Front Office Football Central  

Go Back   Front Office Football Central > Main Forums > FOF8/TCY Discussion > Developer's Corner
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read Statistics

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-28-2014, 02:34 PM   #1
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
To Greenlight or not to Greenlight

I was interested in a discussion of the pros and cons of trying a Greenlight on Steam for FOF7.

One question is whether Steam is even still interested in indie developers, given Newell's comments about moving away from Greenlight. This could simply be a waste of time and money.

Another question is whether Steam is useful for a product that's already a couple of months old.

I do need to get the word out there about FOF7. I used to do this through review requests, but things don't work that way as much any more.

If I were to go the Greenlight route and it were approved, I would set up an "exchange" of sorts where we'd assign a free Steam code to anyone willing to turn in their purchased ViaTech code. That way, people who prefer the Steam convenience wouldn't need to purchase again.

The game would still be available through ViaTech.

Anyway, I'm interested in arguments pro and con.

Solecismic is offline  
Old 02-28-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
Antmeister
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: At the corner of Beat Street and Electric Avenue
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
One question is whether Steam is even still interested in indie developers, given Newell's comments about moving away from Greenlight. This could simply be a waste of time and money.

As are as whether they are still interested in indie developers, I would have to say yes, there is still a slew of new stuff coming out on steam on a weekly basis that is from indie developers. Now as far as time and money, that is something that you would have to answer because I do not know what is all involved to Greenlight a software product. Probably best to ask the developers on the board (Mark and Brian) would have had their products placed on Steam.

Quote:
Another question is whether Steam is useful for a product that's already a couple of months old.
This does not matter. There are games on Steam that and years, even decades old so a few months will not hurt you.

Quote:
Anyway, I'm interested in arguments pro and con.
As far as pros, you will have more of an audience to your game and since you already have a number of members on FOFC, just rating the game alone can give it more exposure for those who are on the fence. Since you are in a niche market and there aren't any other football sims like this game on Steam, then you would have a leg up on those that may follow.

The cons I see only comes with those games they call Early Access. If you ever go to Steam and are about to release another version, I would avoid Early Access because people already feel this is a gamble. The only other con I see is if you are not the first true American football to be on Steam first, your game will be compared to the first one that does.
__________________
"I'm ready to bury the hatchet, but don't fuck with me" - Schmidty
"Box me once, shame on Skydog. Box me twice. Shame on me. Box me 3 times, just fucking ban my ass...." - stevew
Antmeister is offline  
Old 02-28-2014, 04:40 PM   #3
aston217
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
You never know if they're interested if you don't try. Gotta 'sell' it, but that's true for anyone, I think, and the positives are enormous....granted, I don't know what the costs are. What are the costs?
__________________
OSFL (join us!) CFL
Float likeabutterflysting likeabee.


aston217 is offline  
Old 02-28-2014, 04:56 PM   #4
chinaski
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Its worth a shot, Steam is a goldmine for a lot of developers, especially indie. However, I think the current price of FOF7 is too high for Steam. There are just far too many amazing games on there for under 20$.
chinaski is offline  
Old 02-28-2014, 06:21 PM   #5
LastWhiteSoxFanStanding
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post

I do need to get the word out there about FOF7.

In my opinion, this is the most important part. You need to get the word out before you attempt going on steam. But how best to do this?

I have a couple of somewhat radical suggestions.

1) Make your own official game message board for FOF.

2) Put a link to that message board on a splash screen for your game like OOTP does.

3) Concentrate just on graphics for your next update.

The FOF message board used to be about FOF. It used to be about text sims, now it is just for guys who like to talk about things.

The end result is that on the FOF section of the message board the earliest message on the front page is from Feb 1. Compare that to the official ootp14 message board, where the earliest message on the front page is from Feb 23.

Even this very thread has hardly had any views and it is an important thread about the future of the game!

Also there is no official place to put bug reports. There is no official place to put suggestions for the next game. The message board is no longer conducive or friendly to talking FOF. Heck, even football. The thoughtful messages you put on your frontier blog should be generating a lot more discussion than they do.

Make a new FOF message board that is just about football and FOF. Maybe it won't work, but at least it will be the focus of the entire board unlike the state of the current board.

Then put a link to that board in your game on a splash screen on the game. To encourage people to register for the new board, offer to put people's names in draft classes. On the message board, put up stickies that encourage discussion on bugs, suggestions and debate around your frontier blog topics.

Lastly I would focus on graphics, I'm no market researcher, but by far the most popular thread about FOF is about the graphics. Bite the bullet and focus on a massive upgrade on the graphics. Hopefully this will generate sales and will allow you to focus more on the nuances of the game, gameplanning and financial stuff in newer versions.

The fof community has been great for you and quite frankly has been great for me too. However, it is time for you to start a new community for your game that will focus just on your game and football to grow a following so that way your support will be strong enough to do a kickstarter or to sell a game on steam etc.
LastWhiteSoxFanStanding is online now  
Old 03-01-2014, 03:34 AM   #6
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Not to sidetrack the discussion, but I think there's an easy explanation to
Quote:
Originally Posted by LastWhiteSoxFanStanding View Post
Even this very thread has hardly had any views and it is an important thread about the future of the game!
, I visited this page because on the front page I noticed that the last post is in a thread called 'greenlight...', then went to the FOF/TCY section and didn't see the thread. I don't even understand what made me try the Developer's Corner section, because to me it feels like a hidden part of the forum.

Fwiw, I hardly use Steam, so I don't feel at place to discuss the original topic.


Edit: moot point now, with Ben's links posted at the main forum and the FOF/TCY forum.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 03-01-2014 at 05:18 AM.
MIJB#19 is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 05:10 AM   #7
frnk55
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaski View Post
Its worth a shot, Steam is a goldmine for a lot of developers, especially indie. However, I think the current price of FOF7 is too high for Steam. There are just far too many amazing games on there for under 20$.
That is very true. I damn near didn't buy it because of that.
frnk55 is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 07:11 AM   #8
Capital
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
I have not bought the game yet in part because of other games, graphics project was ongoing and football season was ending. I will purchase the game when it gets closer to football next year and I'm guessing others are going to do the same. A"re-launch" nearing football season on Steam would be beneficial - not only to me but many others.
Capital is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 07:32 AM   #9
Apathetic Lurker
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Buffalo,NY
I can't see anyone buying this game on Steam at it's current price point....If I didn't know about it and saw it on Steam and thought it looked interesting i'd wait for the inevitable sale .
Apathetic Lurker is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 07:56 AM   #10
A-Husker-4-Life
College Prospect
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Nebraska
It couldn't hurt, it would be the only Text based football game on steam but you may have to price it at $19.95 to get some interest built up. Good Luck Jim and I'll always support FOF.
__________________
JJ Smitty Owner of the
Omaha Arrowheads C.F.L.
- Come by and check us out.

Last edited by A-Husker-4-Life : 03-01-2014 at 07:57 AM.
A-Husker-4-Life is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:18 AM   #11
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
One question is whether Steam is even still interested in indie developers, given Newell's comments about moving away from Greenlight. This could simply be a waste of time and money.

I don't think Gabe Newell's comments on moving away from Greenlight were an indication that they're not interested in Indie developers anymore, he commented that the problem is that it's a bottleneck in the way of releasing more titles.

Quote:
Anyway, I'm interested in arguments pro and con.

As far as pros and cons on sales side:

Gamasutra: David Galindo's Blog - How much do indie PC devs make, anyways? (Part V)

The Steam Launch

On October 8th, 2013, just a few days shy of one year since CSD officially launched, the game landed on Steam. And in just one day, I had made nearly $15,000 in gross sales, which was almost as much as I made in the entire last year on PC/Mac/Linux for CSD. In two days, I surpassed it. In one week, I had made over $50,000 in gross revenue… more than I did in the last three years as a game maker and barista. My family couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. Finally, I felt redeemed. This was a path that was more than a dozen years in the making, but I had finally made it.

...

Steam Total

So the total so far for Steam? After the normal revenue share and such, I’ve made over $130,000 in just three months on Steam. Typing that number still makes me shake my head. That’s impossible! No way. No. Way.

The grand total of units sold across all platforms is 52,539. That’s so much larger than anything I could have imagined, and so far daily sales average around 40-60 copies sold per day across all platforms (excluding sales/major promotional days).


Gamasutra - Defender's Quest: By the Numbers, Part 2

Full Steam Ahead

Everyone knows you can make a lot of money on Steam. But how, much, exactly? And what about other platforms? Let's break it down:



Steam, unsurprisingly, is the lion's share of the market. However, over 40 percent of our revenue came from other sources -- and direct sales are still our number 2 source of overall revenue.

If you combine direct revenue + Kongregate Kreds, 32.6 percent of all revenue was earned outside of the major portals.

The first thing this chart tells me is that you should sell your game direct! Not only is it a big piece of the pie, you also get to keep most of the money (92 percent!), and build a direct relationship with those customers that no platform holder can yank away from you.

Besides, we would have never gotten on Steam and GOG had we not built up a base of direct sales to convince them with first.




The con that I think deserves mention is that a lot of the revenue comes from being featured in sales:

The problem with that for indie developers is that there's no guarantee about being featured and getting the front page visibility that comes with those sales. Developers can set their own sales now, but it probably won't be as successful without being featured as one of the first things people see when they log onto Steam.
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 09:21 AM   #12
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Husker-4-Life View Post
It couldn't hurt, it would be the only Text based football game on steam but you may have to price it at $19.95 to get some interest built up. Good Luck Jim and I'll always support FOF.

It might not be the best idea drop the price right away when getting on Steam.

Sales and Pricing

When we initially released the game on January 19, 2012, the price was $6.99. We raised this to $9.99 when Gold Edition came out, and settled at $14.99 as the final price for the Steam/GOG release. We raised the price because we knew we would make most of our money during sales periods, and we needed to give ourselves room to go down. All previous owners of the game received free updates at no additional cost.

As expected, the majority of revenue from GOG and Steam came during sales periods. Note that this effect is not just due to the discount, however, but the combined effect of the discount along with featured promotion leading to a temporary boost in visibility.

We used fairly steep discounts (33, 50, and 66 percent off), and did so early in the game's release. We're not sure if that was the wisest move, and feel we might have underpriced ourselves during these sales periods. For our next title we'll likely use shallower discounts to see if there's any major difference in revenue.


So maybe if the goal is to sell it for $20 launch it might be a better idea instead to start with something like a $25 or $30 price tag with a launch week discount.

Last edited by mckerney : 03-01-2014 at 09:32 AM.
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 10:51 AM   #13
wishbone
High School JV
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Hillsboro OR
I'll be honest and say that I have not purchased FOF7 yet. I had previously bought FOF4, The College Years and FOF2007 at the first opportunity but have waited on FOF7 specifically because I prefer to purchase in Steam. I don't want to deal with viatech anymore, I am not a fan of downloading whole games or separate patches for each update. I like that steam update my games while I sleep and I like that I can scan a list and choose a game. In Steam, FOF7 is a day 1 purchase for me. Outside of Steam it has been 60+.
wishbone is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 11:04 AM   #14
cartman
Death Herald
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Le stelle la notte sono grandi e luminose nel cuore profondo del Texas
I'd say it would be a great way to get more exposure for the game. Steam is by far the biggest online game marketplace. I know you have mentioned before about controlling the price. I posted a link earlier this week that said Steam was going to release tools to allow developers to do their own sales.

As you are basically a one man shop, take a look at what Banished has done recently. That game was also done by a single developer. I'd venture to say that without Steam as a distribution platform, not nearly as many people would have taken a chance on the game.
__________________
Thinkin' of a master plan
'Cuz ain't nuthin' but sweat inside my hand
So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent
So I dig deeper but still comin' up with lint
cartman is online now  
Old 03-01-2014, 11:16 AM   #15
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Thanks for the input. The blog about the Android port is particularly interesting.

Since the EA days, I've had remarkably consistent opening weeks. FOF7 opened a little below what I'm used to (maybe 90% of what I'm used to), but caught up through Christmas. But the wane has been a lot quicker. Of course, this is the latest in the year I've ever released a new product, and FOF has always sold better in-season than out. My guess is that 90% of past results is what I can expect moving forward.

I'll never get rich that way, and I'm only still in business because I banked most of what EA sent me (it's too bad we lost our Madden deal, because then I would be set financially), but as long as I don't buy a lot of toys, I can probably keep at this at least another couple of years.

It's hard to say what Steam could do. People wait for the sales, so I'd have to enter the market at a price where a sale would still be at a reasonable cost. Steam takes a higher percentage, too.

So one big question is whether having a text sports sim on Steam - one with bare bones graphics - can increase my sales to where EA had them for a couple of years. I'm OK with a sale price around $20 or so if that's the case.

Another question - is Steam a little like a country club? Right now, there's no way I can call my buddy Gabe on the phone and get his advice and support. But if they let me in, is it a more interactive process? Like they'll feature me if I put on a sale coinciding with training camp opening? Or is this still largely out of my control?

I also worry about my own role. I'm sure you've noticed by now that I'm not comfortable with the PR side of my job. I get what I need to do, but sometimes I just don't want to do it. The good thing I discovered when I bore down and got FOF7 done is that I'm still a capable programmer. The muscles I let go for a time built up quickly. It's all still in my head, and, really, another few years of experience have made a positive difference.

The bad thing is that I'm still remarkably lazy about PR and I have a harder time than ever going into a new arena and asking for attention. If someone tells me I suck, my internal reaction is always going to be, "well, I probably do suck, so why fight about it?" I'm more a business-side behind-the-scenes guy than a front man. Realizing all this, I know I need a business manager or an agent more than anything, but I have no idea how you get a good one without giving up a high percentage of the revenue. And, as stated before, I can make Solecismic work solo if I don't buy many toys, but there isn't enough to share.

So I know I need to work on a video if I'm going to start the Greenlight process, and I'm reacting to that with my usual lazy attitude - a sure sign that I really don't want to do this. Hopefully I can push through it and create something decent. And then we'll see where we are. I figure with the off-season a month old, there's never going to be a better time to start a Greenlight.
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:15 PM   #16
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
Another question - is Steam a little like a country club? Right now, there's no way I can call my buddy Gabe on the phone and get his advice and support. But if they let me in, is it a more interactive process? Like they'll feature me if I put on a sale coinciding with training camp opening? Or is this still largely out of my control?

Indie platform confessional: Steam, Humble Store, Apple, Android | Joystiq

Has some answers on what it's like to work with Steam once you have a game on it. It looks like requesting promotion at a certain time is something you'd be able to do, though with limited space for midweek and weekend deals I wouldn't want to guess at how successful it might be. From a recent update it looks like they added an easier way to request to be part of their week long deals which do offer added visability, though not as much as the midweek deals.



As far as success of sports text sims on Steam it's a pretty big range between Football Manager often having more concurrent players than any non-Valve title to OOTP peaking at 182 and Franchise Hockey Manager still stuck in Greenlight limbo 4 months later
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:32 PM   #17
antdroid
n00b
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
I dont know the cost of getting a game into Steam or GOG, but if its feasible, I think the impact of the wide audience would greatly benefit the game even if you went to a cheaper price point. There's so many games I would never have even heard of if not for steam and its steam sales. The only reason I knew about this game was because I knew about it since the EA days and I just happened to be googling for a new football text sim and found out this was updated.

That said, the graphics in the game need to be updated and modernized more (even after latest update) and the website needs to be updated to an influx of new customers. Steam reaches a very large diverse audience and dated graphics may be a non-starter for many people.

Last edited by antdroid : 03-01-2014 at 12:54 PM.
antdroid is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #18
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antmeister View Post
The only other con I see is if you are not the first true American football to be on Steam first, your game will be compared to the first one that does.

I hope it doesn't work that way. I'm sure Football Mogul has outsold FOF by 10-to-1, because Clay has put together a better sales network and even gets his games into Wal-Mart. When I first started work on FOF, before I even talked about it on Usenet, Clay announced Football Mogul. I was terrified because he had this great product out there already and I thought no one would even look at my work as long as there was an alternative. But it worked out well. It turns out they are very different products and appeal to different customers. There's even significant crossover.

I've always operated under the assumption that competition builds sales for the entire genre, and people who are interested in a genre try different products and have different favorites at different times.

So competition works - Arlie has a couple of football games out there, and my sales always increased when he put out something. Gary has talked about it, and even had someone working on one for a time. And OOTP is about to put one out. Looking at Francis' blog, it's clear he's someone who "gets" text simming, and he's willing to take on the hundred-ton elephant of true 2D in a football sim. His take will be very different from mine and we'll probably both benefit from each other.
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:47 PM   #19
sjshaw
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by antdroid View Post
.
That said, the graphics in the game need to be updated and modernized more (even after latest update) and the website needs to be updated to an influx of new customers. Steam reaches a very large diverse audience and dated graphics may a non-starter for many people.

Agreed 100%, especially about the website and the OP's message board suggestion.

Also, some targeted advertising at the top college football message boards (Rivals, 247) and NFL sites (entertainment-based and stathead-based) would probably generate a positive ROI. But not if the website and game presentation isn't updated. The web is too big now and people have expectations. If they see anything that looks "old" and isn't being ironic about it... *click "close tab"*
__________________
Hollywood Media Whores
FOBL CHAMPION 2007 2020 2035
sjshaw is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:49 PM   #20
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by antdroid View Post
I dont know the cost of getting a game into Steam or GOG, but if its feasible, I think the impact of the wide audience would greatly benefit the game even if you went to a cheaper price point.

GOG or Humble Store might be good options even if FOF A were also on Steam, but DRM free is required on GOG and not necessary but I believe encouraged on Humble, which would be a change from what Jim has done in the past.
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 01:21 PM   #21
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Let's assume more new graphics aren't an option (reasons being I don't want to sacrifice screen space, too much time and a full makeover would cost a lot of money because I'm not an artist). Is Greenlight still worth pursuing?
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 01:45 PM   #22
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
Let's assume more new graphics aren't an option (reasons being I don't want to sacrifice screen space, too much time and a full makeover would cost a lot of money because I'm not an artist). Is Greenlight still worth pursuing?

I think it would be worth it, but not if you're going to be lazy with PR on it. I don't think you can rely on just throwing up a page on Greenlight and getting enough attention to get through without doing anything else for it.
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 02:05 PM   #23
mckerney
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
As far as resources about trying to get through Greenlight, Gamasutra is where you'll find some of the best info.

Gamasutra: Szymon Bryla's Blog - The 43-Day Siege – breaking stereotypes on Steam Greenlight

Gamasutra - Revisiting Greenlight

Gamasutra: Colin Walsh's Blog - Steam Greenlight: What To Expect



YouTube Let's Plays are one of the bigger things you'll see mentioned, though unfortunately text sports sims don't really lend themselves too well to that format.
mckerney is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 02:15 PM   #24
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Those links bring up an interesting "pro" - the Greenlight process itself could be a very valuable mechanism for getting people to try the free demo.

Yeah, though, no matter what I promise, I can guarantee I'm far more interested in developing games than PR. If I had to choose between developing something new or spending my work time on PR, it's an easy choice. I'd rather go back to work in the real world than wear the PR hat full time. Which seems strange to me, because I genuinely like writing.

It sounds like I'll need to hire someone to run the PR campaign if I'm going this route.
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 02:15 PM   #25
nilodor
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: calgary, AB
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
Let's assume more new graphics aren't an option (reasons being I don't want to sacrifice screen space, too much time and a full makeover would cost a lot of money because I'm not an artist). Is Greenlight still worth pursuing?

I think it is, and I think the graphics updates that were done are enough to bring the game away from looking too much like excel. I think the game is now at the minimum level for graphics. The one thing to consider would be to make it easier for people to use custom graphics, custom helmets, etc. It's a huge component of the immersion of most text sims and I think the text sim community is very good at supporting this stuff if it's easy enough to do.
nilodor is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 05:29 PM   #26
MizzouRah
General Manager
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Troy, Mo
I say, go for it!
MizzouRah is offline  
Old 03-01-2014, 11:41 PM   #27
stevew
Hall Of Famer
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: the yo'
Let's say I never heard of FOF but I had Steam. I search for "Football Game" cause maybe I hate madden but want to see if there's something else.

I get a bunch of results, but basically all of them are soccer management games. I shift to "American Football Game." I see 3 responses, Blood Bowl, Gridiron Solitare, and DungeonBall. I think maybe you'd get some looks here because of the lack of available titles..

Say I search for "Sports management game"-There's only 18 games there. I see Football Manager, I'm stoked til I realize that's a soccer game. I think maybe this plants the idea though that there "might" be an american football game and if you appear in this search string you will probably at least get some looks.

I know you hate PR but I'd do the green light thing. If you don't wanna do that maybe you could work on some SEO stuff.
stevew is offline  
Old 03-02-2014, 02:51 AM   #28
MartinD
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: East Lothian, Scotland
Going off at a bit of a tangent...

Is there any value in making an older version of FOF available through GOG? An alternative (particularly if there are any plans for TCY2) might be to put the original TCY on GOG... (Other game-selling websites are available, of course, but GOG seems the most appropriate fit for this.)

While the potential return on this would obviously be lower than getting FOF7 onto Steam, it would (probably) involve a lot less work and would put FOF/TCY in front of a wider audience.
MartinD is offline  
Old 03-02-2014, 08:00 AM   #29
Antmeister
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: At the corner of Beat Street and Electric Avenue
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
I hope it doesn't work that way. I'm sure Football Mogul has outsold FOF by 10-to-1, because Clay has put together a better sales network and even gets his games into Wal-Mart. When I first started work on FOF, before I even talked about it on Usenet, Clay announced Football Mogul. I was terrified because he had this great product out there already and I thought no one would even look at my work as long as there was an alternative. But it worked out well. It turns out they are very different products and appeal to different customers. There's even significant crossover.

I've always operated under the assumption that competition builds sales for the entire genre, and people who are interested in a genre try different products and have different favorites at different times.

So competition works - Arlie has a couple of football games out there, and my sales always increased when he put out something. Gary has talked about it, and even had someone working on one for a time. And OOTP is about to put one out. Looking at Francis' blog, it's clear he's someone who "gets" text simming, and he's willing to take on the hundred-ton elephant of true 2D in a football sim. His take will be very different from mine and we'll probably both benefit from each other.

Okay didn't mean it as a true con. What I mean is that whenever anyone discusses any game at Steam, they often like to compare to the first game of its type available on Steam and generally like to weigh the pros and cons of another game against this. What I am just stating is that if yours is the first of its type there, people will compare all the ones following against this, pros and cons. So it will be used as a barometer against other football text sims. And being the first means more people are likely to give it a chance.
__________________
"I'm ready to bury the hatchet, but don't fuck with me" - Schmidty
"Box me once, shame on Skydog. Box me twice. Shame on me. Box me 3 times, just fucking ban my ass...." - stevew
Antmeister is offline  
Old 03-02-2014, 12:31 PM   #30
garion333
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Near Cleveland
I'm still all for getting on Steam.

As far as the process, I followed Bill Harris' development from the beginning and was a part of the beta process (my name is in the credits, woot!). He never expected to get into Steam and he did, so I think you could too, especially with a prexisting game series.

You should check out Bill's blog and see all he went through. I believe this post is most apropos of getting on Steam: Dubious Quality: Gridiron Solitaire #89: A Deep Breath
garion333 is offline  
Old 03-03-2014, 09:28 AM   #31
NawlinsFan
High School JV
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Southern Maryland
I think Steam/Geenlight is the right step now to introduce your product to a much larger community. As you have already noted it will at least allow access to the demo which will no doubt translate into sales, how many.... ????

One thing for certain, Jim has admitted he is not a PR guy. Going on Steam will allow a ton more feedback and if anyone has followed the forums for the games it is not all positive. So I would think that Jim may have to rely on a couple of the FOF faithful that he relies upon to assist him in answering or discussing the game with the community.

The graphics have improved dramatically but I will admit, being old, that not all of the changes will appeal to everyone. Still if the community understands that there are a few things they can mod it may help.

One thing I personally think would help a lot, especially since it is much more an MP game than an SP (IMO) would be to enhance the pre-designed league screens that would display the depth and range of stats and data in a manner similar to what someone has already done for a few leagues under 2007. Granted exporting a csv file allows a lot of flexibility but for leagues that don't have anyone with enough experience or time to develop them it would add to the feature list.

Last edited by NawlinsFan : 03-03-2014 at 09:37 AM.
NawlinsFan is offline  
Old 03-03-2014, 09:34 PM   #32
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
In terms of the game looking dated, is that something that would be remedied by replacing existing graphics (presumably not the new contest-winning ones), or is it simply the structure of the game itself.

I look at "apps" in Windows, and they force full screen on you, which is something that drove me crazy back in the Windows '95 days - seemed to me that windowing was the big game-changer over DOS. I'm just wondering if this is a matter of simply replacing some really horrible stuff, like my default city logos. Or if it's out of my reach because it's the windowing itself.

I wish I saw it myself. Maybe that's a sign of age. I like simple, plain graphics. Animation makes me want to strike someone. A sound track makes me reach for the mute button.
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 09:44 AM   #33
antdroid
n00b
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
In terms of the game looking dated, is that something that would be remedied by replacing existing graphics (presumably not the new contest-winning ones), or is it simply the structure of the game itself.

Graphics are probably the biggest and also the easiest thing I'd think that would need to be replaced. You dont need fancy animations or any of that business, but just the fact that the game is 100x more attractive with the graphics update is a great great start.

I think just taking some visual cues from the two leading sports sims - Football Manager and OOTP -- would go a long way. (they've also taken those same visual styles into mobile platforms with great success) FOF is actually pretty close to being there, now, I think, especially with the user generated graphic mods.

The separate window menus were actually quite a turn-off for me initially, being someone who just recently got the game a month ago. I had tried the demo and saw the whole windows thing and just a screen of hyperlinks and text and it really threw me off course. I then tried PFS and found that interface much more enjoyable (at first) however I felt something was missing and went back to try this demo out again and then just really grew to love it and ended up buying this product, so maybe I'm not so shallow.

If you wanted to modernize it a little more, then having a walkthrough tutorial of the first season with more guidance may help alleviate the learning curve for a new person to sports text-based simulations.

I hope you take this all as constructive criticism and nothing more than that. You've obviously developed a great game, which others, like me, have searched out to find and found it here in a great balanced american football sim.
antdroid is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:18 AM   #34
nilodor
College Benchwarmer
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: calgary, AB
Quote:
Originally Posted by antdroid View Post
If you wanted to modernize it a little more, then having a walkthrough tutorial of the first season with more guidance may help alleviate the learning curve for a new person to sports text-based simulations.


This. I have a couple of friends who are huge football nerds but they never got into the game because the learning curve upfront is pretty steep. I think a first year tutorial would be a great idea and would help alleviate the overwhelmingness of the main screen.

I also think it would be a shame if the game didn't make it to a wider audience through steam or something similar because Football Mogul can't be what people think of when they think of football text sims.
nilodor is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 11:16 AM   #35
Dutch
"Dutch"
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Tampa, FL
You can stick to your guns and your beliefs and still sell FOF on steam. People still crave the stats of FOF vs graphics. You can always modernize the look without fancy FOF2k1 graphics....which I thought wasnt the best look for your style.
Dutch is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 01:51 PM   #36
Fonzie
Pro Rookie
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Illinois
Quote:
Originally Posted by antdroid View Post
Graphics are probably the biggest and also the easiest thing I'd think that would need to be replaced. You dont need fancy animations or any of that business, but just the fact that the game is 100x more attractive with the graphics update is a great great start.

I think just taking some visual cues from the two leading sports sims - Football Manager and OOTP -- would go a long way. (they've also taken those same visual styles into mobile platforms with great success) FOF is actually pretty close to being there, now, I think, especially with the user generated graphic mods.

The separate window menus were actually quite a turn-off for me initially, being someone who just recently got the game a month ago. I had tried the demo and saw the whole windows thing and just a screen of hyperlinks and text and it really threw me off course. I then tried PFS and found that interface much more enjoyable (at first) however I felt something was missing and went back to try this demo out again and then just really grew to love it and ended up buying this product, so maybe I'm not so shallow.

If you wanted to modernize it a little more, then having a walkthrough tutorial of the first season with more guidance may help alleviate the learning curve for a new person to sports text-based simulations.

I hope you take this all as constructive criticism and nothing more than that. You've obviously developed a great game, which others, like me, have searched out to find and found it here in a great balanced american football sim.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts on how to improve the game for either the next version or a Greenlight attempt. I think the issue with the game appearing dated is certainly in part due to the graphics, but for me much of this perception is generated by the user interface. Compared to other modern games FOF7 just isn't easy or straightforward to navigate (for me, anyway).

Up above it was suggested that an official FOF forum be created, and I think that's a good idea. It might also be worthwhile to consider creating a subreddit - I see some smaller games that have a fairly active user base there.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do, Jim. I'll be pulling for you!
Fonzie is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 05:55 PM   #37
Dutch
"Dutch"
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Tampa, FL
When I hear "Graphics", I think a modern look to the interface...and that's fine and dandy. But the biggest appeal to me is seeing all the stats and numbers in generic 8pt Arial font. It's the cleanest looking interface for a text-based system ever (whether that was on purpose or by accident or by Microsoft design or whatever is irrelevant)...but it's hooked me because of the lack of distractions.

All the goofy graphics that Jim has used over the years hasn't phased me one bit because they haven't affected the actual game play...which are those basic, fundamental "spreadsheets" with 8pt Arial font. That part of the interface was right since the very beginning and shouldn't be messed with too much.
Dutch is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:24 PM   #38
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
I was hoping people would embrace a different font for the future. Oh, well.

But, yes, I'm glad Arial is appreciated. When I started out, it was so much better than the default. There are other good families out there that you'll find on most computers, but Arial in the 8pt size is still as good as anything.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg statsscript.jpg (437.4 KB, 306 views)
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:30 PM   #39
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fonzie View Post
This pretty much sums up my thoughts on how to improve the game for either the next version or a Greenlight attempt. I think the issue with the game appearing dated is certainly in part due to the graphics, but for me much of this perception is generated by the user interface. Compared to other modern games FOF7 just isn't easy or straightforward to navigate (for me, anyway).

Up above it was suggested that an official FOF forum be created, and I think that's a good idea. It might also be worthwhile to consider creating a subreddit - I see some smaller games that have a fairly active user base there.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do, Jim. I'll be pulling for you!

Thanks. Reddit is something I've heard a lot about lately. I've never ventured in before. What would that offer in addition to FOFC, which I think is really solid as a place for people to learn about the game.

I'm interested in specific navigation ideas. I like the link menus because they reduce the number of clicks. But maybe they would be less useful if I switched from Modal to non-Modal (like I did with the UADTR card game).
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:39 PM   #40
gstelmack
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Quote:
Originally Posted by antdroid View Post
...saw the whole windows thing and just a screen of hyperlinks and text and it really threw me off course.

I think this would be the area to focus on. Newcomers just have no idea what to do, and have to start randomly clicking (after they figure out to click the buttons at top to open the windows in the first place).

The calendar is a start to fixing this, but I'd get rid of much of the top tool bar (new, save, load are fine there) and replace it with buttons on the right side of the calendar for:

- Offseason actions
- Adjust Roster
- Set depthchart
- Set gameplan
- Sim games
- View Statistics
- View League Information

Each of these then opens windows similar to the existing, except that I would move around a few options to fit the actions the player wants to do. Offseason actions includes ticket prices, staff hiring, and maybe the draft. But right now you spend a while figuring out where everything is, and this would streamline the process without taking power away.

The other thing I would fix ( I fully admit) is do away with the modal dialogs. Why can't I have the depth chart, roster window, and a player card all open at the same time and navigable? Maybe even statistics? Taking a UI that is based on giving the player lots of info, and only letting them look at one piece at a time, is contradictory. Heck, in this day-and-age of 1920 pixel wide screens, why do I have such a narrow roster view with buttons to change the view, instead of one wide one with all the info available?

You've already taken a step to clean up the graphics, and the game looks worlds better for it. Fixing some of these usability issues will lower the barrier to entry for the game, and give it a more "modern" UI feel without completely throwing away your approach for presenting the information.

As to the original question, my answer is simple: if you aren't happy with current sales and want more, Steam is the only real answer out there. If you aren't on Steam, you have niche availability on the PC, period. If you don't want the hassle of Steam, then you need to be happy with sales figures as they are.
__________________
-- Greg
-- Author of various FOF utilities
gstelmack is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 06:40 PM   #41
gstelmack
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
I'm interested in specific navigation ideas. I like the link menus because they reduce the number of clicks. But maybe they would be less useful if I switched from Modal to non-Modal (like I did with the UADTR card game).

Cross-posted
__________________
-- Greg
-- Author of various FOF utilities
gstelmack is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 08:26 PM   #42
Dutch
"Dutch"
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Tampa, FL
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
I was hoping people would embrace a different font for the future. Oh, well.

Typically I'm against change, but when I saw the digital alarm clock font the Bucs chose...

...

...typically I'm against change.

Quote:
But, yes, I'm glad Arial is appreciated. When I started out, it was so much better than the default. There are other good families out there that you'll find on most computers, but Arial in the 8pt size is still as good as anything.

Yup.
Dutch is offline  
Old 03-04-2014, 08:30 PM   #43
Dutch
"Dutch"
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Tampa, FL
Quote:
Originally Posted by gstelmack View Post
As to the original question, my answer is simple: if you aren't happy with current sales and want more, Steam is the only real answer out there. If you aren't on Steam, you have niche availability on the PC, period. If you don't want the hassle of Steam, then you need to be happy with sales figures as they are.

Yes, and the relationship with Steam would allow you to still be autonomous from Steam. So if the relationship ever soured, you could remove yourself from the equation with a lot less hassle than say....EA and ownership rights and stuff like that (assuming that may have been an issue back in the FOF2 days)

Last edited by Dutch : 03-04-2014 at 08:30 PM.
Dutch is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 04:04 PM   #44
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
So, assuming that I try Greenlight, the video is critical, right? So what should it contain?

How long? Is 4-6 minutes about right?

How much "this is the history of Front Office Football?" Is that too much like showing off baby pictures?

How much talking about the game as opposed to specific function?
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #45
Marmel
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Manchester, CT
I'm not sure if I have watched more than 3 Steam videos all time. I rely on the screen shots and the written description/features of the game, FWIW.
I would just pull up a few similar text style games and see what they did for videos and screen shots.
If steam doesn't work, the only other way to increase sales these days is to partner up with one of the other text sim companies: The FM guys, OOTP, Grey dog, etc...
__________________
81-78

Cincinnati basketball writer P. Daugherty, "Connor Barwin playing several minutes against Syracuse is like kids with slingshots taking down Caesar's legions."

Last edited by Marmel : 03-06-2014 at 07:09 PM.
Marmel is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 07:17 PM   #46
DaddyTorgo
Hall Of Famer
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
Those links bring up an interesting "pro" - the Greenlight process itself could be a very valuable mechanism for getting people to try the free demo.

Yeah, though, no matter what I promise, I can guarantee I'm far more interested in developing games than PR. If I had to choose between developing something new or spending my work time on PR, it's an easy choice. I'd rather go back to work in the real world than wear the PR hat full time. Which seems strange to me, because I genuinely like writing.

It sounds like I'll need to hire someone to run the PR campaign if I'm going this route.

Don't neglect this community when looking for help with the PR campaign. You have a lot of goodwill and passionate supporters in this community who might be willing to lend a hand for minimal compensation.
DaddyTorgo is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 07:47 PM   #47
stevew
Hall Of Famer
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: the yo'
Some basic gameplay videos could help sell the game I'd think. Like a simple "drafting a franchise QB" one. Even if it was some sort of power point with narration. Something a person could show to someone else to better explain how the game works.

For example
Slide 1-breakdown of previous season bullet points on bad QB play
Slide 2-explanation of reveal of draft class.
Slide 3-break down 2-3 QBs to consider for #1 pick
Slide 4-show other #1pick options
Slide 5-reveal pick and revisit him after camp changes
Slide 6-revisit players after 5 years
Slide 7- revisit players after career ends and summarize what went right/wrong.

Aka tell the story of the 2015 draft as concisely as possible but provide enough of a look into the gameplay for an on the fence user.
stevew is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 11:50 PM   #48
Solecismic
Solecismic Software
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Brighton, MI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmel View Post
I'm not sure if I have watched more than 3 Steam videos all time. I rely on the screen shots and the written description/features of the game, FWIW.
I would just pull up a few similar text style games and see what they did for videos and screen shots.
If steam doesn't work, the only other way to increase sales these days is to partner up with one of the other text sim companies: The FM guys, OOTP, Grey dog, etc...

I've been begging Marc for years to take me on. He's always very helpful, but he's far too smart to make any offers.
Solecismic is offline  
Old 03-06-2014, 11:59 PM   #49
antdroid
n00b
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
I think making a really impactful, fun, trailer would be a great idea, but my personal preference is to limit it to just 1-2 minutes tops. Anything more than that would bore me unless especially since this isn't a story-based 3D graphic game. I think having a series of videos on different aspects of the game would be more useful than one long one.

i also tend to rely on screenshots a lot too for the same reasons mentioned above. playthroughs can be really long and boring to me.

I like steve's suggestion of making a story out of a player as an example of one. Would add a little more personal and compelling flair to the game.

Another might be outlying finding a diamond in the rough undrafted free agent and seeing his career build. Another would be emphasizing how realistic the game is compared to real life, etc. etc.
antdroid is offline  
Old 03-07-2014, 02:06 PM   #50
Marmel
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Manchester, CT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solecismic View Post
I've been begging Marc for years to take me on. He's always very helpful, but he's far too smart to make any offers.

That would be a dream scenario! I love the way FM looks and works, but I just don't get soccer.
__________________
81-78

Cincinnati basketball writer P. Daugherty, "Connor Barwin playing several minutes against Syracuse is like kids with slingshots taking down Caesar's legions."
Marmel is offline  
Closed Thread


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:48 PM.



Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.