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September 23, 2019
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How to break into a gamedev industry with your indie game?

by Tobiasz Sieminski on 05/31/16 12:27:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Dear game developers family, we were at Digital Dragons conference in Kraków at 16-17th May with our game, thus we wanted to share our experience with you. Hopefully you will find it helpful. Have a nice read.

Disclaimer

We are Jet Toast - duo of gamers and game developers. Currently we are working on a mobile farm manager - Blocky Farm - which is in alpha stage of development.

The first thing you must know is that we are developing our game with our savings, so our money is highly limited.
The Digital Dragons ticket for a single dev was for around 100$. Travel and hostel costs was around 100$ per person too. So for our two it was cost of 400$ just to be there.

We were hotfixing our game during the travel!

Expectations

We had almost no expectations with Digital Dragons conference. We knew that our game didn't fit exactly to the audience. We knew that there will be many of #pcmasterrace people. BUT we dreamt about meeting people from Apple to show them our game and get a feedback - that was our main mission to accomplish.

Preparations

Business cards

We printed them last year so I don't count them.

Leaflets

We printed around 250 leaflets for around 125$. It is a quite high cost for an indie dev, isn't it?

Posters

We also printed 4 big posters (A3 size) and our game logo. The cost was around 5$.

3D printed models of animals from our game

It was a hard decision and it was not easy to accomplish but 3 days before the conference we decided to have our game models 3D printed. We selected to print: a barn, dog, pig and cow. They were printed by our friend and it costed us around 30$ for all 4 prints.

Landing page

We spent over 20 hours to prepare our responsive, beautiful landing page. The main cost was a time.

Newsletter

We used popular mailchimp newsletter plugin. It's free under 1000 subscribers. It is a really popular and easy to connect to our page.

Press Kit

We prepared really good press kit with press info, press note, screenshots, renders etc. We put it on the Google Drive and made it public. It was also linked on our landing page.

Essential:

Things that are essential to have a good stand and work efficiently:

  • one powerbank per person - it's priceless in some cases
  • big - at least 24'' screen
  • personal computer for hotfixes
  • cartons for posters
  • power strip
  • a lot of tape and scissors

Final look of our stand

Execution - What went good

We met people from Apple!

Digital Dragons organizers shared with participants a really good pitch & match application but we didn’t use it. We thought that nobody will use it - that was a wrong assumption. But not everything was lost. At 11am first day, trio of Apple representatives visited our stand. We had 10 minutes conversation with them, we’ve got a lot of feedback: what to focus on and what we shouldn’t do. We also got a contact to them. It was really great!

The Press

We were really surprised that press and media liked our game. We know that mobile games are not welcomed, but despite to that, now we have great contacts with really big polish mobile games sites. It is important to stay open and smiled.

UPDATE: Finally we got 3 really positive mentions in big polish game sites: Polygamia.pl, Futu.pl, 1ndieWorld.com.

Feedback

We've got a lot of positive and really helpful feedback. Now we can really see what people liked and what they just didn’t see.

Visibility & luck

We had 24'' big screen monitor directed straight on the enter to the building so almost every person that entered the hall could easily see us. We had also a lot of luck to get a desk almost on the beginning of the hall so we were really good visible.

Contacts

We made a great contacts with publishers, investors, developers, graphic artists and 3d printing companies so that is great! It opens to us a lot of different possibilities.

Execution - What went bad

We are really happy with these two days even if our game is in pre-alpha stage.

Evaluation - Social Media

During these two days our stand was visited by around 60 people. We posted on our Facebook fanpage, Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook

1 post got 2 likes and reached only 176 people. 2 new likes on our company profile.

Twitter

1 tweet got 9 retweets and over 31 likes what gave more than 4000 impressions. 0 new followers connected with this game conference.

Video and photo posted on my private Instagram profile

Over 30 likes and some nice gamedev followers.

Landing page

Noted ONLY 9 unique views during this two days. Only 5 of them were directly from Kraków.

PressKit

Was downloaded 0 times but two persons asked us to send it via email so it was cool that we could do it instantly.

We distributed only about 50 leaflets.

That means that over 200 leaflets are unnecessary now and we simply could save here around 100$.

Posters and monitor

It increased our visibility a lot. Some people came to us when they saw our graphics.

T-shirts

It was great that we chose yellow color. We could find each other easily and we stand out in the crowd I guess.

Summary

Digital Dragons is the best game conference we participated in. What was the best?
There were 3 types of *paid* tickets:

Dev - author of other games - gave us really good feedback and we had a lot of nice time.

Media- journalists mainly - it is priceless to know them in the real world and meet face to face. Really nice feeling especially when they liked your game.

Business - ad networks managers, publishers, investors - we learnt how to pitch our game, we got difficult questions and hopefully we will stay in touch with them.

So if you have doubts, we answer: YES, it is worth to show your game on a game conference.

Bonus

Frequently asked questions from investors and publishers:
1) What diversifies your game from others in that genre?
2) What is your audience?
3) How big is your audience?
4) How long are you developing this game and when do you plan to release it?
5) How many returning players will make your game profitable?
6) What is your plan to get players?
7) How experienced is your team?
8) How do you plan to make money on your game?
9) Do you have multiplayer/social elements?
10) What platforms do you support? What is the oldest smartphone you will support?
11) What is your game about? Just in 2 minutes, I have no time!

We are open for any questions and thanks for reading! :)

You can follow us on Twitter or visit Blocky Farm website.


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