business

Sapu has been greenlit!

We’ve made it

Wow… Can’t express my feelings when I saw this first time!

We want to thank all of you who voted for Sapu – it is incredibly underwhelming that the project that we’ve put so much time and heart on has received so many positive comments. Getting greenlit before Steam Direct means so much for us. It was not only “financial” success as we won’t have to pay bigger fee, but also we’ve gathered much valuable comments and feedback during the campaign.

Steam Greenlight results


The trailer above was made in a little bit hurry, but we’ve set a minimum expectation level so that the game would generally be met with a good reception. As votes started coming, we were very happy with the results. At the beginning the percentage was VERY good due to the traffic gained from our friends and followers, just to get a little worse when other voters came by. At the end, I think the ratio remains pretty good due to some marketing efforts which gathered rather positive votes:

As for the traffic stats, the most viewers visited our page directly from Steam Greenlight queues. It shows us that before Kickstarter campaign we have to do much better job acquiring new followers, connecting with them and creating bigger community around Sapu. Currently we’re preparing for that by polishing out demo which will be sent to everyone who have subscribed to our newsletter. Here’s the Top 10 sources heading to our greenlight page:

As you can see our effort to inform gaming community about Sapu sums up to 33% of votes. A huge chunk of reddit visits came from Linux community which I didn’t even considered as a “marketing” as I wanted to ask if it is really worth porting the game for Linux. We’ve got very positive response from this awesome community and we’d like to include Linux version as well now. My “bigest dissapointment” award goes to Twitter, even though we had tweets mentioning our Greenlight with 7 thousands of impressions, almost no-one clicked the link. I need to study this social media platform more…

That’s it – a quick summary of our Steam Greenlight journey. I will cover our plans for near future in the next post. Once again THANKS A LOT for voting – you’re awesome!

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2017 plan: goals and milestones

Big year

Let’s face it. This year we’ll either make it or break it. We’re not really considering the latter because this would mean we would not get through Steam Greenlight. And honestly, seeing how bad titles get greenlit nowadays we’re pretty sure we’ll make it aswell. But you know, we don’t want to underestimate this campaign – better safe than sorry! Successful year needs a plan, so take a look at our vision for 2017:

Going public

First official teaser of Sapu will go public on March. We’ll sort of introduce Sapu to the media. We hope we’ll get some attention with this short teaser video. And of course – we hope you’ll like it!

Crowdfunding campaign


This is a big monster, and great unknown. That’s why we want to prepare solid ground for the campaign and our first goal is to carry out sort of preliminary campaign on Square Enix Collective to get much valuable feedback. This will take place around June/July.

For the main campaign, which will take place between August and October, right now I see 3 options:
Kickstarter
Indiegogo
Fig

Kickstarter is the most popular and we would get most chances there, but it is not available in our Country (Poland). So to perform campaign on Kickstarter we would have to start company abroad most likely. Indiegogo however, is available in Poland, but it seems that the number of successful video games campaigns there is decreasing. Third option would be Fig which is rapidly gaining attention (saw Pillars of Eternity II hitting their goal on first day?), but its a combination of crowdfunding and standard investment/publishing deal. Which means that investors take a share after game launch. I’m not sure what percentages they take – let’s say 30%, in addition to around 30% of steam cut we would get 20-25% net out of the gross price. It’s not a lot.

Tough decision to make, right now we’re not sure which platform to choose. Do you have some advice? The result of this campaign will determine the final look of Sapu. Based on how successful we’ll execute it, we’ll decide how complex world we’ll create.

Steam Greenlight

Simultaneously to the crowdfunding campaign, we’ll make a push through Steam Greenlight. We hope that cross-linking strategy will help us reach crowdfunding goal as well as get greenlit. So there you go, creating breath-taking trailer for those two events is our one of the biggest task of 2017!

Indie game conferences and competitions


2017 is the year that we want to connect with community more and go out of the basement with our demo version that we’ll finish mid February. We’ll try to be on at least 4 conferences this year. This number will of course increase if crowdfunding will be successful. The main conferences that we would like to attend this year include:
A Maze. or Pyrkon in April
PixelHeaven in May
Gamescom in August
Poznań Game Arena in October

New team members

As the game and core mechanics are shaping up, we have much more knowledge of how much work is left to be done. The ship is heading the right direction. It’s accelarating. We’ll try to reach young talents that would be willing to create Sapu with us. Don’t get me wrong, we won’t hire 15 people now, but we’ll seek to connect with three candidates at maximum. Folks that are willing to gain knowledge, love games and who will love Sapu, as we do. We’d like to have these three additions before crowdfunding, but we’ll see.

Lately we’ve been contacted from one of such young and talented folks, Szymon Kusior – a composer that has shown interest to cooperate with us. After exchanging few emails we agreed that we’ll try to do something special together. Currently we are trying to get along with Szymon as he tries to meet our expectations, which to be honest – are pretty big. We all know how music can affect emotions in the game. We want players to feel strong emotions playing Sapu.

So there you have it, a quick look at our plans for 2017. It is very ambitious but we are very motivated to make it big! Stay with us – we need you!

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Sapu and the Minimum Viable Product

Recently, I learned the term Minimum Viable Product. It is highly recommended approach for creating a new product, when you should focus on creating simple product, as fast as you can, and then show it to your potential customers. In such way you get feedback about it at the early stage of development, which might be very important (and sometimes refreshing). Then you can easily iterate and improve this product according to this feedback. When I read about it for the first time, I was amazed how so simple approach can be that much effective for Sapu. For over half a year we were slowly building our game, creating inventory system or other features that are not really “fun to play”. We had incredible gameplay in mind, but yet to be implemented.

Applying MVP to Sapu

In addition to the fact that our brand/game is pretty much still non-existent on the web and we are still waiting for our first true, long-term followers, applying MVP seems to be a no-brainer. Thus we transferred this approach to our little game development world. We focused solely on creating satisfying gameplay just to build short “production demo” as soon as possible and let some friends and other players play it to give us their opinion what they like about the game and what could be improved. Make no mistake, this demo will be far away from finished game, it will contain only few main features (and not top-notch polished SFX) of the game, but I’m sure it will help us tremendously to create the best gameplay experience we can.

Sapu gameplay?

When some friends asked me a month ago when they’ll be able test our game or see some gameplay, I responded that it is a long process and at the current state, Sapu is not ready for any exposure. But hey! The inventory system is implemented! YAAY… Well no, not really.

Now, if someone would asked me the same question, I still would respond that the game is not “playable” yet, but we are working hard to create such minimum viable product, that he’ll be able to test the game soon. And it really feels so much better!

Learn from mistakes

I’m sure we missed many opportunities during the whole development process by doing not important stuff at such early stages, but it’s a learning process and I love it. I am happy that we started this blog not only from marketing perspective, but it also allowed us to better evaluate our work and take the right course of action.