After almost 4 years Golemizer will shut down for good on June 8th
I’m very sad to announce this but now there’s nothing that can stop it. For the first time this weekend I had some regrets about not shutting down Golemizer last year when I lost my job. I looked at my budget available to work on my current project and then looked at the money I spent on Golemizer’s server in the last year and for the first time I said “damn”.
For many of you Golemizer was some kind of weird project done by a newbie and handled wrong every single possible way. For some it was some inspiration that even the craziest project can become reality. For the players it was an imperfect but unique world they quickly claimed their own (which was my goal from the start). For me it has been an incredible way to get into the world of game development even if I had to learn a lot in the most difficult way possible.
So this Friday Golemizer will go dark. I’ll probably keep the domain name pointing to some place as a souvenir though. I’ll backup the database and all the code and keep it somewhere safe as shutting it down is one thing. Deleting everything is another and I’m not doing it.
For those who care here are some thoughts about the shut down of Golemizer.
I never brought back the in-game store
No I didn’t and the lack of revenue is not a surprise at all (though everything is still available on the Kongregate version). At the time Social Gold became part of Google I already decided to not work anymore on Golemizer. I had to move on as even with the store available Golemizer was still not making a profit.
The business model at first was non-existent at best but the in-game store did bring some hope. Unfortunately what was lacking was a minimum raw number of active players. The store was doing “okay” considering the playerbase (ARPU at the best of Golemizer was between $0.80 and $1.00). I did all I could or at least all I thought I could do to raise the number of players but never could. Going to Kongregate was the best move I did to raise the number of active players but it didn’t pay off in the long run.
Last year when I lost my job I kept Golemizer running even if I knew it was only an expense at this point for a few reasons. Mostly because I needed something to remind me that I can finish and release projects and because it was a way to motivate me. I needed to release something that would make some money to help keep Golemizer alive. Now we all know it never happened but that’s why I didn’t shut down Golemizer when I needed most the money.
I never fixed bug A, B or C
Oh there’s a ton of things that would need to be improved. It was a little crazy to code my own MMO server without knowing much about the subject but again I don’t regret doing so. For a long time I’ve been in the mode of “if I fix that or add this more people will come” but I found out that it doesn’t work quite that way. At one point I was working so much on these “issues” that my health got affected and I still wasn’t seeing any result. That’s when I accepted that fixing this or that wouldn’t make the game more popular. Well maybe it would have helped but there’s a lot more than just this. I slowed down a bit until I decided to stop completely to work on other projects.
Moving to a less expensive server?
When I say there are things wrong with Golemizer’s code it’s not just related to what you see in the game. The game’s server-side code consumes a bit too much resource to run on a cheap server to the point that it lead my host to shut down the server Dungeon of Loot was hosted on (it was using Golemizer’s code and was hosted on a VPS). The current server is a physical machine, cost me $200 per month and works fine. Unfortunately $200 per month is $2,400 over a year and right now having this money would have been nice for my current project.
Maybe there are some servers out there that could be cheaper and still run Golemizer but at this point it’s not a matter of saving $20-$30 per month or so. Even with a low population Golemizer requires more juice than you’d expect it to take.
Almost 4 years for a first MMO still isn’t that bad
Some MMOs out there don’t even last that long. If you include development time Golemizer has been a 5 years ride. The faith of online games sadly is often to shut down one day. The faith of old single-player games? Well I see some nice ones on gog.com right now. Might even spend some cash on 1 or 2.
I’ve shut down Blimp Wars, Dungeon of Loot and now Golemizer. I’m getting tired of shutting down my games so you can understand a bit why I’m looking at offline single-player games development right now. Doesn’t mean I’ll be more successful, doesn’t mean it will be easier but I really need to break some pattern here. And even if few people play this offline game it doesn’t become and hindrance for a potential new customer. Which isn’t the case for online multiplayer games…
Is Golemizer for sale?
I’m sure I’ll get this question so here’s the answer even if I think I’m wasting some time here. So far all emails related to “buying” Golemizer has been sent directly to the trash can. I received a few “offers” but I doubt any were serious. One thing for sure I never seen the word “money” in these emails so…
Now I’m shutting it down so anything’s possible but I highly doubt I’ll see anyone offering money to buy it. The code needs work and I won’t be the one doing it for sure. I’m also not looking for a cheap escape route like “here’s $400 and I take the game”. If the current version of Golemizer never did awesome and if the code ain’t perfect I still value the IP. It’s not a commercial value it’s a value of “I created it and it’s not impossible that I revisit it later”. When? I don’t know. Will it ever really happen? I don’t know. This is why not giving away the IP for cheap is nice. I don’t need money that bad to the point of giving everything away for a few hundreds dollars.
So with this in mind you can see how I doubt anyone will be able to offer a price I’d be ready to accept. What is that price? Well you’ll only know if you can prove you are serious about it. I think my inbox will remain empty.
Thanks to everyone who helped me. Everyone who believed in this project. Maybe we were wrong about the commercial success of this project but now nobody can deny the fact that it was built, released and existed for a few years. I’ll take that as a sign of success. Next time I’ll just try to make a few bucks on top of that
I’m sorry to have to announce that to the players still logging in every day as I know that for a very long time now they’ve been on their own with the help of some amazing GMs. I’m sorry to take Golemizer away from you even if we all knew that it would happen someday.
I won’t be organizing any kind of “celebration” or event before I pull the plug. I’m not quite in the mood for this at the moment. I surely will go for a walk in there one last time though.