Category Archives: Thoughts and Opinions

What is Marketing

Hey guys. For the last year or two I’ve been considering paying for advertising, which is something I’ve never done before, but it seems like a way to keep sales up in the years that I’m not publishing anything new. (And it also helps with accounting shenanigans, as I could reduce my tax bill by investing in future sales, blah blah)

But the more I think about it the more challenging it seems.

First of all, for it to pay off, you’d need to have a fairly high revenue per user, which is why I guess you see it the most with micro-transaction-plagued mobile games, and big AAA games. But I’ve also seen it with some medium-sized indie games, who presumably have publishers who know what they’re doing – and I don’t. I’d have to learn quite a bit to figure out how to measure if the advertising was worthwhile or not.

Secondly, I haven’t really felt the need for it other than curiosity. The store algorithms on Steam and Google Play do most of the user acquisition work for me, and I’m paying them a share of the profits regardless of whether they find the new users or if I do. So it seems like a poor deal to pay to send users to one of these platforms. On Google Play for example, I reckon less than 10% of the 500k EBF5 downloads are from my social media efforts, and the rest are from Google Play randomly showing the game to people. (my characters being recognisable definitely helps a lot, but that’s really hard to measure)

Thirdly, I just really hate the idea of giving more money to awful, monopolising companies like Google and Facebook.

I guess a lot of those problems also apply to paying “influencers” like gaming livestreamers. I don’t regularly watch any and my games don’t seem like the flashiest to show off in that form, so I don’t know if it’s a good fit. Plus it’s always a joy to see people streaming my games just because they want to, and it would feel weird to pay others to do it.

So now I’m thinking, what if I commission really popular artists to do art of my characters, and give my games a little shout-out on social media? It seems less dirty than more direct marketing – I support a micro business and get some cool art out of it. I don’t see a lot of examples of this sort of thing though, so I guess I’d have to try it to see if it works. It also feels weird to pay someone for art when my games already get tons of fanart organically.

I guess the most elegant solution would be for me to be the influencer, but I’m just not cool enough. All of my clout has always just come from my games doing well on gaming platforms, due to good reviews and recognizable characters. And I guess that’s fine too.

So the conclusion is that I may just end up doing nothing with any of this. But maybe I’ll commission a few art pieces to see if any traffic comes from that. Thoughts?

On Palestine & Israel

I try to keep politics to Twitter, but felt the need to say something on Palestine/Israel, in case there’s still any fence sitters reading this.

For anyone out of the loop, there’s an ongoing genocide in Gaza being done by Israel, in response to a major terrorist attack on October 7th in which 1,000 Israeli civilians and tourists were killed. So far, nearly 20,000 have been killed in Gaza, the majority of which are women and children, and almost all civilians. Infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed – hospitals, universities, utilities – so around two million people are displaced without food, water or medical care for over 2 months now.

There’s a lot of history and details there that I’m not qualified to talk about (this has been ongoing for 75 years, after the UK apparently promised the land to both sides), but this scale of devastation hasn’t been seen in decades. The important thing to note is that Israel holds 90% of the power in this conflict (as you may be able to tell by the death counts) and is fully supported by the USA, with the UK government also being supportive. With that advantage, most of what they’ve accomplished has been to kill and displace civilians and take land, instead of any “self defense” goals.

I feel the need to speak up since the UK government (and the opposition party too) are complicit in this.

In my opinion, the invasion of Iraq was the worst thing the UK government has done in my lifetime, and this feels like a similarly awful foreign policy blunder. I’ve been attending ceasefire marches to absolve me of my shitty government’s actions, for whatever that’s worth. I also chipped in £500 to Medical Aid for Palestinians and £500 to Doctors Without Borders.

Humanitarian organizations are saying that their medical staff are being targeted by Israeli forces, so I respect any work they manage to do in these circumstances.

Anyway, this all sucks, and I would like to see a ceasefire and negotiations for long term solutions.

EBF5 on Tablets

I bought my first tablet – a used Samsung Tab S4 for £170 – and it can run EBF5 smoothly at a massive 2560×1600 resolution. It’s really too bad that Flash on Windows never got the optimizations that Android and iOS got. Most gaming PCs can’t run Flash games at that resolution…

So the lesson is… buy a used Android tablet if you want to play EBF5 as cheaply as possible.

I gotta say though, that playing it on a smaller device with your thumbs is a bit more comfortable than playing it with a stylus. Tablets seem to be better for games that require less interaction, or only have buttons near the edges where it’s easy to reach them. Or uh… office presentations.

Cool Flash/AIR update!

The latest version of AIR/Flash for Desktop has enabled the option to turn off anti-aliasing!

This was a critical feature in the browser version of Flashplayer for improving performance, but for whatever lazy reason, Adobe never cared to include it in the Desktop version. Game devs have been asking Adobe for this feature for 10 years!

HARMAN, the new company which is managing AIR/Flash, added the feature immediately when asked about it.
Flash’s customer service has improved dramatically after its death!

I’m making this blog post to point out that porting Flash games to Desktop is trivially easy now.
The lack of the “LOW” and “MEDIUM” anti-aliasing options meant that Flash games on Desktop required twice the CPU resources compared to browsers, but now that’s no longer an issue. For my games, I had to use very awkward work-arounds to add these anti-aliasing options – it cost me a couple of weeks of work and frustration, and the games still have some bugs because of it.

Any developers following my footsteps will have a much easier job porting their games today.
(feel free to ask me for advice if you want)

Hopefully this doesn’t come too late to be useful!

Anyway, what this means for EBF5 is that it won’t need stupid workarounds to work correctly anymore.
In a future update, it could:
• Use “windowed fullscreen” mode in different resolutions – no need to change the monitor resolution with QRes.exe anymore. (This also makes it easy to add support for a bigger variety of resolutions)
• The “fullscreen”, “exit” and “save” features won’t time-out anymore, this is a bug that slower machines encounter.

There may be other advantages I haven’t noticed yet!

War in Ukraine

Hey guys, I’ve been quiet for a while. I couldn’t bring myself to post anything on social media when there’s a war going on so close to home. I’ve got relatives in Poland, Lithuania and Finland that are getting a bit nervous. I think it’s more important that people pay attention to the news rather than anything I’m working on.

I don’t think I even need to point out that war is bad – everyone loses. I hope that Putin is overthrown ASAP and that Ukrainians and Russians don’t suffer too many losses before then.

Since the UK government is doing nothing to help refugees (or even its own citizens), I figured I’d give my money to charity instead of paying taxes. I hope it goes to good use in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and other troubled regions.

I’ll get back to regular updates soon.