I reached that magic number a couple of days ago and I’m really pleased. I’ve been selling the Grey Alien BlitzMax Game Framework since may 2006 (nearly two years ago) and it’s gone from strength to strength. I’ve personally used it for 3 of my games including the top-selling Fairway Solitaire and many of my customers have made games with it too.
In January I set up a forum for framework customers and this has proven a success – in fact it wasn’t even my idea to set it up and I also delegated the task to someone more competent than myself! Now forum members can help each other and also show off their creations. Plus they helped me solve some Mac technical problems, which was great.
Making a framework is essential for any game developer. You need to put all your core reusable code in some special files that can be used (and improved) for each game you make. After writing a basic framework for three solid months I realised that it was pretty neat and I wondered what would happen if I tried to sell it. There was an instant demand for it and I was pleased to sell loads of copies. It continues to sell every month (the fact that I keep releasing real games with it helps) and is generating a nice passive income for me (over $8000 so far). Plus my customers make suggestions, spot bugs and help me to solve technical issues – this has made the framework way better than it would have been if I had kept it private. When I first sold it I did consider if I should keep it private in case I gave my competitors an unfair advantage but I thought that really there was enough room for us all in the market AND I’m encouraged to stay one step ahead and make great games!
When I hit 150 sales, I ran a little competition on the Blitz Forums where I said that I’d give a full refund to one of my next 3 customers chosen at random. The 3 sales came in two days – nice and quick. I ran the same competition before when I’d made 100 sales so I knew that it worked (it generates revenue and exposure). Is there some way you can encourage people to buy your product with a competition or a temporary discount? I guess the 3 people that bought it reasoned that they stood a 33% chance of getting it for free which is pretty good odds for a competition!
A big thanks to all my customers for your continued support, and good luck with your games!