25 Nov 2012

Alright, so I might have forgotten about this blog*. That’s alright though, because I’ve made the pre-New Years resolution to maintain a continuous stream of updates. At least once a week**. It isn’t so much for readers as it is for me; I realized that a lot of stuff I’m doing now is going to get forgotten at some point, so it might be really interesting to try and document my progress. Maybe I won’t ever go back to it again, or maybe I’ll cherish the fact that I’m always going to know where I started.
On that topic, I thought that there couldn’t be a better way to begin than to go back to GravX and explore what happened between my finishing of the game and its publishing on AddictingGames. I’ve already talked a little bit about the actual development process, so I figured it would be more interesting to discuss the marketing part.
The first thing I did was find FlashGameLicense.com. At this point, I’ll pause and make a special note to any aspiring Flash*** developers out there: FGL is your biggest resource. Honestly. Nothing would have ever happened to GravX without it. I wouldn’t have gotten the feedback that shaped the final game. I wouldn’t have found the artist that quickly put together the assets and make the game looks professional. Most importantly, however, I wouldn’t have ever found a sponsor.
Aside from FGL being an amazing community of developers, designers, and artists, you can think of it as what is essentially an eBay for sponsors. AddictingGames and companies like them browse through games published to the site and bid for an opportunity to brand what they like. If there is a better way of getting your games in front of the companies willing to pay for them, then I, alongside the numerous online articles I waded through trying to figure out how to get the game sponsored, am completely unaware.
So yes. The first thing I did was hop on FGL and set up an account. The next couples months were spent mostly interacting with the community there. I got tons of immensely helpful feedback that helped polish the game, and it was the first time I was able to really communicate with the kind of people doing just what I was trying to do. I was able to scope out the battlefield and figure out just what the heck I had to do to get GravX in front of the 350,000+**** players that it has now. This time period probably could have been streamlined a bit, but various outside obligations ate away at my time. I’m doing this as more of a hobby anyway, so I wasn’t exactly rushing for a check.
Afterwards. It was time to sell. I published the game to FGL’s “store” and sat back to wait began emailing sponsors on the site to ask that they look at the game. I got turned down by a bunch, which was pretty much what I would have expected to happen, though that was fine, because it meant they were at least taking the time to look. Fast-forward a few weeks of waiting rather impatiently and the first bid popped up.
It was crap.
The deal would essentially give one company the right to brand GravX anywhere for an incredibly undervalued price with the promise of some slightly larger amount per 1,000,000 plays. Not every game (GravX included) manages to get 1,000,000 plays. So I continued to wait. Eventually, I would get the additional AddictingGames offer and, well, the rest is history. That, my readers, is how GravX got sponsored.
I realize this whole post may have been really broad, but that’s just because I’m trying to wrap up the GravX process for myself. Hopefully I can get back into more specific new-game related topics in these coming weeks that really help to hi-light parts of my development process. Before being able to write down some really interesting thoughts, I needed to off load the rest of the ones about GravX.
*: Again
**: … Weeks are 30 days long, right?
***: Or HTML5 or Unity or iPhone or Android, though Flash is (obviously) their main area of focus
****: Rough estimate. My tracker shows about 250,000 but doesn’t include plays at AddictingGames.