When many people think about being a game creator, they look at it as a dream job. When you add the possibility to become an indie (Independent) one, it still sounds better. Working in something you love, choosing your projects and your team (If you decide to have one), making your own schedule, and the chance to make quite a bit of money. Moreover, now it’s also possible to combine the creation of indie games with new ways to get financial support like crowdfunding.
Added to this, we’re probably living one of the best times ever to work in this field because of many different reasons:
- Competition between the major gaming platforms.
- New technologies have made games more accessible and you can play very complex and demanding games on home computers and smartphones.
- The growing popularity of DLC (Downloadable Content).
- Possibility to offer free and freemium games.
- High playability modes, from amateur to pro; and many others.
But when it comes to being an indie (Independent) one, there are probably several aspects to consider before making a decision. Let’s start by looking at some of the main pros and cons usually faced by those who start walking down this road:
- Creative and professional freedom: What can be better than bringing your ideas to life while no one is pushing you to meet a deadline or forcing you to work long hours?
- Possibility to improve your skillset: Very often as an indie creator, you have to work by yourself or in a very small team. It means you’ll have to work on very different tasks, some of them out of your comfort zone. This will result in improving your main skills while getting some new ones.
- Shoestring budget: Even small projects demand a lot of time and money. Having all of the required resources while you have to cover your personal expenses is not always possible. Many developers will stop their projects when funds come to an end or they realize they can’t keep a daily job and dedicate only their free time to their projects.
- Only small projects: When we talk about game development it’s very easy to notice there’s strength in numbers. Only working for a big game studio you’ll have the possibility to work with a great team of developers in one of those projects that go over the edge of the most known game platforms.
It’s certainly not an easy decision, but before you make it I have good news for you. Paradoxically, although the budget issue is a real one, the situation has been changing in the last few years. Besides the usual “support a creator” programs from many gaming platforms and studios (Which sometimes are conditioned to give up some of your creative freedom), now you have several interesting websites providing different alternatives to get the money required to move along with your venture. Using them will allow you to keep all of the pros of being an indie creator. One of these sites is mintme.com, but it’s not only one more site. What makes it different is on top of providing a crowdfunding platform you can use to raise the funds you need for your projects, they combine it with the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, allowing you to create a token that will be closely linked to you, your project, and your brand.
To start using their services you only have to register, choose a name for your token and then create it. Right after that, it will be available for anybody interested to support the work you do. All they have to do is buy it and use it to get the games, DLC, or any other special content you can offer. If you have been in this industry for a while and you have social media followers interested in what you can offer, you can probably ask them to buy your tokens to support a future project while you work on it. Of course, you’ll have to offer something in return, these are some ideas of how this could work:
Make your fans part of your work process
People are used to playing games but usually, they don’t know much about the details of the process to create it. There are some aspects they could be interested to know about:
- Team: You can make a video of you and your team explaining how you got interested in this profession and what is your role inside the team. You can also talk about the steps you follow to accomplish your tasks and what you think could be the biggest challenges you face daily and so on. Another idea would be going live and introducing the team allowing your supporters to share their comments or ask questions. This kind of activity could be scheduled to be repeated weekly, monthly, or with any frequency you think could be convenient.
- Process: Individual short videos of each team member while they work and explain what they do could be very appealing. Also showing unfinished versions of the game could be both an interesting and funny experience. People could even be interested to know what you do during your leisure time, there are many possibilities you could explore.
Offer early access
Together with the possibility to play the final version of the game before its official release, you can also offer the inclusion in testing groups through all the development process. This should include each of the pre-release cycles: Pre-alpha, alpha and/or beta. When offering this benefit you can emphasize the fact that they’ll have the possibility to be somehow co-creators of the game. Explaining it will be adjusted after each of these testing stages according to the feedback they will provide. Please notice early access is not some kind of pre-purchase. While pre-purchase games are bought with a promise of delivering a final playable version on a future date, early access is a way to introduce your game to your followers and get some insight from them while you’re still finishing it.
Consider a fan recognition program
People like to feel they’re special and this is a nice way to show them you really care about them. There are several ways this could work:
- Sharing badges: There are many kinds of badges, most of them can be shared on social media or game platforms, whatever the type is, fans love to use them to personalize their profiles.
- Mentioning them during live broadcasts: Many social websites offer the possibility to shoot interactive videos and an increasing number have now a mention feature that makes it easy to name those who have been supporting you. Gamers like this kind of mention because of the popularity they get which will probably help them get more followers and invitations to try other games.
- Adding them to the game’s credits: This could be very appealing to any gamer, what can be better than being mentioned in the end credits of a game they like? It gives them all the bragging rights they need for a while plus, just like in the previous case, will increase their popularity in gamers circles.
You can choose to use any of these or other methods, or even a combination of them to get the support you require. But in case you decide to focus on only one of them, you must consider what you will do in case it doesn’t get the expected result. Will you still finish the game or will you stop its development? Will you try to find an alternative to finance it? It’s always a good idea to have a plan B ready to be executed in case the main one doesn’t reach the proposed goals, the good news is crowdfunding offers lots of possibilities to choose from.
The ball is in your court now, lots of possibilities are open to make this dream of yours come true. You just have to make the right decisions, add some hard work, and adjust your plans according to the circumstances. After that, it will just be a matter of patience and as I said before, this is probably the best time to start a career in this industry. Abraham Lincoln’s words were never more appropriate: “Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”