3 Jan 2012

Indie Advice: Long Term

Your first game, or indeed your next game, may not be a success. It doesn‘t have to be.

What are your long-term goals? Very few people are talented enough to be successful at something on their first attempt. How many bands‘ first songs turn out to be #1 hits?

If you carefully market your studio as well as your game and make efforts to network, then you will be building a long-term awareness of what you do with those in the industry and with the games-playing public. If your first game bombs, at least people will know who you are second time around.

Do people get these metaphors?

Look at Zeboyd Games, creators of Breath Of Death and Cthulhu Saves The World. They created very good titles for XBLIG, but sadly like many other XBLIG developers failed to make a sustainable profit. Their games were quite-rightly critically acclaimed, thus opening the door to have their games distributed on Steam. Word of their style reached influential places in the industry, and they‘re now working on a Penny Arcade game.

Evaluate what assets you have. How can you exploit these further? Could you port to another platform? Might you get more notoriety by submitting your game to a festival?

My game was a commercial failure. However in the process of creating it I accrued enough experience and established enough contacts that I was presented with an opportunity to work at IndieCity.

Whilst you‘re focusing on creating your game keep in mind how you can maximise the number of doors that may open for you in the future. Talk to as many people as you can. Be pleasant. Be professional - within indie limits, naturally.

My sensei taught (through the medium of pain) that everything that ever happens to you is your own fault. A more optimistic spin on this is that you make your own luck, and you do this by being prepared, working hard, and by maximising the number of opportunities that you have to be in the right place at the right time. 


David said...

Cool. It's interesting to read your thoughts on indie game dev. I'm hoping to make one or two small indie games myself after I know more about c++. Like you said, your first games probably won't be a huge success but I would like to have something to add into my portfolio.

Deejay said...

I'm glad you found it interesting! Being able to incrementally build your way to success is a much more realistic goal. I'd even suggest planning on making two games in the same genre, so you can re-use the same engine and spend more time improving the game second time round, after nailing the tech on the first game.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!