Top 5 Free Tools to Help Market your Game

Hey, my name is Max and I run a creative agency near London, UK, with team members and clients across the globe. In this article, I hope I can provide useful information about tools that greatly increase the effectiveness of your marketing, that I tried and tested. These tools are also focused on reducing the amount of time spent on marketing.

Marketing is never easy and in order to use these tools effectively, it is important to have the materials and resources in place. These include videos, gifs, trailers, promotional graphics and artwork etc. If you don’t have the time, or want to get these professionally made, be sure to get in touch to see how I can help you.

 

1. Presskit()

 

Press

Press Kit Example

 

dopresskit.com

Firstly, a press kit is a package of information and assets about your game that you can easily send to members of the press. It is a standard way to give everything a blogger may need to write about your game as fast as possible. Creating a press kit can require either web skills or a lot of wasted time. This is where Presskit() comes in.

Just by following a few simple instructions and editing the .XML file, you can have a fantastic looking and detailed press kit up in around an hour. Once it’s done, it’s done and you can send it out to the press!

 

2. Distribute()

 

Distribute

Distribute Example

 

dodistribute.com

Also from the creators (Vlambeer) of Presskit() is Distribute(). This platform connects your press kit with the press for you and is used to distribute press copies of your game. A member of the press or content creator can sign up and verify their email with the platform. Once logged in, they can request access to a copy of your game. You can see how popular they are and whether they fit into your game genre, then choose to deny or grant access to a copy of the game. This is a vital step to get people talking about your game. What is really great about Distribute() is how well it brings in new content creators, without having to do anything.

 

3. Hunter.io

Hunter

Hunter.io

This tool goes for all marketing and PR in all industries. This simple app helps you find the contacts you need to get an answer from a company. Sometimes a contact@email or support@email is just not enough. You want something more personal, maybe a member of the team at the company, or just the right email to contact. You first enter the domain name you want to search for into the search bar. Then, in most cases, you will be shown a list of email addresses associated with that domain (not all are necessarily still valid)

 

4. Discord

I have no doubt that many of you know the app Discord. Many of you may already be using it to its full potential. But for those who are not aware, Discord has become the number one messaging platform for gamers. This is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, it connects you with people who love playing games. Secondly, this will connect you with other game studios and creators, freelancers (contact) and other useful members of the community.

There are huge communities with thousands of gamers, press and content creators and other game studios all looking to engage with you. Make sure to use this tool properly and communicate like a human in these communities. There is no use just posting links to your game, get involved and get talking.

Here are some great servers:

Game Dev Network

Enomview of course!

IMFU

Game Dev League

Heiny Reimes

 

5. Steam Curators

 

Steam-1

How to find the tool

 

Steam has a whole plethora of so-called “Curators”. These Steam Curators bring together games all in one place, so gamers can find hidden gems and indies that are worth playing. If you are releasing a title on Steam, you will have access to “Steamworks”. Hidden away on here, you can find a tool to connect your game with hundreds of Steam Curators. I personally have not used this too much and so cannot verify the quality or effectiveness of this tool, but I sure know it is super easy to show off your game to the right people.

Steam-2

 

I really do hope this has been of some use and you learnt at least 1 new tool to get you going with marketing your game. If you would like advice or just to chat about marketing and your game, be sure to comment below or connect on Twitter, Discord, Facebook or email!

Max Louis Business Profile
Written by Max Louis
Creative Director at MLC.

Interview with Patrick Hickey Jr.: Voice of The Padre

Hello Pat, are you ready for the interview?

Yep!

Perfect, I thought I will start by asking how you met up with the people at ShotgunWithGlitters?

I own and run a website called ReviewFix.com, where I cover everything entertainment, but a lot of pro wrestling and video games. I search Twitter quite often for cool indie projects and I came across a screenshot of the game. I asked the developers for an interview for the site. After they said yes, they asked me if I wanted to play the game. When I did I noticed the dialogue needed some tightening. I’m also an English professor at the City University of New York, Kingsborough. I offered my services and was brought in to join the dev team. A few weeks later, our voice actor left and we needed someone to step up. I’ve been doing voices my entire life, but didn’t know how to get involved. This was MY opportunity. I took it and ran with it.

Did you have any experience with voice acting before you became a member of the team?

Not on a professional level, but I’ve sung in choirs, bands, made thousands of prank phone calls and I’ve always been told this was something I had to try and do. After my daughter was born and I wrote my book, I was looking to cross more things off my bucket list and I jumped into this with a ton of passion, vigor and hopes. Since this game however, I’ve landed another role for sure, as the P05 robot in the upcoming TR.1.S game, which I am also writing the story for. The team is an amazing one consisting of AAA devs including Pete Paquette (Bioshock: Infinite, Madden NFL 18, Overwatch), Jeff Paquette (Reality Zombies) Pete Anderson (Sunset Overdrive, Bioshock: Infinite), Ron Pucherelli (God of War, How to Train Your Dragon 2) and Kim Timbone. I’m also talking to a few other developers about roles. It’s an exciting time. And it all started with The Padre. I can never thank those guys enough for the opportunity that they gave me.

How many times do you repeat the lines you are reading before recording the perfect one?

When Bence and Balazs send me lines, it’s always my objective to get them back as quickly as possible. I’ve been sick, my daughter or wife have been sick, I’ve been tired, busy, doesn’t matter- I always turn back the work within 24 hours. However, I’ll read the lines over several times, make sure I’m hydrated and relaxed and then get to work. Before I even record, I’ve said each line at least a dozen times. I want to seize the moment, like I’m there. Once I start recording, I’m pretty comfortable and I record each line in a few different ways so they have some options.

Is it straining to create a voice like The Padres?

Not at all, I can actually speak like The Padre all day if I chose to, but my wife would kill me. I take good care of my voice and even though, it’s a deep, gruff voice and quite different from my normal register, I’m totally comfortable doing it. Like I said before, I feel like I’ve been born to do this.

I also hear that you recently published a book?

Yes, The Minds behind the Games.

What is the book about?

Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including popular games the likes of Deus Ex, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam, as well as a ton of cult and indie titles, it gives a behind-the-scenes look at their creation, straight from the developers. I spend countless hours allowing these devs to recount endless hours of painstaking development, as well as the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception. Throughout the book, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced gaming’s classic titles. It’s all about them. It’s not about review scores or stuff you read on wikipedia. If you want to get involved in the industry, this is the type of book that’ll prepare you for so many of the triumphs and sacrifices.

When did you decide to write this book?

When I realized that my daughter was going to be born in a few months and I had so many things I had to do in order for me to be the man she deserved to have raise her.

And about how long did it take you to write the book?

About seven months, but that was because I was working about 6-8 hours a day on it.

Any last words you would like to say about the book?

It’s an honest and fun take on 36 incredibly important video games. If you like games, you’ll love this book. If you love games, it’s almost required reading. Most of these stories have never been told and all of these developers are great people and love the industry. Allowing their stories to be passed on is what journalism and video game preservation should be all about.

 

Pat’s book is available through multiple retail stores ans websites, but if you purchase it through his official site found here then you will receive a personalized book and a free bookmark

Brain Eating & Playing The Final Station

The world is dying. Humans have become vicious, cannibalistic life forms that attack anything on sight. Communications across the country have failed, leaving people stranded. You are a train conductor who got lucky – or unlucky – enough to be in the right train, at the right time.

High-ranking officials at the end of their rope task you with an importing mission. Transporting weapons, the nature of which remains classified to you, across the country. With more than a thousand tonnes of locomotive at your fingertips, you begin the arduous journey to the North. The goal is to keep your train operational to reach the next station, where you fight through swarms of infected outnumbering you hundred to one.

With the oversaturation of zombie games in recent years, it takes a truly unique game to stand out from the dozens, to give the battle hardy formula of an apocalypse an interesting twist. The Final Station might not hit the mark precisely, but with its ominous atmosphere and intriguing storyline, it gave me an experience to remember. I can’t recall the last time I played a game, that made me crave DLC to prolong my time with it.

The Final Station conveys its story through snippets of dialogue and cleverly placed exposition in the form of notes and books. This can lead to a squint-and-you’ll-miss sort of situation. If you barrel ahead without stopping to explore the nooks and crannies, chances are high that you’d miss a key piece of the story. Things don’t make much sense at first. But as you gather information the game sparingly doles out; the story becomes less daunting and easier to understand.

I appreciate that the game didn’t shove walls of text in my face and say, “This is what’s going on,” because I like travelling down the beaten path. My knowledge of the current situation only expanded as the conductor trudged through station after station, which made me feel like I was there and experiencing things first hand. Even non-related story events are a joy to uncover, things like discovering a hidden, underground fighting ring or reading a note left by an enraged wife, whose husband was too involved in his hobby.

Unfortunately, no matter how interesting a story may be, the player won’t find themselves enjoying it if they’re occupied with useless busywork. The gameplay is split into two distinct segments. Taking care of the train, and exploring abandoned places you come across. The conductor keeps the locomotive in peak condition by doing mini-games that are mind numbingly boring. Press this switch, pull that lever, make sure the survivors you pick up don’t go hungry.

As I said above, parts of the story are told through dialogue. Conversations between the survivors are easily missed when you’re doing multiple things at once. I’ll catch the tail end of an interesting talk between an injured soldier and a housewife because I was too busy making sure the train didn’t overheat and explode.

I want to know more about the story, about what caused this apocalypse, but the game constantly forces me to keep my hands occupied. The micro-management portions aren’t a big deal by themselves. But they don’t add any substance to the game and only act as nuisances. It’d be better if they weren’t present at all.

As you explore abandoned stations and homes, you’d undoubtedly come across an infected. Supplies are scarce, leaving you to determine which is the best course of action. Throw caution to the wind and use your melee attack, or play it safe and waste your bullets? The gunplay is pretty standard, but the scarcity of ammo can make the game difficult if you’re trigger happy.

You’re taught early into the game to pay attention to your environment. Why waste a bullet when a chair can take care of things? The objective is not to mow down the hordes of infected trawling the urban landscape, it is to live to see another day and keep your guts inside your squishy body.

The game had the right amount of challenge for me. There are no situations I found impossible to get out of. If you find yourself stuck at a certain area, be bold. Get creative with the tools on hand. The solution might be one you’re afraid to try.

The Final Station might not be the longest, or the most visually impressive game, but the experience of trekking through a dying world and the truly original story, makes the time I spent worthwhile.

The Padre – Steam Update

Have you ever gotten the feeling someone or something is watching you? That creepy, eerie feeling that something could jump out at any second? That’s exactly how you will feel every second you play The Padre. The game is a horror point n’ click, where you, a troubled Catholic priest, attempts to solve puzzles within a flashback. Survive being hunted by the mysterious figures lurking in the dark. The enemies span from a wide array of creepy villains such as Zombies, Ghosts, Spiders and even the recurring Demons. There are also a lot of references to other games, such as the Half-Life series and even the Legend of Zelda game’s iconic “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this”.

If that last bit sounded familiar to you, that would be because I had written a review for the Padre before while it was still in its alpha phase, but now the game has been released on steam so it’s time for a small update. If you would like to read about how the game plays, I recommend checking out my previous review found here, because this is more of an update on the game.

When I initially played the game I refused to go too far because I didn’t want to play a lot of it before the game came out completely, it is still in early access now but they are rapidly moving it towards completion. There are a few points of the game which seem a little odd, things like missing voice lines, words not meeting up with their subtitles, and even a couple of times your character will get stuck trying to move. But that doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of the game.

I spoke with one of the people making the game and asked a couple of questions:

What changes do you enjoy the most about moving from the Alpha version to the Early Access version?

This is a hard one because it is a flow of issues to me, I have tested a lot of different versions. But I guess I was able to add to the story, that’s what matters the most.

What changes are you looking forward to coming out of Early Access?

In Early Access I would like to improve combat and overall flow of the game as well as create more lore to discover.

The gameplay felt a lot like the alpha did, but there were small updates to the dialog and they had changed the voice actor all together for it. The parts I had already played seemed the same, but from others I have talked to there are more changes later in the game.

There are still some minor bugs being found in the game, but the staff works flawlessly to fix these mistakes as quickly as possible as well as to produce more content for the game. Although this is only meant as a “chapter one” sort of game, it still brings out a long and rich story that leaves you wanting more.

Green Reaper – Farm Manager 2018 Review

Name: Farm Manager 2018
Developer: Cleversan Software
Publisher: PlayWay S.A.
Release Date: 6 April 2018
Platform: PC (click here for the Steam link)

April seems like an appropriate time to launch a farming title, what with the first signs of life creeping back after winter, and the daylight being that much brighter, causing you to close the curtains so you can see your monitor properly during daytime gaming.

I must admit to being a fan of these kinds of no-frills gaming titles – with a name like Farm Manager 2018, there is really no room for misunderstanding. You know 90% of what you’re gonna get before you’ve even seen a demo video. And that’s exactly what you can expect.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the remaining 10% seems to comprise mostly of bugs – and I’m not talking about the kind that’ll come along and eat all of your crops in-game. But we’ll come onto that shortly…

Focusing on the positives, Farm Manager 2018 is a cracking little title, scratching that itch many gamers have had since the days of Harvest Moon, and more recently Terraria and Stardew Valley. Unlike those titles, Farm Manager 2018 takes a much more realistic approach, with none of the flights of fancy, magic, or even a cutesy setting to elevate it beyond a real-world simulation.

And to a great extent, it really works – if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. You get government grants for planting fields of a certain hectare size, hiring and training employees, and building certain expansions to your farm. You can play the market by holding onto products until their price rises, but this must be offset against their expiration date. And how can hire workers with different skills and abilities, such as providing a boost to harvest yields, extra stamina, or production bonuses.

It’s a lot of fun figuring out the supply chains for different products, as whether by design or oversight, Farm Manager 2018 doesn’t go out of its way to make that kind of information accessible.

For example, you can build bee hives to produce honey, but if you also plant the seeds of specific crops nearby, the bees are able to produce a more specialist, expensive honey. Planting cereals doesn’t gain much profit, but they will feed your livestock; but not all animals will eat the same kind of crop, and require a varied diet to stay healthy and avoid costly visits by the local vet.

It was in exploring that maze of tweaking and optimising different combinations of crops, produce and animals I had the most fun tinkering with while playing Farm Manager 2018. But, sadly, not all of the game is fun. The micromanagement in particular can be really hard work, especially once the farm reaches a certain size.

There’s a certain amount of automation that can occur – the “autofill” function is especially invaluable in automatically choosing the best available workers for the specific task you’re assigning – but after a certain point, the sheer volume of tasks can become overwhelming, and worse, tedious to navigate.

Inevitably, this is most evident in early spring and late autumn, when sowing and harvesting occurs. Seasonal workers can be hired on short-term contracts to assist with the overflow, and although there’s a certain thrill in successfully juggling dozens of tasks during peak time, after a few years it becomes quite monotonous.

The campaign does a decent job of showing a prospective farmer the ropes, and there’s a nice story hook of an ailing father passing on his farm to his offspring, along with an old school friend who shows up to give tool tips. But largely it feels like it needs more balance.

For example, one objective instructs you to buy a type of combine harvester, and the next one tells you to buy a more expensive harvester. If left to my own devices, I’d have just saved up and bought the more expensive one, instead of investing in an earlier model and losing half of the capital by selling it on straight away.

The pacing can be frustrating, too. The next objective tells you to harvest a field of wheat with your shiny new combine harvester, which I received in late autumn. Therefore it was nearly a full year of game time before I feasibly had any chance of completing this objective.

Frustratingly, the biggest fail hasn’t even got anything to do with the gameplay. It’s in the myriad of bugs that can quietly occur, and they are often so subtle that it’s difficult to spot them right away.

For example, in the spring of one year, I tasked a worker to go and plow a field with a tractor and the appropriate attachment. With it being spring, I was swept away issuing orders to other farmhands, and it was almost a week of in-game time later before I realised that the worker had bugged and had never actually gone to the tractor.

Worse, I then found that the field itself had bugged and that cancelling the job request left it in some weird limbo where the task wouldn’t complete, and I was unable to issue a new one. Most of these kinds of bugs are resolved by saving and restarting the game, however it’s really not ideal that a hard restart is required on a regular basis.

All that said, the developers are releasing almost daily patches and bug fixes, and so before long you should expect to see a fully functioning version of Farm Manager 2018 – the kind you really would’ve hoped to see on launch day.

There seems to be only a single plucky yet eventually repetitive piece of background music, but the game’s graphics are really quite pleasant and – one would imagine – realistic when compared to the source material. There are some dodgy animations – the bale trailer comes to mind – but largely it looks great watching all of your hired hands busy themselves in every corner of your farm.

Despite some teething issues, Farm Manager 2018 delivers exactly what it promises, and with a plethora of bug fixes, and maybe some UI overhauls, it’ll be a solid title for fans of farms and management sims. Maybe just let it flower before picking it up.