GAMEBOOMERS provides you with all the latest PC adventure computer games information, forum, walkthroughs, reviews and news.
GB Reviews Latest & Upcoming Adventure Games GB Annual Game Lists GB Interviews

BAAGS

GB @ acebook

GB @ witter

About Us
Walkthroughs free games galore Independent Games World of Adventure Patches Game Publishers & Developers GameBoomers Store
Big Fish Games Homepage    
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#117790 - 03/24/05 11:16 AM Publishing independent adventure game developers
Azariah Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 13
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I am an independent adventure game developer. About three years ago I released my first graphical adventure game, The Key; since it was relatively small (150 megs) I posted it on Winsite as freeware. The game was fun to put together; people downloaded it and enjoyed it, which is what I was hoping for.

After finishing my first production (a four-year process) I began work on my next game, Final Destination. I wanted to create something that was of much greater quality than my first title, so I put a lot of effort into making it as good as I could. When I completed it I ended up with a game that looked great but was 450 megs.

Since it was so large I wanted to release it on a CD but CDs aren't free. I looked around for a publisher and was able to get a contract signed, but unfortunately things did not work out. These are hard times for small publishers (think of all the small adventure game publishers that have either folded or been acquired recently) and the one I signed with ended up backing out of the agreement, leaving me stranded and wondering what to do. Retailers are not as adventure-friendly as they used to be; 3d shooters have just about taken over.

At first I had an idea. I'm also a writer; I've co-authored a series of eight science fiction books. Getting them in print is easy: there is a site I can submit my manuscript to that will make the book available on their site free of charge. Once the book has had 100 preorders they charge the purchasers, print the copies, and mail them out. It has worked out pretty well: I can write exactly as I please and get the books out to my fans at no charge to me and still retain all rights to the book.

I thought aha: surely there is something like this for computer games. I can just submit my game to such a site for free and supply the customers; they will handle printing and shipping and orders and I can just relax. Only - I couldn't find anything remotely like this.

This seemed a great pity. How many developers have ran into the same problem I've had? It's expensive to manufacture retail-quality CDs (especially in boxes); something like what I can do with books would come in handy.

Since I couldn't find anything quite like this I decided to start it myself, to give other developers like myself a chance to release their game for free. The idea is simple enough: game submissions (adventure game, preferably) are posted on the site, and once they've preordered 150 copies the title goes to press and customers are billed. When the copies arrive they are shipped out and royalties are paid to the developer; at that point the game stays in print. The developer retains all rights and the agreement is non-exclusive and can be cancelled at any time. Submitting it costs nothing since printing costs are covered by the initial preorders.

I've set up a website about this at:

http://cms.cyragon.com/

I don't know if other developers have run into this problem or not; my goal is simply to make it easy for developers to release their adventure games, professionally done, to their fans without the cost and hassle of printing, accepting orders, shipping, and so forth. It's hard enough to create the game in the first place; getting it to the people who want to play it shouldn't be an expensive pain.

One thing I don't know is whether there is any demand for this sort of service or not. I'm trying to find out how many people (if any) would be interested in this sort of thing, and if there are any suggestions as to how to make this friendlier to developers. There are so many good independent games out there: if I can help make them available then that is what I'd like to do.

--Jon Cooper
http://games.cyragon.com/

Top
#117791 - 03/24/05 12:43 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Nameless Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 32
Something like this is surely needed, although I'm not entirely sure how you have set things up is ideal for independent developers. There are two issues I'm not clear on.

First up, why not simply use Cafepress (like Future Boy!) to publish, or use a CD-on-demand service through registration companies, such as RegNow, Plimus, etc.?

They typically charge anywhere from $5-$10 per CD-Rom, which is a bit more than it would cost to simply burn them yourself, but it isn't so bad. They sometimes also have jewelcase/professional printing options. And you wouldn't have to worry about reaching a level of pre-orders either.

The other issue is royalties. If I read correctly, I think you'll offer 10%-20% royalties, which is certainly fair, if you were a normal retail publisher. But why wouldn't a developer simply choose to publish using Cafepress, and make closer to 30%-50% royalties? All it would take is a website, CafePress (or Regnow, or whatever) account, and that would be about it. Such services handle all ordering, credit card purchases, CD-Rom duplication, and shipping.

Now, for cheaper items (under $15), your royalty rates begin to look a bit more fair, especially if the developer wants something fancy. But for the majority of folks they may be better off simply publishing themselves, using one of the above services, or simply burning CD-Roms on their own.

If your company/service gained a large enough audience (such a Real Arcade, Oberon Media, etc.), then it would make sense for a developer to use your service. I'm just not sure why it would be ideal for most, as things stand now.

I'm also not trying to be overly negative here with my comments, as I do think the concept is a very good idea. I am just looking at things through a critical eye, and offering suggestions as to what I think developers may want.

Michael

Top
#117792 - 03/24/05 02:07 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Quote:
Originally posted by Azariah:
It's expensive to manufacture retail-quality CDs (especially in boxes);
Hi Jon,

I didn't find self-publishing particularly expensive, per game unit. Obviously, stationary and printing needed to be carefully sourced to maximise profit, but the overall costs were satisfactory. Postage (globally) was also surprisingly affordable.

Times are changing, but I also feel this genre does benefit from hardcopy distribution. The trading communities need something to sell (although developers don't profit directly, but it does generate interest), and many like something solid to show for their $'s.

I did research online distributors as a possibility (back in 02), but 20% royalties didn't seem appealing compared to 100%. (Also, at 20% I would expect the games to be on shelves, commercially published).

As an independent, I found the process of dealing with gamers directly a bonus, rather than a hindrance. Word of mouth, and post-play feedback was the most encouraging aspect when publishing the first title.

The plan you have does sound suitable for small demo-style games, which would be reflected in the price, but I would worry that pre-orders (paid in advance) would be hard to accomplish, given that the buyers have no means of sampling the product. Demos could be offered, but wouldn't that defeat the aim of the enterprise?

Lastly, a 450meg download is large, but not unheard of. A recent demo download for Lego Star Wars clocked in at 250megs, for one 5 minute level. Splitting the gameplay into chapters, like the developers of Agon, may also be a possibility.

Jonathan
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117793 - 03/24/05 03:00 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
CBSection31 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 499
WARNING: Long post ahead!

For Lifestream, I was in the same predictament as you, Azariah, trying to determine exactly how to go about releasing the game. I looked at every option, from finding a publisher to burning the CDs myself.

The simplest option seemed to be either self-burning or going with a CD-on-demand site, such as PayPal. However, the former would have taken LOTS of work and time (not to mention it wouldn't have looked professional), while the latter was way too expensive (around $8 per CD!).

In the end, I decided to get the game duplicated by a CD duplication/replication service. I bought CDs in bulk, and it ended up costing only $4 per CD, including the case and artwork!

I learned quite quickly that PayPal, while it can be annoying at times, is definitely your friend. Creating an online store is quite easy using PayPal, and it allows you to sell your games yourself!

To me, this was - by far - the best option, as it allows maximum profit (which is NEEDED by indie developers to stay in business, considering expenses!) while allowing me to stay in touch with the community, which, like Jonathan, I considered a plus and an honor.

Now, aside from all of that, I was actually in the process of developing something VERY similar to what you are, Azariah. I didn't want to announce anything until everything was prepared, though, but oh well.

I've planned on offerring "publishing" to indie developers, like you, for about two months now, preparing all the paperwork and such. The difference would be in how it's handled. I'm planning on asking the developers to submit their game to me for evaluation, and if I feel it's worth publishing (just to filter out the 10% that are not), I will go ahead and get around 100 copies of the game and sell it on my website, giving the developer 50% of the sales, once duplication fees have come back. So, if you decide to go this route, I suggest giving the developer a bit more than 20%.

The last thing I'd like to say is that, so far, I have not found an interest in this type of service, and I have been discreetly asking around. The problem is, all indie developers seem to want to sell their games themselves and establish themselves as their own "company" or business, so to speak. I can't say I blame them, as I have done the same thing with myself, but it makes me question whether a service such as this will be used.

Sorry for rambling on like this. These are just thoughts that have been going through my head as I've been preparing for this type of service, and so I wanted to let you know what I'm thinking so that you can make a better choice for yourself. If you've read this far, I thank you!!!

If you do decide to go with this, then I support it all the way! The indepedent game developer community could use a centralized publisher to make it easier for gamers to purchase indie games. Good luck with this endeavor! laugh
_________________________
Indie Developer

Top
#117794 - 03/24/05 03:31 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
tigger Offline
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 04/02/01
Posts: 15679
Loc: England
Thank you all for letting us players/consumers see this side of your creativity. What you do we enjoy and love, the dilemmas you face we never see. More adventures to play, more experiences to seek we all want, but I guess we Need to see how hard it is for you to put it out there too.

Jonathan, I remember scrimping and saving so I could buy Dark Fall, it was probably as tough as it was for you to make it available. I regret I had to trade it away too as we needed the cash. At least I owned an original at one point smile

Hugs

Tig wave
_________________________
A bounce a day keeps the doctor away!!
Playing Sims2, Sherlock, Phantom of Venice
Reading Storm Breaking

Top
#117795 - 03/24/05 10:36 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Melanie1 Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 5041
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I also really appreciate this conversation. It's a realm most players don't ever get to explore and very interesting.

I'm sure this information will be helpful to new game creators also.

From a consumers point of view, I see a possible drawback though. I would have to question how many retail customers would be willing to wait for 150 copies of an unknown gamemaker's game to be sold before recieving their copies.

I think I would rather have a really good game in a less professional package for less money as an option to replace a huge download rather than waiting for a long time to get the professional package. Just a thought.

I'm for anything that encourages talented people to publish their games.

Melanie
_________________________
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

Top
#117796 - 03/24/05 10:56 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Quote:
Originally posted by CBSection31:
The indepedent game developer community could use a centralized publisher to make it easier for gamers to purchase indie games.
I would say they already exist, if the product shows commercial promise, and gamers would be interested, a publisher would be happy to distribute. Profit, is profit.

Tigger, was it a silver disk, or the rather creepy looking 'disks of darkness'? There were 259 of one, and 1456 of the other. All were sent personally, with a stamp licked in confusion. Something to do with the glue I am told.

Scrimping!? What a wonderful word. I haven't heard it since Scunthorpe. Thanks.
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117797 - 03/25/05 01:23 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
mulawa1 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/28/00
Posts: 664
Loc: Queensland, Australia
Like Jonathan I'm very happy that I went down the self-publishing path. It is a very special joy to have managed to take a game from an embryonic flicker in the mind's eye to a professionally produced CD.

In retrospect, the most frightening part was ensuring that the master CD was bug free before sending it off to be replicated thousands of times! I still recall the trepidation with which I placed the first copy of "Xiama" in a PC.

But best of all is the personal contact with so many of the players. Some of you will know that some of us are about to celebrate Magnetic's Second Birthday (yes "Second"!) by playing along together during April.

The hardest part about self-publishing is getting the word out about your game - we indies would be lost without the wonderful support that we receive from most of the Adventure Game web sites.

Top
#117798 - 03/25/05 10:53 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Diamond Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 538
Loc: Yorkshire
This is an excellent thread. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to go down the publisher funding route if I'm to do my own games. All my ideas involve lots of characters who all have to be animated - not something that's my stgrong point. smile

Quote:
Originally posted by mulawa1:
The hardest part about self-publishing is getting the word out about your game - we indies would be lost without the wonderful support that we receive from most of the Adventure Game web sites.
Ron Gilbert has some interesting things to say about marketing over at his site:
http://grumpygamer.com/1230269
_________________________
Steve

Steve Ince, Writer-Designer
Steve on Twitter

Top
#117799 - 03/25/05 11:09 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
BeaSong Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/30/04
Posts: 2956
Loc: rural Oregon, USA
I would be interested, if/when I can get my ideas off the ground. Sounds like a great idea.
_________________________
B~
"Come Watson, the Game is afoot!"
www.tiotucan.com

Top
#117800 - 03/26/05 12:37 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
CBSection31 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 499
Quote:
Originally posted by Dark Fall Game:
I would say they already exist, if the product shows commercial promise, and gamers would be interested, a publisher would be happy to distribute. Profit, is profit.
Jonathan, I'm curious: For Dark Fall, did you contact the publisher or did they contact you? If you'd prefer not to answer that, I understand. smile I'd just like to know if I should be actively contacting companies for my upcoming game.
_________________________
Indie Developer

Top
#117801 - 03/26/05 03:44 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Quote:
Originally posted by CBSection31:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dark Fall Game:
[qb]For Dark Fall, did you contact the publisher or did they contact you? If you'd prefer not to answer that, I understand.
Not a problem. I've always tried to be as informative as possible.

I was contacted by various publishers while distributing the first Dark Fall game, and continued discussions while working on the second game. It was important for me, that both games were included in potential contracts, so it was a case of ironing out legal technicalities.

It would be a good idea to actively seek publishers, the genre (at present) is less appetising to those that make decisions. So, any tools/means you have should be fully employed.

Jonathan
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117802 - 03/27/05 08:52 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
CBSection31 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 499
Thanks!!! smile
_________________________
Indie Developer

Top
#117803 - 03/27/05 10:46 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Kickaha Offline
GB Special Events Reporter
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2431
Loc: Cambridge, England
Good topic. I hope the various independent game developers can help each other on such things as publishing, technology, game design etc. They may be more receptive to advice coming from others in the same position.

I would class myself as a hobbyist - my second gamelet isn't big enough for a true game, and I'm doing it to amuse people not to get anything back (some of the software I use is for non-commercial use anyway.) One of these days I wouldn't mind trying to do a game with other people - that'll be the only way I could do a game of any reasonable size.

Nonetheless this thread is of interest to me - assuming I 'complete' my next gamelet it's going to be perhaps 100 MB in size which does create distribution problems. I don't have a real answer to that.
_________________________
Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"

Top
#117804 - 03/28/05 11:05 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
mbc841 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 368
Loc: Alexandria, VA USA
This is certainly a fascinating topic!

Chris, I was contacted by a publisher, as opposed to me going out and searching for one. Word-of-mouth about my first game resulted in that contact, although unfortunately, it didn't quite work out. Maybe next time ! smile

As far as self-publishing, I chose to do it ALL myself - from printing the CD's to packaging, to mailing, to self-promotion, all. It's a lot of work when the game first hits the market, but gradually recedes from there.

While I do like the one-on-one customer interraction with self-publishing, I could really learn to live without having to individually produce each and every game. My computer printer certainly gets a work-out printing out the cd covers for the plastic dvd shell I send the games out in.

Jonathan, I don't know HOW you were able to produce so many games without going insane! smile

Mike
_________________________
Developer of The Arrangement and HARVEST

Top
#117805 - 03/28/05 11:23 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Azariah Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 13
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Thanks for all the great responses! You've given me a lot to think about. From a financial perspective my resources are pretty limited; Final Destination was made without a budget at all and I hesitate to spend the money needed to print a lot of copies. It's expensive, and there are lots of others bills to be paid. smile

I've thought about using something like Cafepress, but I'm hesitant to do that: it seems odd to redirect your customers to Cafepress, plus you don't have a lot of copies on hand to sell to friends and so forth. I like having stacks of CDs lying around to sell at fairs and that sort of thing.

Getting published is good too, but I've been published before and each time it has been a nightmare. I'm currently in the process of suing one publisher for royalties: even though I have a signed contract and they're selling my product they don't feel the need to send me the royalty checks they agreed to. Suing someone is an expensive pain; if I had known it would come to this I wouldn't have even looked for a publisher in the first place.

I am glad that others have solved this particular dilemma. That's great! Now I just need to digest all this and decide where to go from here.

--Jon Cooper

Top
#117806 - 03/28/05 11:25 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
mszv Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/18/02
Posts: 1565
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA (left my bel...
Interesting discussion. And - hi Jon (Azariah), I remember you!
_________________________
mszv, amarez in Myst Online (KI 89257)and my online worlds.

blog - http://www.amarez.com, Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/amareze

Top
#117807 - 03/28/05 11:27 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
TheDerman Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1254
Loc: England
I once ordered a stack of pre-printed CD's for a project - came out to about £1.00 per CD.

They were simply blank CD's but were already printed on in glorious commercial quality full-colour. All I had to do was copy the files to a CD when I needed to.

If you then get a stack of covers printed and a good stock of DVD/Jewel cases, that should take a lot of work out of it all, and will probably be a lot cheaper in the end than running off individual covers and disk labels on your printer, especially after you've shopped around for the best deal.

I know you need to outlay all this at the start, so I understand that would be a problem for some, but that is definitely the way I'd do it - just find the initial monies from somewhere - VISA anyone? Mum and dad? Girlfriend? Sell a load of old stuff on eBay? Walk the neighbour's dog? Plenty of options.
_________________________
Derman

Top
#117808 - 03/28/05 11:36 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
CBSection31 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 499
Well, I wasn't gonna post this, but I can't resist. Here's the link to the publishing venture I'm thinking of getting into. Please note that this is just me writing stuff out right now, and NOTHING is official yet. I'm not even sure if I'm going to go through with it, but I think it illustrates what Azariah was talking about in his initial post.

www.upforums.com/temp/publish.htm
_________________________
Indie Developer

Top
#117809 - 03/28/05 12:12 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Nameless Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 32
If you prefer not using CafePress, etc. then the next option probably would be doing pre-print duplication, which can get a little pricey. I do agree with you that redirecting to CafePress does seem a little odd and unprofessional though.

I am sure there are tons of CD duplication services out there, but here is one I ran across. They seem to have reasonable rates, and can also offer short-run duplication services.

http://www.discmakers.com/

They have a ton of options, but things do get a little expensive if you want something like 1000 CDs/Boxes. It might be useful to glance over for those considering this sort of thing, however.

As for publishers... yeah... it can be hit or miss (quite often miss) when dealing with small/budget publishers. So long as you don't mind mentioning them, it might be useful to others here if you list the name/website of the publisher who is cheating you -- just so folks considering publishers know who to especially avoid.


Michael

Top
#117810 - 03/28/05 12:32 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Quote:
As for publishers... yeah... it can be hit or miss (quite often miss) when dealing with small/budget publishers. So long as you don't mind mentioning them, it might be useful to others here if you list the name/website of the publisher who is cheating you -- just so folks considering publishers know who to especially avoid.
Hey Michael -- I'm not sure that this particular information is appropriate on a public forum. It would be better if you approached Azariah privately for information like this.

Top
#117811 - 03/28/05 01:04 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Nameless Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 32
No problem -- I know that certain things shouldn't really be discussed in detail on a public forum. Sometimes it is common practice upon game developer sites that I have frequented to list really bad publishers (those who commonly cheat developers), just so others don't run into the same problems. The same goes with good publishers too... letting folks know who treats developers fairly and pays royalties in a prompt manner.

But such can also be considered a private matter, so I understand why it might not be considered appropriate here.

Michael

Top
#117812 - 03/28/05 01:10 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Thanks Nameless! This entire thread has been fascinating. I've enjoyed the glimpse into the world of those who are trying to bring new games to us -- we are always interested in new games, and don't often realize the difficulties inherent in creating and marketing them.

Top
#117813 - 03/28/05 02:01 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Salar of Myst Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 4216
Loc: Virginia's wetland dimension
Yes, this discussion is very helpful! I didnt even know you *could* sell your game through Cafepress... for one thing. Still reading the Ron Gilbert discussion & checking/bookmarking the links.

Azariah, its great to see you back on GB! happydance

Nameless, I'd love to know how many game development sites for Indies are out there. I only know of one, after the forum admin revamped it and announced its return here on GB.

Susan wave

Top
#117814 - 03/28/05 02:35 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Nameless Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 32
Susan --

A couple of game developer sites I know of are:

www.GameDev.net, www.gamasutra.com and www.indiegamer.com

Dexterity Software also has a section for developers too (mostly articles)-

None of the above sites specialize in adventure games, however... several focus more on casual, downloadable games, and the business side of things. But they do have lots of useful info that could be of interest to all sorts of developers.

Michael


Edited by looney4labs (06/15/07 03:48 PM)
Edit Reason: remove broken link

Top
#117815 - 03/29/05 03:57 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Peter, at a 100megs, I feel you'd be fine with a download distribution. As far as file sizes go, it really isn't too large. I would happily tackle that on dial-up!

Mike, I'm not sure I retained my sanity, or whether I had any in the first place! Thankfully I didn't have to print artwork onto CD's, and the box art was profesionally printed at a low cost (at a 1000 run each time). So, my printer got a break. My daily, and sometimes twice daily, trips to the Post Office were always fun. The nice old ladies who ran the shop were always interested to see which corner of the globe I was posting to that day. I could be in there for hours some days.

As for other costs, the DVD style boxes were also very affordable, once found online. I use SVP in the UK, who are dependable. So, some UK indies may find them helpful:

SVP

Lastly, a couple of adventure forums that may be of interest:

Adventure Developers .

Jonathan

P.s. Adventure Developers are also looking for reviewers, at present. I'm sure some Boomer's are qualified for the position.


Edited by looney4labs (06/15/07 03:49 PM)
Edit Reason: remove broken link
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117816 - 03/29/05 05:44 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Azariah Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 13
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I'm not going to get into details, but the publisher I'm having to take legal action against publishes audio books, not games. The chances are good that, if you just stick with game development, you won't run into them.

As a developer I see two big challenges: manufacturing copies and distributing them. It is possible to go the download route, although at 450 megs that seems to be pushing it (even though these days lots of people have broadband). It's even possible (albeit pricey) to print 1000 copies or so; I've looked into that. Once you have the copies, though, you have to sell them, and that presents a whole other slew of difficulties.

Indie developers have a lot of challenges: not only do they have to be writers and programmers, they also have to be publishers and marketers. The few who have managed it all and produced a successful game have most definitely earned what they got: success definitely doesn't happen by accident.

Top
#117817 - 03/29/05 08:59 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
I've been reading the link that Jonathan provided to Adventure Developers. The Review Manifesto there by John Campbell is very interesting. Yes, I think some Boomers are qualified for the position!

The idea of critiquing games with game developers (rather than game players) in mind has made me wonder though: isn't that aiming at a very small audience?

Top
#117818 - 03/30/05 06:04 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Hi Becky,

Hmm, I see what you mean.

I must admit that I didn't read the manifesto. I saw the ad for writers and thought I'd mention it. It does look like a fun opportunity, but the idea of developer reviews for developers does seem a little self satisfying. I wonder if such a specific venture would be worthwhile.

Also, surely the gamers (or possible gamers) should be the target readership for a review? I can't imagine the sum total of independent game developers would purchase/download THAT many games. I would hope that a developers work was designed to be played, rather than studied by their peers.

Also, it constantly amazes me how many independent mini-games are available. More often than not, they slip under the radar due to a lack of advertising and features. This is not the fault of the forums, rather a lack of ambition on the part of the developers. Perhaps some only wish to produce games to show to fellow developers, but that seems rather circular to me.

Jonathan
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117819 - 03/30/05 08:43 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Kickaha Offline
GB Special Events Reporter
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 03/27/01
Posts: 2431
Loc: Cambridge, England
I'm a little way off dealing with a 100 meg download. There's a little matter of implementation first (will need in due course to find one or two more people to test that the technology works.)

One possibility might be for CD or DVD compendiums of some of the mini-games done to bring them up into radar coverage. I'm a little chary of people who make money by repackaging freeware though.

There are some interesting efforts produced with a small target audience in mind - for instance see Nat's World .
_________________________
Used to answer to "Peter Smith", now answers to "Peter Rootham-Smith"

Top
#117820 - 03/30/05 10:23 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
That is an interesting glimpse into a new audience for a new way of using a computer game. I wish Nat's father all the best!

Perhaps I am underestimating the number of people who are creating free or independent games. Do you think they number in the hundreds? Thousands? Do you think they want their games to be more widely publicized and distributed? Or are many of them creating games mostly for self-satisfaction and the entertainment of other knowledgeable game developers/creators?

Top
#117821 - 03/30/05 11:02 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Nameless Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 02/16/04
Posts: 32
I'm not sure if it is always a lack of ambition in developers in regard to getting more publicity/distribution, but simply that they don't know exactly how to go about it.

That said, I do think some developers do create games mainly for other developers too... or at least it seems that way. It appears more prevalent in the IF community though, where you get games with developer in-jokes, coding tricks, and experimental sorts of games. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this (the games are free), just that they aren't always much fun to play.

As for a wider distribution, I think a CD-Rom compilation project would help. But you then need to find a way to get that project distributed on a decent scale. I contacted a couple of budget publishers quite a while ago about something like this: a compilation of freeware adventures, with perhaps enhanced versions for CD-Rom. Of course I didn't suggest I had the rights to such a project, but simply suggested it as something for them to look into, and if interested, they could contact authors.

Got one nibble, but nothing came of it. Most publishers never replied back.

Michael

Top
#117822 - 03/30/05 01:04 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
I've been thinking about the 'ambition' aspect all afternoon, and I suddenly realised/remembered something. When I was producing the first Dark Fall game I didn't have an audience in mind.

It was created to be played by friends and family, following the completion of my first game experiment "The Displacement". I was quite convinced, at the time, that the point and click genre was as dead as a door nail. It was only joining forums, and importing games from the US that convinced me otherwise.

So, shameful though it is to admit, it is only very recently that I've set my sights beyond just producing for a closed group of people. Encouragement, and fellow developer feedback, is essential. So, perhaps that explains why developers reviewing developers is a positive course of action. A brush with the wider games community could be disheartening.

I wonder how well a disk of official adventure demos would perform, and what red tape would have to be snipped to get it published. It would certainly give newbies a good mix of what the genre has to offer.
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117823 - 03/30/05 05:59 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
ces Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/30/01
Posts: 914
Loc: West Seattle, WA
PC Gamers Magazine gives a cd of game demos with every issue (provided you buy the mag+cd issue, and not just the mag only issue), so it can be done. And if they are doing it, the audience must be there.
_________________________
Christine

Top
#117824 - 03/31/05 01:51 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
FeathersMcGraw Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 219
Loc: Germany
A small business which handles the orders for independent developers could have a number of advantages if done properly. One is that the developer no longer has to concentrate on certain boring business aspects. Another one the possibility for cross-promotion and bundles. This requires a web portal with a serious amount of traffic.
Without classic marketing, retail presence or a site like RealArcade I don

Top
#117825 - 03/31/05 04:13 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Diamond Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 538
Loc: Yorkshire
Quote:
Originally posted by Dark Fall Game:
Also, surely the gamers (or possible gamers) should be the target readership for a review? I can't imagine the sum total of independent game developers would purchase/download THAT many games. I would hope that a developers work was designed to be played, rather than studied by their peers.
You've got to wonder if they are really after reviews or critiques. Also, if they are aimed at developers, wouldn't you need the insights that only a developer could bring?
_________________________
Steve

Steve Ince, Writer-Designer
Steve on Twitter

Top
#117826 - 03/31/05 08:06 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Quote:
Originally posted by ces:
PC Gamers Magazine gives a cd of game demos with every issue
Yes, that and many other publications, but I have yet to find much in the way of adventure demos month to month. They are, though, great for patches and mods, and the occasional oddment. I have noticed 101Games (a quarterly) features a few adventures, which add to a diverse dvd.

Quote:
Originally posted by Diamond:
You've got to wonder if they are really after reviews or critiques. Also, if they are aimed at developers, wouldn't you need the insights that only a developer could bring?
Yes, the possibility of the demos/games being a purely technical exercise, seeking a critique, was mentioned above. But with game titles like "Eye of the Kraken", "Devil's Triangle" and "Day of the Aliens" (!!) an adventurer can't help but be intrigued. Also, can't a review be developer-centric without being full of techno-babble? The average Doom3 review talked more about trilinear filtering and shader tree structures, than the story or acting (for obvious reasons!). When does a critique become a review? And visaversa. I know many of the mainstream DF reviews focused on technicalities, and were written by wannabee developers, with their own objectives and specific criticisms.

Jonathan
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117827 - 03/31/05 09:58 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Jonas Kyratzes Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 67
Loc: behind you
Jonathan, a question: when you were selling Dark Fall on your own, how did you process orders? Did you build your own online store, or did you use PayPal or something similar?
_________________________
Jonas Kyratzes

Top
#117828 - 03/31/05 10:53 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
JonathanBoakes Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/14/13
Posts: 623
Loc: Saxton
Hullo Jonas,

At first I used a UK based creditcard handler known as "Place2Pay". I wrongly presumed they would be better to deal with online orders for my UK based start-up. I was wary of using PayPal as it seemed to generate alot of bad press (but doesn't anything, if you go looking?!).
Place2Pay was a disaster, and I lost quite a bit of money (the first 100 orders in fact), so quickly bit the bullet and signed up with PayPal.

I have no regrets, I only wish I'd taken the plunge first off. Transactions and communications were simplified, and the interest rates/bonuses are very agreeable.

All sales were generated from one button on the "sales page" of the official site. A rather simple approach, but it worked out rather well.

Jonathan

P.s. The Great Machine sounds intriguing, I'm looking forward to a good IF session later tonight.
_________________________
The ghosts are waiting, in the dark places, the forgotten places. Waiting for you: Darkling Room Games

Top
#117829 - 03/31/05 11:24 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Jonas Kyratzes Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 67
Loc: behind you
Thanks for the info. I've been thinking for a while now about taking on a bigger project which would require CD distribution (and hey, some money would be good, too) and was wondering about how I would process orders - PayPal, RegNow, ShareIt, etc...
If I go the do-everything-yourself route, I'll probably use PayPal.

I hope you enjoy The Great Machine, or at least don't hate it; it's certainly a weird and rather dark game. It's also pretty easy and very non-standard IF, so... we'll see.
_________________________
Jonas Kyratzes

Top
#117830 - 04/01/05 09:15 AM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
I like the idea of compilations, both of adventure game demos and freeware adventure games. This would be especially helpful for gamers who find it difficult to download demos or freeware games because they are using dialup modems.

Am I right in thinking that this would require organization, some degree of centralization and financial risk?

Is there a trend in the Indie or freeware development community TOWARD centralization/cooperation that could produce compilations of demos and/or games? Or would the centralization required to create something like a compilation actually be in opposition to the Independent spirit?

Top
#117831 - 04/02/05 03:03 PM Re: Publishing independent adventure game developers
Salar of Myst Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/06/02
Posts: 4216
Loc: Virginia's wetland dimension
I would think many of the freeware folks, especially, would appreciate being distributed to new audiences. Demos & trailers are meant to be shared, so its hard to imagine there being a problem with that, as long as initial terms were met.

I'd love to see them included with the discs in MY magazines. Sure would make a nice change of pace! I only have one like that, though they do add utility freeware programs now and then.

Maybe those of us who have subscriptions to some of the publications that add in freebie disks should put a bug in their ear about including adventure demos, trailers & better freeware games? There are some really fun ones out there!

Thank you for all the sites! I'm checking them out now.

Susan wave

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Who's Online
Key: Admin Global Mod Mod Staff  )
11 registered (Sherlock, connie, Haroula, Cue, LadyLinda, petjo, unowen, Winfrey, OrleansBelle, albet), 54 Guests and 17 Spiders online.
Newest Members
charlene, mikcik, Trishpatsy, sosiebear1, nimos
8519 Registered Users