List of problems faced by indie developers and how to solve them

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by over_cloud9, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    I agree with Indinera. Also, if you're local, you WILL have "connections" with the press. I could get on all game review magazine in Italy but would be pointless as wouldn't be worth the time spent :)
    That said, having spoken privately with many indies, I'm pleased to see that press review, as Nexic says, doesn't really give you such a big boost on sales. Apparently, there are still gamers that can decide for themselves what they want to play!! :eek:

    edit: in case of PC development, press coverage can make much easier to get on Steam though. So we can say that, in a certain way, getting press coverage can turn "ok" revenues, into "insanely high" revenues.
     
  2. Indinera

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    Maybe that's just an observation based on the type of games I make... but yeah I find being American crucial.
    It makes game making faster, easier and produces higher quality dialogs and scripts (logically). I have also noticed it's easier to get coverage, feedback and good reviews from big websites, too. A lot of reviewers love to mention when a dev is not a native and the dialogs therefore are not perfect english - so the rating is lower, which means less money and less chances to be considered in portals. And at the same level of earnings (income), an American will always get more attention than an Italian or a French - which means yet lower chances to get included in "choosy" portals, which means more money lost.
    Plus, you can go at GDC, CC and all those big conferences much more easily if you are American and true, they exist in Europe too, but only as pale equivalents (ie much less attended), and always far from the South where I live (Hamburg... Kiev??... who picks the towns for CC really?)
    So yeah I definitely think I wasn't "born right". I wish I would have been born American, being indie would be so much more fun, rewarding and enriching (literally).
     
    #22 Indinera, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  3. Roman Budzowski

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    The 2 most important decision indie developer (or any developer) has to make are to pick GENRE and THEME. The rest is derivative. Really.

    Do you think it would help your games get more eyeballs if you've been born in America? I don't think so. Your games are just not compatible with portals audience, at least casual portals.

    You're just making excuses that stop you from making better games. I had similar mindset to yours. Not being native English speaker I always felt that my dialogs suck... until a lighting struck and I realized I can hire someone for whom writing English texts is his second nature. Never read a review about my games that they have bad dialogs.

    I also made few games in the past that weren't portal audience friendly and I couldn't understand why portals don't want my games. Now I do games in genres and themes that are portal friendly and have no problems with my games being rejected. It's actually quite opposite.

    Some people have natural skill of getting an audience... and probably there's a higher chance that you would have that skill if you were born in America, but I would not call it the best asset you can have.

    As for GDC and other confs in USA - what stops you from going there? Airplane ticket to USA is around $700, it's probably just $500 more expensive than US<>US airplane tickets. greyalien just posted on his FB that his total cost for GDC was $1500, for you it would be probably $2000. Compare that to game dev costs and it's not that expensive. And I can tell you that probably every portal I know visits European editions of Casual Connect.
     
  4. Indinera

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    Oh, but my games ARE on the casual portals, thank you, and they have an audience.
    But yeah, my personal (and argumented) belief is that I would make far bigger income if I had been born American. I am being attacked too often on grammar to seriously believe otherwise. I can't just hire someone to fix it since my games are heavy on dialogs. In a way, my best quality in game making (ie storyline and dialogs) has become my doom because of my origin. If I look only at the same genre and theme, it's easy to notice that the same game written by a native is always better received. Not saying it's not normal but then that's exactly what I'm saying: being a native is far better, the gain is HUGE.
    As for european conferences, they are much less attended, from what I know, both by portals and magazines (such a Gamezebo). The big event is in the States. When I checked last year to attend CC in July, the tickets were 1000 euros each (was planning to go with someone) which is about 1300 dollars.
     
    #24 Indinera, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  5. Vatina

    Vatina New Member

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    The only part of not being american that I regret when it comes to being indie is one of the points mentioned above - not being able to go to places like GDC ;)
     
  6. Indinera

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    Well this is undoubtedly a big one. But if you were making RPGs, especially ones with lots of dialogs, you'd see my other point right in front of your nose. Oh well... can't choose your origin, unfortunately...
     
    #26 Indinera, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  7. Roman Budzowski

    Indie Author

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    For your next game try to hire proof reader... if you're a good story writer, just hire someone that corrects your grammar etc. It's not that expensive and if it proves to be worthless at least you tried.
     
  8. Indinera

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    Proofreading a text written by a non-native will not turn it into a brilliant text, it will just make it grammatically acceptable (if the proofreader does their job well). But you need to "think english" from the start. You need to use idioms, phrasal verbs and such to make it a good text. The only solution left for me is to learn english... but it takes a lot of time. And the time spent on it will still be a huge loss compared to someone who can use it to make games instead.
     
  9. Roman Budzowski

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    Out of curiosity: how much text do you have in your last game?

    Learning English always helps, but if not proofreader, you can hire "rewriter", more expensive, but also makes your story sound more natural.
     
  10. Indinera

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    It's hard to say because the text extractor I use comes embedded with all kinds of lines like ----- or ***** or whatever.
    BFG estimated the number of words of Millennium 2 as "far exceeding 30,000" and Millennium 2 is one of my smallest games.

    The harder the job, the more expensive indeed. You wouldn't count as a huge loss to cash out 10k for a rewriting that a US guy wouldn't have to do because they were "born right"? I would!
     
  11. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    The biggest problem is becoming indie in the first place. I'm not that great with words so it's hard to explain but the point is superbly illustrated in this instructional video. Some succeed with pain, others fail with embarrassment.
     
  12. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Sorry that every time we converse it seems to be in a negative fashion Indinera, but this problem is yours not the worlds.

    If your English is not good (it actually seems fine to me tbh) then I have to question your choice of making text heavy games to sell to English speakers. Most games don't require much text at all so you've made a rod for your own back.
     
  13. Indinera

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    My english is probably fine for chit-chat but I guess not for the requirements of a roleplaying game: characterization and such - or maybe some reviewers and players are too picky? I don't know. I just know I'd rather not have to ponder about it and have other concerns in my mind.
    I make games with tons of dialogs because this is what I do best in theory. This is how I stand out. Bear in mind also that a lot of people do not have english as a first language and to them my games sound just as fine as the others. And a fair share of english-speaking players are also far more tolerant than the average reviewer. Cutting down drastically on the amount of dialogs would probably be detrimental to the quality of the gane anyway so it's a no-win situation.
     
    #33 Indinera, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  14. Roman Budzowski

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    Define your problem, Indinera? Is it that your games get poor reviews because of not good enough English or is it because your games don't sell enough? Both cases can be cured, though with different medicine. If your sales are not high enough you might have to consider different genre or theme. Is your English is not enough you need to hire "rewriter" (I just checked and rewriting of 30000 words would be 3900$ and I am sure you could find someone cheaper).
     
  15. Indinera

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    The sales are excellent for the genre - my games beat most of the other similar games both in direct sales and on portals like BFG. The reviews and press coverage do not reflect the sales I make AT ALL. Which is not how it should be. Anyway still doesn't make any difference that my life would be much easier as an American.

    Well one of my smaller games would cost me far more than 3900 dollars just because of my origin. Awesome isn't it?
     
    #35 Indinera, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  16. Morgan Ramsay

    Morgan Ramsay New Member

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    Yes, you need great marketing and you need a great product, but you need a lot more than that, too.

    Some people might buy the game. Will some be enough, however? That depends on your goals.

    I said as much.
     
  17. Artinum

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    A proofreader that merely tidies up your grammar is only doing half the job. There is a somewhat blurred line between fixing those odd phrases and rewriting them! I can tell you that learning English will not work (not in the way you mean - your English on these forums is already excellent). You'd need to live in an English-speaking world for many years, constantly exposed to the language, and even then you'll never sound exactly like a native speaker. English courses will teach you to use it correctly. Native speakers can use it incorrectly...

    Oh, and I charge a mere $2 per 100 words for my descriptive proofreading. So 30,000 words would be $600 rather than $3900, which I appreciate is still quite a lot!
     
  18. Indinera

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    I appreciate your offer, but the problem is that 30k words is far below what one of my smallest game has... Oo

    As for learning english, I may not succeed entirely (I am totally aware of that), but I guess that will always help. Been reading Goodkind and watching TV shows... it's helpful for sure, my only pb is that it's time taken from game making... as I said, you can never really win if you were not born right, hence why I put being american on such a pedestal.
     
  19. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Artinum beat me to the punch on this one - when I left earlier this thread was still on 10K for the edit. My wife edits for a living (along with running Audio Lark) and said that editing 30K words would be <1K.
     
  20. Roman Budzowski

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    To not make it "Indinera only thread"... what indies may face as a problem is not willing to outsource their weak sides. Sure, it's not cool to pay even $100 extra, but that shouldn't limit your creativity. Do you pay for art? Do you think it's fair I wasn't born as an artist (and programmer at the same time)? Limit your weak sides by outsourcing them. Save time and hurdle on it and put the effort into what you do best.
     

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