Post Mortem Time
So Hop Til You Drop has been out for exactly two weeks today. I just wanted to go over some of the things that went right and some of the things that didn't go so well. I don't really make games to make money, of course that would always be awesome, but I do it because I enjoy it and it's one of my favorite hobbies. So I won't be judging this game on financial success, but I will give some numbers about how its been doing so far.
What went right
- I had a blast making them game. It was very fun developing the game and getting family and friends to play it through the process. One of the key things about being an indie developer I think is make what you enjoy. I wanted to make something that was fast paced, difficult and could be played by multiple people sitting around a couch.
- Short development cycle. Hop Til You Drop only took me about 3 months to make. This was working on it part time the entire time. There were a couple of weekends where I would do a ton of coding but most of the work took place late at night. A big goal going into the project was to finish it relatively quickly.
- Some people really enjoyed it. There were some people who made youtube videos of them playing it. Some enjoyed it, others got frustrated with how difficult it was. Based on some comments on various reviews there were also some people who really digged it. It was definitely a niche game, something I didn't realize until after it was released.
- I learned how to market it (somewhat). I had a small "twitter" campaign, got some hits on reddit as well. I was also able to get some reviews for the game, even if they weren't all positive. I learned how much time and effort it takes for marketing as well. I feel like I'll be better prepared next time.
- I released an update. I was happy that I was able to release an update to the game that made it better. I didn't want this to be a game where I released then just stopped developing it. I also made a PC version that was a somewhat different experience without local multiplayer but had online leaderboards, bombs you could use against other players, etc.
What went wrong
- First release was rushed. As soon as I got my approval in the peer review I pushed it out. I really didn't ever take a step back and look at the game in detail. I think this really hurt my sales and conversions in the long run. People who download a trial of an indie game are probably very unlikely to look at it again. First impressions are everything. Next time, after I think I'm ready to release it I think I'll wait a day or two, come back and look at the game as a whole and make sure I'm not missing anything
- Lack of feedback. I did a couple of playtests through XBLIG but feedback was minimal. I did get more feedback in the peer review process but I thought it was so late in the game I shouldn't pull it. In the future I need to be more diligent about getting feedback.
- No staying power. The game really didn't have the proverbial dangling carrot. Sure you could unlock characters but they were just skins. The only reason to come back to the game was to beat your highscore. In the Xbox version I didn't do online leaderboards so there was no sense of community there.
- PC version was probably a bad idea. This type of game really isn't built for the PC. It's a game you play for a couple of minutes then turn off. I think this would be an awesome web game however, maybe something I do in the future. I did a lot of work for the PC version, setting up an online leaderboard server, powerups where you could affect everyone who was currently playing the game, etc. There is at least a couple of people who played the PC version as you can tell by the leaderboards on the right.
So as of yesterday there have been 1035 trials and 108 purchases. Not a huge success by any means. I think the first release being rushed hurt quite a bit regarding the conversion percentage. Since the update the conversion percentage has risen.
I would really like to turn this into a web based game and get it onto some play service because I think it really fits there. However, with the XBLIG service coming close to an end, I really want to try and get some more Xbox games out. I'm going to take some time and think about what I want to do.