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Last year I left my job in an online game company to become a full-time indie game developer. After one year and countless struggles, our team finally made a commercial iOS game -- Bonnie's Brunch†(iTunes Link). And I've shared the postmortem here.
Although the iOS gold rush was already over, I keep hearing a lot of people urged on jumping into indie/app game development. In reality, the time is different and the battle is tougher than before.
Recently I had a chance to give a talk on one local meetup for Taiwanese mobile app developers. Being an indie over one year, I had learned my lessons in a hard way. I think being an indie is less about how to make a fortune in a short time, but more about knowing thyself.
The following are the outlines:
You heard all the success stories on App Store(s), so you want to quit your day job? To be a full-time indie game app developer?
Think before you leap!
1) Got Nobody Pays You Wage
Income != Expense
- Time to live off the past savings
- Say goodbye to luxury habits
- Live a frugal life
2) Own A Million Dollar Baby†
Value = Idea * Execution -- Derek Sivers
- Don't ask people to sign an NDA first
- A great idea is worth a million dollars
- ...Only if it can be well executed
3) Want To Do It All By Yourself
Band Of Brothers (Sisters)
- Great partners do what you can't
- Spend extra time with them
- Know their itches & quirks
- Friends != Partners
4) Not A "Mad Hatter"
- "Small games need generalists" -- Adam Saltsman
- Not just making a good game and then profit
- Get your noble hands dirty
- Know your audience: you won't be able to please everyone
5) Wanna Make A Fortune At Your 1st Game
Lessons To Learn
- You won't hit the nail on the head in your 1st, 2nd & 3rd games
- Don't make your dream game yet
- Budget for at least 3 games
- Don't forget to count in the living costs
6) Need Alarm Clocks To Wake You Up
- No reveille to wake you up every morning
- You are your own boss!
- ...And that's the real problem
- Enjoy your free time but not too much
7) Hate Getting Along With Yourself
You Are Alone
- No peers to talk to, gossip & flirt with
- You'll have many toys causing distraction & procrastination
- Motivation: easy to lose, hard to recover
8) Have No Family Support
- Try to convince your beloved ones
- Unconditional love will get you through the hard time
- Put out the fire before it burns you down
- Career can be rebooted, life can't
9) Follow What They Said
A Hundred Shining Faces
- A million sad songs underneath
- Stories they won't tell & you won't hear
- Go nowhere by just reading & listening stuff
- Don't chase the fad
10) Born To Be A Shy Guy
Outside The Box
- Speak up your mind
- Join and/or build a community
- Don't be afraid to flop -- It won't be the first & the last
- No Secret Era: Honesty goes a long way
- Make at least one game app when you have a day job -- If you can't make it now, you won't make it tomorrow
- If everything needs to be 100% ready before taking action -- You can do nothing at all
My Q & Your A
- How long can you live without income?
- When the going gets tough, will you give up?
- If you were going to fail, would you still go for it?
You may read and download the full version†on Speaker Deck.