Devlog #5: Why I will be publishing via and Google Play, but neither Steam nor Apple

So the release of American Angst is still a month away give or take, but I am definitely on the home stretch. Really can’t wait to shove it out into the wild, alas there’s still some work to do.

As you can see from the game homepage, for now I am planning to release it via GameJolt and, as well as Google Play for the mobile version. No Steam, no iOS. I would like to explain why. Nobody has asked so far, but I’ll answer the question, just in case, and if it’s only for further reference.

I will start by explaining how this project came to arise in the first place:

I loved CYOA as a kid. A few months back, I had the idea of creating a web-based CYOA and started researching.

Well, this opened pandora’s box. In a matter of hours, I had reviewed and evaluated the different tools available, and soon settled for Twine (not that the others were bad, I just got the impression Twine was the best solution for what I was aiming at).

On my first weekend with Twine, I tried a couple of approaches to games, read through tutorials, copied them, scoured the Twine community. When Sunday came, I had good basic mastery of the engine and was ready for my first „serious“ endeavor.

I am a great fan of 70s horror and splatter movies like The Last House on the Left or The Hills have Eyes: jump scares, violence, dark humour, with some superficial social commentary thrown in for good measure. I also have a slight penchant for trashy as well as high-quality modern takes on the genre (looking at you, Hostel, The Crazies, Wolf Creek, You’re next, Inside, High Tension). Add to this my love for CYOA, Dungeon Crawlers and RPG, and you have the perfect mix for my first endeavor:

A text-based multiple-choice survival horror called American Angst.

This is my first try ever to create a game. I’m not a professional developer, hell, I am not even a spare-time developer. The closest I get to programming is a basic mastery of PHP and being able to work and maintain my WordPress sites.

American Angst is an experiment, albeit one I am taking seriously. I want the best result possible. The game will look great from my perspective, it will have a fine enough story, solid writing (I hope), multiple ends, replay value and approximately 45 to 60 minutes of game play. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

That being said, as it is my first try, I feel I don’t want to charge anything for it. So I will be releasing it as „pay what you want“ aka „for free“, because I hope to learn from the feedback (I am hoping it will be appreciated enough to warrant a sequel I have concrete ideas for).

This means, I won’t be making any money off it, and that’s ok, because I really enjoy the experience and learnt a lot. But it also means I am a tad shy about investing real money to promote it.

Steam Direct wants 100 $ upfront per App, Apple wants you to pay 100 $ per year. And frankly, that’s just not the kind of money I’ve got flying around for shits and giggles. Sure, I could charge something for my game, but I’ve decided that’s this is not the route I want to take right now – at least not with the first game.

Let me be clear: I believe in American Angst, I think it’s awesome, but that’s just me. It’s not that I don’t think it has potential (I sure hope it does), but 200 $ just to get my game on two platforms with no guarantees whatsoever is no option at the moment.

So, for now, I’ll be going with, GameJolt and the Play Store (for which I payed a one-time fee of 25 $, which is an amount I was willing to spend, as I will be probably needing that account for other reasons as well).

And here’s another thought: I am thinking of including a button on the end screen of the game, and if anybody feels he would like to contribute and buy me a coffee, that’d be fair and great. Building on this, if donations ever break through 100 $ (not counting on it to be honest), I’ll release it on Steam – or if downloads across platforms reach 1000 units within six weeks. Whichever happens first.

What are your thoughts on this? Makes sense? Am I missing something?

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