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Lenna's Inception is a top-down Zelda-like action-adventure game with a world that is glitching, with a style that can switch between 8-bit and 32-bit pixel art styles.

It's now been available for a year so Tom Coxon of Bytten Studio has written up a postmortem for how it went, and it was a thoroughly interesting read. First, a refresher on who they are. Bytten Studio was initially just Tom Coxon who previously worked for Chucklefish on titles like Starbound and the multiplayer for Stardew Valley, Coxon was later joined by Jay Baylis who also worked for Chucklefish in the past on titles like Starbound and Wargroove.

To date they've managed to sell 6,800 across itch.io and Steam which isn't a lot for an entire year. However, it's well above average going by the 2019 numbers that Mike Rose of No More Robots put together. Game development for indies is clearly tough and most will likely need a part-time job to ensure they can keep going, something Coxon points out in the Lenna's Inception postmortem.

So above average sales, and thankfully the reception was good overall and on Steam right now it's sat on a "Very Positive".

What's interesting for us here is that 5% of the sales were from Linux, which is again (like sales for indies) higher than the average and higher than the current Linux user share on Steam (see our Steam Tracker). Not only that, 22% of their sales were from the itch.io store too so that's a reasonable chunk and certainly not to be ignored. Here's what they said about the Linux stats:

Also of note is that 5% of copies were bought by Linux users, which is a lot more than the average for games on Steam. I think this comes down to several factors:

  1. The low number of total copies sold means that not many extra Linux users in absolute terms have to find the game to push the relative-terms figure up.
  2. Actually reaching out to Linux-specific gaming press and treating Linux as a first-class platform. I do think that indies have yet to really figure out how to market to Linux gamers, who often get ignored or lied to by larger studios. There are more than enough Linux gamers out there to make your indie game a success; the difficulty, as with all platforms, is in reaching them. The difference is that nobody seems to be marketing specifically to Linux gamers. The first to actually succeed at this could maybe double their sales figures or more.

I did all the coding for Lenna’s Inception on Linux (I like a good terminal), so officially supporting the platform has been almost free. Linux gamers are also very good at fixing your bugs for you!

The figure for Mac was a lot lower: .8%. Most likely because we dropped official Mac support prior to release because continuing to support it became a huge burden.

So the Linux version sold approximately 340 copies which at their normal price of £7.19 that would be somewhere around £2,444.6 (it went on sale once previously, so likely a bit lower). For a small indie developer, that can make all the difference.

Interestingly, they gave purchasers of the massive Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality on itch.io a copy of Lenna's Inception too so a further eighty thousand people have a copy of it. This had a fun side-effect, which seemed to actually boost their sales shortly after on Steam.

Concluding the postmortem: sadly overall Lenna's Inception was not a commercial success but valuable lessons have been learned from developing and marketing it. Oh and Coxon said "Don't sleep on Linux, itch.io, consoles or localisation. They’re important!".

You can buy Lenna's Inception on itch.io and Steam.

Bytten Studio are currently working on Cassette Beasts, an open-world monster catching RPG built with the free and open source Godot Engine and they will be continuing Linux support with it.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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37 comments
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tuubi 25 Jan
Quoting: slaapliedjeIs it explained why the glitches are there? I mean to me it looks like just a graphical glitch like the memory is reading the wrong tiles and just makes a flashy weird mess. I kind of accepted it with the rubble at the beginning, but one of the beasties I attacked in the tutorial dungeon didn't seem like it belonged.
It all belongs. It's a weird game, in a good way.
slaapliedje 26 Jan
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Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: slaapliedjeIs it explained why the glitches are there? I mean to me it looks like just a graphical glitch like the memory is reading the wrong tiles and just makes a flashy weird mess. I kind of accepted it with the rubble at the beginning, but one of the beasties I attacked in the tutorial dungeon didn't seem like it belonged.
It all belongs. It's a weird game, in a good way.
Sweet. now it needs an AtariVCS port, as it seems like weird would fit :)
iskaputt 26 Jan
Actually bought the title after this article, but haven't been able to play yet. Would be kind of interesting to see if and how much impact GOL articles have on Linux numbers, especially when it's something positive like this one here. It's at least not a rare sight to see people post messages such as mine under similar articles.
slaapliedje 27 Jan
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Quoting: iskaputtActually bought the title after this article, but haven't been able to play yet. Would be kind of interesting to see if and how much impact GOL articles have on Linux numbers, especially when it's something positive like this one here. It's at least not a rare sight to see people post messages such as mine under similar articles.
Probably quite a lot, as it gives games a bit more marketing than they otherwise would in the now flooded Linux game space. I remember there was a time when Steam first came to Linux where I would try to buy as much as I could (as long as it wasn't clearly just garbage), but had to stop as there were just too damn many games coming out!
Liam Dawe 27 Jan
Quoting: slaapliedjeProbably quite a lot, as it gives games a bit more marketing than they otherwise would in the now flooded Linux game space. I remember there was a time when Steam first came to Linux where I would try to buy as much as I could (as long as it wasn't clearly just garbage), but had to stop as there were just too damn many games coming out!
I remember trying to write about every single thing too, back then I actually could, now each game I cover means another misses out....
slaapliedje 27 Jan
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: slaapliedjeProbably quite a lot, as it gives games a bit more marketing than they otherwise would in the now flooded Linux game space. I remember there was a time when Steam first came to Linux where I would try to buy as much as I could (as long as it wasn't clearly just garbage), but had to stop as there were just too damn many games coming out!
I remember trying to write about every single thing too, back then I actually could, now each game I cover means another misses out....
For sure. I was going to write some articles, but there's the whole thing of needing to have my real name on here, and I'm too much of a bastard to do that :P
Ezequiel 30 Jan
Quoting: tccoxon-snip-

I discovered this game through this article, I bought it, liked it and recommended it to some close friends who weren't aware this game exist either, they both bought it. We all use Linux.

We get info about games from sites like this, we aren't big youtube watchers, we don't really follow reddit. Steam recommendations as well as "featured" on itch.io are some other places where we find cool games. We pay attention to recommendations from friends, as well as people on channels/communities we visit and participate in.

I get we are kinda niche, but let's be fair, these type of games are niche as well haha. Just my input on how I think people like me and my friends can find out about cool games to purchase.
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