone shared these photos. I thought they looked great so I wanted to turn it into a game. I built v1 in 24 hours and thought it was pretty neat. After that I have improved the rendering (it was doing too many re-renders initially) and added levels and leaderboard. Name-wise I went from "owls" to "animals" to now just generic "pictures" because it allows me to work around more themes and card sets.

    This game is at playable state right now but beta. I'm adding it to many different marketplaces for distribution to find users. It's accessible on the website but I also have added it to chrome web store and currently pending approval in play store.

    I want to add monetization to this game. Maybe to unlock special levels or some advantages etc. What would be a good monetization api that would work easily with web-based game? Open to using stripe components, are there other options?

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      Great concept but I find this way harder than normal Sudoku. I think it's because there's no inherent order in the pictures like there is with numbers.

      Maybe there's a way to apply some sort of natural order to the pictures? Try thinking about other things that have order and it might spark some ideas. (dice, letters, size, clocks, etc).

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        This is interesting feedback. I have noticed there are a lot of ways to manipulate the game to make it easier vs. more difficult.

        For example if the cards have similar colors the game becomes more difficult than if they are clearly different colors. I label the images in my mind, e.g. "lion" and then I can work with that label. But whenever I have trouble assigning distinct labels to the cards it gets more difficult.

        I believe some of this challenge you mention has to do with this. But this is a good suggestion and I want to experiment with these things further.

    2. 2

      love how the game looks and works!

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        Thank you so much Jackson! =D

    3. 2

      Looks fantastic, what an adorable game.

      adding it to many different marketplaces for distribution

      Good idea. Apps seem to perform better in marketplaces in general. Keen to hear how this works out.

      On monetization, I noticed you have levels behind locks. How about giving the user the option to pay to skip forward to the level they want to play? Could be done with Stripe quite easily. Another idea is free to play web version with paid apps.

      On iOS port: check out the Cordova framework if you don't already know it. You can basically package up your web app as a native app without changes.

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        Currently the levels can be unlocked by playing. I have to get the user to sign in first though because it saves in a database (firebase), so I need a user id to save/get their level.

        I am considering making it a paid feature to unlock levels right away. I am also considering adding specialty levels which may unlock or appear only on certain days (e.g. halloween, christmas level) and/or after payment. I have many ideas :D

        Thanks for that cordova tip, I have heard of it but never tried.

    4. 2

      Looks fun! The theme you've got is pretty strong, I think you can market this really well.

      For monetization, here are a few ideas:

      1. Custom themes or skins for purchase with real money or virtual currency

      2. Purchase new packs of levels - like ultra hard difficulty, or just more puzzles

      3. If you go the mobile route, you could create opportunities for rewarded video ads (which don't detract from user experience as much) to either double or triple coins awarded

      Are you using Unity or another platform? For our game we use React Native so our mobile and web versions are essentially the same. Monetization on web currently is through paypal, but normally is a regular IAP on google play/app store (also in beta though)

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        Thanks for you comment, super helpful! Google play takes 30% (?) cut so trying to avoid that. Just wondering what is the standard way of charging.

        I am using react.js (for web) and the application is a progressive web app (PWA). I learned recently that Google Play allows publishing PWA in play store, so I completed those steps to publish at Google Play yesterday. Along similar lines I packaged it as an extension to get it in the Chrome Web Store and Edge store. I'm going for as many marketplaces as possible :D My friend is iOS developer so if I want to get into that space I will need his help and may have to rethink the architecture and/or do RN.

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          Awesome, that sounds like a similar approach to us. We have really only focused on the app stores so far mostly for the organic traffic and the beta programs. Haven't looked into Chrome or Edge stores but we'll check it out!

          My best advice overall is to start marketing ASAP - some things you should do/setup sooner rather than later: Twitter, Discord, and most importantly a Share Feedback button in your app (via email is fine). User feedback + early presence are pretty important. For motivation if nothing else :)

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            Mobile is a little hard for me just because of the physical limitations of a 9x9 board means the cells become quite small on smaller screens but obviously I want to get into that space because it is where people are.

            These sharing tips are great I did not event think of those, thanks again!

            If you have a web-based game you can create an extension whereby clicking the icon opens as a browser window to launch the game. The motivation there is chrome web store has a lot less apps than play store, which increases chances of visibility. I have been building extensions for many years; if they pick up you can get a lot of attention that way. My best extension is getting about 7000 impressions and 350-450 installs daily through chrome web store.

            Edge is newly accepting chrome extensions in their own store. I didn't have to make any changes to submit there but it is also still pending so hope it passes.

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              TBH we were worried about this too in the beginning, since we have 61 tiles on the board (hex can be packed better though). 9x9 can definitely be tight but Words with Friends gets by with a zoom feature, maybe worth a shot.

              And as for the 30% cut that Google and Apple take...yes, it is a huge cut. But revenue from 70% of 100K users vs. 100% 1K users is unfortunately what we're up against. I don't want to seem too pessimistic about this, but niching down by platform in games market may not be the way to go. Niching down in genre/theme/audience though, for sure, just like other IH products.

    5. 1

      Hi there,

      I see you are in the process of deciding what to include and what not to in your first game. I also understand that with it being your first you might be a bit short on marketing Budget, I bring you a solution to help cushion the effect of the above points at least.

      I work for a mobile games distribution channel called AHA Games with presence in Africa and some part of Asia. We are looking to work with studios like yours and be part of your growth process.

      If this interest you and you will like to know more, please send me a mail/message.

  2. 4

    Not a solo project but working as a team: Project Xandata

    It's a competitve 3v3 first person shooter. It's not released yet so 😅
    The game is being made with Unreal Engine.

    1. 2

      It looks cool. Let me know when you finish it or if you need some feedback!

  3. 4

    Here is the game I worked on, not alone, but in a small startup (6 people): https://curvefever.pro

    I had a lot of fun, especially when working on improving the WebGL or Networking performance.

    1. 2

      Yep, I can see myself getting hooked on this. That is some good fun!

    2. 2

      very slick! and good fun. quick play option is great.

      1. 1

        Thanks!

        The matchmaking loop is pretty well thought.

        The first time you press Quick Play you play against bots who will match your skill level and make it a very close game, game that you are supposed to win in the end.

        Next times you press Quick Play you join an actual matchmaking queue with real players. After a game you can keep playing with the same players (rematch) or find a new match.

        You can also always see all the Quick Play rooms/matches in the lobby and spectate or join them. If the match is full you can join as a spectator and also join a "waiting queue" for that room, so if someone leaves, you can take his spot. It's actually even more complex than this, the code was a nightmare but the apparent result is very simple and works very well for keeping players engaged and allowing them to play alone, with friends, with same people, new people, etc.

  4. 3

    Hi guys,

    we are making an AR game. We are a team of 4 and It's our first game. We usually work with web platforms and apps but we wanted to build something truly exciting. We are in the validation phase at the moment and we are hoping to have a prototype in a month.

    The idea of the game is a mix of FPS and a tower defence game. The player will have a bird view and can shoot from the space ship to the hordes of aliens that are attacking the base. You can also send back-up forces to the ground to help you eliminate the hordes of enemies. You can check more on my post on IH
    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/ar-game-idea-validation-will-you-like-something-like-that-97a6817868

    If you have ideas or suggestions on building games that will be awesome!

  5. 3

    I have been working on my game: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1084970/Bridge_Builder_Racer. It's heavily inspired by both trails and Poly Bridge. Bridge Builder Racer is a bridge builder game, where you get to drive the car too! The basic goal is to use the most cost effective route in each level.

    The game is published on Steam, and thus because of Steam leaderboards you can compete against everyone, or your friends. After release I have also implemented steam workshop. Where you can create your own levels and share it with the community.

    It's been a good experience. Some popular YouTubers have played the game etc. I think players like the game, but I think my main issue with the game is to get players back to play again. Very open to feedback!

  6. 3

    Currently working on https://gomobo.app! Digital Board Games that I have designed myself.

    First game is available to play in beta, it is a 3-6 player fast-paced strategy game. I have a second game launching into beta soon which is a 2 player strategy game!

    I drew my inspiration from Jackbox games, but I wanted to change 2 things:

    1. Host and run games entirely from your phone (no need for TV, PS4, etc), making my games extremely portable and also great for video call game nights.

    2. More strategy focused games, rather than party games, as I love board games and wanted some games with deeper strategy to them!

    Happy to answer any questions! Thanks for starting this thread @chr15m!

    1. 2

      This is awesome! I think I found you on Twitter too.

      Really good idea not requiring a TV - Jackbox is great but is not as versatile. Have you seen more downloads in recent months as many people are staying home?

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        My games are actually 100% in browser for 2 main reasons:

        1. I personally dislike having to install an app just to play a quick game with friends, I wanted the "on-boarding" process to be negligible (players just click a link to join)

        2. Speed of development - more of a strategic angle here, I have a ton of experience building web apps and only a bit of experience with native apps.

        Currently just in beta - I have been holding off on a wider launch until I add release our second game and then also firm up a few other areas of the app as well. But my small beta launch in April was well received (just launched in a small subreddit)

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          Nice, that's a good approach with in-browser. We actually release a web version of hexicon recently to test the waters on that too.

          And about the wider launch - makes sense. I would also just make sure to collect some users in an email list or Discord in addition to your social media/reddit posts.

          Anything multiplayer has a really good word of mouth aspect to it - people will play it just to have fun with friends even if it's unpolished. I wouldn't worry too much about over-sharing early : )

  7. 3

    What a cool idea! 😄
    I am currently working on my very first solo game project: "Soul Shepherd".
    It's a "casual" but quite dark-themed Stardew Valley-esque game in which you take on the role of an evil entity in the afterlife, haunting the living. (A bit of a mouthful on paper, I know)
    So far, it's definitely a challenge to balance the more complex story-ideas I want to get across, and casual gameplay that's fairly easy to pick up and understand.

    I even started documenting my development process in video DevLogs ( https://youtu.be/Yfl3M9uaQKQ ). It's an odd thing, to be so public about my development, but if anyone has any kind of feedback, that would be very very appreciated!

    1. 2

      Nice work on the game! Also love the name. Is this more of a sandbox style game if it's like Stardew?

      I really commend you on sharing vlogs, building a game publicly is just fun all around. We've had a really positive experience getting feedback from our beta testers and players.

      I'd also recommend building a bit of a Twitter or Discord following if you haven't started already. It's surprising how motivating it can be to have even a few active followers or members!

    2. 2

      This sounds amazing. Doing it in public sounds like a great way to build a receptive audience for the final product.

  8. 3

    My friends and I have been working on a 1v1 multiplayer word game called Hexicon (https://hexiconapp.com). It combines word search with territory control, and is played on a hexagonal grid. It's currently in beta on Android and iOS (TestFlight).

    We also picked up a game dev contract with a board game designer in March (from a cold email!). We'll be designing the app version of an existing board game which we'll be announcing soon. If it goes well, we could offer a future "board game to app" service :)

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      I can't even imagine those mechanics coming together! Word search tactics, huh? That sounds super interesting!

      1. 1

        Thanks! We're pretty happy with how it has ended up. Gameplay revolves around "capturing" tiles by surrounding them with your words. Players take turns laying out blue or red territory and tiles are awarded by color majority.

  9. 2

    Solo project mobile game for Android and iOS: Fibonacci.

    It's a number puzzle game with simple controls. Check it out and feel free to give feedback!

  10. 2

    Some time around last year I started fiddling around with game development and came up with a very simple game idea.
    I used Unity 3d and launched a game called Let Them Kill. It's available only for android and can be installed from here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.rajatkapoor.letthemkill&hl=en_US

    I never "launched"/marketed it and the 50 odd installs that you'll see are just friends and family. It was a great learning experience nevertheless

  11. 2

    My team and I are working on CubeChat (https://cubechat.io/ )--it's a 3D video chat + video game that runs in the browser. You can throw parties on it, but it can be used for meetings and office hours as well!

  12. 2

    https://frostfire42.itch.io/nix
    My first coded game, itch has tons of indie games already and is a fantastic way to publish games!
    It's a text-adventure game, not exactly for everyone :)

  13. 2

    Hey all! I'm working on Fantasy Congress - a fantasy sports game for politics.

    1. 1

      How's it going with this? Love the idea of politics as a sport.

  14. 2

    Not sure if it classifies exactly as game tech, but I'm working on GamePressKit. It basically came from a discussion I had with a game dev friend of mine and his struggles to get eyes on his indie games.

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      Whoa this seems incredibly useful. Is there a facility to put developers in touch with games journalists?

      1. 1

        That's the next goal! I'm looking to create a public directory of all the press kits on the platform so anyone can freely browse them as well as add an email signup option for journalists that will send them weekly summaries of new games and what not.

        I'm always looking to improve it so if you had anything in mind to help further that communication between devs and journalists, I'd love to hear!

  15. 2

    Hey Chris,
    This sounds like a great idea.
    I tried to find a way in the casual iOS game niche few months ago but I finally gave up and moved to create a SAAS (RoleUp.com)

    My last game is Brutal Memory https://apps.apple.com/app/brutal-memory/id1457434196

    This is between 5 and 15 players per day.

    1. 1

      Wow, 4.9 rating! How did you find these first players?

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        For the first players I got few friends involved and then send a message on the usual website. The kind of special angle of the game helped to get a small attention.
        I think it's important in the casual game field to give a strong personality to a game.

        The 4.9 rating comes from the way I ask for ratings.

  16. 1

    I created a difficult logic puzzle game for Android. Gain early access after joining the Discord channel https://discord.gg/j5KwJ35

  17. 1

    I'll kick things off with the open source Clojure game tech that @retrogradeorbit and I have been working on over at infinitelives.github.io - we also do game jams every now and then.

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        Appreciate the ping, but I'm not really working on Chat & Slash these days, and have to shut it down soon.

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          Indie Hackers is useful for the stories of products that didn't work out as much as those that did. I am sure many people would appreciate hearing about Chat & Slash, what worked, how you got some users, and what made you decide to shut it down. A Slack based game is a super interesting idea, even if not profitable. No pressure is course!

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          This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

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        Thanks for the shoutout!

    1. 1

      Also @Koalo
      @jkchu
      @fmiranda
      @yasu
      @ndor
      @canolcer
      @jeffjadulco
      @craftworkgames
      I think you're all building games? Post 'em up if so. :D

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        This is my game, might make it free soon for people to enjoy playing it even though it wasn't that big of a hit! https://store.steampowered.com/app/1108820/Polar_Jump/

      2. 2

        I'm not currently making a game but I have made games in the past. Right now I'm exploring / validating ideas for game dev tools or SaaS that help indie game devs.

        I've currently got two ideas in the works:

        1. A better tile based level editor
        2. Back end as a service for cloud save, leaderboards, matchmaking, analytics, etc.
      3. 1

        Hi @chr15m, thanks for the shout out. I'll post it :)

      4. 1

        Not at the moment, finishing up the MVP for my first SaaS! Maybe someday though.

    2. 1

      Love your landing page! Are there any playable versions of games running on your tech? I'm not familiar with Clojure

      1. 1

        yep there are playable games!

        Gamejams using infinitelives @chr15m and I have done:
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/moonhenge/
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/otoch/

        Gamejam using infinitelives I did with another friend:
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/tidalupsurge/

        Some gamejams I did solo:
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/cloud-fighter/
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/biscuit-switch/
        https://retrogradeorbit.github.io/thekeep/

        Source to all these is on github. Look under my gihub account for that name slug. eg: cloud fighter is at https://github.com/retrogradeorbit/cloud-fighter

        @chr15m also used the infinitelives 3d library to make moons of yendor:
        https://chr15m.itch.io/the-forest-moons-of-yendor

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          Nice! I checked several of them out. Do you plan on pushing any of these further? Tidal upsurge could be a fun little mobile game. Also I like all your start screens across the board :)

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    This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

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