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RGX

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all! Maybe someone can help me rationalize this problem I've been having...

My issue is this. Basically since Nov 2013, with on and off breaks for months of course, I've been working on a mobile game which I think could be a huge hit... the only problem is that the final things remaining are just things way out of my skill level for now. Testing the actual game on my iOS device and it crashes during loading the gameplay, but it works fine when testing on the computer... combine that with a few other things such as not knowing how to implement a leaderboard, achievement system, or even integrate ad networks into the game, it's just hard to manage the thousands of line of code with trial & error.

So I'm switching to the model of making more smaller and simpler games I'm less passionate about, and I guess saving up my big game for a release one day. But my mind keeps thinking if I was to devote my time towards working on the big and unique game, it could be a huge success like the big games like Angry Birds or something?? I know it's far-fetched, but I haven't seen this gameplay being done before, it's fast and simple and have yet to see it replicated in any game...

Maybe it's something all new devs go through when they realize it's better to make games the public  wants rather than what they want... It's just humbling. I've been following Martin for a while, and I remember the days when his daily downloads, profits, and numbers were general shit! And thinking how hard it was in the beginning... it's really intimidating to me. Maybe I'm just overthinking all this, but the whole starting out as an indie developer barely making a few cents a day seems like hell.

So my question to anyone reading is, how did you handle starting out?? Is it as difficult as I imagine it to be? It just seems really hard to approach even minimum wage the first few months, which is a very big turnoff for me, lots of work for little results in the beginning. And also do you go with making a bunch of small games more often, or releasing a larger game less often.

I've rambled enough! I think I'll start producing lots of smaller games, just to release finished products and gain experience, and maybe build up a little fanbase... It's just hard when in the back of my mind, I think like 
Smaller Games -> Barely $20 a month...
Larger Game -> Maybe Thousands a month... But it's probably something all new dev's go through. It's just that the smaller games I'm making are basically re-skinned versions of other games or apps... and my larger game is completely unique and brand-able. I've already thought of merchandise and toys and books spin-offs for my game series... maybe I'm just crazy

But thanks for reading, and I would love to get some insight onthose two questions mentioned above!!

~RGX
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javaexp

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Reply with quote  #2 
I would vote for first getting financially stable to handle family and food costs. Then do whatever you want with your life in general. For some people, it may be leaving mobile games altogether and do whatever is their grand plan for life.

I know many many devs who followed this path and are happy Martin, Dexati, AppBasic (check both these on play store, they have hundreds of small apps/games and have huge money flowing in).

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Grumpy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Nice post. I had a similar issue when I started, I started with a big game that took a year to build. Like you, when it was nearly done, I felt there were some skills I needed to learn before launching. I went on to make a number of small games (a few in the space of 1 week to 2 weeks), which didn't make (much) money but taught me a lot about ad networks/IAP/developing for mobile. In the end I never launched my big game. It would have been too much work to get it working well for mobile. I feel bad for wasting that time, but it did teach me how to use Unity and I guess a lot of what not to do.

Now days, I'm very wary of spending more than 2-3 months on a game. Ideally about 6 weeks. This gives me enough time to make a good quality game, but not so much time that if the game is a flop I've wasted loads of time. Currently I make more than minimum wage (just), but things are getting better. I get more downloads on new games, and I'm seeing players downloading multiple games. My plan is to focus on one genre of game to build up an audience and to optimise cross promotion, I then update games that do well, and take games that don't do well off the app store.

I would suggest that focusing on smaller games is better at the start - it's called "Failing Fast" and it's a way of learning your mistakes quickly. Then when you've got more experience you can make larger games.

You probably won't make money to begin with. It took me about 2 years before I was making anything close to a living wage (including the year spent making the large game). I would say it's incredibly hard to make a living wage from (especially if you live in Europe/USA where living costs are high), it's risky (games can drop like stones - so a game that is making income, may make half that income in a months time) and it is something that you shouldn't enter lightly into.
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XdebugX

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGX

Smaller Games -> Barely $20 a month...
Larger Game -> Maybe Thousands a month...
~RGX


If I was starting out, I would tell myself to make small games if nothing else than for experience in developing and marketing. Today, you can make an incredible game and it gets 10 downloads a week because of no marketing. So it would be a big waste to spend a lot of time on the big game, put it on the store and no downloads. You gain a few other advantages by making some smaller games first, when you release your big game, finally, it will be a much better game, because you know more about making games. You will also have the advantage of trying some marketing techniques from your smaller games and get a feel for what works for you. I wouldn't give up on my bigger projects, but I would maybe split my time between smaller project, big project and working on marketing. Maybe even just focus on a few small games and marketing those first.
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kompleted.com

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Reply with quote  #5 
Hi RGX,

I understand exactly how you feel about making big games or small games because I will launch my first BIG game in a week! The way I see it is not about building a big or small game, but building a conversion funnel. The ONLY PURPOSE of a game is to get players to give you their money in the form of IAPs or ads. To do that, you have to have to follow the 4 step engagement cycle:
1. Get player interest
2. Get player engagement
3. Positive feedback loop
4. Viral mechanism

The draw back of simple games is that they are simple and have limited gameplay. You might be able to hit 2 or 3 of the components of the engagement cycle but not all 4. Only by building a sizable game can you manage to create player engagement and a positive feedback loop that leads to IAPs. 

Here's what I added to my game in the past 2 weeks to drive engagement and provide positive feedback:
1. Local leaderboards
2. Global leaderboards
3. Statistics page
4. IAP store
5. IAP currency system
6. Facebook + Twitter sharing
7. Achievements

My advice to you is to keep at the game you have been working on for a year and finish it. Adding leaderboards, social sharing, and an IAP store is not fun (ok, the IAP store was fun) and a lot of labor but those are NECESSARY components. Plus, it only took me 2 weeks to add those features. The core game mechanics and gameplay features took me 3 MONTHS. 

Let me know if you want help on any of those features. I spent days researching IAP plugins and put together my own leaderboard system which is really great. I can give you my leaderboard script for free. The plugins you'll have to buy for $35 from the Unity Asset store.

Hope this helped!

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Working on a fix for app discovery...it is not going well. [comp]
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Hello World v.2

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGX
I think like 
Smaller Games -> Barely $20 a month...
Larger Game -> Maybe Thousands a month...


The thing is:
Small game: Between 0.00$ and 1000000.00$ a month.
Medium game: Between 0.00$ and 1000000.00$ a month.
Large game: Between 0.00$ and 1000000.00$ a month.

I think its more important how polished a game is and how mutch fun the basic gameplay is.

Just look at ketchapp studios for example: They make very small and basic games, but they are extremely well polished, everything is animated and feels very smoothly.
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