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Have you considered that gamers and manufacturers interests are not necessarily compatible.

I also play boardgames with a group of friends. I buy Nuns on the Run game and I can play it anywhere anytime and through my heirs to Doomsday. I buy a CD I can play it anywhere there is a player and put it onto what I want for my personal use.

With alternatives for my money and leisure time why do I need to buy into some mono-culture system. BTW do you not think Steam may become the MSDOS of the gaming world able to squeeze game designers/manufacturers AND gamers as it becomes the default distribution system?

and with content servers on every continent (save Antarctica, but we’re sure that’s just a matter of time).

Apparently not aware of Anartica's special status ... : )

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Have you considered that gamers and manufacturers interests are not necessarily compatible.

I also play boardgames with a group of friends. I buy Nuns on the Run game and I can play it anywhere anytime and through my heirs to Doomsday. I buy a CD I can play it anywhere there is a player and put it onto what I want for my personal use.

With alternatives for my money and leisure time why do I need to buy into some mono-culture system. BTW do you not think Steam may become the MSDOS of the gaming world able to squeeze game designers/manufacturers AND gamers as it becomes the default distribution system?

Apparently not aware of Anartica's special status ... : )

Yeah, Steam is a little controversial among game developers. On one hand, it's a distribution platform that's everywhere, which means more sales. On the other, it would be bad for Valve to get too much control over digital distribution - in terms of being able to dictate the terms for game developers to sell their stuff. Big-box stores take 50% of each sale as revenue. iTunes and the iPhone App Store take 30% of each sale as revenue. From what I've heard, Steam takes 40%. I think Valve wants Steam to be the iTunes of digital game distribution. I'm sure it would be quite profitable if they could capture 40% of the money from every game that gets digital distribution.

But, I digress, since Steam isn't really in the cards right now.

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Told you....I knew I shouldn't have mentioned Steam.....now I'm going to get murdered in my sleep by all the wargamers....great.

EDIT: In all seriousness, I just think Steam would be a good way to attract more players....all I'm say'in.

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Told you....I knew I shouldn't have mentioned Steam.....now I'm going to get murdered in my sleep by all the wargamers....great.

EDIT: In all seriousness, I just think Steam would be a good way to attract more players....all I'm say'in.

Actually Warspite2 already suggested this in the 22nd post in this thread:

If you could get this game on steam in the indie section, impulse, gamersgate, or direct2drive then I bet your sales would go sky high!

I agree - with both of you :)

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Went ahead and took the plunge even though I'm not sure when I'll have time to play. I figure even a tiny bit of financial support is better than none!

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Well, as someone who has just stumbled over the game, played the demo, and who also comes from a game marketing background, I thought it would be worth it to chime in.

As others have said before, you definitely need to decide which audience you want to tackle here. You have a very robust base game going on, but it's too simple for hardcore wargamers, while lacking transparency for the more casual crowd. As a matter of fact, I think your game's graphics are one of the strongest points - in a world where most wargames have terribly inconsistent art direction with muddy, downright ugly graphics, you got some excellent clean and pleasant visuals going on.

At this point, the game really feels too generic. I am a bit younger but I've never heard of "Empire" so constantly using that as a reference point won't really help me or other players of my age (early 20s). The generic-ness isn't really helped by the decision to use anonymous unit names such as "Infantry 1" etc. This is such a good place where you can inject some own flavor into the whole thing!

The UI in general still feels a bit too cluttered, which goes against the clean, actual graphics. If you're going for the more casual crowd, this needs to be cleaned up a bit.

More game options for additional flexibility have already been mentioned. Adjustments for game speed etc. by means of different starting scenarios etc. would be a great help.

Make the game cross-platform. With Steam now coming over to OSX, indie gaming is gonna be gaining a lot more traction on Macs. Then use that opportunity and go Steam with the whole game. You get in early and your game will get free publicity on the sole basis of being one of the first indie games being distributed via Steam on OSX. As others have noted, Battlefront simply doesn't suffice because your game is sitting between the chairs, so to speak.

Also - and this is perhaps more important than the game's current flaws itself - you SERIOUSLY need a better website. Sorry but it's barely serviceable at this point. Coming from a review somewhere else, it's okay enough, but otherwise - it's a mess. Put some review quotes on the home page, some of the features that make your game stand out! Get yourself a web designer, go for a more modern look, more colors, some nice artwork! This will make it a LOT more appealing to people.

Get people to talk about and review your game. Hit up places with hardcore PC gamers like www.rockpapershotgun.com. You need more exposure.

If you can manage to polish up your game a bit and spread the word, you have a wonderful gem on your hands here. All you need is a more distinct direction for the game itself and a better way to present it on the web.

Hope that helps.

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Empiresofsteel.com - and I assume that's where most people are actually finding your game if they're not active followers of Battlefront to begin with.

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Also - and this is perhaps more important than the game's current flaws itself - you SERIOUSLY need a better website. Sorry but it's barely serviceable at this point. Coming from a review somewhere else, it's okay enough, but otherwise - it's a mess. Put some review quotes on the home page, some of the features that make your game stand out! Get yourself a web designer, go for a more modern look, more colors, some nice artwork! This will make it a LOT more appealing to people.

Okay, I took your advice and redid my website over the past day and a half. There's still some things I want to add to it - like more screenshots (especially newer screenshots) and I'm going to update the video. And I haven't added quotes yet. Let me know what you think of the new site: www.empiresofsteel.com

(Admittedly, I didn't get a web designer.)

Get people to talk about and review your game. Hit up places with hardcore PC gamers like www.rockpapershotgun.com. You need more exposure.

True. The game did get a mention on Rock, Paper, Shotgun back when it was released. It was more of just a three-sentence 'the game has been released, demo is available' kind of a post. Quite a few comments, but people didn't seem to care too much for it. I could try to get a review from them. It's always hard to get exposure from the gaming press unless you're announcing something - like a game release. Being five months out from release isn't much of an announcement.

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Make the game cross-platform. With Steam now coming over to OSX, indie gaming is gonna be gaining a lot more traction on Macs. Then use that opportunity and go Steam with the whole game. You get in early and your game will get free publicity on the sole basis of being one of the first indie games being distributed via Steam on OSX. As others have noted, Battlefront simply doesn't suffice because your game is sitting between the chairs, so to speak.

I looked into this over the weekend. Most of the technology used in the game is cross-platform (OpenGL is used to draw the map window, the networking library and the sound system is cross-platform). But, I assumed it would be a monumental task to move the game off of MFC (the Microsoft Foundation Classes), which is used for the User Interface other than the actual map screen. I did see some migration tools around for moving to QT (a cross-platform user-interface). It still sounds like a lot of work, but it's not impossible. At this point, I'm not sure that the value-to-work ratio is better than other things I could be doing, but at least it's a possibility. It's also nice that QT is free now, instead of being thousands of dollars, like it was a few years ago.

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I just did a google search for Empire game. EoS didn't come up, it might help if it did.

I tried the search just now and didn't see EOS in the first ten pages of results. I did add "empire" to the meta-keywords in the homepage, but I guess maybe "empire" is just too common of a word. I just added "empire game" to the meta-keywords. Maybe that will help. Thanks.

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I think adding "classic empire" in there would be a good idea, as well as adding "empires of steel" as a link in the forums of the classic empire game site that is still on the webs for free download.

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Yes, I do have an exclusivity deal with them.

Don't know how much digitial distribution services like Steam take. I heard a while ago that they took 40%. Don't know if that's accurate.

(Thanks for the rest of your comment, too.)

I am doing some research for a friend of mine who is selling a PC game and it looks like Steam takes between 15 and 30%. For this, you get full support of digital distribution and online gaming. It is quite robust. Impulse has a similar deal, but they don't take as much of a percentage. Just information to consider in the future as your current arrangement precludes further discussion ;-)

Bret

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I have to completely agree with the Steam or the other Digital distribution stuff. I am a long time wargamer and I found this completely by accident. It is fantastic! In fact, I will purchase it as soon as I finish posting this.

After playing the demo for a couple of hours (and finding to my satisfaction how good and addictive the game was) the first thing I did was put Steam online to see if I could get it through there. Alas not yet.

Thanks for making a fantastic game and I will tell all the "Empire" veterans I know about this.

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I have to completely agree with the Steam or the other Digital distribution stuff. I am a long time wargamer and I found this completely by accident. It is fantastic! In fact, I will purchase it as soon as I finish posting this.

After playing the demo for a couple of hours (and finding to my satisfaction how good and addictive the game was) the first thing I did was put Steam online to see if I could get it through there. Alas not yet.

Thanks for making a fantastic game and I will tell all the "Empire" veterans I know about this.

Thanks. Glad you like it!

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Update on the state of things: It completely slipped my mind that the end of May was six months since EoS was released.

Sales in April were dismal. Fortunately, sales in May bounced back and we saw a 2x increase over April. Thanks to those increased sales and a foreign deal, I earned enough from the game to pay my bills for the month, which is an important step in continuing to work full time to make fixes and improvements to the game. I think the sales increases were partially due to releasing a new demo and also getting a print review in Armchair General (4 out of 5 stars). Given the precariousness of the situation, I often end up revisiting the sales and marketing posts.

Here's a quick summary of the thread so far, and a response to them. There's a few in-depth posts that I couldn't summarize in this list.

- Other Sales Outlets (Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive, GamersGate)

I talked to Battlefront about this. While they were open to this, they said that their past experience of selling games through these outlets was that they didn't really see much in the way of extra sales, plus those outlets take a slice of the profits. My current interpretation of this is that gamers hear about the game first, then look for a place to buy it. As a result, having the game available in other places doesn't really increase sales, it just splits up sales among more outlets. If Steam or another outlet makes an effort to promote the game (through sales or front-page promotion) then those games can see an increase in sales. It seems unlikely that EoS will be one of the lucky few.

- Paid Expansion

Maybe. I'm not sure that there's enough active players to make much income on this. It would be good from a marketing perspective because it could garner some press. The longer I'm doing this, the more I think in terms of "what can we do to get more press". The strategy of "make good stuff" doesn't get much press coverage; instead, the press likes announcements.

- Expansion into different time-periods (Roman, Medieval, or early 1800's), scenarios, campaign, etc

I like this idea. It does require quite a bit of time and work.

- Add PBEM to the demo

Done.

- PBEM

Did some work on this. The PBEM system is basically working, although I want to make sure it's more robust (free of bugs and glitches).

- Add the ability to add your own units images and animations

Done. Added in a recent update.

- Improve the website

Done.

- More videos - better quality, draw people in, show them what the game is about

Need to do.

- Some more game options, like Quick Start, better game-setup menus, X free production at the beginning of the game, omniscient map view, etc

Need to do.

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If you're marketing in Europe, you might want to replace all swastikas with the iron cross. In come countries, Germany I think is one, it is illegal. They don't bother me but they do some people.

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The new game BFTB on Matrix has some great video tutorials. Take a look at them, they might give you some ideas for doing a video for the game.

I agree, marketing is everything and getting your name out there will sell more games. Having good marketing collateral makes a big difference and on the web it' s all about the website and the videos.

Bret

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If you're marketing in Europe, you might want to replace all swastikas with the iron cross. In come countries, Germany I think is one, it is illegal. They don't bother me but they do some people.
As far as I know, in Europe this only goes for Germany. Replacing it for Germans is fine by me, but please don't let the rest of Europe suffer for their censorship.

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Well, I think the software is plenty good to support more growth. One thing you might consider is adding some more battle graphics to make the game more appealing to the younger crowd (with an off/on switch.) You know kids, they like to see things blow up. If they actually related to how/why the battle turned out like it did so much the better. I have to say that its pretty hard to understand what's happening during a battle. On my machine its too small and to quick to really get a handle on. I usually don't care, but nonetheless it would be nice to have a slower more zoomed in lview if you wanted it.

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