Flame Sword: Blog #9: Twitter has been good

TWITTER
Once upon a time, years ago, a grander game developer once told me “your game will fail, you can’t even get 1,000 followers on Twitter.”

Rather than discuss what was done with the game the past few days, I’d like to discuss promotion via Twitter. It’s been an interesting month, because I gained 300 Twitter followers, 200 in the past 2 weeks, 20 in the past 24 hours. The ball is rolling. After trying out so many projects between shmups and platformers, nothing ever gained followers and comments like this. I went 2 years since my most liked tweet of 200 likes and now I had a tweet hit 500 likes, which is saying something for an account that was at 400 followers before it. While Twitter isn’t the end all be all and it seems to be only developers rather than players, it’s a good place to get feedback and learn what to keep and what to cut.

Over the years, I’ve only used .gifs as I thought that was all Twitter took, but no they take .mp4s so you can dump in 30 second videos. Just keep in mind that you need to captivate people in like two seconds or less, unless people know you and you have credibility.

WHAT WORKS BEST (FOR US)

I discovered that for us, it works best to tweet out Saturday for #screenshotsaturday and Wednesday as those two days a week seem far enough away that one tweet won’t cannibalize the other tweet as they compete for placement. At some point throughout the years, I’d tweet daily and I’ve tried daily tweets with this game, but when one tweet strikes it big, the next one will utterly fail unless it has that 2+ day gap between them.

Beyond that, it’s best to ask a question and heap on the craziness. At least for us. It feels like the more things we pack in, the further the tweet goes. Chances are, this is the first time someone will see your game, even if it’s your thousandth tweet about the game. Tweets with single enemies and gambits of the single enemy don’t feel like they go as far as a post full of a variety of enemies and mechanics. Having a lot of action helps. Explosions or dazzlement in the first two seconds probably help people stop and look at your video.

At the other end of the spectrum, other game developers have done interviews and speeches saying Twitter is useless noise and not actual promotion. It’s a good place to make connections as that’s were this game received interest from bigger publishers. One wants to fund us for art and music to expedite the process rather than just publish the game.

A SYMPHONY OF COMPOSERS

Throughout the years, every time a tweet goes to 100 likes, it seems like a composer would offer their services. Some of these composers felt legitimately interested in the games, but since this game tends to get 100+ likes there have been a lot of composers that feel like sheer spam. Just sending me a link to their work with no statement on what they can do for the project. Amazingly this project has been offered a free song from several composers and some compose great video game music, while others might be great musicians and compose songs that fit into the background and fit the style, they just don’t stand out as good music for video games. With so many offers for a free song, it makes me wonder if a lot of smaller game soundtracks just consist of donated songs. The logistics of copyrights and contracts to use music must be staggering for games that have music from 10 – 30 artists.

Music and sound have always been last for me. It makes sense to have a game, before you go paying for music and dealing with if you can use a song or if the composer actually made the song. In the meantime, there are always royalty free music packs in a variety of shapes, sizes, and genres.

ADVICE FOR COMPOSERS TRYING TO FIND A GAME TO COMPOSE FOR

With this game, it seems like some composers will dump their demo reel into the tweet itself, and I assure you a week later, I’ll never be able to find that demo reel again. It’s just buried. It’s best to message the Twitter. It’s far easier to dig through messages than it is to dig through each and every tweet.

Make a playlist of all your hottest songs rather than throwing entire album soundtracks at the game. Oh but wait, go one step further! Make a five minute track filled with 20 second snippets of your greatest work. I think this is perhaps the greatest ease of use for anyone that comes into your portfolio and wants to listen. Like a highlight reel. It’s efficient and these composers are just piling up as I’m sure they pile up for any game that’s going places. Full songs are for your fans, and if someone likes your sizzle reel, they’ll listen to your other songs to soak in more of your work.

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