Overview: SickBrick is an action-oriented Sci-Fi FPS with modern graphics and oldschool gameplay set in (and outside of) a testing facility in an unknown desert. You are thrown into a strange world without any recollection of your past and forced to fight hostile robots that have only one goal; to destroy you. Features: -Destroy hundreds of robots on 15 maps with a mix of outdoor and indoor locations on a strange alien world -At your disposal are 5 unique and devastating weapons. Chainsaw, Shotgun, Lightning Gun, Grenade Launcher and Shock Rifle -Unravel the story by listening to previous test subject’s log files -Scalable graphics: looks good on cutting edge PCs, playable on old machines and laptops -Includes Map Editor and Resource Editor for creating custom maps and mods Gameplay: -Oldschool gameplay - pick up ammo and health (no automatic regeneration), items rotate and glow, dozens of enemies at a time -Vechicle manipulation - drive 3 types of hover-tanks -7 types of uniquel

Report article RSS Feed Ballad of a young Croatian game developer

SickBrick has sold 26 copies in 4 months. Not a real money-maker, is he? Here’s a little piece of mind that I wrote about it. I think a lot of you developers out there have gone through this so it should be a familiar tale.

Posted by MisfitVillage on Feb 23rd, 2012

My name is Mladen Bosnjak, I'm a game developer from Croatia and am 19 years old. Since I was 10 I've been playing with game development (started with Serious Sam's Serious Editor. Fun times.) I've always been fascinated by the technology behind PCs and games. Through the years I've learned how to use programs like ZBrush, 3DSMax and Photoshop and a bunch of other freeware alternatives to them.
I started my first real game in 2009. as a tech demo for the splendid NeoAxis Engine, from that tech demo arose my first game entitled SickBrick.

I made the whole game almost by myself, with programming help from a great friend from Canada Ron "Maxwolf" Macdowell who also took on publishing and my guitarist Dodo who recorded the riffs for my soundtrack (I would have played the drums myself if I had any money for studio time, instead we've got programmed drum tracks).


In October of 2011. SickBrick came out (oh what joy we brought to the world :D ) on sites like Desura, GamersGate and Apple Mac StoreThe price is 7.99$ I have since managed to sell 26 copies.
Which means I've payed more money for the engine license than I got from the game.


The first problems post-launch started happening almost instantaneously. The Linux version of SickBrick uses a Wine wrapper to start the game and we did not state that clearly anywhere. The Linux Gaming Community got pissed. Real bad. I got at least ten 1\10 reviews that state "not a native linux game" and I'm still getting them even though it says in the summary of the game that it uses wine. We just want as many people to be able to play the game as possible. A full linux port of the game will be made available when the engine supports it.
I will be submitting SickBrick to Steam soon to see how that will go. Try out the demo if you have the time and let me know whether you think SickBrick has a chance of being on Steam.

Future plans for SickBrick are a patch adressing some frame rate problems and better pathfinding. We will also be adding effects like DOF, MSAA, SSAO, FXAA and a complete redoing of some areas that look pretty bland.


Stay tuned for the first patch which will be released really soon. Like within the next week soon. :D. Oh, and a big thanks to the IndieDB and ModDB community for supporting me all the way through! You guys are awesome.

Cheers!

Post comment Comments
Elementalist
Elementalist Feb 24 2012, 3:11am says:

I'll be honest with you. First of all, I have not purchased/played the game, nor even tried the demo. The media for it (screenshots and trailers) show me a really disjointed art style that's overall not really appealing (LOTS of bloom/HDR and solid-colour texturing in many areas), and the weapons don't look like they have much weight or feeling to them between the animations and sound (especially the gun that shoots the blue laser things). On the art style, you don't have to have super-realistic graphics, or even close to, obviously lots of games have gotten away without them. But if you do that you need to have a cohesive stylistic flair of some kind which I don't feel the game has.

Of course art is not necessarily a deal breaker. You've also got gameplay and story. For gameplay, your description (in the ModDB profile) is not really heartening. There's no mechanic the game is built around that sets it apart or anything.

Both of those together aren't necessarily deal breakers either! As I said, there's still story. But... "You're forced to do tests for an unknown robotic mastermind. As you go through the tests, you slowly unravel the story through log files of previous test subjects." also does not inspire confidence in the storytelling abilities of this game.

I applaud your efforts, that you got a project finished (much more than I've done!), got it published, and indeed sold copies. However for me personally I don't see a particular reason I would want to play (or especially purchase) this game. Not for the art, the gameplay, or story.

Also, for anyone who has ever used the NeoAxis engine, the demos really, really show in your game (which you even stated).

I know it may be harsh, and I don't want to be mean, but the header on this post makes it sound like you're confused as to why this hasn't sold very well, and these are just my thoughts. I hope they help you your efforts later down the road!

+17 votes     reply to comment
GorillaOne
GorillaOne Feb 26 2012, 4:30pm replied:

"First of all, I have not purchased/played the game, nor even tried the demo." - Stopped reading after that.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Elementalist
Elementalist Feb 27 2012, 3:05am replied:

The point of my comment was that nothing about the media of the game made me want to buy it, or even TRY it in the first place. If he's confused about sales, that's -exactly- where he needs to start. What about his game isn't enticing people to even want to try it, never mind purchase it?

If you disagree with me, go ahead, but I think it's a completely valid point.

+4 votes     reply to comment
AceOfQuades
AceOfQuades Feb 24 2012, 4:31am says:

Did you market? Did you post videos and show off on forums and annoy twitter personalities and more or less rape the internet about your game? Because in my experience (as a customer) that is how you get success. Or at least break even.

A good product isn't enough. Its an absolutely necessary component but if you aren't generating and interfacing with a fanbase people won't give a **** about your game because they don't even know it exists. This one has a good look to it and seems like a game I'd like to play but it seems quite clear from this page you didn't do much work to make it marketable. Like the plain picture up top; you gotta make it attractive, put some vibrant colours up there, thats what came through in the screenshots as a strength so you should flaunt it. The idea is to trick people into giving it a second glance and then when they do you show them your great work.

And also you should try and get it seen by anyone who would like it and could show it off. Annoy every game commentator on youtube, give them free copies to try. If the game is quality they will see that, they'll wanna show it to their fanbase because its good watching. If its **** they won't give it a second glance but its your job to make sure its good.

+4 votes     reply to comment
AceOfQuades
AceOfQuades Feb 24 2012, 4:34am replied:

If you have time to work and money to feed yourself you could salvage it, some DLC releases with plenty of content, a rerelease with a shifted focus ala All Points Bulletin, or even a late marketing might be enough. Maybe its a better idea to take what you know and make a different game though. You seem to be coming from a place that games rarely come from these days. Anything you make would be interesting if nothing else, so that might be a better idea because you can get the marketing right from square one.

Then again you've actually made a game and i haven't, so I think you would know a bit more than me on where to go next. Good luck on whatever is next, and don't go to a big company, there's **** all for anybody there.

Much love from Quade

+3 votes     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Feb 25 2012, 2:15am replied:

DLC isn't really the answer, if the game is lacking content its better for him to release it in a patch.

+3 votes     reply to comment
AceOfQuades
AceOfQuades Feb 25 2012, 7:18am replied:

oh i meant free dlc because by marketing it as a separate package you get the chance to differentiate from your previous failures

+2 votes     reply to comment
earvesicle
earvesicle Feb 24 2012, 5:01am says:

try different pricing options.. maybe the $8 is throwing people off.. but i personally don't see why people wont spend more than 5 bucks on an indie game.. but people seem to be used to the whole $1 dollar craze.

see if maybe if u could be included in an indie bundle..? this may not be the best idea as far as i am concerned but.. i say try to increase your sales in other ways first.. but..?

try additional game distribution services in addition to desura.. since there is a few other options besides desura.. & maybe you would have more luck elsewhere?

send an email to Indiegames.com and other various sites for promotion.. they may promote it.. they may not.. try indiegamemag.com along with other sites. (if u havent already)

try to see if you can do an interview for an indie game site.. ?

+3 votes     reply to comment
bbqdude
bbqdude Feb 24 2012, 8:24am says:

ok, you asked for it so I tried the demo. Does the demo represent the current state of the actual full version?
Anyway, so here is what I think and feel about this:
This game lacks atmosphere a lot. The player is thrown in there without any information. Did I just wake up? Have I been unconscious? Why the hell am I in a bathroom. What am I ? Am I about to find out? Give me something to tickle my interest please. Some mysterious music might even do it. But all I get is a bathroom.
So I walk on, pick up a weapon and some stuff and the players character starts to write in his notebook. The first note is about not knowing what the hell this is all about. Well, thanks for that but I already know this as you didn't give me anything from the start. Then there are some jumping. Nothing challenging at all but maybe it's not supposed to be challenging. But then why it is in there? Maybe it gets harder later in the game. Then there is shooting. Not challenging either. At least not in the beginning. Nice idea with riding a tank though. Adds some deversity.
When it comes to graphics I think you're on the right way but your textures are mostly flat, one color and way too bright. There are hardly any shadows. There are objects glowing so much I could hardly tell what that object is supposed to be. Enemies are floating a lot when moving which is odd especially with the robot spiders. If you shoot stuff sometimes there are decals sometimes not. Sometimes it has missing sounds when shooting stuff apart. The robotic voice is hard to understand sometimes. There are moments when there is metal music playing, fighting going on and this voice talking to me.
I don't mean to be harsh or offending. I know this is hard work but this game does not feel, play or look polished in any way. It feels more like a game in very early beta phase to say at least.

+4 votes     reply to comment
booman
booman Feb 24 2012, 1:43pm says:

I Applaud your success!
Some games don't even get finish less sell 26 copies.
I can imagine developing and finishing a whole game by yourself is a HUGE undertaking and well, you succeeded!
So congratulations with a finished game and adding patches/content in time...

I'm tempted to buy the full game because I don't remember seeing outdoor areas and tanks in the demo.

Keep up the hard work and I hope you use this experience to put a full team together to develop a professional game.

+3 votes     reply to comment
kherux
kherux Feb 24 2012, 2:38pm buried:

(buried)

Thanks for the warning, Mladen. Sounds like a game to avoid.

-9 votes     reply to comment
SinKing
SinKing Feb 25 2012, 1:11am says:

I can see how you've been inspired by Serious Sam. The lighting and style remind me of it. It's not a small success to create and publish a game at such young age. It's just that you wanted to create a much bigger game and have more success that makes it feel disappointing to you, perhaps?

Like I said, I see the Serious Sam heritage, but in the end it is the design that makes me interested in a game at first glance. So, maybe after you have covered all the technical apects of game development, get a new understanding for the artistic side of it, too. Maybe you just need to team up with an artist and have a lively exchange over the next project. You're doing great and are on the right way. It frustrating to get your dreams shattered, but unlike the pieces of a real mirror, you can put them back together again and succeed the next time.

+4 votes     reply to comment
formerlyknownasMrCP
formerlyknownasMrCP Feb 25 2012, 2:13am says:

As has been said, you haven't marketed this enough. I see very few news posts about the game, I didn't even know this game was even on the website.

You should definately had made much more noise when you released your demo, people are starving for new things to play, the second your demo came out you should've immediately gotten in touch with some game journalists.. since many of them feature "Demos of the week" posts on their sites. Get your game in there, people will try it..

If you're not making any sales then.. you've got bigger problems.. either with your game design, or your QA.

But rest assured I'm positive your failure is due to a lack of interest, your project can obviously still be salvaged by contacting game journalist sites and trying to get your demo featured. If your game is good, they'll buy it.

Don't worry though, we've all had flops from time to time. Just keep at it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MisfitVillage
MisfitVillage Feb 27 2012, 5:40am says:

Thaks for your comments people. I've contacted indie bundle guys, and am going to post news more regularly. I contacted a lot of game news sites, but most of them don't post anything or reply to mails :D

Anyways, thanks for all the comments and criticism, it helps to see what people think and see what I need to improve.

+1 vote     reply to comment
nawwashere
nawwashere May 4 2012, 6:35pm says:

You really took a blow to the face, eh?

Mad props for even showing an interest in the Linux platform, but (IMO) wine isn't the way to go.

I might take another look at this when the full Linux port is done.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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SickBrick
Platforms
Windows, Mac, Linux
Developed By
MisfitVillage
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Official Page
Sickbrick.blogspot.com
Release Date
Released Aug 23, 2011
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