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Why my game was rejected by a major publisher

I made a game I thought was worthy of going big, so I pitched to several game publishers. Some didn't reply, others politely declined, but the one I most dreamed of showed great interest. I couldn't believe it!

So as we advanced in our talks, I told them the game was developed in Gamesalad. That's when then honeymoon that never really began was officially over.

Why?

Not because the game was buggy, ( it's not), or graphics were amateur, or because they thought that "real" programmers should use Unity...or because of some ad network they wanted...although that's what I initally thought.

Nope, the problem is that they need analytics installed in every game published by them. They tolde me I was not the first case.

I googled about analytics in gamesalad, I see people calling for it since 2010. I even learned to my surprise that Gamesalad actually has analytics and flurry sdks installed in EVERY published Gamesalad game, so they gather info about all games put there, but for their use only.

Of course they have analytics installed, because its vital information, its the single most important information we can can get to evolve in the maturing mobile game world and improve our games, and understand precisely how players are using our games.

Gamesalad doesn't seem to care though, you can't care if people have been asking for this for over 5 years, especially when it's a tiny little piece of code that does so much.

Maybe the feature wasn't upvoted enough, maybe when enough people have a chance of a lifetime taken from them it will be.

Comments

  • RabidParrotRabidParrot Formally RabidParrot. Posts: 956Member
    edited February 2016

    Just because your situation did not turn out the way you wanted, it does not indicate that GameSalad doesn't care. Compared to how the engine was, it has vastly improved. True GameSalad does not support in-engine analytics but there are ways around this.

    GameSalad is ever improving and providing valuable content to their users.

    If your game is as good as you have stated you should have no issue publishing yourself. It's not the publisher, it's the game.

  • awhedbeeawhedbee Lakeland, FlPosts: 5Member, PRO

    You could try a few hundred dollars and publish through Ios and Android, make an adwords campaign or two and see how they do. If your conversion is good you should be able to start self sustaining and snowballing the growth of your users.

    Friends and family are a good source of start up capital. Have you considered crowd funding through other popular sites?

    For social media try : http://www.gsextras.com/home/social-basic/

    Analytics : http://www.appformative.com/insights.mox

    Email for best results and help integrating :)

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member

    Why is it when we don't get our way it always someone else's fault? You need to go into things with your homework done. Before you pitched your game and chose a development enviroment you should have asked each publisher what they require. Too many people around here don't do the required homework. They are so eager to jump into a game they don't make a plan, they just jump right in skipping the most important work. Doing a design document for large games are key. During this phase one evaluates the limits of their skill and chosen development environment. Spending time advancing their skill. It takes time to learn any development enviroment and too many jump right into complex games without know the software or how to build proper logic. We see this often on the forum, new people fail to do their ground work, jump into a big game and two months later hit a wall or limit of the software and then come and blame the software for not anticipating their needs. It's for you to anticipate your needs by doing the proper proven steps for proper game design. If you skip those steps you will have issues. This process is done by every competent developer and big studio. Being in a rush get you nowhere. In fact it will set you back even more time and rework. To be good at anything one needs discipline. You need to resist the urge to rush in and do the boring grinding work to lay the proper foundation for your endeavors. Consider this a lesson learned. You didn do your ground work. That's on you and no one else.

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member
    edited February 2016

    @antleecar said:
    . . . . maybe when enough people have a chance of a lifetime taken from them it will be.

    'Having the chance of a lifetime 'taken' from you' seems a little overly dramatic, no one actually took anything away from you - if interest in this game is as strong as you believe it to be, if this is really a chance of a lifetime, then why give up so easily ?

    If I were you I'd hook up with a (for example) Unity coder and rebuild it using that platform (or any platform the offers the services the publisher needs), you already have the logic, logo, name, mechanic, artwork, sound (and so on) so most of the work has already been done, so it shouldn't be too difficult to reconstruct it elsewhere.

    In fact if the interest was that strong I'm surprised that a publishing company showing a lot of interest wouldn't themselves suggest a rewrite ?

  • BazookaTimeBazookaTime Posts: 1,274Member

    I always wished that GameSalad would (at least offer) to publish the best of the best GS games. I have noticed a number of Game of the Month winners aren't even in the App store anymore, probably because it wasn't worth continuing the $99 per year fee.

  • lycettebroslycettebros Posts: 1,598Member, PRO
    edited February 2016

    If a major publisher was really interested they would buy the concept and develop it to their requirements.

  • antleecarantleecar Posts: 8Member, PRO

    @lycettebros said:
    If a major publisher was really interested they would buy the concept and develop it to their requirements.

    The only requirement they made was the analytics, they tested the whole game, they were happy with every aspect of it. I could have gotten busted if they had an unsported ad network, but luckily they use Chartboost.

  • antleecarantleecar Posts: 8Member, PRO

    @Socks said:

    @antleecar said:
    . . . . maybe when enough people have a chance of a lifetime taken from them it will be.

    In fact if the interest was that strong I'm surprised that a publishing company showing a lot of interest wouldn't themselves suggest a rewrite ?

    I used Gamesalad to build a game that is industry standard, just like many other developers here, because Gamesalad is genuinely professional, despite what gets said all around about it being for amateurs.

    From the company's perspective, it also kinda sucks. The game is not simple, like a Ketchapp game. It'll take months to develop and test, when they already have a finished product in front of them, where they dont need to spend any resources to develop, only to market.

    It's bad buisness for everyone. But sure, maybe they might offer a rewrite. I much prefer if I could have the game I made myself out there.

  • antleecarantleecar Posts: 8Member, PRO

    @Armelline said:
    As others have said, you can put analytics in a GameSalad game. So either they need their analytics platform, in which case your complaint is invalid, or there was another reason for rejecting your game.

    That said, we really should have access to the analytics by now. Especially with the monthly fee. Seems a perfect feature to add for Pro members. You only need 1 month of Pro to publish your game, and a lot of people presumably revert back to Basic until they have an update ready. But if analytics were included as part of the Pro subscription, that would be a big motivation for people to keep their account Pro.

    That's it, I would absolutely hold onto my Pro subscription, even during development periods when I don't need publishing.

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member
    edited February 2016

    @Chunkypixels said:
    @Lost_Oasis_Games ...sometimes you really make my blood boil :)

    You pull the guy apart, attacking his ability to make a game, when you have no idea of what that game was or the quality of it. You completely miss his point and what he was discussing. Simple truths... GameSalad has analytics built in, and has had for a very long time. Like the guy said, it's been requested by users for years to have access to it... and on many occasions the GS team have promised it would become available. His post and opinions were completely justified and reasonable.

    I do wish you,'d get off your high horse sometimes... I understand you trying to defend GS... but sometimes it just makes you look like an ****. There's so many times where you adamantly defend an issue with GS, and insult and belittle users and place the blame on them, only to be proved wrong when GameSalad either backtrack, changes direction or admits they've been at fault.

    People use GameSalad for many different reasons, and come at it from many different backgrounds. The software is trying to reach new levels and become more professional and aim itself at more professional users.... yet there's still fundamental issues that hold it back from ever being seen as a viable software for widespread use in the games industry. People bring up these issues for discussion and you shoot them down in a quite frankly egotistical and self-righteous way. Well that's fine... if you want to keep GameSalad from ever gaining industry recognition and use.

    Before you attack or lecture others about how they should build games and the quality, you really need to be putting out more quality games yourself, that back up your right to preach from such lofty heights...

    My point was a general one. If you don't do your homework before setting out on any endeavor you will come against road blocks. My intention wasn't to defend GS. I could care less about what people think about GS it's not my product. My advice would apply to any endeavor. That's the whole point. High horse? It's called reality plain and simple. The fact that my words make your blood boil is not my problem. You are free to rebut my arguments as a balance if you feel the need. This is the same advice I was given by successful people and helped me. It's called personal responsibility. But we never want to hear that. If I don't plan a project I am running and my boss loses thou d's of dollars that's one me for not planing. Not because some vendor doesn't make the tool or item I need. I have to find and plan for that by looking ahead at the tasks that must be done to complete the project. I just finished a project where I was in charge of the computer controlled lighting for a casino http://www.plainridgeparkcasino.com This was a multimillion dollar project, I was in charge of as well as 20 employees. I spent weeks pouring over the drawings and reading and cross referencing ever products spec sheets. We avoided tons of issues with this pre planing saving the company tons of lost hours. We were able to sort out the conflicts order new product, make the adjustments to the wiring installation et... On a tight fast deadline like this project was, it would have been a disaster. We avoided the disaster with planning. So I don't just say this stuff I live it. Advice is advice take it or leave it. It makes no matter to me, I don't have to live with the hassles of poor preparation and planning.

    I have two games coming out as @RP my artist partner has been working on special effects this last year for a movie. I stayed loyal to him and waited. He has been working on the art for our game Atom Smash which is nearly all coded and just needs the art finished. We also have a game can a ball which is done but we want to release them together.

  • crestwoodgamescrestwoodgames Posts: 191Member

    I have worked with other SDKs and feel GS has one of the best communities. We are fast to help people out and people provide a lot of information.

    But, we are also the first to tear people down. This only pushes people away, and it is sad.

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member
    edited February 2016

    So Chucky when you have been responsible for a ten million dollar project you come see me okay?And Just so people know I'm telling the truth here are the job site pictures of my guys.that chandler alone was $30,000 and we had to hang 5 of them, talk about nerve racking and planning. You don't want to screw that up or damage it or worse drop it becuase you didn't use the proper rated lifing equipment.





  • ArmellineArmelline Posts: 4,774Member, PRO

    @antleecar I'm still confused, to be honest. There are options for analytics, so you can have analytics in your game. Was that not acceptable to them?

  • ChunkypixelsChunkypixels Posts: 1,113Member

    @Armelline ..Im guessing the publisher company wanted their very own specific in-house analytics SDK implemented in the game...which many do.

    In which case having access to GS analytics wouldn't have really been the issue, it would have been more the issue that they couldn't add their own code to a GS game.

    Like some of the other posts mentioned, I would have expected that the publisher would have suggested the developer should rebuild the game in another engine/code, unless they just thought they could get one of their own teams to knock off a copy of the game quicker than the original developer... which isn't unheard of.

    But the overall topic of GS analytics has come up again and again... and theres really no good justification why a system thats already in the engine and every published game hasn't been opened up for use to the paying users. Ive seen many posts where people have been rejected by publishers because GS just doesn't support or give access to analytics.

    And yup... as many are quick to offer... people can go use a different engine instead... but that advice doesn't help or better GS in the long run.

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member
    edited February 2016

    @Chunkypixels said:
    @Lost_Oasis_Games ...were not here doing casino refits though... were here making games.

    ..and the OP's issue and concerns are still valid, and worthy of discussion. So lets concentrate the thread on that...

    It wasn't a refit but a brand new casino.

    You outright called me out and said because I lack games some how I then lack life experence that is truthful and relative. My original post was about that "How one should approach projects" Now that I proved I do know what I am talking about in real world terms with real world consequences it's off topic? It's exactly on topic. Do your due diligence before setting on anything. Take action yourself don't wait on others to do it for you. I didn't just wake up one day and get offered to run 10 million dollar projects. You have to do it when it's big or small to earn the reputation and prove you can execute. That's my point, no matter the size of the endeavor you need to begin to apply the things that you would when you're big or you won't know how to do it when your moment arrives. That's the whole point period.

  • ArmellineArmelline Posts: 4,774Member, PRO
    edited February 2016

    @Chunkypixels said:
    @Armelline ..Im guessing the publisher company wanted their very own specific in-house analytics SDK implemented in the game...which many do.

    That was my assumption. But as you say, it makes the issue of GS analytics irrelevant, and returns the discussion to the point of "if you want to get published by a major publisher, plan for that when you start making your game and don't use any engine that doesn't allow you to add custom code.

    All that said, I fully stand by my previous comments regarding the GS analytics.

    But the overall topic of GS analytics has come up again and again... and theres really no good justification why a system thats already in the engine and every published game hasn't been opened up for use to the paying users. Ive seen many posts where people have been rejected by publishers because GS just doesn't support or give access to analytics.

    My guess is that both the front-end and back-end work to support analytics is going to be pretty substantial. Even though they collect that data, they probably don't collect it in a way that's directly useful to customers. So there's adding that code to every app. Then they need to receive and process the data. A pretty huge task in and of itself. Then they need to present the data to the user. Another pretty hefty task. It's not a simple matter. I personally strongly favour them prioritising core creator features like custom collisions and custom fonts, as well as improving stability and speed. (I think I've had 1 crash in the past month, so they've made huge strides there.)

    I'd assume it's coming, and they want to do it, but I'm betting it would require a massive shifting of resources. Let's tag @CodeWizard in though, and see if he has any official comment he'd like to make regarding it.

  • The_Gamesalad_GuruThe_Gamesalad_Guru Posts: 9,913Member
    edited February 2016

    @Chunkypixels said:
    Oh boy... :)

    @Lost_Oasis_Games ...your blinkered again... I never called you out on life experiences... maybe you should read things more carefully.

    I called you out on putting people down, and telling them they don't know what they're doing. I called you out on your attitude, and your superiority complex. I called you on turning a reasonable post about a legitimate concern into one of your self-righteous rants.

    You bring a lot of good to the community, but you can often outweigh the good by how you treat people, and how you put peoples efforts down. You preach how people should develop games, but you have very few examples to show that what you say is good advice.

    Showing that you might be great at building tree houses doesn't necessarily mean that your advice on baking cakes is going to be solid... so although the thing with the casino refits might be great for your ego and bank balance, it doesn't immediately have relevance to the issue of in-app analytics... which is the subject after all...

    Out of respect for the OP, and the integrity of the thread, Im actually not going to respond to your next post on the subject, as I don't want this to drag out into some sort of slanging match.. and I think you'll sleep much easier if I let you have the last word :)

    I'll sleep well one way or the other..lol

    So let's review if the Op had done his homework and found that the publisher needs analytics he could have inquired with @Hopscotch about what types of analytics he can provide and documented that. (His service is well known around here) Then submitted the game design to the publisher with an analytics option. If the publisher wanted their own api then that was never going to work as gamesalad can't provide for every api. So what is the real point here? There is a service availability to provide analytics. So even now he should be contacting hopscotch and recontacting the publisher telling them he has the ability to add what they require. I hope he does that. I hope he gets his publishing deal. What he needed is already available.

  • MoikMoik Posts: 257Member, PRO

    @Armelline said:
    I personally strongly favour them prioritising core creator features like custom collisions and custom fonts, as well as improving stability and speed.

    The stronger the core tools are, the less reason there is to seek a publisher since we're then individually more capable of creating our own success without intervention. As a result, I also strongly agree with keeping to that focus.

    While not all publishers are inherently bad, a lot simply "take rent"; eating a cut of the income without supporting the game via advertising or distribution. On the console side of the industry in years past, publishers would often offer royalties based on net income, then massage the accounting (ex, fully allocating the costs of company-wide support services such as HR/Janitorial onto the project) in order to reduce royalties to effectively zero.

    But on the topic of analytics; yeah, they're super critical in this day and age. Without them a game will wither as people drift away at the friction points the developer is blind to. It would be super valuable to us if they were unlocked in-tool. AppFormative having a business with it demonstrates the value. I don't yet know how much I'll be spending, but I know I'm going to be spending more on my game in order to know what people's final gameplay actions were when they gave up on it, so I can fix it for the new on-boards and retain them.

    If there was some ability to insert custom code, all these problems would melt away since then it becomes our problem to deal with rather than Game Salad's. The ball could be in our court instead.

  • antleecarantleecar Posts: 8Member, PRO

    @Armelline said:

    @Chunkypixels said:
    @Armelline ..Im guessing the publisher company wanted their very own specific in-house analytics SDK implemented in the game...which many do.

    That was my assumption. But as you say, it makes the issue of GS analytics irrelevant, and returns the discussion to the point of "if you want to get published by a major publisher, plan for that when you start making your game and don't use any engine that doesn't allow you to add custom code.

    All that said, I fully stand by my previous comments regarding the GS analytics.

    But the overall topic of GS analytics has come up again and again... and theres really no good justification why a system thats already in the engine and every published game hasn't been opened up for use to the paying users. Ive seen many posts where people have been rejected by publishers because GS just doesn't support or give access to analytics.

    My guess is that both the front-end and back-end work to support analytics is going to be pretty substantial. Even though they collect that data, they probably don't collect it in a way that's directly useful to customers. So there's adding that code to every app. Then they need to receive and process the data. A pretty huge task in and of itself. Then they need to present the data to the user. Another pretty hefty task. It's not a simple matter. I personally strongly favour them prioritising core creator features like custom collisions and custom fonts, as well as improving stability and speed. (I think I've had 1 crash in the past month, so they've made huge strides there.)

    I'd assume it's coming, and they want to do it, but I'm betting it would require a massive shifting of resources. Let's tag @CodeWizard in though, and see if he has any official comment he'd like to make regarding it.

    They gave me an option, Flurry or Google Mobile Analytics, which from my understanding, are the industry standard, but they told me they have both installed in their games, my feeling is that they have more, I dont know.

    The point of the thread in my view is that, while Gamesalad does a decent job at offering us mobile ads to be integrated into our games, they have really fallen short with analytics. And in my view, analytics is just AS important as ads.

    Its information, precious data that we entirely miss out on.

    I became aware of appformative, it looks promising, but they're a big company, they have their standards and their own proven tools for working, and if you think about it, its pretty straight forward what theyre asking me, Flurry and google analytics should be our standard too, just like chartboost and admob are the standard for ad networks.

  • AlchimiaStudiosAlchimiaStudios Posts: 1,025Member, PRO
    edited February 2016

    Did you ask them if they would be ok with using another third party analytics in it's place?

    Asking can't exactly hurt if they already said no.

    Also, I feel if you are looking to publish with a specific publisher, one with very specific rules and needs, it's usually better to write your own code from scratch or use an engine that's extensible.

    After all why should you wait and hope and pray and post about features that are wanted and then have the potential to be let down when you can guarantee these features by doing it yourself?

    Follow us: Twitter - Website

  • ArmellineArmelline Posts: 4,774Member, PRO

    @antleecar said:
    They gave me an option, Flurry or Google Mobile Analytics, which from my understanding, are the industry standard, but they told me they have both installed in their games, my feeling is that they have more, I dont know.

    Ah, okay. That's not at all what you said in the first place, though. Make sure there's a relevant feature request in!

  • Wonder MaruWonder Maru Posts: 98Member, PRO

    just my 2 cents about publishers, as we just looked for one and signed for one of our games (not done in GS).

    I don't really agree that by planning earlier you can really know what a publisher needs, as these things are details they reveal once they're interested in working with you. You can check publishers websites and see what they ask you upfront. Most of them don't even ask you the game engine you're using, and no one mentions what sort of SDK they would need you to put in your game.

    Secondly even knowing in advance, it doesn't mean someone can't ask GS for a feature that is vital for this business. Specially if it seems to be there already and just hidden to GS customers. I think the request/complain makes a lot of sense (I found this topic because I was exactly looking for the same thing).

    Lastly, someone was suggesting that if they really were interested they would have bought the concept and developed the game themselves. It's doesn't work like that. Usually publishers don't even help you, code wise, to implement things they ask you to add to your game.

    Wonder Maru: casual games for casual people. www.wondermaru.com

  • UtopianGamesUtopianGames Posts: 5,686Member
    edited May 2016

    @Chunkypixels said:
    @Lost_Oasis_Games ...sometimes you really make my blood boil :)

    You pull the guy apart, attacking his ability to make a game, when you have no idea of what that game was or the quality of it. You completely miss his point and what he was discussing. Simple truths... GameSalad has analytics built in, and has had for a very long time. Like the guy said, it's been requested by users for years to have access to it... and on many occasions the GS team have promised it would become available. His post and opinions were completely justified and reasonable.

    I do wish you,'d get off your high horse sometimes... I understand you trying to defend GS... but sometimes it just makes you look like an ****. There's so many times where you adamantly defend an issue with GS, and insult and belittle users and place the blame on them, only to be proved wrong when GameSalad either backtrack, changes direction or admits they've been at fault.

    People use GameSalad for many different reasons, and come at it from many different backgrounds. The software is trying to reach new levels and become more professional and aim itself at more professional users.... yet there's still fundamental issues that hold it back from ever being seen as a viable software for widespread use in the games industry. People bring up these issues for discussion and you shoot them down in a quite frankly egotistical and self-righteous way. Well that's fine... if you want to keep GameSalad from ever gaining industry recognition and use.

    Before you attack or lecture others about how they should build games and the quality, you really need to be putting out more quality games yourself, that back up your right to preach from such lofty heights...

    +1

    In other news got my 6 year badge recently but decided to cancel my subscription until GS moves forward and adds the simple things we've been asking for for years.

  • AlchimiaStudiosAlchimiaStudios Posts: 1,025Member, PRO

    Over 3 months later and were back to this :D

    Follow us: Twitter - Website

  • SocksSocks London, UK.Posts: 12,822Member

    ...> @AlchimiaStudios said:

    Over 3 months later and were back to this :D

    It's all your fault . . .

    [runs for cover]

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