myTrueSound feedback and some comments related to audiogaming

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iOS & iPadOS Gaming

Hi dear audiogamers and friends

Year 2019 has been a very interesting one. It was full of challenges, but also of a lot of learning. Before it ends, I thought it could be a good moment to send you some updates and thank all of you for the support. I’m normally very open to tell about our company’s actions and thoughts, so this post includes good, bad news, and a little bit of criticism too.

1. TEAM. After losing last spring our main developer (who basically decided to leave from one day to another), we have found the desired stability we needed. At this moment our team is composed by five; Axel, Aleksi, Jani, Joonas and David. From January, a new programmer called Marko will join the team. Unfortunately, incomes are not yet enough to provide us a salary, but we try our best to optimize resources and time. Motivation is quite high, and we all row in the same direction.

2. AUDIOWIZARDS. Our first real game was successfully launched in September 2019 for iOS and Android. After 2 months we updated it with 5 new pretty challenging levels. In January, the game will be also available for PC through Steam. All the music in the game was composed by nine very talented blind musicians, and we have decided to make that music also available in Steam. More news about that in 2020.
The game received very positive critics, but it didn’t reach the selling numbers we needed. We had invested a lot of time and effort in marketing, and the game was good, so the only clear reason for us was that most of audiogamers don’t want to spend even 5 € for a game, even though the game proved to be worth that price. This was a surprised, because it is common to read in the forums that the gaming community is tired of simplistic games, and that they want to play the same games that are played by sighted. We tried to do both, a complex game with nice music and sound effects, challenging tasks and simple but interesting visuals. Perhaps we are living the time of the “everything should be free”. Mobile gaming is saturated of free to play games including in-app purchases or publicity adds. We tried the other way, a quality game that costed 5 € but once purchased it was for you forever. It didn’t work. And it is a pity, because perhaps it could be true that the community is not ready to really take new developers in. I’m sorry about this terrific fact, but developers also need to eat, and if I can’t provide them a salary, sooner or later they will leave. How all this has affected us is detailed further in next points 3, 4 and 5. We also noticed some members of the community were sharing ways in the internet to make pirate versions of our game. Shame on you!!!

3. MUSICMAZE. We were developing an infinite runner type game for few months. The game included pixel art graphics and very professional music and sound effects. In the game you advanced through 6 finite levels and the final infinite, each level with a different atmosphere resembling desert, jungle, temple, catacombs and so on, while meeting the new enemies and collecting coins to earn XP and different collectables. Game mechanics were based in combinations of swipes and tabs. Last October, after spending quite much money and effort on it, we reached alpha-test version. Once we tested ourselves, we decided to cancel the game and stop its development in order to minimize losses. The game was not bad, but based on the experience with games including a fix price of 5 €, we thought it was not a viable project any longer. Sure we considered to add in-app purchases and learn from this type of monetization model. But that was not the way we wanted to go because of ethical issues, e.g. our games are not casino-type-games where you need to pay to collect things. At this point, I take myself all the responsibility from this failure. I was not able to see in advance what could happen, and I actually maintain the development for few more months because of sentimental reasons, e.g. many people had been involved and I don’t like to quit and fail. End of the story.

4. FUTURE GAME. But the good games come now. We have started to work on a new game in the category of RPG-Manager Auto-Battler. Perhaps some of you ask what the hell is that, or ask for more info. We will answer those questions in the next months to come. If everything goes well, in 3-4 months we will launch a DEMO and offer interested players some kind of Early Access or Pre-Order option. The new game will be very ambitious, including graphics but fully accessible for the blind, originally developed for PC but if possible it will be migrated to mobile systems at some point. We are very far from launch yet, and actually we have not yet all the funding we need for it. If you want to help us on our way, then jump to point number 5.

5. FUNDING and CROWFUNDING. Along the last months we talked with a series of investors. We told them there was a huge market for the blind and their answer was always the same: “good idea and nice social impact. Like it!, but show me the numbers little man. Prove to me that you can make that money”. And it was here where I again failed because I was not able to show them any impressive selling numbers from AW-game. To me, the door of investors or business angels investing in this market at this moment is quite closed. And that is a pity because we were quite close! The next Option is CROWFUNDING, but the government of the country where we are based, Finland, is not so fan of KickStarter systems and alike, and actually KickStarter is not available from our geographic location. We need some time to figure out what would be the best way to do it. But until then, you can, if you want, try to help us. For instance, if you still didn’t get your own copy of AudioWizards go ahead and get one. If for instance you have the game already and you liked it, why not to share the joy with a friend that can’t afford it? It is x-mas time soon, so a good chance to make presents to your friends without actually spending much money. DISCLAIMER: I’m not begging, but I just give some ideas. Well, I’m begging a bit I suppose ; )

6. COMMUNITY. It is time to say “thanks and see you next year”. It has been a pleasure working for you and develop games for the community. We have make good friends and we have learnt like a lot, listening and accepting polite criticism as much as we could. We really feel well with you, and we would like to keep that relationship for many years. As long as myTrueSound is alive, you have also friends here, and be sure we will never turn our back to AudioPlayers. Our games will be always accessible, or at least, that we have promised to ourselves. Gaming, playing and having fun should be universal rights, and we will keep working with all of you to make that happen any day soon. We would also like to thank also other developers in the community. Thanks Joe from Mental Vision for calling me every second friday. You know I like you!. Thanks also Liam Erven from L-Games for giving us a hand with the mouth to mouth and beta testing our game. And thanks also to Harry from Pitch Black. It was a pleasure to meet last week. We are waiting for that incredible RPG! Thanks also to Brandon (SuperBlindMan), Jesse (Illegally Sighted), Riley (Acces4Gamers,) Ryan (The Blind Man Theory), Jeff (Blind Abilities), and specially to DARK (audiogames.net), for all the support you provided along the last 12 months. It has been amazing. Thanks also to the 33 talented musicians that participated in the AudioWizards music competition. The game would not have been the same without your input. Thank you too all audiogamers and people from this nice community. We like you all. And absolutely, big cheers to all the people. Last but not least, thanks to Dani, Aku, Eveliina, Fareeda, Hassan, Janne, Jaro, Maksim, Maria, Niko, Shane, Jussi and Petri for giving us your hand too.

Sincerely
David Oliva and the myTrueSound team.

Ps: please, comment this post. Your comments will help to bring us more light. It will also help this post not to sink very fast in the list, and this way it would be read by more people. Thanks also for that.

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Comments

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, December 20, 2019

I would pay money for a sport game such as US football or any other games such as GMA for windows base on submarines hunting each other or tanks. I know that are many people would do so. Currents games are so simple that they do not keep us active. Even a game base on using your iPhone as a sword such as a game that was title samurai. Sad it is no longer on the apple store.

Submitted by Jesse Anderson on Friday, December 20, 2019

Thank you for the descriptive post, and for continuing to make accessible audio games. I still need to finish Audio Wizards on the phone, and will also grab it via Steam once it's released. For another destribution option, you may also want to consider hosting the game on www.gog.com.

The sad thing is, we are seeing time and time again, that making specific audio games with varied gameplay and high production values doesn't make money, despite there seeming to be people interested in playing. Mobile games are especially tough, with everyone expecting free or free-to-play games. I much prefer buying a full game for a one-time price, and paying for major expansions later as they are developed. To say I'm not a fan of the constant nickel and diming mobile and even PC/console gaming has become, is an understatement.

I've talked with several audio and accessible game developers over the past few years, and have mostly come to the conclusion that making games exclusively for blind players isn't financially viable, unless you're independently wealthy and don't mind not making money. Too many promo codes are given away, that would otherwise help sales. Well made games and apps are often undervalued price-wise, especially on mobile. Many other systems have also trained the blind community that services, school, technology, and other things are free if you're blind, so people aren't used to or often willing to pay for things.

Ultimately, I think the best way to make games that are both financially viable for a developer, and that are accessible to blind, low vision, or other audience, is to make a mainstream game designed for mainstream audiences, but include accessibility features that make the title playable for gamers with disabilities. Re-mappable controls help people with motor impairments. TTS and other audio cues help blind players. Subtitles and captions help hearing impaired players, etc.

Because mainstream game platforms like XBOX and PlayStation are adding more accessibility features, and game engines like Unreal and Unity are starting to include accessibility support, this may improve for the better in the next few years, and make things easier for developers to include accessibility features in their mainstream games.

A perfect example of this is the PC game Sequence Storm, which combines racing and a rhythm game into one, and adds a boat load of accessibility features. It's totally playable by blind players too. Sequence Storm is currently available via Steam, and I think via their website.

It's just sad to see so many audio game developers make one game, only to realize it's just not financially possible to continue.

I'm also pretty disappointed in the blind community here and elsewhere lately. Complaining about every new title that comes out, saying things are to simple or for babies, but then not supporting devs who are trying something different or more substantial. If I were a programmer, I'm not sure I'd want to make a game primarily for a blind audience either.

I hope My True Sound is able to continue, and I look forward to playing future games. I was really looking forward to the Music maze and other announced projects too... Have you considered a site like IndieGoGo or Patreon?

IllegallySighted and others are here to help however we can.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, December 20, 2019

Wow, I started reading about this game and was really bummed to see that one go away. That sounds like the kind of game I would really have enjoyed. Good luck in 2020 to you and your team. Thanks for perserveering.

Submitted by ming on Friday, December 20, 2019

well,
good games should have rewarded!
I would like to touch the RPG games and...
and the AUDIOWIZARDS. is the best games of the year in my thought !
I hope we can have more games like this one.
and earning money to support your team is very important!
so, I don't mind the game is paid or have in-app purchases
both ways can help you guys to stay longer and making new games.

anyway.... I always having great time playing AUDIOWIZARDS
it is so much fun and the music is very nice!

Submitted by ming on Friday, December 20, 2019

how about creating a online playing game?
like battle shooting... something like it?

Submitted by David Standen on Friday, December 20, 2019

I, too, am disappointed to learn that music maze is no longer being developed, as the game appealed to me. While I'm not into RPGs myself, I wish you the best of luck with that project. As for Audio Wizards, it's one of my favourite games, and while it didn't receive the golden apple award for best game, it received my vote. I don't often rate apps in the app store but audio wizards received 5 stars from me. I personally don't mind paying for a game if it appeals to me. Have you considered making a Mac version of the game? If this became available, I would purchase it in a heartbeat.

Submitted by Remy on Friday, December 20, 2019

Thank you David for such detailed feedback. I for one really appreciated the transparency. I think Jesse has already said everything I had to say very well. I hear a lot of complaining about the state of gaming when you're blind, and while I do understand it, developers like MyTrueSound were trying to do something about it. Gold Gun proved how volatile the entitled among us can be. I'm still disappointed that Gold Gun was discontinued, because despite a few rough spots at the start, both the premmace and the style of gaming had loads of potential. So yes, shame on all of those who have pissed and moaned about things instead of offering some actual constructive criticism at the very least. And pirating a $5 game?? Come on now. Your morning coffee at Starbucks costs more than that.

Personally David, I want to say a huge thank you to you and your team. You were the first people to see the value in both my music "Dance of the Elements", and my voice acting (As the principal). That was a huge highlight of my year and made me feel very accomplished. I wish all the best for you and your creative team and am glad you understand there are many of us here who do support you and your creativity.

Submitted by Lukas on Friday, December 20, 2019

Screw the hopeless brads who can never learn! There will always be many of them, though, too many for the decent people to like. I mean, it's somehow understandable if you are like 12, I myself used to be like that unfortunately, but not if you are trying to live an adult, independent, fulfilling life worth living. Or maybe some of them are not trying to, and they just whine and moan and beg.
Lukas

Submitted by Kai on Friday, December 20, 2019

Thanks so much for all that you’re doing for those of us who can’t/have very little vision and love to play games. I will be downloading audio wizards, as I love how it sounds and the creation of it. You guys should be acknowledged extremely well for all that you’ve done for us. I was blown away and so happy when I heard that you used blind musicians for the music, bravo to you! That definitely is very worthy and acceptable of us who can’t see but love to play. I wish there were more gaming companies like yourself, you’re awesome at what you do and including blind people just does a number on me; it touches my heart and makes me so happy/proud of all that you’re doing for those without sight! I have never heard of a gaming company hiring blind musicians to do their music for them, this is unbelievable and beyond impressive! Keep up the awesome work and I’ll be following along and waiting to see what incredible things you have in store for the Knicks next year! i’m almost completely blind and when I listened to this, it just touched my heart to know that there’s an incredible gaming company that includes those without site. You should be acknowledged for what you’re doing and giving awards for it. There are many gaming companies that don’t do this and they wind up losing customers/gamers because of it. just because we can’t see, that doesn’t mean that we don’t love the same things as those who can see. I strongly/highly applaud you for all of your extremely heartwarming time, hard work, heart, and dedication in everything you’ve created! You breathe life into what you’re making and go above and beyond what anyone would even consider. The fact that you include blind users to help you not only create the game but also test it, that’s extremely heartwarming to know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including those with out site! There are many companies that exclude Blind gamers and they should be ashamed of themselves! Don’t just create games for those with site in mind, try to create it so everyone can enjoy it and that’s exactly what your companies doing. I applaud you for everything your company is done and I excitedly wait what’s in store in the new year! Thanks so much. please he continue to think of all of us, those with and without site-like you already do. Keep up your awesome and innovating, mind blowing Games/creations! I look forward to them! Thanks again.

Submitted by Lielle ben simon on Friday, December 20, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

Hi everyone. I like to commant about audio games. I like the cmr game. I don't expect to get something in free. If i will see updates i am rady to pay for this. I think that if it's possible support in the development it will be importent. for potensial to create more games. i hearing manney complaints about the games but i be leave that there are way to tell this i think they invest ime and minde in order to create a good game. This is the thanks thay getting? I did wanted untill now but it's exaggerated.

Submitted by Jimmy V on Friday, December 20, 2019

I'm sad to see audiowizards go. I really enjoyed the game. I still have it. Will it still work? How much longer will it be in the app store

Submitted by Jimmy V on Saturday, December 21, 2019

After looking this post over, I realized that audio wizzards is not gone. I feel so much better! Good luck on all your future games

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Saturday, December 21, 2019

Now it's my turn to tell you how I feel. If you have read posts two, seven, and nine, then you know how I feel already.

There are so many on this forum that want better games, as do all of us, but their desires are written as complaints, instead of encouragement. Do we need more complex games? Absolutely. but there is still lots of room for the easier games, as well. Although I live on a restricted income, if I find a game that I want, I am very glad to pay for it, because the devs need to eat, and a workman is worthy of his hire. No one would go to work day after day, pour his heart into a job, only to go home without a paycheck, unable to meed the basic needs of his family. Shame on those who only want to complain and are unwilling to pay for something that they want for themselves. This world is based on currency. Those who make a better wigit get the biggest share of that currency, for their wigit. In the world of audio based games, I can only imagine how difficult it is to code for accessibility and then reach a large enough market to justify the expenses and time.

All I can say is, please keep up the great work. We need developers such as yourself, i.e., someone who actually cares and wants to bring a little more joy to someone with the games you make. This world is negative enough. Having a game that actually works, is mentally challenging, and is immersive, helps life to become a bit easier.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to 2020 and what you have to bring to the table.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Saturday, December 21, 2019

It seems like the mobile games market in general has made it loud and clear that they don't want to pay much if anything up front for games. Look at Nintendo. When they released Super Mario Run, the app was free so you could try out a little bit of the game before paying $10 to unlock the rest of the game. And yes, I bought it and love it. There were reports that came out later that said it didn't meet their expectations for people who bought the full game. So now, every mobile game they've released since has resorted to typical mobile freemium things like gotcha mechanics, and have made a lot more money. If a game with the most recognizable video game character on the planet can't sell enough to a mainstream audience, how is a small indy game developer targetting a small group like blind and low vision gamers supposed to make money off their game without charging an arm and a leg for it?

As for Audio Wizards, I haven't played it, but I may decide to buy it in the future. It does sound like a well-designed game. Props to you guys for that. As for future games, what about putting them on Apple arcade? Granted, maybe there's an extra developer fee for that, and it leaves android users out, but maybe people would subscribe to that if the games were good, and maybe other devs who make games for it would take notice.

Submitted by Carlos Benasque on Saturday, December 21, 2019

Not having Spanish was a bad decision by the developers.
And I acquired the Game the first day it was released.
I don't understand, how they don't develop games in the second most spoken language in the world, I think it's a big market, which you don't have.
Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Submitted by ming on Saturday, December 21, 2019

hey!
anyone of you are using Steam. on PC or Mac anyway.
for me
Steam. is not quite accessible!
I mean the interface is not good enough to get the games.
so, I hope and I hope AUDIOWIZARDS is a stand alone game for pc or mac.

Submitted by J.P. on Saturday, December 21, 2019

I couldn’t agree more with Roxann. Sure, I’d love more complex games, but all have purpose and value. No need to torpedo developers who care and actually try to include.
I’m all for complaining about an expensive device sold with some level of expectation not working. The other petty crap gets old. It only makes getting accessibility implementation much harder. Some people will always bitch though.
To True Sound. Thank you for being a partner in accessibility. Your hours of work are appreciated. Hopefully solutions are ahead for the challenges.

Submitted by GreatDragon on Saturday, December 21, 2019

I have actually purchased the game. This post however won’t be on my feelings about the game. Honestly, I’m tired of being considered a blind gamer. With the exception of dice world and a handful of other games I feel like as a blind gamer, I’m playing games that no one else knows about or no one else understands from the sighted community. When I get excited enough to talk with my cited friends about a game I realise that they can’t play, I understand what it feels like to be them talking to me. I applaud your efforts with the game at self and even that you’ve tried to incorporate graphics for sighted people. I think the challenge, is in the marketing.

Submitted by ming on Sunday, December 22, 2019

I hope My true sounds can develop...
not an audio game but, vedio games that has accessibility built in
and sighted people understand what we are playing and they also can enjoy the game as well.
most of my sighted friends thought that no visual or graphic or Animation is very orring

Submitted by Jesse Tregarthen on Sunday, December 22, 2019

Hello, this is sad. There are times I can't afford a game but always like saving up for it. Especially games like the Papa Sangre and Night Jar games. Games that really don't cost much but provide hours of entertainment. It is hard and we have it very good because there are lots of mainstream games that cost a lot more because of the graphical component. I seem to remember paying $60 Canadian for Grand Theft Auto 5 when it came out but don't think I've ever paid much more than $30 for an audio game and certainly not more than $10 for one on the iPhone. And most of them are games I would have rather paid $60 for than GTA which while fun isn't very accessible. I look forward to purchasing Audio Wizzards and any other game that brings great production value and challenges us as players. It's been sad to see games like the somethin else ones die and would hate to see companies like my true sound suffer as well.

Submitted by ming on Sunday, December 22, 2019

just want to mention some of the fighting games serice like street fighters, the king of fighters and mortal kombat!
they have done a great work in their
many blind people like to play this type of games.
but, unfortunately! in IOS or mobile world.
it still have long way to go.

Submitted by myTrueSound on Monday, December 23, 2019

Hi

Thanks a lot for all your comments. It has been very interesting to read all of them as they were coming.

This type of communication is very valuable for us. For instance, few of you have been talking about Steam, its accessibility, and other possibilities for crowfunding. That information will help us a lot, in order to make the things better and avoid possible mistakes. Hopefully we have time to check the things properly ;)

I can't now comment individually to each comment, but I would like to say something else yet. Sometimes people says that the community is a bit hard or negative on developers. But shit, look at all your comments! Most were encouraging us to continue with the work and told that the game was great and enjoyable. The others, went to topics like piracy and Steam that are very important for me to read, and absolutely all were written very politely and in a very constructive way. That kind of interaction is great. Thumbs up to all of you!

So I have nothing else to say that keep the comments coming. That would help us and other developers to learn from your experience.

I wish you very good holidays and a very good 2020.
David

Ps. Oh well. I have something else to say. I forgot on my first post to tell that we are working in parallel in a multiplayer version of AudioWizards. In parallel means that the work is done by a group of 7 students from gaming studies, that wanted to help us with the game design and the implementation of a first demo version. Let's see how far we can go with it, and hopefully we will send you some news about that by end of March.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, December 23, 2019

Hi,
Any plans on porting audiowizards over to the Mac side? And, yes, I was a gamer back in the day. The blindnes market of games in my opinion unfortunately is going to be hard to sell and get the target funding. I applaud your ideas and efforts and will continue to purchase titles, but we just don't have the blind specific games like our sighted peers do, and in that regard I don't really like blind specific games any more. Give me a good mainstream game that works and I'll be right with ya.

Submitted by Kimberly on Thursday, January 2, 2020

audio wizards is an awesome game and I would love to see more games like it, I don’t mind paying five dollars for any game so please just keep the new games coming and I do not mind paying for the best, keep up the good work you guys..

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, January 2, 2020

I agree 100 percent. Maybe I'll play a bit of audio wizards on my ringing in 20 20 marathon stream

Submitted by Cherokee Eagle on Friday, January 3, 2020

Hi,

I don't know what your adds have been like, because i haven't been following Audio Wizards. However, I agree with the idea that it might be a good move to market to a broader base. And, if you have been marketing it as a game for blind people, it may have been a turn-off to some, as has already been expressed. There will always be those who don't want to pay for quality, as I, a freelance English teacher, well know. But the old saying holds true, "You get what you pay for." And important marketing principles hold true, communicate benefits, not features, communicate value to the buyer, and know your consumer avatar well. Something I'm still working on. LOL Hope this helps.

Submitted by roman on Saturday, January 4, 2020

The music maze sounded funn, but it is alrite if you are not making it. I understand your situation. and I am gladly for a good audio games. I hope you will going to make games like audio wizerd. Thanks!