Multiplayer Coming Soon!

We have heard all of your feedback! We are listening! We’re going to be adding multiplayer to Batter Up! VR in the future.

We’re currently working on it as fast and hard as we can. Stay tuned for more info about what exactly multiplayer means for Batter Up! VR.

ComingSoonBatterUpVR

YouTuber’s – Are they worth giving keys to?

We discussed a little in our last post about what to look out for when YouTuber’s request keys. Today we’re going to talk about the conversion rate of YouTube videos to sales.

So far we haven’t really seen any influx of sales around the posting of any of the reviews / let’s plays since launch. There has been a pretty equal amount of sales each day though (which could be due to the extra exposure from YouTube videos)

Except for today, we only saw a single sale. The weirdest part about only getting a single sale today is that the following video was posted yesterday, and already has 472k views and 1,197 comments.

We can see in our data that only 1 person from Thailand purchased our game (where the creator of the video is from). This definitely helps us understand what the conversion rate of YouTube views to Sales are. They aren’t necessarily 0, but what you should keep in mind is the audience watching the video. Maybe they’re all children who don’t own a VR headset. Maybe they’re adults who don’t have time to play with their headset anymore and live vicariously through these kinds of videos. Or maybe the country that the video was made in doesn’t have access or the funds for VR headsets. If the video is a Let’s Play, maybe the viewers got all they needed from just watching. On the other hand, if the YouTuber is someone who does reviews, I assume they might have a higher conversion rate.

What these videos DO provide though is exposure. This particular YouTuber didn’t even ask us for a key, she actually bought the game. So when asking the question “is it worth giving YouTuber’s your keys”, you might want to ask instead

“is 1 key (the price of the game) worth X amount of exposure ( X = the average amount of views on that channels videos)”

Exposure and marketing aside, one really cool thing about giving away keys though is seeing more videos of people playing your game. It’s a really cool feeling watching others play and enjoy your game. It also can provide you with feedback you haven’t seen before which in itself is really valuable.

Your Steam keys and reviews

 

A couple days before launch, we decided to do some research about the problem around giving away keys to your game. We had heard about scams going around where people would request keys saying they’re going to review your game, and then ask for extra keys so they could do a giveaway, and then end up selling them instead of using them.

The shortlist of tips we learned were as follows

  • If they request more than 1 key, it’s likely a scam
  • If they say they have 1 million subscribers, but don’t link their streaming site (YouTube, Twitch, w/e) then it’s likely a scam
  • If they say they have a ton of subscribers and DO link their site, make sure you actually look at their profile. If they have 100k subscribers but ~25 views on their videos, it’s likely a scam

You’re probably seeing a pattern here….You really have to do your research to find out if they are legit or not. There’s a really good article on Gamasutra about the importance of protecting your keys.

We’re not saying that 100% of the time the things above = scam… we just want you to be aware that there is an issue, it affects both sides, and everyone should be careful.

One valuable tip we learned is that if they reach out to you on one platform, you should ping them back on a different platform they’re active on so you can ensure someones not impersonating them.

 

Pre Launch

Funny enough, a couple days after we launched our trailer for Batter Up! VR (a week before launch) we did have someone ping both of us developers separately on Facebook. After everything we read it sounded scammy, they asked for multiple keys as well as to do an interview with us. It was the first time someone reached out to us. We ended up sending them 3 keys (1 for review, 2 for giveaway) and they ended up being legit (We were really really lucky)

Not only were they legit, they wanted to do a pre-release review. Thanks to them reaching out to us, they actually ended up giving us a TON of feedback/bugs that we ended up getting into the build before we launched (Thanks Helixx VR!!! You can find them on Facebook YouTube and Twitter)

 

The first 4 days after launch

Right now it’s only been about 4 days since the launch of Batter Up! VR. As of right now we have had about a dozen or so people email / tweet us about doing reviews for our game as long as we give them a key or two. A lot of them seem like spam… There was one YouTuber in particular that reached out to us on our wordpress contact form and we thought it was a scam for sure. Luckily a day later he tweeted us (which for some reason just seems more legit..not sure why…) so we gave him a key (After doing our research, watching some videos of him, and seeing that he has 1 Million subscribers. His video isn’t out yet, but he does have a key of ours so we’re crossing our fingers!)

Currently there’s 3 review / let’s play videos out for Batter Up! VR. It has been an amazing experience watching other people play our game, laugh at it, and look like they’re having fun. It’s hard to know what’s their persona and what’s their actual opinion / feelings. But it’s nice to imagine they’re actually enjoying it.

 

 

 

What happens next?

So far we haven’t put any of our time into going out and finding streamers to play our game. After doing a ton of AMA’s on Reddit (r/vive r/vancouver r/AMA r/VRGaming) we have got a ton of feedback about needing multiplayer, so currently that’s 100% where our focus is going. No promises yet, but we’re prototyping some local multiplayer. Maybe after we’re done Multiplayer, we’ll need to spend time reaching out to streamers to play our game to make it relevant again.

Play-Testing

Play testing is a very important aspect of game development. Especially when you’re just 2 people making games, it’s incredibly easy to get so far into it that you unintentionally assume players are going to understand everything and feel engaged.

When should you play test?

A. After the game is 99%

B. Game Tutorials / On-boarding are implemented

C. After you’ve hit beta

D. After you’ve hit alpha

E. After you’ve implemented basic mechanics

F. ALL OF THE ABOVE

The answer is F. ALL OF THE ABOVE

You should basically be doing play testing from beginning to end. We’re being hypocritical though because that’s not what we did…. We ended up doing it when the game was about 90% done… We don’t advise you do that though.

You should be play testing to understand if

  • The game is engaging/fun
  • Players understand tutorials/on-boarding flow
  • Players understand how to play and what they’re supposed to do
  • Players are getting confused while playing
  • Players are playing in a way you didn’t expect
  • Players have feedback that can add a lot more to the game

The list goes on, but those are some basic things you should be finding out during your play tests.

 

Feedback

After doing a play test you should be getting as much feedback from the player as possible. Get them to fill out a survey , allow them to talk to you about their play test session.

Something that is also very valuable is watching players test the game. There’s a lot of feedback you can observe just by watching them, such as seeing how long it takes them to figure things out, where their attention is, if they struggle at all, if they do things you didn’t expect (this happens A LOT). Players might not write down or tell you everything after their play test even though some issues were obtusely noticeable from your point of view.

Something that also needs to be thought about is who is giving you the feedback. Are they a friend or family member? Are they incredibly biased and going to give you nothing but positive feedback? There’s usually a filter you should to put your feedback through. Some play testers might not actually enjoy your game genre at all. Is it one of the goals of the game to make players who usually dislike the genre, to enjoy it? Is the play tester a casual player or a hardcore gamer? Think about the value and effort of each feedback point. If someone gives you feedback that they hate the art style, is it worth re-doing the entire games art style? These are things that are better to figure out earlier than later as well.

 

After Our First Play Test Session

Our first play test session was about 1 hour of the player playing the game, and then another hour afterwards talking about their experience and their feedback. We came away with ~80 tasks between to two of us of things we need to polish/fix/add to Batter Up! It’s incredibly important to prioritize all of the feedback as some feedback is going to have a much bigger impact on the overall experience than others. While some of the feedback might be a lot more work than it’s worth.

We’ve already fixed and implemented the majority of the feedback from that play test session and the game definitely feels A LOT better now. It was actually really cool to see someone enjoying the game before we’re actually done. It felt a little validating of all of our hard work that we’ve put into Batter Up over the past 6 months (holy crap 6 months already!!!) We’re really excited to continue play testing and improving the last couple of things before we finally bring Batter Up to all of you!

Perfect.gif

 

Designing for everyone

When making games people often forget there’s a ton of different languages that you should support (EFIGS – English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish used to be the norm, but it’s expanded much larger than that nowadays) The more languages you support, the larger the audience is that can experience your game. We don’t have a localization team so we have to do our best with using clear and easy to understand iconography to compensate.

PlainMainMenu.jpg
Main Menu basic implementation

Using the main menu above would mean that anyone that doesn’t speak English can’t even get into gameplay without trying every option, and probably accidentally exiting the game… To remedy this we added simple icons to guide the player to at least know which one that play button is.

IconsMainMenu

Now any player can easily understand which one is the play button. Everything looks pretty plain though… So we ended up adding some colour to it as well. Colour can also be used as a tool to help clarify designs.

ColourMainMenu

This simple concept should be applied to as much as possible to ensure as many players as possible can enjoy baking cakes in VR!