You don’t know what is Steambirds? Go play now.

I’m not going further until you have played a bit …

Seriously …

Ok I guess that now you have played a bit now. Here are my random thoughts about it. For some reason I found this oldish post on Gamasutra which I’m sure I’ve seen before but I only recently took the time to read it. I guess that finally telling to myself that I’d work on Flash games might be some kind of incentive … My Javascript games are terribly hard to distribute so I guess I was hiding my head in the sand for some reason.

Let’s skip the part where I say that Steambirds is a highly polished game with great graphics and easy to understand gameplay. On second thought let’s not because it’s import. So Steambirds is a highly polished game with great graphics and easy to understand gameplay. :)

It’s important because when you’ll read the Gamasutra article you need to put everything in context. I’ve played (and built some) games that are not matching these criteria so to think that by just giving a shot at building a Flash game you can come up easy with the same results is just not the useful here.

Now that everything is in context I must say that I’m a bit surprised that such money can be attached to Flash games. Not because Flash games cannot be good games but because from the point of view of a novice you don’t see how you can make money with that besides slapping ads around or in the game. Sure we’re not talking about millions here but my thoughts were “if you’re lucky you can make $200″. I guess that’s still true for most games but I never thought that $25,000 could be put in the same post as “Flash game”.

Now I was wondering how much time Steambirds took to complete and a quick Google search pointed me to the best source possible. If you’re too lazy to read it let’s say that development started end of October 2009 and ended at the end of January 2010 so about 3 months of work though not full-time if I understand well. My favorite quote about the development is “I even did a lot of code from the pub on my laptop“. This for me has absolutely no price and this is what I so much like about being indie. If I can code from a pub I don’t need to be able to buy the latest home theater or a fancy sport car.

So a $25,000 deal – 10% for (knew about this service but never really paid a lot of attention to it, that recently changed) and 50% of that for Andy Moore himself so that means $11,250. I guess ads must add a bit to that as I found that by even just giving a new skin to code found in a tutorial you can make money out of that (not a lot but still). My thoughts here are that it’s really really really good. Of course when you consider what is required to make a living it means you must pull that kind of deal 4 times a year but eh, that’s a start.

Now maybe you’re wondering why a $45,000 deal was turned down (from what I understand it included money for a spin-off with predefined required features). Well from what I understand why would you put yourself in a corner with a publisher when you were able to pull a $25,000 deal in the first place. Of course if Andy Moore indeed decides to make a spin-off it’s possible that he won’t get another $25,000 from it but considering how successful the first game was I’d say that a possible $50,000 with no restrictions and a free schedule is better than $45,000 right now with the feeling that you HAVE to pull it off again soon. Anyway if you like being indie why try to put yourself in a situation where you don’t get all the benefits … of being indie … Being indie means risk anyway so better live with it and have fun while doing so.

I don’t really know who is Andy Moore. I plan of fixing this a bit by going through his blog. His success with Steambirds is quite interesting for me specially that he was generous enough to share results and his experience building the game. Here’s yet another nice indie story to use for motivational purposes!