“I’ve finished my game - now what?” Advice for you...

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Grey Alien, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

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    Someone just emailed me and asked for my thoughts on releasing games onto portals and I wrote back an epic email which I've now turned into a blog entry so that everyone can benefit from it. Please check it out and leave some comments if you feel inclined, thanks!

    http://greyaliengames.com/blog/ive-finished-my-game-now-what/

    P.S. I know that my blog has a big blank space on IE 7 and a can't figure out why at the moment. I know it's unpro, sorry, I'll fix it soon... ;-)

    P.P.S. I know some people get funny about posts linking to blog entries. I'm not trying to pimp my blog here, I genuinely think that people will enjoy it and find it useful like past posts of mine. In fact I'd like to start a discussion about this point to find out other people experiences ... so fire away.
     
  2. Sean Doherty

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    Nice! Article:)
     
  3. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Man... does that really inspire you to make more games? In the end do you find it personally rewarding?
     
  4. Grey Alien

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    Dan: I've always been interested in business. I was Senior Developer, then Manager, then consultant for a business software company for 10 years so naturally I wanted to learn the ropes as far as self-publishing games. I've always made games and enjoyed the creative side since I was 8 and so to mix the creative with the business side I personally find interesting - some may not find it interesting, so fair enough. As a result of my efforts I self published my last game and I'm now making a game for BFG (perhaps a step backwards in indepenence but a step forwards in other ways) and who knows what the future holds. I'm pretty pleased with my efforts so far but realise there's a *whole* lot of extra stuff to learn and get good at.

    From a day to day point of view, the contracts and marketing can be a bit boring but I have the end goal in mind always, which is a successful game. Obviously when I make a game I really enjoy that, there's so much to find interesting and enjoyable if you have the right mindset...
     
  5. barrygamer

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    Very interesting read.

    It sounds a lot of work dealing with portals... using a publisher sounds more and more attractive. Can you give a clue to how much extra cut they take? perhaps its too general, there is no 'typical' cut since they all offer different services. Do publishers give an advance?

    If I understand correctly, your next game is via a publisher, so I guess the terms can't be too unfavorable compared to tackling all the portals directly :)
     
  6. Escapee

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    Interesting article. I also did went through some agreement, contracts and tax form just to get into trymedia affiliates. Not so much with others .
     
  7. Dan MacDonald

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Thanks for the insight Jake. I pass no judgment on peoples motivations but I am always curious to understand them. Independence is not an end it's a means to an end. By day I'm a senior developer / development manager for an enterprise software consulting firm. I work on a lot of things that are a lot less glamorous then even casual games, it pays the bills and let's me peruse games I enjoy making on evenings and weekends. So, I understand wanting to find some place in between, one that allows you to make games and run a business (make money). Still it seems easier to make money working for "the man" then it is to make money in casual games these days...
     
  8. Sakura Games

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    Oh well, no doubts about that. Is much easier to make money even doing other
    stuff online, like blogs, php work etc. WAY much easier :)
     
  9. Grey Alien

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    barrygamer: yeah all different and I'm afraid that I'm not allowed to say what my publisher's cut was for contractual reasons.

    dan: I made 4 commercial games (3 were mine and one was contracting) over the last 18 months and I've made some money but certainly not enough to pay all the bills - thank God my partner works and I was able to juggle my finances around for the last 2 years whilst I learned the the ropes. I also did well paid consultancy work here and there to top up my income, which was handy. But now the current game I'm working on is a contract job and well paid so that's great. I'm happy to do it even though it's not my own IP because it opens new doors and perhaps I'll be able to pitch my own IP to them for a future game and use their budget and resources...so yeah being Indie is not easy and pays like poop unless you are in the top 1% I guess so working for "the man" for a while to gain knowledge seems like a wise move for me.
     
  10. Escapee

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    I think the market is already oversaturated with highly polished match 3 games. My sister doesnt even download those match 3 games anymore. If you're to venture into less contested genres like casual sim, strategy and etc with your great skill. There is a greater change that you would be lauging your way to the bank like the developers who made Kudos, Aveyond, virtual villager, Lux deluxe, MCF series, westward, new star soccer 3 (with low quality art) and etc.

    Good luck and keep the ambition alive .
     
  11. Grey Alien

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    Escapee: Don't worry my next game isn't match-3, it should be very good but I can't talk about it until it's ready in the summer. Thanks for your good wishes.
     
  12. AJirenius

    AJirenius New Member

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    Sounds very great Grey Alien, looking forward to that title. You're probably the one that actually made me make up my mind and actually go for some indiedeveloping for starters and my first "real" game will probably be a middleway with publishers helping me out through this nest of advertising, press releases, contactbuilding, packaging, quality ensurence etc etc

    Want to have a few games behind me before I even look into that kind of things.

    Great article, just as those before you have written regarding the subject. Helps a lot to understand and focus on the different phases there is.
     
  13. Grey Alien

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    Andreas: Thanks I'm flattered! Well good luck to you. And the approach you are taking sounds sensible. Basically focus on your strengths right now (i.e. making games) and let other people handle the admin and marketing until you are in a position to give it a go yourself in the future. You still don't ever have to do it if you don't want to - for example you could a) have more fun and b) make more money by ALWAYS delgating those tasks. Perhaps my Holiday Bonus game would've done better if I'd found a publisher, but I really wanted to give the whole thing a go myself.
     
  14. tolworthy

    tolworthy New Member

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    "you have left a facility to plug in a portal splash screen in your game right?"

    I'm curious about this line in your blog:
    "you have left a facility to plug in a portal splash screen in your game right?"

    Would you care to expand on this? Thanks.
     
  15. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    Code:
    int main(int argn, char **argv)
    {
            initEngine();
    
            showMySplashScreen();
            if (PORTAL_VERSION)
                    showPortalSplashScreen(PORTAL_SPLASH_IMAGE);
            showFlyingButterflies();
            
            jumpToMainMenu();
    
            shutdownEngine();
            return 0;
    }
    
    I hope this explains... :p
     
  16. tolworthy

    tolworthy New Member

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    Ah, I see. Thanks. But my first reaction to a portal splash screen is "UGH." My second reaction is "how depressing." I may not have a choice, but I don't like the idea one bit.

    FIRST, I don't like games that start with 32 different splash screens before they start. Maybe this is tolerable on a free demo, but if the customer pays for a game shouldn't they get the game and not be forced to watch advertising first? It says to the user "we come first, your needs come second."

    SECOND, isn't it enough that the portal takes the majority of the money for a product it didn't create? Then to claim that they somehow created it as well?

    THIRD, my game is the complete opposite of most other games out there. It's all classical music, slow pondering, wide open spaces and plain colors, dark antique styles and serious literature. I have never seen a portal splash screen that would not completely destroy that mood.

    FOURTH, my game has the look and feel of a book. Like a book it has one author (me), though I do of course recognize those whose images and audio I have licensed. Would people rather read a book by J. K. Rowling or by Warner Brothers? I try hard for a personal relationship with the user. This is my story, for better or worse, and I even appear in the introduction to personally explain stuff. My game tries to be the opposite of those big faceless corporate games out there. So starting with a third party company logo would seriously undermine what I'm trying to do.

    But I guess I won't have a choice. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Sigh.
     
    #16 tolworthy, Mar 19, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  17. Roman Budzowski

    Indie Author

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    As far as I know you don't have to display theirs splash if you don't display yours.

    best
    Roman
     
  18. tolworthy

    tolworthy New Member

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    LOL! I thought you were going to say "if they don't appear on your screen then your game won't appear in theirs." My game has no splash screens, so this sounds encouraging.
     
  19. JoKa

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    The portal screens don't state they made the game, they only remind the customers who brought it to their attention :)
    In the game, you still have the possibility to present yourself as the developer. The only thing you're not allowed to do is showing your own urls.
     
  20. Pogacha

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    Also I belive they don't need the splash screen, just to be named in the main menu. I've seen lots of games with just this ...
     

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