I really don’t get how indies put so much time and effort into their first game. The ones who get into debt amaze me even more. the ones who mortgage/sell their house scare the crap out of me. Don’t do this.
I’ve made lots of games, here is how they went:
- Asteroid Miner: Meh…sold a few hundred copies, was exciting to see it in a box.
- Starship Tycoon…sold a few hundred copies, also some retail deals, tempted to quit day job… and does! That was a mistake!
- Rocky Racers… mediocre flop.
- Kombat kars… mediocre flop.
- Planetary Defense…not bad considering development time was super short (a few months).
- Kudos…surprise hit. did really well. 3rd party publishing deals that paid actual royalties!
- Kudos 2… even better. Seriously good sales. hit $20k in one month. unbelievable.
- Democracy…not bad, not enough to quit job, but really not bad.
- Democracy 2: Really good, enough to quit job. *quits job AGAIN*. pays off mortgage.
- Gratuitous Space Battles: OMG teh fountain of money. Buys new house.
- Gratuitous Tank Battles. Meh: pretty good, but nowhere near as good as GSB.
- Democracy 3: LOLLERSKATES. Orders brand new car & stupidly expensive laptop. Starts flying business class. Eventually buys stupidly flash electric car.
- GSB2: Yikes, that didn’t go down well. Ouch. what did I do wrong?
- Democracy 3:Africa. Fuck. Americans REALLY don’t care about Africa then? Barely breaks even.
- Production Line: LOL. Almost physically crushed by stampede of pre-orders.
My point is…holy crap you never know what will happen next. Your next game could flop, it could be huge. I *really* think that GSB2 is underappreciated and am surprised it flopped. I’m still amazed at how many people like political strategy games. YOU NEVER KNOW. So be cautious, and experiment a bit. if I’d bet my house on Asteroid Miner, I’d be renting a bedsit whilst still working in IT support trying to pay off debts. I’ve never borrowed money to make a game, I’ve never remortgaged, I’ve never worked for more than 18 months on a single game before putting it on sale.
That might be a bit clinical and unromantic, but its worked for me. Your life is not a feel-good Hollywood movie starring Tom Cruise. Don’t get stuck in confirmation bias. Many indie games fail. Some fail HARD.