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How hard it is to live from games as indie developer?

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Hello. I know this topic was covered many times. But still, I'm very interested.
I work job for minimal wage and it has nothing to do with computers, so I feel like I deserved better than this. But my knowolage in game development are very limited I only know very basics in C sharp, I have created few low poly models in blender, I can draw a little bit, I know how to handle photshop (or at least how to find tutorials to get result I need). I'm spending few hours everyday to improve all skills mentioned.
So basically I need to make from 500 euros per mouth just to survive. I don't want to spend years on one game, I'm thinking about developing simple games for mobile phones, so development would only take month, maybe two. I don't like working with other people, because that would make me dependable.
I always dreamed about developing games.
How hard this can be? Can you share your experience? Any tips?

Thank you!

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But my knowolage in game development are very limited I only know very basics in C sharp, I have created few low poly models in blender, I can draw a little bit, I know how to handle photshop (or at least how to find tutorials to get result I need). I'm spending few hours everyday to improve all skills mentioned.

 

 

 

 I'm thinking about developing simple games for mobile phones, so development would only take month, maybe two. 

 

 

 

Those two statements don't belong together. You have a minimum amount of skill in the requisite disciplines, you appear to never have actually made a game before, and you think you can go from that to making profitable games in the mobile market in a month? 

 

That's not going to happen. You won't be able to make a living this way with your current apparent skillset. I'd focus on expanding that skillset and building actual games before you leave your current job and try to make a living as an indie game developer. 

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Josh - I know. I'm currently working on few games, just for learning purposes. 


Phantom - what would you recommend?

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I remember reading an article written by the lead programmer of an indie project on iOS. His project (not a game) was an overnight sensation with over 10,000 downloads. The amount of money he made through those sales totaled something like $300 USD.
 
I wish I kept the link!sad.png Edited by MarkS

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Once you have the required skills, release many games often.

 

Keep up a momentum and bombard the app stores with releases. This hones your skills faster and it's more likely that at least one will be successful. 

 

Good luck! 

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You're not ready to be a game developer. Especially not an indie game developer. You can try, but I think that at this point, you will fail and that would only discourage you.

You should start by focusing on getting the skills it would take to become employed at a local game company. Then, go work for one for several years. Figure out the work flow for each job. Figure out how the software development life cycle works and where you fit into it. By working in a bigger studio, you can get really good at a specific part of game development (AI programming? Environment art? animation? etc). When you can do a lot of it well, you may be ready to become an indie developer.

One thing that you absolutely MUST be able to do is work well with other people!!! I cannot stress this enough. No wildly successful game is ever made in a vacuum by one person slaving away in a basement for years. You'll have co workers. You'll have business partnerships. You'll have to talk to customers, and marketing people, and everyone under the sun. At your current job, I would take it as an opportunity to develop yourself and focus on getting better at working with other people. Figure it out. How do you communicate most effectively with your coworkers? How can you lead an effort? How do you get people to see your point of view and follow you? How does your existing employer make money? Why does the business work?

If you want to be a game developer, it's going to take a huge life commitment from you. It's going to take years and years of dedicated training and work, and it won't pay a lot. But it'll be fun, and I guess that's why most people want to get into it.

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I know one local indie who makes AU$500/mo, and another who made AU$10M/mo.
Both are highly skilled :)

Most successful mobile games that I've seen made localy have small, talented teams working on them for several months at least.

But it all comes down to luck (actually, skill, creativity, timing, trends...). You could be the creative genius behind the next Minecraft for all we know...

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A game in two months? Alone? Not even a skilled person. Unless you want to be the next flappy bird guy.

Check what ppl do in a month:

http://www.onegameamonth.com/

 

Check tigsources devlog forums, look for topics of already successful games to get some idea. By successful  I dont even mean games that paid themselves, but that got released on steam or got some market coverage.

Edited by Icebone1000

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I remember reading an article written by the lead programmer of an indie project on iOS. His project (not a game) was an overnight sensation with over 10,000 downloads. The amount of money he made through those sales totaled something like $300 USD.
 
I wish I kept the link!sad.png

 

There have been many similar write-ups.

 

CAN it be enough?  Sure, depending on many factors.

 

First, what are your needs? How much money does it take for you to "live from games"?  In some regions of the world $300 is far above average for a month's wages.  There are many cities where $4000/month is a minimum standard of living.  And there are many levels in between.  

 

In this case the submitter said "500 Euros per month".  More on that in a minute.

 

 

 

Second, what is your plan?  What I read in the initial post was for a single individual with no experience to churn out a small number of games, and hopefully start making $500/month in a matter of "a month, maybe two".  That is extremely unrealistic.

 

However, a long-term plan can pay off.  I have a friend who tried idea after idea, product after product. He did a bunch of market research, they were all related niches and there was a need for these products. The first four products were mostly DOA, seldom getting any web site visitors in spite of his constant advertising, but he kept up their web sites and cross branding.  He kept making minor tweaks and changes when time permitted. The fifth product was good, and started taking off but still never crossed into triple-digits per month. With the fifth product he started getting some cross-sales to the early four failures. He boosted his ad spending, re-investing what little he made into better advertising. The sixth and seventh products were again failures, but again each launch brought a few new customers to all the entire somewhat-related product family.  He kept improving the fifth one because it was still bringing in a trickle of money, and the steady stream of improvements was critical.  After his ninth product in three years he had a breakthrough success.

 

As soon as that ninth product took off, the cross-branding caused the fifth product to also take off. He was featured in a number of trade publications for his niche. He hired two computer science students from a local university to help maintain, build and improve all the products.  Before the fourth year of his product was over, he had paid for a very nice home (no more mortgage) and was in a fairly secure financial position, plus he had two full-time employees and orders coming in for specializations and expansions to his existing products.

 

 

 

I have seen other individuals who put out product after product, month after month. We have done that at several places I've worked. For example, on The Sims we had regular launch days to the online store and had an enormous following. People followed our release schedule and would hammer the site refreshing, waiting for the scheduled launch

 

Another person I knew had his own minigame collection where new simple games were released like clockwork on two specific days of the month. The clockwork new releases took time to build a following, but after an extended time of getting releases the on a reliable schedule, he had built up a following of several hundred thousand people who visited on those launch days, and would play not just the new stuff but also the old stuff. It took about two years to build up to it, but ultimately he was bringing in a few hundred dollars every month through ad revenue. Not enough to replace his day job, but enough to provide quite a lot of additional money to his life.

 

 

I've also read story after story of people who have never made anything from anything they've done.  Go look over the Your Announcements area of the site and observe that trend.

 

It is unlikely that you will become filthy rich on your very first game.  

 

However, if you build a brand, build a business and establish a pattern of quality products, yes, it is something you can build into a successful business. 

 

 

 

 

If your plan is to bring in 500 euros per month, and that is the extent of your plan, it is not enough and you will likely fail.  If your plan is to build a successful game to market, building several products along the way as you gain skills and build a brand, and eventually build a successful business using business principles and your own business savvy, and 500 euros per month is the key point where you quit your day job in favor of your growing business, then sure, that may work out for you.

 

 

 

There were a bunch of old articles by Steve Pavlina many years ago, I'll leave you with this link to one of his older articles that reiterates the difference between an amateur (build one product with no demand and wonder why it fails) versus professionals (build products based on demand and systematically build outward until success follows).  What kind of plan are you following?

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