100k views on itch.io!! (Plus Postmortem)


I took a look at the itch.io dashboard this evening, and saw this. We have actually done the impossible, and hit 100k total views on itch.io! Some may consider this cheating, given that number would reflect 100% of the past Metanet Hunter games, but:

Metanet Hunter G4 is essentially the most successful game I have on this site! 

I am hoping we'll blow these numbers out of the water with the new game!!

Which, by the by, that's coming along great. I have finally gotten myself back into the swing of things after tinkering around with Metanet Hunter G4's 1.2 update. There will be an increase of information / neat screenshots and gameplay footage over the next month, as we are nearly done with the game's setup phase. Let's continue this post-mortem and answer questions about the past, present, and future!!

What went wrong? (G4 + Origin Story)

Metanet Hunter G4 was an interesting project, in that it had started out life as a handful of things before finally taking shape. It was a wet clay of sorts, if you will. Originally, the game was supposed to be Metanet Hunter 3. Funnily that it ended up having a "4" in the title, huh?

The biggest thing that went wrong with G4 is how long development actually took. The most negative thing about such a development history was that it took three years. Part of this can be blamed on the pandemic that took place in 2020, but that would still leave questions about 2018 and 2019.

  • 2018 and 2019 were spent mostly working my regular job(s), with some on-the-side tinkering on the sequel to Metanet Hunter CD. Essentially, I was/am starting to get old, which means adult activities, and adult responsibilities.

Development of Metanet Hunter G4 really started, in its most modern iteration, around late 2019. I sold the desktop I had in order to purchase a laptop for game development on-the-go. Oh, oh the irony. Honestly, that's probably the second biggest thing that went wrong.

Anyhoo, development had started to accelerate around the time when this sprite sheet was made:

This was during a mall trip when I had that laptop. On the go, I got some things done at coffee shops and what have you, all until 2020 happened. That put a damper on the whole "going places to work on the game." My biggest personal weakness is that when I am home, I am in more of a "home mode" than a "work mode." Sometimes I'm also in a "mad scientist" mode, and that's where most of the magic happens. Only as of recently have we learned to get better about managing these different headspaces.

  • If you really want a great solution, try the Pomodoro Technique. When I apply it, it is a lot more productive than simply randomly working on things. If you can find a way to adapt that technique to your development environment, it may come handy. Regardless, still a concept/technique worth keeping in the toolbelt.

What else went wrong?

Marketing, 100%. I didn't really have a goal with the release of Metanet Hunter G4, and wasn't able to make trailers or any kind of promotional materials for the game. The laptop I had didn't exactly do well with video editing, for instance. There also wasn't much of a budget to hire people and potentially have a huuuuge negative return on investment. Additionally, I didn't really believe the game would attract much attention, as if you dig deep into the source code, you might notice an interesting comment...

A miscellaneous thing that also went wrong was the part where it is no longer simple to add/edit levels in Metanet Hunter G4, as more recent versions of Tiled do not play nice with the game's level import system. I have thought about adding a level editor, or workaround for this; it would make little sense when that work can be adapted into the new project.

What went right? (G4)

Metanet Hunter G4 was intended to be a whole new generation of Metanet Hunter, taking everything I had learned from the past games, and adapting it to an engaging, replayable experience. I would almost say that it almost succeeds in its mission, as the game is fairly light; a full game session can be done in less than an hour, the Time Attack Mode offers an alternate way to play the game (tackle the developer times, yo!), and there are a handful of secrets to be had deep in the password system.

The game is fairly more polished than the games before it, thanks to too many years of designing indie games as a hobby. When you get your hands on the new Metanet Hunter (2023), you will notice another exponential leap in quality. While I did go and improve the physics with the G4 1.2 update, the new game is a whole different beast. The initial testing has gone spectacular, as people are generally able to interface with the game systems intuitively, right off the bat. You should notice the game will be easy to get up to speed with, and I will be making sure you'll get your money's worth!

Metanet Hunter G4 was supposed to have more content than the games before it; I would say that it is technically true, given the boss encounters and time attack mode. The original Metanet Hunter (2013) did have more game modes (Regular Mode, Hard Mode, Plus Mode, Random Mode, Bonus Mode), but they are less substantial than a playthrough of Metanet Hunter G4.

The biggest thing that went right was the fact that the game itself is a significant leap in quality from Metanet Hunter CD. The boss fights telegraph their attacks a lot better, the fights are generally more engaging, and there are multiple phases to each of the Boss encounters. We also introduced a way more fun Dark Kinzo battle, which really tests the player's mastery of their control and combat rhythm. The levels are more in-line with my modern philosophy of "flow-state" gameplay, something we will be approaching even closer to with the next game. This sounds like a subliminal marketing exercise for the new game, but my excitement does produce a bias.

For me as a developer, my favorite thing is when there is an interest in the work we have produced. Seeing more people engage with our social media accounts, and getting to see other people's experience with the game is incredible. Not only that, it inspires me to go further beyond, in order to make even better products in the future.

Metanet Hunter G4 gaining some interest did help spark the motivation to develop a new game project.

I do encourage you to stay tuned. The future is going to be incredibly exciting.

What have we Learned?

The biggest thing I learned after G4 was how to improve upon it. I have since moved to a Godot-based core, and that has allowed us to now finally get away with many creative possibilities that simply weren't there before. We have learned there was an interest in our work! Numbers don't lie and all. This means I will give it my all with the new game!!

Never before when I was a wee teenager would I have expected anybody would even mess around with the projects I have created. I was afraid game development would be a futile hobby, and while commercially that could be considered true, artistically, it has been a huge success. 

We have learned to embrace our tools. 

Seriously, THANK YOU!

I still cannot thank the fans enough. I genuinely appreciate the support given to us these last few years.

  • Thank you to those who buy our games! Thank you for supporting the continued development of future products! Thank you for supporting the developers. Thank you for staying indie.
  • Thank you to those who download our stuff! I absolutely appreciate you showing your interest in our work!
  • Thank you to those who have stayed with us!
  • Thank you to those that have shown off their gameplay throughout social media!
  • Thank you to those that have tried out Metanet Hunter games for review purposes and/or evaluation!
  • Thank you to those that checked out the new Metanet Hunter 1.2 update!
  • Thank you to the person who gave us a dollar when the update launched!!
  • Thank YOU!

You rock. Please stay tuned for the release of the new game, as it should be nice and ready to kick off the summer! 2023 is a great year!

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