Monday, July 08, 2013

Gridiron Solitaire #62: Price

Ironically, when I started working on GS three years ago, I had $9.99 in mind as a price point because it was less expensive than almost everything else on the PC back then.

I realized last week that I may have a problem.

In the three years since then, prices on indie games have absolutely plummeted. Even though there's a ton of content in the game, and a ton of variety, I don't know if the market will support a $9.99 price point for a card game.

I mean, $9.99 still isn't much--in Austin, it's lunch with a couple of bucks left over--but value is always relative. And there are a ton of wonderful games coming out for the PC that cost less than $9.99.

Then there's the question of distribution. There's an easy path here, and it's probably Desura and GOG. I'll have an essentially finished game to show within another three weeks or so, and Fredrik will probably start working on the website in early August. So I'd be trying to get a distribution arrangement with product in hand.

On the other hand, if you want to sell the most copies of your game, you have to be on Steam. Doing that, though, involves going through Steam Greenlight, which involves more work, and it's impossible to calculate the chances of getting approved besides the very general "extremely low". But Steam is the 500-pound gorilla, and they have to be considered.

I'm heading toward a new, unfamiliar phase here, just when I was almost to the point of being reasonably comfortable with the rewards and annoyances of coding.

Speaking of which, I'm having to do crappy things now like testing sizing code for windows, because even though it seems like that would all be automatic, it isn't. So if a user has a 4x3 monitor, for example, I have to open up in a 16x9 window, and I have to calculate the idea resolution for that window based on the resolution of the user's desktop.

This is easy for someone who's experienced, and even for me, it's not terribly difficult, but it's just so grindy. I'd much rather do things like add a bugle fanfare that lasts for a few seconds before revealing the results of the championship game. Before, you just hit the sim button and the results showed immediately. Now, there's a little drama.

Adding a bugle fanfare (which took me almost four hours yesterday--good grief) is fun. Window resolution is absolutely horrible in comparison. Or font sizing.

I'm also having an interesting reaction to being within striking distance of releasing the game, which is that I'm terrified. I'm not worried that people won't like it, because I've given it everything I have, and the people who keep playing it are going to see an unbelievable amount of variety and detail. It's okay if people don't like it, because I couldn't have made anything better.

No, what I'm terrified about is that I missed something. I'm going to feel awful if it's released and there are a ton of bugs that no one found before. I've tried to hard to find (and fix) everything, but it's still very, very scary.

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