18 March 2013

30K Sale(s)

text: We’re very pleased to let you know that our <d3:unique/distinctive/indie> game King of Dragon Pass has sold over 30000 copies in the App Store! To celebrate, we’re putting the game on sale for 30% off, for three days.
music: "WeDidIt"
price = price * 0.7 # 30% off
trigger code_SaleOver 3  # Sale ends in 3 days

Response 1: Buy Now!
.fun += 1000
.goods -= 7
text: Clan members were heard saying things such as “<d3:This is undoubtedly the best rpg game on iOS./This game is simply brilliant./I must have put in 30 hours by now.>”

Response 2: Wait 3 days for the regular price, to support the developers.
.fun += 1000
.goods -= 10
text: Clan members could be heard saying such things as: “d3:A game with more depth and heart than you can shake a stick at./Thank you dev team for such a great game that I will be playing for years to come!/Congrats to the developers on making something so different and downright fun.>”

Response 3: Send messengers to nearby clans to let them know.
foreach c in NearbyClans
c.fun += 1000
aSharp.obligations += 1

Response 4: Get the Windows version on GOG.com.
text: Clan members were sad that we had no iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. But they praised the ring for finding another way.
.fun += 999

Response 5: Ignore the opportunity.
text: Clan members shook their heads and muttered darkly about the foolish decisions their leaders were making.
.mood -= 25

[Storytelling] Get this game. It’s tribal politics and role playing at its best. Play it as if you are in the shoes of your clan leader or as you wish yourself; whatever brings you into the world, live it. You will not regret a thing. [1234]


  1. Congratulations! I hope this ensures a long and prosperous future for the game and maybe other possible projects (I'd love to see more games nailing the emergent storytelling just as perfectly as KODP).

  2. Is there any plan for an Android port -- now that Android has surpassed iOS in market dominance of smartphone by double digits, and will surpass iOS in tablet before the end of the year?

  3. Now you have a solid fan base. Kickstart new swags for us pls.

  4. Congratulations once again.

    I'm with Edward, I'd like to see you set up a Kickstarter project, for the sequel, King of Sartar. Get ahead with help from the people who support you. Isn't that what King of Dragon Pass is all about anyway?

  5. Pirated your game in 99 (was in no position to buy it then). Was the only CD that I kept until now among hundreds and was delighted to find in on gog to buy. Remember going to your website back then and reading a very dissapointed post from you about only 162 units of sales, can that be correct? Fantastic game which has not even been close to its potential due to its uniqueness and lack of marketing budget. I think you will find the sales to continue for several years. May I ask how the sales are at gog?

    I agree with previous posters that kickstarter is the way to go for a sequel. Even if you fail to get the project funded you will generate marketing and interest and probably subsequent sales for the original version. Its a win win situation. If I were in your place I would however wait until the sales have grown more before attempting kickstarter so that you have a larger following. Do you have a guesstimate on what budget you might need for a sequal?

  6. I don’t recall anything about 162 units, we never had great sales of the original boxed version (except in Finland) but it was not that bad!

    Sales at GOG.com are fairly good (we managed to be their #1 seller during a sale).

    Ah, budget. If a sequel is like KoDP and has 500 full screen illustrations, at maybe US$ 250 each, that along is $125K. That doesn’t count faces, user interface art, music, sound, writing, code, QA, or design. Or the Glorantha license. So, $500K might be a wild guess. Which I think is far higher than the current audience would fund in advance.

  7. 500k$ budget for the game.

    Now the kickstarter/amazon share of the KS campaign would be 5-10%, lets say 10% to keep it simple.

    Then you have the amount of pledges that do not process for different reasons, say another 10%.

    If you should choose to have physical gods as rewards to bring in higher pledges, which most medium/large game campaigns do at KS, that amounts to about 15-25% of the total, lets say 20% for simplicity again.

    So some easy arithmetic's brings us to a minimum funding limit of 700k$. As much as i would love a sequel, that simply is not a reasonable number for a little known studio with no major hits to reach without some major luck. People that have not played the original would need to back this project to get to those numbers. IMHO the effort would be hampered by the same factors that caused the original to remain reasonable unknown, the game being such a unique niche that people would have a hard time relating to it.

    The option then seems to wait a couple of years hoping for the momentum to grow as well as the audience. Hopefully the nostalgia atmosphere currently gripping the game section of KS and some inevitable bombs that will be released before that will not have created a negative environment for games KS by then.

    Perhaps another possibility you be to try to have a smaller funding goal, 200-250k$ perhaps, and shrink the game accordingly with fewer illustrations, reuse of the engine and generally cutting corners? Perhaps even some personal investment as there would no doubt be some sales once the product is released.

    I think the median pledge is about 50 - 75$ for larger KS game campaigns. They however usually get backers at 5000-10000$ range which i don't think would be realistic for KoDP.

    A average of 40$ would give you 250k$ with 6250 backers.
    For 700k$ you would need 17.5k backers.

    What a fascinating challenge :)

    1. Reasonable math, though it gets worse with iOS since Apple still wants their 30% (and international fulfillment is a big mess).

      One issue with a smaller game: how much of the appeal comes from the sheer size (which greatly increases replay)?

    2. Well, the sheer amount of events is certainly one of the things that makes KODP so great and replayable. But I am personally also drawn in by the world and setting itself, so I'd love to see more - even smaller scale or completely different - games taking place in it. And in the end even small games can have quite a bit of replayability (e.g. thinking of some roguelikes).

    3. I would argue that the game length issue, unless obviously extremely reduced, would not play factor in how well a KS campaign does.

      Old fans will fund even at half the size as the alternative is no new game at all. People that have not played the original will not have anything to relate to in terms of length and therefore it will be a non-issue.

      Additional game content can be added as a stretch goal to increase pledges or a later expansion if need be. But you would probably need to do some changes in game mechanics or perspective of story telling so it distinctly feels like a sequel.

      Do you have any way to contact the buyers of iOS version? That would be gold in bringing in backers.

      But even with that i would not count on getting more than 5% of original buyers to back KS, if even that. The key to success will be new backers and as the game concept is hard to understand, a demo of the old game would be invaluable if not an absolute necessity.

      The game section of KS has a PC oriented crowd, one needs to woo them first and foremost. Many projects add linux & mac versions in order to upp their totals. The linux and mac backers are not many in numbers but generous in their backing. This is mainly true for high profile campaings.

      I have not seen iOS or android platform promises to bring in large backer support, but in your case i guess iOS would make sense.

  8. I'm all happy either a sequel or new title; but would it be a challenge to provide new experience to players with a sequel based on the same world without making all too similar?

    1. Depends on how you define “the world.” For example, Dragon Pass was actually resettled from the north at about the same time. Things went differently up there. (In the game, you can send exploration missions to the northwest every few years to get some of the history.)

      But there are plenty of places outside Dragon Pass, and lots of other well-defined cultures and histories.

    2. I've KoDP for Windows (from GoG) as well and I'd love to see new game using same (but tweaked of course) mechanics like KoDP. It would be quite interesting to simply play as tribe during Dark Medieval times in Europe. Or steppes of Asia. Or Maybe Africa? Every corner of world would be amazing ;)

  9. Congratulations.

    Still think that there are opportunities on Android, but we've discussed this in the past and I understand your reservations. Best wishes for continued success.

  10. Greetings from cold and dark Mother Russia, David.
    I apologize for my broken english beforehand.

    I want to ask you why you are so sure about potentional fail at Kickstart. I do understand that sales back in 1999 were not very well but IMHO it was not because game was bad or had unique niche but because nobody had heard about it.

    But it is not 1999 anymore. Information spreads way better now via people through internet.

    Your game is a hidden gem. It deserves its place among the best games released in 1999 (like Torment and HoMM3).

    Of course every game ages and yours is not exception. But i must say that pictures still look very nice on my 21'' 4:3 monitor. KoDP also has nice advantage of being text-based. Texts do not age.
    Though UI is really unconvinient(seriously, one can't even move around map with arrow keys. Not speaking about that you can't view full map in military/trade screen or in dialogs.). UI is like from 1995 or even earlier.

    You know most of PC gamers are real pirates. They generally buy only if they are forced by monster DRM or by obligatory server loging which is not necessary or if they are lazy to pirate(it is easier to buy in steam latest version of game than to search through torrents). But there is one exception in this behaivour. It is when people want to support developer.

    I have learned about KoDP from gog. I do not own IPhone, IPad, IPod or IMat. And do not plan. I have bought KoDP in hope that you will return to PC. There is no need to make new game. Just expand and polish the one that exists. The world is definetly not oversaturated with it.

    And what exactly do you lose if you try? You do not have to create big advertisment company for kickstarter. Everyone gives KoDP high scores and frankly speaking gog version serves as great demo(because no DRM).

    Good demo and word of mouth may make everything themself. Just like they did it for Recettear(which was sold over 100k copies for 10$ per copy).

    And last. I really want to understand what you lose if you start project on Kickstarter. Writing some text and posting pictures there won't take a lot of time(and people definetly won't backup you for design of project page on site). Kickstarter takes money from you only if you sucseed to meet goal as I know. If you fail you lose nothing.

    PS. Sorry if i sound rough. It is not intended.

    1. Just simple math based on the budget divided by the number of copies already sold. (This is only a rough estimate, there would obviously be new backers, but also not all current players would end up backing the game. And, the GoG purchasers have paid a LOT less than would be required to make a new game.)

      There is no way to “just polish” the Windows version. It would need an entirely new user interface created. If someone else wants to do that, they should contact us with a licensing proposal.

  11. Yeah, i know that gog hasn't given you a lot. I didn't imply that it did.
    And it is pretty logical. Because why would anyone want to buy it when they can get it for free and no sequel or updates are expected? Not fair but logical.
    I doubt that Fallout 2 would return investments if players learned about it ~15 years later after release and had no hope for sequel/updates.

    What i tried to explain in previous post but obviously failed to is that sales do not reflect popularity of KoDP or number of potentional backers. One can very roughly estimate it by number of seeders/peers of torrents of KoDP(in comparison to some current bestsellers) or with amount of relevant search requests.
    Or precisely with kickstarter.

    Even if you do not manage to gather required sum (700k$) what will you lose? Only time for making project page on kickstarter (which shouldn't be obligatory complex). You would not have to work on PC version till you get sum if you get it. No money will be lost definetly. Only some time.

    KoDP won't get more popular with time on PC(IOS users won't help). So there is no sence to wait for anything to happen.

    PS. When i told about polishing i implied only design of UI, not code itself.

    1. GOG has been fine, but there are more iOS copies out there. I’m using the total number of copies sold as a rough estimate only. Certainly people who didn’t buy the current game might back a new one. But some people who bought the game on sale at GOG might be unwilling to pay the $50 mentioned above. Given that sales are the only number I don’t have to make up, I’m going to stick with them as an estimate.

      It wouldn’t make sense to do a Kickstarter and then try to assemble a team to make a game. At the same time, it would not be fair to assemble a team and have their job contingent on a successful Kickstarter campaign. So it’s really a chicken-and-egg problem. We can’t do a Kickstarter campaign unless we know it will be successful. And we can’t know it will be successful until we do it.

      As for the Windows version: there is no code at all for the UI. The original was done with mTropolis, which was discontinued before we released the game. Any change at all in the UI would mean recreating it from scratch.