Who are you and what’s your game?
My name’s Dave Lloyd, and I’m one half of Powerhoof. We’re a two man team, I handle code and Barney Cumming does the art. We started Powerhoof in 2013, although we’ve been working together at various companies for over a decade. We had a history of working in in-house c++ engines, but moved to using Unity when we started Powerhoof and it’s made things a lot easier.
Our latest game is Regular Human Basketball. It’s a multiplayer party-starter for two ore more players. You and your teammates climb inside a giant mechanical baller, flick switches to turn on the thrusters, rotate the massive magnet arm to grab the ball and shoot some hoops!
Just regular basketball really.
How long did it take to build? What was that process like?
The game started as a quick idea for a local-multiplayer game jam among friends back in 2013. Then I sat on the idea for a long time while we worked on our other major project, Crawl. In 2015 we took a break from Crawl and spent two weeks adding art and cleaning it up and released it for free on itch.io.
We had a great ongoing reception since then, and I thought it’d be worth while spending some time doing an updated version to release on Steam. Until earlier this year we only worked on it between other projects so it’s hard to estimate exactly how long it took, but probably 12-18 man-months between us.
How did you start out making games?
While I was studying a broad engineering course at uni and had no money to buy games I found this little community making free adventure games with “Adventure Game Studio”. I soon started making my own games in AGS, and ended up changing course to Computer Science, since it was more applicable to games.
After I graduated, I assumed it’d be impossible to get into the games industry, but I applied for a few places anyway, and got my foot in the door a little studio in Melbourne called RedTribe. That’s where I met Barney too!
Is this your full time job?
Have you released a game previously? If so, how did it go?
Our first project was Crawl, a multiplayer dungeon crawler where your friends control the monsters. Crawl has done really well, we launched it on early access in 2014, and released the full version last year on all-the-platforms. It’s sold consistently well throughout and I’m happy to say it continues to pay our salaries!
Did you have a marketing budget?
When did you begin marketing for your game?
It really started with the release on itch.io in 2015. But we share what we’re working on as soon and as much as possible, and find that’s the best way of getting the word out and buzz growing.
How did people find out about your game?
Close to launch we do press releases, send keys out to press, and Barney spends a considerable time working on a really slick trailer. We’ve had a lot of success with our trailers, usually getting 100k+ views over time. Posting gifs has been another thing that’s had a big impact, they’re just so easy to share.
We’ve had quite a lot of press for our games, both traditional, and streamers/youtubers, but really 90% of people simply find us through Steam. Either from being featured during a sale, or popping up in steam’s recommendations.
Do you or your game have a fan base?
How did you build up that following?
We’re pretty active on twitter, and also keep our blog going, posting game jam games we do (we do a lot) as well as the odd tutorial or tool for Unity. We try to answer questions personally and as frankly as we can, be it through twitter, steam forums or email.
We’ve just started a discord server which has been growing super quickly too, particularly because it’s hard to find players in an indie multiplayer game, so people come to the discord to find others to play with.
How did you decide on the game’s selling price?
Really the best thing for pricing is to research other games and price similarly.
If it costs what people expect to pay then you’re not going to get angry negative reviews, and you’re not going to undercut your sales.
For regular human basketball, I wanted it to be something you can feel happy to pick up just to play for one evening with your friends. I wanted to scope the features to be a cheaper title, and I looked at Mount Your Friends as a successful example of the model to follow. It’s probably priced way too low honestly 😉
How much revenue in sales has your game made?
Don’t think we’ve broken $10k in the three weeks it’s been out. That’s about half of my target, so I don’t think it’ll ever be a big money maker like Crawl is, but we should still break even over the lifetime of the game (it didn’t cost much to make).
Who takes a cut from each sale your game makes? What percentage?
The platform holders all take their standard cuts, and we get the rest (minus what goes to the tax man)
What were the biggest challenges you had with marketing your game?
It’s just time consuming! There’s so much we’d like to do if we had infinite time- Go to more events, make merch, etc. We want to keep the team tight, but we definitely feel the need for a producer to help organise things like that!
Have you used an external publisher before?
What information did you wish you knew before launching your game?
Just that it will all be fine, don’t stress so much 😉 I tend to over think everything, so there’s nothing I really wasn’t expecting, I just worried too much that there might have been!
Where can people follow you? (optional)
Follow @powerhoof on twitter, and check out our website at http://powerhoof.com
What advice did you take 5 years ago? Is it still true today?
“You should quit your boring job and go make your own games!”
It’s not so relevant now because my job IS making my own games, and I love it!
What advice can you give to game developers reading this?
Don’t follow market trends to try and make something successful, put as much of your self into the games as you can, make them your way, and how you’d like to play them. And aspiring developers- it’s totally fine to have game dev be your hobby rather than your job! Until a few years ago I still would never have dreamed of being able to actually make money selling my own games, but I still loved making them!
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