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Dave Toulouse
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Dave Toulouse

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I thought I was done about Steam reviews but since they reacted to some feedback (http://store.steampowered.com/news/24331/) I figured that I could keep suggesting small changes that might have a better chance at being considered than a complete overhaul.

Okay so the recent change isn't much but they didn't have to make it so it must mean they listen and care. From there, I think it's productive to come up with simple suggestions instead of telling other devs to shut up and swallow the pill...
Okay so it seems that the best way to hope changes might be done to reviews on Steam is to suggest simple things that can be easily done. Suggesting big changes most likely have little chances to ever see the day of light so let's stick to a single problem that could be fixed: small well rated ...
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Dave Toulouse

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There's this weird story about a game studio trying to sue people over critics on Steam and then another lawsuit involving Jim Sterling and finally Steam removing the games of said studio from the store.

The specifics of this story don't interest me but it got me thinking about what if I was the one put into a very negative spotlight. Game devs are used to harsh critics (or worst) here and there but it's on another level when say PewDiePie makes a show in front of million of people out of your game.

There might be a limit to grow a thick skin and dealing with what have become wildly accepted which is that it's okay to give the worst crap possible to game devs since let's face it, we're "asking" for it by releasing stuff... I have no difficulty imagining that past some point something can snap in someone's mind even by trying to deal with it the best you can.
I sometimes wonder how I'd react if a YouTube celebrity would pick one of my games and bash on it for 30 minutes as entertainment value for his public. Apparently there's no such thing as bad publicity but that's the kind I'd rather avoid receiving anyway. The good news is that the chances of ...
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Dave Toulouse

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Wrote a piece on Gamasutra that might be of interest to some. Just some thoughts about how I feel now I had some success but the kind that is just enough to get me to the next release and the kind that probably still won't allow me to self-fund the next project.
When the success you experience doesn't provide you the freedom you were hoping for.
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Now that I have actual data on what it takes for a game made by two persons to be financially viable it makes checking results on SteamSpy a bit terrifying when I realize that some game performing as good or maybe a bit worse than March of the Living was created by a team of 5-6 persons if not more.

You don't need to sell 100,000 copies of your game to make a living but the level of difficulty is raised for each additional person you have to split profits with.

If we were splitting revenue of MotL in 4 ways it would mean that right now I'd be looking for a day job while now I'm probably good for the next 2 years while working on my next game. The difference is really big and a team of 4 still isn't a really big team.

I think many indie devs underestimate how difficult it can be and seeing my own data just make it even more obvious to me.
Ever since the release of March of the Living, I've become really aware of what it takes for a game to be financially successful. I mean I always knew it wasn't easy but MotL's success helped to make this even clearer. The success of MotL is probably enough for me to not look for a day job for ...
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Dave Toulouse's profile photoDerrick Whittet (Wintersdark)'s profile photo
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Yeah :) My issue is the family, really. I hate my job, with a passion, but doing it allows me to ensure my children can have a future.

I love programming, and back in the day made games, would love to do it again. It's something I enjoy. However... as it's not just me, or me and the wife. I grew up very poor, and while I was a pretty competent lad, the lack of formal education meant tech jobs where not an option for me (always so many degree holding folks competing for those same jobs), and I want to ensure the kids can be what they want to be. Makes things complicated. 
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Dave Toulouse

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Yep, it's a chance Greenlight is still around to... eh, wait, nevermind. When Human Extinction Simulator was stuck for 8 months and this thing goes through in 9 days (even faster than March of the Living) I feel like someone is making fun of me..

Oh sure, this will probably disappear fast in the sea of games on Steam and it doesn't penalize anyone but my point is why keep Greenlight at all then. Just put a $1,000 fee on all submissions and be done with it already as it's obvious anything can get through anyway and Greenlight really isn't the screening process it was supposed to be.
Steam Workshop: Greenlight. Expierence Summer Sale without losing money. Buy games that you like or those that you don't. Be the cool guy that owns every game in store. Customize your game as you like.Change colors and widget l
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Dave Toulouse

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If you're curious to know how it all played out with my publisher I invite you to check this featured post on Gamasutra that he wrote.
On April 20th 2016 my company, Creaky Corpse Ltd published a game by Machine22 (Dave Toulouse) titled: March of the Living. It was essentially an indie rogue-like inspired by games like FTL, and set in the zombie apocalypse. This was the first time I'd ever published a game by another indie ...
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Just some thoughts about my experience booking our honeymoon to Cuba... 7 years after the fact...

Oh and right, I think I mention user reviews on Steam in there as well.
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It's my first experience releasing a DLC for a game and I didn't quite know what to expect but now that the visibility round on Steam is done and a week has passed since I contacted the press I can say that it's quite a challenge when your game is a moderate success.

The good thing is that we will release later a "collector's edition" that might be more appealing to most people so I'm still glad a DLC was released (and it's a very nicely written one by +Brian Green) but it's a good example of how Steam is putting a huge wall between the devs and players.

Well, without Steam I probably wouldn't enjoy the success I had but things could still be better.
Last week, a DLC for March of the Living was released: The Three of Us. You can check it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/502560/. I also invite you to check this post from the person who wrote this DLC, Brian “Psychochild” Green: http://psychochild.org/?p=1421.
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Derrick Whittet (Wintersdark)'s profile photoDave Toulouse's profile photo
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Indeed. Can't buy a DLC if you don't know about it so Valve would gain something out of it.
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Right on the first day of the Summer sale on Steam, MotL had the unfortunate "luck" of getting a recent "very negative" score. This score was based on only 13 reviews...

Now the global score still was "very positive" and before you ask, no we didn't make any controversial update to the game so it's not because we screwed the game that reviews were suddenly so negative.

So what this means is we were simply unlucky that most (not all) of the last 13 reviewers didn't like the game. Maybe it didn't have "that" much impact on sales but curiously as soon as this recent score disappeared (guessing some of the reviews became too old) sales went up. Might just be a coincidence.

Some devs were already making thousands of dollars after the first few hours of the Summer sale so even if their last 13 reviews are negative it doesn't impact them. For a game like MotL for which selling only 10 more copies means a hell lot to me, having this "very negative" score based on only 13 reviews ain't good news. If you browse too quickly you might not even notice the "very positive" score since the bad score really is where your eyes are looking.

While this score was up we were actually losing wishlist players and not from sales made. Again, maybe it's just a coincidence but our page views sure went up since Thursday so...

13 reviews seems terribly low to me to suddenly have an annoying "very negative" red note right about the very positive score... It's the same game as before, it's still very well liked by a vast majority so what happened here and should it happen at all?
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Niels Christian Ørgaard's profile photoDave Toulouse's profile photo
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yeah, I talk about EA in my post and recognize how it might play a role there.
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Steam Dev Days have been announced and all the cool kids are going. Since I'm not cool, I'm not going and just by saying so I'm even less cool. There would be reasons for me to actually go but then I'd have a hard time convincing my wife it's a great idea that my first plane trip would be to go to such event :)

Oh sure, she could come with me but then if I want to spend a weekend with my wife on the West coast I won't be bringing her in Seattle for Steam Dev Days...
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Get out there, meet people, make new friends, expand your network, etc. Here's the thing though. Not everyone fits in this setup. If I would go I'd probably end up talking to the same people I talk to online, waste time hearing about VR while I don't care about it (oh I ...
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Dave Toulouse

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Even though March of the Living did well I still feel terribly clueless about a lot of things when it comes to game development.

One skill I developed though in the last few years at my previous day job is to try my best to keep projects under control. Unfortunately, when you have a client, a project manager and programmers to deal with you can try your best and still fail anyway as you don't control a lot of things.

With March of the Living though it was only me and my publisher and I was very fortunate to have a very good relationship with my publisher so I think if I have to pick one thing I'm very proud about this project (beside its financial success) is the fact I delivered before the deadline and under budget.

The fact that after six months I'd have to look for a day job if the project wasn't completed must have been some kind of motivation but then I didn't lived the "crazy hours indie devs put into their games out of passion". I kept a pretty normal routine as I didn't want to burn myself so I took measures to make sure I could deliver something with all these constraints.

It played a role in the financial success because the costs were kept under control (the game could still have been a flop anyway but since it wasn't it could still have taken 3 months to break even instead of 3 days so I'll take some credits for that as that's the only thing I feel I'm a bit less clueless about).

So this post shows how we did a lot with little and how I think I unlocked some kind of achievement somewhere... hmm, well, what can I say, I'm proud of that and since I'm terrified at the thought of releasing another game hoping it will do as well I'll take some credits for that at least :)
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Just a quick update on my indie dev status...

Yep, following the release of March of the Living, it looks like I’ll be a full-time indie dev for at least the next year and possibly more!

An actual postmortem will follow later once things settle a bit.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/458000/
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Derrick Whittet (Wintersdark)'s profile photo
 
Hey congratulations! Glad to hear it's working out well for you!

I'll be picking it up myself shortly, just working through a bit of game backlog before I buy something else, but it's definitely on the "to buy" list.
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Story
Tagline
Indie game dev
Introduction
You can see my full portfolio on www.machine22.com and my thoughts on (mostly) games on www.over00.com
Bragging rights
Still making games
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
blainville - montreal
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Web dev at day, indie game dev at night
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Dave Toulouse's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Gamasutra: Dave Toulouse's Blog - From unemployment to finding a publisher
www.gamasutra.com

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theindiemine.com

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Bret Airborne - Gauntlet Edition
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Puzzle-based hot air balloon duels.

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Home - Isogenic Engine
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Home; About. Facebook Integration; High Performance; Irrelon GameHost. Prototype Package; Professional Package; Premium Package. MMO Network

One Ambitious Indie Space MMO: Star Corsairs | DIYgamer
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Home; Features. Reviews; Interviews; Editorials; Freeplay Archive. Indie-Developers; About Us. Privacy Policy; Contact Us; Our Reviews; News

Machine 22
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Mixing MMO with indie since 2007

Star Corsairs Interview With Dave Toulouse
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Conducted By Adam Ames TPG was given the opportunity to interview Dave Toulouse, creator of the indie MMO space sim, Star Corsairs. 

Star Corsairs - Browser space MMORPG
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Indie F2P MMORPG. Craft your spaceships, create space stations and fight aliens with your friends.

8-Bit Funding Blog: Instant Funds for Project Creators
8bitfunding.blogspot.com

Instant Funds for Project Creators. A while back we were forced by PayPal to essentially offer a no refund policy. Simple fact of the matter