The guide to indie game dev success
This is the post I’ll make once I know success. Well I’m writing it now so I’m a bit ahead of time here but it doesn’t matter. I’m pretty sure it’s the post I’ll write anyway.
What is success? Let’s define it as “being able to pay for whatever expense you might have”. Nothing too fancy, just enough to be able to stay “indie” and not needing to have another job. if you don’t care about that then skip this post.
Make a game and release it. It’s funny how many people don’t get this step right. I mean you don’t have to release a good game, it doesn’t even need to be fun! Just make a game and release it! There you go.
Charge something for your games. Remember the goal here. You can’t pay for food if you don’t make any money so your work is worth something.
Avoid reading the comments. Yeah it sucks but chances are that you’re still making shitty games so avoid reading the comments. People judging you are doing so in the present. You’re trying to start something so if you get destroyed by a bad critic at the beginning it really doesn’t help.
Read the comments. Yeah it’s the opposite of step 3 but by now you have learned that you are dealing with the Internet and that if you start crying the moment some random stranger tells you that you suck then you don’t have a bright future in this business. Not all comments are bad. Well most are but you can still find some helpful tips in there. So read them and try to figure out what you can do to improve your skills. Remember though … Don’t read the comments …
Release another game, and another, another, another, another, … You get the point. You need to do stuff to learn. Remember step 2 though. It’s fun to release games just for the sake of it but you also need to learn about charging for your games. You’re not doing this just for fun (if you are then why are you reading this anyway…). You need to learn how to fail at selling a game. And another one. And another, and another, etc.
Do some more games. Yeah I’m not helping here. The sad truth however is that very few people will be helping you so you have to learn how to deal with it. You’re not doing the world a favor by making games you are trying to pay the bills. Learn to deal with the fact that making games = business. It’s selfish and that’s the point. Again if you don’t care about making money why are you still reading!?!?!?! The point is to make a living out of what you create and what you like. Not to make the world a better place to live.
Time to take a break. By now you might have an alcohol addiction or some other weird shit. Take some time to think about yourself and your loved ones. It really doesn’t make any sense to keep going if you’re destroying yourself. Do you want to be known as the diva of indie gaming? Look around. Others have already acquired that title and even appeared in some pseudo-documentary.
Look at yourself! You kinda know what you are doing. Well maybe not but at least you feel like being an “indie game dev” is a job! That’s a great step to reach! You now accept that there is a difference between doing shit you like and doing stuff that might pay for your expenses! Oh but some people didn’t have to go through that you might say! Well … Here’s the shocker: just because you decide to make games it doesn’t mean you’ll be great at it. Yeah, yeah … They say that if you’re really passionate about something that the sky’s the limit. Not true. You have to deal with your limits and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. We are who we are and we are not all equal. Learn who you are and try to make the best out of it. Don’t try to be someone else.
Did you quit your job yet? If yes then it was foolish. You’re just starting to know what you’re capable of. Remember that you have bills to pay and that live sadly isn’t just a world of opportunities. It’s also a world of obligations. Make sure you can meet these obligations otherwise you’ll give up faster than it takes to say BYE!
Release some more games. Feel free to give up at this point. Sometimes things just doesn’t turn the way you wish they had. If you do give up though then you only have yourself to blame. Don’t blame yourself too hard though. Just because you didn’t make it as the indie game dev you thought you would become it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. You still have amazing experience worth sharing. Maybe you’re 1 game away from “making it” but you don’t know. Point is that if you make it here you are already part of the indie dev you wanted to become. The only thing missing is the revenue and well … It’s tough as shit to make a living in anything so just imagine how tough it can be when you try to do it with games you create. Seriously … Take a minute and think about it. See? It’s not easy.
Congratulation! You made it! Truth is you don’t really know why but it happened anyway. You found the right idea at the right time with the right execution. Who knows! Maybe you just were in the right mood! Something unexpected happened that got you on the right track you never saw before! It’s silly like that. Well not that silly as you still made it to that step so it means that you kept making games. Maybe it took 30 games, maybe 60 games but you made it.
The thing you might question is how old you are though. Well … If you became an indie game dev at 80 did you at least kept some people around you or are you some old shit in a house that nobody want to have business with? Have you been able to live a happy life or was it an obsession? Did you do what you like or were you just trying to prove a point. Was it fun? Yeah … fun … What you were trying to create. Had any?
My point? Well it should be fun exactly. We won’t all become great game devs but we should at least try to have a nice time trying. Our failures shouldn’t become live’s failures. Our successes shouldn’t become “the nice time we had”. It should just be “this is how I went with my life and it was fun”.
If I become a “successful indie game dev” one day I wish that I’ve made this possible without shooting myself in the foot. Sometimes it just feels that if you don’t make it “the way it should be done” that it was all for nothing. I really don’t want that. I just want to die old with my wife by my side while I had fun doing a strange thing that didn’t ruin my life. And that’s step 12. One day it will end. Did you enjoyed the ride or not? …