SpeedRunner Postmortem

So it’s been exactly a month since we’ve released the flash version of Speedrunner on the web. Time for a post-mortem! In this post, we’ll discuss a few points that went right and wrong during the development process, we’ll discuss the financial picture behind Speedrunner, and to top it off we have a couple of exciting announcements! We don’t post often; but when we do, it’s filled with lots of goodies!


First, let’s start with discussing Speedrunner’s successes. As of now, the game has been played well over 3 million times, which by my standards makes it a definitive success. By comparison, we like to look at Steambirds’ numbers for a benchmark, and although we’re not as successful as they were, our play numbers are quite close. Here’s a fancy looking graph detailing he game’s views:

Currently, the game is steadily attracting a little over 50,000 views a day. Another interesting stat is the average play time, which clocks in at just over 10 minutes. To put that number in more perspective; we have quite a high bounce rate, around 13%. This means that 13% of the players quit the game in the first minute. This is most likely due to the game’s rather large file size (11 MB), so a lot of players might get tired of waiting for the game to download. This is unfortunate, but something that we had already expected during development. In contrast, over 50% of the players play the game for longer than 5 minutes.

Below is another neat looking chart, which shows the engagement. The blue line represents how often a level was started. As you can see, we lose quite a few players after the first level. After that, the boss levels (4 and 8) is where we lose some more players. These levels turned out to be quite difficult, as you can see by the red line which represents player deaths. With so many deaths, it’s no wonder that we lose many players in the boss levels.

It’s unfortunate that we lose so many players after the first level. There could be several reasons for this: either they simply don’t like platforming games, they don’t find it challenging enough (the grappling hook mechanic isn’t introduced until the second level) or perhaps the game didn’t run smoothly on their computer. Unfortunately, we don’t know.

Reviews & Comments

The game received a couple of reviews, one of which we’re specifically happy with; the review by Edge magazine.

Other reviews include ones by Jayisgames and FlashMush.

Regarding comments on the game from players (on Kongregate for example, where the game is currently rated at 3.57 out of 5), we’ve received a lot of positive feedback. However, not everybody had only nice things to say (it is the internet after all..). The main issues we’ve heard about are the walljumping controls, the bad framerate, and the camera shake in the boss levels (which exaggerates the aforementioned issues). One user on Kongregate summed it up pretty nicely:

Aside from the walljump/screenshake/lag issue that people are mentioning, this game is the perfect melding of platformer and canabalt style running game.

Or, more concise:

Climbing doesn't work very well, otherwise cool game.

The money

After finishing the game, we posted it on FlashGameLicense.com on february 1st. Simultaneously, we sent out a few emails to sponsor-sites which we thought could be interested in sponsoring the game. Interestingly, some sponsors quickly responded while others never responded at all. Following is an overview of the bidding history (in which we kept the sponsor’s identities anonymous).

DateSponsorAmountTypePerceived value
February 3rdSponsor A$1,500Primary$2,000
February 4thSponsor B$2,000Primary$2,500
February 5thSponsor C$2,500Primary$3,000
February 6thSponsor D$2,800Primary +ads$3,500
February 11thSponsor C$3,500Exclusive$3,500
February 11thSponsor B$3,200Primary$3,700
February 12thSponsor D$3,500Primary + ads$4,200
February 18thSponsor A$3,750Primary$4,250
March 1stSponsor C$3,500Primary + performance bonus$5,500
March 1stSponsor E$5,000Exclusive + ads$5,200
March 2ndSponsor A$4,000Primary$6,000
March 5thSponsor F$8,000Exclusive$8,000
March 5thSponsor B$5,500Primary$7,500
March 8thSponsor B$6,250Primary$8,250
March 8thSponsor A$5,000Primary + Performance bonus$10,000
March 9thSponsor G$10,000Exclusive$10,000
March 9thSponsor B$7,000Primary$10,000
March 11thSponsor F$13,000Exclusive$13,000

Aside from the actual bidding amount and license type, we’ve also added a column which displays what the offer was worth to us. For other flash developers: this was calculated by what amount of money we thought we could realistically get from secondary licenses, or how much we thought a performance bonus was going to be worth. In the end, the exclusive offer made by Sponsor F (which is MaxGames.com, but you’ll probably already know that if you’ve played the game) was worth the most in our eyes. In hindsight, the primary license (+performance bonus) might have been interesting as well, but that would depend on how many offers for secondary licenses we would receive after the game was released (and on the click-rate of the in-game links, in the case of the performance bonus).

All in all, we’re pretty happy with how the bidding process went. When we received the first bid for $1.500, we didn’t expect we would end up with a bid for $13.000, so that’s awesome! FGL’s auctioning system really helped here, as we had a total of 7 sponsors actively trying to out-bid each other. On a side note, dealing with sponsors is often quite confusing for developers. While some sponsors were really easy to communicate with, others were very difficult to get a hold of. Sponsors E for instance placed a single bid, but then never responded to any of our messages/e-mails, which strikes me as quite weird. Or take sponsor G, who discovered the game after it had been in auction for over a month already, despite several emails I had sent him in advance. The sponsor was really excited about the game (which shows, he placed an offer for $10K), but never responded when we told him the auction was nearing the end. I feel like if they had communicated better, they may have won the auction.

Anyway, in the end, we’re extremely happy with how much the game has made us so far, and by accepting the exclusive license offer, we were able to leave the flash game behind us and focus on porting the game to the xbox.

On to the next one

Which brings me to my next point; the xbox version of the game; Speedrunner HD.

The future for this game is looking very bright, as we’re currently in the running for joining the Xbox Live Indie Games Summer Uprising. We’ve also submitted the game to Microsoft’s Dream.Build.Play competition, and we might have some more exciting news about Speedrunner HD soon, but that’ll have to wait until the next blog post.. all that we can say right now is watch the trailer and wait for the the game to be released at the end of August, coinciding with the announcement of the results of the Dream.Build.Play competition.


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