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+ - Small Developer sees surge in "organic" traffic after Steam's Discovery update ->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: What effect has the Steam Discovery Update had on small developers?

The recent Steam Autumn Sale was the first to take advantage of the new Steam Discovery features, with a custom Netflix-esque "recommended for you" section alongside the hand-picked features. Notably, games from player's wishlists were prominently featured.

We present detailed data from our own game's experience since the Discovery Update.

Interesting facts:
  • 50% of our game's sales in the Autumn Sale were wishlist fulfillments.
  • We fulfilled 3.5% of our game's wishlist stats during the Autumn Sale.
  • Valve tells us that customers' use of wishlists has doubled since the Discovery Queue was added.
  • Baseline revenue increased 4X immediately after the Discovery update.
  • We were featured in the Halloween Sale, a traditional "hand-picked" promotion with no custom recommendations.
  • We were NOT featured in the Autumn Sale, but still made 30% as much as Halloween, likely b/c of custom recommendations.
  • Game is ~3 years old, but every post-Discovery update period made more than last year.

Some limitations and caveats apply (this is only one data developer's experience, etc).
Link to Original Source

+ - Flash IDE will integrate with open source, cross-platform Haxe/OpenFL platform

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: Flash CC now has an SDK for creating custom project file formats; this lets you use the Flash IDE to prepare and publish content for (not-the-flash-player) compile targets.

Among these new platforms is OpenFL, a fully open-source re-implementation of the Flash API that exports to Javascript and C++ (no Flash Player!), among other targets:

When Adobe demoed the custom project feature at Adobe MAX the other night, they brought out Joshua Granick (lead maintainer of OpenFL) to show off a custom OpenFL project format that lets you make Flash Art in Flash CC, then compile it out to Flash, HTML5, and native C++ (desktop+mobile) targets.

Maybe Adobe heard us after all?

+ - Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: Steam's new search page lets you sort by "user rating," but the algorithm they're using is broken.

For instance, a DLC pack with a single positive review appears above a major game with a 74% score and 15,000+ ratings.

The current "user rating" ranking system seems to divide everything into big semantic buckets ("Overwhelmingly Positive","Positive","Mixed",etc), stack those in order, then sort each bucket's contents by the total number of reviews per game. Given that Steam reviews skew massively positive, ( half are "very positive" or higher), this is virtually indistinguishable from a standard "most popular" chart.

Luckily, there's a known solution to this problem — use statistical sampling to account for disparate numbers of user reviews, which gives "hidden gems" with statistically significant high positive ratings, but less popularity, a fighting chance against games that are already dominating the charts.

More details: Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts

Link to Original Source

+ - Follow Your Dreams, Or Maybe Don't.->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: I am filled with absolute terror whenever I get a message like this in my inbox:

"You inspired me to quit my job to make indie games!"

Following your dreams is crazy, scary, fraught with risk, and the kicker is ... you might not even want it as much as you think you do.
In this article, I discuss my mixed feelings on being a mid-level success in an industry where there are dark forces that prey on young Dreamers.

In short:
If you want to follow your dreams, first ask yourself what your dream really is and why you want to chase it. And if you decide to take the plunge, do it with your eyes open.

Link to Original Source

+ - Will that crowdfunded game ever actually ship? (The "2 out of 3" test)->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: The failure of the Yogscast game is just the latest in a long string of high-profile kickstarter busts. Backers should do their due dilligence, but if we're honest, most of us don't have time to run the numbers and dig really deep. So here's a simple "rule of thumb" test for quickly assessing crowdfunding risk:

1. Is it a NEW TEAM?
2. Is it a NEW DESIGN?
3. Is it using NEW TECH?


0-1: Safe (but not guaranteed)
2: Risky
3: Expect Failure

Image: http://www.files.fortressofdoo...

Link to Original Source

+ - Dear Adobe: Support open source, save your tools->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: I'm a game developer that has been using Adobe tools (Flash in particular) for over 15 years. Though the Flash plugin definitely deserves it's reputation for slow performance, crashes, and security holes, there was something special about the Flash workflow and ecosystem: the plugin was installed everywhere, it gave you massive distribution, great animation tools, and it was easy to use.

Thanks chiefly to Adobe's neglect, clients and developers are losing confidence in the Flash platform.
However, Adobe can restore confidence if they:

  — Abandon empire-building
  — Embrace open-source standards like Haxe
  — Focus on their core competence: selling development tools

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Lets Clarify....... (Score 1, Offtopic) 29

by lars_doucet (#46595735) Attached to: Latest Humble Bundle Supports Open Source GameDev Tools
Actually, several of the developers are major contributors to open source projects: Here's open-source libraries that are DIRECTLY the result of Defender's Quest development:
And here's my open-source report card: Nicolas Canasse, developer of Evoland, *created* the Haxe programming language. It's totally open source. Here's his open-source report card: Here's Sean Hogan (Anodyne/Even The Ocean)'s contributions: That's just off the top of my head.

+ - Latest Humble Bundle Supports Open Source GameDev Tools->

Submitted by lars_doucet
lars_doucet writes: The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is titled "Celebrating Open Source" features eight indie games, with charity going to the open source tools used to develop them.

The open-source programming language Haxe is strongly represented: three of the charities include the Haxe Foundation itself, OpenFL (recently featured on Slashdot), and FlashDevelop, the most popular open-source Haxe/ActionScript IDE. The fourth is Ren'Py, the Python-based visual novel engine used in award-winning games like Long Live the Queen and Analogue: A Hate Story.

The games themselves are Magical Diary, NEO Scavenger, Offspring Fling!, Planet Stronghold, and for those who pay $6 or more, Anodyne, Defender's Quest, Evoland, and Incredipede, as well as 6 soundtracks.

7 of the 8 games are cross-platform across Mac/Win/Linux, and all are DRM-Free.

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:To Clarify (Score 1) 166

by lars_doucet (#46518835) Attached to: Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL!
There's a few things here and there, not sure if there's an actual list. If you target flash, obviously you have all flash functionality available, but certain things (such as super-advanced international text field support) still need to be added on various targets. HTML5 is a brand new target so that's the least mature, whereas mobile and desktop targets have really good coverage. A "list of gaps we need to fill" would definitely a good feature to add to the OpenFL site, though.

Comment: Re:To Clarify (Score 1) 166

by lars_doucet (#46518549) Attached to: Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL!
OpenFL supports HTML5: So any improvements to HTML5 will also benefit OpenFL. What OpenFL solves is the issue of "shit, my platform holder's investors got bored and yanked the rug out from under me, time to build my workflow back together from scratch!" By using Haxe, I can preserve my codebase and pivot to whatever the hot next technology is without having to bet on any one platform. I see that as a feature, not a bug.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.