Lostcast 119: Preduction
I’m glad I was eating my lunch while you were discussing cooking and “fancy ham”.
Can’t get enough of that “fancy ham” :P
@geoffb I f*cking love Alkaline Trio! I’ve only been able to get to one of their live shows (they seem to skip Ireland a lot on tours, which sucks) but I’ve been a huge fan since I first heard “Private Eye” back in college.
You guys raised very pertinent points regarding financing your business - definitely something that gets overlooked a lot. Rami Ismail from Vlambeer is great the way he talks about things like the cheap ass instant noodles he and JW had eat twice a day every day for a year when they were making their earlier games. I’ve also heard Edmund McMilllen and Tommy Refenes tell people not to quit their day jobs and to keep making their game in their spare time. In fact I think Tommy Refenes said before that all he cared about with “Super Meatboy” was that it would make enough money so that he pay off his debts and have enough left in the bank to make his next game.
I’m sure it pops a lot of people’s bubbles but it’s important to realistic - very few people as successful as Notch!
There are so many potential business models for developers these days - kickstarter, patreon, greenlight, early access etc - and nothing is a golden ticket unfortunately.
What’s so dangerous to me is that everyone’s examples are the outliers – the few devs who have had big successes and are now millionaires (Team Meat), billionaires (notch), or just in VERY different boats than most of us will ever be in. The term I was looking for during the podcast was survivorship bias. Dan Cook’s article we mentioned tries to shine a light on the more common, realistic finances of indie game companies, and we try to do that too.
These days when I see a success I’m often like LOOK AWAY!! hisses like vampire
That’s very interesting, I’d never heard of “survivorship bias” before. I can see how it helps to contribute to the mistaken belief that game dev, or any industry for that matter, is a quick win and a crock of gold awaits.
I guess the cycle of promotion and media around games doesn’t help with the preconceptions. Additionally if you’re the likes of MS, Sony, etc you want to promote those successes because it brings in sales and you also want the “gold rush” to be seen to be happening on your platform while you’re the one selling the shovels.
I got a chance to read Daniel Cook’s article from the podcast, he writes a lot of sense. Yourself and Geoff can probably relate to it a lot more but coming from the day-job-contractor-evenings-and-weekends-hobbyist angle he’s definitely correct. It takes longer and quality suffers! I’ve been working on and off on a game jam puzzle game since late 2013. I polished it up enough with 12 levels and brought it to an indie event where I was genuinely shocked by the great reception it got - to this day I’ll never forget a guy sending 4 friends and then his wife over to play or the “a-ha!” look on one player’s face when they figured out how to get past a level. Anyhow.
I wanted to make the move from server side to more front end in my day job so I had built everything with JS/HTML for the technical experience. Then I got boned by iOS updates, browser bugs, hard drives failing. I didn’t want to go native as it would be another language to learn etc etc. If I was running a business I would never have survived but having the income from my day job allowed me to make all those mistakes. The game still isn’t finished and I’m strongly considering a move back to server side as front end web dev is always a headache :P
So hats off to you guys for staying in business for this long! It’s a very impressive feat :)
(To date I’ve made 65 euro on a J2ME game I co-developed in college that took 8 weeks to develop back in 2004!)
@anthony YES! Alkaline Trio is sooo goooood. I was hooked after hearing Hell Yes and My Standard Break From Life. From Here To Infirmary remains one of my favorite albums. Melissa and I caught them live in San Francisco not too long ago. They put on an excellent show.
I try to look at indies like Jeff Vogel (Spiderweb Software) and Cliff Harris (Positech Games) as my sources of inspiration. To me, they both embody the idea that you can build a sustainable game business around focusing on a small, niche games and building brand awareness.
My main concern with keeping a full time job though is focus. It’s really hard to make something as successful as it can be, without giving it all your focus. But yeah I am in no position to leave my full time job, I just don’t have the audience to make money off games yet. So i’m hoping to build that and see where things can go from there. In addition I am working on a small mobile + web app trello clone that works offline, as that’s my biggest gripe with Trello :D. Who knows where that kind of app might go.
For the twitch stuff, I agree while music in the background can add value (a lot of game streams do this), having it block out the audio in post process just sucks and is not worth it when you want to export to youtube. However, you can always record a local file and upload that manually to youtube. But I hear youtube has content detection as well.