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Frontier - Space trading/combat game.

  • My new game 'Korelos' is close to completion. It's an 'Elite' style space game of trading, asteroid mining and combat with a timed-goal of defeating the opposing faction.

    Korelos

    (Now renamed and link to the Clay.io version).

    I'm pleased with some of the effects in this game, but overall I fear it's too complex and difficult to get into (there's a tutorial on the right, the book icon). Is there a market out there for complex HTML5 games such as strategy games?

    I should point out this is the full-screen version which may run badly on slower PC's. The screen is too cluttered at 800x600 for the arcade (can't stick it on the arcade anyway as the ship movement uses a plugin, otherwise it's all built-in C2 stuff).

  • This is a beautiful game, and I'm sure there is definitely a market for it somewhere. It would probably do better as a packaged exe being sold though, and there are tons of people out there who love to play these types of games but a very limited supply of titles.

    I would check out this article on how old genres can be used by indies to establish themselves (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/135065/principles_of_an_indie_game_bottom_.php).

    And then try and get it your game up on some of the online game stores on this page:

    pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-online-game-stores

  • Thanks, glad you liked it. I'm really pleased with the way some of the effects worked out, such as the smoke and the shields. Something I doubt I could have done without C2.

    Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of perhaps a demo with a full version for 99 cents or something.

    As you say, there is a market for complex games and I'd prefer to write such games as they're the kind of games I prefer to play. I'll read through the articles, thanks :)

  • It looks great and it seems to have a gameplay with a lot of depth <img src="smileys/smiley32.gif" border="0" align="middle" />

  • Looks like being a very ambitious project. The graphics look rather marvellous, especially with all the effects added (though there's a helluva lot of objects on screen at once, which may cause some frame rate drops).

    The docking with space stations, trading, mining etc are all nice features, and I liked the alert that you get when enemy ships have spotted you.

    I did find the actual combat a bit tiresome, as it basically seemed to consist of me staying in one place whilst the enemy ship cirled me, and firing endlessly at him for ages and ages until the little rascal finally died.

    It might work better if you perhaps try to scale the enemy difficulty depending on what level the player is (so if they're just starting out, some of the first enemies they encounter might explode quicker, but as they progress things get more challenging as their foes get tougher to kill)

    I would also recommend changing the title of the game, as Frontier was the name of the sequel to Elite. Although that's where you probably got your inspiration, your game deserves to have its own unique individuality.

    Anyway, I'll give your game a bit more of a test soon, as I love space flight trader/combat games and this has lots of potential. There's definitely a market for this sort of thing, especially with the new Elite game having achieved funding on Kickstarter, and AJTilley's Spatial Flux C2 kickstarter also having been successful.

    best of luck with everything!

  • Ah! If only we could dock with a simple click in Elite! I remember crushing my ship so many times! :P

    You did a fantastic work indeed, congratulations!

    On a side note, though, I'd change the name of the game, especially if you plan selling or monetizing it somehow: Elite II was actually named Frontier and Frontier Developments is currently at work with Elite Dangerous so, calling your space trading game Frontier as well may be... 'dangerous' (sorry for the terrible pun!)

    Keep up the great work!

  • I didn't even realise they were doing a new Elite, awesome. But you're right, I'll change the name. I'm not sure what to call it though, any ideas?

    Oddly enough, it wasn't initially based entirely on Elite. The initial idea was for a sort of space-ship simulator and the repairs part was central to the game, but it was too fiddly so I made it automated. The trading part I added later, it was kind of obvious really.

    The trick with combat, when the enemies become stronger is to keep moving and spinning to keep your stronger shields facing them. But yeah, initially it can be a bit easy I guess.

    As for monetizing, I'd like to make something from it. It was great fun to work with and I've learnt lots about C2, but it would at least be nice to see my game get some plays. I've stuck it on MarketJS, if that doesn't work, any other ideas? What do people normally do with their projects? Maybe stick it everywhere as a demo and charge like 49 cents for the full version, such as Chrome Web store and other indie sites?

    Thanks for the messages guys :)

  • farflamex

    This is a game that I will continue to come back to and test many more times, as there's a lot more to it than first meets the eye.

    I like all the extra options you've included, such as a tutorial, ability to adjust graphics, buttons to see your weapons deck etc. It's very professionally executed, and you've clearly put a lot of time and attention into it.

    I tried playing as the rebels, and found the combat a bit more interesting (it was nice to see missiles flying at me from all angles). I think I've managed to put my finger on what's bothering me about the ship to ship combat, though; it's the fact that a lot of the time the beautifully rendered planets in the background are giving the false impression that you're travelling really, really slowly (since they edge across the screen a fraction of a millimetre at a time) - it's only when there's lots of moving objects on the screen (other ships, asteroids etc) that you start to get more of a feel for the speed your craft is going.

    Anyway, jolly nice work, and I look forward to having a much longer playtest when I get the opportunity.

    As for Monetising, you could try the Ads route and display on Kongregate, Newgrounds etc, upload to the Windows 8 app store, or if you do a hugely reduced version, perhaps give Android and IOS a try (though these can be problematic, as just one simple effect can be enough to throw your framerate out the window).

    Keep up the good work,

    • Dave
  • Thanks Dave, it's nice to see the work appreciated. I'd like to monetize, but I reckon the game is too complicated and right now, I'd be happy to just see it played by people. I've tried MarketJS but no response. I'm going to look into Kongregate but it needs a max resolution of 800 so I'll have to scale it down a bit. Not sure if I should do a demo (limited to level 2 upgrades) and then a paid version for like 49 cents or 99 cents.

    The gas in the foreground was added for just the reason you mentioned. In a space game, you have to have something moving quickly to give the impression of movement. Usually people use stars but I liked the gas effect more - took ages to get it right but I'm pleased with the end result. If you go to the gas giants or the purple planets, it changes colour and looks really nice, especially on the green and red planets (don't go to the red planets though unless you want to insta-die :p ).

    The fact that you enjoy the game is encouraging me to keep plugging away with it. I really don't know where to put the game though. Kongregate and Newgrounds seem like the best ideas, they just seem a bit fiddly with HTML5 games. For example, I think I have to host the game myself with Kongregate and if it gets a lot of hits, won't that mean a huge amount of bandwidth on my server (bearing in mind the game is quite a large download first time)?

    If you have any experience with marketing and feel you could help me out, I'd be interested in working with somebody on this side of things.

  • farflamex

    I think the best you can do in terms of marketing is look around on the Construct 2 site, search for success stories or examine different members approaches to tackling the market.

    It is an area where most people fail, simply down to the fact that the majority of us are creative types who're more interested in making fun stuff that doing that boring 'promotion' thing.

    Places like Google Market and Chrome store list the amount of plays/downloads that each individual game has had, so this is a good thing to study when it comes to gageing popularity (in the case of most contruct 2 games that I've seen on both stores, this tends to be extremely low unless they're free).

    Mortar Melon by thehen is well worth studying, as its received over a quarter of a million downloads over on Windows 8 http://www.scirra.com/forum/mortar-melon-now-live_topic59762.html

    Although I haven't played the game (as I'm still stuck in the stone age on Windows Vista) it's clear to see from the video previews etc that there's a high level of professionalism at work.

    Super Ubi Land by NotionGames is another game that's worth inspecting closely, as it's close to achieving a $5,000 kickstarter fund to help put it on the Ouja and other devices http://www.scirra.com/forum/ouya-super-ubi-land-official-thread_topic51641.html

    Dungeon Buster by Wrangler is also well worth following, as although he hasn't set out any financial game plan, he's using forums like IndieDB to help promote the product he's working on and build up a nice fanbase in the meantime http://www.scirra.com/forum/dungeon-buster-wip-thread_topic56656.html

    As I have little knowledge of the marketing world, what I'm hoping to do with my own game (Board Horde - http://www.scirra.com/forum/topic65322.html) is use it to test the waters, find out which sites are good to sell on and where it bombs, whether in-app advertising works or doesn't, etc. I'm purposely trying to keep it to less than ten megs so that I don't have to host the game myself and incur any costs that I really can't afford. At the end of the day, my main aim it to make a fun game and learn all I can from the experience - if I actually make money, that's an unexpected bonus.

    One option for your game (especially if it's a large file size) would be to sell it on your own website using a paypal account and distributing it as an EXE using Nodewebkit (which apparently curently has some export issues when trying to close from fullscreen view), though if you take that route you will need to try and build up a fanbase and direct traffic to your site by making announcements on all the various gaming social sites.

    Anyway, I hope some of this is of help. There's some good books out there on how to market your game (can't think of the titles offhand, but I'll mention them when I remember) which are also worth studying.

    Best of luck on your quest!

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  • It's clear you have put a huge amount of effort into your game,it looks very good and the game mechanics work well.

    few things I am not so keen on though,the screen is just too busy,the radars are much too big in proportion to the other objects on screen and I don't get the feeling of being in space at all,your fog effect while very well done would look better slightly less obvious,just a whisp to the eye rather than the smog it is at the moment.

    Even with the fog there is just no feeling of movement,scientifically totally incorrect but in a space game I want to see stars moving when I engage my thrusters.

    lots of things are very good your attention to detail and menu layouts are excellent also your enemy A.I and ship movement is very well done.although the pirates seem a tad small and it makes them less intimidating.

    As I said,overall excellent work,should be popular with a niche market.

  • The marketing problem is indeed a major obstacle I feel. As you said, most of us simply aren't interested in marketing and I'd rather be improving the game or starting on my next project. Whilst I love programming games and would like to start another, it does feel rather disheartening to think that nobody will ever play them. A solution to the marketing issue would be nice.

    I'm considering putting it on Clay.io as the host and trying to drive traffic from Kongregate and other places over to there. That way I get paid for advertising at both ends but I can't imagine it being much. There are lots of other places, but it seems like a lot of work that I'd rather be spending doing programming.

    @Pixel, the fog was basically put there for that purpose, to show the movement. I guess stars might have been better in the end but the fog has other effects (it changes in different systems to give an idea of the amount of gases your ship is collectig). One of the radars can be turned off to make more room.

  • Updated link to the version on Clay.io, which I'm going to be using to try to link with Chrome and other web stores, will try to see how it links with Kongregate too.

    Had to shrink it down to 800 resolution which I was a bit worried about, but found ways to get it to work, seems to play fine. I was going to slow the lasers down to correspond with the new size but it still seems the same to me so left it as it is.

    Renamed it to 'Korelos', which is the name of the final system. I don't really like the name but it's unique and gets me away from any issues with the name 'Frontier'.

  • You could also try licensing your game out to places like Booster Media or any of the places at this link, html5gamedevs.com/topic/103-html5-game-portals

    I could give you some other contacts too (just PM me), or if you wanted further help, I always wanted to experiment with being a "publisher".

  • Thanks man, good list. I've put it up on Clay.io and linked through from Kongregate, so I'll see what people have to say. Will try the Chrome Store and then move through the list. I'll see if I have any success with any of those, should be fairly obvious in a day or two.

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