Friday, July 30, 2010

Wearing Multiple Hats, PR, And The Secrets To Success As An Indie

I've written a couple of new articles today targeted at new or aspiring indie developers.

The first about the challenges of wearing multiple hats as well as some PR-related stuff.  Essentially, many indie developers seem to struggle with balancing the business side of their work with the game-development side of their work.  I know I do, and this post breaks down some of why this might be, as well as reasons and goals for overcoming these challenges.

Case in point: by any objective measure, I really messed up the PR for the release of Tidalis.  We had far too little PR, and now that awesome reviews are coming in it's still too late for the actual launch of the game.  This has led to sales being about ten times lower than my minimum expectation for the game, even though the game has still been very successful compared to most indie games in its first two weeks.  It certainly beats the pants off of what AI War did at first, and AI War went on to sell around 30,000 copies of itself and its expansion.

So what does that mean for Tidalis?  Is it to be permanently harmed due to the lack of advanced press before initial release?  Short answer: No.  That certainly wasn't the case for AI War, and the reviews are even more positive for Tidalis than they were for AI War.  Longer answer: I wrote a second article about the secrets of Arcen's success as an indie company, which outlines how we took AI War from a complete unknown to a cult classic.  It's worked for us, I suspect this is what worked for Dwarf Fortress, and I know this is what worked for the likes of Doodle Jump and similar on the iPhone.  And best of all, it's the sort of thing that big companies by and large would never do for their customers.

Happy reading!

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