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Could I make a living being an Indie Game Dev?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MrSanfrinsisco, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    First of all kudos to you for finishing your game and sharing your story with us. I know this can't be an easy thing to do (both things actually), but we all can learn so much from the examples where things didn't go well.


    If it makes you feel any better: I'm a freelance artist and have invested over 1000 hours into a game that never got released, and since I'm usually booked for freelance work far in advance, that time investment had a very real and very significant "opportunity cost" for me. Money-wise, I think almost every other thing that I could have invested over 1000 hours on would have yielded me much more (than nothing) and I've had my fair share of regrets there.


    When I read that sentence I legit didn't know whether the next suggestion would be double of half that. But I agree on 10$ not "feeling right".


    Ultimately the pricing thing is a mind-game that on its own does not create sales if the hook of the game isn't strong enough. I've seen plenty of examples where a low impulse-buy price point was the way to go, but I'm also hearing more and more examples of games that thought they should sell at 10 or 15, but actually did very well selling at 20 or 25. "The price is the message" is something I've heard before, people perceive higher priced things as more valuable. Compared to 10$, I think 20$ @50% off would have been a better idea. 5$ @60% would also probably have worked better.

    Regarding marketing, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. I would bet money that if you had spent 0$ and effort on it, this thread would be full of comments like "Well duh, of course it didn't sell if you don't do proper marketing, what a silly thing to do." So what you got for your 5-digit investment is the peace of mind to not have to ask yourself for the rest of your life "What if I had spent more money on marketing? Would it have made a difference?". So, try not to feel too bad about it, you got at least this one thing out of it, which is worth something too.

    Personally I don't believe in the "formal marketing" that you went with.


    So, with the power of 20/20 hindsight and knowing that you had ~30k to invest here is what I would have recommended (but absolutely would not have done myself because I'm all about preaching water and drinking wine, and ain't nobody got time for smart marketing...):

    - ride the popularity wave of "synthwave" and retro aesthetics, make visuals and soundtrack/sound-design into one cohesive 80's inspired "Gesamtkunstwerk" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesamtkunstwerk )

    - commision an 80's themed fun to watch teaser about the game, but with no gameplay footage, that sets up some story and announces an ARG ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_reality_game ) with a real 1000$ price, clues for how to solve it will be in the game, but you actually only push them to the game piece by piece post-release

    - have the 3 things (teaser, ARG, game) contribute to the same cohesive narrative, all linked to each other - bonus points for anything that fuels people talking about it on social media

    - make sure everyone has to play past the refund time-window to get the clues

    - go for a low impulse-buy pricepoint caused by a steep preorder sale ( like 75% off @20$ and make clear that goes straight to 20$ on release and you only have it so low for more people to have a chance to participate), buying the game now is like buying a lottery ticket, people already get dopamine before it's even released yet

    - try to make your teaser video go viral, although I think with a 1000$ price competition and if the video itself turns out good enough, that should take care of itself because both are unusual.

    - have postmortems about your genius marketing strategy ready before you even go public, be ready to publish a post mortem gamasutra article shortly after the "competition" for the 1000$ price was solved and paid out, so that you can get a possible second round of visibility by gaming sites reporting on "creative low-budget indie marketing" or something like that - bonus points if you also have a post mortem ready that covers the case of it all not working out for a second chance of getting gaming news coverage and make it coincide with a 50% off sale


    example for the kind of teaser/trailer I'm talking about:


    Of course it is a thousand times easier thinking these things up than following through on them and if I had made a game in my spare-time I wouldn't have the energy to also do such a marketing campaign on top of making the game. I'm biased, because I am a freelance artist, but for low budget indie games I think more than 9 times out of 10 you are better off spending 100% of what you intended to spend on banner ads or influencer brand deals on artwork and music instead. And if you can't make the game the coolest/prettiest for a certain well-defined demographic, then scope down or pivot to another target audience where you can. The market doesn't support "second place and below", to make a 20$ sale, your game needs to be "the most appealing thing I could spend 20 bucks on right now" for at least some people. If someone wishlists instead of buying, that's already an indicator of them finding it not appealing enough. And it's getting harder and harder and harder with the market being hyper competitive, people having backlogs of amazing games that they already own and haven't even touched yet, and store-wide sales are almost regular like clockwork. If you want to sell a full priced game to someone like me, you basically need to kick me right in the nostalgia, so hard that it brings tears of joy to my eyes, like e.g. bringing out a turn based BattleTech game after years and years of me waiting for it to happen - that one I actually bought full price on release, and it's probably the first time I did that in years...
     
  2. justanobody

    justanobody

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    Come down off your own high horse. He managed to live off his wife doing this as a 10 hour a week hobby. For a guy with no hits, he had hits... at least just one. What potential is there if he didn't have a his own hit? Casual games like match 3 are mainstream and he still couldn't cut it. That's why I'm uncertain if his speech is real or stand up comedy.
     
  3. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    He tells an interesting story of perseverance and modest success. However modest, its likely more success than most people going down this path will see. It's interesting to hear about stories of wild success, its sobering to hear about failures, but there's also something to be gained from this.

    I don't know if you have had wild success and that's what drives your view, or maybe you have started down this path and are scared to admit that its hard. Maybe something entirely different. Whatever the details the way you speak about his story comes off as rather bumptious.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  4. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Big talk coming from somebody 30k in the hole.
     
  5. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    My main problem with the video in question, and I may have mentioned it in this thread before but I can't be bothered to verify that, is that he seems to be classifying a "hit" as "I made a fortune off of a game" rather than a sensible "I made a game that paid for itself and kept me in business".

    If you pay attention to the numbers and graphs he provided he made good money off of his games.
     
  6. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    A hit commonly is synonymous with "blockbuster." There's a difference between a hit and a success.
     
  7. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Well that's just it... he did "cut it" he is showing a realistic... much more realistic... way to succeed as an Indie Game Dev. The reason people wouldn't boo him off the stage is just a reflection of the true reality: the majority of people will not achieve the level of success he has.

    And you know this firsthand from your own experience as you've shared in that other thread. It is not easy to make more than a few cents in many cases so to run a profitable business like he has and is... that is a huge success and the ultimate most Indies should ever expect to achieve.

    I think it is all of the media focus on the extremely rare cases where someone makes ridiculous amounts if money that has created very unhealthy unrealistic expectations from this industry.

    For several years media even mainstream was obsessed with bringing attention to the few cases of someone making a huge amount of money as an Indie game dev especially if the game was simplistic and made in a short amount of time. That caused a massive number of people to come running into this and that in turn made the odds of success decrease significantly.
     
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  8. deliquescator

    deliquescator

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    Think of it this way, you're on a remote island which needs access to other parts of the world. You launch a private boat taxi business and you're a hit, cos the market is niche.

    Others notice your successful business idea and do the same. For some time, a lot of newcomers succeed but as more and more join in, it becomes harder and the competition fiercer. Now, add rich companies who can invest money into premium big boats and advertising on a large scale while keeping the costs down, and the niche is gone. Suddenly, it takes a lot of time and effort for your boat service to be successful unless your business is attractive in a distinctive way like for example going to a place others don't. Or you decide sell your house to put adverts all over the island so that everybody knows about your business, but then again if your boat is crap and you charge a lot then it's not gonna succeed even then, as there are better options available.

    Unfortunately, this is business unless you do it for fun and don't care about money. There is no way an indie can outdo a high budget studio, so you need to be original or put a lot into ads but in order for ads to succeed, you need to make it interesting enough for people to even consider your game.
     
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  9. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    The most important, you need to be constant and have talent to make good games.
    You can't rely on one game success, you must get success in the long term to worth it.
     
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  10. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I agree with that for sure @zenGarden especially having a long-term view. Not as in spending years on a single game but expecting as a business it will take years of effort to build. Not as appealing to most as all of the folks who succeeded through primarily factors outside their own control but ultimately means you also have a much more solid foundation and know how you succeeded and how to continue to do so.

    This is extremely important imho otherwise you end up like so many folks who make a popular game and cannot duplicate that success ever again simply because they had little to do with creating the success to begin with.

    Actually we see an example of this in that thread about massive drop in mobile game revenue. When I read that I can't help but think why are you all so bummed and complaining about it? You were literally handed a "lucky break" for each one of you there were thousands of other devs just as deserving who did not get that "free ride". You should have used that golden opportunity to learn and build a real business. But then people have told me I am a bit of a hard ass. Lol
     
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  11. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Alone as indie, the less risky is work as freelance as coders or artist to get enough regular income.
    As a team it worth it if you are talented enough to join an indie team that have constant succesful games.
    For example SuperGiant Games
    http://www.supergiantgames.com/team/
     
  12. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    I think you're confusing justanobody with me. I don't think (or at least know) that he's 30k in the hole. I am. I have no reason to speak that way to anybody. Sorry for the confusion.
     
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  13. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    My bad! I confused you two because you both have relatively low post counts and justanobody's posts tend to be "I made 1 sale."
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  14. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    And they have the same avatar... Easy mistake to make.
     
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  15. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Honestly, so few people on the forums actually set an avatar that I don't even notice them at this point.
     
  16. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Y'know... I think it's a good thing when people are open about their numbers, especially when they're not amazing successes, so I'd personally like to see them treated with respect regardless of who they might be. And that goes for more than one post here.
     
  17. DespairBear

    DespairBear

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    I think for me, I have to believe in indie dev as a viable route someday, as there are creative ways to survive in the world in this age. You have to believe in your own vision and you have to keep trying. I work a job in the tech industry and it provides me with the income I need in order to keep my system up to date, buy new creative tools (assets, paint, musical instruments, etc), and keep my brain running on a healthy balanced diet while having access to decent doctors when I need it. Some day I hope to operate my own business. If you give up on the dream, you settle and omit the possibility of ever obtaining your dream. If you believe something is unrealistic or irrational, then you will stop executing that obsessive irrational behavior that may allow you to achieve your goal.

    Long story short, I go to my day job. When I can, I keep up and practice on my breaks (I have Unity installed on my work laptop so on my breaks I'll practice making little behavior trees, models with Probuilder + Surforge, or whatever) and when I get home, I eat dinner, do a bit of exercise and then I work until around 3 or 4 in the morning on my own projects. I get very little sleep during the week and I sleep about 12 hours once Friday night hits. But, I can look in the mirror and look at my actions and feel proud of what I am doing and I feel I haven't given up or compromised.

    If you want something, go for it. Don't listen too much to practicality, don't allow yourself to become homeless because of eccentricity but don't sacrifice it to the point where you are no longer you. Abiding purely by practicality assumes that you have a certain amount of the most precious resource available (time) when the reality is you have no idea how much time you have. If you love something, then pursue it like a maniac and don't stop yourself if your internal dialogue tells you to go for it. Even if you don't make it, at least you lived in a way you can feel proud of. That's more than a lot of people can say.

    If you have passion, don't stop following it. Don't let the world around you dictate your actions. Create the things you want to create because once you are dead, your ideas that were not followed and completed will die with you.

    I actually draw a lot more inspiration from indie devs who haven't had great success or fame but still keep going. That to me is true passion and truly inspirational because it shows that they do it because they love it, not because their ego just can't get enough of the attention. It shows perseverance of the human spirit despite all practical logic seeming to be against them, which is what art is. Against all reason and in a universe that is seemingly devoid of purpose, we manage to create our own and give ourselves a reason to get up everyday.

    Plus do you really want to give up? Even if it's unlikely? If you feel it's your purpose, then just dedicate and go for it. If it gives you a reason to get up and makes you feel excited about the future, then don't ever stop.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  18. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Very well said and completely agree. I'm not big on truly "following" people but the people out there who make cool things I find interesting are folks the vast majority almost certainly do not know of. Just people doing their own thing. Sometimes completely for enjoyment alone and others are making money selling their stuff. And I am reasonably sure the stuff I make & like is very niche as well. But I am going to make what I want to make; not what other people think I should make. lol

    Anyway I definitely think if people are going to focus on other people it is better to focus on the people you are describing. The "normal" people working their way to success little by little instead of focusing on the top 5 Indie hit creators of the year or whatever. Obviously people can do whatever they want to do. Just saying doing that seems like it is establishing an unrealistic perspective. In a way it is like focusing on the tiny % of people who buy a lottery ticket that matches the jackpot numbers drawn instead of looking at the whole picture.
     
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  19. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I came across a video that I think is highly relevant to this discussion. Hadn't seen it before. Actually it might have just been released today didn't really take a look to see.

    Anyway I found this very refreshing and the way this dude describes it is an almost carbon copy of my views right down to the whole I don't have time to make something great... something perfect... only to make something good enough.

    With time here being from a business perspective. If you spend twice the time then you need to make twice the number of sales. Spend 4 times as much time jacking around tweaking everything to near perfection now you need to make 4 times the number of sales.

    Perhaps it is something to do with age and / or because of past business experience and valuing time differently as a result compared to the bulk of people interested in game dev. All I know is I completely get what he is saying.

    The part about also keeping in mind whatever you are doing whatever amount you are doing should also be done with the idea of how much are you willing to do forever... for a career. Again that is why I haven't even pursued the Indie thing simply because I don't know if I really want to invest that energy & time period let alone for the long haul. Thinking about it a lot lately though. :)

    Enough of my rambling... he's not fancy but this is the voice of experience a normal person's approach to Indie dev as a business.

     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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  20. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    Well... I made 1 sale, too... :p Yay? :)
     
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  21. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    I have updated my avatar. I hope you enjoy. :)
     
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  22. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Yes... this is a huge post. TLDR... if it is too long for you then don't read it. :)

    I wasn't going to mention this because I'm pretty sure most here don't agree but then I think tht is probably true of most of my views on games and game dev. Lol ;)

    I think what the real challenge is... not a matter of striving for high production values in an effort to stand out... but simply that at one time it was so much easier to stand out because as long as you made a decent game that wasn't trying to be like a AAA game that game stood out kind of automatically.

    Over the past x years Indies & hobbyists have explored so many different mechanics, visual styles and even explored using games as a way to "send a message" of their personal core values. If you look out there... there are so many great games and so many stones have been overturned there simply isn't much left to discover or it certainly takes far more effort to bring something fresh to the market.

    So basically it's not a case of people creating games of too low of a quality they are unable to succeed; instead exactly the opposite. Indies & hobbyists have created & released so many great games exploring so many different things.

    They have been extremely successful at doing this but much like a lot of people grew tired of AAA games seeming to be "the same old thing" this happened with Indie games too just through the sheer number of great releases in such a short period of time that explored all kinds of different things. Some explored radically different presentation styles, some tried to find a deeper meaning, some literally built games around their own personal problems whether it be health or relationships or something else.

    So you need the same things as these earlier games needed to succeed but it is just much more difficult to do it because of the massive number of good games that have been made in such a short period of time.

    Basically this is still the key: making a game that is close enough to existing games to be somewhat familiar and easy to "connect with" yet being different enough to be get someone's attention and motivate them to give it some of their time.

    The "hook" as we call it. The bright side is eventually this thing may "start over" in the sense that many Indies may very well increasingly move toward making games that look a certain way or strive to create more and more radical games which would then create a hole once again for fundamental stuff... basic straightforward solid games.

    Unfortunately that won't happen until the basic level games stop being pumped out on the markets in mass by all of the first time game creators that are still coming in.

    I guess I am just thinking out loud here about the OP's question. Currently there are so many games being made the question is are there any holes left? I am sure there are but finding them as explained above is not straightforward.

    I think a "real gamer" (as in someone who loves playing games at least certain kinds of games) has a definite advantage. As such they should know what they and others love and what they hate about the existing games they play. And therein is the recipe for a game that has a much greater chance of success (again considering the connection this person would have with that community of existing players which gives massive benefits on the critical marketing sideof things) than just making a "random" game or even laboring on a dream game only to find out what you built in that exact form was only your dream (or more likely an extremely small number of people).

    So there you go. It is possible... and more likely for certain people (active gamers with high gamer community involvement) than others.

    I am & have am always been very much into games & game dev so spend a good amount of time seeing what is out there. To help put some perspective on things mentioned above these videos are basically a curated collection of Steam releases for a given day... as you can see all are quality games and they cover & explore a variety of genres, mechanics and visual styles. And these are just the handpicked releases chosen for the videos by this particular person and not all of the games released on that day by any means.

    This is what the rest of the world who doesn't keep their head stuck in programming code, 3D modeling programs, 2D art programs, etc sees... is there any wonder we are starting to hear people getting burned out on games? Lol









     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  23. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Thanks for the link! Looking back I'm continuously amazed by how many talks I apparently missed in the huge list on the official website for GDC despite looking through it multiple times. Jeff's talk was fantastic. I remember playing his games as a teen and thoroughly enjoying them.
     
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  24. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    This one just got released october 8th, but I had the same feeling with other gdc talks. I read in a comment under one of the videos something along the lines of "why is this unlisted?", so I wonder if maybe there are a number of unlisted videos that get listed one after the other, but don't have the release dates coinciding with the dates where they get publicly listed, thus looking like we "missed" those before. Let us know if you find out what the real reason is.


    @GarBenjamin Good to see you being active again here! When I stumbled over that spiderweb gdc talk on youtube I thought you might like this one, but you had already posted it here :D. I haven't watched the full thing yet, just a few minutes here and there and bookmarked it for later.

    Well said!
     
  25. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    A game needs many hooks.

    About role playing games genre, latest i played was Festival of magic, i didn't finished it :
    - the painted textures looks not appealing compared to some other painted styles
    - graphics lacks contrast and good lighting , perhaps normal maps
    -the characters design didn't appeal and the bland story bit bland
    - turn based combat lacks auto repeat last actions and speed *3.
    - some bugs crashing the game when it was out of beta, this was not good.
    - most areas lacks space, there is something every meter you walk without letting room for the player to wander around.

    The game got some success, but i won't buy their next game if it is the same formula.
    While i finished OceanHorn indie game that captivated me, i found it had appealing graphics, good lighting, and i prefer real time instead of turn based, with larger environments.

    As you can see, it's not easy to make a good game that will appeal to majority of gamers.

    It's not easy to make games such as Xenoblade on WII, FF7 or FFX, even they are old games, they have qualities hard for indies to make outside of graphics :
    - good , long and coherent story keeping you interested
    - unique appealing characters with interesting interaction between them
    - good presentation of 3D cinematics or 2D drawings or dialog
    - good graphics enough
    - good gameplay and interesting crafting when there is.
    - enough interesting content and extra bonus

    There is a lot of opportunity and success for people able to make a game with those features, unfortunately only few indies achieve that level.

    Indie game OceanHorn 2 has my interest, while such quality games are lacking on the indie market.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  26. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I don't know... from what I have seen Indies make games every bit as, if not much more, innovative & interesting than AAA (other than one area.... presentation as far as cutting edge 3D uber quality lighting, modeling, texturing, cinematics, basically movie-like stuff... Indies do innovate on presentation in many other ways).

    Look at something like Evoland 2... traveling around through different time periods with distinct graphics from very retro style in older time periods progressing up to modern HD. And seems to have a very solid interesting story that has really hooked many players who are wanting an Evoland 3.


    I think there are almost certainly many very good rpg games out there from Indies such as the ones from Spiderweb Software. But if you are limiting yourself to only games that are like AAA rpg games in every way then it might make more sense to just look at AAA rpg games and not even look at the Indie rpg games. It all depends on what a person wants, right? If you want it all to be like AAA best graphics, best acting, best writing, best of best they can get for everything by its nature those lofty requirements mean huge budget, huge amount of experiences, highly skilled resources are necessary to deliver it which is not what a person would normally expect from cottage industry Indies.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  27. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Sorry I originally read your reply too fast and may have got the wrong impression (I remember there being a huge interest in making AAA style games here and thought that was what you were getting at... I never understood that stuff... always made no sense to me "Indies should try harder make some real games like AAA... working with a shoebox, a 6-pack of soda/beer and a dream!" Ha ha).

    Anyway... Oceanhorn 2 does look like it could be a great game!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  28. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    You might enjoy Rime if you're looking for something inspired by games like Ico. It's a nice indie title (though controls are finicky) that got enough budget to really pull off its aesthetic.
     
  29. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Rime look good, but i found it boring after some hour, it's an empty world. It's a specific genre game for a niche of players.

    Unlike Festival of Magic, i really enjoyed Evoland 2, it's special and well made, with good pixel and 3D graphics.
    Oceanhorn 2 will be a big improvment over the first game.

    Such polished and interesting rpg games are missing a lot in the indie market.
     
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  30. hjohnsen

    hjohnsen

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    I see the price is 16.79 € on the steam page,not 9.99$.
     
  31. Asisvenia

    Asisvenia

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    Very informative topic. Also keep that in mind, after you've released an app/game, even though if you don't gain a penny, you'll still have valuable experience and a piece of software in your pocket. That's very good because your portfolio, technical knowledge (if you're a programmer) means a lot for employers. Unfortunately, big corporations might be still demanding a degree on related field even in the 21st century! (I might be wrong, correct me if I'm wrong).

    As a young person (I'm 18 years old), I'm staying with my family that's why I don't have any financial problems I don't need to pay my rent, electricity or even food so that I have oppurtunity to work on my own projects as a full-time. Because I really want to get a job as a programmer (or maybe continue as an indie game developer) in the future and currently I'm working on an adventure-platformer game which is based on a love story with pixel-art style. I'm getting done all stuff (programming, art and animations). Game will be available on Android it's also free.

    I think we're very lucky because we have many tools, tutorials, community etc.. some people are saying: "golden age of indie game development is over." but I don't believe that. I know it is hard and stressful but still we shouldn't give up.

    Believe me 20-30 years later, you'll miss these days.

    I wish success for everyone and more importantly happiness in your life! Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  32. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    You've got the right spirit. I wish you good success! :)
     
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  33. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That's a healthy way to look at it. Even if you don't get a job in game dev you might get a job in IT in another industry and have a very enjoyable hobby as well.

    You are very fortunate in many ways... exactly as you said... the wealth of knowledge freely available and the number of virtual communities available are HUGE things.

    The Golden Age of Indie Development is not over by any means. But the age of easy money from your work is definitely past. It's a simple thing really... every person can only look and consider just so many games in a given week. And most people have lives & other interests not like they spend every second of their free time gleefully digging through Steam and mobile for games to play. Lol

    So that is what people mean by that part. When Steam had 5 new releases per week obviously each of those games received a lot more exposure than the now nearly 200 games released per week (or what is it 3,000 games per week on Mobile now?) get. At one time many fans of these stores probably checked out every new game released in a given week. Now it would be a part-time job to do so and people would grow weary of doing it.

    I think the most important thing is for people to not think about making money from it period. Just don't even have that expectation at all.

    If you enjoy making games then make games. Make a lot of games! Gain experience not only in implementing games (programming skill, asset creation skill, etc) but also in game design. Learn how to make games that are fun.

    Maybe you make 3 games or maybe you make 30 games. Point is with that experience gained you are in a hell of a lot better place to start thinking about making games for a business. So many people seem to approach it backwards like they sit down and make their very first game often even straight out of a tutorial and publish it to the markets thinking they might actually by some miracle get massive money.

    I definitely understand people wanting to share their very first games with family & friends I am just suggesting thinking of money from day one is a very backwards way of doing things that seems to be so common with games and nothing else. Lol
     
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  34. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Attitude isn't as important as the fact that he has someone else willing to carry the main financial burden.

    Behind every indie developer there is someone willing to pay the cost for their lifestyle.
     
  35. Ony

    Ony

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    not exactly every indie developer.
     
  36. AnneSchmidt

    AnneSchmidt

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    @ThunderSoul 16,79 € for me. Sorry but I would not pay such an amount of money for a tetris game...

    The game in itself seems nice but the backgrounds are just uselessly distracting. No offence intended. :)

    Capture.JPG
     
  37. bobisgod234

    bobisgod234

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    I'm seeing 20 USD o_O

    That's like four thousand AUD.

    20 USD seems crazy high for what I am seeing on the steam page.
     
  38. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Steam does inflate Aussie prices. But you can often buy games without taking out a mortgage if you wait for sales.
     
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  39. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    You can set your own prices per region still (unless they changed that) but yeah, a lot of people use the Steam default and that causes a lot of problems.

    Of course, not doing that causes a bunch of problems due to how Steam processes international gift sales.

    There's a lot of problems.
     
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  40. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    Sometimes that someone is the indie developer themselves, as it is in my situation, unfortunately. :(
     
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  41. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    I agree with you. :) Sometimes it is just a risk you have to take. Some would say you really don't have to take the risk, but I felt I had to do it to try it out.
     
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  42. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    Hi there, and thanks for taking a look at my game.

    To answer some of your questions, it seems that nobody paid for it when it was around 1/3rd of that price, either. If your argument implied that it would have more sales if the price was lower, then this would have been my counter-argument - and I would have the unfortunate event to back it up with: launch week. It would have been about 6.70€ for you.

    I understand some believe that the backgrounds are distracting - and this was intentional. They were created with veterans in mind - for those that want an extra challenge meant to distract the user. Those who want casual can just turn them off or choose some of the environments at the top of the list which wouldn't affect the camera.

    The game offers competition with friends and global players (not head-to-head), leaderboards, achievements, and such, so it has content to keep you going. Head-to-head multiplayer was going to be a free DLC sometimes down the road (or just a major update to the game) - as outlined in the roadmap of the game.

    I hope this answered some of your questions and cleared things up. :)

    Thank you for your interest.
     
  43. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    Hi hjohnsen, thank you for taking a look at the page.

    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be interest in the game regardless of price. We were unable to sell copies of the game with a price of $7.99 (or 6.70€).

    We also believe that reducing the price further would not have helped sell additional copies of the game. I hope this clears things up for you.

    Thank you for your interest!
     
  44. ThunderSoul

    ThunderSoul

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    I feel I have to quote this again, because I really like the term you used: "financial burden". It stings, it does. I feel that my lesson, at least for this case, was that marketing was largely unnecessary - I didn't have to spend thousands on it, because it relatively didn't attract wishlists, much less any sales.
     
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  45. AnneSchmidt

    AnneSchmidt

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    I didn't have any question.
     
  46. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I don't know this would be a good takeaway from it. I think highly targeted marketing to your audience will always have value. I mean people cannot buy a game if they don't even know it exists.

    I think there has to be a reason for the results you got and spending some time digging into that would probably be quite enlightening for the next time or even for a re-launch of this game.

    Some things to look for (at least off the top of my head what I would do):

    Was there a big name game released around the same time as you released your game (unfortunately happening more often since this can now include the huge "Indie" teams and not just AAA).

    Was there a new release of another puzzle game around the same time? This would include a first release, a major update to an existing popular puzzle game, a sequel or maybe even a release of DLC for an existing popular puzzle game.

    Basically look for the reason attention was diverted from your release.

    Beyond that are puzzle games a "cold" thing at this time on Steam? Genres have seasons in a sense coming into popularity and dropping from popularity as attention shifts to different genres.

    EDIT: I suppose it is possible that things have got so bad that even solid marketing makes no difference due to the sheer amount of noise of so many daily game releases. But I'd hate to think that. Ultimately it will happen of course but didn't think we were already there. I suppose it is possible. Tetris style games aren't my thing so only acid test I'd know of for it is to do some searches online (se, FB, Twitter, YT and more importantly communities centered around these kind of games) and see how many references to the game come up.

    At any rate good luck with it!! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  47. tiggus

    tiggus

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    Jeff Vogel is the guy I wanted to be when I grew up, somehow I zigged when I should have zagged somewhere along the line.
     
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  48. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Agree. His approach is sensible. I don't remember playing his games but I may have. It kind of seems like I did but I played a lot of other games that his games remind me of one way or another. He seems to be focused on building cool little worlds with a lot of depth to them. Not as diehard as something like DF but it's obvious he places more value on the wheat over the chaff and found an audience.
     
  49. christoph_r

    christoph_r

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    Quite frankly I highly doubt that these factors play a major role in a crushing result like that. The first step in evaluating marketing efforts should always be to look at the impression-to-visit ratio and the visit-to-buy/wishlist ratios. And of course you should be evaluating those (with different marketing/advertisement strategies) before spending larger amounts of money. It doesn't make a lot of sense to just shoot into the blue and hope for the best if thousands of bucks are involved. But even more importantly - before marketing (and even full production), there should be an evaluation of the market potential. Not trying to be harsh, ThunderSoul actually seems like a super nice guy - but as has been pointed out in this thread, it seems neither of those evaluations really happened.

    EDIT: I recall a marketing/PR company was involved - have they missed that the impressions didn't really convert? If not, what did they do to deal with that?
     
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  50. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I agree with that for sure but I don't have access to those numbers and from the way they described things the marketing was solid. So I was thinking of other things to consider. It probably really is just a complete lack of response to the marketing done.

    But again why? The numbers can say there was a .0001% CTR but they don't explain why that is the case. For that need to look beyond the numbers. And certainly timing of release and so forth can make a difference. Obviously much less if you have built up a huge fanbase eagerly waiting for release but didn't seem like that was the case so is more subject to "anything & everything" possibly being a factor.