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Submitted by Robin Ward, posted on August 15, 2001

Image Description, by Robin Ward

I used to be heavily into game and graphics programming back in the early nineties when it was all about mode 13h. I let it slide for a few years in order to concentrate on web programming and Java development.

It's back with a vengeance. I decided to build a simple 2-D shareware game, and this screenshot is the result of my efforts. The game engine is 95% done (I have to program a few more enemies), and I have about 10 out of 30 levels complete.

It's more of a puzzle game than anything else. Different levels have different objectives (such as eat all the pizza, flip all the switches, etc). It's a fairly standard 2-D game. I originally wrote it using DirectX 8, but after I found that it wouldn't work on NT and computers that haven't upgraded, I decided to port it to SDL. SDL is great, in that the renderer will actually use the GDI if no DirectX install is found. It's really reducing the DirectX barrier of entry.

In the end, I plan to self-publish the title. I'm going to sell it on my web site as well as by mail order.

The game is lacking a title, so I was wondering if anyone can suggest one? Also, how much do you think someone would pay for this kind of game? Bear in mind, I'm not making it for the hardcore gamer, but for children or adults or who want to play a puzzle game. I was thinking $20US.

You can e-mail me at:

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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

August 15, 2001, 02:41 PM

If it is fun and addicting then $20 is a resonable price, but it has to have plenty of levels.



August 15, 2001, 03:08 PM

While I can understand people trying to make some money, but I can honestly say I would never in my life pay $20 for a game like that. I don't intend to sound like a jerk (though I guess I do) but seriously, for $20 you can head to your local store and buy a professional quality game which is almost certainly better.

Alright, so gameplay isn't about graphics. I know everyone is gonna tell me that and how shallow I am, and that's partially true, but there is a reason you don't find these kind of games on the N64 or GameCube (both not for hardcore gamers, but instead a younger audience). These games aren't worth money. They might sometimes be fun but I know he didn't put $20 of game in to that.

I see people attempting to sell their hobby projects and it just pisses me off. I can't say exactly why but I think it has to do with the fact that its a fun project for fun. If you attempt to sell something for a professional price without a professional team, it looks like you're trying to rip people off and/or make easy money. Perhaps I have just have too many free ethics (no, not like GNU). If Kurt or some other moderator feels like they want to remove my post because it isn't "You rock, I love your game!" it won't suprise me.

Rarely is there anything beyond mindless priase.

David Olsson

August 15, 2001, 03:13 PM

I totally agree with you.


August 15, 2001, 03:19 PM

Well, if you were a puzzle game player, you would probably want to pay 20$ for a game like this. I would recommend starting with a loweer price. What have you got to lose? Making this game probably didn;t cost you anything since it's all "in house" made, so any money you make will be a profit! I would try it out, it looks like it could be a lot of fun!


August 15, 2001, 03:26 PM

The graphics look great, but it does look very simple. I think $20 is a bit high, maybe $10 or $15. Selling hobby games is totally fine, whats wrong with having the people who love your game support your efforts? By using that money to buy a better system or software, it will increase the value with the next game made.

I do hate hobby games which are buggy and have terrible game play which people try to sell, that is just wrong. But if you have a solid game, then why not sell it?


Kurt Miller

August 15, 2001, 03:34 PM

">>If Kurt or some other moderator feels like they want to remove my post because it isn't "You rock, I love your game!" it won't suprise me. "

Heh, cheap shot ;]. I said on numerous occasions constructive criticism is definitely welcome. Your comments didn't strike me as rude at all.


August 15, 2001, 03:37 PM

It looks like fun :) Why not make a game demo ? (5 level or so)

Ow is there a level editor ?

George Ziniewicz

August 15, 2001, 03:38 PM

I personally don't like 2d games (gotta be a 3d shooter 4 me) but appreciate how many do, and the work and inspiration involved.

My son always did like them, so bring 'em on.

2d or 3d, they still have graphics, a gui, gameplay rules, alot of thought in general.

Re graphics/gameplay, I am very visual, and what I like about something like Quake or Unreal is that there are moments of fast action like a net deathmatch, and other moments of just exploring (my fav part).

And while I am exploring, I do love good graphics.



August 15, 2001, 03:39 PM

look at snood... thats the same type of game and a lot of people love that game... and it was done by one programmer as well. i would recommend releasing a demo that you can register. then, a lot of people will get exposure and a taste for your game, and can then decide if they want to own it.

i would say make it available for 10$

if people like it, they will recommend it to their friends, and then to theirs, and so on... if a few people register you can turn a decent profit. even if they dont, they may provide feedback about how good it is (if they like it), which can be just as rewarding as a few bux.



August 15, 2001, 03:43 PM

I don't think the game looks shoddy or cheap at all. By all means try to sell it. May I suggest a publisher though? It's easier that way. Microsoft often sells puzzule games(I know someone who sold them one), and that way you can satifiy people like Elixir who wouldn't know a good game unless it bit thim on the nose complete with box.


August 15, 2001, 04:12 PM

I agree $10 seems about right. You should be able to sell many copies for that.



August 15, 2001, 04:15 PM

How many hours do you spend on your game ( code, graphism & level design ) ? This may help you determine its prize. 20$ seems to be high for only 30 levels..

Your game sounds nice, I like your cartoon sprites ;-)



August 15, 2001, 04:31 PM

sell your game for like 5 bucks or the minimum amount you can sell it for to make a profit. there are tons of people out there who don't mind paying a couple bucks to try a game. You'll probably find that you'll sell a lot more games and, as a result, make more money then you would selling it for 20 bucks.


August 15, 2001, 04:42 PM

I like the graphics, they are great.

Price: Make it 1$, and have 40 times the amount of buyers you would have got if you made it 20$, so you win. Or even better - start with 20$. if sales go bad, reduce it to 1$ and call it a mega-sale.
I like puzzle games, but there are so many free ones (especially for linux) that I would never pay more that 4$ for a good game, even.

As for a name, I have no idea.I need to know more about the game.

Robin Ward

August 15, 2001, 04:51 PM

Firstly, I'd like to say that I appreciate everyone's comments, even those which are negative. I consider myself a hardcore game player. I own all major video game system systems (PSX, PS2, N64, Dreamcast, High End PC with Geforce 3). So I want to make it clear that I am not trying to pass off my game as competition for the next Doom or Unreal game.

The game has a completely different focus - the casual, non-hardcore player, and the die hard puzzle gamer.

One thing worth pointing out is that 99% of the game demos created are never completed. People don't seem to have trouble creating portal engines and light maps and bump-mapping (as is obvious by this image post), but they do seem to have trouble actually making a game.

I think that most projects are over ambitious. They set out to create this awesome engine, then stop because they don't have a good game design, or can't find a modeller or artist to help them with the project.

I chose to make this game because (i) I knew it was within my capabilities and (ii) I want to finish it. I am not planning on making millions on it. It is likely that I will only charge $10/copy when I do finish it.

I'm not making this game because I don't have the programming skills to create a 3-D game. Check out this quick demo I whipped up over the weekend ( if you don't believe me. I'm confident that in time I could create a great looking, well coded game. But right now I've got a full time job, so if I am to finish a game in my spare time, i'm going to set realistic goals for myself.

It's worth noting that there is a large market out there for casual or softcore gamers. They want games that will work on their PCs without having to install new drivers. They're running P-200s. And this game will work on their computer without hassles. They will receive a small amount of fun with it, and hopefully will want to pay for the full version.

Look at the huge amount of crappy games they sell at Wal-Mart or your local grocery store. Of course WE never buy them, but I assure you those companies are extremely profitable.

Finally, when I do finish this game, wouldn't it be dumb NOT to sell it? To just keep it on my pc because it's a hobbyist title? The demo version will always be free, so I'm not really hurting anyone by doing it.


August 15, 2001, 05:00 PM

you really should watch what you say robin, keep in mind that many programmers on flipcode (including me) dont actually set out to make a complete game, but spend their time thinking up insane idea's and trying to implement that one little part. You may find that watching your new idea grow into something useful is much more fulfilling the cut&pasting a whole bunch of code together to make a game (not suggesting that you do this but many people do)

just beef for the day ;)

Rectilinear Cat

August 15, 2001, 05:03 PM

Oh no....someone said Snood. The magic word. That game has spread over my school like wildfire!! The teachers play it in their spare time! If you manage to make youur game as popular as Snood, then there's nothing stopping you from making a really high-end sophisticated game that sells just as well. Good luck man. Oh, and as a veteran of many an impulse buy, I would advise that you keep the price at $10 or below. Any higher and any potential customers will probably end up putting away that credit card they just whipped out.

zed zeek

August 15, 2001, 05:18 PM

reminds me of a few years ago in brisbane when i was broke and actually went busking for moeny with my guitar (normally i do it just for a laugh) anyways after about 2hours of playing original songs i didnt even pick up the cash on the footpath (perhaps 8c) later on i was watching this guy down the road doing an act, u know the sort, walk on hands over children piece of piss stuff but after like 12minutes he passed the hat around + got like 100 bucks. when i started there was a moral to this story but ive forgotten it so make your own up, bye must dash.


August 15, 2001, 05:46 PM

20$ ? MC_BAXTON, please come and express my opinion about this because I am to friendly to do it ;-) Well, I guess I'm going to pick up a copy of Serius Sam for 19.90$...

Sorry, but I can't believe anyone pays 20$ for such a game


Robin Ward

August 15, 2001, 05:46 PM


Please understand I don't want to disrepect those innovative coders out there who are spending their time researching new programming techniques and (ultimately) making games better for everyone.

If your goal is to create something great, then pass it on to others so they can in turn make a great product with it, then more power to you. But if someone's goal is to create a game, and all they ever come up with is a shell, then they've failed.

And no, I didn't copy and paste together my game. I assure you there's some really cool code in there. Nothing revolutionary,
but well thought out, clean and quick :)



August 15, 2001, 05:59 PM

Be careful of how much you give away in the demo version. I learned that the hard way. I allowed them to play for too long in the demo, so instead of people buying the game, they were plenty happy with the demo version. I would suggest only letting them play a couple levels, and only for a maximum of maybe 5 minutes at a time. A nag screen is good, but it alone doesn't help (and forcing people to sit on that screen for a few seconds is just annoying and doesn't help either).

The whole goal of a free demo is to make it so they absolutely need to have more... leave them hanging so they aren't even able to sleep until they know what's going to happen next, and the only way they can satisfy that craving is to whip out some money and buy the game. Here's an idea -- have the demo "pay attention" to how well the player is doing. If the demo detects that the player is really close to winning the level, then it cuts off the game just *moments* before they know if they won or not. Instead of getting that statisfying sense of accomplishment, they get a message saying "buy me if you want more". It's like stopping sex just before the climax. Of course they're going to want more!

- Johnathan


August 15, 2001, 06:20 PM

I couldn't disagree more.

"I see people attempting to sell their hobby projects and it just pisses me off."

Get over it. Don't buy the program. Quit whining.


August 15, 2001, 07:32 PM

Snood was actually just a remake of a proven game, so I don't think I would really consider that to be the same thing as this. Lots of people enjoyed Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move way before Snood existed. That same logic could be applied to a Tetris clone with different colored blocks: it may be a fun game, but that doesn't mean that it was this incarnation that was so great or that I want to buy it. Here we have a wholely original game created by an indivudual, not a clone.

I agree with these other guys that you should probably make a 5-level demo available for free (and get it posted on sites like this and and others) so that people can experience it first. Not many people are going to be willing to throw down the change for a game over the internet when they haven't even played it. There are just too many broken or half-assed games out there to trust the word of the creator alone.

If the game is fun and well-received, I would say that $10 or $15 might be a fair price to ask. I think if you go up to $20 you have gone past the "sweet spot" of a consumer's whimsical indulgence, and you would get far less people buying it. Also, you have to consider that not nearly as many casual gamers buy games via the internet as they do from the bargain shelf at Wal-Mart.

BTW, good job on (almost) completing the game and nice screenshot! I look forward to playing this soon! :)

Mathieu 'POĻ' HENRI

August 15, 2001, 08:15 PM

your game makes me think to any game one can find on his mobile phone, so I don't why some would pay 20$ for it

and personnaly if I wanna play such a game, I code it on my calculator or I try to make it as small as possible ...I find this ways more exciting

If you really plan to charge for it, I ought you to make it free with plenty of levels (~50-100) and to charge only for the LEVEL EDITOR or for LEVEL PACKS ...Say ~10$ for the editor...and 5-10$ for a level pack


August 15, 2001, 10:19 PM

This is the first time I've called someone an asshole on a message board in a bit under a decade -- since I clearly got past puberty. And you sir, are not one. People who condemn you for making a profit doing what you love so you can do it more had better either come up with a strong philosophical reason (GNU comes to mind at first, but even the FSF encourages making a profit off of software) or respect your ways.

Some of the naysayers here are hobbyists in the same field. Evidently, these naysayers are also assholes.


August 15, 2001, 10:28 PM

Does your nickname have anything to do with the deftones?
They have a song on their first album called Engine.9


August 15, 2001, 10:32 PM

Or maybe they'll scream out of pain and delete your demo out of frustration and never look at it again. ((Okay, I've spent 5 hours at this hard platform level, I'm almost to the... WTF!!??!!?? PAY ME 5 BUCKS NOW TO CONTINUE!??? AAHHHHH!!!!!))


August 15, 2001, 11:19 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and actually say something useful.

If you distribute the game yourself, you won't be able to reach a very wide audience, and the whole playable demo distribution model generally doesn't work out very well. I mean, you might get $100 for your efforts over the course of a year.
Here's what you do. Find a B-title publisher, such as Crystal Interactive. They'll distribute it in a pack of several games, and give you 10-20% of the net profit. You'll get the satisfaction of knowing that your game has seen the CompUSA and Walmart discount bins around the world, and ten times more money.
As a side note, don't publish anything through Xtreme LLC, LaMothe's company. They offer 50%, but they don't have a distribution network, so it's basically 50% of nothing.
Anyway, hope this helps.



August 15, 2001, 11:22 PM

Sell your game. I stringly encourage it and I wish more people would do the same. People that say this game cost you nothing to make are making a statement about how they view their own lives and time - worthless. The effort you put into learning the skills necessary to produce such a game and the time you spent putting it together entitles you to name your price. Whether you wish to charge $2 or $200 is irrelevant. As long as there is still some vestige of capitalism in the world, you have the right to set your price - and potential customers have the right to agree to that price or disagree with it. They set their price on their own effort when they took whatever job supplies them with their money. If they do not value your game as much as you believe your time is worth, it should be an equitable break. They are not forced in any way to purchase your game and should be happy with their decision that the game looks interesting but not worth the price. Unfortunately, many people cannot make such tough choices and they believe that somehow the person offering the product is cheating them. A simple disagreement on value shouldn't bring about such emnity, but it is a growing problem in society. Ignore it. There are still those out there that make the choices of how to invest the money they've earned in return for their own effort. Anyone who suggests that because you ENJOYED creating the game it is immoral to charge for it... well, just imagine the type of world that person would bring about if their dogma were implemented? It would be a prerequisite that you must hate your job.

I'll just stop now, this topic make me more angry than I have let through in this post. I played Serious Sam for about 6 hours, I'm sure this type of game I would play foir far longer. In addition to that, if you get a good response from your sales of this game, well, then you're encouraged to create more like it. It is the rare 3D game that really catches my fancy, I would much rather have the opportunity of having a community of dedicated 2D developers around making neat games. That's my preference and I understand that in reality, I must pay for that privelege. Ignore those that want something for nothing. Stranded on a desert island they would look up at the lone coconut tree and gnash their teeth that the coconut doesn't drop to their hands and open itself for eating and thus starve to death. Let them stare at your game that they can't get without a little effort and let them gnash their teeth, don't drop it into their hands, you would be doing them a disservice, teaching them that their desire for a product is a valid claim on the effort of others which is contrary to reality.


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