Legend of the Rune Lords Post-Mortem
Posted by Alex Jordan on
I just got back from Rhode Island, so I will reluctantly resume posting.
Also, I'm not the only one in the post-mortem business. The guy that did Legend of the Rune Lords has also written one, and it's quite a read. Even the difference in our writing styles highlights our varied approach to game design: his post-mortem is brief and focused, while mine for Around The World is long and all-encompassing.
The developer held himself to a two month development cycle (!!!) as opposed to my six month development cycle. Obviously, he was much less interested in teaching himself C# and XNA at a luxurious pace. He wanted to get his game done in time for Dream-Build-Play, so he needed to hit the ground running. He bought a license for the TorqueX engine, which, judging by the Wikipedia entry and my own experience with Torque Game Engine Advance, would be hilariously inadequate for me. However, it was perfect for the Legend developer, and he further augmented his headlong speed by using royalty free art and sound assets. Spared from both creating an engine or making the artwork for it, I can see how this guy pulled off developing a full RPG in two months.
The post-mortem also links to another article, this one on his sales. That article was pretty eye-popping, too. Suffice it to say that in his first 12 days, Legend of the Rune Lords sold more than twice what Around The World has in a month. The lesson here is simple: Alejandro, developing educational games is a luxury, not a living. At least for right now. I never fully deluded myself into thinking that my game would be popular, but I came pretty damn close. Quality and gameplay mean nothing if it's in a genre that nobody wants to touch. Lesson learned! Now I'm moving onto something more mainstream.
Also, the Legend guy learned some of the same lessons about the New Arrivals list and good box art, so I'm happy that I seem to be going in the right direction. His sales also bottomed out once his game fell off the New Arrivals list, but there are way more people willing to randomly browse the RPG section of the Xbox Marketplace than the Educational section. Again: lesson learned!