Lostcast 126: The Heuristicrats


  • LDG


  • Patron

    Nice episode. Good range of topics. Got some good dev talk. I don’t have much to say about this particular episode other than I like streams in the evening. I have 2 random questions. One general and one absurdly obscure.

    General: Why the stream and podcast?

    Your weekly publications are targeted towards developers. We are:

    • In the minority
    • Probably already bought your game
    • Probably too busy to play games

    Yet, your final product that makes you money is for the masses and probably does not care for your weekly publications. Does the podcast and stream help raise your profile when bidding on contracts?

    Absurdly obscure: The disappearing guest appearance?

    Something I always wondered. Waaaaay back in the Crypt Run days, on your Kickstarter, you had a funding level where someone could pay $500 to be a guest on your podcast. I think that option existed for maybe a couple days.

    The only reason I remember this is because I had an HTML5 book coming out, was a fan of the show, and briefly wondered if it’d be a worthwhile venture for me. I ultimately decided that I’d rather get invited based on my own merits and not because I paid for it. I’m still curious on your thought process of that funding option and removal.


  • Tiger Hat

    love the stuff about heuristics! now I have an itch to scratch at just creating and playing with random dungeon generators :) Well I’m already heavily interested in procgen so I guess I already had the itch, just this is motivating to implement stuff.

    I was sad when my Friday night didn’t have a game stream. I have already bought your game and as Dan mentioned am generally too busy to play, which I think is why I enjoy watching you play. That and it goes along with the podcast feeling like you guys are my buddies and when I was growing up (probably due to there either being more single player games available or that split screen sucks on old CRTs) we’d often take turns where one person plays a game and the others are watching. I suppose that’s the reason for the whole success of “Lets Play” in general.

    The dev stream @ 6pm was harder for me to attend (dinner time). I realize that it’s very hard to please everyone doing it live, just a data point :)

    Dan’s questions sparked one of my own:
    Have you considered creating art assets and selling them on various asset stores? Unity, GDM, etc. I wonder because I think you do cater somewhat heavily towards game developers (perhaps the quest for marketing to the masses is just waaay more difficult) and perhaps it’d help grow your listener base. Plus you have good artwork and could probably boost your income a bit. I haven’t created any assets myself, but I’d be interested in hearing about your developer experiences doing it. Perhaps you could sell some lesser IP from AWL even, not Raga of course, but a town NPC or even the Owls :D If nothing else it might help other developers to know about your game and podcast.


  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    I was sad when my Friday night didn’t have a game stream

    haha that’s good to hear. er… not good that you were sad, but… you know what I mean ;)

    Yeah I just wasn’t feeling it, probably because of the listening party the next day. But the queue is relentless so I should continue! Love that buddies feeling – I get that with my friend Brett’s VGMPire/Lasertime guys. They might not know me so well probably but I feel like I know them because I’ve heard them talk so much.

    The dev stream @ 6pm was harder for me to attend (dinner time). I realize that it’s very hard to please everyone doing it live, just a data point :)

    Cool that’s good to know. We’ll probably continue experimenting with days/times to see what’s best.

    Have you considered creating art assets and selling them on various asset stores? Unity, GDM, etc. I wonder because I think you do cater somewhat heavily towards game developers (perhaps the quest for marketing to the masses is just waaay more difficult) and perhaps it’d help grow your listener base. Plus you have good artwork

    Thanks! There are many supplemental business models we’ve looked at, selling art assets probably low on the list largely because I’ve mostly just been doing the art that we need for LDG. That would be a pretty good way to kind of get paid a little to work and learn simultaneously. I guess to me it seems like 3d art assets are a better fit for markets since devs could import them, slap some new textures on them, paint them different colors, scale them differently, remove limbs, etc. 2d art is comparatively brittle and won’t necessarily fit consistently into many games.

    Interesting idea tho, supplemental income is what’s got us this far !


  • Patron

    @richtaur said:

    The dev stream @ 6pm was harder for me to attend (dinner time). I realize that it’s very hard to please everyone doing it live, just a data point :)

    Cool that’s good to know. We’ll probably continue experimenting with days/times to see what’s best.

    Just so you know, 6PM PDT is 10PM here, and I have to go to bed at 9PM, what makes it impossible for me to catch those streams…


  • LDG

    @dannagle said:

    Yet, your final product that makes you money is for the masses and probably does not care for your weekly publications. Does the podcast and stream help raise your profile when bidding on contracts?

    Our dev-focused output has been something we’ve talked about off and on. When we started the podcast, we didn’t really understand our company or our audience. In fact, Lostcast started when @richtaur and I were both still working full time for Game Closure.

    However, we’ve come to really enjoy producing Lostcast and it has introduced us to some connections we might never have made otherwise. Many of our Lostcast listeners turn out to be big supporters of LDG. During AWL development, we got some of our best feedback on the betas, right here on the forum, from people who found us via Lostcast.

    Another aspect is that we like to share the stuff we’re doing with other developers. We’ve both benefited from the open discussion and work of others, so it’s nice to be on the other side, too.

    Something I always wondered. Waaaaay back in the Crypt Run days, on your Kickstarter, you had a funding level where someone could pay $500 to be a guest on your podcast. I think that option existed for maybe a couple days.

    The only reason I remember this is because I had an HTML5 book coming out, was a fan of the show, and briefly wondered if it’d be a worthwhile venture for me. I ultimately decided that I’d rather get invited based on my own merits and not because I paid for it. I’m still curious on your thought process of that funding option and removal.

    I think we realized that option wasn’t targeted very well. At the time, we wanted to leverage the podcast and it was an option that other Kickstarters weren’t able to offer. That said, the Kickstarter campaign is mostly targeted at fans of the game and the podcast sponsoring option didn’t really jive with that audience. Advertising via podcast is pretty murky ROI-wise, as well. At that time we had less of an audience, and I don’t know that we even knew (roughly) how many listeners we had.

    For Kickstarter, we found more success with the rewards which harmonized with the game (in-game gravestones, portraits). Not that I knew at the time, but it seems clear to me now that maximizing the lower tiers is the path to success instead of trying to land a handful of high dollar reward backers.


  • Jammer

    Could be fun to pay $500, and ridicule you guys for being html5 traitors ;)

    Gets back to coding game in Java


  • Patron

    @agmcleod That’s funny, but LDG could just refund your money and not publish the show. I remember Penny Arcade selling a $500 retweet with a similar clause.

    Paid to retweet. I chose the wrong business. Of course, for every Penny Arcade, there are thousands of struggling indies.


  • Jammer

    Haha oh for sure. And nah, i’d be kind :)


  • LDG

    oh weird the forum didn’t show me your post at first, @dannagle … anyway good questions! We agonize over the dev/gamer audience mismatch all the time.

    The podcast and the stream both try to capitalize on byproducts – that is, stuff we’d be doing anyway. Geoff and I talk often, mostly about games, so organizing that and recording it is relatively easy. And Geoff (hopefully) will be programming anyway, so why not stream? Despite the mismatch there is a > 0 impact and they’re things that don’t take too much time/effort away from making games.

    We probably would have switched to more gamer-focused output by now, if only we knew how to do that. YouTube seems to be where gamers go these days, but it’s already highly competitive, and we’re not sure what kind of content we could easily make that gamers would want to consume. Suggestions welcome ! ;)


  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur did you look at GameDevMarket? I think they actually have more 2D than 3D stuff. example

    another thing that has become quite popular is to use programs like Spine or Spriter and provide the source parts. I think this is basically what you had in Djinn as “puppets” ?

    If you build the graphics as vector images also then it’s easy to scale them to fit your game. Recoloring is also at least “doable” (tho maybe not as simple as just adjusting the hue/sat of an image)

    so I think that 2D assets are a very viable solution. I was thinking that you don’t even have to spend time working on stuff that isn’t for LDG, like I said you could just package up a town NPC that you use in AWL, something that doesn’t really damage your IP so much (like Raga would)

    anyway, I got the sense that it might be something like your fear of streaming, and perhaps you should just “jump in” rather than over thinking it, so I decided to reply again about it :) Geoff can sell some codez on Unity too hehe


  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    @richtaur did you look at GameDevMarket? I think they actually have more 2D than 3D stuff. example

    My question would be: do they have more or do they sell more?

    another thing that has become quite popular is to use programs like Spine or Spriter and provide the source parts. I think this is basically what you had in Djinn as “puppets” ?

    Yeah we call them dolls, tho it seems that’s not conventional. Skeletal animations is usually the term I see.

    If you build the graphics as vector images also then it’s easy to scale them to fit your game. Recoloring is also at least “doable” (tho maybe not as simple as just adjusting the hue/sat of an image)

    That’s true, vector files are much more easily manipulated than raster. It’s funny, I’m working in vectors these days for the most part, but my program (Manga Studio) doesn’t actually output to vector. Kind of a shame, but for our games pixels are all that matter in the end.

    anyway, I got the sense that it might be something like your fear of streaming, and perhaps you should just “jump in” rather than over thinking it, so I decided to reply again about it :) Geoff can sell some codez on Unity too hehe

    haha yeah maybe! My artistic confidence is sloooowly improving, but I see that type of income as supplemental. As long as I can just work on LDG IP straight-up, I’ma do that! Tell ya what, if our next Kickstarter fails, I’ll seriously consider selling assets :D


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