For several months I’ve promised to write a retrospective about the release of my first game “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth.” But then it was released on Steam, on IndieGala, and available during the Steam summer sale. Then I was working on my second game “Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament,” which took longer than expected, but has now officially been released for one week. This gave me a lot more perspective to write about, and a year after the first game, I think now is the time to write about it from a functional point of view. This summarizes in-depth time and money spent and made for my first two indie games as an indie developer, which were not necessarily successful, but hopefully helpful for others wondering how their experience in game development may go.
E3 seems bigger this year. Maybe it’s because of Bethesda and Square Enix entering the fray, joining Ubisoft, EA, and of course Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (and PC?) to try to convince you why they are the company to look at.
This is all a further sign of modern times both in industry and culture, how everyone is trying to not only be in the spotlight but steal the spotlight entirely for themselves. Such selfish people. I’m just as guilty: if I had games that stood out like that, I’d be trying to steal the show too (my current games “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” and “Unfinished – An Artist’s Lament” are not even close to worthy… although if you haven’t yet seen those hand-drawn 3D games, do take a look). All the same, I ended up being more pumped then ever this year, with this many groups and now years into the current generation, surely everyone had something to show. Even Youtube had it on their homepage logo, advertising their new game-streaming service, helping ensure millions could comfortably watch it all (although I had some unusual slow down times in streaming, maybe even Youtube can’t handle that many viewers at once).
Around the time of this writing, IndieGoGo campaign “Hullabaloo” will end.
“Hullabaloo” is a 2d animated film project. It features a strong female lead in a steampunk world. It basically hopes to accomplish what Disney and other big-name animation studios haven’t done for over a decade. Yes, it’s technically a series of short films, but it’s success may also lead to a feature film if we’re lucky.
I pledged just before it ended (for the record, IndieGoGo made it incredibly easy to pledge even without an account, making me like it even a bit more than Kickstarter). I’m excited for this project. Not just because I love 2d traditional animation. I’m excited because, when asking for $80,000 on IndieGoGo, it raised over $450,000. That’s a lot.
As I stand here at midnight at the top of the Seattle Space Needle, looking out at the beautiful city, abuzz with concerts, performers, and geeks, I think about all the crazy stuff that’s happened.
“Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” ended it’s Kickstarter as a failure, earning even less than “James – Journey of Existence” did, by both backers and pledge amount (although the pledge amount was almost matched), which I may never fully understand.
This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.
I put “Drew and the Floating Labyrinth” to several indie game competitions, letting it be reviewed by several committees and panels and judges. These all met with loss to other games. Which is to be expected, although I still think the uniqueness of my game stands out a bit more (easy, don’t get jealous…).
One of the many things I submitted to was “Indie Megabooth,” which technically wasn’t a contest: they try to book space at large events and rent off their spaces to indie developers, ultimately being cheaper for them. The developer still pays for the space, but the Indie Megabooth has to pick which games to show. They were the most encouraging of all the feedback I’ve received, but still passed on “Drew.”
But “Indie Megabooth” has connections, which is why I highly recommend all serious indie developers to submit to them. I got emails from other agents and groups that support indie development, some charity, some businesses. One such opportunity was to show my game at PAX anyway, by booking my own booth, at roughly the same cost as what Indie Megabooth offered. I didn’t have time to be hesitant, so I took it.
This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.