GameMakerBlog Levels up with new IndieDevHelp initiative

on December 17, 2017 - 2014 Views

helping

GameMakerBlog announces a new initiative called: “IndieDevHelp” which aims to help Indie Developers with different aspects of creating and launching a game. As most game developers are programmers first and foremost, there are specific struggles and areas that can either be overlooked or just not completed because of time, ability or both. Above all else, Marketing is the primary factor that can determine a successful game or not, the world’s best game will have zero players if no-one knows it exists, and with the sheer amount of games available it is becoming harder and harder to stand out. Things like Press Kits, Game Trailers, Landing Pages and Influencer relationships are never factored into the development timeline and when it comes to release day it is already too late. We intend to make things easier on our fellow developers by providing free services to all loyal fans of GameMakerBlog and GameMaker.

There isn’t enough time

Being an Indie Developer is rough, especially the one or two man dev shops which makes up the unsung majority of Indies, there is a lot of work to creating a game and when pressed to decide between making a fancy set of screenshots to pass around or fixing some last minute bugs most will choose to fix bugs. There is an inherent drive in developers to develop for functionality and if it will not be used in the game then it is put off for when there is time, the problem is that time usually comes after the game is finished and by then you have missed the window of marketing opportunity. At a minimum you should have the following setup before you launch your game for Marketing:

  1. Landing Page to act as your official sales page
    • Customizable with everything you want to put on there
  2. Press Kit for Game Review sites to use
    • You need this as Game Reviewers will want media to post along with the review
  3. Social Media presence of some kind
    • Twitter and Facebook at a minimum to get word of mouth going
  4. Game Trailers
    • Walls of text does not work in a youtube world, people want visual stimuli now
  5. Influencer relationships
    • Streamers of all kinds are needed and they need review copies of the game

All of the above does not add one solitary second of gameplay to your game, it is completely in left field for a single developer who focuses on…well developing. Those of us who love to write code, go through debug logs and solve logic problems will probably not spend much if any time on the above steps; and this would have been fine years ago but now that thousands of new Indie Games show up per month you get one shot to stand out: Release Week. From then on, you face the risk of being buried in the endless list of titles if you did not go “viral” during that first release; options from then on are to publish a major update to drum up attention but without a strong marketing force behind it you will fall right into the slump again.

What can we do?

Indie devs are faced with two distinct resources issues: A small Team and an even smaller Budget which doesn’t lend itself well to outsourcing anything, meaning you either do it yourself or it doesn’t get done. This does not help our community and it can lead a developer to give up on their dreams and just find something that pays the bills instead. I am seeking a way to remedy this, the job market is quickly becoming a “Creator” centric area and the more Creator’s band together the more successful we can all become. By creating these networks we can help each other reach places we could not do so alone, and if we strive to give something back to those who are trying then we can succeed while doing what we love to do. This, of course, will not be easy and the burden has to start somewhere, and we have decided to try to take up as much of this as possible.

The IndieDevHelp program at launch will provide the following services:

  1. Create a custom Landing Page
    • Since the page is custom, whatever you want to put on that page is up to you
      • HTML5 demos are one area to drive potential business
    • We will create the page with the basic information, media, and sales links
  2. Create a custom Game Trailer
    • We’ll make you a custom game trailer, put it up on the GMB youtube channel and hopefully get it some attention
    • We can give you an unbranded version of the trailer, which is needed for things like A Steam Store Page
  3. Once the above is done we will give a Tweet about it to the community
    • *Provided the game was made in GameMaker
  4. We can promote and run your giveaways
    • Nothing drums up hype more than giving away free stuff and if you want to do a giveaway we can help
      • *Gifts to the GameMaker Community would be welcomed even in the event the game was not made in GameMaker

I do want to point out, that while we will help any Indie Game Developer who asks, we will only use our social media account for games made in GameMaker (unless it is a giveaway, then ONLY the giveaway will be shared once) as that is our brand and what our followers are following for. The Landing Page will still be show-cased on the main page: The Game Room.

The future of the program

While we hope this program will grow and flourish there are of course concerns:

  • No-one needs help with anything
    • This is possible and if no-one requests anything then the program will naturally die
  • Our reach never goes far
    • We have a moderate following but as YoYo Games has done such a good job in the past few months at becoming more transparent and releasing timely information on their Blog there has not been much to report.
      • As this was the original intention of GMB, readership has fallen off along with most of our purpose. This program is a step in evolving the blog into a network that helps developers instead of passively giving news.
        • We are counting on the community to help drive us to a new purpose

Now that some of the issues have been put out into the open, here are some program expansions we are intending to add if possible:

  • Developer Discord
    • For real-time help, questions, feedback or just bouncing ideas off of other developers
  • Server Side Setup Help
    • Besides actual code there are other things involved in games, things like game servers, databases even amazon webservices and load balancers. Being a full stack developer is no easy feat.
      • We can help with this as we have experience in all backend architecture
    • As this is intensive, it would have to be some kind of separate service unless we had funding of some kind. We could help with selecting hardware, database types, webservice frameworks but the actual costs involved are well beyond our means.

Whether or not we can expand this program will depend on its initial success and like any Indie Dev, we included, sometimes new projects just don’t have a proper market and the important thing is not to keep investing resources in something that isn’t really needed. We hope this is not the case, but we are prepared for such an event.

Can anyone help out?

There are few ways the community can help in ways that I can’t do myself:

  • Request a trailer for your game
    • The more content we get, the further our collective reach can become
      • This also helps me improve my own skills
  • Spread the word
    • Remember, it isn’t just strictly for GameMaker games, we want to help all Indie Developers
  • Give Feedback
    • It is tough to figure out if we are going down the right path or not, so any feedback is appreciated
  • Lastly, support on Patreon as a last resort
    • Patreon will be updated again soon with new rewards
    • We never expect monetary donations but if anyone is inclined to do so the proceeds will be used to get better resources such as graphics and music for the game trailers along with covering the cost of hosting GMB (still ~$8.75 USD per month)
      • As some may have noticed, I have taken off the network ads from the site. The performance hits were very annoying (those flash ads are the worst) and not worth the couple of cents it provided. The blog should be reasonably faster now and much more responsive

Finally, the program itself

The Game Room → A complete list of Indie Games along with their Landing Page

GameMakerBlog Indie Game Trailers YouTube Channel → Channel of just Indie Game Trailers

indiegametrailers@gamemakerblog.com → Official email for requesting a Game Trailer and Page

Let us know what you think about this change, any feedback is appreciated.

Good Luck in all things,
Hikati Games
Hikati Games LLC Logo

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