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Any hope for Indie developers?

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6 hours ago, SotarOraiste said:

I think main trap that most indies have fallen is "making yet another of a game" , most games around are in fashion of "hey we have unity so why not a game".

If I'm not mistaken , Stardew Valley is made by one person on a very average AMD laptop in few years but it was success from my POV with few millions of revenue. Because it wasn't yet another platformer with even cooler graphics or tower defence wonder.

That cat copied off of Harvest Moon. Now that's what I call business!

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9 minutes ago, francoisdiy said:

That cat copied off of Harvest Moon. Now that's what I call business!

I had heard that it's "heavily influenced" of Harvest Moon. As long as Harvest Moon is Nintendo specific and "a Nintendo game" , it's no problem.

Indies don't need to make amazing inventions all the time, just focusing on rather niche genres have merit imo.

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1 minute ago, SotarOraiste said:

I had heard that it's "heavily influenced" of Harvest Moon. As long as Harvest Moon is Nintendo specific and "a Nintendo game" , it's no problem.

Indies don't need to make amazing inventions all the time, just focusing on rather niche genres have merit imo.

Now that's confusing. This industry stuff is wack!

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Just now, francoisdiy said:

Now that's confusing. This industry stuff is wack!

Well ... I never played Harvest Moon (checked few times only via youtube) , even if it is based on same idea and similar mechanics, I doubt it is a blatant ripoff.

On my own I prefer indies to go after well made niche games rather than yet another mediocre 3D game or whatever popular at the time. Even revival of "oldies but goldies" is a nice strategy, unless you're Sony backed "No Man's Land" people don't have super high expectations from indies.

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When I read the OP, I guess we are talking about mobile games.

 

My 2 cents: move over to PC or Console, and let the mobile sector alone for now. Mobile Games are dead for devs that cannot compete with the likes of King or the other top 5 or 10 in terms of ads and market research. True, there are the lucky guys like the flappy bird dev, but way to many shovelware and to little moderation by Apple and Google to ever be able to muscle you way to a good position with hard work alone.

 

While Steam has also become a cesspool of shovelware garbage and bad devs trying to make a quick buck, at least Steam seems to be moving in to do something about it... at the speed of a glacier, mind you. But in contrast to Google and Apple their thing is games front and center, thus if their games market suffers, they suffer.

Same with the Console e-stores really. Sony has left some pretty shady games unto their platform as of lately, but I would guess that at some point they will also have to step in and put some measures in to stop the flood of garbage. Additionally AFAIK it is still not such a no-questions-asked thing to publish a console game like it is on the mobile app stores.

 

Just let the mobile market run its course, and either be on the right side of the fence when it finally collapses, or swoop back in when it starts to cool down again. I would guess a lot of the shady business does NOT pay out as well as the garbage devs might think, and a small change by the platform holder or the worldwide economy will destroy the loopholes they are currently trying to abuse (like Steam rolling back their trading card system. Now if they also change the rules for achievements (like capping the amount of max achievements per game, or something like that), the bad devs will have to go back to putting ads into their games and try to maximize play time per player).

This ain't the Indieapocalypse if you ask me... its a liberal market running wild, and platform holders being slow in recognizing that they need to regulate it to some extent or risk people loosing interest in said market.

 

I know I lost a lot of interest in Steam. Besides the flood of garbage its the flood of bad ports, and me not really being interested in all the Steam side functions... but certainly, having to wade through a sea of garbage to find the pearls if I for once not search for a specific game certainly does not make me want to start up a steam store search. Back to my Retro games and the few PS4 diamonds I guess.

 

 

EDIT:

Oh, and another thing....

You know how many startup companys will make a profit within 2 years? Almost none. When you build up your own company, you have to be ready to go through multiple years of negative figures while you try to find the winning formula, make connections and find clients.

Maybe you (and many others I guess) went into this with the wrong idea? I know, there will be guys who prove my point wrong because they managed to make a profit within 6 months, but for MOST startups, that ain't the case. Even high profile startups like facebook where in the red for 5+ years while they cranked up their business and muscled their way to the top.

You should have savings in your bank account to pay the bills for multiple years, a steady stream of income either with a day job or occasional side gigs for clients, or just the ability to live dirt cheap to even consider starting up your own company... else you are just hoping for having luck and winning the lottery, which is never a wise decision.

 

On the flipside that means you need patience... more patience than most people could have, to see your company slowly grow to a profitable entity. 2 years of famine is nothing in the world of self employment... its just a sign that your probably have to re-adjust the way you do business to not eat into your savings another year.

Maybe read "the lean startup"... the core principle of that is to try a lot, fail quickly and pivot in a different direction if you do. If you do mobile development, I guess you can crank out a game within 3-6 months. If you have not found the winning formula for 2 years you either have tried 4 times already and now know a lot about what NOT to do in the current mobile app store ecosystem, or you did something wrong (like spending too long on a title, or trying the same thing over and over again).

 

IMO of course....

Edited by Gian-Reto

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8 hours ago, SotarOraiste said:

Well ... I never played Harvest Moon (checked few times only via youtube) , even if it is based on same idea and similar mechanics, I doubt it is a blatant ripoff.

It's a blatant rip-off. It's great.

 

Regarding Steam and the app stores and the insipid, petulant cry for "regulation"...

Think about 10 years ago. How often did you come across a good game? How often is it now? No, really. Go look at your accounts and actually count them. If you're still a gamer then there are more now than there were then. Why? Because the entire market is expanding. The old model could NEVER have sustained this growth, so why the hell would we go backwards? For every whiner who gets butt-hurt about games they don't want to play and leaves there are 100 new customers buying games that they do want to play. It doesn't matter how badly you want it, this distribution market is not collapsing any time soon. These people are making more money than god EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you can get over the irrational resentment about someone other than you making money then the upshot of this situation is that you have the opportunity to very, very easily find and buy more and better games than before for less money. If you don't want to "wade through a sea of garbage" then try thinking about an actual search strategy rather than diving thoughtlessly into the unsorted mass. Scan the top seller/top rated lists for genres that interest you. Find a curator who shares your tastes, either on Steam or on YouTube. Watch E3 indies videos and jot down things that interest you.

Most importantly, stop caring about shit that doesn't interest you. It doesn't cost you anything unless you decide to sit there and fuss about it like a child. The complaints on Steam are absolutely ridiculous. Most days SUF is nothing but asshole after delusional asshole sitting there just drenched in entitlement and nerd rage. This one wants to ban anime games, this one wants to ban indie games, this one wants to ban early access, this one wants to ban Call of Duty, for fuck's sake. A cacophony of drooling, authoritarian pricks who can't tolerate a world that doesn't cater exclusively to their preferences.

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The environment has changed, and you can adapt or you can suffer. The only reason to just wade blindly into the database is if you've got the bizarre idea that you're going to find some tragically undersold, low-rated game that just happens to be a misplaced gem. It's not going to happen. There are people all over the world looking at these games day in and day out with literally autistic dedication. If there's something even remotely worthwhile in a niche you're even passively interested in, a trivially strategic search will reveal it to you. If you actually look for things that you're interested in rather than throwing yourself at the DB sideways then you'll very likely hear about it 6 to 12 months prior to its release. But hey, even if you can't be assed to make an effort what are you missing comparatively? Don't even look then, just make note of things that other people talk about and check on what interests you... You know, like you did when it was brick and mortar? That still works too. Jesus fucking Christ, you don't even have to get out of your god damned chair anymore!

So the idea that these markets should or will change to accommodate severely outdated notions of content delivery is ridiculous. These people opened the floodgates and the result is that they're drowning in cash. Why the hell would they do anything to change that? Even Steam Direct isn't about getting rid of meta-marketers or ensuring quality; it's about making even more money for Valve. The scuttlebutt is near-transparent publicity because it's TRIVIALLY SIMPLE to whip the idiot army into a frenzy over nothing at all and then sell them a solution which, "Oops!" just happens to make you a hell of a lot more money. So if you're sincerely thinking that this is some kind of progress or some powerful blow for your authoritarian view of what games people should be allowed to sell or play, well... The one that got played was you.

 

 

Edited by Khatharr

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@Khatharr:

While I do agree with many of your statements, that leaves out the fact that there are a F*ckton of games on thes storefront nowadays that are what Valve now classifies as "fake games". Games that never have been made to be real functional games, just simple scams to abuse loopholes. Are these a problem if looked at with your world view? Probably not. They still clog up the store and benefit no-one (besides, jsut maybe, the dev, and then the store owner).

And there IS the fact you leave out one simple thing: someone else has to do the work so you can just use your clever search strategy and get the good games without the effort.  So these guys have no right to complain that the current situation makes their "job" of finding the good games harder? They are not paid by you or Valve or anyone to do their job, and even if they were, they had all the right in the world to complain about a situation which makes finding good games harder than finding gold in the earth, for the guy that does not just want to leech, but add some new finds to the general list of good games.

 

And then we as a group of mostly hardcore gamers who spend a lot of time informing us about the games that are worth the money often forget that many less hardcore gamers still buy games based on the box art or some other metric we know is stupid (for example based on earlier titles in the series... did this myself back when I bought CoD:MW3).

Sure they should invest more time when making ANY purchase. Sure they get exactly out what they put in in effort. Still, lets not forget about the "casual plebs" ;)

 

Some people blow the situation out of proportion, yes. The situation is still a problem for many people. I don't think any SANE person would want to go back to walled gardens and publishers having to vouch for devs to get them unto any platform besides PC.

SOME regulation doesn't hurt. As usual, ANY of the extremes is bad. Overregulation just as much as completly open markets. I guess we still need to find the golden middle ground. But letting markets run wild usually is not leading anywhere good, IMO.

 

 

EDIT:

watched a totalbiscuit youtube vid yesterday that seems relevant to the topic: 

 

He makes a ton of good points.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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You have to please the crowds. Sometimes the crowds like dumb things like Flappy Bird which is simple but dumb and repetitive. Look at Angry Birds and talk about repetitive game play. Release something different and more complex the crowds might not like it. It may not appeal to the crowds but that does not mean that the game is bad. I personally don't care crowds of people like my games. For me as long as even one other person likes it besides me that's good enough. I typically like to establish a fan base of 2 - 6 people. So basically as long as I like the game and another person likes it too I did a good job. Now for the issue of money... that's a stumper. I think that when you mix money with fun it takes to value from the game itself. For instance, I find more solace in playing the game myself and having people create levels for me and challenging a couple of others in the game itself. So creating games for fun is my thing and I don't care for the what the crowds think.

On another note my project has gotten me a job so indirectly it make me money!

He's da formula for making money on games:

Ok, here I go. Get a notepad or something to write this down.

1. First off you need to find a popular game that people like.

2. Make a game just like that but add a few different things.

3. Say that you came up with it.

4. Harvest Moon.

5. A lot of this is luck at the end of the day.

I suggest quit crying about lack of success and grab a couple of friends, make your game, and enjoy sharing the game with others. That's the way I'm taking it now.

money = rent + utilities <- Do you really want to put so much effort into games for this?

making games + sharing with friends = good time fun

I found out that creating games is cool because I can create stuff of myself and friends. I love showing people that I communicate with my games and having them play the games and then listening to their opinions on the games and fixing them. Then most fun comes from challenging others in the game itself. Like, for example, creating a battle game and challenging a friend in it but then the friend not knowing what hidden easter eggs there are in the game and you knowing. Gaming is fun but I think maybe don't have unrealistic expectations and don't get upset if you don't make money on the game. Just realize that money is only good for living expenses and that a job will always be more stable than freelance. You also meet people at work and socialize. Not a terrible environment. I personally don't mind working but I do have fun writing games but not necessarily to pay my bills.

Don't take life to seriously and have fun... like these guys... http://www.smwcentral.net

 

Edited by francoisdiy

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Although people may earn money from games they throw up while making or selling, I think pleasing crowds no longer works because that market especially casual one is quite saturated. I'm not saying make yet another Europe Universalis but not Frappy Bird either.

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There is always hope... Given most of the post I see on this and other forum especially in the technical dept that usually goes.." I'm working on this game...but how do I do XYZ " where XYZ are sometimes fundamental concepts that should have been acquired before even going down that road, I'm going to go off on a limb and say there are plenty people out there that have in their head some "get rich quick" indie scheme. Not saying this is your approach as no knowledge of your intent, but if you enter the field with some "get rich quick" scheme in mind, then prepare to be disappointed. Lets say you make a game and its not doing so well sales wise, we all want to recoup our development cost, but at same time, you have to be realistic or set realistic goals. If  you are going to dwell on sale figures vs making the games you love, then to answer your question, all hope is lost. Whenever becomes more about money rather than passion, then all hope is lost...my 2cents..

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