A month of Necromancy

It has been over a month since You Died but a Necromancer revived you released! This is our very first time selling a game and the experience has been invaluable plus sales were way better than expected!

Thanks to all your support we are already working in our next projects! ❤

But now let’s take a step back and talk about the journey making You Died but a Necromancer revived you for those that are interested.

Hello, Jaime Gifte here!
Will talk in first person from now on, just to make things a bit easier to type.

Game jam’s dumb sketch of the story

The game was originally made during the Comet Con’s first game jam ( Comet Jam ), the chosen theme was “You Died” and at first I was not going to participate because nothing came to mind but then my dad said something weird “Why not make a game about labyrinths and stuff?” to which sparkled an idea…

Let’s make a game about traps in a small maze! … It turned out to be very boring, you could take your time to avoid all traps and navigate the maze… wait, why not make the map explode?

And that’s when the game became fun

Title screen – 2016 vs 2019

Altho it may seem as if we took the theme quite literally calling it “You Died but…” at first I was going to name it “You Dead Boy” or “Super Dead Boy” or something along those lines, but after some deliberation it was clear it needed to be the long tedious yet accurate name of You Died but a Necromancer revived you!

We ended up winning the game jam! Im very proud of that and while very excited to get to work on the final version we would first need to wait until Red Handsome Hood was finished & released.

The Hallways – 2016 vs 2019

I started working on the game again at the end of summer of 2017, took the chance to code it from scratch and upgrade it from GameMaker Studio 1 to 2.

A lot changed from the game jam to the final game, for starters we increased the resolution from 300×300 pixels to 350×350 pixels, a bit more spacious and allows for the interface elements to be outside the map.

The Entrances First Boss – Bell Bros

A lot of time was spent in trying out things, one of them were bosses (shown above), characters that would fight against you… however they felt REALLY unnatural gameplay-wise (since all you can do is move) and making a “fighting” mechanic would completely change the game.

That’s when we discarded bosses and replaced them with what we call Ultra Traps. However the bosses can be unlocked as playable characters by completing each area of the game!

Mimic Painting – Discared trap

In 2018 the game was getting closer to being finished and GameMaker Studio had announced their own export module for Nintendo Switch!

As a Nintendo Switch user myself I knew the game would fit perfectly in it! I had to try it! That’s when in summer I took the jump to work on BolHut full-time! Savings help me!

I like to doodle what each area would have very tiny.
Also a hint to a possible sewer area

For some months I got encouraged to look for a publisher, thinking it would greatly help us to properly get the game to platforms & market it, since I do not have experience whatsoever in those areas.

Long story short without rambling: a waste of time (but I learned stuff!)

The reason I say it was a waste of time basically is because of how draining and time consuming it ended up being. A lot of that time could have been better spent in focusing on the game, yet…

A tiny studio with a tiny game nobody knows of? No, no, no, no response, no response… And I did get a couple of offers but I was not 100% confident about. Right before giving up, there was one publisher that I was really excited to work with that replied to us with yes! Nice! However after 2 months of silence from them, they finally get back to us and… No?

Oh well, “To self-publish I go”

The same week I decided to self-publish I contacted Nintendo… and just the week after… the game was running flawlessly on a Nintendo Switch!

The very first working build on a Nintendo Switch at 4 AM in the morning.

Awesome!

The Laboratories
But the name was so long we had to change it to The Gardens
The Hierophant (Discarded)
Its like the opposite of a Necromancer, it was going to be a character explaining the tutorial… however what’s to explain of Left-Right-Up-Down?

2019 and the game was basically ready to release. I had underestimated a bit all the things needed for a proper release so it took me some time to finally get everything ready but everything was right on time for the release date we set ( 19th of April )

Some big games also got announced to release the 18th of April, a day before ours, however I was set on the date and so we kept working forward.

The final boss was redesigned and remade 4 times
One of them had a giant “Robomancer” phase, it ended up feeling very unnatural like any other boss
Work in progress of promotional art

I stubbornly decided to do the marketing myself. Sending emails to press, youtubers & streamers starting the week before launch.

It was a good learning experince! And definetely something difficult to do in such short notice, yet we managed to do an okay job things considered.

Unused traps & second boss

19th of April and the game is out!! I barely slept and I was up working to fix a couple of last minute issues with the steam build (screenshots weren’t working)

The first weekend I was out visiting my family so I could only check what was going on through my phone (so nervous!) and it was not until 4 days later I could check our sales. My expectations were low, tiny studio, tiny game, barely any marketing… however to my surprise the game quickly surpassed and doubled my expectations and investment!!

Almost bug-free! And lots of tweaks!

The game has received multiple updates: extra options, customization, we tweaked the difficulty and made Ultra Hard more welcoming (yet challenging)

Every day I spend some time taking a look at what is going on with the game and it is so rewarding to see people enjoy & share the game.

2018 promotional image

So, what is in the future of You Died But a Necromancer revived you ? I do not know, I have lots of small ideas, but the game is good the way it is and I do not want to rush content for the sake of content.

As for now, I cannot say thank you enough.

Until next time! Thank you!