Tag Archive for free

Zombie Outbreak Sim Wrap Up

Well its been around 10 weeks now since we released Zombie Outbreak Simulator (ZOS). I’d like to share some of the experiences we had, and since I have learned so much from other similar articles, I’d like to give something back.

Our plan with ZOS was always to make it just a bit of a tech preview or teaser for Class 3 Outbreak (the RTS), something that’s just a bit of fun to watch and whet your appetite for the ‘real thing’. Having developed the game for so long, and testing/balancing Class 3 Outbreak for a while, I thought that ZOS would get some “oh, that’s kinda interesting” remarks and we’d get a little bit of traffic from some zombie or google maps sites. Funnily enough, I started to see some traffic coming from Digg via google analytics. I went to their website and found that we had been Dugg 30-40 times, which I thought was pretty good. A moment later I was about to head off to sleep for the night and I thought I’d check the site again, and lo’, we had just reached the front page! To our great astonishment and excitement, we eventually shot up to the third most dugg site of the day, getting over 1700 diggs. Our server went down perhaps a dozen times or more but luckily it never stayed down, it would just restart and keep on trucking. rorr.im also mirrored us which helped a little. We ended up having to put up static html files for all of our pages on class3outbreak.com, and that plus some help from our host finally got traffic moving smoothly. Saxon and I definitely enjoyed watching ZOS climb though, it was quite unreal.

I loved reading all of the comments people were leaving at Digg as well, and I made some comments/replies myself. Its great to interact with fans! We were amazed to see that not only would people post what settings they were using for the outbreak, they would even make up entire stories about the little 20 pixel people running around – extensive stories! It seemed to really capture peoples imagination, and I think running the game on google maps played a part in that, because we are using actual imagery. It’d be nice if the people looked a little more realistic but I’m not sure if I can improve them much with only 20 or so pixels.

We weren’t entirely prepared for the traffic when it hit, so we didn’t have mochi ads running, and our adsense banners weren’t really optimized either. It’s funny that after getting played 250,000 times and dugg 1700 times (I’d call that a huge success) we made around $300 in 2-3 days. As traffic levels out it looks like we might make 5-10k by the end of the year at this rate. That’s a pretty good sign to me that making money from advertising in flash games is incredibly hard. Sure, if we had mochi running from the start, we probably would have made a bit over double in the first 2 days, but that’s still peanuts for something that was so popular. I’d imagine getting the game to spread successfully over portals and get 10’s of millions of plays could start bringing in some half decent money too, but we are in the middle of seeing what we can do in this department.

When you consider the super great article: “You should be making a premium flash game” and games like Fantastic Contraption, we are very keen to try selling our game at some point, ie when there’s enough game there to charge for. If we punched in the Fantastic Contraption sales numbers with our current traffic levels we would be making over $90k a year, not too shabby. And yes, the games are both extremely different, and its impossible to know whether we would reach the same level of success as Colin did, but it is interesting to guesstimate these things…

Since ZOS has gone online we’ve also put up a facebook page that has reached over 1700 fans, and a forum which is already producing a lot of conversation. Feel free to join either!

You might be wondering how C3O is coming along… we hit a slight snag which requires another 2-4 weeks work, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Ah games and their so called release dates… :)

Thanks for reading!
Jay

MechWarrior: Living Legends, the power of mods

My PC died the other day (don’t worry, its just the video card!), so I ended up discovering and playing Mechwarrior: Living Legends for about the entire day at my brother’s place. I loved it so much and was so impressed I felt the need to write a short post here.

MWLL is a total conversion of Crysis, so if you own Crysis, you can download and play MWLL for free. I can’t say I get into FPSs much these days, and so I don’t own it, but as soon as my PC returns, I’ll be getting it just to play the mod. MWLL has such high production values and is so well designed you will swear you are playing the next retail MechWarrior title. I haven’t been so pumped about a game in a very long time. The mix of spectacular Crysis graphics, professional, super high quality artwork, equally good sound and a brilliant mix of Mech’s, tanks, planes and battle armor (little dudes) makes for a highly entertaining and epic experience! It is quite like Battlefield 2, but it has a very real feel to it, like a Flight sim but for Mechs.

On the business side of things, I think this game is a great example of how powerful mods are for extending the life of a game, and even bringing in new customers. I would have never bought Crysis, even for $5, but after seeing a few youtube videos I was sold for $30.

Give it a go, there’s even full servers of people playing in Australia. It’s a little painful to get the game running but its so worth it! MechWarrior: Living Legends.

If any of the team is reading this, I’d just like to say a big congratulations and thanks, I’m a huge MechWarrior fan, and a fairly jaded gamer for the most part, and its great to get this excited about a game again!

Jay

Class 3 Outbreak V1, what to expect!

Hello eager brainz hungry zombie fans. The first release of Binary Space’s zombie RTS, Class 3 Outbreak is not far off now. We have been following fan feedback all over the internet and are keeping a close eye on feature requests on the forums.

We realised that people have little idea of what to expect from the first release, so we thought we’d share with you a bit of a feature breakdown, so that your hopes and dreams of some infinitely complex zombie RPGTSMMORPG aren’t horribly crushed!

The first free game to be released in (very) approximately 3-4 weeks will be a fairly simple flash game, much like a playable Zombie Outbreak Simulator, called “Class 3 Outbreak” (C3O). We will be distributing it across flash games portals, which we hope to make ourselves some decent money from sponsorships and advertising to fund the sequel.

C3O will be an RTS with 1-2 maps, 1 unit type (police) and your basic terrifying zombies. We hope to give you a fun game in which players are tasked mainly with crushing outbreaks as they occur across the map. The challenge lies with quickly reaching outbreak sites and efficiently taking out all zombies before they can spread out of control. There will also be an escort part of the game which was featured in the trailer. We wont give away everything that happens though! If you’d like to get yourself tactically acquainted with the next outbreak locale, we have chosen Leicester, England in a classic suburban area that we feel that many people will be able to relate to. The Washington DC map will probably return as well.


View Larger Map

To create some competition (against yourself and other players) we will be tracking the players score, which is affected by the amount of outbreaks you control, how many zombies you take out, how many people you escort to safety and so on.

What lies ahead after this first iteration of Class 3 Outbreak? That all depends on how the first one goes! It will almost certainly be a premium, pay version of C3O, probably with a free demo version. The only things we can guarantee at this point are lots of fun unit types, new maps and zombies :) There is a certain feature that has been requested many times that we are very excited about, but in game development you never know what will happen, we make no promises! When will it come out? For now its probably safest to say “sometime in 2010”!

Saxon and I look forward to bringing you the first version of C3O soon-ish!

Thanks to all the fans for following us, and I’ll see you on the forums, and facebook, etc!

Jay

Advertising in Flash Games Compared to TV

I was pondering marketing and advertising (mochiads) in flash games, and got thinking about traditional advertising, like on TV for example. I think its a reasonable comparison, you might spend 30 minutes watching an episode of something on TV, and according to wikipedia, in America: “a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local.” So that’s nearly a third of your time watching adverts for a free TV show.

When you consider flash games, you will see an advert at the start of the game for perhaps 5-10 seconds, and you could potentially spend up to an hour playing some games without seeing another advert. Sure, you have google adwords ads around the game that are always visible, but I think that’s quite different to having your entertainment experience completely shutdown while you must watch adverts.

It’s a very good deal when you think about it this way, for the players I mean. Flash developers in general are still not earning enough on average in my opinion, and sure if the developer only spent a few days or a week on a game or if its no good then you’ll close the game if an ad break appears. However for a quality, compelling game I think there’s nothing wrong with inserting ads into the game at strategic, unintrusive points. Most adverts are only appearing for another 5-10 seconds, so I think it would be reasonable to have ads appear up to 5 or more times in a long game, say an hour. In fact when I’m honest with myself I think it could approach tv levels of advertising time, why not? What will happen, is that if you have a poor game, everyone will leave on the ad break and that game will earn less. Fair deal in my opinion. If you think your game is of lower quality you could place less adverts to keep players around longer. If you have a great game, players will hang around in exactly the same way they do on tv breaks (or go make some food and come back). Advertising online in flash games also has potential that tv doesn’t, such as being interactive (even include other games), and being able to open other windows, research the advertisers product, and so on.

People seem to have big gripes with lots of adverts, but I think if your audience refuses to sit through a 5-10 second break every 15 minutes there’s something wrong with your free game. I’ve even read a lot of people claiming that people won’t play your game if it takes too long to load. Consider just how long the intro sequence/credits take for a soap, I feel people still have this thought that “if its on the net it should be free and fast no matter what”.

I could rant longer but you get the idea! What are we planning in our game for adverts? An initial loading advertisement as per industry standard, then 2-3 more in adbreaks which coincides with other events that halt gameplay. I think it’s reasonable, we are providing roughly an hour long, free game in return for players sitting through a total of maybe 20-30 seconds of mochiads. That’s a bargain!

Tell me what you think, and sign up for our newsletter on the right if you’d like to be notified when our first game is released.

WGT Golf – the best flash game you aren’t playing

While I’m not a huge fan of golf games, I felt the need to write a short post about this game. World Golf Tour would have to be one of the most realistic golf games I’ve ever played, which is saying something because its a free, ¬†online, multiplayer flash game that runs in your browser.

I find it particularly interesting because its as far from a normal flash game as you can get. It has the system requirements of some PC games and plays in a huge 1280X800 screen (minimum), whereas most flash games play in a tiny 600×400 window. I’d actually have to say that this is the most hardcore flash game I’ve seen, as in, it’s not created just to shoot some zombies for 5 minutes and then never come back. This is a full fledged, feature rich, realistic and eye popping game that you’d be happy with if you had just paid $100 for it at EB.

You could almost call it a MMOG (ok not quite), as there are tournaments run all the time where 1000’s of players compete to make the cut, qualify and win prizes. In fact WGT just ran a tournament alongside the US Open at Bethpage Black, they called it “the Virtual US Open Championship” and the winner gets a pass to next years tournament. The virtual US Open was played out over the same time period as the actual event, and it certainly adds to the interest level of the game and the event itself, as people who have played the online course a lot can watch the pros do it on TV and compare themselves. I can’t think of anything else like it, and its a great idea. Over 180,000 people also though it was a great idea and signed up to compete on the course. Only 200 people made the cut, and the winner, NASAGolfer, took the prize and received 2 tickets to the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach.

Where all these people actually found out about the game is a mystery, and while I found it over 6 months ago, I can’t remember where either! You can even try a few searches on google for online golf and flash golf, but you’ll never find it! Odd!

WGT Golf uses a great little business model where the game itself is free, but has a micro transaction system if you’d like to buy new clubs. The Bethpage black course almost required some better clubs (you couldn’t even reach some fairways with basic clubs) but when they only cost $5-10 for a set, it’s good value.

So if you’re tired of the same shallow flash games that are released over and over again, and you like golf, I highly recommend giving this one a go. If nothing else the scenery is speccy!

Give it a go now… WGT Golf

MochiAds Free Hosting

I got a reply back from Mochi saying there are indeed “no strings attached” to their free hosting service for flash games. I was impressed by their reply speed too, it gives me confidence that if there’s any problems in the future I’ll be able to get in contact with someone. So we will continue to host our site, but the game is hosted on their servers, and they handle the huge flood of gamers foaming at the mouth to play our awesome games!

I was initially concerned with the price of hosting a large-ish flash game, since if you get a successful game on your hands, your bandwidth fees go through the roof. It also seems quite hard to find a host that is “digg proof”. I’ve read articles where people have gone with one of the big name hosts, even ones which advertise being digg proof, and they still go down. Part of the problem may be poorly optimized websites, but it seemed like a big price tag attached to something that isn’t guaranteed to stay online.

Anyway I think we will be trying out Mochis free hosting option and see how it holds up. Hopefully we get some big social media/digg/stumbleupon traffic and can report back on how it goes. I think we will still have to invest in a modest/high end hosting solution like a VPS or basic dedicated option, but at least I won’t have to fear big ‘bandwidth exceeded’ fees.

I’m pretty confident we can make a reasonable profit with advertising on our homepage now as well, whereas before it looked like either a tiny profit, or at worst, a small loss.

If anyone else has used MochiAds free hosting I’d like to hear what your experience has been.

Thanks for reading!