I got greenlit! a pre-post-mortem of Abomination Tower

I wanted to write a bit of a post mortem for abomination tower then, literally a day after I thought that, I got greenlit on steam.

I worked on Abomination Tower for about 10 months after work and on weekends. I work a full time job but game dev has always been a hobby that I wanted to turn into a job. Abomination Tower, I decided, would be my first commercial attempt.

I built the game in Unity. I started with a working 2.5D prototype back in January and eventually I turned to the new 2D tools in unity to find my art style. Once the art style was locked in I started to work on levels.

After I finished the first level I went out for feedback on the tigsource forum and a local IGDA Sydney event, beer and pixels. Feedback was great, I got some people having a lot of fun and others giving great advice to help the game. Overall I felt like I was heading in the right direction.

I then released the slightly tweaked level as an alpha demo on my website and tried to get some coverage. I made a trailer and contacted some press. I was impressed with the amount of coverage, being my first attempt. I was included in a video round up on indiegames.com and got some previews on other indie game sites. It was all going pretty well. I had been keeping a bit of a development log on indiedb this whole time and that felt good too with a few people commenting and contacting me about the game. It was all at a pretty small scale but I didn’t mind because this was easy to handle, I was sort of testing the waters you could say.

I put the game on greenlight once I’d integrated a little feedback which was mentioned in a few of the articles. My Greenlight effort got to about 1,000 votes when I noticed a spike in my website visits. I did a quick search because someone had clearly been talking about my game and I found UberHaxorNova had made a video featuring my game, he somehow must have come across it while perusing indiedb.com.  Although my game wasn’t so much the focus of the video, judging by the comments it got over 300,000 views. I was very impressed, to put it politely, I thought this would mean a generous increase in votes on Greenlight. It turned into roughly 50 votes. That is less than I had hoped but none the less I was glad to at least have that many people see my game. A lot of people played the demo and I think that was about it. There were a bunch of smaller youtubers who then made their own videos which was great, more people playing my demo, more people seeing my game. In this time I even volunteered to be interviewed on the Betacast. It was pretty great experience, I was nervous but I found it great to talk about my game. You should check out the podcast. I listen to it when I can. 😉

October, I finished making the game! A couple of months later than expected but I did. Now I was dying to release it, so I did. Impatience got the better of me here. it was the week before PAX Australia and all the big games were preparing for Christmas. I was just a little fish in the sea when it came to press coverage at that time, some press were nice enough to let me know they were too busy. I quickly realised I had made a mistake but that was okay with me. I just shrugged it off and tried to get some attention and sales. This was my first release after all and I figured it would be a learning process going in.

The first platform I released on was itch.io. itch.io is amazing. So easy to use and just a pretty great place to release a game. That said, I’ve had a total of about 5 sales. 2 of which were friends.

Earlier in development I got an offer to be in a Greenlight bundle so I thought ‘why not?’ it may just help me get on steam and it also made a me a little money too. I went into the bundle and it almost doubled my Greenlight votes it was pretty great. That same week I released on Desura. Things got a little tricky with Desura but I eventually figured things out and the game is up there, it has had a total of one sale to date… I also gave Desura keys to everyone that was part of the Greenlight bundle so at least I have some players on there. The game has had 2 player reviews on Desura one 8/10 and the other a 9. I am pretty happy with those ratings and not a single complaint about gameplay, which to me means I did something right. Overall, release was smooth but underwhelming in sales. I think in some ways the demo hurt sales because people were getting their fix from that and just moving on.

And then it happened. Two days before my birthday I wrote a little update on the steam greenlight page. The next morning I had been greenlit.

I was so surprised. Just over 2,100 votes and almost ready to move onto a new project. My immediate reaction was to begin integration with steam so I started, hoping I could get it done before my Christmas holiday was over. I didn’t get it done but I’m going to try be more patient and only release once it is all working and I make a few financial, and business preparations.

For the release I plan on doing another press push and I’m going to reach out to some YouTubers that will hopefully jump on board to help create buzz for the steam release. I am also adding a Linux build now, which actually turned out to be really easy, thanks to unity.

In conclusion, I have made roughly $500 in total from Abomination Tower pre-steam. Looking forward to see how things change once I release on steam adn after a little time I’ll be back here to give you an update.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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