I'm Dave. I do a little bit of everything, except for creating bios. That is something I never do.

Report RSS Failing, failure, and the failboat

Posted by on

I've always liked the scientific method.

That is, I'm under the impression that writing things out and trying different approaches can lead to a lot of learning.

This was spurred on after reading 'The Lean Startup' by Eric Ries. In his book Eric discusses his success with a software start-up, but also an incredibly frustrating year and a half of having a product that just wasn't catching on. Through a little bit of luck, crunching numbers, and the 'Eureka' moment, he found a simpler and better solution and everyone was happy and lived happily ever after and then everyone found $100.

I just published my first 'alpha' for Zofia. It is most definitely rough. The "story" is barebones and really all there is to show is that I can successfully make a convoluted idea into 3D. That isn't what is getting to me though, what has been getting to me is nobody is saying anything about it.

(Pictured: Zofia and the epitome of programmer art)

I sincerely expected an angry rant about "why does the main menu do that.", or "combat is too rough and I don't like it." or something.

What's worse is that this has been the trend all along.

Nearly every internal or public build has yielded about 5% responses on average. At the absolute highest it was 12%. Not just positive responses, any responses.

Through complicated algorithms, poor photoshop, and a late night rant over games in general I've come to this conclusion:


The 'meh' space. (Fun fact: I had a cat that was extremely indifferent about everything. He didn't even meow, he just "meh'd". Sad fact: He died of cancer.)

Zofia absolutely has problems, I have a list of things that I know would be a huge positive impact, but I feel the game has successfully landed in the 'meh space' (Probably more towards the red tbh).

Is this possibly a roundabout way of saying this is a marketing failure? Probably, but I think typical mechanics, poor graphics, and a lack of a cohesive draw has put my project into a very unmarketable and uninteresting position. It's 'meh'.

(Splitscreen is a big focus, because I like splitscreen. Also guns.)

This may be a sign of uncertain times as well, the indie market is changing. The sudden surge of a massive amount of indie games is staggering, and it seems if you don't have something that stands out... Well you don't stand out, and likely go completely unnoticed.

I, like a lot of developers, started looking around to see what people have done to counter this. I finally found a blog (Located here) by Cliffy B that put things, rather bluntly, into plain text:


Cliff's blog ends with "Its extremely, extremely tough right now", upset over poor coverage over his latest project, LawBreakers.

I don't have a eureka moment at the end of this or some incredible quote that should be inspiring, but I can look at numbers: Zofia hasn't been interesting. If my numbers are correct and this failboat has been going the wrong way, I may be overdue for some course correction.

Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Last Online
United States 🇺🇸
Become friends
Member watch
29 (1 today)