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Jai Shaw

Buisness Forum Digest -- Inde perpective

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Hi, I've just finished reading all 29 pages of the forum and thought I might be able to make some notes and compile some useful opinions and resources. My qualifications are non existent so take my opions and suggests with due caution. However I do consider myself an intelligent individual who is capable of learning from other peoples arguments and re-compiling information from those more competent and experienced in a useful and easy to read format Common Questions: **** How much money can I make as an Inde? **** This question and variations on it seem stem from the multitude of developers that are trying to make a game by themselves. Feeling isolated with no support network they need some form of reinforcement, they want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel or at least some guarantee that their hard work will pay off in the long run. Here is what I have gleaned from the many replies: 1) There are no hard and fast rules... No one can tell you exactly how well your game is going to do. Some people can post examples of their own experience but that's the best you will find. Rough figures range from 100-10,000+ games being sold by inde developers but these numbers depend on a lot of factors (see below). 2) Quality software - It is terribly hard to complete a quality piece of software that is worth people paying money for. The first step is to make your program robust and very user friendly, users can get annoyed quite easily when a program doesn't "Behave". 3) You need a game that isn't going head to head with other shareware games, or worse big commercial games. Luckily this leaves a number of choices: Create a retro game, hopefully one that hasn't been done to death or one with a new and unique feature, Create a puzzle/strategy game - the commercial market doesn't seem to focus on these types of games so much so there seems to be alot of scoop here for new and original games, create a family game - something that is aimed at the masses not at the hard core gamers, these games usually revolve around using a common game tec from the real world as a base to attract players with easy game play and no need to learn how, for instance card games or gambling games and lastly and perhaps most difficult - create something truly original and inspiring, can be very simple (AKA tetris) or more complicated (AKA the first Civilization or RTS games), this last option would seem to hold the greatest risk but also offer the possibility of the greatest returns... 4) The first game is usually just that. It is the very beginning of your possible income stream, it is something that gets you feet wet in the inde selling scene and is something that will hopefully get your name known by the masses. It is not likely to make you rich. Seriously consider making your first game free/very budget or if it is very good quality publishing through some small online publishers like, Dexterity, realArcade or ((that other one I forgot that does family games)). Related to this issue is the issue of actually finishing a project... You can't expect to pick up spanner go into a junk yard and build a working car in a month. Don't try this with your first game either... start small and small doesn't mean you have to just do a stock clone of something else, there is still a lot of variety in small **** What about piracy? **** The next most common thread seems to be piracy related, lots of people have lots of different views on piracy but after reading a lot of extra articles not just the forum messages I have compiled a fairly middle road type idea. IMO any game or shareware package should contain *some* piracy protection code. Do some research find various methods (there is a lot). I think this is useful because by stopping casual pirates and even slowing the "professionals" we increase the value of our software. How much do you think you game is worth when ever "Joe" on the street can *easily* acquire dozens of games for free? I suggest that any shareware undertaking devote 1-10% of development time to adding copy protection. **** How do I publish and distribute my software now its (almost) finished? **** There are two main avenues available to Inde Developers: 1) Destribute it yourself. First join up with a software registering and online payment service like: http://w.kagi.com/ http://www.swreg.org/ http://regnow.com/ (This is by no means a definitive list) None of these seem to be best and most seem to have recieved positive comments from developers. You need to choose based on your sale price and which you prefer from a customer standpoint. Second you want to upload your demo/shareware program to as many upload sites as you can manage, there are a few lists of these sites available one is: http://www.asp-shareware.com/users/searchsites.asp Third marketing, I don't know much about this but it seems prudent to search around on the internet for sites that directly relate to your game or product and see if they will put links to your site there... Also may be useful to try for a link exchange with other inde developers. Also send press release to games news sites and game review sites. Fourth other distribution channels, as I know almost nothing about these I won't make any comments but there is other ways of selling your game, for instance in budget retail packages ect... 2) Getting a third party to distribute your game for you. Personally I haven't done alot of research into this method though I do like Steve's Dexterity.com as they seem fairly well experienced, genuine and honest. Personally I think if you have put in the hard work necessary to develop a quality piece of software then it's worth at least trying to market it yourself After all it's your baby... Useful Links (here are some of the links I found most useful): http://www.asp-shareware.com/ (association of shareware professionals) http://www.avault.com/ (These guys seem to sometimes do reviews on quality shareware) http://www.odigames.com/submissions.php (look like a quality publisher) http://www.isidor-awards.com/(shareware awards site, has a category for games) http://www.igda.org/(Inde game developers association, also sponsers an IDG conference in which a competition for inde games is held) http://www.jrsoftware.org (Not really on topic but this is an excellent freeware setup utility, remember you want to make your game look professional) Special Mentions: cliffSki (http://www.positech.co.uk) Ron Frazier (http://www.kronos-software.com) Steve Pavlina (http://www.dexterity.com) Jester101(http://downloadpal.com) DavidRM(http://www.samugames.com) These guys have done a great job of being helpful and keeping this community on track PS Sorry if length of this post causes any irritation, I may not post often but when I do I like to be thorough... [[Now he finds the FAQ... Check it out for some extra really helpful links ]] -------------------------- Jai Shaw Dreamstars 3: A space combat game with depth?! Coming in August http://members.ozemail.com.au/~jais/ds/ds.htm [edited by - Jai Shaw on July 27, 2002 12:12:25 AM] [edited by - Jai Shaw on July 28, 2002 1:43:36 AM]

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