Commercial game in a month, final touches

It’s now been 23 days since I started making my second commercial game, Lost Potato.

I’ve worked on it as my primary project for about 18 days. 

I’ve since switched the focus back to Space Gladiators.

Although the game is now mostly done, there are still a bunch of steps we need to go through before publishing it.

My plan is to launch it at the same time as the next Space Gladiators major update.

This will happen in August for multiple reasons:

  • Steam Summer Sales just ended, so we can’t apply discounts for a while.
  • Lost Potato still needs to go through Steam’s reviewing process (~1 week) and have the page be publicly available for 2 weeks before even being able to press the “publish” button.
  • I need more time to make content for the update.

I still haven’t put together the various social media GIFs, presskit and lists of content creators I need to contact. I’ll probably do that a week or so before launch.

So… how much did this project cost me?

I thought this might be a good time to lay out some numbers and expectations. 

Here are the costs:

  • $100 Steam fee (retrievable if > $1000 in sales)
  • $220 for translating the Steam description (80 words) in 22 languages using Gengo. It worked great, except for the fact that they didn’t seem to have any Norwegian translator. So my game is available in Norwegian, but with an English Steam page – which is a bit awkward.
  • $80 for 2 tracks on Pond5

Total: $400 + 3 weeks of work

Note: you could have easily done the same without translating your game and with free music. 

I’m pretty sure half the languages won’t be worth the translation. But I’m doing it for experimentation purposes, so I know which ones are actually worth it for future games.

This project has many goals that are hard to quantify: bringing visibility to my other game, experimenting with the market, testing and refining my processes and tools, learning more about my engine etc.

Still, the main variables I’ll use to judge the success of the project are:

  1. The direct net revenue I’ll get from it (after Steam’s cut) over its lifetime: I’ll consider it a failure if it doesn’t even cover the costs of making it (< $400), a moderate success if I manage to recoup Steam’s fee (> $1000) and a great success if it nets me more than $2000.
  2. The percentage of positive reviews (less than 80% would mean the game needs more work, less than 70% would be really bad)

We’ll know whether this was worth it or not in about a month.

Until next week,

Thomas Gervraud,
Developer of Space Gladiators: Escaping Tartarus