Indie Postmortem: No Time To Explain

It’s an important thing for Indies to reflect upon their development experiences and share with others in the community. These “postmortems” are helpful and downright essential pieces of the community, thus always welcomed here on IndieHangover. In this recollection of game creation, Luke Burtis, managing partner at TinyBuild shares his journey through the development and sales of No Time To Explain.

$400k!

No Time To Explain was released on Steam a year ago, and recently hit $400k in total sales. Before Steam, we were live on GamersGate and our own site. That didn’t do too bad, especially after a successful Kickstarter. But…

Within 48 hours of being live on Steam we made more money than on our own site and GamersGate combined — during a year!

no-time-to-explain-sales
Pictured: sales graph for No Time To Explain’s first year on Steam

The bumpy ride

It was a bit of a bumpy ride. Our pre-Steam releases were flooded with complaints from users on unexpected bugs, and our Steam launch aligned with Windows 8 getting traction — which lead to more bug reports.

In short, don’t make games in Flash for Steam. Specifically, in ActionScript 2. After the Kickstarter we had a publishing deal that’d give us enough funding to port the game over to a serious game engine, however the publisher backed out of the deal (after signing :(… their previous game didn’t sell well enough, so they didn’t have enough money to continue with our contract ) and we were forced to continue working in ActionScript 2. With the help of other indies working in Flash (thanks, vapgames!), we were able to hook up No Time To Explain to run with Steam’s APIs, however performance and stability issues still arise. We even recently hooked up the Steam Workshop so that No Time To Explain’s level editor could work within the platform.

Porting to Unity

I believe we maxed out what’s possible in Flash, and I’m happy to announce that we’re porting No Time To Explain to Unity, to give it a proper reboot — with controller support and the whole thing. It will likely replace the current version, so people won’t have to buy it — and come out on other platforms, such as Linux.

tl;dr No Time To Explain is a commercially successful game, but could’ve been much bigger if it was developed in a proper non-browser game engine, and we’re now porting it to Unity for a re-release

About me: I’m growing the partnership side of the business. We’re partnering up with other indie developers to help make their games (more) commercially successful. 2 games are already live — SpeedRunners and Not the Robots, with more coming in 2014. We’ll be showing some of them at our GDC booth next to the IGF pavilion.

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