Tomorrow on Twitch: Spreading the Word

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
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george moromisato
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Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:41 pm

Every Thursday at 4 PM Pacific Time I broadcast a Twitch session in which I play the game and answer questions from anyone. Every week I'm going to pick a main topic for discussion, and tomorrow's topic will be about how to get more people to play Transcendence.

Marketing Transcendence (or any indie game) is extremely hard. Dozens of new games are released every day, and getting people to even hear about Transcendence (never mind trying it) in such an environment is challenging. I use the following framework to help us think about the issue:

1. How do people find out about Transcendence?
We can divide this question into two parts:
(a) What is the message? How do we describe Transcendence such that people are encouraged to try it? What makes Transcendence special? What's going to get people excited about it?
(b) What is the medium? How do we deliver the message? Advertising? YouTube? What artifacts do we need to create to deliver the message?

2. How do we improve Transcendence to increase it's appeal?
We've worked hard on various "quality of life" issues in the game and we definitely still need work on getting new players interested. After 1.8 I'd like to focus on Eridani to make it more fun and interesting. Eridani is like the pilot episode of a TV series: it needs to introduce the game and pull the player into the world so that they want more. What kinds of improvements should we pursue?

3. How do we keep people involved in the community?
Transcendence is more than just the game--the most important part is the community around it. What can we do to make the community more engaging and fun? What kinds of activities could bring the community together (contests? achievements?).

The above is just a rough framework for discussion. If you've got your own ideas, feel free to respond here or bring them up tomorrow.

Talk to you all tomorrow!

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Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:52 pm

george moromisato wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:41 pm
1. How do people find out about Transcendence?
In my case, I stumbled on Transcendence while reading TVTropes years ago. I might have found it while it was still 0.98 or something, in which case, I ignored it in favor of another game. When it reached 1.01, I decided to try it.

A few months ago, I stumbled on Oolite on the Freeware Games page of TVTropes to see what is out there.

In case of Endless Sky, you posted about it here.
Download and Play in 1.8 Beta...
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
Download and Play in 1.7...
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): (OUTDATED!) Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Work in progress... Playership Drones v8: On hiatus!

Astraltor
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Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:26 am

found out about transcendence through word of mouth by someone else who knew of it, in a discussion about Escape velocity nova.
"You're supposed to have terrible aim in a barroom brawl. How else are you going to get everyone in the whole place involved?" - mucat

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Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:08 am

 Word-of-mouth here, too. A friend threw a link at me and said, “Here, play this,” and I was hooked immediately after noticing a few gameplay similarities between Transcendence and Escape Velocity: Override.

 Also, important note to anyone planning to watch tomorrow’s stream and contribute from IRC: You might not be able to. There’s been a particularly nasty rash of spambots on Freenode lately, and it’s been bad enough that I had to kick the bot connecting the IRC channel and the Discord server to keep from having to repeatedly delete all the spam from the Discord server. If it’s been cleared up by the time stream starts, no problem, but be advised that this possibility exists.
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Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:03 pm

Since I can't stream your Twitch, I think I should just drop my ideas in this thread. For advertising, I don't know much. But I think mostly indie game need to be mentioned rather than advertising.

----

My main suggestion is replace the game trailer. In my opinion, Transcendence game trailer way TOO MUCH revealing its gameplay. For new players, floating away in space with top down view? It's looks kinda boring game.

I suggest to create 3D cinematic trailer. Here some ideas for the scenes:

Scene 1
Viewing 3D model of Sapphire ship sliding from its top starboard to front. With bright or nebula space background.

Scene 2
Scene changes to it's pilgrim, which closing her eyes; remembering what she has done in journey to Galactic Core. From here we can add some transculent video to reveal gameplay as her dream. If you can't create human model, you can just close up view the front of Sapphire ship.

Scene 3
And then, a massive Iocrym Command Ship (or maybe Xenophobe Ark or Kronosaur frigate ship with its escorts if too spoiling) approaches player.

Scene 4
As pilgrim open her eyes, she thrust forward and blast through to a stargate behind enemy ships. Scene over when the pilgrim gating.

----

For point 3, you might should think to update and manage well in some social networks. In Facebook and Twitter, you can make some announcement about releases, your twitch playthrough, and big changes in github. Youtube also should not be underestimated too, there is many people streaming there compared with twitch. If you couldn't handle this alone, you can share account with anyone who is willing in this forum.

Other suggestion for the community is improve the news system in game. All I saw is only DLC news when I play this game. Also connecting the forums with game is great. So when the game connected to internet, player might catch up news about new thread or post in the forum. This will make curiousity and player might respond the post.
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george moromisato
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Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:53 am

Thanks to everyone who tuned in today! One thing we talked about was focusing on the strengths of Transcendence. For example, I think the size of the universe (number items, encounters, etc.), plus the variety of activities (exploring, escorting, mining, etc.) make for a great experience. This is something that we should double-down on both in future development (add more content, missions, etc.) and in the promotional materials (e.g., the trailer should emphasize that).

I'm still searching for a short elevator pitch to describe Transcendence. What's the best way to describe it such that it is both appealing and (relatively) unique?

I like describing Transcendence as "living universe": an experience filled with adventures that is always changing, both because the game is procedural and because we (devs + community) are constantly creating expansions and mods.

If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:35 pm

I would call Transcendence the space dungeon. Arm up, kill monsters (ships), loot, find the exit, repeat until you win (or die)!

A new trailer with updated in-game graphics would be nice.
Download and Play in 1.8 Beta...
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
Download and Play in 1.7...
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Playership Drones v7 (Beta): (OUTDATED!) Acquire and command almost any ship in Stars of the Pilgrim or Eternity Port.
Work in progress... Playership Drones v8: On hiatus!

relanat
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Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:05 am

A whole heap of unrelated feedback and opinions dumped here because I can't Twitch or Discord easily.

I found Transcendence when searching for a downloadable copy of a game I used to play. Got hooked and now can't even remember the name of the other game!

I'm very interested in science-fiction and future-tech so that aspect of the game appeals to me. IMO things like the proposed timeline from the Syrtian war isn't just useful for modders but adds a link to the present and makes the game more interesting.
I tend to find cinematic content in games rather slow and boring but it can help to build curiosity and appeal. It can also help to explain aspects of the game. But a trailer as suggested by DigaRW would be useful.
Another appealing aspect of the game is the small download size. And, for me, being able to play offline is essential.

The community is excellent. Very friendly and helpful. Also some months ago when I checked the Steam website there was always a reply to any question. Very important IMO. Not only is it polite but it shows that people and their opinions actually matter, something that can be rare these days.
I will suggest that the Multiverse download section have some sort of feedback/communication capability separate from Discord, forum, Steam. So that players can comment somehow on what is good or bad about a mod. I find the comments and like/dislike count on xelerus very useful and informative.
I have noticed however there can sometimes be a bit of negativity in the community toward new mod ideas.It is minor and it is very rare but IMO it is better to work on what is good about an idea rather than what might be negative about it.
I will also take this opportunity to praise a couple of community members who have recently posted their first bug report. The posts were really well done and contained all the info that was needed, game version, what went wrong, what led up to it, etc. Nice work.

The achievements/high score section could be expanded.
A monthly or quarterly refresh might be useful.
So every month/quarter the list for a "Most Ares Shipyards Destoyed", "Fastest Game", "Most Profit in a Game" or similar achievements list could be reset to allow new names to appear. I think everyone likes to be noted for their achievements. Possibly a custom item, say a combined trading/smugglers hold, could be the reward for highest ranking? ATM the highest score list is pretty static and IMO could only realistically be reset by farming large numbers of enemy ships. Not very exciting!
These achievements could relate to player type as well. Some like mining, some destroying everything in sight, others exploring or making profit, etc. They could also provide some feedback about what people are looking for in the game based on the level of player interest.

And this could be linked to contests in the lead up to a new release. Any player who reached the highest Privateer rank, was a Korolov legend, destroyed a set number of a certain station and then gated out of Heretic, (or some similar list of achievements) or the first to do it in any month could get pre-release access to an upcoming extension. As an example, the Minotaur could be awarded to contest winners for the three months before it became available in the game to everyone.
A permadeath reward could also be a good idea. It's not easy!

And yes, the size of the universe is great. Even after playing the game many times new items or options can be discovered. But it also needs to be balanced against the player never finding some of the options. I never use Domina powers because when I started playing the Sisters stations were a bottomless pit that devoured credits and items for no apparent reward. Similarly I possibly still wouldn't know how to get a BM ID if I hadn't seen that info in the forum! But explaining everything would be too much info. Its a fine line.

The Benedict missions are great. They draw the player further into the game. This type of mechanism could be expanded IMO. Similar to the rumors system. There is a mod or mod idea about fellow pilgrims out there somewhere. NPC pilgrims fly around and the player can talk with them. They could offer hints like "You've made it this far so you must be fairly tough. Check out the Arena. You might do well." or "St Katharine's is a great system. You can get all sorts of weapons there." promoting interest in what is to come. The known/identified systems in the Galactic map also do this very well.

I didn't buy the paid extensions CC and EP for quite some time. Not because I wasn't interested but because of a distrust of doing anything financial online. I had the intention of using a one-time credit-card number but found a Steam card which could be puchased locally and used that instead. No idea if this is a common attitude, just mentioning it for information.

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Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:52 am

I was referred to it by a friend in an MMO. I don't believe he was ever part of the community though.


Marketing games is absurdly hard these days, but we've got to start somewhere.
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