How to publish a game for free?

peq42_

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Title basically says all. How does one publish their game for free? How to reach a wide(r) public without investing money, at least at first? I do believe this to be a question many have, mainly initially with their first few published games

I've recently finished my project, but I've no cash left for publishing, so I find myself a little lost. I posted in places that came to mind(twitter, itch.io and here) but I don't think I can reach that many people just like that. Anyone has more experience?
 

mlogan

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I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Thank you.

 

HexMozart88

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I think you're going about this the wrong way. Posting it all over the place is not the way you attract more audience. You have to market your game, which is usually free. YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, any social media. Just make posts advertising your game everywhere you can think of. Obviously don't spam, but yeah.
 

peq42_

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I think you're going about this the wrong way. Posting it all over the place is not the way you attract more audience. You have to market your game, which is usually free. YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, any social media. Just make posts advertising your game everywhere you can think of. Obviously don't spam, but yeah.
you...just contradicted yourself.

"Don't post it all over"
"post it on twitter, twitch, youtube, any social midia"
 

HexMozart88

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Sorry, let me clarify. Don't post the *game itself* all over. Post ads all over, though.
 

yamakoku

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I'd like to add upon what @HexMozart88 said: It's good to have a space where you can grow a community, like a Discord server or official Twitter account. Seeing an ad for your game will put it on people's minds, but having a community of people around them will make it *stick* in people's minds and help you grow a following. So if you make an ad, it's good to include either in it.
 

peq42_

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Sorry, let me clarify. Don't post the *game itself* all over. Post ads all over, though.
oh thats exactly what I'm doing. The only place where my game is at(hosted) is itch.io


I'd like to add upon what @HexMozart88 said: It's good to have a space where you can grow a community, like a Discord server or official Twitter account. Seeing an ad for your game will put it on people's minds, but having a community of people around them will make it *stick* in people's minds and help you grow a following. So if you make an ad, it's good to include either in it.
I like your idea, a discord would indeed help quite a bit. But considering the game has right now *0* players, thats a plan for the future xD
 

estriole

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maybe you could "gift" the game to some gamer on twitch / youtube / other platform to try and review...

also i think you need video trailer showcasing your game too... just simple image like that will not appealing at all nowadays...

and maybe change the RTP image in your preview to your own custom image too... since RTP image have bad reputation now... most people now see RTP image and always assume "no effort" RPG Maker game...

all above can be "free" as long as you work it yourself (make your own video trailer, create your own custom asset or find a free to use one that differ from default RTP)...

hope this help... and wish for your game to success...
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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I mean if your game is on itch.io, then congratulations, you just published it for free, mission accomplished! From the subsequent discussion, I gather you really mean 'publicize' more than 'publish', and even after decades, marketing is still something I am really bad at/gradually learning how to be less bad at.
 

HarlekinLehl

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Go around and "clean people's doorknobs" pretty much. Contact people who make rpg maker content. (There are first impressionists and let's players, Streamers and youtubers)

You can offer keys for a giveaway if your project is commercial and stuff like that. And what everybody else already said.
 
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SigmaSuccour

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First, let's clarify the terms.
-> Publishing, means putting up your game (publicly) so people can buy / download / play it.
-> Marketing, is informing people about your game.


How to publish a game for free?

-> Upload it on google/mega/one-drive, and share it on a subdomain website, dedicated to the game.
-> Or, Share it on free game hosting websites, like:
  1. Itch.io
  2. Gamejolt
  3. Kartridge
  4. Freem.ne.jp
  5. Indiegala
  6. RPGMaker.net
  7. Indie Expo
...and many more.

-> Note: Don't ever post your game right away, on multiple platforms. First get people to play it on one or two places, so they can report any bugs and issues. (There will always be some.)
Once the game is properly tested & patched, then you can publish it on more websites.

Else, you will have to re-upload your game on every single site, with each fix or patch you push out. And that can get frustrating.





How to reach a wide(r) public without investing money, at least at first?

-> This is the marketing bit. I will explain what I do, and the results I'm getting.

-> First, the results: I get almost daily downloads on my (free) games. (You can see my itch.io analytics below)

SigmaSuccour Itch.io Analytics.jpg



-> What do I do?
Every two days, I make a new & unique post with the following content:
  • Sharing the progress I've made on the game I'm working on.
  • A screenshot, gif, or video of that progress
  • A link to my previous game(s)
  • And relevant hashtags
Example post:



I make each post, on around 17 websites / platforms. Namely:
  1. Itch.io (as a devlog)
  2. Gamejolt (On Profile + In Some Groups)
  3. Imgur
  4. Twitter
  5. Gettr
  6. Gab.com
  7. Minds.com
  8. Instagram
  9. Parler
  10. Facebook (On Profile + In Some Groups)
  11. Discord (I post in my own server, and several others.)
  12. Reddit (Mostly in r/RPGMaker for now, going to expand to more subreddits later)
  13. Here, i.e RPG Maker Web forums (I have a thread, and I share the same as a status update.)
  14. YouTube (When there's a video)
  15. Odysee (Mirrors what I upload on YouTube)
  16. Rumble (Mirrors what I upload on YouTube)
  17. RPGMaker.net (When there's a video)

A few things to note here:
  1. This marketing method is in-line with my personal, long term goals with game dev, with building an IP, and establishing a brand. Which is why to some (who are thinking more short term), this marketing strategy would feel off.
    .
  2. My focus with these posts, is on getting more downloads on the games I've already produced. While offering updates to gamers who have already played them, and are waiting for my next game.
    .
  3. I can probably have a more efficient marketing strategy then this. And post in better places.
    However, my focus right now is building the habit, of posting an update every 2 days.
    Once I become consistent with making progress on my games, and sharing updates on schedule like this. Then I can easily make a few changes on the 'where' and 'how'.
    (Feel free to
    check my twitter. To see to what degree I've been consistent at this.)
    .
  4. I do not recommend posting anywhere near other RPG Maker devs.
    I personally only post in r/RPGMaker reddit, and on this forum. Simply because... people were annoying me, asking me to make more tutorials, and longer RPG Maker news videos.
    So I post in RPG Maker dev spaces, to show everyone that I'm busy working on my game. And can't spare the time to do any more videos than what I make already.

    And so unless you actively run away from RPG Maker dev spaces, you can't start thinking about where you need to be posting/marketing.


That's it.
This is what I've been doing, and the sort of results I'm getting.
Of course, with more posts and downloads. I'm getting...
  1. more followers on these websites, (some who keep me motivated)
  2. I get YouTube let's plays on rare occasions.
  3. I get a few awesome folks (patrons) who financially back the work I do
  4. I get generous donations on my games, here or there.
  5. I get noticed by some established game developers
  6. I get offers from publishers and game companies (which I always reject)
  7. I see my games being re-uploaded and shared somewhere offsite
  8. yada yada...
And so, all of this boosts your work even more.
And it all starts from...
just...
posting.
 

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