Post Mortem – Orion’s Belt

Hello, my name is Pedro Santos and I’m one of the developers of Orion’s Belt (OB). Orion’s Belt is a tactical mmo where the player has to manage planets and explore the universe. There are a lot of games of this genre, but OB differs because it’s very tactical, on very different levels. We didn’t want to make just another clone so we invested a lot of time designing a new game with lots of interesting features.

We started to develop OB for a school project, 7 years ago. Soon after we launched the game and kept it as a hobby for about 5 years. All that time we learned that we didn’t had a scalable game, and we had many difficulties to maintain the game.  But the experience running the game was very valuable, because we learned several useful things:

  • Technical skills aren’t important – no one cares about the site being made on tech X or Y, they just want it running and bug free
  • Having a pretty website is very important for converting new visitors…
  • …but good game play is what keeps them around
  • Having a quality website, and an excellent game play is worthless, if you don’t get people to see it!

This last point was our biggest problem! We only targeted the Portuguese market, and in about five years, we got ~5000 registrations. That is a very small quantity! One thing is a player registering, playing, doesn’t liking, and moving on. That is normal, there will always be people that doesn’t like the game. But they should at least try it, to know about it.

After realizing the problem, we searched for solutions. How to property promote a browser game? That is, with a limited budget of course. We are still working on that, but now that we learned that our biggest problem was distribution, we’ll be less likely to fall on the same problem again. At least we hope so. :)

All that time running the first version of OB, we had a great community supporting us, and that made us go on. A couple of years ago our current employer found us and he liked our work and and project so much that he decided to fund a new version, without any of the problems of the previous one. We have been spending the last six months working full time on OB, and getting paid for it! It’s like a dream come true, after a lot of hard work. And now we have a marketing department to assist us on promoting the game.

So, if you’re starting or running a small browser game, don’t give up, focus and work hard. There’s a huge market and we all have a place on it. Also, network like hell and share ideas with other developers.

Wish there was more?

I'm considering writing an ebook - click here.


About the author: Pedro Santos is a developer on Orion's Belt Browser Game, a Tactical MMO Space Browser Game where all battles are placed on a board game similar to chess.


Friday, February 20th, 2009 motivation, postmortem
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Building Browsergames is a blog about browsergames(also known as PBBG's). It's geared towards the beginner to intermediate developer who has an interest in building their own browsergame.


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