Wednesday, July 13, 2011

GameDevStories: iOS Game Development

It's no secret I've been working on iOS stuff. For the last little while, I've been pumping out apps as a way for me to get my bearings straight after years of not programming (get them here: Slow Clap Initiative, Friend Code Organizer, Who's Who & Game Budget)(think of them as practice). As of yesterday I've officially started working on a game (or at least pretending to be). You may have noticed that I've started occasionally tweeting messages with #SometimesYouJustCantWin, I'll leave it at that, you'll see more soon.

Realistically, this game I'm working on is a personal project rather than something that can be a commercial product. However, the more I think about what's after this, the more it worries me. A while ago Tycho (you may also know him as Jerry from Penny-Arcade) tweeted this:

Releasing a game on iOS is exactly like going to Vegas, except you ante with your lifeblood.

As interesting as it sounds to be in the iOS space right now, and be independent, that statement really rings true, and it scares the crap out of me. Ignoring the big publishers who can push with advertising and lowball price tactics, there's also great startups with established brands out there. Even if you have a fantastic product, where do you go to get people to notice you or even pay money for your product?

I'm also constantly reminded of Matt Rix's story on Trainyard's development, and I really wonder a)how many games fly under the radar and b)can you actually go all in on iOS development without any other secondary income. The more I think about it, the more I question how long I can go before I throw in the towel.

Not exactly the best way to start a new project, eh?



    Dude, you can't give up before you even try. And more so Tycho is sputtering out doo doo for the masses. Yeah the market is saturated but it's growing every day which means more money for everyone who dips their stick in. But the thing is this... Instead of worrying about it, why not say "Hey, I'm gunna make a game that people like and enjoy, and then market the balls off of it!"

    That's what I'm doing and quite honestly every time we add a new feature or sound effect or texture or puzzle it makes me feel great. We are producing something fun and interesting and hopefully presentable. Yes we are burning money and yes we may not be rich after it, but this is my time to prove to myself that all of that bitching and moaning I did elsewhere is true and justified in that I will do things my way and see where I stand after. Make your decision after. Everyone struggles, but when it's for survival, even in a business sense, there's no room for sulking or worrying or secon guessing. It's either you bring home the bacon, or you don't.

    Bring home the bacon Harold. Bring home the bacon.

    You know what's good. So make it. Or join forces and make it. Or invent something that'll make money. He'll I just saw an app in the top 200 that basically made boobs bigger in pictures. 99 cents, top 200, making boobs on pictures. That person has bacon... You're better than that. Now I want breakfast :)

  2. I'm not giving up yet, but it's important for me to establish a baseline for things. For me, this attempt at indie development is only as good as the temporary cashflow, once that stops, and I can't convert what I'm doing into a living, I will have to seriously consider bailing out.

    More importantly, the last few months, I've come to the realization that whatever I bring to the table isn't necessary in a smaller team structure. I'll be the first to confess that my coding skills aren't that great (memory management, screw it, if it crashes, I'll fix) and my art skills aren't that great (brief stints on various tools doesn't cut it), and unfortunately, those are the two basic elements you need at the start of a small project. So what do you get when you have one guy, doing a half assed job at art, half assed job at programming, and all too busy to deal with anything else? A utterly panicking Harold, desperately trying to figure out of any of this makes sense.