Looking for advice from experienced devs

Oct 11, 2018
4
2
#1
Hello!

As I get closer to my v0.1 release I was hoping to get some tips from more experienced devs on here. What are some things to avoid, things to focus on, things you wish you had known before you released your first version, etc.

If you are on Patreon, what works there what doesn’t? What kind of perks do Patreons really like?

I have been reading the feedback the community leaves and so far I’ve found a few common points that are generally well received:

- Good grammar and spelling
- A story to go with the sex where the naughty bits makes sense within the context of the story
- Good quality assets (renders in my case)
- Bring something new when it comes to the story
- An acceptable amount of content (here it can different. Some people are ok with a v0.1 having 15 to 30 minutes of playtime, others expect a lot more)

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
Likes: MrBree

Epadder

Formerly 'Epaddder'
Oct 25, 2016
220
151
#2
I can't speak for running a Patreon side of things, but here are some observations I have from running my own project, looking at these solo projects, and just sort of observing the gaming industry as a whole.

Project Management:
Dealing with criticism:

You are the face of your project and how you respond to criticism (deserved or not) will influence people's perception of your project. Some people can get away with being scathing in their replies to people and get away with it... most of us probably can't, so don't.

As much as somebody calling what you've made crap, asking for content you never intended to add, asking a question that was answered in the first post annoys/frustrates you... don't reply until you've managed that frustration. Putting anything out there for other people to judge it is very easy to be super defensive, but it's much better to step back and calmly answer concerns than blast the person who upset you.

If its just a 'this sucks/you suck' post without any details, just let it go and address people who are giving you feedback that you can actually examine and reply to thoughtfully.

Accepting criticism:
To create something and put it out and believe that is worth someone else's time... takes a bit of arrogance and confidence, just don't let your arrogance outweigh your common sense. There are so many other things people could spend their time doing, don't take for granted that they gave your project part of their time.

With that in mind as a newbie developer/modder you've probably overlooked something along the way. So when someone criticizes the way you've done something in your game, at least examine the idea to figure out why they made it. When you make this analysis try not to let it be even in your own head 'they're just an idiot'.

Now that doesn't mean that you have to completely change what you're doing to please the whims of the few, it is a balancing act of taking advice to make a better game without it becoming a game that you don't want to work on anymore.

Making promises:
The best rule of thumb to employ for anything that you say you will do is 'under promise, over deliver'. Which means make estimations of what you can do if everything goes right and then make estimations of what you can do if a lot of things go wrong, but only tell people the estimation if things go wrong.

As a newbie you're very likely to get it wrong regardless, if you do apologize and work at being better for the next time.

Site specific advice:
Welcome to the pirate den:
A significant portion of the people who come to this site want games for free... so don't be surprised when they don't pay or someone pays just to share the link to your Patreon version if it's more complete than whatever is publicly posted. That's just the way of things here, don't lash out because you're not getting the support you "deserve". Those who can will pay if they like what they see enough, but they are the minority of people.



There are people here who know a fair bit about coding and are willing to share their knowledge and advice with you, especially if you're using Ren'py.

The other good thing about the section is, you can post an initial version of your game there first and seek advice and help before you throw yourself into the new game section and possibly kill people's first impression of your project. I wish I had thought of that before I threw my 'demo... more like prototype' version of my project into the modding section.


Anywho... theres some advice :whistle::unsure:
 

carnalcardinal

First of Her Name,Cuckquean of the Andes+Best Men
Game Developer
Jr. Uploader
Jul 28, 2017
1,244
3,353
#3
Once you put out the 0.1, take some time to reflect on the criticisms. If one person mentions something, dozens have thought/noticed the same thing. Regroup, put out an updated 0.1a or 0.1b, get yourself on the right track, before you start churning out updates.

As for Patreon, I never really utilized it very much. But I can recommend the pay-per-update method as opposed to pay-per-month. If you put out a monthly update, there really is no difference in what you make. But if you have to take an extended absence from development (like I am), your fans are more likely to be forgiving and understanding if you aren't still taking their money
 

DrPinkCake

Cake Baker
Game Developer
Nov 13, 2018
14
278
#4
Enjoy that first release! There are few feelings like it.
Many players only give a new release one try before moving on. They might return later on, but having a big and great first release will hook them from the start. Don't rush it. Since you're likely close to zero patrons right now, no one is demanding a fast release of your game.
Unless you're way cooler than I was, you'll be dealing with a lot of nervosity when you click that upload button. Just embrace that moment. It's a milestone you will treasure later on.

There are many tips on how to do this gig, but no user manual. Find a way that suits you and talk to developers you admire.
My most important tips are as follows:
- Define your project. Have a development plan for the entire game and an approximate time frame for it. This will help you develop each update without second guessing yourself as you know your destination.
- Be honest and communicate with your fans. Players are smart and, once scorned, very unforgiving. Be honest and upfront with them. Don't make promises, surprise them instead.
- Don't fight piracy. It will happen regardless and it's the number one reason you will get patrons in the early days. The only difference your stance on it will make, is the perception of you as a developer. I'm not saying that you should tell people to explicitly download the game for free, but don't be hostile towards those who do. There are many who are using this site to scout for developers to support and many who never would give developers a single penny. You can't change that.
- Learn to shrug off insults. You will be called a lot of things regardless of what you do. Get yourself a thick skin and don't feed the hate by replying to the haters. Listen to the constructive criticism, that feedback comes from people that matter to you.
- On that last point, develop the game the way you want to do it. Not in the way that your players want you to. I can't stress the importance of this enough. If you cave to player demands/wishes you may end up making a game that you don't enjoy.
- Have fun. The most important part of this is that you are having fun doing it. It may sound corny, but if you don't enjoy this it will show in your product and mostly in your level of motivation.

Patreon specific and management stuff:
- Don't be afraid to charge for your product. Don't give it away for free or too cheap. It's harder to change this later on than what it is from the start.
- Study tiers of other developers. Try to identify what's good and what's bad. Ask yourself if you would pledge any of their tiers.
- Don't show your earnings. You wouldn't flaunt your IRL paycheck to people, why would you display your patreon earnings? That's your business and it will be a potential source of jealousy. Remember, they don't see the money you spend on the game, which is much more than you will get from Patreon.
- Every purchase you make, be it equipment, assets, music etc., save the receipt and if you're in this for the long haul, start your bookkeeping early on. Come tax season you will be thankful that you did.
- Yes, you have to pay taxes for earnings. Yes, things you buy for game development are deductible. And yes, Patreon takes care of VAT MOSS for you.

Best of luck to you!
 
Oct 11, 2018
4
2
#5
Hi everyone,

Wow thank you so much for the advice! That is way more than I expected to be honest. :)

I didn’t know about the dev section where I could put up a much earlier version to start getting some feedback early.

My day job is in video game development so I’ve had my fair share of critisism but since this project is a solo project it can still be nerve racking so thanks for all the advice and encouragement!
 

Volta

Active Member
Apr 27, 2017
397
346
#6
Patrons love voting for what content they want to go into the game first, which character gets an update first, things like that. This is a great way for the fans to feel meaningful to the project but it also screws with your development order, especially if a standout favourite character or two always win the vote, effectively excluding other characters that are needed for the story to proceed.

Don't ever release something before your ready, bugs are acceptable if you fix them in a good time frame but don't ever get into the cycle of not giving yourself time on an update because this will roll to the next update compressing the amount of time you'll have available and pressuring you, especially if an unseen variable takes your work time or requires more time than you initially thought, someone once said that however long you think something will take, if it's your first time doing it, double the time allowance. Basically make use of the "pre-production" time you'll have before releasing your 0.1,if no one expects an update they won't get pissed about not getting one, people are less forgiving of uneven update schedules than slow ones, don't feel obliged to go monthly, bi-monthly is fine if the quality and content are there, especially if you don't have the hardware to render at high speed.

Keep your first project small, get a handle on the basics and dip your toe in the water before you commit to the long haul of a game like superpowered.

Be efficient with your time, if your using Daz consider using a batch render plugin/tool to render overnight or while you are otherwise busy to make the most of your available hours.

Enjoy it, make a game you want to make, tell a story you want to tell because if your serious about this then you'll be spending a lot of time on it, getting bored or burnt out is a real possibility and keeping yourself motivated and interested is important.

Good luck
 

Agent HK47

Active Member
Mar 3, 2018
215
322
#7
I would say that one of the most important things is to make your first release stand out. Give it enough content and polish so that people who tries it, actually also remember it afterwards.
I play a tons of new games every month, and for the vast majority of them, I can't remember anything about them the next day, simply because there wasn't enough time to allow me to get to know the characters/story at all.

I constantly think things like "Oh right, I played this game a while ago.... what was it again? Oh yeah, I remember this girl.... well, at least I vaguely recall having seen her before, but I don't really remember her."
If you want me to come back, make me think "Goddamn, that game from the other day was so much fun! I really like *character* because *reason*. Can't wait for the next update. Actually, let me research a bit more about the game. Maybe I can see what is planned to come next or give him some financial support, so it will come to me faster."
 

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