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Hitchhiker, game developer, adventurer. Come for the emotional roller-coaster, stay for the bridge burning!

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Joined on 5/11/08

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2y 9m 10d

Learned Unity, released on STEAM & SWITCH, got $20k!

Posted by Rarykos - October 18th, 2019

Steam - https://store.steampowered.com/app/977230/Mars_Power_Industries_Deluxe/

Ho ho ho!

January 2018, me and my 3 friends got together for a Global Game Jam. The goal - learn Unity, try to make something. Made a tiny puzzle game. Fast forward 20 months, the game grew to 97 levels, 5 hours of gameplay. We got a publisher for Switch, we're releasing on Steam ourselves. Failed on Google Play. Featured and Game of The Day on Apple. What a rollercoaster!

Let's talk how we got here!

Learning Unity is a pain. I'm an artist/programmer. I don't care for clean code. I care for results. In 72h during the jam we made a barebones puzzle game. Puzzle games are easiest to make (hint). So we had me as designer, our friend who made pixel art and our 2 programmer friends. Collaborating in Unity is terrible. Knowing what I know now, you shouldn't have more than 2 programmers on a team, simply because communication takes more time than developments at that point. Making interfaces in Unity..... AH.... The jam was a success. But it was a bad game.

Worked for a year to make a game out of it.

We made our first "complete" version in like 10 months. Working after hours. It was okay. 40 levels. 1 hour to finish. Put it on iTunes. Featured. Put it on Google Play. Flopped completely. We've been expanding it over the next 10 months to make a better version of it.

Got contacted by a publisher.

Said they wanted to port it to Switch. Okay. Here's a lesson. Read the contract thoroughly. My friends in the industry learned this the hard way. Make sure there are penalty fees if the publisher is late or doesn't deliver what they promised. Most publishers these days want to scam you. Take a slice of revenue, never invest their money. Don't trust most publishers. Better take a PR guy or an agency, we live in the times when customers decide what's popular not publishers or journalists. You need someone who can do marketing and SEO, who can prepare actual promotional assets. Not just talk about it. Not just promise to hire someone.

After 2 years of hard work, the game is finally finished. The DELUXE edition with more levels and music etc. is coming to STEAM and Switch. Steam releases on November 4th. Switch releases on Christmas.

How much have we earned?

I'll let you know in 2 weeks when I've compiled all the data.

For now, I can tell you that over the year the iOS version sold 25k copies.

Roughly $17k revenue. Divide by 4 people. Kinda bad. But other channels are more interesting!

I'd like to thank you, many people in this community helped me test Mars and provided valuable feedback. You've also played my other games and kept me going through really bad times. Thank you!

Wishlist the game to help us!

Steam - https://store.steampowered.com/app/977230/Mars_Power_Industries_Deluxe/



Comments (6)

$17k doesn't sound all that bad from my perspective! And other outlets awaiting. There's still potential to make a living within the game dev world hmm.

Congrats! Quite a journey thus far.

Thank you!

Yeah, you're right!

Hmm, $4k per person is okay pocket money, okay allowance! Every one of us can take their family for holidays and pay with that money. But can't survive on that. We were doing this after hours so it's okay, didn't expect a big payout. I should sum up the hours that went into the game and maybe calculate how much they were worth!

What's really strange is we were one of the more successful indies on mobile. This year all stories are horror stories. It's either a huuuuge success or a complete flop, no middle ground for games. And it doesn't matter if these games are paid or free, both struggle to gather any amount of players. :(
When there's these huge publishers throwing millions around, can't really compete!

Hey that's more than pocket money. :D But this is... over a 2 year period right? Hours would definitely be interesting.

Wonder if the app stores play a major part in that too, showcasing only games that gain popularity in a way that continually boosts the select few/all the others fall further and further behind...

Yup, I'll compile the data and share!

Oh, the stores are disgusting.
Google has the algorithm which only favours the most profitable games. Games with the highest retention and with the highest payouts. That means the more users Google sends that way, the more money both Google and the dev make. They don't even care for smaller games. They don't see a problem.

Apple is better, they have actual humans who make actual human decisions and judge games. Push more interesting games to their users with different store features and games lists. We could actually talk to a person and if they liked the game, it would get featured. Compare this to Google where you can meet at an expo and they say, and I quote:

"You should use Firebase and either improve your game to compete with Clash Royale or make a clone of Clash Royale. Why are you wasting my time with games that are not profitable? Bring your own customers to our store. Why should we promote your game?"

Ah I feel I'm ranting but it's really bad when these giant monopolists control the market...

Well done, dude! Good luck in the big world out there. The take will definitely be better next time.

Thank you! I'm curious what will happen next!

2 years to make a game dam
most people would have forgotten about making something like that
well done indeed
i have only done small things with unity but i ll keep trying
good luck have fun

Thanks! Yeah, exactly, this game was just a small thing that kept on growing bit by bit!

Cool. :)

Hmm, sounds almost a bit like the differences between getting featured on YouTube and on NG. One automatic and revenue-based, and one with an appreciably humane approach... and Google does own the former one here too... to think it'd be possible to draw positive parallels between us and the organization that killed Flash. :)

Man I'm getting a darkened image of Google pretty quick there... curious, do you happen to use their other services? Their search? Gmail? They do have a pretty scary level of monopoly; especially if you start using Android-based devices...

It's awful. Now they want to give you their own Apple/Google credit card!

Yeah that too! Credit cards overall though... personal integrity's getting hard to come by these days.