Category Archives: Epic Battle Fantasy 4

EBF5: Tipis

Last scene, and it’s one of my favourites!
I think I’ve got enough assets now to build a world.

Next up I’ll port over the EBF4 map code and program some new puzzle mechanics, which hopefully won’t take too long. For the most part the map system is not changing very much.

In other news: As of the end of the Steam sale, Epic Battle Fantasy 4 has sold over 100k units in total! (not counting bundles)

Also EBF5 is 60% done.


Humble Bundle Results

So this blog is a few months overdue…

Back in January Epic Battle Fantasy 4 was invited to take part in the Humble “Overwhelmingly Positive” Bundle. EBF4 has been bundled before, but it was a few years ago and in a very small bundle (5K sales), so that barely counts. Back then I didn’t expect to EBF4 to have such a long sales tail, so I figured there was no harm to be done by bundling. But it turned out that EBF4 would be selling well for years after release, thanks to Steam’s Discovery update which does a lot to recommend the game to Steam users. I told myself I wouldn’t bundle EBF4 again until the sales dried up and I was invited into a more prestigious bundle. It’s quite flattering being a new Steam dev and getting tons of bundle offers, but one quickly realises that most of them want to bundle your game with garbage and devalue it.

So a long time later comes along Humble Bundle asking to sell EBF4 next to games like Shantae, N++, and Day of the Tentacle. I hadn’t played these at the time but I knew they were very popular and well rated, and also not as old as EBF4, so I was definitely bundling up rather than down with this lineup. Another major stroke of luck was that the Steam review system was changed shortly before this offer, so that reviews from key activations don’t count towards the review score. EBF4 has a Steam review score of 98% (overwhelmingly positive), which is why it was included in this bundle, and this change meant that opening up the game to a more general audience was unlikely to hurt it even if a lot of them didn’t like it. It would have been rather embarrassing if EBF4 lost this high rating during the bundle, and being the somewhat niche Flash game that it is, I would have absolutely expected that to happen.

The bundle ran for two weeks, and with EBF4 being in the $1 lowest tier, it sold 135K copies. Around 92K of the keys were actually activated, and the amount of user engagement was incredibly low, as expected from a bundle. Very few of them left reviews or posted in the forums, and the ratio for players to owners drastically decreased (the bundle more or less doubled the number of owners on Steam). Success! This is the best result I could have hoped for: Free money for almost no work! No user complaints to deal with! Though it did hurt a bit that the other games got more attention for being in the bundle. (I lurked Reddit to see which games people were most interested in) (also the few reviews EBF4 got during the bundle were around 75% positive, so definitely much worse than usual)

Overall the bundle almost doubled my income for the year, and with Brexit plummeting the value of the UK pound, the incredible exchange rate boosted my earnings further, making last year my most profitable year ever! And I didn’t even release a game that year! Being self employed is weird.
(note: the UK tax year ends in April for reasons unknown)

The only real question left is whether or not bundling EBF4 hurt its long term sales. It’s hard to say. Sales have been a bit lower after the bundle, but they were already slowly going down, and the Steam autumn and winter sales shipped a lot of units shortly before the bundle too. EBF4 has been on Steam for over 3 years and hasn’t been getting any updates, so it’s still doing remarkably well either way. Today it still more than covers my living expenses, which is all a developer could ask for really.

Tinkering with things

Yesterday I spent the day fiddling with EBF3 on Steam to see if I can get in all the features I want (mainly adding stage quality). Turns out AS2 is just too old, and trying to update it is probably a lost cause. Each way I package the game has different trade-offs, so I trade some options for others. (I can get stage quality working at the expense of game speed and full screen resolutions) Not good.

I also thought a bit about Mac versions of my Steam games. It looks like technically it wouldn’t be much work, only problem is that I have to compile the games from a Mac, and I don’t have one and don’t want to get one. I spent a few hours installing a Mac virtual machine under Windows to try it out. That was a fun exercise but I don’t think anything of value came out of it, it wasn’t very usable in the end.

Maybe someday I’ll pick up a Mac mini or something. I wonder if I even have any Mac users left in my audience at this rate. Sorry guys! I haven’t ruled it out but it’s not a high priority.

Anyway, I’m going to revisit EBF4 next, with some luck I’ll get the game running nicely in Adobe AIR. I’d finally add that Steam overlay, “windowed” full screen, and reduce the amount of compatibility issues users have. This is important to figure out early since EBF5 will be running on the same tech.

Christmas of Dog

Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a good Christmas!
I spent 3 days playing with Lego and dogs. I can’t really ask for anything more than that.
My parents and my brother each got a puppy, and they’re all temporarily living together, so it’s crazy over there.

Our landlord gave me and Ronja a big box of snacks and wine, which was unexpected. I guess that’s a good way of getting us to stay around. Only got a Christmas card from one of the neighbours despite giving them out to everyone, so it looks like only our nextdoors are cool people. Everyone else is obviously a scumbag.

The Steam Winter sale has also been treating me well. EBF4 is 3 years old on Steam, and thousands of people are still buying it for some reason. Thanks everyone!

I’m gonna start reading all the comments on the Christmas giveaway, and emailing the winners. It might still take a few days, as there’s a LOT to read there.

lego ages

I got all sorts of Lego, from up to 20 years ago! Look at the difference there

Christmas Steam Key Givaway 2!

This competition is now closed!

Hey guys, it’s time for another giveaway!
I’m giving away free Steam keys for Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Bullet Heaven 2.

If you’re interested, leave a comment about why you like the Epic Battle Fantasy series and what you’d like to see in the next game. How winners are chosen will be a secret again, but honesty is quite important. You should also mention which of the two games you want.

Make sure to fill in the email field correctly so I can email you the prize if you win.

Last year I got 722 entries and I think I gave out around 30 games. The more people that enter, the more I’ll give out, so get your friends involved!

This giveaway will probably run until the 26th, so you have until then!

Steam Autumn Sale!

Epic Battle Fantasy 4 and Bullet Heaven 2 are 67% off for the duration of the autumn sale!
From their store pages you can nominate them for awards! It would be cool if you nominated EBF4 for the “I Thought This Game Was Cool Before It Won An Award” Award.

Anyway, this is more or less the steepest discount I’m going to do for these games for a long time. The discount will be the same during the Steam Winter Sale later.
steam-sale copy