Future Proof Postmortem - A Month After Release

How did it do commercially?

It sold a dozen copies in the first week. Which, even by my most conservative estimates, was really bad. Did not pick up much either, 60 or so copies in first month. I have recently put it on sale for 70% off on steam and it has sold 100+ copies over the past week so it is helping it get out there. I have also made it apart of a indie game bundle and 600+ people have activated steam keys for it.

Overall it is no where near where I though it would be. I have not yet to come close to breaking even on game costs.

What about critically?

Reviews have been very positive (for those that have played it). I have been surprised with some of the dedication to finding all the secrets of the game of some people. There was 2 endings that no one has got in the first month in but have recently both been discovered. Some of the positive feedback from complete strangers has made it worth it.

What I learnt

Marketing matters. I tried to do all the marketing I could on my own but it was no where near enough. It didn't help that Future Proof is a puzzle-adventure game so there is not going to be flashy, attention grabbing GIFs/clips I could show off. I needed to grab people with the gimmick of the time loop but that was no where near enough. You need to have amazing or very unique art to get some attention if you have a slower paced game like mine.

Advice

Make a game you would want to play or have a target person in mind. I recently read Stephen King's book 'On Writing' and he says to write for a target person. In his case it was for his wife. Same applies for making games. Though I made my game a game that I would want to play. Both works. If you don't want to play your own game or don't know someone that will want to play it, what are you making the game for? You will also have less of a motivation to finish the game as well.

If you are trying to please everyone you will please no one. You have most likely heard that before and for good reason because it is 100% true.

Never give up. I got angry, frustrated and burnt out several times from making the game. I almost just gave up completely. I never thought I would finish it. But as long as you spend time on it it will eventually get done, so don't give up. Take a week (hell, even a month) break if you need to but keep coming back to it. I would even suggest a month off so when you come back to it you have some fresh eyes and you will pick up a lot of obvious things to cut out and improve on.

So, what's next?

Next up is finishing the card game I have had in works (Project Citadel) for a couple of years now. I am just waiting for some art to finish it.

For now I am planning my next game, Jacobs Ladder, which will be a turn-based RPG. I have always loved the Final Fantasy games and wanted to make my own that could rival those games. If I could make a game that is half as good I would be happy. My idea is a turn based battle system with movement and a few interesting ideas that could breathe fresh air into the genre. It is my dream project so I will give it everything. I have planned this for years so hopefully I can start production soon.