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  • How To Realistically Scope Your First Indie Game

    - Tom Safarov

  • Solution #3: Crowdfunding

    Actually, this is a working scheme of making a successful indie project these days.

    1. Complete as much as you can on your own, while keeping the lowest possible expenses;

    2. Create a working and visually attractive demo showcasing your game's key features;

    4. Build the community around your game starting as early as you can;

    5. Go on Kickstarter and (luckily) get your development financed;

    6. Complete the development and release your game;

    7. Use this game's positive outcome to build the hype around your next project, as now you're having the name and credibility in the industry.

    This is what many indies trying to do these days, including the one I bumped into recently. It's a game in development named Frogvale that you can see on the preview to this post. The guy was making this bus-driver simulator demo for 3 years (!) before going on Kickstarter. At this moment his campaign is 30% financed with 25 days to go. Despite its raw look, the game was also warmly accepted on Reddit. Something to think about, right?

    The more vivid example of how you make your very first project on your own is Omno.

    The solo dev from Germany Jonas Manke made this visually-driven demo for 2 years (all on his own, including art, design and code). Then he literally nailed Kickstarter campaign beating his initial goal more than 3 times and securing about $110k of financing to complete the development! Instead of going for the full-scale project which would most likely have drained his resources, he focused on making the visually impressive demo, that allowed him to secure the financing. Now I think he will calmly complete the development until the end of the next year, having no impending debts or ruined lives behind. This is not just a story of a crowdfunding success. It is a story about adequate planning and rational approach.

    I hope these recommendations may help the other indie teams to rationalize their projects in development and adjust them accordingly to the available resources. The teams who fail, use to ignore those solutions aiming too damn high right from the very beginning. My advice is: don't go that big, go small and manageable. When you complete and release your first game to the market, you will get valuable experience which will be a natural aid for your next upcoming project. Instead, aiming for a huge project can ruin your life and lives of people who you drag with you. Good luck everyone!

    P.S. As for our studio, we use this approach on a daily basis, eliminating things which implementation will require more resources than we have. Instead, we focus on the features we can do keeping the targeted quality of the game. Hope to share my story about our project in one of the upcoming posts. Cheers!


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