Steam Launch Diary #6: Finding A Silver Lining and Overcoming Adversity

Missile Cards is OUT NOW on steam. Only $4.99! (And coming to iOS soon, too) – If you want to support my ongoing gamedev efforts this year, grabbing a copy during this critical launch month means a lot! Thanks!

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What. A. Week. After being publicly mocked by Duke Nukem 3D co-creator George Broussard for putting what he calls a “throwaway game” on Steam, I didn’t think things could get much worse this week. There’s nothing like having someone kick dirt in your face when you’re already down and struggling.

[Also, it’s a bit weird to be getting traffic from his secret walled “Game Illuminati” forum/group. Ergh. Yeah?]

But despite a rough few days, I’m pretty happy to be able to end the week on a positive note, for once. In the last few days, Missile Cards has picked up some positive coverage, including this great write-up at PC Gamer and another glowing review up at Stately Play. Steam sales have also slowly picked up a  bit of momentum, too.

Before I dig into that and what’s next, here’s a quick update:

Total Steam sales to date: 237

# of Sales needed to hit my break even point for development: 5,000

Silver lining #1: It’s not anywhere near my original target goals, but it’s possible that I might hit the $1k sales mark by the end on the one-month launch period if sales continue to pick up into the weekend. I actually feel pretty good about that. It’s better than nothing, and much-needed, considering my freelance workload has been lighter this month.

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MOBILE PRESS AND iOS BUZZ

I know better than to let my hopes get too high, but I’m starting to feel pretty (cautiously) optimistic about the sales potential for Missile Cards on mobile. Despite slow sales on Steam, it’s awesome that players in general seem to really be enjoying the game.

The fact that most people I talk to can’t wait to play this on mobile is even more exciting, because it means I still have a shot at earning enough from Missile Cards in the near future to cover my development costs and potentially push beyond that.

Silver lining #2: Yesterday, I posted about Missile Cards on the “upcoming games” forum over at Touch Arcade and spent a little time talking with iOS gamers over there about some of my favorite mobile card games. People seemed pretty stoked in their response to MC, and that makes me super stoked.

Plot Twist: this morning, I woke up to articles about the upcoming mobile edition of Missile Cards on the main pages of Touch Arcade and Pocket Gamer, the latter of which actually direct links to the Steam page!

I haven’t even officially started my pre-launch campaign for mobile yet, and I’m already getting press. That’s awesome. But the added bonus, is every bit of visibility I get for the mobile edition also (potentially) helps push visibility to the Steam version, too. That, and most YouTubers don’t really do mobile games, so having a Steam version available for folks who want to Stream and do Let’s Plays will ultimately help in the long run to drive visibility for the mobile version.

At least that’s my hope. Fingers crossed!

Having the iOS launch go well sales-wise would be HUGE for me. Aside from alleviating some of my recent financial stresses, it’d make this month’s challenges and the game’s development itself feel worthwhile.

I know that there’s a solid audience for card games on iOS, too. So if this goes well, that’s going to be my platform of choice for small quirky card projects (I have a lot of prototypes in progress).

iOS EDITION PROGRESS

Revamping a lot of the behind-the-scenes layout, UI, and code for the mobile version hasn’t been as tough as I expected. I’m almost done, actually, but will need some time to do bug test to make sure the changes didn’t break anything weird…and to do some testing on different devices and get feedback from mobile players to help make sure the feel of the game on iOS jives with the fun of the PC version.

My biggest concern was the fact the game is designed for a landscape 16:9 widescreen ratio. An iPad version requires a more 4:3 setup, but after some tinkering, I’m really happy with the WIP iPad version border I’ve created. To me, it looks and feels a lot like you’re picking up an 80s plastic toy game, which is basically what I was going for with the game’s entire UI/aesthetic anyway.

I’ve got a bit more work to do, but I’m hopeful to have the mobile version out in the next month or so, if all goes well.

Anyhow. I really appreciate everyone’s support this month and beyond. It’s been a real tough one for me, but I still feel in my gut that there’s potential to turn things around and gain much-needed momentum to help free up more of my time to push further into gamedev this year. We’ll see, yeah?

3 WAYS TO HELP MISSILE CARDS KEEP ON KEEPING ON

  1. Buy the gameEvery single sale counts during this launch period! Seriously!
  2. Leave a Steam review – If you’re enjoying the game, please also take a second to leave a short Steam review as soon as you can! That makes a HUGE difference. Most players don’t take the time to leave them, or they often only do if they don’t like the game.
  3. Tell a friend / Share on social media – I’m doing all of my own DIY marketing, so every little bit of help getting the word out means a lot! Have a pal that likes retro pixel art or strategy card games? Maybe pass the link along! And I always appreciate signal boosting or Twitter/social media support.

Thanks so much! I’ll be blogging about the game and my progress on the “Quest to 5,000” throughout the month at www.nathanmeunier.com.

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