Two weeks ago I was able to attend my first ever PAX, which is a massive and beloved consumer gaming show. The kind that attracts real gaming fans who will happily give up their weekend, pay for tickets, and queue in their thousands to be the first ones into the show. The kind that sells out of tickets on a regular basis. Just attending would have been extremely interesting to me but I had the opportunity to do something even more incredible: I was able to showcase the game I'm working on to thousands of potential fans. WOW. Read on for my full postmortem.
Archive for the ‘Money’ Category
That's not an oxymoron! While the whole point of being 'indie' is to be independent (primarily of a publisher!) there are many other ways a publisher can help you while letting you remain independent. Traditionally game publishers would pay an upfront fee that paid for a studio to develop their game, but in return own all of the IP and almost all of the revenue from a game (and sequels!!).
Nowadays with digital distribution one of the main reasons to need a traditional publisher is gone but there are other things they can help with like PR, advertising and marketing budgets around launch, getting you onto marketplaces like Steam, etc. Sometimes this could be more of a partnership than a publishing deal.
I've just started talks with a few indie-friendly publishers for Guild of Dungeoneering so I thought I would share my list for others considering this approach. Some of these are full-on publishers with a focus on indie games, some are actual indie developers who also publish other dev's games, and some are marketing specialists.
- Indie Fund - http://indie-fund.com
- Devolver Digital - http://www.devolverdigital.com
- Double Fine Presents - http://www.doublefine.com
- Paradox Interactive - https://www.paradoxplaza.com
- Team 17 - http://www.team17.com
- Midnight City - http://www.midnight-city.com
- Adult Swim - http://games.adultswim.com
- Curve Digital - http://www.curve-studios.com
- Chucklefish - http://www.chucklefish.org
- Finji - http://www.finjigames.com
- Versus Evil - http://vsevil.net
- nkidu - http://www.nkidu.com
- Reverb - http://reverbinc.com/triplexp
- Mastertronic - http://www.mastertronic.com
- Positech - http://positech.co.uk
- Square Enix Collective - http://collective.square-enix.com
- Surprise Attack – http://surpriseattackgames.com
- Headup Games - http://www.headupgames.com
- Wadjet Eye Games - http://www.wadjeteyegames.com
- tinyBuild Games - http://tinybuild.com
- Digital Tribe Games - http://digitaltribegames.com/
- Evolve PR - http://www.evolve-pr.com
- STEAKSTEAK - http://steaksteak.com
- Whippering - http://whippering.com/
- Indie Wolverine - http://indiewolverine.com/
I'm focused primarily on PC, as is most of the above list, but if you are looking for help with a mobile game I'd recommend looking through this twitter list as quite a few of the list are mobile-focused.
Thanks to the Indie Game Developers facebook group, @kristruitt, @LukeD and /r/gamedev for helping me put this list together. If you have any suggestions to add to this list feel free to leave a comment!
The last week has been an important one for me. I've given up my job and become a fulltime indie game developer, I've released the first trailer for Guild of Dungeoneering and launched the game on Steam Greenlight.
Indie can be hard to define and is definitely a bit too overloaded these days, but it explains quite well what I'm trying to do. I'll be mostly working by myself making games. I like to compare myself to a writer who has decided to give up the day job and focus entirely on finishing that first novel.
A wild TRAILER appeared!
So this has been in the works for a couple of months. Fred (who is doing all the art for Guild of Dungeoneering) came up with the script, the jokes, did all the animation, picked the music and even did the voiceover for it!! Talented fellow! Have a look yourself:
We released this last Wednesday at the same time as a big press blitz I coordinated which has led to quite a few people writing about us, which is fantastic! I'll write up a longer post about the experience later on.
For Your Consideration
We also launched on Steam Greenlight at the same time, to try and maximise any press exposure we got for the trailer and convert as much of it as possible into Greenlight votes and attention.
So far this is going well, though not quite the rocketship to the top I was hoping for. As of this writing we are 42% of the way to the top 100 with 2,910 yes votes. Sadly a massive proportion of visits to the page has been from within Greenlight itself, so despite getting some big numbers to the main game page in the last few days they haven't quite translated into Greenlight traffic. That said, I'm sure anyone who's looking at the game page and clicks through to greenlight is pretty likely to throw down a yes vote.
I do have some more ideas to get extra traffic onto greenlight so more on that when it's ready. I'll also write up a much longer post on the whole experience once we're through. Oh and if you've voted for the game - Thanks! It's really appreciated!
This month I am combining my One Game A Month addiction with something new and exciting: the October Challenge. It is a simple challenge: 'Finish a game — Take it to market — Earn $1'.
I have recently been finishing a lot of smaller games thanks to game jams and One Game a Month. This is a great feeling and absolutely every wannabe game developer should start by finishing something. However there is another side to becoming a successful independent game developer, namely marketing your game so more than two people hear about it and polishing your game so that those you reach are willing to throw you some cash.
Join me as I outline my plan to polish, market & release a simple game within a month.
Earlier this year, Tim Schafer (of Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango fame among others), launched a funding drive on Kickstarter. His studio, Double Fine Productions, was hoping to raise $400,000 from their loyal fans to create a new game and create an access-all-areas documentary of the game production process. After their 45 day campaign had ended, they had raised more than $3,300,000 — eight times the target amount.
Looking at the facts, it made for very impressive reading: until very recently, it was the most funded project ever on Kickstarter, more than 87,000 people had reached into their wallet and pledged millions of dollars in real cash, and the project had received coverage from BBC World News to the Sydney Morning Herald.
There was something less obvious — and potentially more important — about this success however. What had all these people actually purchased? In the vast majority of cases, they had pre-ordered the game, but virtually no details of the game actually existed — no concept art, no story outlines, not even a title. The only detail that was disclosed was that the game was going to be classic point-and-click adventure. That's it.
A parallel universe exists where Tim Schafer and Double Fine are trying to get this game funded through conventional means. They're drawing up the concept art right now, fleshing out the story line, coding up the game demo and putting together the kick ass presentation to show to potential publishers.
The publishers don't like it. The game's theme is too dark. Who's going to buy a game about a suicidal monkey? They don't like the title. The concept art? The less said the better. Sorry Tim, better luck next time.
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Are you trying to make flash games for a living, but having a hard time making ends meet? Have you made an engaging & fun game, then spent months polishing and tweaking it to perfection before releasing it onto the world? Maybe you got it right and it's a hit – it's been played and enjoyed by literally millions of people! Well time to sit back and watch the pennies roll in, my friend, because that's all you're going to be getting. This may sound alarming, but it's what most flash game developers have experienced using what I call the 'Ad Model' of monetisation.
We want to build up this part-time game development gig into a successful business, so we have to think about how to make this profitable from the beginning! Here's how we are going to monetise the games we are working on – if you are a game developer (or thinking of becoming one) this should be very helpful to you too!