Now Hiring: Programmer

Kitfox games is hiring! We create beautiful, intriguing little worlds, and believe in a healthy work-life balance, because well-rounded people make better games.

We know that the salary listed below isn’t ideal. If you’re a mid-tier programmer, chances are you can get paid WAY better than this. Our hope is that quality of life and creative ownership can entice you to give us a try anyway. Nobody at Kitfox is paid more than you will be — we’re hoping to give everyone raises together, as we grow as a company.

For more information about the company, read about us.

Application deadline: February 15th
Send your CV & work samples/portfolio to info@kitfoxgames.com
Expected annual salary: $48,000 with health benefits

Full-time Position: Programmer
We are looking for someone who:

  • Has some professional experience with programming game systems & AI
  • Has “finished” a game or prototype from start to finish, alone or with others (for example, a successful game jam)
  • Has experience with programming in Unity, and ideally C#
  • Is legally able to work in Montreal, Canada
  • Enjoys independence and cross-discipline collaboration
  • +Bonus points for front-end, interface, or network coding experience
  • +Bonus points for (even informal) game design experience or interest
  • +Bonus points for an unusual background, work experience, or lifestyle

Now Hiring: Community Manager

Kitfox Games needs someone to wrangle and grow our friendly little community! We have social media and newsletter and Kickstarter stuff, and a game coming out in a few months. There’s lots to be done… and to be honest, most of it can be called community management, but we’re a very small team, so if you have other interests, maybe we can give you other kinds of tasks too.

We’re looking for someone with experience in community and social media to work part-time in-house in downtown Montreal, Canada, for a one-month starter contract. We’ll pay per-hour and provide all necessary equipment and training. If the stars align, in time we could either scale it up to a full-time position, OR keep it part-time for years, pending Kitfox needs, your ambitions and availability, etc.

Please submit your application to info@kitfoxgames.com by January 13th!

We’d love to hire you if you:

  • Are available legally to work 15-20 hours per week in Montreal, for at least 1 month (we cannot provide a Canadian work visa)
  • Can demonstrate community organizational experience (preferably online and/or in games)
  • Have strong written communication skills
  • Interested in game design and the entire game development process
  • From an unusual background or add to our team’s diversity!
  • Bonus points for fearlessness, game development experience of any kind, and willingness to learn

Pay range: $18-25 per hour depending on experience

Now Hiring: 2d Artist (Contract)

Kitfox Games has a lot of work coming up across all the art disciplines, and it needs painting, animating, and implementing! We need your help!

We’re looking for someone with a great 2d portfolio to work in-house in downtown Montreal, Canada. We’ll pay per hour and provide all necessary equipment. If everything works out, we may consider you for additional contracts or a full-time position.

We’d love to hire you if you are:

  • Available legally to work 3-4 days per week, for at least 1 month (we cannot provide a Canadian work visa)
  • Experienced with 2d game art production, including 2d animation
  • Style preference: painterly, demonstrating traditional painting skills
  • Interested in the entire game development process
  • From an unusual background or add to our team’s diversity!
  • Bonus points for Unity experience
  • Bonus points for: Basic knowledge of 3d low-poly modeling and 3d animation

Send your CV and online portfolio to info@kitfoxgames.com before September 26th to be considered for the position.

Now Hiring: Quality Assurance

Kitfox Games has struggled to release games and content as quickly as we would like, given that procedural generation, systems, and multiplayer all make testing much harder! We need your help!

We deeply respect the skill and care required to be a good quality assurance tester, and we’re looking for an experienced individual to join us in downtown Montreal, Canada. We’ll pay per hour and provide all necessary equipment. We’d like to integrate you with the team fully, working directly with programmers and designers to ensure the game is top notch.

We’d love to hire you if you are:

  • Available legally to work 1 to 2 days per week, for at least 3 months
  • Professionally experienced with console & desktop game testing
  • Interested in the entire game development process
  • From an unusual background or add to our team’s diversity!

Your opinions and feedback will be valued by the team, but please note that this is not a route to being a game designer at Kitfox Games. It’s possible we could involve you in community management, if you’re very interested and show talent, but that should be the upper limit of your expectation. Quality Assurance is its own admirable skillset, one which requires dedication and practice.

Send your CV and whatever else to info@kitfoxgames.com before September 14th to be considered for the position.

Buy the Art of Moon Hunters eBook!

Behold! The artists, archaeologists, and sages of our time have collected their knowledge of the world of Issaria and published it into a lovely pdf!

ArtOfMoonHunters_PreviewSpread

(Click to get a larger view!)

You can also download a preview of the first few pages!


Stats:

  • Over 90 full-color pages
  • Over 7,000 words of accompanying explanations, from the perspective of a historian after the game’s end
  • Bunches of never-before-seen concepts and lore
  • Strategic constellation-unlocking hints and recipe ideas
  • 100% full of love

We’re selling the book to help support developing more content for the game, so please don’t give the file away or share it! Urge your friends to buy their own copies. We’re trusting you. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re hung up picking a publisher for the physical copy, but we’ll let you know when orders for that are available, and update this page.

Other merchandise available:

Posted in Art

What Affects Indie Game Sales in Eastern Europe?

I gathered data from 18 different indie games (with their permission, and I even got permission to show you the aggregated data afterwards), and compared their sales in Russia and Eastern Europe along several axes.

It included games from various genres, with varying levels of financial success, and generally no marketing efforts spent on the region.

The data isn’t extensive enough to look for statistical significance, but there are a few interesting trends.

Major Takeaways:

  • Localizing to Russian could double your revenue in Russia (it did in one case), but no effect in the rest of Eastern Europe
  • Early Access seems more popular in Russia (maybe due to lower prices?)
  • Mobile games crossing over into Steam seem to do better in Russia (and overall?)
  • There is no clear genre pattern to the region
  • Anecdotally, targeting Russia with marketing doubled their Russian revenues proportional to other regions
  • Early Access games are generally rated 5 points higher in Steam User Reviews than non-Early Access games. Hmm. I guess that fan-listening-thing really works.

Disclaimers:

  • All data is self-reported. It’s possible they are all liars… and/or that indies who would take the time to self-report to a survey on Eastern Europe are particular (more business-oriented? more inexperienced? more trusting? more data-driven?), or make a particular kind of game. With only 18 games, it’s easy for there to be a skew.
  • “% Rev” means overall, how much of your total revenue from the game so far was from Russia or Eastern Europe (EE)… not how many units sold. Raw dollars. Err, rubles.
  • The “success” measure in particular is very subjective, only measuring how the survey participant felt the game covered their development costs.
  • 16 of the 18 devs were based in North America, 2 in Western Europe. It’s possible this data mostly just shows what it’s like for American & Canadian developers, with no relevance to the rest of the world.
  • If a given category (for example, games with released console ports) has 3 or fewer entries, I have faded out that bar. It should be considered anecdotal.
  • All right, let’s actually look at the data.

    What’s The Landscape?

    overall

    Generally, you should expect ~3% of your sales to come from Russia, and less than 2% to come from Eastern Europe. However, there’s the potential for a lot more.

    “Success”: It’s worth noting that the scale of that final category isn’t quite the same as the others — “Success” (again, self-reported, and simply “how well did/will this game make back its money”) had a minimum of 1 and maximum of 5, while the others are a percentage, therefore a minimum 0 and theoretical maximum of 100. But in general, it looks like the respondents in this group made back their money (average of ~3.4).. that alone indicates we probably do have a skew. Anyway, moving ahead.

    What Year Did Your Game Release?

    year

    I wondered if Russia was growing or shrinking over time. Doesn’t seem to be a huge difference, except that maybe Russia has become more interested in Steam since 2014… but if so, the rest of Eastern Europe hasn’t followed.

    One game was excluded, because it was still in Early Access.

    It’s also interesting how high 2016 is, given that we’re only halfway through. That implies that the first half of 2016 has resulted in the same percentage of revenue (and same estimated success) as games that were already out for all of 2015. Proponents of the indiepocalypse theory will point how how high “pre-2014” success was, but I would counter that it’s possible this just reflects the long tail, or that whatever explosion we feared happened 2+ years ago.

    Did You Localize Your Game for the Region?

    loc

    Only 3 games localized past Russian, presumably because they were already successful and it made sense to invest in the game further.

    One game’s Russian translation arrived 2 years later than the others, while one of the “Russian+” games was entirely localized by unpaid volunteers.

    What Steam Tags Do Your Game Have?

    genre

    Keep in mind 1 game could have any or all of these tags. In the dataset, there were 10 Action, 6 Adventure, 7 RPG, and then a handful of others (Strategy, Casual, Tower Defense, Roguelike, Roguelite, Platformer, etc). I had some sort of hunch that more ‘hardcore’/challenging/complex game genres would do better in the region, but then again, it’s difficult for Steam tags to encapsulate how hardcore something is, and we only had 1 Casual entry to compare against. Perhaps in retrospect I should have asked participants to rate how ‘hardcore’ they felt their game was.

    Someone also noted that their game included a free competitive tactical demo, which had 14% Russian units downloaded and 3% EE units, even without translation. So that seems like an interesting outlier… either in genre, price, or some other element.

    Did You Specifically Target The Region With Marketing?

    targeted

    The “Yes” column only reflects ONE entry out of 18, and that particular entry was a low sales performer overall, so it’s very hard to read this as anything but an anecdote. Even so, it’s interesting that it would have double the revenue percentage of the other 17. In fact, it was the highest in that category across all games. There was only one other game with 6% Russian revenue, and 4 with 5%.

    Was Your Game in Early Access?

    earlyaccess

    Early Access does well there, maybe? Or maybe the later the game, the more likely they’re Early Access, and simultaneously the more Russians are on Steam.

    What’s not reflected here is that the Steam User Reviews were on average 5 points higher when a game was in Early Access (83.8 vs 77.9). There was only one other notable user review gap, coming up next…

    Has Your Game Been Released On Other Platforms?

    crossplatform

    We don’t know which platform the game released on first… I’m not sure if this shows that (in Russia) mobile games do well on Steam or that Steam games do well on mobile. Also, there were two games that had browser versions and one with a SteamOS version, which I decided not to crowd the graph with.

    However, it made me curious, so I decided to use this opportunity to do a cross-analysis of mobile vs others, and found that although their user reviews were on average a full 8 points lower (72.5 vs 80), their reported success was a full grade higher. There were only 4 mobile entries, so take that as you will, but it’s interesting. The mobile-cross-platform games also came out roughly a year earlier (2013 vs 2014).

    How Did Steam Users Rate Your Game?

    reviews

    So is it a case of popularity begetting popularity? Some might wonder if a globally popular game will be especially popular in Russia or not. It doesn’t seem clearly correlated here, though there were only 2 Overwhelmingly Popular entries.

    What Else?

    In retrospect the survey should probably have asked questions about pricing (not just base US price, but localized Eastern European pricing) and discounts (lowest price-point, etc). Other than the knowledge that the games were not free to play, I can’t comment on that factor.

    I also have deliberately chosen not to look to Steam Spy for sales data to compare the titles (yet anyway), as that would turn the data more towards units than revenue.

    Summary

    To me, this all says that if you were feeling shy about bringing your mobile game to Steam, consider doing it with some Russian localization. It seems like it could be a surprisingly good investment. Other than that, I’d be curious to see what happens if more indies tried spending a little more money on targeted marketing in Russia.

Seeking a Programmer-Designer!

Kitfox is an up-and-coming indie studio with 2 projects underway and we need to grow our team a little.

What is a programmer-designer? Maybe you make your own games and thrill to read good code and to encounter elegant designs. Maybe you work for a big company as a programmer or designer and wish you could have control over both halves of your brain at once. Maybe you’re a were-programmer that was bitten by a radioactive designer. We don’t know yet! But we’d love to get to know you.

This is a full-time position, with a 3-month probationary period. Our salaries aren’t competitive with the big companies (yet), but at Kitfox we believe in a healthy work-life balance, because well-rounded people make better games. If you don’t yet have the skill of figuring out how to have a good work-life balance, maybe that’s something we can teach you.

Please send your letter & CV to info@kitfoxgames.com ASAP if you:

  • Have some experience with programming, especially systems & AI
  • Have some experience with game & system design
  • Have good communication skills in English
  • Enjoy many kinds of games
  • Are legal to work in Montreal, Canada
  • Are eager to learn new things, take on challenges, and work closely with artists & designers
  • Ideally but not necessarily have some experience with Unity C#
  • +Bonus points for an unusual background, work experience, or lifestyle ๐Ÿ™‚

Survey Results Are In: Classes Ahoy!

We asked Shattered Planet fans what they wanted next, and here’s what over 100 of them said:

SPupdatesurvey

In case you are chart-blind, it says class system improvements are the most popular, coming in at 36%! So we’ll look at that in the coming weeks. Pet upgrades were a close second, so that will be next on our list…

Thanks to everyone who voted. I promise we read every single written “other” entry, but feel free to comment below if you want to keep giving us more input!

Moon Hunters Art Process

Xin’s been painting for a live audience every Friday afternoon from 3-5 EST, and for those of you who can’t make it, we thought we’d share the steps in his process!

First, he gets some kind of direction. For the example below, we knew we needed more art direction for our landscape development. The previous landscape he concepted was quite bright, and themed along bone and blood, in a relatively clear hilly area.

In the dark Moon Hunters universe, bone and blood are aligned with the Moon-worshipping player characters. So, the other end of the scale would be a densely wooded area where the villainous Sun cultists might have set up a lair.

With the overall idea in mind (dark, dense, Sun), he looks through our mood board, surfs some Google references, and thumbnails in monochrome to get the overall composition, doing this 4 to 6 times before picking the one he’ll go forward with. This takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour in total. He doesn’t need to explain to anyone else what the vision is — this is just for his own reference.

MH_DarkForest0

This is where the live-stream started. He dropped the opacity down and draws on top. He took roughly an hour to “ink” it (since the Moon Hunters styling is heavy inked lines), and another hour to splash in some basic colors.

MH_DarkForest1

After the livestream ended, he took another four hours or so to clean it up, polish it, and layer in more details and color. As you can see, in this one he took a bit of extra time to re-work the central architecture, keeping the ‘sunburst’ motif but making the construction more elegant.

MH_DarkForest2

The next step? Translating this into a scene in the game… join us Friday for another glimpse into the Moon Hunters universe!

Shattered Planet: Launch Week Sales & Press

Well, we’re plenty pleased with the sales of Shattered Planet so far on Steam, Humble, and Desura. We won’t be retiring as millionaires anytime soon, but the PC version was definitely worth the time investment! And since I believe in transparency, here’s our actual numbers per-day:

SalesLaunchWeekChart

And it’s no doubt in part due to the lovely press from these folks, among others:

  • “Shattered Planet is out today, and it’s pretty great” – Mike Rose at Indiegames.com
  • (In Swedish) “Whether or not you’re a roguelike fan, Shattered Planet is worth a look” (7.7 out of 10) – David Markkanan at IGN.se
  • “Shattered Planet is an incredibly fun and addictive game, made only better by its sense of humor.” – Gameramble
  • “Ultimately, Shattered Planet is a fantastic roguelike.” – Anthony Chodor at IAmThink
  • “the perfect combination of space opera and silliness.” – Jillian Werner at Gamezebo
  • “Fans of the roguelike and RPG genres may be interested in Shattered Planet” – Scott Mundy at Lusipurr
  • “a solid PC entry for those completionists who aren’t afraid to die for their efforts” (7 out of 10) – GameSkinny
  • (In Portuguese) “If you’re looking for a roguelike, this can be a great place to spend time” – The Nerd Maldito
  • (In Russian) “The game is excellent in all respects, from the beautiful graphics, great soundtrack, interesting gameplay” (9 out of 10) – Soulcry
  • “If youโ€™re in to the comic-book style and want a more laid-back experience, Iโ€™d check this one out.” – Manapool
  • “Exploration is at the heart of the title. […] perilous yet lovely” – Calmdowntom
  • “Shattered Planet seems like a good fun waste of time” – Stephen Wilds of BlankMan Inc
  • Let’s Play by Quill18– 23,000 views and counting!
  • Let’s Play by SplatterCatGaming– 8,000 views and counting!
  • Lots and lots of Let’s Plays!

Plus, for fun, Tanya had an interview with IndieGraph!

We’ve sold over 2,500 copies across all platforms so far, so thank you to all of our fans for a great launch week! We’re looking forward to continuing to improve Shattered Planet with this great community to help us out. We probably can’t afford to commit to any huge additions at this point, but we have a few improvements in mind, such as keyboard controls.

livestream2

We’ll also be ramping up development of Moon Hunters, so keep an eye out on our weekly livestream on Friday afternoons (Eastern time) and watch the transition from concept art to our prototype development!