A life of a game developer
In my country – Serbia, it was hard for me to imagine that anyone works for living as a game developer. To some of you, I will sound crazy saying that. You might even think I lived in a barrel at that time, but some of you will share my opinion with me.
No matter in which of these two groups you are, you are right. Well partially. Your answer on this question depends on your point of view. If you don’t live in a big city, if you get information you need by local media and you don’t have time to expand you knowledge and make researches on your own, then you are probably in the second group. However, if you have made researches, visited some IT lectures and put some effort to be the one person who will develop games then you know there are many people doing just that and also a lot of them without a publisher as an independent(indie) game developers.
The publisher means everything – publicity, promotion, finance and everything you need which can help you on your way to success. However, it’s safe to say that the publisher is your superior, and you will have to play on his rules or you will get none of the above. Also, you will get just a part of the profit on your game, so the question is will you accept that or you will play free on your rules and do everything on your own, and get out on the market as an unrecognized developer. Especially if you are going on the mobile devices market, you will face a red sea of competitors, in which you have to compete with them.
To this very day, I’m still searching for the answer on that question – with or without publisher? Currently I stick to the first strategy because as an only member of my studio I’m still able to take that risk and learn more about the market and, of course, game development in the first place by jumping straight into the fire. All of you are probably wondering is that smart thing to do, is it really a smart move to take a risk like I do or to wait and be a little more patience. It actually depends on you and on stakes you put in your project. If you have nothing to lose, try just like I do. But if you in fact have things to lose, be patient but not passive.
In the end, it all comes to the fact that you absolutely have to finish your project, so I suggest you to step out, and give it a chance. I do the same for all of my projects no matter how silly or awkward opinion I can get from people and eventually most of my feedback was pretty good. To come clear to you, none of my projects got thrown away into trash. They were just put aside to wait for some more suitable circumstances. I advise you to do the same. The worst feeling you can get when you are testing new stuff is when you tried out something which on your opinion has something special and potentially the bright future, but in the end it doesn’t see the light of the day.
So, how does an indie game developer live? I can’t say at the moment that I am able to pay the bills with money I earned, thrust me on my word. I even sometimes get a feeling that I’m selling lemonade in a blind street. The truth is that I have started listening to other people even more and collect some more experience as well. I’m also doing my best to create the picture inside my head. The picture of what things are necessary for success. The thing I can say for sure is that nothing is the way it looks like, and you have to look deeper, because often there is no way you can get the whole picture right away, it takes time and work.
Most of indie game developers live the same way, so I often get impression we are gambling, we are waiting for our new game to make us famous. The difference is that there are legal ways of increasing your chances to hit the jackpot.
I also know that the best way of learning to do things right is by making mistakes. So, make mistakes. Make mistakes like I do, if you have nothing to lose. You will certainly gain experience and you are one step closer to the success, or I am mistaking maybe?