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Mini Metro pre-order numbers

The Early Access beta for Mini Metro is getting very close, which we’re getting pretty excited about. All you lovely people who pre-ordered will get to play with what we’ve been working on since alpha13 (thank you for your patience!), and Mini Metro will finally be up on Steam.

This afternoon I wanted to take a break from bug-fixing and hurried feature implementation to go through how the pre-orders have been doing, and briefly cover how the revenue has affected development.

Pictures!

Here is the graph of daily pre-orders from Humble from when we started accepting orders (9th of April) until today (22nd of July).

image

This shows the number of pre-orders, not revenue, so it doesn’t take tips into account. With only a few exceptions tips have been fairly even day-to-day.

We really had no idea what to expect when we put the widget up. Sales proved to be good for the first couple of days (165 and 146 sales), and didn’t slump off as quickly as we’d imagined. We had done nothing to promote the pre-order—we just added the widget on to the website.

The huge spike on the 20th of April was the launch of alpha9 and the revamped website. We were hoping for a surge in interest. Alpha9 was a big, much-anticipated change after the divisive alpha8, and we also took the opportunity to showcase a different map (New York City instead of London). We added a plug for the pre-order into the game-over dialog. Needless to say the figures for the next few days blew us away!

The spike on the 11th of May was directly related to this tweet:

Turns out the lead developer of Minecraft firing off a tweet about your game is worth roughly USD200. Thanks Jens!

Sales have predictably dropped off to the infamous long tail. We’re still seeing anywhere from five to 25 sales a day. It all adds up!

Numbers!

We’ve had a grand total of 4,608 pre-orders to date, at an average price of USD4.19 (giving us an average tip of USD0.2). The total gross is currently USD18,219.66. Once Amazon and PayPal take their cut, and a (surprisingly small!) chunk goes to Humble, that leaves a sum that’s enabled me to stay working near full-time on Mini Metro.

But what does it all mean?

We’ve been able to splash out on a number of nice-to-haves. Jamie Churchman (@gromange) came on-board as our graphic designer. He’s completely transformed the look of the game for the beta. We secured a top-notch audio designer who’s busy concepting the soundscape for the game. We coughed up the $1.5k for Unity Pro without worrying too much about how we were going to cover it.

But more importantly, it’s bought us time!

Right when the press started going nuts about Mini Metro in early March, my wife Mary and I had both been at home since December looking after our son Thomas (now two and a bit) and our newborn Elizabeth (born mid-January). We were just deciding on who was going to go back to work; I actually went to job interview the very day Mini Metro went up on Greenlight.

When the first article from the Verge went up and it became clear that Mini Metro was actually going to not only clear Greenlight and pay for itself, but potentially (and up until then, unthinkably) earn money, we decided that Mary would remain full-time stay-at-home Mum while I finished off Mini Metro. I also had to turn down a very promising, very exciting job opportunity.

As you probably know, ‘finishing off’ took a lot longer than anticipated! Originally we thought end of April, then May, then optimistically June, etc. As we’ve both been out of paid employment since December it’s taken a toll on our finances. Without the pre-orders I would have had to drop back to working on Mini Metro part-time (at best).

So a huge thank you to everyone who’s pre-ordered, or told somebody about the game, talked about it online, spread the word. We’re not a well-known developer with a long pedigree, so giving us your money is a risk and we appreciate that trust.

Future

Ideally, the next game from Dinosaur Polo Club will be entirely self-funded. I’m one of nature’s worriers, and I’d feel much more comfortable with the typical delays of game development if people hadn’t already paid us for a product we had yet to deliver. I hate disappointing people.

One of the things I worry about is there will be people out there who have pre-ordered the game but aren’t happy with the final product; perhaps they pre-ordered based on alpha8, which is quite different to the game now.

Anyway … the rest of the dev team is going to flip when they see I’ve spent forty-five minutes writing all this when the beta’s due soon, so I’d better get back to coding!

experimex asked:

Will there be a save game function? Or is there a way to load a previous game already?

We’re undecided on this. Right now we’re leaning towards no for scored games, possibly yes for zen games. The scored games have always meant to be short, do-or-die affairs with an emphasis on replaying from a different seed. The beta features accelerated starts which makes starting a new game much less painful for experienced players.

Mini Metro development schedule

It’s become apparent that the first beta build won’t be released in Q2. We really hoped we’d be able to get the final game released in Q2, so we’re disappointed we’ve slipped so far from our estimate. You’d think we’d be used to it by now, or at least be improving at making estimates. :)

Rather than keep everyone in the dark and just keep saying “We’re working on it!”, we’ve decided to open our development up a tad more. We’ve created a Trello board with all the tasks we have to do before release.

Please check it out if you’re interested, and let us know if you’d like to see more in this vein. Trello has options for public comments and voting which could be useful to prioritise features during the beta, and also post-launch.

Mini Metro alpha13

A belated announcement and changelog for Mini Metro alpha13. This is another minor revision.

The full changelog is:

  • Instead of using hardware anti-aliasing, we’ve implemented our own solution for smoothing the edges of the geometry. It still has a few kinks to work out.
  • The game over countdown for an overcrowding station has been increased from 20 seconds to 40 seconds.
  • Passenger spawning is now manipulated a little to make the end-game a little more hectic.

indiecade:

IndieCade #screenshotsaturday Showcase May 17

Each week we feature 10 screenshots offered by developers currently working on games for submission to the IndieCade Festival. Here are this week’s selections (in alphabetical order).

If you want to get involved, check out the rules here!

The regular submission period for IndieCade 2014 has closed but late submissions are open until June 15! You can submit your game here.

Crooked Dice by Pseudonym Games

Fall of Jupiter by Spacetreasure

FRACT OSC by Phosfiend Systems

Lost Echo by KickBack

Mark of the Old Ones by Hit the Sticks

Mini Metro by Dinosaur Polo Club

Paperbound by Dissident Logic

Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails by Dakko Dakko Ltd

Subnautica by Unknown Worlds

The Chance by Frame Matt

Thank you, as always, to everyone for sharing your ongoing work with us. Keep sending us your screenshots and we hope to see you at the festival!

Mini Metro was featured in this week’s IndieCade #screenshotsaturday Showcase, alongside a whole bunch of great-looking games. So cool!

Mini Metro alpha12

Mini Metro alpha12 has hit the streets! This is a relatively minor revision. The most notable change is support for different resolutions and aspect ratios in the standalone builds.

The full changelog is:

  • Standalone builds have fullscreen support, and support for different window sizes. Resizing mid-game is not supported yet. 
  • A overcrowded station will be automatically upgraded to an interchange if one is available when it times out. 
  • To increase visibility, the station expiry timer now begins empty and fills up, rather than beginning full and emptying. 
  • The late game difficulty has been increased to prevent infinite games. 
  • The ‘Post Feedback’ button now points to the new discussion board, powered by discourse.org.

Mini Metro alpha11

Alpha11’s out already! It sees a return to Mini Metro’s core tenet of minimalism by cutting down the upgrade options and refocussing on network building.

It’s been a long three days since alpha10 and we’ve had a lot of feedback (positive and negative) on the added complexity to the upgrade system. We’ve definitely felt the love for the longer, larger games, which will influence the design of zen mode.

Without further ado, the changes in alpha11 are:

  • Trains have been sped up.
  • Three upgrade options are now presented each week. Two of these are line upgrades (additional line, dual track, extra carriages). The third option is either extra tunnels or an interchange.
  • The dual track upgrade also increases the speed of both trains on the line by 50%.
  • The alpha map has been switched to a revised London map.
  • Space lasers now do full damage against radioactive and undead constructs.

Mini Metro alpha10

And after all that waiting for alpha9 we discarded it after a mere week! That’s what you get for well-timed public holidays. The big change in the latest update is that from week three onwards you get to pick two upgrades.

Here is the list of changes between alpha9 and alpha10:

  • Railcar upgrade broken up into three separate upgrades: Line, Double Tracks (second locomotive), and Carriages (two carriages on a single line)
  • Railcar capacity starts at 4 and can be increased with a new upgrade.
  • Upgrades separated into two pools. Upgrades are chosen from the second pool in week one, first pool in week two, and both pools in subsequent weeks.
  • Carriages only load passengers in parallel at interchanges.
  • Unique stations often replace existing circle or triangle stations.
  • More stations appear in later weeks.

Mini Metro alpha9

After a long wait we put alpha9 live yesterday. We’ve changed direction on the upgrade system—we’re back to offering a semi-random selection every week. We feel the upgrades are now more balanced, but still not where we want them. We have a fairly clear idea on how we’re going to tackle this in alpha10.

Here is the list of changes between alpha8 and alpha9:

  • Railcar capacity is now six passengers.
  • Upgrades are offered at the end of every week, instead of when passenger milestones are reached.
  • The clock has returned. Please note the pause functionality is still there—click on the clock, or press the spacebar.
  • Instead of having a choice between three fixed upgrades, two semi-random upgrades are presented.
  • The possible upgrades are railcar (same as before), railcar speed upgrade (all railcars increase in speed), platform upgrade (all stations increase in capacity), interchange (upgrade one station to hold 18 passengers, and load / unload at 4x speed), extra tunnels (two extra tunnels).
  • The upgrade dialog will wait until the player has finished building tracks or placing an upgrade before showing.
  • Lines can be edited from the middle by dragging any non-terminator line.
  • Lines render differently when an unconnected station is on top of them.
  • When a line is being edited, all stations that are part of that line are now highlighted.
  • Extra railcars now start at the station nearest where the upgrade is dragged to and face the cursor.
  • Lines can only ever have two railcars operating independently.
  • Railcars now pause at stations if required to prevent bunching up.
  • The window shrinks to fit small desktops.
  • Passenger pathfinding now takes seat allocation in to account.
  • Warnings now show up on overflowing stations.
  • To aid debugging, each game is now recorded in a text file and can be played back at Dinosaur Polo Club HQ. If you hit a track editing bug, crash, or infinite loop, please email us the record file and a brief description of the problem!
  • Bug: Terminator click detection was off in certain cases.
  • Bug: If an upgrade is earned right when the game is over, the upgrade dialog now won’t show.
  • Bug: Clicking on the upgrade buttons multiple times no longer awards multiple upgrades (only fixed in alpha9a!).
  • Bug: Straight links should use tunnels more correctly.
  • Bug: Missing line terminator issue fixed.

Today we plan on rolling out several fixes to the web player build, and finally updating the standalone builds when we’re happy with alpha9.

rodikachu asked:

Is Mini Metro planned for iPad or iPhone?

Yes! We’ll be releasing on tablets soon after the desktop launch, with phones a little later. It’ll take some tweaking to get Mini Metro playable on smaller screens. We intend to make the iPad app universal rather than launch the iPhone version as a separate app.

The Dinosaur Polo Club tumblr theme is based on Fluid Neue by Pixel Union