After doing some game development in my spare time and not being able to find a decent editor for simple 2D animations and spritesheet manipulation, I decided to knock one together. A year later and what started as a side-project has become something of an obsession and maybe a potential business.
I am struggling to gauge interest. There have been quite a few downloads (>100) but no feedback other than 'it looks like a pretty nice tool'.
I can continue adding features and polishing the software, but do you think that I should wait and see if anybody purchases the basic version? It's functional and useful at the moment, even though it does lack features. I realise it's a niche market I'm targeting but I couldn't find any significant competitors. Besides, all the gold-rush iPhone devs need software too right?
My aim with this release was to gather feedback for improvements, but I guess the real feedback I was looking for was a single purchase to justify the concept and provide motivation to continue. I have done a little marketing but I'm worried about giving my product a bad name for being low on features before it even takes off- I was hoping to quietly launch and get feedback and sales from a small section of the market I am targeting.
Are there many uISV's out there that didn't make any sales for a long time? Should I look for a sale or two as proof of concept?
If it helps my software is here- http://www.darkfunction.com
I would stop building features, start trying to build an audience, and start selling your software.
The problem with passion projects is that when you run out of passion, they usually die. If you were making your living off of it, you'd be much more likely to do a great job.
Low Cost Ways to Get Leads Blog about what you know and what you are passionate about. Emanuele Feronato started creating great tutorials around Flash a few years ago for free, and now has 10,000+ visitors a month. Or spend more time reading other people's blogs and leaving thoughtful comments, so hopefully those authors go on your blog and read your content.
Focus more on SEO strategies as well and start trying to rank for "sprite creator", "sprite maker", etc. If you have awesome content on game creation, use the Google Keyword Tool figure out some low-competition keywords you can buy some AdWords for. Try to get people to your articles and hopefully they subscribe to your blog.
If You Don't Want to Build a Business If you are only interested in developing your programming skills and don't care about making money, then hack away! I did this with a project I was positive would take off.
It was called Your Face in the Game. I spent hundred of hours just building it because I was excited. In the end, it didn't go viral like I assumed in would. Always assume no one will care about your project.
I wrote up a blog article with my thoughts on what YFITG didn't work. The main reason was I didn't have an audience to send out my content too, and I should have built a tool for developers and focused less on building games.