The story of my "successful?" first game

Hello everybody. So a while back I made a post responding to someone’s topic on whether or not their simulator was “Good enough”. After a bit of thinking, I’ve decided to make a full detailed topic about my game Headbutt Simulator as I feel I learned a lot of things that some people may find helpful. Hopefully, this is posted in the right area because I am going to go maximum effort here(And I AM the resource).

A little about me

My name is Ethan and I have been scripting on Roblox for a while now(Maybe around five years). Throughout those five years, I was a little off and on but over the past two to three years I have been going consistently. I learned how to script completely on my own using youtube videos, free models/games, books, and the forums of course. I also took AP computer science but honestly don’t plan to pursue it in college. I have been playing on Roblox since 2011 and began my journey on a shared account with my brother. But nevermind all of that this isn’t a portfolio.

An Idea

Around June of last year, I decided enough was enough I was going to make a game. I didn’t care how bad it would turn out, how much revenue was made, I was going to release a game. Something that was playable and fun. I caught on to the simulator trend and decided to pursue an idea that I came up with while messing around with animations(Headbutt animations…I think you know where this is going). What started as “Hammer your head simulator” ultimately ended as “Headbutt Simulator” a game where you would use different types of hammers to gain “Headmuscle”. Head muscle was basically damage, the more head muscle, the more damage you did to other players. Little did I know that this game would be one of the best adventures I have ever had.

Development

Now, the reason I am making this post isn’t to give a tutorial on how to make a game. I ended up screwing so much up in this game. I did not realize it at the time, but when reflecting and analyzing everything I definitely did. This post is to go over things I messed up, and things I could’ve done better.

Personal Health

I want to start off with one of my biggest factors here. Health. Never sacrifice your mental or physical health for a game. With patience comes success(This quote is going to be common throughout this thread). I learned this the hard way. I was working five hours a day five days a week at the time so my day was already pretty packed. But I just NEEDED to do this and I NEEDED to fix that. Constantly working, coming home, and working was not good for me. I would barely be getting any sleep, and sometimes go without eating meals just to get this done. Looking back on myself I was a complete clown. I ended up damaging my lower back from barely going outside and doing physical activities every day. I was completely mentally strained aswell. You always want to feel good and be in the right mindset when developing. You don’t want to be scripting something and not be enjoying it. If you are not feeling good, feel angry or upset. Just stop. Get up, and go for a walk. Your game isn’t going ANYWHERE without you. Remember that.

Script Security

So I want to go over this one a bit more. As I said, I scripted for a while but never created a full game. So security was very new to me. When creating a game always remember to never give the client access to ANYTHING important. This post helps a lot even though it is using a gun as an example. The player shoots and displays their projectile. EVERYTHING ELSE, the damage, whether or not it hit, whether or not this even was fired safely, is all handled by the server. You don’t always need to secure events depending on the event. But if it is doing something that is key to your game you want to have a sanity check on it. When I released “Headbutt Simulator” I learned all of this the hard way. I did not have any sanity checks on any of my events. So exploiters quickly flooded my game. Due to my event not having a sanity check, they were able to just spam a head butt event. Which just game them more and more Headmuscle by the millisecond. This destroyed all my leaderboards and lead me to have to restart all my servers multiple times. Losing hundreads of players in the process. This took a massive toll on me and stressed me out for almost an entire day.

Hiring and working with others

So this one was not too bad. Although you do not have to start off with ANY money I am a personal believer of the phrase “Spend money to make money”. If you have money. It will help you a lot. This gave me access to thousands of different builders, animators, graphic designers, and musicians all over the DevForum. I ended up making a few recruiting posts and meant so many new people. Although it is not required, I highly recommend working with others. If you cant build very well, look for someone who can. If you don’t have any money, maybe you can strike a deal for a percentage of the game’s earnings. Who knows! Maybe you’ll meet someone so awesome you begin making more games with them. Don’t let this awesome platform go to waste. Networking is a key role in developing games. For example, I meant a really talented graphic designer when looking for someone to do the game icon and thumbnail. Now, this person is awesome enough to give me deals on thumbnails I need now AND I don’t have to go searching for them I have their contact! Being able to meet and talk to all these talents was and is still one of my most favorite parts about game development. But this leads me to pay. Always negotiate payments. There will always be someone who does it for less, so make sure that your product is worth the price. Although I think everyone I worked with did great I definitely did not have to spend as much as I did on a few assets. So make sure you really think about how much you’re paying and look for others before you choose someone.

Marketing

This is personally another one of my favorite parts of game development. Although I have only ever marketed once, I was always interested in it. So when I finally got to do this with my own game I was ecstatic. I ended up running around R$1k ads to get a sense of which ad had higher CDR. I am not going to go through CDR or Impressions here though, you should check out this post. It does an awesome job explaining how to advertise profitably. Instead, I am going to tell you to be careful when advertising and do not advertise or even THINK of advertising until you have a product that you are proud of and is playable. This was my mistake. When I ran these small ads I ended up gaining a decent amount of players. These players had barely anything to look at though. So keeping these players proved to be difficult. A good first impression is always important to keep players from leaving. So when a new player joins your game and sees an empty baseplate with a few trees and some basic UI that doesn’t look very appealing. They are most likely going to leave. So if you are going to collect data on which ads to better either have something you can call a “Game” or set your game to private so they cannot join or dislike the game. You should also have some pretty quality ads. I ended up getting around 8 ads. Each ad had a different amount of $R put on it depending on their CDR. Sponsoring is also important but again I am not going over marketing in this post. You can find other awesome posts that go more into detail.

Build your community

Building a community around your game is not required but in my opinion, is very important. I ended up building a twitter and discord so players could see and interact with other players who played the game. I posted updates in the discord, and twitter codes on my twitter. I also created my discord so players could submit bugs, ideas, and report players. These really helped me a lot in the long run. What I failed to do was listen to what a lot of my community wanted. Instead of updating the game with ideas from the players I proceeded to do small updates as developer fatigue hit me hard. This connects back to not taking breaks. I am sure if I just listened to what a lot of my players wanted the game would’ve grown more and probably would’ve begun receiving positive feedback. But instead, I acted like I was working on these new crazy updates, but instead just sat back and collected the profits. So how much did I make out of all this?

The earnings

Throughout a grueling and stressful month and a half, I was able to generate around R$650,000. This seems like a lot until you realize where a lot of it went. I ended up dumping a lot of it back into ads to try and keep the game going. But since development declined and I about had enough with responding to player reports I began losing profit when I did these ads. I devexed R$200,000 and spent/gave away almost R$150,000. I was blinded by the amount of robux I received. I did not realize how much I was spending until most of it was gone. Don’t let this happen to you. You can re-invest all of your robux and manage your spendings/earnings. After post-analysing this entire thing I have saved up nearly R$100k to begin another development journey. It isn’t impossible. Do not rush or feel the need to rush. With patience comes success.

The release and everything after

So the release was a complete mess. I honestly don’t even remember when I fully “released” the game. I sorta just grew it from the initial test advertisements I did. This was a terrible “release”. I got so many dislikes as hackers filled my unfinished game that was barely fun at all. I had no plan written down or anything. I took everything by the day and it got worse and worse until I just had to stop. I ended development and took a couple of months off.

Conclusion

Was the game successful? Compared to other simulators on the front page, probably not. But compared to all my previous games(none), extremely. Even though this game was a disaster I learned a lot from it. Don’t be afraid of failure. You can only grow from it. After all of the stress I faced, I learned so so so much and plan to use everything I learned in my next release. Hopefully, some of the things I learned can help you too before YOU release your first game. Thank you for reading! I am going to leave some resources I used/use to develop games below.

Other Resources
Making your game into reality

Creating unique game ideas

Exploiting Explained

Making YOUR games more secure

A guide to advertising

66 Likes

Good read! Health is definitely a huge one to pay attention to!

I’ve recently upgraded to a standing desk configuration. I used to sit for hours working non-stop, and when all was said and done, I felt like my spine had fused.

Now-a-days, I typically work for about an hour or two at a time, taking frequent walking around breaks, drinking water, etc.

It’s really important to take a step back from your work every now and then. The hardest problems I’ve encountered have been solved while I was in the shower, walking the dog, not staring at a screen.

It can be tough when you are a perfectionist. I also get in the “on a role” mindset, and keep working for much longer than I should.

I exercise a lot more! Rock climbing is great!

[ Pro tip: If you feel a head-ache coming on, down two glasses of water, and a pinch or two of salt. The salt will act as an electrolyte, and allow the body to absorb the water much more effectively, and quickly! ]

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I am glad to see my post almost 2 years ago keeps up today and helps out so many devs!

I also double down on Personal Health. That is my ultimate goal, so if I am succeeding at that, I am succeeding, doubling my money from a potential new game or update doesn’t mean anything if I lost 3 months worth of progress on health in order to do it.

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This post was very enjoyable to read, thanks!

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This is very interesting! I like the idea of this thread, it really encourages new developers.

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I’d like say thank you for this, it really goes through into detail about explaining your experience & how this post can really represent how things can work sometimes. I absolutely agree with what you’ve noted here. Any developer of any tier can understand this & will be able to see the challenges & solutions when it comes to Development here.

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Wow, this was an amazing story witch really helped me and motivated me to try to make a game even though I don’t have a lot of money to use. Thank you very much for sharing this story. It gave me a new perspective in making games and it really helped me out.

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I rlly enjoyed reading this post :slight_smile:

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Make that two, this post is very helpful and interesting to read, best of luck on your new game!

one of my First games Called Dropper Park has 500K + Visits and its not that good now im better at making games!