Faerie Solitaire Harvest

#125

Top countries by sales in order so far.

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The countries that are completely dark in the image above are not all at 0 units (many are 0) but just very low.

Not surprising but Linux and macOS sales are still way lower than Windows. But they are almost the same now which maybe is a good sign for Linux which used to be much lower than macOS.

There have been many supposed youtubers/twitch streamers asking for keys and I asked each to verify themselves through official channels. None have, so probably 100% of them have been fake. Be warned this happens when you are releasing on Steam. Scammers will ask you for keys with e-mail addresses which look like they might have been from big or small streamers and are actually fake, they sell the keys on sites like G2A.

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#126

Sales have tapered off since launch day numbers (and will probably continue to dive as launch visibility round ends). But it’s all within expectations and the game is still likely to break even at cost six months to a year from now which is also again within expectations for Steam. Not a failure by our terms, not a huge success on Steam by far either, but it’s nice to have a +1 number to the games we have selling over time.

We still need to publish on mobile and some casual portals.

Over the next month in May I’ll still be working on new content for FSH but after that will probably move on to the next game completely. The next (new) game is the super challenging sister game to Harvest called Faerie Solitaire Dire, which I’ll make a new thread for in the near future.

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I would caution anyone trying to make a casual game for Steam to not expect similar results, and even our results are very median not even average for “indie games” on Steam. If you check out casual games on Steam the numbers look really low, because many devs don’t put the effort in to reach existing gamers on the platform. But the same effort spent trying to reach the smaller niche casual audience on Steam would be more effective if you were trying to promote a game which actually had appeal to a large chunk of Steam users. Most likely next year we will try very hard to make some games which appeal to core Steam audience and not casual audience. :slight_smile:

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#127

Thanks a lot for the update.

I guess with casual games you want to spread to as much platforms as possible but I’m wondering if you found that it’s really worth?
I mean every platform requires some level of integration with their ecosystem and this adds to the development time. It’s a tough balance in my mind :slight_smile:

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#128

In my current view, supporting platforms like Steam is good for the long term, but not for current profits. Same with releasing Linux builds for non-casual games, everyone should be doing it for the long term.

It used to be the casual portals were huge but they’ve all mostly died it seems, mobile ate their cheese. And reaching mobile audiences is expensive and competitive.

We’re making the game premium everywhere so that helps with integration time. Of course maybe if we made it F2P with IAP/ads it could make more money and people will complain that it’s too expensive to buy but oh well we want to test and see what happens. :slight_smile:

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#129

Post launch week sales have tapered off even more to almost nothing but it’s still expected. Most games on Steam don’t sell much unless they are on sale even if it’s only 10% off (or if a similar game is becoming super popular and the game is lucky enough to appear in the “games like this” list next to it).

Our wishlist total is at 5k+ now! I would bet that people putting their game on sales so soon after release has something to do with how many wishlists they gain at launch. Probably for a proper core game on Steam they get like 10-100k wishlists on launch easily based on Steam’s population and some wishlist counts I’ve seen before. I find early sales disrespectful, at least 6 months should be before first sale, but still many games do as low as 2 and they may need it to get the lion’s share of what their game ever makes since game buying culture on Steam seems to lean so heavily on waiting for a big sale instead of buying at launch.

Currently wrangling Android issues. FMOD is super nice for reducing audio quality easily per target, but Defold doesn’t have selective asset folders based on target possible in game.project so alternative audio banks have to be moved around with scripts while making bundles instead.

FMOD is producing some random static on my Android phone which is concerning, but it’s not happening on another device… audio quality didn’t change it, doesn’t change with volume or headphones…

Found this app for testing, results from phone with the crackling. It may be the way the audio banks are loading so will investigate…

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.levien.audiobuffersize

This device crackles

This one does not crackle
not
Puzzling when I tried to enable texture profiles specific to Android (like using ETC1 for bgs) and limited texture size to only 2k the total APK size went up? I’ll need to test it more but it’s time consuming to do so.

We will for sure publish as a $10 game on mobile. It’s kind of stupid since I know that F2P can make so much more, but we want to test to be sure that premium on mobile isn’t viable. Depending on how well it does or doesn’t do all of our future games will be F2P with all of the stuff like IAP and ads or not.

I have 3 large free content updates planned out for FSH. These I’ll finish producing this month, then they will be released over the next three months one at a time in May, June, and July. Depending on how well these updates impact sales will also determine if we invest much more into FSH and if we do similar larger content updates for future games or not. I currently have no clue what kind of impact they will be, but no matter what they will still sweeten the deal for current and future owners.

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FSH got another mention in the Defold newsletter! Thank you! :fireworks: I hope FSH inspires more devs to make more games with Defold!

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#130

Android beta version is live now! We have a few testers trying to break it now. :slight_smile:

I edited the manifest down to these permissions, not sure if that’s a problem yet.

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>
	<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE"/>
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE"/>
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WAKE_LOCK"/>    
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.VIBRATE"/>
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#131

Testing compression! For PC release we only used webp fast and even then it takes a long time to build.

With FMOD audio compression is super easy. Originally audio was ~74MB. Got it down to ~25MB with noticeably less quality but not bad for mobile. Before we added audio compression the APK was 138MB and after it went to 84.56MB.

Testing texture profiles first tested webp lossy best on everything with max texture size of 1024 took APK from 84.56MB to 54.26MB. The game looks alright, and probably runs better on more devices. But some assets you can tell do not look as good. So I will need to be more selective with which assets would be lossy or not and which would get a 1024 texture size. But there are probably many assets we could put as a max atlas texture size of 512 and it would still be OK. If I can get the APK to be below 50MB without dramatically looking and sounding worse that would be great. Texture profiles are a super useful tool. I only wish it didn’t take so long to build with them!! It would be nice to maybe have the tools scan the project and give a size estimate based on current configuration or something, that way we can adjust without actually making builds to compare.

I bet you can tell which of these screenshots has the more compressed assets!

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#132

Some updates!

Post release now we’re not doing much promotion ourselves, but FSH is still getting healthy (in terms of casual niche on Steam) wishlist additions. Daily average wishlist additions over the last 2 weeks is 36. Daily average over last month is 130. Daily average sales post release are less than half of what I was optimistically hoping for, but still not bad.

I’ve not been able to update the Android build on Google Play since first version because of other work distractions, there are still some crashing issues we need to solve. I’m clear to share sales data there so I will over time! It’s sold 5 copies in ~10 days but I’ve only posted about it in a single place and for the most part it’s not easy to find, it’s not actually officially released. So not bad. :slight_smile: Currently my brother and I still want to give premium with it a shot.

My brother is working on another game - another port project (FSR) to Defold from another engine. It has all assets done, it’s just some code left to translate and things to polish / do it the Defold way like the particles. Probably will be done later this month then it will get its own thread.

I’m working on extra post release content for FSH and will for 2 more weeks before releasing something new for FSH. The content is mostly to fill the content gaps players who already finished the game felt were missing.

More stats I can share

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We have several players above 100 hours played so maybe Steam removes some outliers for the data.

retention

One of the things the next update has is Lore Cards. These are items found by players while playing the game. They convey lore about the world, items, characters, and several have mini stories. The lore text will sadly be very expensive to translate and I’m hoping our fans will be enthusiastic about donating translations for it since at the moment there are not enough sales to pay for translating it all into every language and most non-English language regions only have a few sales so it’s difficult to justify paying for more than the bigger ones. Here’s an example of a lore card’s text (wip still, has yet to be touched by editor so don’t worry about text issues).

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#133

FSH is 33% off during the Steam Summer Sale! This is probably the lowest price it will be this year!

We’re about to release a big free update for FSH which includes new content and mechanics geared around players who love the game and want more things to find, earn, and play with while they play:

  • Lore cards to find and read, lots of little stories and insights.
  • Talents to earn and boost gameplay, with some talents that add additional mechanics. Every talent is able to be earned if people play enough.
  • Valor as optional difficulty, and permanent boosts able to unlocked by gaining Valor levels.

I’ll post again once the update is live. Probably a few more days since we still need to balance the talents more.

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#134

This update took longer than we wanted to finish, but it was’t Defold’s fault that it took longer. :cowboy_hat_face:

This update arrives on Steam on Monday.

Defold is still a joy to use!

This engine issue is a blocker for us with this project, we had to disable something in game for now until it is fixed https://github.com/defold/editor2-issues/issues/2625

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#135

Sorry to hear that! We’ll look into it tomorrow!

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#136

We will try to make a small reproducible sample and share it tomorrow.

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#137

I sent samples to Defold team and can get them more if needed. It is super nice Defold team is so responsive with issues like this! Rarely does any other tool team work like this so it cannot be understated how grateful I am and how much they should be praised.


The Library update is now live on Steam!

Now for the most part we are moving on to Dire. I will be journaling that game as well!

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#138

Now I am finally getting the mobile versions up. Android first then iOS.

Amazon App Store was super fast to create project on and upload and review. I think it took 2 hours in total.

For the latest update Google Play is still stuck in processing after 12+ hours. It’s usually faster!

Are there any other Android app stores worth putting games on?

Recently I’ve been trying to get in touch with various mobile / casual review sites and basically every single one replied with a paid promotional package offer… it sucks that this is the new normal and acceptable to openly present conflicts of interest like this. I asked on reddit and the consensus seems to be don’t bother with these sites at all and instead build awareness in other ways (which we have been doing but there’s for sure more I’ll try in the future).

The outstanding wishlist balance for FSH on Steam is 5,038. Lots of people waiting for a deeper discount is normal.

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#139

Update on itch.io downloads / sales data. People cannot download the ios/win versions without paying $9.99 which explains why they are 0 but it’s still interesting that none of the people who paid downloaded them. We gave the Linux version free on itch.io

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Here are the total Mac / Linux sales on Steam, rest are Windows, but I can’t share that data still. It is nice that there are some sales for these platforms but Windows still is the lion’s share. Thankfully Defold makes it super easy to support Mac and Linux it amounts to just a few minutes extra on build times. :slight_smile: My release process is -> make bundles with a script -> upload all depots with another script -> test beta update on Steam -> promote to live if all is well. It takes about an hour in total to make a release for Win/Mac/Linux.

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Here is lifetime data of FSH on Google Play while it was in the (Early Access) unreleased state. With the next update it is being promoted to live, I don’t know if that will change anything with the sales though. Even if this might make less than a F2p/IAP version this is still the road we are taking for this game. My plan is to make one of our next games (FSR) free and use it to promote FSH, see if that helps.

Obviously if we were a big team this kind of data would be a disaster but at the moment Subsoap is down to just my brother and I working together and we have other ways of getting income so it’s OK.

Still not planning to buy ads anywhere or do big spends. The game is solid, really well polished, but I’m not confident about being able to reach people who would buy it through marketing. And like I said before most of the mobile review sites are traps for developers to waste their money. But I still have plans, long term plans to make it all worthwhile, that’s the way to be! :smiley:

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#140

FSH is now live on Amazon App Store! :tada:

It says there are IAPs but that’s not true, not sure how to fix that as I added no IAPs to their console ( In-App Items (0)) maybe a permission thing?

Edit:

Looks like it was likely this in the manifest. I’ve removed it and uploaded a new version… awaiting for to be approved and see if it changes the store page.

Edit 2:

That appears to have been it! The store description no longer says there are IAPs now that the last update I uploaded went live.

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#141

I’m preparing some builds for casual portals now (which I’m technically not allowed to name because of the contracts). One of the requirements is that it use DirectX. :thinking:

32bit build worked without me needing to change anything at least ! I was only delivering 64bit to Steam but since it works I’ll begin to deliver 32bit too most likely as long as nothing breaks. Will be its own Steam depot and its own build/bundle step.

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In the Library update something we tried to do is address people’s issues who left negative reviews on Steam while also making more content for the people who did like it. So far the result has been that none of the negative reviews have flipped to positive as far as I know, but several have updated. Most of the negative reviews also did originally mention they did not like the match2 mechanic and preferred the wheel up/down mechanic. So I think that is the fundamental issue still, and nothing we change in the game would flip those customer’s opinion on the game. So it’s a lesson to recognize issues like this and do what can be done to improve the game for people who would value the core mechanic. Other negative reviews are still useful for highlighting shortfalls, but improving on and reinforcing what people like who already value the product is a much better focus. Instead for those who prefer a different core mechanic they will be served with future products made more for them.

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#142

Finally FSH is live for real on Google Play! If it makes $100 a month on Google Play from now on it will be a “success” in terms of premium games on mobile. Yesterday I talked with someone who owned 4 super expensive mobile devices say that they just could not afford a $10 app. And even decent game reviewers who rail against IAP/ads refuse to review paid mobile apps because apps should be free. :upside_down_face: I still see a long term future worth going for in premium mobile but it will take a while to build up that trust.

It most likely took so long because of Google Play’s new policy where they put new apps into mandatory 3 day review periods, it also looks like currently you cannot schedule app releases anymore only schedule updates which is weird.

https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DanFabulich/20190816/348850/Google_Warns_Developers_That_All_New_Android_Apps_Require_Three_Days_for_Approval.php via @britzl

I have some other things to deal with but one of my next todos for FSH will be to make selective upscales of some UI and text on mobile to make it more accessible for smaller screens.

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#143

Yeah, that is just plain weird. What are the most common price tiers for mobile apps on the stores? And whereas the cut off point where people go from “it’s just a few bucks” to “man, that’s expensive”? I’m guessing there’s a lot of games in the 0.99 and 1.99 range. And the point where people start to think something is expensive is somewhere around 6 or 7 maybe?

1 Like

#144

The thing about mobile premium app prices is that it doesn’t really matter what price you set a game at there will always be people who say it costs too much. If it’s $2.99 it should be $0.99… if it’s $0.99 it should be free… we see the same thing on Steam where people say something that costs $29.99 should be $19.99, something $19.99 should be $9.99, and so on. How gamers value games is really weird like they could spend 100 hours in a game that cost $4.99 and say it’s not worth it wait until it’s on sale. :upside_down_face: All of this is mostly just worth understanding because it’s the way it is and it’s not going to change.

I picked $9.99 because it’s the same price as Steam and it’s also the same game. There’s no real reason to price it less other than the feeling mobile apps should be cheap by default just because it’s mobile.

I genuinely doubt the conversion rate between $9.99 or a lower price point would be that great because the main problem FSH will have on the app stores is discovery / reach / marketing. Another thing about price is if the price was lower we would need that many more sales to make the same amount of money, and I’d guess it’s easier to sell 1 game at $9.99 than 10 games at $0.99 when passive traffic is low anyway and people who go to it are probably as likely to buy as they ever would be.

Here’s a snapshot of top selling game apps on Google Play right now with Minecraft perpetually #1.






Fun FSH facts: 23% of players played more than 20 hours, 9% played more than 50 hours, 2% played more than 100 hours :grey_exclamation:

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