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If you haven't read Brad

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If you haven't read Brad Wardell's comments, read 'em. He's wise beyond his years. The computer game industry is currently a colossal mess, and things are probably gonna get worse before they get better. It's enough to make you want to become a civil engineer.

One point, though, about his article. When he refers to quantities, he's basically referring to top-shelf stuff. If you see something on the discount rack, it's probably selling more than 5,000 copies per month. Of course, given that discount racks are disappearing from computer stores faster than drive-in theaters disappeared during the 1980's, the analogy might still hold.

I wish I could give you hopeful news about the state of the industry, top-shelf or discount rack, but there's not much good to say. If you're making money selling games, then I commend you. Chances are, though, that you're not.

I got an email from a reader who had a couple of questions that I get asked quite often. I thought I'd answer 'em in public.

Is it possible to make a living writing games?

By yourself, no.

I realize this is an odd answer, because I myself make a living selling games, and I work by myself. As far as I can tell, though, I'm scarcer than an albino giant panda. I've got literally dozens of friends who created high-quality finished products, both games and productivity apps, but I can't name a single person who made enough to quit his job and tackle it full time (other than myself). There are several one-man or husband-wife efforts out there, but unless you've got a surefire hit and the know-how to sell it, it's simply not going to happen.

I guess a better answer should be "if you have to ask this question, no".

How do you sell something to a publisher. Design document?

Unless you're approaching a company through whom you're already selling something, or you have enough of a reputation for producing solid sellers, sending a design document to a publisher will have the same effect as wishing upon a star.

Game projects are notorious for not finishing, and no publisher is going to trust you that your project is going to be any better than the others out there. A design document is important for your own internal review, but you might as well keep it to yourself.

Contacting publishers, though, is not a bad idea. A good idea is to contact the buyers at various publishers and ask them what kind of products they're looking for. If you're lucky, you can develop something that publishers are wanting, and they'll end up liking what they see once you provide the completed product to 'em..

Yes, I realize that you might very well end up producing a finished product that no publisher ends up wanting. That, my friend, is the breaks.

For more information, read my Common Sense document. Good luck. You're gonna need it!
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