Set Yourself Up For Indie Success

By | Business | No Comments

It’s also the first rule of Indie Game Development: keep your overhead LOW. The lower the overhead, the better. There’s a simple reason for this: if you have a high overhead you will be limited to what you can work on in your business.

I’m not suggesting that you live in a hut in the middle of the desert (although this would be nice and quiet) but I am suggesting to think of indie game development as a lifestyle. For example, most people load themselves up with monthly payment obligations in all areas of their life: mortgage/rent, car payments, utilities, credit cards, etc. The “ideal” employment budgeting usually goes like this; if I make “X” per week we’ll be able to afford “Y” in monthly payments. Then they go and fill that amount “Y” to the absolute maximum allowed budget, or in many cases going over, which essentially forces them to completely depend on their employer. They are now in a position where their lively hood depends on their job, the office politics become extended episodes of “Survivor” and they must do whatever the job requires of them or risk losing everything… Read More


An Attempt to Define Fun – Effort/Feedback Ratio

By | Game Design | No Comments

What is “fun”?  Can the concept even be defined and broken down into a few key components?  I’ve had the amazing fortune to work professionally in the video game industry for 20 years, and in my career have seen this topic come up in countless design meetings and brainstorm sessions, usually leading to pointless arguments about who is the most up-to-date on current trends and which competing games have sold the most – as if this is some holy grail of how to measure the fun factor of a game.  The tough thing is that it seems everyone has a different perspective of what fun is and how to design for it.  I can’t say that I have all the answers, but I do have some thoughts that I’d like to share with you – mostly because my partner and wife, Anna, is tired of hearing me rant about it all the time and I need a new outlet!

Fun Component #1 – Effort/Feedback Ratio

Think of the last time you were at a party.  Did you have fun?  Maybe you didn’t know anyone and were forced to initiate conversation with a stranger.  Maybe you knew everyone there and felt very comfortable, allowing you to let your guard down.  Now think of a specific conversation you had with someone at the party.  How did the conversation go?  Did you get the feedback you were looking for?  Now let’s break this conversation event down into an effort and feedback ratio, in other words every time you initiate a thought or topic to the conversation was your “effort” and what you receive back from your audience was the “feedback”, or your returned response for your effort.

When you offer something to a conversation, you are hoping for the maximum output response you can get for the effort you just gave.  Let’s say on a scale from one to ten, one is no response and the audience ignored you,  and ten being laughter, flirting, or shouts of praise.  What would be the most fun? Read More