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Dave Toulouse
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Dave Toulouse

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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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Dave Toulouse

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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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Dave Toulouse

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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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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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Dave Toulouse

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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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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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When I wrote this I was a few hours away from it... Now it's done. I never thought it would be that hard. I'm slowly starting to feel better but when I least expect it, it comes right back at me and hit me in the face...

Anyway, while I was writing this I felt better for a few minutes so here it is...
Just in a few days, my next game March of the Living will be released. This project started after I lost the job I had for 15 years. The only job I ever had. It became possible because Neil Yates from Creaky Corpse liked my idea and believed I could deliver. Even by being on a tight schedule (6 ...
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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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Today is the big day and we have hit the top of the popular new releases list on Steam in a bit less than 2 hours! The game is now climbing the top sellers list... let's see how it goes!
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Sorry to spam you with stories about my upcoming game March of the Living but I must admit I'm getting excited a bit. I can feel the pessimist in me slowly shutting up.

We didn't get the game through Greenlight yesterday as they were approving games despite breaking the top 50 in 3 days... (Greenlight works in mysterious ways...) but now we're sitting at rank 35 with a 61% yes votes ratio which is 6% more than the average top 50!

What will it means when it comes to sales? I don't know. All I know is that we got this far in Greenlight with almost no coverage at all (many websites just don't cover games in Greenlight even though we sent them a beta copy to try to prove our project isn't vaporware).

Anyway, I find myself now dreaming that I might just be able to work on my next game also full-time and maybe without the help of a publisher. Getting ahead of results is really not my nature but what can I say. When I compare the money Human Extinction Simulator made after sitting in Greenlight for 8 months to what MOTL is achieving... well, how could I not dream!

If you haven't voted yet... here's the link once again. Thanks to everyone taking 5 seconds of their time to vote!
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Whoa, looks cool man! 
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Have him in circles
226 people
Eric Heimburg's profile photo
Bradley Erickson's profile photo
Filipe Rodrigues's profile photo
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atiq Sarwari's profile photo
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Whitney Marks's profile photo
Duane Wach III's profile photo
Isabelle Schmitt's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Web dev at day, indie game dev at night
Basic Information
Gender
Male
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
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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
Links
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

For the past eight years I've been developing and releasing games part-time while working as an analyst programmer during the day for a smal

Retro Rat Race Free – Android Apps on Google Play
market.android.com

IMPORTANT NOTICE:Some users are having problems entering their names into the first screen due to the keyboard not appearing. Please bear wi

The Golden Age of Simulations is Now | SMTG
www.showmethegames.com

Look at that title. What hubris, to call the modern day a Golden Age! Sceptical scientists out there will argue that games are neither valua

Space Game Junkie
plus.google.com

News and Reviews on Every Computer Space Game Ever Made

Bret Airborne Review | The Indie Mine
theindiemine.com

Machine 22's Bret Airborne is a PC/Mac puzzle RPG that features airship battles fought using match-3 gameplay.

Bret Airborne - Gauntlet Edition
chrome.google.com

Puzzle-based hot air balloon duels.

Indie Games for PC, Mac, Linux | Shiny Loot
www.shinyloot.com

KnightShift - $1.99 (60% off). The single-player RTS part of KnightShift consists of three addictive, story-driven campaigns. Unstoppable Go

Home - Isogenic Engine
www.isogenicengine.com

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

One Ambitious Indie Space MMO: Star Corsairs | DIYgamer
www.diygamer.com

Home; Features. Reviews; Interviews; Editorials; Freeplay Archive. Indie-Developers; About Us. Privacy Policy; Contact Us; Our Reviews; News

Machine 22
plus.google.com

Mixing MMO with indie since 2007

Star Corsairs Interview With Dave Toulouse
truepcgaming.com

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
www.starcorsairs.com

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