Author Topic: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??  (Read 991 times)

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Offline hermojp

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Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« on: December 18, 2020, 04:14:40 AM »
Hi guys

Last year I created a Lemmings inspired game called Dumb Little Creatures.

https://dumblittlecreatures.mismatch.studio/

At the time it sounded like a good idea, it was for me a new take on Lemmings which I loved, but with modern graphics, 3D engine and fresh style. Etc

I didn't want to go to mobile since it would lose much of the mechanics, so went for PC and decided on Steam for distribution. I wanted to make it a bit difficult so that it would be challenging enough. The thing is that at some point I just decided it was a good time to launch it, but really nothing happened. I did get some sales, but not many, and also almost none opinions or feedback. So it was really dissapointing.

Now, after almost 2 years, I'm planning on resuming with this project if I feel I can understand what it may take to make it successful.
These are some of the known issues that I believe could have been the main issue of the low sales, but not sure:

1. The game may be buggy. While I tried fixing and polishing, I'm pretty sure there's still a tremendous number of bugs.
2. The game may feel weird on Windows? I tested on Mac since that's what I use for work and felt more natural, but I remember that camera movements felt a bit weird on Windows
3. The game may be too complicated. The 3D enviroment and movement of cameras (panning, zooming, perspective) may be a bit too much?
4. It may be missing a good tutorial?  I saw a few reviews on YouTube but feels like people did actually understood how to play it and not really any bad reviews (I think)
5. The price point may have been too high. I didn't really understand how much steam players would be willing to pay, nor any pricing strategies. I know I could have made it free and then sell DLC or expansions, but sounded like more work.
6. The game is good , but there's the market for this kind of game is not large enough (I remember reading somewhere that puzzles are the least popular category?) or would have needed some marketing? I was trying to avoid any marketing since I didn't have the budget. Still handled to get 15k fans in the game Facebook page, but when the game launched I believe not even 20 bought the game. So I'm guessing those "fans" are just people that liked the Ad, but not even have Steam.

There's a free demo here :

https://store.steampowered.com/app/918450/Dumb_Little_Creatures/?l=spanish

I would really appreciate any feedback. I'm thinking on how to redo the game or make a V2 that may be better and have better chances

Thanks,



Offline namida

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 05:19:10 PM »
First thing first - the Steam link you've given specifically goes to the Spanish-language page. You can fix this by removing "?l=spanish" at the end, then it should remain in whatever language the user's computer is set to.

That aside, from watching the gameplay video, it looks like the game doesn't play very smoothly - there's significant input lag when controlling the camera, for instance. This would get very annoying, very quickly. I don't know how the camera is controlled exactly, but one of the biggest criticisms of the official Lemmings 3D, is its camera controls (and even as a huge fan of L3D, I have to agree with the people who say this). I could also see the "on the spot" (rather than grid-based to some extent) physics getting really irritating in the harder levels, unless there is a "rewind" feature of some kind rather than having to outright start the level again. I'd also suggest sprucing up the UI a bit - the skill names feel like "generic knockoffs" of Lemmings skills (I realise they are the same skills, but that doesn't mean the names have to sound like generic knockoffs), for that matter.

Again, I'll stress, this is just from watching the preview video. I haven't played the game yet - I should check out the demo at some point and see how I feel after giving it a go; for example, I could indeed envision the input lag being caused by your recording software rather than the game itself. With this in mind - people would likely watch said video before even trying the demo. If this has already put them off, the demo doesn't matter.

Offline hermojp

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2020, 08:32:43 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. True I believe the video itself may not be great, which may also be something additional that needs to be taken care of

Online IchoTolot

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2020, 10:39:27 PM »
Hi there! :)

From taking a look at it from the description and pictures I will try to give some feedback. I will focus purely on the points that make the game less appealing to me! So sorry if I sound a bit harsh.

1.)
The Lemmings formular relies heavily on structured terrain in my opinion. Like you just know when terrain ends/starts. In 3D you get the problem of the 3rd dimention interfering with that structure. Lemmings 3D solved that by still having a clear block structure where in most cases you clearly see when they start/end and provide walkable terrain. Looking at your screenshots let's say I am not always so sure how the terrain behaves, how much space thereis left....etc.
Maybe a visible grid/box structure cold be advantageous for the game.

2.)
The name.
Let's just say "Dumb Little Creatures" doesn't sound that inviting for a game. ;) 
I think there is a better name in there where you maybe emphasize the character of your "lemmings".  It also could breathe more life into them.

3.)
Maybe a little bit realted related to 1.). I think your terrain tilesets look a bit too generic and out of the box (if that's the right word). And the pictures seem a bit lifeless to me.
Let's just say I find the artstyle not really doing it for me.
I don't demand top notch graphics here (hell I play low-rez lemmings), but compare your tilesets to the ones in Lemming 3D for example. They just feel more stylistic and interesing in my opinion.
In your game it looks for me a bit like grassland Nr.6464 if that makes sense.

These would be the first things that pop into my head on why the game maybe didn't had the success you envisioned for it. :)

Offline grams88

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2020, 11:52:13 PM »
Oh, I remember seeing that one, usually when I type lemmings in the search box on steam, :) :) I notice that (Dumb little Creatures) comes up near the bottom of the page. I've not played it yet but might get around to checking it out. That's good you got it up on the steam website, give it time and it might end up doing well, It's probably getting it to the right audience which is probably the crucial one here.

Good on you for getting it up on the steam, :) yes, this is the big one for new games. That's top-notch you are getting people talking about it and playing on youtube. I get very nervous and scared when even seeing someone playing my lemmings levels on youtube. I even get worried when someone buys one of my e-books. It must be a human thing.

You are doing the right thing by getting some feedback. There was a game called cloners which were one I bought from steam.

Version two might be a way forward, one of the games I play is cue club 2, the gentleman behind the game is always updating it and asking for feedback on issues that could be improved. I guess that goes the same for Namida and Simon, keeping it fresh and alive so to say. Do get a chance to ask people on steam, you have probably already doing this.

Interesting about the whole puzzle yeah maybe there is a lack of interest in this category itself. You might be the very person who keeps that genre of games alive.

I'm going to look at it on youtube now.

Good luck with it hermojp

Offline grams88

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2020, 12:15:23 AM »
To me, it doesn't seem that the game failed. Maybe it could have had more people buying it. The more time goes by the more popular the game might get, that's the way I tend to think of it.

Offline Simon

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2020, 11:19:26 AM »
It's normal to convert only few followers into buyers. But I'd have to look at statistics of many other games to interpret your numbers better.

Bugs don't seem relevant to low sales. Bugs will only impact sales when you get many negative reviews that complain about bugs. At $6, I suppose that most buyers will buy the game on a whim.

Cute feels better than dumb, as Icho wrote. Cute is also associated with the Lemmings genre in the first place. Cute will weakly imply dumb/naive/inexperienced anyway.

Thanks for posting Dumb Little Creatures! Always interesting to see fresh stabs at this genre.

-- Simon

Offline WillLem

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2020, 04:58:57 PM »
I too have only had a very quick look at the demo video, so I'm really commenting from first impressions here.

My initial thoughts are: why would I pay for a Lemmings-style clone when there are so many free alternatives? To be worth paying for, it would have to be a generally much better game than the original, with an attractive interface, lovable characters and near-faultless gameplay mechanics. It's a high bar! But - I would pay even more than your asking price if the game did meet those criteria.

It seems though, that since Lemmings 3D is freely available (and now has a level editor thanks to namida), it's unlikely anyone would want to pay for a third-party version which doesn't appear to offer anything they can't get from the original game.

If there are indeed features which make it better than L3D, then developing a fully-playable free version of the game could be a way to advertise and showcase these features whilst also gathering feedback to improve the paid version of the game.

Good luck with it! This community is very supportive of these sorts of projects, so you've definitely come to the right place :)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 05:05:09 PM by WillLem »

Offline namida

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Re: Dumb Little Creatures ... why did it fail??
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2020, 05:28:05 PM »
Quote
If there are indeed features which make it better than L3D, then developing a fully-playable free version of the game could be a way to advertise and showcase these features whilst also gathering feedback to improve the paid version of the game.

There is already one feature it has that is a huge improvement over L3D: The ability to tilt the camera up / down. L3D allows arbitrary horizontal rotation, but no tilt whatsoever. Chances are the camera controls are better too - I haven't played Dumb Little Creatures yet (I'm hoping to get around to checking out the demo sometime in the coming week), but it's usually a safe assumption that any game has better camera controls than L3D. (Again, I am a huge fan of L3D, but the camera controls are not very good.)

Splitting the Turner into seperate left / right skills could also be interesting, though I could see it being frustrating. Would have to come back to this point after actually playing.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 05:35:07 PM by namida »