Indie Business Tutorials

Indie Dev: Starter Guide Crash Run!

So someone locally found out that I exist and they are a student wanting to go down a similar path to me. He emailed me some very basic questions about what we do here. Unfortunately for him, I tried to dump as much knowledge I'd learnt in the last couple of years down his email hole... 

And here it is! A rough and tumble, dirty and used Starter Guide:

 

Twitter

Get a twitter account, and whenever you make any content just share it on there. Include this tag into post: #gamedev. It'll get retweeted by several bots and get you the most exposure you'll get out of any tweet. The gamedev community is great on twitter. Remember they are people, people who go on there to just sell their games get ignored. Basically you make art, so you just say what it is or ask for feedback 'hey check out this monster dude i did for my game. what ya reckon? #gamedev' with the image attached. Once you're on twitter, follow me and I'll follow you back. My account is: https://twitter.com/2HitMatt

 

Reddit


Really wish we took advantage of Reddit. So apparently there are 2 subreddits worth digging up. Feedback Friday and ScreenShot Saturday under the gamedev subreddit somewhere. Look at how the higher rated ones format their post and do the same. Get people playing demo's/builds on the Friday and send in your games screenshots before Saturday. Again, twitter also has tags for these if you don't have time for reddit. Upload a game screenshot to twitter with #screenshotsaturday and it'll get hosted on their website and also on gamedev.net

 

Portfolio


Break your site into front page/blog, portfolio, about, contact. Put process stuff like what you have into the blog, because thats an article worth reading if you share it places, and keep finished pieces in your portfolio page. If you get enough stuff, break the portfolio into sections (eg, illustration, pixel, 3d, video or whatever). That site format is pretty standard for any art type person looking for work.

 

Feedback and Critiques

The internet is full of trolls and assholes. But the problem with them is that if they say bad stuff about something you've put up online, its best to ignore them. They are relentless people and sometimes hang in gangs. That being said, there are a lot of cool people out there willing to appreciate cool stuff, or give actual useful feedback. Best part is, if they fight your trolls for you, then you don't look arrogant about your work and its probably pretty boosting to see people come to your aid. Its tricky, but the way you handle feedback is technically a PR job, as it can help or damage your rep. If you are a happy go lucky guy and don't get angry at feedback, you'll nail this.

 

Steam doesn't equal made it

We thought getting onto Steam would seal the deal, make us stars and actually earn money. We aren't on there yet, but there are more war stories on steam then successes. Getting onto steam is good, but it doesn't magically get you heaps of sales. You still have to drive the biggest portion of people to your game, and you can do that on other platforms. Itch is good, but everyone wants Steam or Desura keys... Desura sucks because you have to make $500 worth of sales before they pay out. Think about how many games on there only have a handful of sales from friends and family that Desura just pockets the money from! Its a double edge sword though, because Desura is a really good starting point, as you can host you Alpha version on there and start getting feedback and reviews early. Most of our video reviews come from Desura. My word of advice is to use them for free alpha's and try sell the finished product elsewhere.

 

Game Bundles

Like Humble Bundle, there are heaps out there for indies to take part in. It works like this, which is good and bad. You'll get heaps of exposure, because your team + the other teams with their games in the bundle are all trying to sell the thing. So many hands working on the PR side of things. However most bundles go at like $2 a pop, with the site taking 30% and the rest split up amoung the teams. So basically you make no money from those. If you can live an alpha bundle up with a KickStarter or your launch onto Steam Greenlight, then thats the best bet for lots more dollars or support.

 

Content is King

People say this for making games about the games. But I find it more true for the process of making a game. Everything you can screenshot, draw up or whatever, and talk or share it somewhere, then do it. You'll slowly build your empire one article or image at a time. That's audience building, baby!

 

So hopefully I didn't scare this kid away with all my yammering on about twitter and stuff... Well his name was Aedan and if you want to check out his stuff, its over at: http://aedanthechaseling.weebly.com/

 

What else do you think should be in an indie dev starter guide?

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