Note: This is a personal post written by me. I’m not talking in the name of the Milkstone Studios team, their opinions about the project could be different.
Wool has been our second project since the birth of Milkstone Studios, and we got the development process, and the engine, much more streamlined. Our hopes about the game were high, but they haven’t been fulfilled (only 750 sales in 4 months).
What went Right
- Overall polish
We think Wool is one of the most polished games of the channel. We did extensive betatesting to achieve a fun and challenging gameplay and level designs. We listened from other user’s opinions on the early phases and decided to focus on improving the overall experience instead of adding content “with no soul”.
An example of this can be found in the sound and music department, with lots of different and well-placed sounds (special mention to the “stampede” sound effect when many sheeps run at once).
Using what we learned from Little Racers’ GUI system, we redid from scratch the entire GUI system… Twice. It was a high amount of work, but it paid off in the end. The GUI system is very centric on gamepad UI interaction, and the usual structure of a game menu, with a largely customizable visual design.
All of our later games to date have been using the same GUI without almost any change, so we can say it’s powerful enough for our goals.
- Level editor
During Wool development (and other projects that didn’t see the light…yet) we developed a map editor which enabled us to create and edits levels from scratch fairly easily.
The editor was designed to be very flexible, so it will come handy when developing other 2D games in the future.
- Paving the way for future games
Between the release of Little Racers and Wool, most of the time was spent in improving our game engine to easen the task of creating new games, so our future projects wouldn’t take that much to be developed.
Things such as game menus, loading/saving, game records, etc. can now be reused on our future games with almost no effort, so we should reduce our development time a lot from now on.
What went wrong
- Product placement
Since we created a high quality game and released it at a low price, we expected the game to be very successful. What really happened was: By default, not much people like sheep herding games, no matter how polished or fun they are.
So, despite a rather high trials/sales conversion ratio, the game rapidly dropped of top charts with low sales numbers.
- Little to no feedback
Consequence of the first fact, we didn’t get much feedback, good or bad, about the game, which meant that we didn’t even know what the problem was with the game.
As in Little Racers, we’ve done our best to compensate our lack of graphic skills, with a fair success. Graphics variety is low, but everything fits and it looks good when in movement (can’t say the same for static screenshots…)
How the game did
- In sales terms, Wool has been officially a failure. Although ratings and the few comments about the game are positive, it’s a genre which nobody likes.
We can consider it as a niche game that’s really fun in coop sessions and can give a really fun experience for some hours for just one dollar.
Feel free to comment on the article!