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How to earn £12,000 in one year from game development?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arowx, Sep 10, 2011.

?

How much do you earn from games development

  1. $10,000 or Less - Just for Fun

    123 vote(s)
    63.7%
  2. $30,000 or Less it's still a hobby

    8 vote(s)
    4.1%
  3. $30,000 or More making a living from it

    62 vote(s)
    32.1%
  1. janpec

    janpec

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    Yeh i felt that this will happen sooner or later.
     
  2. justinlloyd

    justinlloyd

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    Ah, my mistake. That's what I get for not shipping anything on iOS for almost six months whilst I work on other platforms for clients. I kind of knew it would be too good to last once the crapware people got involved. Time to revise the marketing process. :)

    I really hope you are joking. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  3. WinningGuy

    WinningGuy

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    Haha. Of course.
     
  4. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    It's been that way for almost 2 years now. ;) (Since November 2009.)

    --Eric
     
  5. justinlloyd

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    Really? From reading the analytics reports, every time a new iOS version was released, there was an immediate bump in new sales. I don't have the time to dig further today so I am going to conclude that this was probably due to other efforts other than the Apple store, e.g. press releases, more websites picking up the information, etc. Marketing, sometimes you think you are pulling one lever but you're really pulling the other one.
     
  6. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    Maybe they're detecting blocking repeated updating, to avoid the 'do nothing' update get out of hand.
     
  7. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    Yeah, to bump sales you'll need to project updates like they were an entire new games nowadays.
    I know the marketing guys do all the release stuff everytime they get a new update. So if the game don't need a big bug fix its not a deal anymore to release many updates. Thats why most devs release super small games now, they know the first sale week is all that really matters. After that point, profit is almost totally gone.
    What would you do, release a new thing for big sales again or update the old one where sales are likely dead?
    Unless you have iAP and profitable user base there's no reason to update anything.
     
  8. Arowx

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  9. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Not necessary, since updates don't appear on the new releases lists as of 2 years ago, therefore people stopped spamming useless updates after that, once the motivation was gone. Updates can still generate interest in a more traditional way, as JustinLloyd mentioned.

    --Eric
     
  10. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    @ArowX no I wasnt being sarcastic at all, I'm serious. I do feel inspired by this thread to focus more on getting something done.
     
  11. dogzerx2

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    I guess a re-skin and re-submit should work better than an update! :-0

    *(with other possible improvements aside from better/different graphics)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  12. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    If they like your game, I'm sure they'd like a reskin.

    If your game is a heap of junk... you're just reskinning a heap of junk.

    Bear in mind that ALL of this advice is predicated upon the idea that your game is at least minimally worthwhile and it not addressing embarrassingly poor games at all.

    If you've got a good game, get it out there!

    If you don't, keep trying until you either get it right or give up.
     
  13. BrUnO-XaVIeR

    BrUnO-XaVIeR

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    I think most players hate re-skins. They want their games to be always unique.
    That's why they crucifies plagiarism even if it's made by the same developer of the other title.
    Looks like there's only three proven routes there:

    º Release something big only if you know it's going to be a hit. You'll know it is, when you have some elements that generates a big hit.
    º Or build your big thing based on chapters where each update can be accepted like it was a new version of the game.
    º Or build a lot of little apps (different from each other) every month and you end up with a good revenue at the end of the year.

    The first one costs a LOT of money to build and to release.
    The second one, Apple may not like if you don't add obvious expansion to the next release of the same game (Take a look at "Back To The Future" series). You can't just add some stuff, you really need to expand or continue the last version.
    And the last one, I see most devs doing that. It is easy and cheap and keeps money dropping into your pocket; but its always crap games and you won't build a reputation from that. Also people who does that as main route will close their doors some day after big publishers increases production quality following hardware's ascension.

    I may be wrong, but I can't see any other proven strategy at the moment.
    You can't focus all those paths at the same time unless you have a sizable team, so it's a matter of decision about what could be the best route to you.
     
  14. dogzerx2

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    @Bruno: Heh, yeah, I guess that's true, re-skinning sounds kind of cheap, even if it is somewhat improved.
    Reminds me of those old cartridges with 999 games, it was 5 games, re-skinned to death! lol.

    I like the 3rd thing you said, making several small games! I like the idea of working out my imagination! Plus for every new idea I can raise the bar a little bit!
     
  15. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    I think 'reskinning' can be taken in different contexts. There is using your code base to make a new game in the same genre and just changing your art assets and delivering the same thing over again.
     
  16. zyndro

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    im agree with Little Angel, maybe reskinning is not that bad if what you do is re-use code and in some ocations a prefab or skin, maybe you had a multiplayer FPS game and now you're doing a FPS plataformer.. you can re-use most of the code and maybe some asset or improve the ones you had.. i think that is not bad at all..

    but if what you do is like just change the skin colors of your multiplayer FPS characters, change the menu colors and dont even bother in add more maps or game modes.. that's really cheap! i dont think customers like that..
     
  17. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Personally, I'm very frustrated that Unity doesn't have a good tool or solution to reusing code: editors or scripts or snippets. You need to copy or reimport any asset you want to use, and if you make changes or updates, they are difficult to propagate. Like the "standard assets" directory in the Unity directory, where one can easily import packages, I'd love to see some sort of mechanism to save editor scripts in a publish/subscribe manner, and a way to store scripts and snippets as well.

    This would vastly improve the ability to reuse one's code base.
     
  18. zyndro

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    Little Angel, for that case the asset server doesnt work?

    i've never use it before.. not even sure if thats is its functionality, however i think that will involve some setup and knowledge just to get it working, and i dont know if that can be done locally or you need a dedicated computer..
     
  19. Pelajesh

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    Reskinning might work really good, it just depends on the game. Take Robot Unicorn Attack for example. It has 3 different skins, and I quite like it actually.
     
  20. Gigiwoo

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    If you are reading this thread with any intent to apply it to your real life, then you should balance this discussion with the book, 'Rework'. It's a wonderfully short read, and <$10. It is basically the 'kick your butt and get your small business started' motivational hand book. It will not talk about SDD's or Unity or graphics, but it will give priceless advice like:

    - Release Half a Product, not a Half-Assed Whole.
    - Stop making excuses.
    - Growing is not a strategy. Only grow when you absolutely, positively must.
    - Making Decisions is Progress. And Changing them is how you survive.
    - Survival is about cash. From minute one, always consider how what you are doing will make money.

    If you are a business owner or starting one, it's full of non-glorified, good common sense.

    Gigiwoo.
     
  21. justinlloyd

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    No, it doesn't, but there are two solutions to the problem that most certainly work. We continue this discussion in this thread: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/104374
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  22. Arowx

    Arowx

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  23. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    JustinLloyd: I'll have to look into how to use symbolic links. I have "heard tell of them lurking in them thar hills", but I have yet to meet on face to face, much less round one up and rope it.

    But if it acts as you say it does propagating changes through all projects, it's a must learn topic.
     
  24. CharlieSamways

    CharlieSamways

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    I know this is off-topic. but man, second day back from college, I really need to start managing my time :'/ Far to much coursework/homework, freelancing, voluntary jobs, the woman, friend time. D: im gonna be a wreck by the end of the year! and If I really want to start this kick-start career I decided from this thread.. Im going to need a LOT of free periods. FYI any brits wanting to take maths at Alevel, Dont, its Fudging horrible.

    *Cries in the corner*
     
  25. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    /pat

    I'll be ok, Charlie.

    I skipped math in University after the first year. It wasn't fun and the entire course was designed to weed out people thinking of taking it as a degree rather than teach anyone anything.

    You have time to start your career.

    Have some fun.
     
  26. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It's a bit tangent guys :)
     
  27. justinlloyd

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    This is... UNITY!!! <hushed tone>forums</hushed tone> Tangent is our middle name, which would actually then read:

    This is... UNITY TANGENT FORUMS!!!

    but I digress. LittleAngel, let's move our posts to a separate thread and delete these from here to keep it on topic. Clean up in aisle thread #3.
     
  28. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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  29. Arowx

    Arowx

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  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Really like the insert coin touch. A fun image that made me smile :)
     
  31. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Arowx: If you can do that poster, you don't need an artist! Ask CharlieSamways about finding what you're good at. He started really pushing 3D art, and discovered along the way he was a really good 2D artist.

    Make a fun and goofy game using that art style!

    You don't have to be complicated to be good.

    TBH: When I look at the HMS Lightning tests, I think it's just OTT. It's not a simple game. It won't develop in under 3 months, IMO. Do something simple, but do it well. When people come to me and say: "I've raised 10k 100k or 1m to make my first independent feature film. Where should I start?" I always say: "Take 30% of that and make 3 shorts. The simpler the better. You will make the same mistakes on a big film as you will on a 5 minute short, but it will only take longer and spend all your money and time." TBH, I've had a sad but 100% success rate. No one has heeded my advice. 100% Every one of them has come back to me and said they have regretted the decision. 100%.

    Pick a simple concept. Put it down on paper. If you don't like it, change it. Once you've sketched it out and have a road map, then build it.

    If you are convinced HMS Lightning is the way to go, make a quick one page treatment of the game and game play, including the once sentence summation and let show it to us.

    We'll help!

    -

    Edit: Crosspost with HippoCoder. See! Your art made him smile. Make him smile in a game!
     
  32. Arowx

    Arowx

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    You could be right HMS Lightning could just be me going into the Indie equivalent of the 'Uncanny valley' trying to make a III (triple I) game but ending up with something that hardcore gamers wouldn't look at and casual gamers think is too hardcore!

    And I need to be carfull who I employ... Take Iggy for example very cheap but!

    [​IMG]

    But he wasn't very media friendly!

    [​IMG]
     
  33. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    You have style! Use it! Or the character in your avatar! What can it do?

    [​IMG]

    Robot Martians vs. Zombie?

    Look into how ZombieVille did their 2.5D skins bones. Animated some zombies.

    Little Green Men with Rayguns in orthographic view. Here to clean out the quickie-mart™ And you are the zombie on night shift and you must defeat them? (Need a 3D zombie, but hey, you've got the alien...)
     
  34. Arowx

    Arowx

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    [​IMG]
    Fly around with his jetpack!
     
  35. janpec

    janpec

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    Well that is something to debate. There are lots of people who are standing behind "do something small and simple" view. And maybe do rather something few simple games that one that would combine all time spend on those into one. There has been many times proven, that making a little bigger indie game can pay you of 10 times more than those three small games. The tricky part is just that you have to start right from the start of development of that little bigger game with some X skills. If you dont have that small ammount of X skills and you are true newbie then yes this theory of small games is always on case. In other case there are two major things to consider. First is your motivation and dedication. If you have small ammount of them dont do bigger games. Second is if you cant get decent idea for small and really great playable game, and all you can think is game with RPG elements. In that case why pushing yourself into something that you dont think it will be good enough.
     
  36. Gigiwoo

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    FWIW, I agree with Angel. Pick something small. And, still, you will pick something too ambitious. Then, you will start over with smaller. The point is to get a product out the door, then another, then another. Have 10 products on the market, and market them all. Release updates, connect them together, get a little bit of revenue from each one that adds up to something workable. That is the gist of the many posts in this thread.

    There is nothing between you and success but... lots of hard work and learning.

    Gigiwoo.
     
  37. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The zombiE art is great. Tone down the primary colours and it's as good as any art. Primary colours -- big no
     
  38. Arowx

    Arowx

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    [​IMG]

    OK I'm going to try some simple fast(er) games and see if I can raise some funds to build my bigger projects.

    Thanks for the feedback everyone!

    I'll be back! :cool:
     
  39. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    F*ck. I just lost my post. I hate rewriting a good post. AAAAAAH.

    Janpec: You've got the idea down. If you don't have skillzX then you should try something simple. If someone came to you and said: "I want to model Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel exactly as it was in its prime, photo-realistically, AND (to go completely over the top) put it on the asset store and make lots of money!" I would suspect you'd say: "Maybe you should try something a little more simple."

    Don't forget that this thread is not: "How can I make a game?" This thread is "How to earn £12,000 in one year from game development?

    This dictates a lot.

    Polishing a game take a LONG time. If you want to complete a game in a 3 month development cycle, you need to think (here in somewhat simplistic terms): 1 month to make the basic game play. 1 month to build up and flesh out the game based on the foundations you have laid. 1 month to polish and prep for release. This means you need a game who's base architecture you can build in 1 month, or 4 weeks, or in 140 to 200 hours. 200 hours would mean working 50 hours a week, or 10 hours a day 5 days a week. No fussing and no faffing. And this will mean you will only have 4 games out by the end of the year. And for the purposes of this challenge, 3! As the challenge is to get £12k by the end of 12 months. Releasing a game on the last day won't give it time to return investment.

    When looking at what game to build: Not only does it need to be small, to be able to build the foundations in under 200 hours, but it needs to be in your skill set (as we noted above) AND it should have at least a chance at a market.

    Don't be afraid to see what other people are doing. You don't need to copy what people are doing, but you do need to find out if there is a market for your game. Looking at other people's games CAN help you determine if there IS a market. McDonald's makes hamburgers. They sell lots of cheap fast burgers. This proves there is a market. You don't have to either copy McDonald's or shun burgers. You simply need to realize that there is a market for them. Then it's up to you whether you can make something that you can sell to that audience. This could either be direct competition with a better faster cheaper burger, or it could be fresh sandwiches to give that same audience an alternative.

    Lots of small games vs. one large one? Well... this depends upon a lot of things. Your raw talent and the experience you have sharpening it is one consideration. Do you really know what you are good at yet? Have you "found your voice" and know your strengths and weaknesses? If not, best to experiment on something that doesn't eat up your year trying only one thing, which odds say you are most likely not going to succeed at. Better to try two or three things fast and furious and see what you like best and what you can deliver most easily.

    To try and find your voice, you may want to try to make one game a week for the first month or six weeks and see what works and what doesn't. Try a number of different genres and approaches. Platformers, Arcade, 2D, 2.5D, 3D. Buy Vectrosity and see what you can do with retro gaming. Try lots of things. Try to COMPLETE each one in a week... or 50 hours... or whatever deadline you set. Then when you have 4-6 games DONE, decide what you want to do for 12 weeks on one game.

    Sorry this isn't quite the original post, but that's phantom vapour now. And I've had to drop it for dinner, bath and bedtime, so picking it up it feels a bit stale.

    But I think you get the idea.
     
  40. justinlloyd

    justinlloyd

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    Expanding LittleAngel's commentary concerning making little games and trying different things until you find one to work on, I will recommend that approach too, but with the caveat that only if you are truly suited to it. How do you know if you are suited to it? I am sure there are multiple ways to find out, but for me, I would ask "Have you ever shipped a significant project (something that takes more than a week or two to do from start to finish) independently of working for and being directed by someone else?" I am sure there are other ways to determine if you are up to the task, but that's my yardstick.

    For me, I usually have a dozen or more ideas floating around in a prototype or proof-of-concept state. I am usually working on the one significant project that will ship. The prototypes let me tinker and change pace every once in a while. They let me scratch a creative itch when the drudgery of finding all the bugs and doing all of the detail work is taking it's toll. I have to be careful that when I focus attention on the prototype projects that they do not become all consuming for too long of a period.
     
  41. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I just know I have x time and throw away any idea I can't draw on 25 years of experience to do - ie does it involve R&D? if it does and it feels tricky - I won't waste a minute more of my time. Stuff like that will drag you down. Stick with what you know, and do it well.
     
  42. MERKB

    MERKB

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    Hippocoder. is. god. of. Good. Advice.
     
  43. CharlieSamways

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    +1

    +1
     
  44. janpec

    janpec

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    I would do that right away, if i would know that there would be some certain buyer for it:D Love architecture and style that this building is in is just perfect.

    This is very very close related to someone like Arowx, who doesnt yet have AAA skills or some major completed games behind. My post did relate exactly on money problem. Big games can make big, much more than small if you know to make them. Afcourse you have to know to make small games too, but the required skills are lower and in avarage (taken from IOS developers) the gathered money is lower.

    Let me put it that way, i have been taking a little reasearch on different IOS forums and there has been number 2000 dollars gathered from 1 IOS game per year. That is avarge number. I might be little off, in that case hippocoder will correct me, but im pretty sure it isnt much bigger. This means that with 3 IOS games that you develop in 1 year (and considering again that you are avarage developer, with avarage luck taht wont make another big hit) you can gather something close to 10k. With some avarage PC platformer, those numbers are usually way higher.

    Now on other hand, since Arowx has 12 months deadline and has to gatehr 12k, i really dont see how is this possible. IOS games start to make money slowly and steady, but it still takes some time to get that ammount of money from sales, on PC it is even worse. You dont get any money for at least three times longer.

    For proffessional indie developer that hasnt yet earned 1 milion dollars that is probably the most important thing to follow. If you have family to support then you should have 10 stickers on fridge that remind you on that every single day.
     
  45. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    [​IMG]
     
  46. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    lol! saving that.
     
  47. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    lol @ incredibly majestic hippo pic!
     
  48. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I'm a beautiful butterfly really.
     
  49. Arowx

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    <Posh English Voice>Moderator - Please remove these gratuitous hippo pictures from my indie business thread!<Posh English Voice>

    <Yorkshire Accent> Wait a mo! Angry Hippos could be a new game concept! hmm just need stronger elastic bands! <Yorkshire Accent>

    ;o)
     
  50. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Heh. Get back to work, you.