It’s clear now that the vast majority of potential customers don’t like inertia based space games. Out of 1000 signups, the highest I ever reached in simultaneous players is 20, and the average has dropped from 6 to 3 over the last week. This kind of game design worked 10 years ago perhaps, but is an utter failure in today’s market. If I had a 50% retention rate, and just didn’t have enough players, then it’s a marketing issue which can be taken care of. But with a .5% retention rate there’s no way I can succeed like this.
Probably the most notable indicator is that even players of this very genre do not stick around. They’re tired of this kind of game, and just need more stuff. I’m confident it’s not my implementation, since my implementation is pretty solid.
I was speaking with a friend about this, who works in marketing, and he told me I basically picked a design and genre that was doomed from the start.
1. Most people don’t like space games
2. Most people don’t like complex controls (anything more than click and drool)
I was pretty depressed about this for a while, but finally thought of a solution that might salvage the day:
I bought this mech from 3drt.com and am going to stick it into the game. The mech will be controlled through the standard movement keys (no interia), aim with the mouse, and I have asked the artists to model the surface of a planet.
I have it in without effects and sort of working. The main problem is oFusion has failed me once again, and cannot export the animations. This is really too bad, since the animations look great. I have a potential solution in the works via a code partnership to get a real exporter, which might solve this problem.
I’ve even started considering partnerships on this game, something I refused to consider before. Now that I have started contracting to keep the money coming in, I have very little time left for the game, and I’m starting to doubt if I can finish everything by myself. Except for my programmer in Portugal, outsourcing and contracting was a complete failure and everything that contracting was supposed to address is now far behind and/or screwed up. I don’t have a working exporter, I don’t have advanced graphics or effects, the art is far behind, and a lot of game design and game programming still needs to be done, I’m not sure the billing host will work out, and the database is missing features. Full-time I might be able to handle this but part-time it’s just really hard. Most of these problems arose due to telecommuting. You’re much less likely to get someone who claims that the work is done, grabs the cash, and runs out the door if you see him day to day.