Goat Simulator
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Goat Simulator Post Mortem

“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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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

Watch the epic Goat Simulator Official Launch Trailer →

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Life on the Internet

Indie devs release cracked version of their own game to lecture pirates

When indie developers Greenheart Games released their first title — Game Dev Tycoon (similar to Kairosoft’s Game Dev Story) — they also seeded a special version to ‘the number one torrent sharing site’ that was nearly identical to the real game, except for one detail:

“Initially we thought about telling them their copy is an illegal copy, but instead we didn’t want to pass up the unique opportunity of holding a mirror in front of them and showing them what piracy can do to game developers. So, as players spend a few hours playing and growing their own game dev company, they will start to see the following message, styled like any other in-game message:”

Boss, it seems that while many players play our new game, they steal it by downloading a cracked version rather than buying it legally. If players don’t buy the games they like, we will sooner or later go bankrupt.

“Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt.”

Unsurprisingly, at the end of day one Greenheart Games had sold 214 copies of their game while over 3,100 users had played the cracked version. That’s 93.6% of players running the honeypot copy.

Makes me wonder what would have happened if they had released a special version that had a gentle up-sell and an option to buy the game from within the game? Can you convert more pirates with honey than with vinegar?

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Papers, Please: A dystopian document thriller

The communist state of Arstotzka has just ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission’s primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested.

Help the creators get the game made by supporting it on Steam Greenlight.