I've been a judge for the Independent Games Festival for at least six years. It's been an amazing time to have free access to the best works in independent gaming. The IGF has evolved a bit during that time; the grand prize winner in 2011 was Minecraft. The 2016 winner was Quadrilateral Cowboy. The vast majority of my time as an IGF judge has been in a post-Minecraft world, where developers knew that there was the potential for their tiny one-person indie game to be bought by Microsoft....
Category archives: Business
We've been heads down on remastering "(I Fell in Love with) The Majesty of Colors" the last few months (along with getting Rosette Dramatic LARP to a stopping point). We wrote about our realizations on project multitasking earlier this year, so we've tried to focus down as much as is reasonable.
That means that the in-flight game most left alone is Exploit: Zero Day, our cyberthriller puzzle game....
In a slow tale spanning the last four months, the IndieGameStand site (one of the places we sold Ossuary) closed parts down for maintenance, then went down completely for maintenance, and then its domain name stopped working entirely. Somewhere in there, its SSL certificate expired as well. The twitter account is silent and all of the preview images for their articles are broken, giving it the look of a column of blank gravestones....
We're releasing Rosette LARP on a variety of marketplaces:
- DriveThruRPG as an ebook and paperback
- Itch.io as an ebook
- Amazon as an ebook and paperback
But why those stores?
We've never released a full roleplaying sourcebook before, although "Awaiting the End" (a one-page, single-session tabletop RPG) is ...!-->
One of the things that's struck us over the last few years of being in indie game dev is how very few teams seem to be using rigorous methods for running their business. (Or, if they are, they aren't talking much about it.) We've attended some great talks at conferences by Finji and watched videos like Simon Roth's "Killing the 'Lucky Indie' myth: How to build a sustainable microstudio", but beyond that the most consistent opinion we've seen is "Make strategies based on data."
Problem is: where is that data?...
Our plan for the last few years has been to work on multiple projects at once. When Gregory worked full time on Future Proof projects, this kept them from feeling drained working on the same thing day in and day out. Now that we're both indefinitely part time, however, we're finding it near-impossible.
Our 2017 plans seemed reasonable. They were in line with what we've tried to do in the last couple of years, but incorporating the data from previous years: actual dev time for new Exploit: Zero Day story jobs, actual time needed for marketing, conference schedules, etc.
There are only two sure things in life when it comes to e-commerce: bugs and taxes. We dealt with both this past week.
2015 was a weird year. Somewhere in that year is a typical tale of an indie game studio underestimating project timelines and changing directions based on surprises and things they learned.
But I want to talk about budgets....
In the third quarter of this year, we committed ourselves to diversifying Future Proof's income. Our only real source of income right now is sales of Ossuary, and while Exploit: Zero Day is trucking towards having salable plot, development on that has barely begun.
We had another idea, though: in the process of prototyping the Car Game, we started developing a simple scene loading tool in Unity. (Think of the sort of code that loads upcoming areas in an open-world game as you approach the edge of the current one.) This would let us dip a toe into dev tools (an altogether different market than game sales) and wouldn't have required much in the way of PR work: its discoverability would primarily be managed within the Unity asset store.
"All it needs," we said, "is a little bit of polish and some error checking. A couple weeks of work at most."
Famous last words from developers....