Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

First minor bits of marketing GUI heading for production line

Having been away for a week to relax, coming back to work I have a desire to release an update for Production Line sooner rather than later. I hate people thinking work on the game is slowing down or stopped (ha! no chance). Because a week off means a week less features, this update which i plan to test tomorrow and deploy Sunday will not be huge, but it will have a whole host of minor bug fixes and tweaks, and also the first steps towards marketing.

Basically you will be able to research marketing facilities and place them in your factory like this:

And there is a new GUI you can launch from the main menu strip at the top of the screen which for now just shows you that same summary information. Right now, the facilities generate ‘ideas’ over time, and those are saved and loaded, but you cant use them yet until I code some basic marketing campaigns which should start to go in next week.

Also in development are some new achievements, and a new car body style (4×4 or 4 wheel drive if you prefer, or jeep-style-thing if you prefer). and eventually some proper sound effects. I’ll probably get around to some more optimisation and some proper tutorial improvements soon too. With any luck I’ll do a developer blog video tomorrow.

In unrelated news, our village has been told we will get fiber internet by 2018. Yay…but I’m not holding my breath. still waiting for a quote for ‘fiber-to-the-premises on demand’ (FTTPoD). Theoretically that’s 300Mbps down 30Mbps up, which would be amazing, but the cost is outrageous and I’m getting annoyed it takes so long to even get a quote.

One thought on

  1. Hi Cliffski,

    Thank you for making all these great blog post. I read your “YOUR INDIE GAME WILL FLOP AND YOU WILL LOSE MONEY” post, and I agree completely. I actually have made the same decision a couple of years back to go into IT consultancy after spending a couple of years in game development. And I can say I have been successful.

    So a lot of the advice you have given has been pointed at the newbies, the people who have a dream and naively jump in and are very likely going to fail. But there’s also another group of people out there like myself. People who have commercial success in other IT areas and have a decade+ of experience working on large IT projects and have a good understanding of programming, project management and hiring. At some point I’d like to take another stab at game development, but I have not been able to sell it to myself as a pursuit that has any real chance of success.

    I read a lot of blog posts and it is really hard to find consistent advice on how to increase the odds. What I mainly take from your blog is:

    – Keep the development cycle short, under 1 year is preferred.
    – Find a niche, avoid generic (like democracy).
    – Find the right tone for your game (where political animals struggled).

    You also have a lot of information on ads, although my gut feeling is that it might be outdated by now. So I hope you don’t mind, but you could answer a couple of questions I’ve been struggling with:

    – Over the years you have seen many game developers succeed and fail. What factors made their success and demise? Was it in their control, or is there a big luck factor?
    – How do you actually reach your audience and grow it? Is it just a matter of trying different things, or are there still effective techniques to keep people engaged? What makes people excited about a game these days when there hundreds coming out each month?
    – How do you pick your game ideas?
    – From what I’ve seen you always fully develop a game once you have shown it to people. Are there games you develop and show to a smaller audience and then decide not to make? How do you scale from a design idea, to a prototype, to a full game? When do you start feeling confident about a game idea?
    – How viable is it to do game development as an individual or very small team? One of the conclusions I’ve reached is that in game development the scale of the game is less important than how excited people will be about it conceptually. This would also mean that there are concepts that can be small, but can still be hugely successful. Do you think this is true, or do you actually need a team of developers these days to have any chance of success?
    – What’s your opinion on publishers in general? Based on my experience in the past I would not work with a publisher again. I just don’t see much added value for the game developer. But game developers these days still flock to the “indie” publishers, any thoughts?

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