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eidolad

wanna publish a game, but keep my privacy intact

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Hi,

 

So I've decided to jump into the programming in mid-career/life, but intend to publish by the grace of the (insert favored divinity/benign overlord here), and will start out with an indie effort to build up the chops.  I started an online C++ cert that is kicking the stuffing out of me...but, slowly over the year, this is starting to stick.  I solved a problem yesterday using byte-shifting and it felt, like, right-on brother.

 

One thing that I value is a nice quiet private life (but with a loud, noisy inner Sci-Fi/Fantasy life filled with strife, blades, laser fire, and poison grenade rain).  I will do what is necessary to post facebook page for the game, email administrators of game sites and create youtube videos, etc.

 

What I have ZERO interest in is creating some sort of "public persona" -- either to sell myself, or the game.  I want the game to sell itself by having a "product presence" alone.  With some sort of "indie dev dude behind it".  That's it.  No interviews, puleez, except as an avatar for the game, or the game add-on/follow-up.

 

The hands on game demo and gameplay video should prove themselves. 

 

*I* (the personal pronoun and cult of personality nonsense) should not come into it.  Is this possible to remain anonymous, or do I really need to do a kickstarter video series production as a geek comic-superhero dude that wants to rock your world with this game blah blah blah oh please I'm going to hurl...

 

 

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I've never released a game myself, but in the event I ever do, I totally share your privacy concerns. Especially these days after reading so many horror stories of indie devs singled out for harassment campaigns by various....elements of the gaming community.

 

I could be wrong, but I imagine the popularity of your game/platforms you release on/method of sale will have a rather large impact on your ability to remain anonymous. If you release yourself on your own website, let's say for donations rather than purchase, I imagine you can remain as anonymous as possible and avoid any/all backlash from people. If you're releasing on Steam, I would think it's going to be slightly more difficult. Doubly so if you have a publisher behind you, as they may have a rather large say in how your game is promoted.

 

But, I think as a general rule, most public appearances by devs (interviews, articles, game expos etc) are things that are generally sought after by the devs themselves (or their publishers) for more publicity for their game. You can easily choose to avoid these things, though it will be considerably more difficult to market your game as awareness of games is generally made through these outlets.

 

But, again, this is all just observation on my part, as I have no first-hand experience here. Though, it is something I've given a bit of thought to, as I'm a very private person. I'd love to put my games out there, but I in no way want to put myself out there with them :P

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Your privacy is safe. Without searching I can't tell you the names of the developers behind Super Meat Boy. Only reason I can tell you FEZ's developer name is because of his childish anti-gamer and anti-industry rants that he started doing that has gotten him media exposure. As Eck pointed out, you aren't going to be swarmed by fans on the streets, but if you go to conventions you may get some fans, but again that is questionable. 

 

The biggest fear you should have as a developer, is what Ember Entertainment faces, being slated as nothing but a clone developer. Seems every game they have released to date are viewed as poorly done clones of popular games. I think that is my biggest fear, making an idea into a full game and publishing it just to have it torn apart as a clone of some popular game.

 

Just publish it and don't worry too much about privacy as you will find it will stay intact. 

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Subject: wanna publish a game, but keep my privacy intact
...What I have ZERO interest in is creating some sort of "public persona" -- either to sell myself, or the game.  I want the game to sell itself by having a "product presence" alone.  With some sort of "indie dev dude behind it".  That's it.  No interviews, puleez, except as an avatar for the game, or the game add-on/follow-up....


I don't see a technical question here. Moving this to Business/Law.

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It somewhat depends on a question of how you want to fund yourself -- successful crowd-funding campaigns pretty much always have a personal component. They're selling the notion that you're not just buying a product, or even funding its development, but that you're funding these *people* to live their dream of developing a product that you'll enjoy. In that sense, the crowd-funding world is a much more personal economy, where the stock and trade is just as much about personalities and reputations as it is great ideas and unrepresented products.

 

To have a completed product that you can just sort of throw out there to sell, its possible, but hard to be successful. The harsh realities are that no product succeeds on its merits alone -- not products from a lone indie developer, not products from Sony or Microsoft. You need presence (aka Marketing), the big guys can simply buy that, but you probably can't. So most indie devs who get press trade in their story as a kind of currency -- I give you good press, you give me a good story to tell in return. Otherwise, the indie gaming press get's bombarded with largely-anonymous review requests for games in every shade of quality all the time.

 

My honest advice is that if you're committed to making this game, it would be a crying shame for it to fail not on its own lack of merit, but for your own desire to hide from the limelight. It might be very astute of you to think or to know that you don't want any part of that for yourself, if so, that's a very good thing -- but if that is the case, you might want to consider whether your lifestyle preferences and the demands of breaking out are able to co-exist. So, in my mind, you have a few choices -- If you have your mind set on not just doing this thing, but being successful, then you probably have to re-think the level of media attention that you personally are going to embrace; If just the doing is the greater part of success for you, then by all means do and sequester yourself away from the press -- just be content to accept that you may not find financial or critical success, finally, if you cannot do without financial and critical success and you truly cannot tolerate being in the limelight at all, then perhaps you might want to consider occupations and hobbies that better mix with your quiet life.

 

All of that being said, you may simply be worrying overmuch about how this endeavor could leach over into your private life, or vice versa. Its terribly unlikely that you'll ever be recognized on the street or find fans making pilgrimage to your door. If you find any success at all there will be fans and haters, of course -- welcome to the internet -- and those things can add to or take away from your emotional well-being, but if you can whether the bluster, its unlikely any of those things will ever really intrude into your 'real' life.

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I imagine this comes with a territory when you've seen movies like "Indie game: The movie". I mean, Phil Fish is probably a deterrent to video game developer alter ego.

That being said, it's quite possible to make a game without capitalizing on your personality, but usually the press will only be interested if there's a story around the game.

Being Mr Secret might not really attract the press organically, so the game would need to be even better to garner some form of interest.

 

I'm willing to bet that a game would sell better with a premise such as this "man makes game on canary island with his monkey" than it would with your premise "awesome game made by Mr. Unknown" but I might be wrong.

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As a first-time poster, I really appreciate the insight/comments...and am impressed by same-day, throughtful responses!

 

The impetus of this post, as I should have pointed out in the OP, was just how aburdly easy it was to use any of various people-search web pages (for less than $10 total dollars spent) to get an enormous amount of info on myself.  Current email address, physical address (Gods Below!), phone number, age, family members, etc. etc.

 

Which reinforces some of the major themes of the responders that I've gathered thus far:

 

a) you need to market your game to succeed  a.1) some of that may involve personal interaction/commitment to make it work based on the venue/marketing strategy a.2) think carefully on the methods used to market the game in relation to privacy

 

b) no worries, won't be tons of hot chicks throwing underwear at you the next time you show up in your "Deux Ex:  Human Revolution" t-shirt at the gym.  (well, I have to say that a gamer chick gave me a thumbs up when I wore my Witcher 2 T-Shirt.  Too bad she was half my age:)

 

c) your privacy is pretty much ok insofar as the authorship/release of a game would affect said privacy.

 

d) some astute posters detected a worry-wort.  Yup, I worry first, relax later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's not a question you can absolutely answer, if your main goal is sales then a media personality could definately increase sales to a degree, creating a cult community/buzz and all that, but then equally it could put people off buying. I guess you really need to speak to a marketing specialist.

 

Also maybe watch 'Indie game: The movie' as has already been mentioned on here.

 

I remember reading a website about Matthew Smith(creator of Manic Miner and JSW) , 'Where is MS' etc..

 

Well as he created a pretty popular game back in the 80's, people decided to find out where he was and what he was like in maybe the early 00's, I guess it was a small number really but they seemed to create quite a but of following on their website, all kinds of stories and rumours were being circulated, eventually Matthew's location was found and he gave a few video interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On a side-note about personal data:

 

I've recently had to change the business I had input my domain at the registrar because their "personal data security" would expire without giving me notice (ending up putting all of my personal info for grabs on any whois searcher).

I found it the hard way when my cellphone started receiving a number of "congratulations" calls :P

 

If you do have a domain registered with your name, whois it and if it does reveal your credentials, find a provider that can cover it for you. It's just better that way unless you want to be a universal persona (read: Phil Fish).

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Good point! I had registered a few domains with Network Solutions because I really like their "private identity" created as part of the domain registration process.

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Warning: As part of internet domain ownership, the "owner" of the domain is the one on the WHOIS record. If you have your domain name "protected" from WHOIS, it's possible that the company doing the registering for you becomes the actual owner of the domain; instead of paying "registration" fees, with you as the owner, it's possible you are actually paying "renting"/"licensing" fees, with them as the owner.

 

And hey, if they are the owner, and you ever want to move to another registrar or if your domain suddenly becomes really valuable, there is nothing stopping them from suddenly raising the "rent" to $10000 a year instead of $10 a year, or auctioning it off, or not letting you switch registers... because you aren't the owner of the domain.

 

I have never heard of any domain register doing something ridiculous like that, but if they are (potentially) the legal owner... Just something to be aware of.

 

That said, I do use WhoIs protection on my registered domains anyway. I figure, in the current state of my unfinished and unreleased game development, I'm not really at any risk of my domains being held hostage. If I get bigger, I'll form a small business anyway, and register the domains to the business.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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