“It could turn out great, it could also turn out terrible, but in either case, it’ll be really, really interesting.”
Armin Ibrisagic’s Goat Simulator post mortem:
What happens when a joke trailer for a game you had no plans to make goes viral?
Before we released the game, we were unsure of how it would be received once it was out on Steam. Today it’s safe to say that it’s the most successful game we’ve ever made. Perhaps the only thing that was more strange than the game itself was the way it was developed. We’ve made a game in a way we never thought we would, and it actually worked.
What went right:
- Used our limited time where it mattered: “We didn’t have that many artists working on Goat Simulator from the start, so we bought most of our assets from the internet. Fun fact: the 3-D model for the actual goat in Goat Simulator cost $25 on TurboSquid. But it was on a 75% off sale, so we got a pretty good deal on it.”
- No planning or long-term think: “One of the most important parts of our employees not having a pre-set schedule was that everyone could find some time if they suddenly had an idea for something, or if one of their co-workers had an idea.”
- Try really hard to not try too too hard: “After the trailer had received over a million views, we sat down and had a very long design discussion about the future of Goat Simulator. Some of our fans asked us on Twitter to release the game immediately, while others asked for a full-on Grand Theft Auto game where the protagonist is a goat.”
- Fan interaction over social media: “I just use the same honest and “don’t try too hard”-approach with our community as we do when it comes to development. I think having this relaxed approach helps us connect much better with our fans.”
What went wrong:
- No planning or long-term think: “Once the game was set for release, we had to scramble to finish a Mac and Linux version too. This took a lot of time and effort, and ended up being released several months after the PC version, which I think lost us a big chunk of sales.”
- We should have focused on optimization since day one: “The game is way more optimized and smooth today than compared to launch day but sadly, first impressions persist.”
- We should have started working on the mobile version earlier: “We basically thought that we would release it on Steam first, and then if that goes well, we’ll release it on mobile. However, only a couple of weeks after the first video of Goat Simulator went viral, there were already clones on the App Store and Google Play that had millions of downloads.”
- We should have focused more on Steam Workshop, and promoted it better: “It’s become apparent to us that implementing Steam Workshop is just maybe one third of the work, the other two thirds should be continuous community management of the players making the mods, and updating the modding tools and making them easier to use for everybody.”
“Releasing a game in such a short amount of time is very hard and tricky, but on the other hand, less time to develop a game means less time to mess things up.”
Armin Ibrisagic – Goat Simulator Post Mortem