Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hadean Lands, two weeks in

So, Zarf, how did that launch go?

Pretty good! Hadean Lands has been on sale on Steam for sixteen days now. And three hours. (Am I counting the minutes? Not really, but it's fun to check.)

In that time it garnered several articles about the DLC certificate, notably from Kotaku and (Those two articles interviewed me a bit on the subject.) Emily Short posted a stellar writeup of the game on Rock Paper Shotgun, and I also got a very nice review on ExtremeTech. And of course many other people said positive things.

Thank you!

Extra props to RayganK, who is leading a crew through HL on his Twitch channel. This is very cool! And... Twitch works very badly for me, for some reason, so I've only seen bits of it. They're two sessions in. Good hunting, folks.

But really, how is it selling?

I won't get into hard numbers, but... HL sold a fair number of copies in the first three days. Then the Steam summer sale started, which took the wind out of the sales. Or maybe it was just a three-day launch spike; it's about what I expected either way.

Then the nice reviews appeared, which led to several more days of good sales. Yay! At this point we're settling back down to the long-term tail rate, but I don't yet have an idea what that is.

And yes, to answer the obvious question, I've sold some certificates. A few. Not nearly as many as I've sold copies of the game. That's fine; I worked a lot harder on the game.

Other news?

This past weekend I posted a small update. (Also available on Itch and Humble.) It doesn't affect the game content, but adds some UI features:
  • "Full Screen" menu option. (F11 on Win/Linux, cmd-ctrl-F on Mac.)
  • "Find..." and "Find Next" menu options (ctrl-F/G or cmd-F/G). These let you do a simple text search in the story window. Note that the scrollback is not infinite -- sorry.
  • In the "Preferences" dialog, there is now an option for "Other Font..." This lets you enter the name of any font installed on your system. (Although you have to type it in rather than looking through a list. Enter the name as you would see it in a CSS file -- the game's display engine is HTML, after all.)
  • In the Alchemy Journal window, the list of rituals now shows "(*)" to mark rituals that you've learned but not yet tried. (Same as the RECALL RITUALS command in the story window.)
  • Fixed a bug where a formula description in the Journal window might not be updated when it should be.

(Due to the nature of Inform 7, I will probably never update the game content of the Steam release of HL. Any change would inevitably wipe everybody's save-game positions, and that just isn't acceptable for a Steam game.)

And that's the current color of the ritual bound, as it were. At this point I've done everything to Hadean Lands that I ever planned to, and more; it is entirely and completely shipped.

(Except for that bit of the KS reward that I still owe a few backers... yes, I know.)

I'm finishing up a contract project this month, and then it's back to thinking about Designing A New Game. Since I'm a game designer and all.

Comments imported from Gameshelf

nick novitski (Jul 7, 2016 at 2:04 AM):

Kudos and congrats! Can't wait to buy the next one!

Eric Feinstein (Jul 11, 2016 at 12:18 PM):

Can I ask you to share some news? Happening now in Boston, and running through Labor Day - a puzzle hunt sponsored by the organization Boston Harbor Now, part of their "Summer on the Waterfront" events.

In brief - puzzles are site-specific to eight locations around Boston. The narrative is around Prudence, a ghost of a stable-hand of Paul Revere. She has been lamenting the lack of celebration for Paul's horse and so has laid puzzles around the city.

Solve the eight and get one more meta-puzzle...all to answer the question "What type of celebration can we do to honor Paul Revere's horse". A randomly chosen winner from among the correct answers will get the $1000 prize.

All the information needed to play is listed in a free mobile audio guide app called Otocast. The app has directions, photos, audio narrative (for educational purposes), access to the puzzles and links to check answers.

Details are on the website:


msveach (Aug 20, 2016 at 7:13 PM):

FWIW, you can get sales data that is pretty accurate on any steam title form sites that do random sampling of the people's profile pages.

I looked it up and it seems like HL has done about $30k worth of business so far which is pretty good, Just my totally uninformed guess is that it'll make between 50k and 100k by the one year mark and I bet that's a fair return on the time it took. Just guessing.

Andrew Plotkin (Aug 20, 2016 at 9:02 PM):

" it seems like HL has done about $30k worth of business so far "

A massive overestimate, I'm afraid.

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