Anachronic wrote:I hear you about the hype thing and it's frustrating as a dev, because I'd rather focus on development and then be able to sell a finished product, rather than trying to sell the idea the whole way through. It seems like the only real way to get any sort of notice as an indie dev though is to be marketing as much as possible all the time.
I've been trying my best with this, and I think that the biggest takeaway from my experience has been that if you try hard for a long period of time, you can get somewhere.
In my case, most of my marketing efforts have been focused on a 1+ year Twitter campaign. I reached a point last October where I started to have some show-able content, and I've been trying to tweet at least once a day, and with as many images and videos as possible. Whenever I have anything to show, I post it over there. Over the course of a full year, I have no doubt that I've spent well over 100 hours coming up with tweets, posting content, and trying to build a follower base. A whole bunch of time has been invested in other activities, like all the planning that went into attending Too Many Games, plus the days spent manning the table, as well as peripheral stuff like doing interviews and corresponding with journalists. Plus, there's been all the time spent building the website - this has served a dual purpose, as my feature articles double as tutorials, but many man-weeks have been invested in this. On the whole, I've probably invested a few hundred hours worth of time in marketing efforts.
And it's definitely gotten me somewhere. I'm in a measurably better position now than I was a year ago, in terms of general awareness of Outer Colony. Has it made me famous? Certainly not. But I think that I've got a nucleus of a community forming around Outer Colony, which is better than nothing!
My main point here is that it takes a huge amount of time and effort to make even a bit of progress. I think it just comes down to a willingness to grind it out over an extended period of time. I'll post some additional thoughts in the marketing thread, but I think that a developer has to treat marketing like another part of their job, just like developing their software.
There's definitely an ethics issue in the industry too; I agree with you 100% on that, while also still supporting my claim that Flippy Uncle is the best mobile game of 2016 despite the year only being like half over before starting to say that
Haha, see, I think saying that Flippy Uncle is the best mobile game of 2016 is A-OK! Everybody's got to advertise their game somehow, and there's nothing wrong with sharing what you've got!
Where a developer gets into ethically dubious territory is when they straight up lie about what their game is and isn't. Something like repeatedly claiming that your game has multiplayer when it actually doesn't. Look, I understand - everyone makes mistakes during interviews, everyone pops off answers that aren't quite right. But when you've sold tens of millions of dollars worth of pre-orders based on these inaccurate statements, and you make no effort to post corrections or updated information, that's...like I say, I don't want to presume to understand the specifics of other people's situations or call out any other developers. But when you build up this insane degree of hype around a product that you know you're not delivering as specified, and then you remorselessly cash out and disappear, it's a serious problem.
And it hurts other people in the field who actually are trying to do ambitious things and aren't lying about it. I just think that developers have a responsibility to accurately describe their game, to the greatest extent possible, before making a sale, and intentionally misleading consumers is an unacceptable practice.
Sorry that go way off-topic. I'm also wondering if there are any open-source games that people love or are contributing to? I just learned about GearHead RPG recently and love the idea of a mech roguelike.
I just Googled GearHead, and this game looks unbelievably cool. I don't think I've ever contributed to an open-source game (or even played any), but this GearHead game seems like it's worth checking out. I heard that there's a remake for Total Annihilation that's supposedly open source, but I've never actually seen or played it.
You've reminded me of another game series I used to love! MECHWARRIOR! I think that Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries might have been the first truly 3D game that I ever played. My dad had an MS-Sidewinder joystick, and I freakin' loved that game. I totally felt like a mech pilot, kicking ass and taking names at the edge of the galaxy. And the mechanics for upgrading your mech - oh man, I think this was the first time I saw anything quite like that in a game.
And that soundtrack...I still jam to it all the time when I'm coding OC: