I have been designing games on my own for around 6 years. My first full game 'super cube smash', I made on unity and released in 2016 on steam, with their old Greenlight system.
Since then, I have been developing my 2nd game 'Hyperflight'. I have only recently started talking about it online. Until now, the project has been 100% focussed on development. Here is a development blog, I have recently started.
To qualify, I want to say that the reason why I am making games is because I LOVE IT. I love the medium its self. I have always loved visual arts, and music, and sound design, and maths, and logic, and modding games, and playing games, and designing levels, and telling stories. For me, games design is essentially a medium that combines all of the things I am passionate about. So I am happy just building games first and foremost. Having said that, I am also interested in the idea of a lot of people playing my games, and I would like the world to know about them.
As an artist, I must admit. For as long as I can remember, I have had an allergy to the word 'marketing'. For me, it is full of bad connotations and associations. Take a look at what Bill Hicks says about marketing and you will have a reflection of what my attitude towards it has been like in the past. But more recently, I realize that having allergies to concepts and words like 'marketing' will be the thing that causes me to fail. As a sole trader and developer, my personal philosophy is key, and to put it plainly, I cannot afford to be cynical. If I purposefully move away from an essential area of my trade, I will be hindering myself, I will be shooting myself in the foot (as the old adage goes). I do not want to do this. I would rather give myself the mission of getting my game out there to people who appreciate it, and execute that mission. In order to do this, I must at least acknowledge the process, so that I can order my thoughts in this area, and get on with the job of marketing my game.
So where to begin? I am sitting here with my 1st game released on steam, and my 2nd game in a good, playable 60-70% completed state. I figured, the first thing to do was record some video footage of the game being played, and put it on YouTube. I then made a development blog with google blogger, I put this demo video in the first post, and continued posting development entries with videos.
(The blog I mentioned earlier hyperflight.lewisfitzjohn.net)
I actually was very impressed with Google blogger. You can bagsie a domain name for £10 a year with google domains, and easily attach it to your blog. The blog its self can be turned into a (wordpress style) website. You can get unlimited storage for images with Google photos as well as unlimited storage for videos with youtube. It appears the 21st century is in full swing with this sort of thing. Only a few years ago, one would have to claim some hosting space for hundreds of pounds a year and design the layout of their website using HTML or on an application like Adobe Dreamweaver. Thankfully, those days are gone and we can all focus a lot more on actually creating content.
So the video development blog was step one. Then what? How do I get people to find out about it? I started a list of potential places I could either talk about or advertise my game. So far it looks like this.
Game From Scratch
Making Games Magazine
Reddit - Game Development
I already had an Indie DB profile for myself and for my last game, So I created another profile for my new game. This can be found here. https://www.indiedb.com/company/lewis-fitzjohn
Now I am on the 2nd Item on the list. As reluctant as I was to have multiple blogs, I figured that Gamasutra could be a place for me to talk about the journey of marketing my game instead of developing it. This hopefully will be of help to myself in the ordering of this process as well as of help to you dear reader. I do not like the idea of copy/pasting blogs to different locations, it seems like a bad idea to me, so I'm not doing it.
So what is next? In the near future, I imagine I will extend the Development blog into a full website, but before that I think I am going to need a good trailer video. I already have some music (as I am a musician and I have good contacts in this area) I think this will help a lot. I should try to get access to a good gaming PC that I can get decent quality HD 60fps footage from. I am also considering getting out into the real world and showing off what I have made, meeting people etc.
In the more distant future, I see 3 potential paths this game could take me in.
1. I continue to develop it on my own, learning as I go and writing about it online until it is ready and I do another release by myself (this path seems like the most tough one)
2. I get some funding from somewhere (possibly a crowd fund or pre-release) and employ a programmer and a marketing person. I like this idea, as it would be the start of my own company house, It would also mean I could start implementing more sophisticated things like Online match making and steam achievements etc. This in turn would give me more to mention in the advertising stages.
3. I pitch the game to a developer, either to sell, or to become employed as a lead designer. This one seems like a bit of a flight of fancy, and also involves giving away some (if not all) of my intellectual property. Having said that, making a big sale to a developer, or becoming employed as a games designer would be a very exciting, and life changing experience that I would definitely be up for.
What do you think I should do next? Where could I go, and what could I do to get my creation noticed in this overwhelmingly busy online world?
Until next time
Thanks for reading.