If you’ve been following this game at all, you’ll know how long it took to make this happen (one year on Greenlight). At long last, I’m proud to show the game on the front page of the Steam marketplace! Check it out!
Escape Goat is in beta on Steam right now, and I’ve been distributing keys to the various marketplaces and bundles that have sold Escape Goat over the past year and a half. (Crazy that it’s been that long, and it’s just now coming to Steam–it’s like a launch all over again in some ways.)
If you haven’t claimed your Steam key yet, here’s the status based on where you bought the game:
- Humble Store (bought on this website) – You should have received a link via email
- IGN Game of the month (also distributed with Humble Store keys) – Contact me
- Desura – Keys available if you log in (see instructions below)
- Indie Gala – Use the Desura key you got with the bundle
- IndieGameStand – Log in to IGS and claim your key
- Indie Royale – See Desura instructions below
- Indie Gala – See Desura instructions below
- Green Light Bundle – Keys will be available in about 2 weeks
- Others – Contact me
How to claim your Steam key from Desura
- Open the Desura client
- Click on the blue button at the top left
- Click on History>Gifts History
- Click on the “your collection” link in blue
- Click on “Keys” next to Escape Goat
(Thanks to fluffnugget on the Steam forums for this)
Achievements and Beta Progress:
If you want to go for the achievements in the game, here’s a list of them. They won’t appear in the client until the game is on the marketplace.
The game should launch within a week or so if all goes according to plan. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have trouble claiming your keys.
Last week I spent three days at CasualConnect in San Francisco showing Escape Goat 2, as part of their amazing Indie Prize event. Free demo space, lunches, snacks, and an open bar every day! I felt like royalty. I wish I had time to play more games and see more of the show, but I was pretty committed to demoing Escape Goat 2 the whole time. I hardly left my table during show hours.
The most common question I got was “So is this coming to mobile?” which has a lot to do with it being CasualConnect. Being a paid-up-front, download game on PC, I was definitely a fringe title for the event. I resisted the urge to give a flat “no” to the mobile port question, and instead explain how the game would need to be redesigned for touch input, and with a direct port it just wouldn’t be a high quality game. (Imagine: Virtual D-Pad) Pretty much everyone got it when I put it that way. Each platform has a cost of porting, and I have a limited amount of time… it comes down to prioritization.
The priority is a basic equation: Potential revenue divided by hours of work.
It’s tricky because both of these numbers are guesses. For something like Wii-U, I doubt I could even get in the ballpark for either figure, so I’d have to do more research. For Xbox Live Indie Games, I have already released three games there, so I have a much clearer picture.
1. Potential Revenue
For potential revenue, I could look at how much each of my games made in their first year. I wish I had kept all the reports, because I can only download the most recent ones. But from the data I managed to revive, here are some estimates:
|Game||Launch||First year revenue|
|Soulcaster II||December 2010||$4,500|
|Escape Goat||November 2011||$4,000|
A lot of people are shocked when I tell them these figures. But that’s just XBLIG, only certain types of games really make viable revenue there. And as you can see, the trend is–though my games are getting objectively better–they make a little less money each time. It’s probably that the marketplace is getting more more crowded with high quality titles.
Compare those figures to what I made when these games launched on PC, in the Indie Royale bundle:
|Soulcaster I & II||February 2012||$17,000|
|Escape Goat||June 2012||$15,000|
This graph illustrates my 2012 revenue breakdown:
There’s a chance Escape Goat 2, with its higher production value, will make more money than any of my other games on XBLIG. Very true! There’s also a chance that when the Xbox One comes out, Microsoft puts the 360 into the federal witness protection program, like they did with the Xbox when the 360 came out. Maybe the One will have a great self publishing deal–I’m keen to learn more about this in the coming months. But my future is not with the 360.
On the subject of revenue, there’s also the issue of pricing. Do I really offer my $10 PC game on XBLIG for just $1? I bet it would make more money there, but does this help me in the long run on other platforms?
2. Cost of Porting
The other variable in the equation is the time it will take to port. Now being built from the Escape Goat code base, EG2 should be ready to rock on the 360, right? Not really. The new lighting engine required a new renderer, so we’re not 100% organic XNA anymore. It could take a couple weeks to get the code to compile for 360, not to mention time spent on optimization. The file system needs to change to use storage devices. I have to remove every instance of default paramters. I’ve got to do Evil Checklist testing, go through playtest and peer review. It could easily be a month-long project, and yield a separate code base in need of maintenance.
Escape Goat 2 has been chartered to make money. If I’m going to do this indie thing full time, I have to pick my battles wisely. I have a lot of fans on Xbox who don’t have a PC, or prefer to game on console (just like me!) and it bums me out that I have to snub them this time around. I wish it wasn’t like this, and I hope in reading this article you can see what went into the decision to avoid XBLIG.
But just so this article isn’t a total bummer, let me close by saying that Escape Goat 2 really works best as a console game, and it will be on a console. Couch and controller. I will be in contact with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft later this year to see what it’ll take to port and publish on Wii-U, PS4 and Xbox One. I hope to see you guys on one of those systems. I owe my indie career to XBLIG, and it will always be special to me.
I’ll see you on the PC in September, and we’ll take it from there as opportunities come up.
Two weeks until GDC. Most important remaining Escape Goat 2 features:
- Transition animations for goat (turning from side to side, jump to fall, fall to land, etc.). Randy has done drafts of some of these, I just need to add the logic to smoothly transition between them.
- Squish tolerance fix: creatures are still getting squished unexpectedly, the most problematic situation being coming out of a Magic Hat teleport. Since most teleports end with the goat intersecting with walls near the mouse’s original position, the game needs to resolve to a “safe spot” near the teleport destination. As any Escape Goat veteran knows, it’s possible to get crushed from teleporting into a narrow passage, but that should only happen when there are really no safe alternative spots nearby.
- New gadgets. I’ve got tons of ideas cooking, and hope to get some prototypes together starting tomorrow.
- New levels. They need to showcase the newest gadgets and visuals (such as lighting) but also provide player training. I have a new device for text-free tutorials I’ll be experimenting with.
The GDC demo should offer a solid 15 minute experience, tuned for showcasing rather than difficulty. The puzzles won’t be brain benders. They should be pretty similar to the first few worlds of Escape Goat 1.