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      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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esierr1

An Indie Developer Support System! Let's Talk!

2 posts in this topic

As an indie developer, I am currently experiencing the growing pains of getting the word out on my 1st app. It's been an interesting couple of months and although I worked on a marketing plan, I find myself going of course at times.

I am not complaining, I'm just stating that there are various ways to go about marketing a new app. At times it takes some trial and error with certain strategies.

I do have limited funds for a marketing budget, but it's the excitement that keeps me going.

I would like to start a discussion with fellow indie developers so that we can share tips, ideas, feedback and problems that we face. That way we can stick together and work as a team. After all, we're competing against giants that have first dibs on the Apple app store, review websites and even forums.
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I have very little experience with getting a game out in front of customers.

I imagine that what would work best is a polished game with a well thought out marketing strategy on a platform which has exposure to a large audience. Let the polish and quality of a game sell itself.

One lesson I learned in university is this (similar to occams razor): When you compare a 'technically challenging' game against a 'simple but highly polished' game, the simple but polished game will always win.

The end user doesn't give a shit about what's happening behind the scenes or what novel technique you used. Does the game work? Is it fun? does it look nice? If yes, you win. I always have to remind myself of this lesson because I tend to get mired down in technical problems which should NEVER matter and shouldn't even be worked on. I remember a project I started with the best of intentions to create a 'simple' 2D side scroller game, where you fly an airplane around, shooting bullets and dropping bombs at airplanes and ground targets, respectively. I got my airplane to fly, and it looked great. Then I gave the ability to control your speed. Now, players could slow down their plane until it stopped. Obviously, planes don't stop in midair and keep flying, so I had to create some "stall". So, when a plane slows down too much, their nose starts dipping towards the ground. Yet, it still didn't feel 'realistic' enough because you have to slow down to land on a runway and it would be a pain in the ass to land properly if your nose dips down when you're trying to land. So, I had to investigate how 'stalling' works in real life. Hours later, I'm reading about how the shape of a wing and the 'angle of attack' and air speed are all related to stalling, and that the actual 'stall factor' is empirically measured in wind tunnels. Don't forget about wind shear at the wing tips! Then I thought to myself, "Shit, this is adding in a LOT of unnecessary complexity and turning into a major rat hole to get lost in. Will the end user really care if I'm calculating stall based on wind speed and angle of attack? Of course not..." I wasted a good day or two before I scrapped the idea. Due to inexperience, my 'idea filter' isn't finely tuned and I find myself working on technically challenging problems which should have been trashed.
"It's not a masterpiece when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Polish, simplify, polish, simplify, and then iterate.

Hopefully, you'll end with a highly polished and easily playable game which will sell itself. I mean, shit... Angry Birds doesn't sell a million units because they cracked the code on the latest tech on multiple platforms, they sell because the game is polished and accessible to a wide audience.
(I say that here, and I know it to be true, but I guarantee that in my next project, I'll probably forget it and start another manhattan project)
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I did this by releasing beta on my site, updating it through the development, getting some positive reviews, then closer to the release, contacting Valve, and releasing on Steam.

With regards to technically challenged vs polished, programmers tend to see 'polished' as some quality on top of having a game, as if a game was already a completed game if it was not polished. That's wrong. The polished means 'it actually works as a game'. Everything that is in the game must work.

Also, there's a zillion of highly polished simple games, that never make good sales. You haven't heard of those games, but you heard of bejewelled, angry birds, and such. edit: to clarify. You can not substitute anything for 'polished' or substitute 'polished' for anything else. Polished is something that your game absolutely must be. Edited by Dmytry
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