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Developer Success Stories

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by VNL-Entertainment-Games, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. VNL-Entertainment-Games

    VNL-Entertainment-Games

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    Hi Devs,

    It has recently occurred to me that only a fraction of developers on here have managed to make games full time and generating good income from it while the majority on here are either making games for fun, just hoping to get lucky, or trying hard but not making income or even downloads.

    For the devs here who are in that small category who have managed to replace and surpass their income from their full-time job with game making, I wonder if any of you would like to share your experience, process, "secrets", with the rest of the community. I'm sure the success stories will be very enlightening to most!
     
    aer0ace, Master-Frog and Eths like this.
  2. Yash987654321

    Yash987654321

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    The secret here is "There is no secret for success".
     
  3. darkhog

    darkhog

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    How about your success story? After all, you have few million installs...
     
    Aiursrage2k, Socrates and Ryiah like this.
  4. Eths

    Eths

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    Mine is not a success story yet, But I am going into it. I still didn't make money from my game as I didn't release it yet, but I will just say what I have, my name is Ebrahim (Known as Eth) and I ran my indie game studio The State studio at the year 2013, and I managed to get our game (with my team mate's help of course) to the quallity of the indie games outside my country, In Egypt(where I am right now) there are no kind of support to indie game developers or even programmers, they always think that what you do is stupid, there are a lot of games that has been made from Egyptians but most of it failed (and by games I don't mean mobile/small games), but me and my studio are hoping not to fail in gaming industry. I know I know, you have asked to know "a success story" but a person can get success in his life without having to have "incomes or even downloads" so to finish it up, if you want to be successful then just do what you have to do and do what you are born to do, even if you had no money/income from your game. you are still a god damn successful developer in my eyes. so I would agree with Yash. There is no secret for success and an other thing to add "There are no rules for success" .
     
  5. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  6. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    What about average success stories?

    We've heard a lot about the few who made it super big, and the millions who didn't make two pennies to rub together.

    What about stuff that isn't either incredibly unlikely....or failing that, absolutely hopeless?
     
    BrUnO-XaVIeR likes this.
  7. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I posted the vid the other day i found from the guy on kong who got 700k plays.
     
    dogzerx2 likes this.
  8. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    I've made enough monies to buy some licenses and buy a lot of Asset Store packages.
    I bought Unity 3 Pro with both iOS + Android Pro, then Unity 4 Pro + iOS + Android then Unity 5 and hundreds of model packages from Asset Store all with little games and tools I was selling. I wouldn't call that success, but at least was able to 'afford buying the toys' I like to play with.
    Back when ppl were still paying 0.99¢ in mobile games, I sold around 23k copies and the free stuff were around 60k downloads... And that's all about it for me, is impossible for me to even sell a 0.99¢ game nowadays, I don't want to make InApp games so I was trying to move into PC instead.

    Oh and the tools I've made sold around 3k copies in Asset Store; but then I had a legal battle with former employer (they didn't respect laws and I had to leave) and now they own all my ex games and ex tools; still trying to figure what I'll do with my life now =]
    Now that F2P is the only way to make money I think I won't make any games anymore, just don't like the model.
     
  9. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    !!! That's actually terrible! How does that happen?

    Also what do you mean you can't make games that sell for $.99 anymore?
    My hope for you would be that you could use your experience to get more involved in game development. Because it's also what I wish I could accomplish. If you can't do it after years of experience, then almost no one can.
    I hope you get back on your feet soon man.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  10. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    Ty;

    Many companies, when you work for them, they own everything you do even if you do it at home in your free time. You'll see that in contract pretty much every time you work for a business; that's why they own all my stuff now.

    I meant there that paid games don't sell anymore, even the 0.99¢ ones. Ppl now want F2P or nothing and I don't agree with that.

    When I left my job, I talked to a bunch of studios, also some high profile ones... But I live in South America, they don't want to deal with visas and I'm not sure if I would leave my family behind for too long.
    So I'm working online freelancing small tasks for small studios and will keep doing that for a while.
     
  11. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    At least freelance work can give you versatility to invest time in personal projects.
    Too bad that paid games are getting ignored by users. I would also prefer sell games traditionally, but failing that my very personal opinion I would try to adapt and find a way to mske f2p with iaps/ads that hurts the game as little as possible.
     
  12. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I would be more interested to know how much he earned, not how many plays he got.

    I mean if you make a title, release it for free and earn squat from it BUT it gets hugely popular... I'm not sure if that can be called success.

    Ever considered moving to PC platform?
     
  13. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Well say you had a demo on Kong and you sold the full version on your site at $10 a pop, with a sales conversion rate of 3% at 700k plays you could get like 21K customers at 10 a pop 210k. And you wouldn't have to give steam 30%
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  14. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    I was 2 years, more than 100k code lines into my first PC game when had to give it all away to the company;
    Was called Whitewash, there was a 2gb pre-alpha on Steam, some Steam users still have a copy in their libs, I was about to release the 6gb first upgrade with more regions and story... When the S*** happened.
    Btw, PC will be the same of mobile market pretty soon tbh. I am watching Shinra Tech, they have stuff I want to get involved with when their API is indie friendly enough.
     
    Aiursrage2k likes this.
  15. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    ...seems like the people in that category are fewer than you guessed.

    Everyone I have ever known to make money off of games is effectively a reclusive genius who lives on their computer.

    Draw that venn diagram. The intersecting portion is teeny.
     
    AndrewGrayGames likes this.
  16. Deleted User

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    Compared to the amount of dev's out there, yeah sure it is only a tiny fraction.. But many aren't interested in the commercial aspect of it, there's many who will never complete a game etc. etc.

    There were many successful indie's back when Steam decided to open the floodgates, of course that's not a thing anymore.. I've never paid any attention to mobile dev, but I'd guess it was lucrative at some point..

    I know of a fair few "current" beta's that have earned a lot of funding / money..

    So it ain't all doom and gloom..
     
    dogzerx2 and N1warhead like this.
  17. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    It has nothing to do with gloom and doom. Most people aren't full time game developers, rather 'in your spare, spare time' developers. Meaning if there's a hot new game out, they're playing that. Tiny little mobile games are o.k. but they aren't worth anything, to anyone.

    Make a 50 hour game with an interesting story and genuinely fun gameplay that is somewhat polished. People buy that.

    It's not about optimism/pessimism it's about people with beginner level skills making "my first game!" and then complaining about how the market is broken because they aren't rich. I may not be the best game developer on the planet, but I grew up playing games and I can tell what games I wanted to play vs. what I didn't. And these tiny scope little mobile games have more in common with Tiger Electronics junk than they do with Super Mario Bros. Just because Tiger made a lot of cash selling crappy little blip bleep games doesn't mean that's what the people want. It was a novelty.

    Nothing at all to do with gloom and doom. It's just not plausible for a spare time developer making toy games to compete with a serious, full-time or even part-time developer making fully featured, full-length games.
     
    zombiegorilla likes this.
  18. toto2003

    toto2003

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    this is the kind of developer that make me sick, he release something like 200 games and flowed the market with crappy games from template wich by the way i own, and use copyright assets that he doesn t even own, i believe he s a full time job and he s fine with it, the app store really need some cleaning to make discovery less painfull than it is right now

    http://appshopper.com/games/unequal-gladiator-punch-kick-ko

    thank you mister hieu nguyen for your awesome creativity and your contribution to the world of gaming
     
  19. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Ha. "You wanna make games? Step one: get yourself few millions usd".

    Interesting story and fun gameplay does not mean anyone will buy your game and working fulltime won't guarantee you success. There ARE tons of games on older platforms, often those can be more polished than modern indies. The thing most people don't even know they exist.
     
    Eths likes this.
  20. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Say it enough and it becomes true?

    Which has nothing to do with the conversation we are having, even in the most abstract, convoluted way I can imagine.

    Nobody knows the company I worked at for 12 years existed. In the time I worked there I made nearly a half a million dollars, the company made millions. You're confusing being famous with making money. It's not one in the same.

    mmm... I guess if you are doing everything wrong and not investing time and resources in a logical way, or if you just aren't very good or very experienced at making games in general, then yes... yes this is very true.

    But if you have skills and talent, working fulltime actually does guarantee success... at anything. Not just game development.

    Honestly, you just sound like you're trying to justify failure by saying that success has nothing to do with being good at making games.

    Look at the OP, he made something people wanted and replaced his old income.

    According to you, he did not succeed because nobody knows he exists... not only did he not succeed, he can't succeed... it's not possible.
     
    ramand, zombiegorilla and dogzerx2 like this.
  21. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    No.That's not the point.

    Your statement sounded like another cheap excuse people would make.
    "I didn't succeed because I wasn't working full time!", give them full time, and then it'll become "because I didn't have enough money". Give them money, they'll STILL mess up and come up with some amazing excuse. Probably "because I wasn't emperor of the galaxy" or something.

    IMO, someone who can make a game fulltime, can make it working part time, except it'll take longer. If it doesn't work for them working "part time", then they probably don't have what it takes.
     
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  22. Eths

    Eths

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    True. I agree with you, there are a lot more factors than that.


    I agree with you for the second time, lol .
     
  23. Deleted User

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    Well of course and I'm not sure where any of that came from :D, wasn't what I was talking about.
     
  24. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    You know me.
     
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  25. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Your statements are baseless and you're not specifically responding to anything I am saying. Yes, there are a lot of excuses people make. Having something turn out worse because you couldn't put more time into something isn't an excuse. It's a perfectly valid reason. In fact, it is the primary reason why stuff sucks... not enough time dedicated to it. People want to compete in a marketplace against talented basement dwellers who never sleep by putting a week into a project, while making one or two of those projects a year.

    In short, you do something for an hour a day and go up against someone who does it 18 hours a day. Film it, also, because I want to watch.
     
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  26. Deleted User

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    BTW, if I'm not about on the forums over the holidays.. A happy XMAS and new year to all..!
     
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  27. drewradley

    drewradley

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    Because the secret to success is no secret at all: hard work and a fair amount of luck.
     
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  28. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Well if you consider maybe 1 out of 1,000 Indie game devs around here have seen any monetary success (a meaningful amount of money based on the amount of effort and time they've put in) it's not surprising this thread isn't already filled with "success stories".

    In fact the ones who are succeeding as Indies probably don't have time to waste on forums. It'd make more sense for them to do some promotional videos, articles or work on their latest game.
     
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  29. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    I don't see the point.

    It is not. Ever heard of "drink coffee: do stupid things with more energy?".

    Once you've spent time on initial training - which is about 10000 hours -
    it is time to use your brain and work smart. Outsource, use connections, use your money and skills.

    I do not consider basement dweller gamedev a success. Success is someone who still has life outside of gamedev, can fund that life with their skills. Basement dweller that sacrificed everything for the sake of making games is a total failure in my opinion.
     
  30. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    Precisely.
     
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  31. darkhog

    darkhog

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    I have nothing more to add...
     
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  32. BFGames

    BFGames

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    Dont think you will find a lot of guys with great success stories on a forum. :)
     
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  33. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    You're not exactly offering any details of your own successes either. :p
     
  34. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    It looks like he had a pretty successful game on steam
     
  35. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

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    And not surpisingly, people who adopt this attitude of pursuing their passions without being overly concerned with other people's version of success end up being satisfied.

    And somehow, also tend to be more successful in the broader financial sense than people who primarily focus on making as much money as they can for as little work as possible.
     
  36. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Ever seen/heard of good singer living in a basement? I haven't. At the very least you'll need someone to play music for you and a stage to perform on.

    In the real world, when something gets from point A to point B there's more than one factor involved. By "working hard" people can slightly increase their chances, and that's about it. There's still matter of luck and being at the right place at the right time doing the right thing in the right way.

    So, while we're at it, I remember you specifically bragging in another thread about having a lot of downloads or something. Yet in this thread you're suspiciously silent. So, how about you share your story? Otherwise people will just assume that the profit from all those downloads was zero dollars, the company went bankrupt and got shut down. Or something.
     
    Ryiah likes this.
  37. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    I don't have any success stories, but however I do know what I want as success.

    To me success for me would be a game I make that people actually enjoy playing.
    Like for example - if people beg Markiplier or whatever and the other famous reviewers then the game I'm making is something to be cherished. Because I've heard time and time again of him saying peopled have begged him to play a game for a review. If that happens - I know I've done well - well because people are interested in my works.

    Yeah making millions would be nice - and perhaps oneday it will happen, however - I will never let greed of money determine the outcome of my results in quality of work. If I spend two years working on a game and only make 5 grand - to me it was worth it, whether or not it resulted in lost wages of a real fulltime job or not. I at least had 5 grand of interested people and selling at around 10 dollars a copy would account for I believe 500 people. Yeah not that much, but that's 500 people I reached out too, so long story short - if people like my games and at least more than 100 people player it - I'll be happy. @GarBenjamin - he knows the game I'm currently making - and I can't answer for him - but I think he can see what I'm making to be actually monetarily successful because I'm reaching out to a niche that hasn't (EVER) been touched outside of Hollywood, there are games kinda like what I'm making but they are different. But in the world of Hollywood - they are big sellers and I'm surprised no AAA Company has done it yet! But nevertheless even if I made hardly anything from it I'd still be happy that it was finished and people played it.
     
  38. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    So, why are you not sharing your own story?

    It is not about "having a life". Being happy and being successful are two different things. Heck, people can use drugs and alcohol and be happy for a while, that won't make them successful.

    People have more than one talent. Get good at several of your talents, earn decent amount of cash, have family, friends, hobbies in addition to gamedev, have free time, be happy, sane and healthy and live to the the ripe age of 90 and hopefully leave some impact on the world. THAT is success.

    Working 15 hours a day in a basement will only result in health problems, so that's where all that hard earned cash will go. Sure, if that kind of dude is happy about state of affairs good to him/her. However, I wouldn't call that a success by any means.
     
    Kiwasi likes this.
  39. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    No, no secrets.

    Your insistence on there being "secrets" is at the very least weird.
     
  40. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    @VNL Entertainment Games - I honestly think you're being greedy or that you aren't as successful as you make your self out to be.

    to your 1) and 2).

    1 - who cares if you don't need to learn - others do. Why make a topic you your self won't even discuss.
    2 - Why can't you share your supposed *secrets*.
    It's not like you have to talk about secrets of Xbox Dev kits, etc. Just how you got to where you're at now in the general sense.

    There's no limitation to that other than your willingness to share at least the basic foundations to what pointed you in the direction(s) you had went.

    Otherwise the point of this thread is useless as you already know their ain't much *Successful* people in terms of monetary wages earned from a game here, yeah I'm sure their are some - such as your self apparently with millions of downloads, etc. And if you can't even share the most basic foundation then you your self are as much of a troll as the troll under the bridge demanding money to pass.
     
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  41. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    That sounds a bit greedy in my opinion.

    I understand that NDAs are a thing, but information exchange usually goes both ways. You give info, you get some other info back. If the other party is not getting some enjoyment or personal gain from the process, they won't be willing to share any info.

    Otherwise, IIRC, there are supposed to be agencies dealing with market data - in exchange for your money.

    P.S. I do suspect that most of the successful folks simply don't hang out on those forums.
     
  42. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    How are you irrelevant? The name of the thread is "Developer Success Stories" and you are a developer right? So therefore that doesn't make you acquitted, unless you really aren't a developer, then by all accusations it would be true that you are irrelevant to the post.
     
  43. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Can you share what you did to get so many downloads? Was it fairly quick or did the numbers build slowly? & what's the retention rate like?

    Reading the reviews it appears there are issues around account security or something (mentions of being scammed & losing accounts). How are you guys handling that or is it a google play/account issue?


    Edit: did you guys advertise? If so, how & who did you use?
     
  44. N1warhead

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    But it does answer the original question because I'm not the only one to ask this - why can't you share what @tedthebug just said. That's all we're trying to ask. It's really that simple. You asked a question - I don't have success so I have no answer other than asking a question that you are refusing to provide an answer for. If you are refusing to even mention the most basics of steps you took what makes you think anyone who's a multi-millionaire to give you any kind of advice if you your self can't even help anyone with any advice.

    And it's a natural inclination to know millions of downloads = millions of plays and even at 50 cents per 100 ads you'd still have 500,000 dollars per 1 million ads and obviously that would mean 2 million dollars minimum for your because ur one game says 5m to 10m (if were going at the rate of 50 cents per 100 ads) not to mention the IAP's up to 75 dollars!. So obviously you have success and if you can't even share the most basics of details then you are just plainly greedy and will be hated by this community. Because how does someone that joins in February of this year make millions of downloads when we have people in this community for years and hasn't even reached more than a few hundred - and they are actually decent games made by good devs who don't mind sharing how they did what they did when they did it and why they did it.

    So yes this does answer the original question, I'm asking you to share your story sense that's what this is about, sense I don't have one, I'd like to actually read one so I can learn from it. I don't care if it's two sentences long.
    But someone who talks the talk should be able to walk the talk, meaning provide some kind of advice or actual proof you are who you really are.
    Oh and the 190 dollars for a game! How do you convince somebody to pay 190 dollars for a mobile game.
    and not to mention 1000 to 5000 of them sold.
    Like come on now, seems like a bunch of fake reviews and purchases on your stuff because nobody in their right mind would pay anyone 190 dollars for a mobile game, heck nobody would even do that for a top of the line PC game unless it was a collectors edition with like Jedi Statues and stuff and even then it would be a hard one to purchase as that's expensive - but a mobile game?

    This is what I'm saying - nothing bad - but HOW, I truly want to know *how*, because trying to push a 190 dollar mobile game would be the hardest thing in existence in a dead market where everyone wants free this and free that.
    Obviously it's either 2 things 1) - You're the best marketer in existence and need to work for Wallstreet, or 2) most of the purchases and reviews are fake to look like success.

    Because really 190 dollars for a mobile game dude.
     
  45. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    But I'm not asking for any info that would be covered by a NDA so can you answer those ones I asked? This forum often gets people asking those kind of things but no one with millions of downloads ever answers them. I'm not asking for stuff like what tech did you use, how much did you or others get paid etc, just the basic starter stuff.
     
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  46. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Look, it is a direct consequence of your post in the other thread. (I thought it is obvious?)
    You mentioned large number of downloads and implied success.
    Now you made a thread about success stories, and in light of your previous statement people are curious and (naturally) expect you to share your story first.
     
  47. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    No secrets.
    Hard work, dedication and being willing to take risks and being smart enough to recognize opportunities.

    I've been doing this professionally for twenty years. Been making games over thirty. There isn't a single event or choice that was make or break. There was a much bad luck as good, bad choices as good ones and wins as fails. Experience and determination shifts those things into the positive more often than not over time.

    It's also largely about finding your strength (and what you really love doing) and leaning into it. My independent success (not just in games) came from leveraging art and engineering to do things that combined both to higher level than other products or competition could do. Depending on who you talked to, I was either that artist that could code or that coder that could draw. I chased any opportunity that could further either, whether products, contracting or jobs. Each success lead to new opportunities. And of course there were set backs, but you learn and move forward.

    But mainly lots of hard work. It's my hobby and career, I make games. All the time. I am constantly learning and broadening my skill set. I work hard to stay ahead of the curve. I have told the story here before of my first professional engineering job, where an opportunity came up to build some neat stuff when asked if I knew how to program ml and pascal, I lied and said yes. I then worked my ass off to learn them.

    I had a few small hits early on, those helped me land publishers, the contract gigs and consulting. I kept making my own stuff and then bigger projects collaborating with other devs. Had a couple of my own companies for a while, eventually worked for other indie studios, studios became startups, startups got acquired. Several massive hits, many awards (a couple of top awards from gdc, top game at fb, many others Including a bafta nomination). and now I have opportunities that weren't even possible a decade ago.

    But I can't provide specifics. For no other reason, than they are contextual. They would all relate to my skill set or abilities. Or relate to specific times / places / opportunities. I made a ton of money being really good at Lingo. I did some free educational games for a nasa project that took a long time and made no money for me, but met a future collaborator and business partner. I had a game tank, but became the basis for a later hit game. But none of that is very useful to others.

    In the end, you simply have to be smart, work hard and create good games. It sounds simplistic, but it isn't. Experience is what drives the last part. Passion and determination help drive the first two.
     
  48. Deleted User

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    Well, I've had success in Beta.. But every time I've thrown the product out there, a lot of decent suggestions have been made therefore delaying the actual release date. Which obviously trying to avoid too much scope creep could ultimately balance the game to make it an experience as opposed to just a game..

    So yeah, things are good. But there's still nothing to say it won't flop out the gate.
     
    dogzerx2 likes this.
  49. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Posts:
    3,886
    He's hiding something!!

    I think it's more like 'unknown knowledge' than secrets. Like focusing more on marketing, building a community around your game. Not really secrets, or shortcuts, in fact probably the opposite, makes things harder, but at least you place your efforts with more confidence.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  50. tedthebug

    tedthebug

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Posts:
    2,569
    We had a successful paper prototype with the public this week. I'd had my kid testing it with their friends at school & we took it to a shop & had people play it & provide feedback (they all enjoyed it) but we are yet to code it up & add 'juice'.
     
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