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How we Host our Games for Download

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1 How we Host our Games for Download on Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:59 pm

Jon Bon

One of the most important parts of developing a video game is getting it to players. Hosting and bandwidth can be expensive, but luckily there are inexpensive and free methods that lend really well to independent development. This article will go into what we at Bon Ink provide for our published games and what other services go along side that.

General Hosting Information
Every time you upload a file to the internet you use a percent of your maximum bandwidth allowance you receive from your Internet Service Provider(ISP). If you have unlimited uploads and downloads then this is not a consideration.
If your bandwidth is limited, then even a game of a couple hundred megabytes can add up when you intend to reach audiences in the thousands. This is why file hosting is a necessary medium to get your game to the players.
When considering the release of free games, it's a simple matter of hosting the game and providing a link. When releasing a commercial game more complications arise, such has how to receive payment from the player then ensuring that only paid players can get a copy. There are many ways to go about this, but that will be covered in a different guide having to do with commercial release products.

The main thing to remember when hosting a game is that you will always want to provide more then one source to download from. The reason for this is in the event one host goes down, or is unavailable for any reason you should have alternatives to ensure your game can always be acquired.
When looking into hosting always check for limits to the maximum amount of transfer data a month they allow. Much like an ISP, file hosting sites may limit the amount you can share your files a month, week etc.
It's a good idea to host your game on many places so that if your amounts are limited you can spread out the numbers. However the more hosting places you use the more administrative time you create. Uploading files takes time, and monitoring the downloads for efficacy as well as creating accounts, updating material all takes time. So it's best to moderate your hosting sites to amount you believe is necessary. You can always expand to more hosting later, but downgrading and getting rid of existing links is never a good idea.
Read on to see the sites we use and how they combine the benefit of file hosting with online gaming communities.

Our Methods of Hosting
Our main hosting is a paid professional account at Mediafire which allows us 250GB of hosting and 4.31TB of bandwidth monthly. This is for the hosting of completed games intended to be downloaded by players. As well as for things like press kits, and other promotional related material.
There are no adds when a link is clicked and downloads begin immediately after clicking.
This host is listed last of the downloads link to conserve space, as well as to direct downloaders to the other pages for their benefits.

Indie DataBase allows for file hosting as well as many other benefits. Along with your hosted games you can design a page specifically for it with divided tabs for news, images, videos, and other additional media. Signup, membership and file hosting are all free.
The benefits of having your game here is access to their preexisting fan base. Using the genre filters and by keeping an active profile you can see that your game gains a steady flow of traffic from there site. Creating content with a high impact will see that your game gets a higher player base.

An additional benefit of IndieDB is they are partnered with a site that operates in the same manner but for commercial release games, a site called Dasura. Dasura, allows developers to monetize their hosted game and sell copies while giving a percentage to Dasura. This will be covered in more detail in a guide written for commercial release games.

Similar to IndieDB, GameJolt allows developers to send their files in for hosting. They have a limit cap, but will gladly increase it if you email them. The extra benefit of Gamejolt is the ability to integrate a 'trophy' type system with leaderboards for scores as well. This allows developers to create an online community for their game using a preexisting one.

Hosting is something that is inevitable for all developers. Gaving a firm grasp on how to get your free games to your players is important to the final steps of your release. Using these three hosting sites for our developed and published games we can ensure that players can get the game from a variety of sources, as well as gain fans through the social aspects of the last two mentioned hosts.
It's important to mention that this is only where the game is 'physically' hosted, and not where the game is 'present' when including forums, and other social communities.

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