The financial model of LH updates

Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2014 by Frogboy

Greeeeeeeeeeeeetings my friends!

This post is more for indie developers who want to know how much money things make. 

First some basics on game budgeting:

  1. Every person on your game you should budget at $10,000 per month. It’s a good rule of thumb. 
  2. You should target a 25% “profit” on your game to cover the unexpected as well as for future growth
  3. Steady State income represents the gross income of your game without sales, promotions, new releases, etc.
  4. Steady state takes 6 months to eliminate the “new game” anomaly.
  5. You need to take opportunity cost into account when budgeting (am I better off working on this versus that?)
  6. Opportunity cost is hard to calculate and is what kills most studios long-term.

The steady state of LH is $40,000 per month.

That doesn’t mean its annual income is $480,000 a year because there are lots of events that cause income spiking (Christmas is a 4X spike, Thanksgiving is a 2X spike, and the Steam July sale is a 3X spike.

For LH, that means I could justify 3 resources on it before taking opportunity costs into account.  Once I consider opportunity costs, the number declines to 1 because those other 2 resources are better off on Galactic Civilizations III or Star Control or “Elemental 3” or what have you.

Before anyone poo-poos 1 resource, bear in mind that I made the original Galactic Civilizations by myself. So 1 person can still get a lot done. But that’s where we are.  1 person means that the game can continue to evolve.  Some months it might be an artist. Another month a developer.  In January, it was Charles (programmer) fixing bugs and tweaking.  In February it was Kael doing new balance changes.  In March it’ll probably be me (I have anger management issues with the game’s pathfinding). 

The main funding source: DLC

DLC is really the funding source.  The base game is doing $25k and DLC is picking up the remaining $15k.  In effect, DLC purchases are providing the $10k resource and the $5k profit necessary to keep the game going.

The next DLC: Spouses

For those of you reading this, the next DLC is going to allow players to have spouses. Kael has meticulously designed a spouse for each player (and to be honest, they’re way cooler than the sovereigns because Kael got to really go crazy with these).

The one AFTER Spouses will probably (but not certainly) be Random Map expansion. That is, a lot more “interesting” stuff for random maps. I plan to do this one myself as I’d like to see random maps made a lot more interesting and I’ve had a lot of practice in the past year in my own “for fun” mods.

Cheers!

39 Comments

Elemental Status: March 2014

Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2014 by Frogboy

Lots of cool stuff going on around here.

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes 1.6 is due out in April and there will be a new DLC released shortly after that.  It involves spouses. That’s all I’ll say.

Legendary Heroes 2.0

Also, as some of you may have heard, Legendary Heroes 2.0 has been approved and budgeted. This will be a free update of some significance.  I don’t have a due date for it yet but it does have some interesting changes in it including ZOC for monster lairs and possibly some changes with regards to the way champion inventory is handled. 

Other things on our “want” list for Legendary Heroes 2.0 include:

  • Updated diplomacy options to help build longer term relations
  • More performance boosts (we’re working on redoing the way trees are handled)
  • Some tweaks to the way magic is done
  • More effective alliance handling (this is something we really want to see)
  • Some changes to the way the Spell of Making is handled

That’s just a bit of it.

Obviously, this all boils down to having enough revenue to pay for it.  The numbers for LH are quite promising.  In January, about half of LH’s revenue came from the DLC. So that’s a good sign.

Next DLC

Like I mentioned, we have new DLC coming out next month. It’s already in QA.  Kael has gone pretty crazy with it.  Anyone from the Civ IV world knows the crazy stuff Kael can do so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. But it’s pretty neat.

But AFTER that one I have two questions I’d like to get your views on:

1. How OFTEN do you want to see new DLC?  (Monthly, Quarterly, Every couple months, etc.)

2. What would you like to see our NEXT DLC be?

a. Stamps pack (for more random map generation interest)

b. More tactical battles maps

c. More magical spells

d. New factions

e. More loot

f. More quests

g. Something else (if it involves writing c++ code, it’s not DLC so has to be content that is downloadable).

Other sneak peeks…

Troll

image image image

Stay tuned!

174 Comments

What’s parts of Legendary Heroes do you find the most fun?

Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 by Frogboy

First off, for those of you not familiar with our forum structure, I go by 2 handles: Draginol and Frogboy.  Draginol came from the old idea that when I posted from home, I’d use a different handle. Bah. Now I never get them straight.

Anyway, I need your help. 

As concisely as possible, can you list the things in Legendary Heroes that you find the most FUN.  Not unique. Not stand-out. But FUN. Can be something that you love in many games.

After a few posts, I’ll list my own favorites but I really want to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks!

73 Comments

I live!

Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 by Draginol

I’m going to do a follow up article soon on how I almost killed myself with cough suppressants.  Long story short, I came down with a bad cold in January but I’ve been traveling like crazy so to function, I just took a bunch of cough suppressants to control the cold.  Unfortunately, that led to a pretty severe case of bronchitis which has basically taken me out for the past 3 weeks.

Lots of stuff going on in the Elemental universe though.  An additional year of development effort on Legendary Heroes was approved in January. While we shouldn’t expect a bunch of updates on LH this year, there will be some across the board.

We also have something new in store which we’ll talk about more when it gets closer. 

6 Comments

Elemental for 2014

Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Frogboy

Derek (Kael) has been super busy with the general expansion of Stardock Entertainment over the past 3 years.  AS I type this, there are 7 concurrent game projects going on.  Back in 2008, I dreamt of having a second team.  Here we are, 6 years later with seven teams.  I’m writing this from the airplane on my way to visit one of the new studios (one that hasn’t been announced yet).

So what does that mean for fans of the Elemental universe?  The answer is, lots of good news.  While Galactic Civilizations III heads towards its March alpha, the Elemental team is hard at work on a new DLC pack for this Winter tentatively called “Monarchs” which will bring more channelers to the world for players to play with.  In addition, we expect to announce the third game in the Elemental fantasy universe this year.  It will be dramatically different from War of Magic or Fallen Enchantress.

Without giving too much away about the new game, which we expect to formally announce this Spring, its planned feature set includes:

  • Radically different races (players won’t design units ala WOM/FE but in exchange each unit is custom crafted and visually stunning)
  • Crafting (the player STARTS with the Forge of the Overlord and getting recipes and loot now mean being able to craft some really cool stuff)
  • The player starts by choosing their sovereign and deciding what spell book he or she has. The more spell books of a particular type, the more likely the player will be able to use their lore to research rarer spells in that category.
  • No tech tree. Instead, the available units are based on how you construct your cities.
  • Each hero has his or her own unique talent tree (there won’t be a “Defender” class for instance) that players can then use to customize their heroes.
  • Because of the stronger emphasis on magic, vastly more spells will be available strategically and tactically. Sovereign spells are available in every battle as your sovereign, thanks to the Forge of the Overlord, can “see” anything in the world that his/her units can see (as a result, your sovereign interacts with the world indirectly from the capital and doesn’t appear as a playable unit).

It’s been in development for awhile, prior to LH.  LH was originally supposed to be a minor expansion on FE but as you’ve probably gathered, we really love making these games.  The next update to LH is in the works, pathfinding improvements, performance and some other updates are scheduled.

170 Comments
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