How to Stay Motivated When You’re Burnt Out

image via Pixabay

Burn out is a real thing. Especially for indie game developers. I see a lot of people on the developer groups wondering what the point of it all is. They’ve worked hard for 5 years and haven’t seen any returns on their time or money investments. The same could be said about us. We’ve been working on The Painter’s Apprentice for the past two years after our day jobs.

Our Story

There have been a lot of changes (and more to come) that have delayed the release of the game. People are burnt out on working on the same thing. A game that could have been completed in a couple months if done full-time has taken much longer than anticipated. It’s the same issue we had with Once Upon a Runner. As the months go by, it can be incredibly disheartening that the game still is not released. There’s the temptation to just put it out on the market because hey, no game will every be perfect. We did it with Once Upon a Runner and now we had to go back and redo the entire game because it just wasn’t up to par with other games on the market. I don’t want to make the same mistake with The Painter’s Apprentice.

It’s been a hard road. We’ve had artists and programmers leave mid-game so the project was put on hold for months while we searched for someone else to fill in the gaps. When we launched on Greenlight we had mostly negative comments surrounding our art. As it stands, we only have a couple hundred votes. All that work and our current product isn’t enough to get on Greenlight. It’s especially heartbreaking when you hear other people comment that any half-decent game will get Greenlit. It makes us pause and think – Is our game just not any good?

Battling Burn Out

So how do we stay motivated despite burning out and generally feeling pessimistic about our future? We look forward and backwards.

Forward to see where we want to be.

We have a clear deadline and goal to reach. There are some great highlights coming up that legitimize our company such as being accepted into MAGFest and being selected to showcase at the PAX Rising Booth in San Antonio. It shows us the potential that our game company has to reach a wider audience. There’s also the other game we’re working on (if you want to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter!) and potential partnerships that we may be able to leverage in the future if we play our cards right.

Thinking this way makes me realize that while two years is certainly long for a platformer it means we spent time to polish it. Are there going to be changes in the near future? Yes. We’re already looking into some options to make the game even better. It may mean we take longer to release, but I’d rather release a polished and amazing looking game than something that’s “good enough.” Striving for excellence takes a lot of time and work, but in the end it is worth it.

Backwards to see how far we’ve come.

I love Thursdays because that’s when I use the hashtag Throwback Thursdays. It’s a nice way to remind myself how far we’ve really come with the game. Our animation is much smoother, our gameplay is improving and everything is slowly coming together. When I compare our current build to the first time we demo-ed the game at PGConnects, there’s a world of difference. It’s hard to see the changes when you focus just on the past week or even month. It seems so incremental. But when you look at everything as a whole, there’s absolutely huge changes.

It’s also nice to look back at the positive feedback we’ve gotten at the various events we’ve showcased at. People love the idea and love the game. We’ve improved overall gameplay thanks to people who’ve tried our game these past two years and it’s better because of it. Many of the people who we’ve met have become supporters and even helped out our Kickstarter. For that we’re eternally grateful. Over the past two years, we’ve grown our mailing list by 200% and increased our follower count from 0 to 400+ on Twitter. It might not be the explosive growth many others see, but it continues to steadily rise.

In the end

We’ll continue to polish and hone The Painter’s Apprentice until we’re satisfied with how to it looks and feels. We want to provide the best experience for everyone. It’s challenging, absolutely. Some days are harder than others to really get into the game development mood. Some days I don’t even want to look at the game. But on those days, I remind myself what we have accomplished and what we plan on accomplishing. Then I get to work.


How To Pitch Your Game – A Beginner’s Guide

pitch your game

At some point or another as a game developer, you’ll need to pitch your game. Whether you intend to sell it or not, at some point you’ll have to explain it to someone. This could be an investor or maybe just your mom. Whoever it is, a good pitch can spark their interest and lead to a new fan.

What Makes a Good Pitch?

Pitching a project isn’t easy. It seems like it should be, especially if you’re the one who came up with the idea and designed it. The problem is that we get so caught up in the details of our game and explaining every little thing that we often lose a person’s interest. Of course, enthusiasm is a requirement for a pitch. If you don’t care about your game, no one else will.

So what are the elements of a good pitch?

  • It provides the listener with a clear explanation of your game.
  • It highlights key features that separates your game from others in the same genre
  • It’s short!
  • It invites them to perform a desired action (download the game, invest money, etc).

Sound simple? A great pitch requires a lot of trial and error. When we released our first game Once Upon a Runner (which you can download for Android and iOS) it took some time to draft a good pitch. At events, it’s also boring to say the same lines over and over so I had to come up with different variations of the pitch. For social media and our tag-line I had to come up with yet another, shorter one to immediately catch people’s interest. That one ended up being “Run, jump and burn your way through six different fairy tale worlds as Ella in Once Upon a Runner.”

Our regular pitch is a bit expanded, “Once Upon a Runner is a 2D, side-scrolling runner game where you control Ella, a young fire mage who finds herself transported to strange worlds. Avoid dangerous obstacles and face off against fearsome enemies based off of familiar fairy tales to return home. The game features six different story levels, endless mode, in-game comic panels and a fire-wielding heroine. Download/play the game now on iOS and Android!”

For The Painter’s Apprentice we’re still working on a good pitch for the game that will excite people. So far, however, we’ve been going with “The Painter’s Apprentice is a 2D platformer that draws inspiration from art. You play as the Apprentice who mysteriously finds himself inside of paintings. In order to return to the real world you must platform your way through eight different art styles, defeat sentient paint blobs and bring back order and color back to the paintings. The game features 8 worlds each with their own art styles, boss fights that will keep you on your toes, a range of paint blob enemies and bonus levels. Try it out.”

How to Pitch Your Game

Of course, in order to first pitch the game to a person, you need to get their attention. At shows this can be difficult because there are hundreds of games on display. Make eye contact with everyone who walks by and invite them to play your game. It can be a huge hurdle for shy people (like me), but if you want the best results you really have to put yourself out there.

Most importantly of all, remember to ABC (always be closing). Tell them what you want them to do whether that’s download the game, vote for you on greenlight or support your Kickstarter. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know. It feels like you’re putting a lot of pressure on the other person, but it’s something you need to do. Always ask. Always prompt them to perform an action and you’ll definitely see results.

If you want more detail on how to pitch your game Pocket Gamer wrote a great article on how to succeed at their Very Big Indie Pitch.

What are some other tips you have for a great game pitch? Let us know in the comments below.



Of Money and Indie Game Developers

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
[/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Through the years, I’ve noticed a trend among indie game developers. I imagine it’s the same for many creatives in their respective scene. When you start talking about how to make money on your craft a lot of people jump in and ask, “Why does it have to be about money?” or “If you expect to make money, you’ll be disappointed.” It’s almost as if they are encouraging the idea that you shouldn’t make money as an indie.

The problem is that they then say you need to pay your artists and programmers a decent wage. Something I agree with. However, if you don’t make money on your games, how can you pay?

What Defines an Indie

There’s a question of what makes an indie game. For the most part, indie games are smaller in scope than AAA, have less of a budget, but ultimately allows for greater freedom of expression and innovative gameplay elements. With that said, not all indie games follow this pattern. Many offer conventional mechanics. Some studios might even have large budgets. And while most indies don’t receive funding from publishers for their work, there are a few who do. In fact, there’s a burgeoning indie publisher market. These companies help on the marketing end, but much more also provide some funding for development.

When you look at all of the exceptions, the term indie doesn’t seem to define anything. Perhaps the most consistent factor, however, is the size of the team. For the most part, indie studios are small ranging from a single individual to around thirty. Most raise money on their own or via crowdsourcing to get it off the ground. And many, many more do not make back the money they have put it.

The Plight of Indies

It’s a sad fact that most indie game developers don’t make enough money to work there full-time. Many work day jobs to fund their dream (like us). Thanks to game engines and free art assets, it’s getting easier to make games and this leads to a flooded market. That means it’s very likely many people won’t even see your game. Take Steam for example. It has over 125 million active users, yet the average game only sells around 32,000 copies. And you can bet most of those sales are when the developer reduces the price or when it’s part of a Humble Bundle. You can imagine on iTunes or Google Play that number is much lower.

Since most indies can’t make a living off their earnings, it’s become almost an in-joke. Many people on these Facebook group post how much their game has made on ad revenue. These range from $0.01 to $1.45. It’s funny and sad at the same time.

Indie’s Relationship With Money

All that to say indies have a very mixed relationship with money and earnings. For the most part, they want to make a living off of what they love, but with so much competition and general lack of marketing savvy and influence, it’s a tough road.

Eventually, many indies seem to give up on making money. They resign themselves to creating games for no profit and believe that’s just the way the industry is. With so many other developers in the same boat, it’s almost comforting not to make money because you can be part of the crowd and sympathize. It’s easy to give in to a certain amount of complacency. I’ve certainly been guilty of it. Why even bother sending a note to some large game press? They receive thousands of emails and they won’t cover the game for one reason or another. This sort of thinking leads to another – a love-hate relationship with money. Indies want it, but because most won’t make any they hate talking or even thinking about it.

Selling Out

This isn’t a new idea. In fact, for most creative outlets there’s this romanticization of being a struggling independent. Fans and other indies are the ones who spread this idea. You’ll often hear people say, “I liked this group before they went mainstream.” It’s a mark of pride for fans. For indies, I believe it’s a means of protection. Seeing another indie make it big-time, whether it’s scoring a record label or making billions on a game like Notch, reminds them they haven’t reached that level yet. It’s a hard pill to swallow so many simply brush it aside as the other group selling out. Is it truly, though? What indie wouldn’t make the same decision if offered the same thing?

Talking Money

All this to say, indies need to improve their relationship around money. In fact, it should be something you think about if you plan on making a living off your games. After all, if you don’t think about it how you will know what price to make it on release, how to implement in-game purchases or ads if you decide to go free-to-play, how to localize payments for other countries and so forth?

It isn’t as though game developers discourage each other. Most are more than happy to share their expertise and experiences with newcomers. When it comes to money, though, many clam up or argue that game development isn’t about the money, man. Maybe this reluctance to talk about it comes from a social faux pas surrounding money in general. Hardly anyone talks about personal finance. If you mention the cost of an item, many will consider you tactless or cheap. Perhaps it’s the same with game development. Talking about how much you’ve made or the best way to implement ads, IAP in a game to make money seems taboo. If you say you’re making a game to make money, you’ll get plenty of comments to look into a different field.

With that said it isn’t easy to make money on games. It is hard, and it takes a lot of time to build up a community of people who will play it. However, you shouldn’t just accept the fact your game didn’t do well. Analyze your failure and success, understand how to avoid it in the future and then inform other developers. Talk about money and finances. Get creative with how you raise it. Think about how your game can succeed instead of worrying about its failure. There’s more than one way to make money in games. Some may take more time than others, but if you want to follow your passion and work full-time on games, there’s no way around it. You have to put making money on the same level as making a great experience.

What are your thoughts? Did I totally miss the mark? Let me know in the comments!

Cover image: Source



How to Make a Game with Little or No Money

image via Pixabay
image via Pixabay

An indie developer’s life is far from glamorous. What the public perceives as a developer’s life and reality is very different. More often than not, indie developers have full-time jobs to fund their passion. Others might have someone supporting them whether it’s through a family member or crowdfunding. It’s not an easy job and so many aspiring developers give up because they lack the budget to create the game of their dreams let alone market it.

So the question becomes, how can you make games without little to no money?


Thanks to demand, many engines are free-to-use, with caveats. You don’t need to pay a dime into Unreal or Unity unless you actually start making money ($100,000 for Unity and $3,000 for Unreal). These free editions do have some limitations to them, but if you’re fine with it then you might as well jump on one of them. If you want something completely free then check out Godot Engine. It’s an open source software that allows you to make 2D and 3D games. While it uses its own proprietary language, if you know python you should be able to get the hang of it quickly.


There are several places you can download free assets but one of the most popular is You can download almost everything from 2D sprites to 3D textures. While free, you’ll want to check out the licenses attached to the artwork before you make any changes as not all of artists allow  you to modify their work. If you do end up using an asset from the site, make sure to properly attribute the artist in your game. You can also check out this article for more sites that offer free game art.

For music, there are a handful of options, but one of the best is Free Music Archive. You can browse hundreds of songs in 15 different genres. You’ll need to be careful when choosing which song to use as not all have the same licenses. If you intend on using the song for commercial use for your game, you’ll want to avoid CC-BY-NC-SA and CC-BY-NC-ND songs. These are meant for noncommercial use only. Like the art assets, you’ll need to properly attribute the artist of the song if you intend on using it for your game.

Sound effects can be a bit trickier to find. There are dozens of sites with amazing sound effects, but many of them require you to pay to actually download and use them. Freesound is a great resource if you don’t mind spending some time sifting through all of the user uploads. Look for sounds that have a Creative Commons 0 license as this means the creator waives all rights to the work and you can modify or use it as you please. It’s possible you won’t find exactly what you need here, but you might find something that is close enough.

If you want to try your hand at creating your own music, you can use tools like Tracktion 4, a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW). It allows you to mix or remix your music. This is a full DAW so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any features. If you’ve got the money, you can upgrade to the newest version which only costs $60.


If you’re an artist with no coding skill it might be a bit harder for you to find snippets of code to make your game. In that case, you might look into engines that have a drag-and-drop interface like GameMaker. The problem is that the free version of these engines usually don’t have as many features as the Pro versions. If you’re okay with these limitations then try it out. You might end up liking it so much you pay into it. Luckily many of these engines end up having a sale on the paid versions at least once a year. If you decide you want more features, keep a look out on Steam and the engine’s site for announcements.

If you’re not in any rush to push out your game, you can find plenty of free tutorials on YouTube that can teach you the basics of different engines. Unity and Unreal have great beginner tutorial series and even walks you through making your own games. If you can spare a few dollars, Udemy has some amazing online game programming courses that walk you through the basics from explaining the syntax of the code to how different code can provide the same outcome. Udemy often has discounts on their classes almost every month so jump on one during these times.

Art Software

Adobe might be the industry standard for creating digital artists, but there are some free options you can check out. GIMP is the open source answer to Photoshop. If you’re familiar with Photoshop it might take some time to get used to GIMP’s interface. Once you do, however, you’ll realize it is every bit as powerful.

Inkscape is the answer to Adobe Illustrator. It’s a great tool for creating vector drawings and especially useful if you want to make create a voxel style game.

For 2D animation the Spriter free version has plenty of features to get you started. Rather than animate every frame by hand, Spriter allows you to rig up different parts of your character onto a basic skeleton and then move them via pivot points. It reduces the time you need to create a professional-looking animation. Just remember, you need to divide up your sprite into different parts in order to get the smoothest animation.

If you’re a 3D animator, there’s no better free tool than Blender. It’s powerful enough to create ultra-realistic renders and can do everything you can do in Maya such as: fast rigging, UV unwrapping, full compositor and more. It even has a full game engine, though you probably don’t want to publish anything you’ve actually made in there. With that said, it’s great for prototyping. The best part about Blender, besides being free, is its cross platform on Mac, PC and Linux.


Of all the necessary steps needed to successfully launch a game, marketing is by far the most time-consuming and hardest. This is especially true if whether you’re s solo developer or have a small team. Marketing requires forethought into your market and consistent, but friendly communication with them. You need to post something everyday on the right social media networks and interact not only with people who comment, like or follow you but with thought leaders and influencers. It’s a full-time job. The problem is most indie studios just don’t have the money to bring on a marketing firm or even consultant. If this sounds like you, there’s still hope.

The best way to stay organized and in the loop is to have one place where you can keep an eye on most, if not all, of your social media profiles. Hootsuite is a great service where you can do just that and the basic version is free. You can follow keywords that interest you, keep an eye on your feed and even respond to comments. Besides this, you can also automate your posts, which will save you a ton of time in the long run. If you don’t like Hootsuite, you can also check out Buffer, which offers the same service but also adds the ability to create your own image, complete with typography.

Besides social media, there are a few basics you should set up. These might cost you some money, but you’ll ultimately get much more by implementing them:

  • A website: this sounds so basic, but there are still many developers who do not have one. You can get a domain and hosted server for under $20 a month.
  • Business cards: you’ll want to carry some around to hand out. You don’t have to keep it limited to events. Hand it out to anyone you chat with. You never know what might come of it.
  • Development fees: whether you’re submitting to Android or Steam, each one requires you pay a fee upon submitting your game. There are places you can submit for free like gamejolt or

So if you’ve been interested in creating your own games, but were worried about the cost, take heart! Creating a game doesn’t necessarily require a ton of money. However, if you do end up going the budget route, it will take you much more time.





Getting Your Game Out There – Marketing 101

When you talk to game developers about marketing or community building, you’ll often be met with glazed eyes. So many of us are so busy concentrating on making a good game that we forget that we also need to let people know about it (I fall into the same trap). Otherwise, who will play it?

That doesn’t mean we think marketing, PR, and community building is unimportant. Quite the opposite actually. Many of us know that it’s important, but so many of us don’t know really know how to do it. Instead we kind of dabble around on social media, post developer blogs because we see other people do it and kind of float around in this marketing limbo. We read up on some tactics, but we don’t really get it. Of course, not all of us are like that. Some developers understand the secret sauce behind successful marketing campaigns. On the surface, it seems like they’re doing exactly the same thing you might be doing, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll start seeing the differences. Here’s a little marketing 101 on what successful game developers do to spread the word.

They Know Their Target Audience

marketing 101 pax east

Do you know who will play your game? Does your game appeal to casual or hard core gamers? Is it for mobile, PC or console? 2D or 3D? VR integration? All of these questions can help narrow down your target market i.e. your audience. You don’t need to change your game to suit a demographic, but you should be able to pinpoint people who would want to play your game. From there, you can then find out where they go to hang out online. Maybe it’s Twitter or Reddit. Maybe it’s Twitch. Either way, the more targeted your audience, the better your chances of getting noticed. The more you learn about them the better you can tailor your message by knowing exactly where they are and their preferred method of consuming content whether it’s through text, video or images.

The developers behind Punch Club (tinyBuild Games) is a great example. Rather than go to review sites, they went directly to Twitch to utilize the Twitch Plays crowdsourcing experiment. This allowed users to “play” the game by simply typing in commands. It was a genius stroke of marketing that brought in quite a bit of downloads. Will this work for your game? That depends on if your audience is on Twitch or not.

So how do you find your target audience? Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does your game offer to the audience that would interest them? Great art, music, new type of gameplay?
  • Who are your competitors and how do you stack up against them? How are you different?
  • What are the characteristics of your ideal customer? Make a customer profile and go beyond the standard demographics. Get into hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. for a more realized vision of your audience.
  • What is the cost of your product? Will it be free or premium? How do similar games on the platform of your choice stack up in terms of pricing?
  • Who are your current customers? Even social media sites provide basic demographics on your followers so look to those to see who is already interested in what you offer.
  • Who are your competitors’ customers? Is there significant overlap? Are you noticing their customers are complaining about some features that you can provide?
  • Have you done your research? There are a lot of sources out there on video games. It might take a bit to go through them all, but it should be easier when you narrow down your platform and region. You can also do conduct your own through surveys though this part might be better for when you have a larger audience.

They Start Early


Image: Source

Most successful indie developers start building up hype long before the actual release of their game. This could mean showing of concept artwork or just sharing prototype ideas. Heck, you can even share ideas that didn’t quite make the cut and why they didn’t work. The point is, you want to get your company and game on people’s radar early on because you can build up your audience. The earlier you start, the more likely you will be to grab people’s attention and really stick in their memory. They’ll be waiting for screenshot updates or developer blog updates because they’re invested in your game. After all, they’ve been following you for 6 months or more.

The trick here is to only start promoting the game when you have something worthwhile to show. That means all of your screenshots or demos should be very polished. Google doesn’t remove old images and having some low quality images or videos can negatively affect your game. So what do you need for your game?

  • A website: something simple is fine that shows off some captivating screenshots, fun gameplay videos and general overview of the game itself.
  • Social media profile: It’s a must as it’s one of the best ways to connect with people and show off your assets.
  • A developer blog: while you don’t need to have one, it is a great way to keep people up-to-date and humanize your team.
  • Trailers: this comes later on, but trailers are a great way to get people excited. Make some teaser trailers in the beginning and then move on to some gameplay.

They Hustle


Most game developers, whether AAA or indie, understand the importance of getting out your game in front of people when it’s in a playable state. While social media can certainly do a lot, the best thing is to actually get in front of live people and have them try out your game. Not only can you talk at length about it, you can also see people’s reactions to it and even see potential pitfalls you can fix in the future. While smaller conferences are a great place to get started, you really want to save up the money for the big conventions like PAX. These can cost well over $10,000 but you’ll not only be meeting with gamers but also media outlets and even representatives from Steam, Apple and Google.

Even if you can’t afford to exhibit (or perhaps your game gets rejected) it’s still a great idea to go anyway. Besides speaking to other indie developers, you can also hand out flyers, buttons or CDs for your own game to other attendees (though this might be considered suitcasing so be sure to look into the guidelines for each convention before doing this).

But it isn’t just about conventions. You need to think outside the box when marketing your game. Look at other ways you can promote your game outside of the virtual sphere. Is your game about zombies? You can probably find events in a city near you that feature them. What about an escape the room game? A lot of cities now have real life escape the room events, so why not work with them to promote your game? Got an endless runner? Maybe you can hand out your flyer to the audience at marathons. There are a lot of options to choose from. Of course, they require research and stepping outside of your comfort zone. With that said, people will more likely remember your game and company if you do these kind of guerrilla marketing tactics.

They Know How to Social


Image: Source

Hey, I shuddered too just using the term ‘social,’ but it’s true. The best game developers understand the nuances of each platform and tailor their messages to fit each one. It isn’t just about the text but the attached images or videos that accompany it. They know exactly what hashtags to use (#gamedev, #screenshotsaturday, #indiegame) and of course interact on a personal level with both their followers and potential followers. By keeping it personal, they’re building a strong relationship with their audience, which of course leads to better results once they release their game. Of course, some companies already have such brand recognition they don’t and can’t respond to everyone individually. That’s one of the main benefits of being an indie studio – you can reach out to everyone personally. It takes a heck of a lot of time, but you reap the benefits in the form of a loyal gamer…so long as your game is good of course. One of the best things to do is to use a social media manager like hootsuite. Not only can you manage most of your profiles, you can also schedule your posts and keep track of targeted keywords.

Of course, being good at social media management is much more than just posting a tweet or Facebook post. It’s about understanding the analytics. You’ll need to be able to look at the data on each of your post and not only see which posts are doing well, but also understand why. The why is the tricky part as the analytics don’t necessarily tell you. It just gives you the numbers so you’ll need to figure out why one tweet is doing better than another. Maybe it’s the use of a certain image or gif or maybe it’s because a larger company shared your post. Either way, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the numbers. It can show you what you are doing right and, when put together with your customer profile, can even predict behavior for future posts.

They Have an Email List

email symbol on row of colourful envelopes

Image: Source

Email marketing is not dead. In fact it still remains the most successful marketing tool in your arsenal. People who have already signed up for your email list are already interested in your game and company. That means when you send out information on an update or release, these are the people who are most likely to click through and make that purchase. So build up your subscriber list stat! Email marketing services like mailchimp make it super easy to create different lists, see open/click through rates and even make an eye-catching email.

Sounds easy right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. You have to convince people to sign up for it by providing value to them. So what will they get in exchange for being a subscriber? Is it beta testing? Or perhaps a discount code for when the game is released? Maybe it’s free wallpapers? Whatever it is, you want to reward your subscribers with the idea of exclusivity. They’re getting something that other people won’t get. So come up with some kind of reward. It doesn’t have to cost you any money and you don’t have to do it for every email you send out.

Speaking of emails, how many should you send out? You want to make sure your subscribers don’t forget about you, but you also don’t want to spam them with nonsense. A good rule of thumb is once a month, but  you can always do less if you don’t think you have enough information to create a newsletter every month. Just keep it consistent. Make sure your social media profiles are on each email you send out. And if you want to increase your base, reward people who refer their friends with some kind of prize. Again, keep it simple. It could be an amazing wallpaper or a percentage discount for every x amount of people they refer. Get creative! (By the way, sign up for our newsletter as well!)


They Get Lucky


Image: Source

Yes, there is some luck involved to having a successful game. Sometimes the game idea you have aligns perfectly to what a huge portion of the gaming population wants. Sometimes technology comes along that allows the game you wanted to make a reality. Or sometimes a new platform appears that has hardly any competitors. Look at Angry Birds. They became hugely successful because they were one of the first games that really utilized the touch screen on the iPhone. And really, they were one of the first original games available. Of course, we can’t all be the first one to jump on a new platform. So what can we do to increase our odds in such a saturated market? In essence, we need to have a little luck on our side. While we cannot completely control it, we can increase our odds of having a successful game by researching our genre, playing our competitor’s games, listening to the complaints of current gamers and then seeing how our game addresses these issues. Once you find that hook push forward with it and illustrate why your game is different from all the others available and tell your audience in as many ways as you can. And if you’re lucky, they’ll start noticing.

At the end of the day, marketing is an entire full-time job by itself as is community management. For small teams, this list might sound daunting, but if you do one thing on this list then I suggest really understanding your audience. This doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your vision of the game to suit them, but you should have an general idea of who you want to play your game. After you have a strong image in your mind, the rest – social, video and blog creation, etc – should come more naturally.





Getting Started With Game Dev – What Engine Should I Use

image via Pixel Prospector
image via Pixel Prospector

This post has been edited to remove references to UE.

I’m part of a few Indie Game Developer groups on Facebook and the number one most common question is: I have no experience with programming or game development. What game engine do I use?

This question gets a lot of ire in these groups because it gets asked at least once a day. Still, I can also understand why these groups get the same questions. A lot of posts get buried underneath others and with thousands of people in each group, often these questions get pushed down. And who really wants to sift through dozens if not hundreds of posts on Facebook. For those who don’t want to deal with Facebook, hopefully this article can answer some of your questions.

The question of what game engine to use/is the best is layered because it requires you to answer questions such as:

  • Do you want to make a 2D or 3D game?
  • What kind of game do you want to make?
  • Do you have a PC or Mac or something else?
  • How powerful is your setup?
  • Do you want to make mobile games or do you want to go cross platform?
  • Are you willing to learn a programming language?
  • How quickly do you want to push out a game?

Your answers to these questions will determine which engine, if any, you choose. Below is a quick breakdown of the different options and the reason you should consider them.

Swift/Android IDE

If you’re just planning on releasing for mobile and don’t mind learning code, your best bet is to make your games natively for iOS and Android. Why? You can take advantage of all the new features the mobile OS has to offer, making it more likely that your game will be featured in these app stores. Besides that, your file size will also be smaller because there’s no game engine taking up space. Both Apple and Google offer pretty good documentation on how to use their frameworks and you can always find answers by simply searching for issues you have.


Image: Source
Image: Source

If you’re looking to make a 2D game and want the simplicity of a drag-and-drop interface but the flexibility of tweaking things with code, then GameMaker is absolutely the best option. It is a pure 2D engine and allows you to customize as much as you want. It uses its own proprietary language – GameMaker Language – but it is fairly easy to pick up. There are also dozens of video tutorials that can walk you through making a complete game. The basic set is free, but if you want to port to Android or iOS you’ll need to shell out some serious cash on top of the developer fees. In fact, each “module” costs you around $149 on top of the $149 you pay for cross-functionality. Of course if you want all the modules you can pay a lump sum of $480. You can then export to iOS, Android, Xbox, Playstation and more. This is a great option if you just plan on making 2D games.



There’s an ongoing debate about which is the best engine – Unity, Unreal or CryEngine. Unity is probably the most popular as it has been available to use for free the longest. Unity has an incredibly supportive community and a forum full of common answers and questions in case you run into any problems. Can you see that I’m a bit biased? We use Unity for our own projects and while we’re predominantly 2D, we like the free aspect of the engine though now that all three engines are free this isn’t really a roadblock for people just starting out now. While you’ll need to learn programming for this, there are plenty of video tutorials and online courses available to get you started. Plus there’s a ton of plugins you can use to make it a little easier. Want to do an online multiplayer game? Yep, there’s a plugin for that. The Unity asset store is also pretty great for people who do not have time or talent in art or music. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which one works the best for you.



If all you want is text adventures, Twine is a great option. It basically allows you to create clickable words in your story that take readers to another section of your story. It’s pretty simple to use and, best of all, you can simply upload it as an HTML game. If you know basic HTML and CSS, you’ll get the hang of Twine quickly.



If you’re new to programming and are intimidated by learning all of the conventions, Scratch is an excellent place to start. It might look simple (almost childish) but it really teaches you the building blocks of programming logic. Best of all it’s free! One of the best things about Scratch is that it is completely visual. You drag-and-drop certain “modules” or bits of code into a section and add in your statements to make the characters/program perform how you want. It’s a perfect introduction to the logic and conventions of programming without being too intimidating. You won’t be able to export this to consoles, but it’s a great program to use if you’re just getting started.

RPG Maker

image: source

Created by Degica, RPG Maker is the best option if you’re looking to create only pixel, top down RPGs. With that said, there’s plenty of flexibility here. You can create your own sprites (it’s highly suggested you do) and really customize the levelling system, items, upgrades, etc. that all RPGs have. It’s not cheap, but you’ll often find it on sale on Steam for less than $20. If you want to make RPGs, then snap it up! While you can do a lot with the basic interface, if you learn Javascript you can really control every aspect of your game. You can also make games for Mac, PC, iOS, Android and HTML.


There are literally dozens of other options you can choose from like Marmalade, Construct 2, Cocos2D, Corona, GameSalad, Stencyl and more. If you want to get into game design, first answer the questions above and then do research on game engines. Maybe you’ll find one I haven’t listed that suits your needs better. The point is to shop around and find ones that has the features and system requirements that fit what you need. Don’t be afraid to try something new. More importantly, make sure you don’t get the dreaded analysis paralysis. Choose one. If it doesn’t work, move on to the next. You don’t want to spend too much time looking for one because it will eat up time you could spend making your game. So make your choice and then get started!


Work in the Game Industry Without Making Games

A couple weeks ago I was invited to speak at a Game Industry Panel hosted by the Wharton Korean Undergraduate Business Society at University of Pennsylvania. I was joined by two other panel members who have both worked at large game companies like Riot and Blizzard. The idea of the panel was to two-fold: discuss our experiences at our companies while also providing an overview on different ways people could become involved in the game industry without becoming a programmer or professional gamer. you can watch the video below:

Although I touched on a couple opportunities, I feel like I wasn’t really able to convey the plethora of options available to people. So long as you have an entrepreneurial spirit and know how to leverage your strengths, there’s really no limit to what you can do even if you don’t want to make games. The thing is, game developers often forget about a lot of important aspects outside of the actual game making. Things that might seem obvious like good marketing and contracts often get pushed to the side because it doesn’t seem like an important component of the game. While it might not be for a single person team who doesn’t really care if they make money or not, things get more complicated when you increase your team size and revenue. For this reason many developers fail because they don’t really understand the business outside of game development and that’s where I think we’ll see a huge growth in job opportunities.

So below are some more ideas as to how others can get involved in the games industry without making games.

Game Promoter

game promoter
Photo by Sebastian Bularca at Creative Coast Festival

If you love talking to people and want to show off games, then you could become a game promoter. There are a lot of game conferences that happen worldwide that there’s no way a team could possibly attend them all. This is where you could come in. Basically, you would offer to promote their game at these events for a fee to cover travel/lodging, booth expense and food. We met a company that did this at Indiecade East. They showed off 3-4 games at their table and provided information on them. While they weren’t as well-informed as we would have liked, that just means there’s plenty of room for improvement.

It’s a good idea to start off small then work your way to larger events. Try to find events near you where you wouldn’t have to pay for travel and lodging at all to keep your expenses low, at least in the beginning. When building up your client list, reach out to developers whose games you really love and believe in. It will make it that much easier to promote their games and talk about them since you’ve already played them. Of course, when you do get some people, make sure to ask them as many questions as possible about the game and its development so you can answer these questions when someone asks.


Localization Expert


I touched upon this a little bit, but I think it’s worth mentioning again because I think there’s some pretty huge opportunities here. A lot of developers create games for their country’s market and expects the game to do just as well abroad. Often this isn’t the case due to different cultures, expectations, top mobile OS of the country, how people pay for in app purchases and just general wealth. For example, in Asian countries gamers spend money to progress through levels faster because they don’t want to spend too much time on difficult puzzles. In contrast, US gamers enjoy the challenge so won’t pay for the ability to skip levels. Instead they pay for upgrades or costumes. As another example Asian gamers are more likely to make in app purchases if the payment is charged to their wireless account instead of on their credit card. This is the complete opposite of European and American gamers.

If you live in or are familiar with the hot markets right now (China, South Korea, Russia, India, Brazil) you should offer your services to localize developers’ games. Not only will this include translation services, you will come up with the best monetization strategy, changing the gameplay to fit the country and possibly even changing the graphics to appeal to the market. I spoke with a Chinese localization expert at PGConnects and she informed me that they didn’t even give the developers final approval on changes. Why? Because often the developers would not want to make the necessary changes to actually fit that specific market. While I think you could be more benevolent than that it really depends on how well you know your stuff.

Plenty of game developers are looking for translation services. Just hop on a Facebook Game Developer group and offer your services. You’ll be sure to pick up a couple takers.


Game Lawyer

If you’ve got your law degree and want to help out game designers with contracts, then become a game lawyer. In essence, you’d more or less be an entertainment lawyer but with a focus on games. Most of your work would cover IP laws, drafting up contracts, creating privacy policies, ensuring child-friendly games are COPPA compliant, forming companies and looking into things like end user agreement and software licensing. While it might not be glamorous, there’s a dearth of qualified lawyers who have an interest in helping and representing independent game developers.

With that said there are a couple in New York City, most notably Christopher Reid. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own practice. And if you live in another gaming mecca like San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, etc. you likely won’t have too much competition.


Ad Network Provider


There are literally hundreds of ad service networks for mobile, but they all offer more or less the same thing. You can choose from banners, interstitials or videos and then place them at certain parts of the game. Some have gotten a bit more enterprising and offer more interesting ways to get people to watch ads or purchase in-app purchases. One of the most popular ways I’ve seen is through a kind of gambling mechanic. Players can spin a wheel or something similar for a prize. The first play is free, the next is free if you watch an ad and the last one requires the use of real money. Developers can set up how often players can get a free spin (once a day, once a week) and then customize prices. It’s an interesting idea that will definitely see traction in places like Japan. Japanese gamers love the gatcha mechanic so I think this strategy makes a lot of sense.

With that said, I think this space needs to expand and get even more creative. For a lot of games, the ad experience is kind of this separate entity from the game. Some games like Bitcoin Billionaire do a great job of incorporating ads into the actual gameplay, but you still have to watch a video or have banner ads that have nothing to do with the game. I want to see better ads. I want ads that actually make sense in the game. For example, it would make sense to have the logos of advertisers on racing cars. They could pay for a sticker and you could place them on specific cars. Since this practice already exists in the world of Nascar and other racing events, it wouldn’t seem that out of place. Other sports game could do the same thing with Gatorade having a product placement in football/basketball games and so forth. It would definitely require more work and a better grasp of a developer’s games, but it would make the ads better and more effective.


PR/Marketing/Social Media etc.


One of the biggest downfalls of most game developers is marketing. At this point most of us know we need to do it and we understand how important it is, but we just can’t work up the effort to do it properly. We’d rather just work on our game and tweak it forever. If you’re a genius at marketing or even someone who really understands the complexities of social media, you’re an invaluable person to pretty much every indie game developer. They need someone who knows exactly what to say, which screenshots to use and how to make an amazing trailer. And if you’ve already got a big presence on social media and forums, even better.

This is a highly visible role and you’ll likely attend events in the developer’s stead so you really want to make sure you really love the game because you’ll pretty much be living it 24/7. It doesn’t just stop at tweeting. You’ll be responsible for reaching out to press for reviews/interviews, writing blog posts, creating the newsletter and more. And of course, you’ll want to make sure you have close ties with the development team and know everything that is going on.

Does this sound like a lot? It is! But if you love writing and interacting with the public AND developers then this is the perfect job for you. If you want to find clients, just ask people if they need some help with their social media. Better yet, offer suggestions on how you can improve their engagement rates and increase their followers.




Do you love looking at raw data and turning that into beautiful charts and cohesive reports on what tactic is working and what isn’t? If you said yes then you should offer your services as an analyst. While it might not sound glamorous, like everything else it’s incredibly important for developers. Most understand the basics of analytics: length of play, bounce rate, exit screen and so forth. The problem is that many developers don’t understand what it all means and how to solve these issues. Not only will you pinpoint exactly why players are exiting the game at a specific point, you’ll also provide different options as to how to improve it. From there you’d be setting up A/B testing to see what performs better.

This might be a difficult one to jump into as a freelancer, but it isn’t impossible. You could start a blog analysing various games and looking into what works, what doesn’t, possible exit points and how to solve it. Link to the developers and if they are impressed with your work you can offer your services to analyse their current games in progress for potential issues before it gets published.



You don’t need game industry experience to provide good advice on running a business. If you have experience running your own successful business, why not offer your services to those who are just starting out. Knowledge is invaluable as is advice on how to create a product  people want to buy. While there are plenty of articles on these topics, nothing really beats direct mentorship. Topics of interest for most indie developers is: how to raise money, how to present to an investor, help on creating business plans, marketing strategies, setting up a company, trends, networking opportunities and so forth.

Only become a consultant if you truly believe in the project and want to give them that necessary push forward.


Licensing Expert


Can I put a cover of a popular song in my game without paying a licensing fee? I don’t know how many times I’ve read this on the forums or a Facebook group. A lot of people have no idea about music licensing and how it works. If you do (or are willing to learn) and happen to have some contacts at these studios, you should absolutely offer your expertise and help. Not having the proper licensing for music can lead to huge problems (like being sued) so it’s always best to nip these problems in the bud.

It takes a lot of time and money to get the rights to use a piece of music or snippet of a movie in a different medium. Developers will need to fill out the proper paperwork and ensure they get it to the studios well before the expected launch date. In fact, this is probably the first thing developers should do if they even think about using a popular song. If you want to know more about what needs to be licensed in terms of music check out this link.

Again, this is something many developers don’t even think about. If they do it’s often at the last minute. The best way to get clients is to check forums and pages to see if anyone is asking questions about licensing. Or simply offer your services. It might seem simple to you, but for a lot of developers the process can seem very intimidating.



It might not be glamorous but even indie developers need to do their taxes. Let’s face it, most of us don’t really know all the ins and outs of the personal let alone business taxes. Understanding what can be written off as a business expenses and what forms to fill out can be intimidating. There’s a lot more accountants can do though. They can help indies choose the right structure when forming the company (LLC, S Corp, etc) and also offer tips on where to incorporate. All states have different requirements, rules and payments.

Of course there’s even more you can do. You can help keep track of their expenses, help them build a budget and just make sure everything is in order for the end of the year. You could easily start looking for clients around tax time and then offer your help year round to keep a record of everything. It’ll be one less thing they need to worry about.


QA Tester



This is probably the most popular way for people to get started in the game industry. In essence, you will be playing the game for 8+ hours trying to figure out ways to break the game. You’ll want to make sure you die in different ways (jumping off a ledge, exploding yourself with a grenade, running into water, etc). In every level. You’ll also want to just press a series of buttons together to see if a certain combination creates a bug. It’s a lot of work, but this is one of the few jobs on this list that directly affect the game. QA testers are the unsung heroes of games because they pretty much weed out all the obvious and not so obvious problems. While it’s impossible to catch everything, without good testers games would be even buggier.

Getting a job in QA is definitely competitive and the starting pay is quite low. With that said, you could start off just testing some games for indie developers for free (just ask for credit in the game) and build up your portfolio from there. To be a good QA tester you need to pay attention to everything you do and write it all out. Something like, I died and now my character is stuck in run doesn’t actually help. How did you die? What did you do before you died? Were you facing a particular direction? Were you holding down any buttons? What level? What did you die on? And so forth. You want to be as detailed as possible so programmers can duplicate the problem and so they have a better idea as to what code caused it.

There are dozens of other opportunities out there that I probably haven’t even thought of. The best thing to do is to speak with game developers and ask them what problems and issues they’ve encountered. From there see how you can apply your interests and skills to potentially improve this problem. Or better yet look at game development as a whole and see what you would like to change and do it!



Convention Circuit – A Quick How To Guide

You might have noticed we’ve been keeping busy with the convention circuit this year. While going to these events can cost a bit of money upfront, it’s a great way to meet other developers, journalist and, of course, your audience. Showing off your game can be a bit daunting especially if it will be the first time you’re showing it in public. Do you need to have a complete game? What should you bring? These are all questions you might have as a first time convention exhibitor. All of us have to make our start somewhere so here’s a handy guide on how to be a good exhibitor.

Where Should I Start?

local convention

If you’re like other small independent developers, you’re likely working on a very limited ($0) budget. If this is the case, many of the big conventions will be off the list as it can cost you well over $5,000 for a booth. While some of these might offer discounts to indie developers the best place to start as a beginner is a local game development community. One of the best sources is IGDA (International Game Development Association). Search for IGDA + your city to see if there is a local chapter in your area. Many of the events require you to be a member, which comes with a nominal fee of $48 USD per year. Not only do you get into exclusive events, you also receive discounts to some conventions! Some IGDA’s also host local expos that showcase local game developers. Check your IGDA’s calendar to see if they offer these kind of events. Not only are they FREE they’re also a great way to get your feet wet. These events are not as large as conventions, but you’ll still get the benefit of live feedback and an audience.

Besides IGDA, you should also check for game developer groups. Many of these host demo nights where you can show off your game to a small crowd. Make sure to sign up as soon as the call for developers goes out as slots get filled up very quickly. In general, you have about 10 minutes to talk and show off your gameplay. If you’re not used to speaking in front of a crowd, this is the perfect time to improve this skill. These events are usually fairly small (probably no more than 100 people) and the people in attendance are generally other independent game developers. If you’re not quite ready to stand up in front of some strangers and talk about your game, you should at least go to a couple of these events. You can take note of how others present and get to know the other attendees. After a couple, you’ll start to recognize some familiar faces, which can help ease your nervousness when you do eventually present.

It should go without saying but make sure you’re presentable: clean shirt, jeans, freshly showered, brushed teeth, etc. Appearances do matter and if you look slovenly people will likely think you don’t care about your game. When speaking with people, make sure to give them a quick overview of the game and what makes it unique. Don’t hover around them too much. Be sure to smile and know the answers to common questions like:

  • What was this made in?
  • How long did it take you to make?
  • Is this available for sale?
  • What can I play this on (PC, Mobile, etc.)
  • Where did the idea come from?

Once you’ve gotten comfortable in the smaller arenas you can check out Gameconfs for a list of game conferences in your area.


What Should I Bring to a Convention?

Banners catch people’s attention

Besides yourself and a way to play your game the other non-negotiable item you should have on you is your business card. If you don’t have one, you can order some over at or other printing companies. On your business card make sure you include your website, social media handles, your contact information and the name of your game or company. Of course, if that’s all you bring, you likely won’t attract too many people to your booth so some other items you might want to consider are:

  • A banner with your game name, image and company logo
  • Swag – posters, postcards with a quick description of your game and links to your site and social media presence, buttons or pins with an easy to recognize image or t-shirts. If you don’t have a lot of money you should stick with postcards or buttons.
  • Another person if you can. Not only does this help alleviate a bit of tension, it also gives you the freedom to walk the convention floor and check out other games.
  • A notebook and pen. You can use this to take notes at some talks or leave it out on your table so attendees can subscribe to your mailing list. People are more likely to write down their name and email on a piece of paper than type it in on a tablet.


How Finished Do I Need the Game?

convention game
You just need a couple playable levels for a successful demo

At large conventions, people likely will not spend too much time on your game unless your company’s name is Blizzard, Ubisoft, Bethesda or…well you get the idea. Even at smaller events, attendees are unlikely to spend longer than 5 minutes playing your game. What does this mean for you? It means you don’t need to have your game completely finished before showing it off at these conventions. Of course, you need to make sure the parts you do have playable are polished and show off all of the key gameplay elements. Make sure to have your demo build completed at least a week or two before the convention so you have time to test for bugs and optimization.


People Don’t Like My Game!

criticism convention

There are always going to people who simply don’t like the genre of your game and for them there isn’t much you can do. However, if you notice players getting frustrated with the gameplay or a lot of them making the same errors, it might just be your game. Many players don’t have a problem telling you what’s wrong with your game, but often they don’t exactly know what’s wrong. It’s a good idea to gather some information from these people. If they say your game isn’t fun, probe them a bit to ask them what they didn’t find fun. Were the levels repetitive? Was the UI too confusing? Was it too hard? You can often gather a lot of this information simply watching people unfamiliar with your game play it. When I did a live demo of Once Upon a Runner I noticed a lot of people had problems identifying the pits. So I extended the size of the pits to the bottom of the screen to make it more obvious. Often players don’t necessarily know the exact issue, but they know something is wrong or missing. It’s up to you to listen to what they say AND watch them play to pinpoint the problem areas. You can easily find ways to optimize the user experience by simply paying attention.

Remember: Always thank players for their feedback. They’re giving you valuable information on how you can make your game better.


Wrap Up

Conventions are one of the best ways to spread the word about your game to a wider audience. While you can end up spending a lot of money to exhibit, there are other ways you can go to these events without spending a ton of money. If you’ve sharpened your public speaking skills you can sign up as a speaker and score free tickets. Or you can go as a guest and simply talk to other developers and find some press who might be interested in talking to you. The most important thing is to get your game out in front of other people.




Trello – Our Favorite Project Management Tool


Good project management is the key to successfully shipping a game on time without any major bugs. The problem is that so many teams don’t bother with it. Our team fell into the same trap in our first game – Once Upon a Runner – but it wasn’t for lack of trying. We tried a couple different programs like Asana and Jira but none of the team members used it citing it to be unnecessary and not relevant to their tasks. We let it slide – a bad decision on our part – and ultimately the project itself slid into slow decline. Without goals and deadlines, our team slowly stopped working on the project. Eventually there was no progress on the game and less people started showing up for the weekly meetings. Eventually our team fell apart until there was only myself, Ray and Chris left on the team. Without more people there was no way we could finish the game and with 80 percent of it completed and 1.5 years invested into it, we had to get it shipped if only for peace of mind. We brought on a couple other programmers and I did some research into different project management tools. Thus began my love affair with Trello.


Enter Trello

While I can’t pinpoint exactly what the issue was with Jira and Asana, my guess is that it looked too complicated even if it wasn’t actually that hard to use. With Jira, you needed to download it to your computer, something our team members didn’t want to do. For Asana, there were too many fields for them to fill out. They needed to track the amount of time they had spent on a project and write in what they accomplished for that week. It all was too much of a hassle. When I introduced Trello to the team, they jumped on board almost immediately. It has a super simple layout and it’s pretty intuitive to use. Best of all, it doesn’t require a lot of time on their part. I think the other big reason people immediately jumped into Trello was because I handled creating all of the tasks. There was very minimal work they needed to put into the board. All the literally had to do was check off a task and move it over to the Done column when they completed something. And since it is completely web based there was no additional software they needed to install. I can share the boards with as many people as I want and can see the progress of certain cards as team members check off items in the list. And, of course, I can organize the team by assigning tasks to people, adding deadlines and adding comments on the card if they or I have any questions.

There are some limitations with Trello of course. There is now way for you to view the entire project as a whole. Sure, you can visually see how many tasks have been completed on each board, but there’s no chart or percentage that tells you how far along you are with every task without clicking into the boards. This makes it less than ideal for larger teams. But as a small development company, it works just fine so far. Trello coupled with weekly meetings and daily Facebook catch-up chats keeps the group up-to-date on what all of the members are doing and keeps us accountable for the work we produce every day.

While this might sound like an advertisement, we’re in no way affilitated with Trello. We just really love their product, especially since it helped us release our first game and now keeps us on track with our second game. If you happen to have project management issues and other tools haven’t worked, give Trello a try. It’s kept us organized and, best of all, it’s free!


#fanskeepusrunning – Why Your Feedback Matters

image from Cultural Weekly



Like other independent content creators we love what we do. Otherwise, we couldn’t put in the hours after work or school into our projects. Still, creating any kind of project  – whether it’s games or a piece of art – can be very isolating at times. We’ll spend hours crafting our code, blog post or video to the point where sometimes we even ignore our loved ones (sorry). While our desire to see the project finished is a great motivator, another one is you – our fans.

When we worked on Once Upon a Runner we did a lot of internal testing, fixing some obvious bugs and cleaning up the menu. It wasn’t until we got the game in front of actual people that we were able to get real feedback. After playing the game for so long we didn’t realize certain obstacles were difficult to see and the background was too distracting. Thanks to all of the constructive criticism we received, we have implemented changes to make the gaming experience more enjoyable. And it’s all because of you!

But you help us in other ways too. Something as simple as a comment on our Twitter or Facebook can help push us through some lulls in our motivation. Just knowing that there are people who are showing an interest in our game and company can give us enough energy to put in an extra hour or two of work on our projects. You might be thinking that all of this sounds very Hallmark-y, but it’s the truth. Knowing that there are people out there who care and are as excited about our projects as we are helps keep us running.

That’s why we’re starting this hashtag #fanskeepusrunning. Thanks to a discussion a bunch of us indie developers had over on a Facebook group, we realized that all of us developers wanted to show some fan appreciation and let you know that we really do care. Your feedback matters to us so please feel free to let us know what you think whether it’s on our blog posts, Facebook updates or Tweets. And don’t worry. We’ll respond to you as quickly as we can. We know how frustrating it can be to leave a comment and not hear anything back – communication is a two-way street after all!

So, yeah. It might sound kind of weird, but we just want you to know, we’re really grateful. And if you’re a creator of any kind, show your appreciation to your fans by using the hashtag: