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.

The Importance of Sound Design

Hey, I’m Max from Max Louis Creative and I work with indie developers day in and day out to help produce and market their games. Sound design is one aspect, a whole handful of devs I’ve seen, just completely underthink.

Let’s begin with a mini quiz, before we discuss sound design.

When you think about the following games/TV shows, in your head, what are the first sounds you think of?

  1. PAC-MAN
  2. Super Mario
  3. Scooby Doo

Super Mario Model Sound Design

Ok, let’s go through each one. We assume that you have played/watched at least one of these!

  1. “WAKKA-WAKKA” may have been your first thought! This is the iconic sound of PAC-MAN.
  2. “It’s a me, Maaaario!” is likely to be what you thought of. Everyone knows this catchphrase!
  3. “Shhhcooby Dooby Doo!” or “Shwaggy” might have been your first thoughts.

So, WHY do we remember these sounds immediately when we think of these things?

Sound effects and music make certain scenes, in both game and film, memorable for people. Every time someone hears the sounds, they will recognise it straight away and remember where they heard it from.

Over time, indie games have been losing sight of the importance of sound design. Some developers don’t realise the power and impact that sound has on an audience. Even if you don’t actively notice the sound, it is making an enormous difference to your viewing experience and pleasure.

The Reasons Why Sound Design Is So Powerful

Sounds are as important as visuals. In fact, they work together and each element complements each other. Without one, the other wouldn’t be as effective. Imagine Jaws without the impending doom sound effects, but also imagine it with just this sound and no visuals. It wouldn’t make any sense for the audience! Similarly, having particular music or sound effects make a certain scene memorable.

Good sound design encourages the audience to connect more with what they are watching. It helps to understand the film scene/moment in the game and creates the atmosphere. In other words, sound appropriately sets the scene and can tell a story in itself. Every jump, step and crouch have a sound effect, which all create realism. Also, without us realising, it makes it more pleasing for us to play.

The experience of watching horror films is greatly improved in the way that sound is used. Sometimes they don’t even use sound in parts! It is used to create suspense and make the audience jump.

Sound design makes things more realistic. It brings life to games/films by adding the time of day and the mood.

People playing game sound design

What Our Sound Designer Thinks…

We asked one of our sound designers why they think that sound design is so important in games and/or films. Here’s what he thinks!

Both film and games are pieces of art that require multiple senses to usually enjoy or to get the full effect of emotion or thought to relay to the audience. Music helps flesh out the visual and mechanical aspects, in short, it helps provide context for the experienced interactive art for the audience.

Greg

So, sound and music help to enhance the audience’s experience, by making them feel the full effect of emotion. Greg’s point about “music helping flesh out the visual and mechanical aspects” reiterates our earlier point about visuals and sounds working together. This is so important to remember!

So, Why Do You Need To Do It Right?

Having carefully constructed sound design in a game or a film changes the whole viewing experience; it alters how a moment is perceived emotionally by an audience.

Take a look at this interesting article about how some well-known sounds in films and TV shows were actually created. Some of them are very surprising – my favourite was the Toy Story one!

Careful choices need to be made during specific moments in a game or film, to define the emotion and character of the moment.

Sound designing

What Our Other Sound Designer Thinks…

What are the key things you have to think about when creating sounds for a game?

Picture a sailboat floating at sea.. you hear staccato, violin stabs which may signal impending doom or a shark attack (Jaws?). Now you hear whimsical, Studio Ghibli-esque score and you are put at ease. Finally, picture the sounds you would most likely hear, the ocean crashing, wind blowing, and maybe seagulls squawking. All of these moods paint a musical mosaic over other mediums of art and are essential to making a clear aesthetic. Art paints the surface, sound paints the space. The next time you watch a horror film, plug your ears during a jump scare, suddenly it isn’t so scary.

Most important techniques in sound design – Layering, reverb, sidechain compression, dynamic mixing, eq and filters, and layering. Did I mention layering? Layering. Combine all this with clever mic selection/placement, DAW mastery, and a good ear and you just might have good sound design!

Trevyn

Trevyn’s point about “art painting the surface and sound painting the space” is a brilliant way to wrap this blog up. Sound makes the visuals work and this definitely shouldn’t be forgotten about. Visuals will NOT have the same effect on the audience if there’s no good sound design behind it.

So, if you’re making a game or a film…

DON’T FORGET ABOUT SOUND DESIGN!

If you want some brilliant, well thought out sound design for your game (or anything else you’re working on!), then our sound designers would absolutely love to help you! Take a look here to see our work and be sure to contact us if you would like our help.

 

Indie Game Marketing

It goes without saying that game development requires a lot of work. This ranges from how you will create the art and design for your game, all the way to how will you promote it once it releases. Of course, if you are an individual or a small game studio, you are likely to need an extra pair of hands when it comes to physically (and mentally) managing all of these different aspects of game development. Whether you are a small team or not, you can still have success in the game dev world.

My name is Max, creative director at MLC and I will be sharing our experience working with game studios to help market/build their games. Hopefully, our unique tips will improve your knowledge and understanding of how you can develop an incredibly successful game.

In this blog, we will focus on our most recent major project, Batch 17. We started by working on different resources to make it stand out online and look the best it could. Promotion on various platforms like Reddit was a great success, which you could even say, made the game as popular as it has become. Ultimately, when marketing a game there is one thing you need to have in your mind: There is no one way to market anything, it is all about persistence and creativity.

Persistence

Focusing on reaching the absolute maximum amount of people is very important. Set yourself a target of a potential reach of 1 million people. I know that sounds impossible, but it really isn’t too bad. There are plenty of subreddits with 80K+ people in them. Post in these subreddits, some Facebook groups, make sure your Twitter is buzzing and you will be well on your way. Even targeting smaller communities is effective. For example, letting a streamer with 1k followers have access to your game could end up being well worth your time and effort.

Creativity

It is important to think of new ideas to help reach that goal of 1 million people. It just isn’t enough to post your game on sites saying “Hey check out this cool game I made, it has guns and shit!”. That’s far too common. Think about what a player might be thinking. For Batch 17, we got our major success when we posted about our upcoming free alpha. Our Twitter was well organized and constantly posting, so people found it and were interested. I woke up one morning and we had been put on Metacritic, a blog had been written about our alpha and we had 400 sign-ups. Now their mailing list has 11,000 members!

What is important to learn from this is: target your audience like you would want to be targeted. Don’t assume someone wants to play your game, in fact, assume they don’t. It’s all about saying “hey look at me”, so draw attention to yourself using a great hook and kicker (great blog post about hook and kicker). Make a kickass trailer (or ask us!), run a giveaway or even partner with a Discord channel. Whatever you do, remember it’s all about that reach count. If your trailer isn’t being found and has less than 1k views, consider sending it to a channel like MathChief. Get other people involved.

 

Finally, make sure you know what you are selling. There is nothing worse than not even knowing what’s so fun about your own game. Get your ideas and stick with them. Copy and paste writing you have used on your store page, on your posts around the web (of course altering slightly). Make your game relate to what the audience wants to play – which is most likely what you want to play.

Get in touch

There is too much to marketing to put in one blog post. There are plenty resources online to help you learn more, but make no mistake, this is hard stuff. If you are really serious about your project it is vital you get marketing done properly. Feel free to contact me at sales@maxlouiscreative.com or message me on Discord at Max#2210 to have a chat with me 🙂