The Word on VRSF'n

Discusion of Pishtech's game VR Sportfishing

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The Word on VRSF'n

Postby Fisherman » Sun May 17, 2009 6:18 pm

...Paul's request in the Update thread led me to create a separate thread for news and ideas about getting out The Word on VR Sport Fishing. The Update area is getting waaaay overcrowded with various topics, so let's maybe talk about the commercial aspects of the game here, ok?

...Paul, I went to Download.com, which is where i first heard of Pishtech through the Ice Fishing game demo. I typed in "fishing" as my search parameter. I did find all three of your games in demo form there, although I had to type in "VR" to find the VRSF'n game. Here is how the numbers stand as of today, Sunday May 17 at 10:30 am, Arizona time.

RWFF has been downloaded 19,094 times, 211 in the last week. Easily the front-runner of your games.
IceFishing has been downloaded 2,750 times, 41 in the last week.
VRSF'n has been downloaded 375 times, 25 in the last week.

Not bad, considering that many of the games there that appear more popular have been up for years, some since the late 90's. So the numbers themselves don't really tell the tale. Fishermen are a desperate lot, especially when it comes to fishing games. We're always looking for "that" game. I think many of us have found it in yours.

Your VRSF'n game 1.0 was given one review, one star out of 5 because the reviewer(You must be a member to review-I plan to join and give my own review), could not control the game with his mouse and gave up. I recall the problems the earlier versions had with the forum members. It is not a fair review of the game as it stands today.

Here are a few thoughts and suggestions. (.) A grain of salt.

Resubmit the VRSF'n demo to the current update, if you can. The game as we know it has changed since those early days, and that is the game you want to sell, even in demo form. Make it clear the game has evolved beyond 1.0. Nothing would be better than for that reviewer to like the current version of the game and change his mind, as so many here did.

VRSF'n is really more than a demo, it is a VERY generous demo, closer to Shareware, really, than most games out there can claim. I suggest adding Shareware sites to any others you have submitted the demo to, (and resubmitting the updated version) to those already having the 1.0 version. The description needs an update, as by the time it all happens, the demo is not only a lot more stable, but the commercial version will have all the wonderful updates(as well as future updates). People are not used to a game like this. Most game companies make a game, maybe patch it a few times. Some count on Modders to continue development. At a given point of deadline, the game is done to them, on to the next game. But this game is really changing with each update. Make that special support of yours a selling point in your descriptions of the game.

Something to consider: The name of the game stresses VR. I'm willing to wager the majority of us will never play it under those conditions. It is a nice feature but doesn't really need to be stressed as the game plays quite well non-VR, and chances are the majority of your potential customers will play it in that non-'VR mode. (Takes a deep breath). I suggest a possible name-change to something a little more "catchy"-(ok, fishing joke there) and commercially appealing. Especially now that you are adding a lake editor function. Just something to think about.

If you can post any sites that you have submitted the game to, I'll check the numbers and any ratings it gets.... Is it Monday yet? ;)
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Re: The Word on VRSF'n

Postby paul » Fri May 22, 2009 12:16 am

Thanks for your research and your thoughts. I agree that I should resubmit the demo version now that the game has been through some revisions. Once this new build has been tested for a week or two and I've got any significant bugs fixed (found one today with the way some fish are held when caught) I'll resubmit it as version 1.1. Removing the old version and adding it as a new product should let it start with a clean slate, instead of the one review that's there from a user who couldn't be bothered to go into the settings. And maybe the reviewer has a valid point, that the game should self-tune more the first time it's started up, and if it's on a really slow computer it could automatically drop the settings to a lower level.

Your suggestion to reconsider the name really has me thinking. Naming the game was quite a challenge to begin with, and though I had a list of prospects I didn't really have anything I was happy with, until the Vuzix display came along and this became the first fishing game to support VR. That gave it a name that had zero hits on Google (a good place to start so it won't overlap or be confused with any other product) and a name that highlights something unique and new about the game. But you're absolutely right that the vast majority of users will play on a normal monitor and not in VR. I can't help but wonder how many people might see the name of the game and think it either wouldn't work without a VR display, or that they'd be getting some sub-par experience without one. The game wasn't originally designed for VR at all, but supporting it gave it something unique.

Any thoughts for a more broadly appealing name?

Paul
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Re: The Word on VRSF'n

Postby bwtrout » Sat May 23, 2009 6:22 am

I'm loving the new update Paul, especially fishing for trout!
My 2 cents on what I'd like to see is replace the map with a GPS screen, add an option for adjusting music level, and have a character personal best catch tally with photo options for biggest of each species.
It would be nice to get a cash reward every time you break you own personal record.
Great Job and excellent game!!!
I personally like the realistic element to the game, I use only first person views for play.
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Re: The Word on VRSF'n

Postby Fisherman » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:02 am

Paul, the game has taken a major step forward with this update. With the inclusion of time-passage, weather effects, night fishing, Bobber-bait(Man, I'm a kid again!), and so forth, it is time for another strategy session....
Once you have stabilized this build, you should consider a couple of things. First, I highly recommend submitting the game to PCGamer magazine for review. I don't know anything about the process, but if they review your game in their magazine, many more gamers will become aware of it. You should really, really look into this, once this build is complete.
Secondly, consider submitting the game to Steam. If they agree to distribute the game, heck, they have millions of subscribers. Steam does a lot of independent distribution. Again, when this build is complete.
Now here it gets a bit sticky. good thing about this game, and the difficulty in re-naming it and even in submitting it places is it is one monster of a game! Just as it is through these initial beta-forms. Yet, as it stands it is almost a perpetual beta-game. I've been putting a lot of thought into it, and it is hard to grasp the game in a single phrase. My favorite is "The Best D*** Fishing Game Ever!" Bit hard to sell that, maybe. "Real World Fishing", that one almost contains it and the expansions you have discussed.. "Real Fishing" was a simple version of that name, or "Real Fishing Simulation", but one wants to just say:"Sim Fishing", but that would be a legal jumbo and the sim games were never about 3d world 1st person perspectives. "Fishing Evolution" came to mind.
For now, VR Sportfishing is as good as any. Just focus on completing the current build, distributing that form of the game, and then future expansion. It really is The Best D*** Fishing Game Ever!!!
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Re: The Word on VRSF'n

Postby paul » Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:39 pm

Thanks so much for your ideas! I do plan to give the marketing a big push once this update is sufficiently tested and stabilized, along with one new feature: Self-tuning. The first time the game runs I want it to measure the performance of the users computer and automatically pick settings that should give reasonable performance. I've heard from people who say they have a "new, fast computer" and yet it runs slowly for them. The trouble is they may have a fast CPU, or a dual core computer equivalent to 2 mediocre CPUs (great for running multiple programs at once but not very helpful for most games), but they have a low-end graphics processor built in that shares video memory with the system. A system like that might be fast for a lot of things, but very poor for modern 3D games, at least with the graphics options set very high. Too many people try a demo and decide it's too slow on their computer without taking the time to adjust the settings. Serious gamers know better, but a lot of potential customers for a fishing game aren't into other 3D games, and wouldn't think of adjusting the settings. You'll always be able to pick your own settings, but for that very first run it should start with settings that look decent and run smoothly. I think it will do a lot for people's first impressions of the game.

When that’s done I plan to update the free demo version every place its available, and find some more sites to host or link to it. I also plan to submit the game to more places for reviews after this update has been tested, and you’re right that I should certainly include some print magazines.

Usually I've focused my marketing more on fishermen than on gamers. I think if you look at "gamers" as a demographic, they look at games with a very different set of standards than the "fishermen" demographic. The gamers want cutting edge graphics, plus music and sound effects at the level found in a major motion picture, and even if the quality is very good a lot of gamers or at least those who write for the magazines may not be interested in fishing. I've seen game reviews rip on a well made fishing game saying "it's OK, I guess, but come on.... it's fishing." Or worse yet, disregard the whole genre. I remember reading the intro to a feature article ranking "all the games that came out this year (except for all the crappy hunting and fishing games)", which evidently meant all hunting and fishing games. If they don't think their readers care about hunting and fishing they won't give a game a fair review.

I’m sure different game magazines have different attitudes about the genre, and it’s been a few years since I’ve been a subscriber to PC Gamer. Maybe they’re worth a shot. Have you seen any favorable reviews for a fishing or hunting game there?

Steam is a real possibility. Once this update has been tested enough and has the self-tuning feature, I’ll pitch it to them. I’ve contacted them before and so far I don’t know if they’ll be interested in a fishing game, but they’re certainly worth a shot.

The quest to climb up the “fishing games” search results is making progress. Pishtech usually comes up between 12 and 15 now, but for a while last night it was at number 9. If it can stabilize in the top 10 (the first screen of results) that will be a huge boost.

Interesting thoughts about the name. I’ll have to give that some more thought too.

Thanks for all your support,

Paul
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Re: The Word on VRSF'n

Postby 71__cuda » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:12 pm

If you are trying to target gamers pc gamer is definetly the way to go, but if you submit it to a fishing magazine like sport fishing or badger sportsman they might take it more seriously. Plus it will be fisherman reading it.
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