From Idea to Income

Report
From Idea to Income
How to be successful at independent games
Who is this guy?
Daniel Menard
Co-founder and CEO
Big Action Mega Fight!
First Cohort
Founded
Creative Expression
No Limitations
Innovation
The Indie Dream
• Creative expression
• No limitations
• Innovation
• Push the industry forward
The Indie Reality
•Entrepreneurship first
•Probably won’t make you rich
•~90% of new companies fail
Crowded Market
The Indie Reality
•Failure is part of the game
•Passion alone isn’t enough
•Releasing is only half the battle
Your Battlefields
Financing
Scope / Time
Right project
Right market
Hiring
Management
Party of Sin
• Puzzle-platformer
Party of Sin
• Puzzle-platformer
• Local coop
Party of Sin
• Puzzle-platformer
• Local coop
• Steam release
Party of Sin
• Puzzle-platformer
• Local coop
• Steam release
• Originally meant for
consoles
Party of Sin
• Team of ~8
• Working remotely
• Revenue share deal
• Kickstarter
Party of Sin
• 3.5 years
• Part time
• I quit my job in
April 2012
• Released in
December 2012
What we thought would happen
•Decent reviews
•Massive Steam sales
•Profitable over time (~1 year)
What actually happened
•Mixed reviews
•Marketing and store placement not great
•Mediocre sales
•98% piracy
My career is over!
Most important lesson
It’s okay to fail
It is a necessary step toward success
Five Whys
• From Toyota
• Ask “Why?” at least 5 times
• Get to the root cause
The great postmortem
• Honest picture of our game and process
• Mistakes we would never make again
• Crankshaft Games Code of Conduct
Professionalism
• Is this going to be your hobby or your career?
• Party of Sin started as a hobby
• Must be accountable to your players
• Constantly learning
Business Model
• Be clear on how you will make money
• Pricing is complicated
• Keep in mind the expectations of anyone giving you
money
Build a solid team
• Hire talented people you will trust
Build a solid team
• Hire talented people you will trust
Hire people when you know they’re the one
Build a solid team
• Hire talented people you will trust
• Good teams don’t need managers
Build a solid team
• Hire talented people you will trust
• Good teams don’t need managers
• Give everyone a stake
Build a solid team
• Hire talented people you will trust
• Good teams don’t need managers
• Give everyone a stake
Breadth
• Generalists
Depth
Leave your ego at the door
• Keep an open mind
• Share creative freedom, it will be good for you
• Party of Sin was too centralized
• Take feedback as an opportunity to learn
• Acknowledge your weaknesses
Work-Life Balance
• Sustainable Development
Work-Life Balance
• Sustainable Development
• Eliminate crunch and burnout
Work-Life Balance
• Sustainable Development
• Eliminate crunch and burnout
• Give people control over how they contribute
Work-Life Balance
• Sustainable Development
• Eliminate crunch
• Give people control over how they contribute
• Work-Life Balance
Mind your time / scope
• Common pitfall: put everything you think is cool in
your first game
• Don’t fall in love with your project
• What if you were paying someone?
• Don’t build an engine unless you sell engines
Studio Thinking
• Think beyond just one project
• Have a unifying vision
• Most studios will not display it publicly
• It’s important to stick out
Hit Driven Business
• You will be defined by the games you make
• How you make those games is more important
• Your first few will be bad
• Focus on the process
• Build your company culture
Execution Labs
• Incubator program for mobile indie games in Montreal
• Funding for 9 months
• Mentorship from industry experts
Team Catalyst
Designer
Programmer
Artist
Programmer
Programmer
Support Resouces
Analytics
Monetization
Marketing
Mentorship
• Amazing Network
• Feedback all
through the
process
How Incubators Can Help
•Shared experience
•Leadership / vision coaching
•Someone on your side
Make the best of incubator
• Nurture your team
• Be ready to learn
• Speak out, give feedback
• Think as a company, not a product
• Evolve your process
• Mind the schedule
References
• The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
• Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank
• Valve Handbook for New Employees
• Ideas per Second by Nathan Marts (GDC 2013)
• http://mashable.com/2013/02/28/indie-game-statistics/
• http://indiegames.com/2013/04/the_8_keys_to_indie_success.html
• http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ThomasSteinke/20130415/19048
4/Reponse_to_quot8_keys_to_indie_successquot.php
Thank You!
www.doublestalliongames.com
@dblstallion

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