Falrika the Alchemist—Strive to become the master alchemist!

Might me just me, but the online version seems broken? This is all i get when i hit “Play Online” option:

image

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It also happens to me. Maybe it’s a server-side problem. Hope this gets fixed pronto.

Update: Aaand it’s fixed. Enjoy.

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Rather interestingly, I looked at the Hosted Games omnibus this morning, and it seems that this game is now the top-rated entry, beating out the Wayhaven, Fallen Hero and Infinity series.

Every new game begins with a perfect rating - and the top of the chart - on the day it’s released. If you look, you’ll see that Falrika hasn’t received any more rankings in the week since its release.

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And that’s why we don’t sort solely by average rating, kids. Normal distribution is a thing, after all.

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Unfortunately, it looks like this might be the worst rated (and perhaps also the worst selling, based on the amount of reviews) Hosted Game on the Omnibus app so far?

I haven’t played it myself, but looking at the forum comments, it’s not truly a bad game, though. I guess there may just be too much of a clash of expectations versus reality for the IF audience in this case.

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And even with the foreword I wrote that addresses this exact issue, based on the feedback I received on the public beta, some people still don’t get the memo.

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It is a bit odd to play through the whole game and give it a 1-star rating if you hate its core concept to begin with… I guess some people are that bored / starved for content / completionist.

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Too early to say for that, surely. Unless someone’s been keeping an eye on the average omnibus reviews two weeks post-release?

No one can say they weren’t warned or that you hid the kind of story you were writing, @MoonlightBomber. The foreword will probably have hit sales, from an audience accustomed to getting much more choice in their interactive fiction than Falrika offered…but if you’d had more sales without the warning, you’d probably have drawn more negative reviews.

Falrika was an experiment you went into with open eyes, to see if the HG audience would embrace a VN-sans-visuals. After more sales data is in, I hope you’ll let us know in general terms what you think the results of the experiment are, and what you think it implies for the future of your work.

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Hatewatching is a hell of a thing, and has been since at least Barney and Friends.

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I don’t keep an eye on omnibus reviews two weeks post-release, but I do pay attention to release-day and release-week numbers, and I have never seen a game go several days with only one (default) review, or close out the week with reviews in single digits.

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Sure thing. From what I’ve read in the reactions to my work in the r/hostedgames subreddit, it seems people there have mixed opinions on what I’ve churned out, and that’s just the pulse of hardcore IF consumers. If I can get the pulse of people who just want a good story without caring about having so many or so little choices, then I can be content with the fact that I’ve poured my heart and soul into Falrika.

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As a point of comparison, my worst-selling game sold roughly 50 dollars worth of copies in its first month (note: that’s net profit = after all the platform / CoG cuts!) (probably in the territory of the top5-10 worst performers overall…), while my best-selling game until now was closer to 300 dollars in the first month (probably a bit below average…?). However, I know for absolutely certain that many games have reached sales of several thousands of dollars in the opening weeks - a few likely even tens of thousands!

This does not absolutely predict long-term sales, but from the data I’ve seen, the sales tend to start at by far their strongest, then quickly decrease over several months, until they reach some sort of semi-permanent point of stability (roughly 1-5% of the initial sales for every future month - sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the game/month). You can get a pretty good estimate of the sales for your first year, just looking at the numbers for the first month or so. The first month should be roughly 40-70% of your total sales for the first year (although the share of your first month will then slowly decrease over time).

You don’t need to (and probably even shouldn’t…?) share exact numbers here, but it would be interesting to roughly know your first month sales results as a new piece of data. For example, was it more or less than my worst-performing game so far? It seems impossible for it to be more than my best-selling game, though, or especially more than a thousand dollars, but you never know for sure… Your game is certainly longer/bigger than any of my games which could help it out a bit.

Regardless, it’s still a great achievement to finish a project like this. Even if the sales are (likely) very disappointing for you, you clearly have what it takes to start (and finish - this is much rarer!) a project, so I’d encourage you to try again with some concrete goals for improvement, such as:

  1. Like it or not, even if it limits the possibilities of creating more linear/traditional stories, the IF audience clearly prefers having as much choice as possible (both during the story and even during character creation) within a good story - even instead of having no choices within a great story. The best results would come from having a lot of customization/choice within a great story! I’d strongly recommend aiming for that, even if the results are ultimately less than you aimed for. As they say, it’s better to aim high and fail partially than to aim low and succeed… (in regards to having lots of choices and a great story)

  2. To be completely frank, I think your cover art in the Omnibus app is simply… bad? Looking at it, especially combined with the very low rating, just made me think that it’s a very cheap/low-effort project not worth trying… Of course, that’s not actually really true (considering your time investment), but that’s the first impression, which can be brutally crucial. Even if it’s painful, I’d suggest paying for a really good artist to improve the first impression. That, combined with a more “in demand” type of story, should even pay for itself in more sales. Even AI art could possibly leave a better impression these days… (it just keeps getting better every day - and it’s completely free!) (I’ve also confirmed before that AI art is apparently allowed for HG games, although you might want to double check that too)

  3. I’m not sure how widely this applies, but at least for me, slice of life just doesn’t excite me. There can of course be moments or scenes of calm, but if there’s no danger/seriousness for contrast at all, it just feels… boring, or hollow, at least to me. This point is probably a lot more controversial than the previous two. What I really want to say is that even if you aim for a “positive” story (without serious conflict and danger), there could at least be some type of greater looming conflict/threat to keep the reader interested in what might happen later in the story. (I admit I haven’t read your story though, so maybe I’ve completely misjudged it)

@hustlertwo Knows even more about this type of (sales etc.) data than me :smiley:

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It is quite explicitly not allowed, according to the website?

We can’t accept art that was generated via an AI art generator at this time, due to ongoing legal uncertainty around the copyright of those images.

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Oh… maybe the policy has changed recently?

The link in that screenshot doesn’t appear to work, but you should check the licence of whatever generator you’d be using very carefully - I’m sure HG would too - and be aware that it would turn off a lot of people from playing. It certainly would for me. From an ethical standpoint, you should also check how much of the dataset of whatever you’d want to use had the consent of the artists whose work it draws from, and how much risk there is that you’d be using stolen art to market your game.

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The way I see it, it’s more similar to drawing inspiration from (or emulating patterns of) an art style than plagiarizing any actual creations. In any case, if it’s not generally allowed and/or favored for Hosted Games, it may just be safer to use human art.

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I’ve been pinged to this thread, and it looks like a place to share this link to an old thread I made about coming to terms with a story underperforming.

@MoonlightBomber If you have any questions or just want to talk I am here. As are a lot of the other authors, I suspect. Most important is to welcome you to the clan of HG authors. You’re one of us now, and we’re glad to have you.

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If you can’t draw (that’s fine, I can’t, and plenty of writers can’t), your next free option is the public domain. All the art for my first HG submission was just me filtering, recoloring and applying effects to Public Domain pictures.

After playing the demo, I was considering trying to see how an otome vn game could work in the usual choicescript style. This is the art I made, using the same set of free resources and graphical parlor tricks I used to make for my first game. (It’s behind schedule now)
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I’ll also say this. Your game did drive a discussion on how otome vn type of games could fit in the CS games we’re used to. I did play the demo of your game to the very end, simply because I was so intrigued by the concept.

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Canva also has a lot templates and designs with stock images you can use for free, and tons more if you get a pro account (which you can demo for free). You can make some professional looking images with Canva without knowing a lot about design.

AI art is a minefield of problematic issues, including the fact that you cannot copyright it and it often violates copyright laws by stealing other people’s art. (I’m sure this isn’t the place for an AI discussion, as that has its own topic, but thought I’d mention it here since it was brought up.)

If you haven’t tried Canva, check it out. There are lots of cool fonts there, too!

Edit: I don’t know what the rules are on HG covers. I’d expect stock/royalty-free images and art are fine but probably best to check first.

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