Interview on IndieBase

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Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 20 Oct 2011, 06:18

An interview with fellow indie-lovers at IndieBase. About Proxy Studios – the past, the Conquest and the future.

IndieBase wrote:Can you drop us any hints as to what you are working on now?

We learned a lot from creating Conquest, and not only in the development process. With our dreams of a successful competitive multiplayer game shattered (for now), we are focusing on something with higher demand and a higher chance of success. We’re starting to get low on money. I think we will be able to reveal it in the next months.


Read more at http://www.indiebase.net/?p=623.
– Rok 足

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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby Bonlogement on 02 Nov 2011, 14:10

Hey man, I really wish your game was given more attention.

Have you thought of making it available in one of the bundles ? It could be a new beginning, or at least a financial success.

Have a look at http://www.humblebundle.com/ and http://www.indieroyale.com/

EDIT: actually I submitted the game for you ! so no more excuse ! :-p I hope they contact you soon.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 03 Nov 2011, 13:37

Hey, thanks. We were contacted by Scott from Desura.

I've thought about it on several occasions, but I'm just not fully happy with the state Conquest is in at the moment. I would like to implement at least some, if not all of the proposed changes. I think PBEM especially would make it a lot more attractive for players. With that, I would feel comfortable trying to get on Steam again and such a bundle would be perfect.

At the moment we're working hard on the prototype for our next game, but I _really_ hope we'll have some time after that to get an update out and arrange some things.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby aubergine on 08 Nov 2011, 23:56

Why don't you put it in the Apple App Store? I know they take a big cut of the money (30% iirc?) but it would get the game way more exposure and bring you in some much needed cash.

Also, what is PEBM?
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby Bonlogement on 09 Nov 2011, 00:11

Play By EMail
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 09 Nov 2011, 00:13

One reason is that they want $99 a year and could still QQ and not allow our game up (I wouldn't be surprised if the gore is just too much for their Bejeweled souls).

Pretty much everyone wants 30% though.

PBEM stands for play by e-mail. In this situation I don't mean it literally, it would be more of a service where you could play against a human opponent even if you weren't both online at the same time (Frozen Synapse for example has this). I think this could alleviate one of the game's major issues.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby aubergine on 09 Nov 2011, 00:30

Hrm. It would only take 15 people to buy the game at $9.99 (with Apple taking 30% commission) for you to get back that initial $99 payment. By having it in the Apple App Store, you'd get massive exposure and thus likely many hundreds of people trying the game out, if not thousands.

Let's say a tiny fraction of Mac users buy the game, say just 250 per month, that's 9.99*0.7*250*12 = $20k per year.

I don't know how many people there are out there running a recent version of OS X, but I'm guessing that you'd be getting more like 500 new sales a month if not more, just by having more visible exposure to the market?

Anyway, keep up the good work. I still play this game several times a week even though I bought it many months ago.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 09 Nov 2011, 12:10

Have to look at it more from the long run. :)

With a better version it's more likely the game is higher rated. All these distribution platforms are very competitive, and I think the App Store is one of the most particular, and one that suits our style the least. Also, currently Conquest doesn't run as smooth on MacBooks as we'd like due to too much video memory usage.

On a more material note: Apple have a bunch of strict guidelines for their App Stores. I'm not sure if the latest revisions have all the same rules as the last, because they're so nice as to not let you see them unless you pay them $99 first. Which is really pretty amazing. Googling it up though reveals a version of them, probably of the time the store was first launched, but in them you find rules which would require us to adjust technically just for them:

  • Apps that require license keys or implement their own copy protection will be rejected
  • Apps may not use update mechanisms outside of the App Store

and some that might not even be surmountable:

  • Apps portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed,
    tortured or injured will be rejected

We will continue to evaluate it as time goes on, but simply put, I don't see Conquest in its current state fitting either Apple's guidelines, the rest of the Apps on there, or what users seem to expect or want (the market).
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby Bonlogement on 19 Nov 2011, 13:59

By the way, I don't know exactly what caused the unsuccess of Conquest (although I think the name had a role, see my feedback) however I know that Frozen Synapse is not particularly more successful. It had many sales but its active user base keeps heading toward zero. So PBEM might not be the miracle solution.

Still it might be worth trying, and if you do add this feature, be SURE to separate PBEM games from simultaneous games. Frozen Synapse didn't do this distinction and matched together players with different wishes (e.g. you join a game and your opponent is already gone, or he would leave after N turns to come back next week or never) and that caused a lot of frustration. (FS is advertised as a simultaneous turn based game but it's not)
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 19 Nov 2011, 14:32

Interesting. Though not surprising. I hear that for war games PBEM seems to work out pretty well. I agree it's not a miracle solution, but it should at least help. I actually look forward to playing some Conquest games myself with PBEM, I think it should fit really well. It was stupid we didn't add it on release. We just really didn't expect Steam to not want to distribute a game, and it went down pretty fast from there. Too naive.

Why is FS not a simultaneous turn based? Don't both players issue commands at the same time?
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby Bonlogement on 19 Nov 2011, 14:42

SephiRok wrote:Why is FS not a simultaneous turn based? Don't both players issue commands at the same time?

No, when the game is created I can:
• simply ignore it and let my opponent waste his time on the first turn
• take as long as I want to submit, 5 minutes, him 30 minutes or come back next day or never (if I don't finish a game I'll lose after 2 weeks)
EDIT: And I can't send PMs to my offline opponent, in fact as soon as he's out of the game (you can only load one screen at a time) I can't communicate with him
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 19 Nov 2011, 15:14

I see. I guess it depends what you use the simultaneous definition for, but the gameplay mechanics are still simultaneous – actions are resolved only after you both finished your turns.

It would be similar in Conquest. I wouldn't call the game non-simultaneous just because one turn can take multiple days. Unless I misunderstood.

I understand the reason they didn't split "live" and "pbem" with a hard line, I probably wouldn't either. It's cleaner and provides one flow, but a setting for the maximum turn length, through which you can filter available games, should fix your dislikes.

One second thought, maybe having a PBEM flag when creating games is necessary anyway, there's the issue of spectators as well. Haven't thought that into it yet.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby Bonlogement on 19 Nov 2011, 15:32

Non simultaneous decision and simultaneous execution, that's what FS is exactly.
SephiRok wrote:I understand the reason they didn't split "live" and "pbem" with a hard line, I probably wouldn't either. It's cleaner and provides one flow, but a setting for the maximum turn length, through which you can filter available games, should fix your dislikes.

They didn't split them at all (it was up to each player) and I insist that this is a major mistake as both correspond to 2 distinct categories of players and gameplays and forcing those 2 to play together only makes both unhappy.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby SephiRok on 19 Nov 2011, 15:47

The player should be in control to play how he wants. If he doesn't want to play PBEM games that span multiple days he shouldn't be forced into them, I agree.

But speaking realistically, unless the game is active enough, most matches would be PBEM. I think there's also a category in between, that don't mind if it's PBEM or live. I, for example, would be fine with both in Conquest. You could even play half of a game one day and then meet up again to finish if both have time.

Anyhow, I agree.
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Re: Interview on IndieBase

Postby aubergine on 19 Nov 2011, 15:54

There's an iPhone game called UniWar which seems to be a good model to use - basically, someone sets up a game and states how many players, and the time limit for turns. Then each player in turn has to play, and there's a limit to how long they get before their turn is skipped.

In particular, UniWar has a player ranking mechanism that works quite well, based on (as far as I can tell, but I could be wrong) battles won and battles fought, etc. This mechanism means that players are pitched against other people of a similar activity level and skill level.

Using a central server, to which players register on first multiplayer game, it's easy to do things like adding friends (who you can later invite to MP games) and also find new people to fill slots in a game you have posted to the server. Once all the slots are filled, the game starts and the first player takes their turn. If they dither too much, their turn is skipped and the next player gets their chance.

I think Conquest would be ideally suited to this sort of approach as there are distinct turns between teams. So there would be a time limit for the team (be that 1 player or several) to make their moves, then it would move to the next team when either that time limit is reached or all players in the team have finished their move.
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