"In 34 years I've developed some pretty strong opinions about video games [and] how to find personal and professional satisfaction in the medium."
- Deus Ex director Warren Spector speaking at the Midwest Game Developers Conference.
The Wisconsin Game Alliance, a group comprised of game studios and indie developers, hosts the Midwest Game Developers Conference and has uploaded videos from the event including a keynote delivered by Deus Ex director Warren Spector.
Although the video is nearly a year old, the conference is being held again this year, and advice from industry veterans is always useful, so developers may want to give the keynote a watch to see what kind of wisdom Spector has to offer.
Throughout the keynote, Spector emphasizes what it takes to succeed in the games industry, and how developers can begin to define success. He notes that it may seem obvious, but in reality it's not that easy.
"Developers have defined success in a variety of ways. Some of them value revenue profitability. If someone's funding your game, that's probably the top priority for them," Spector begins. "And it's probably a top priority for you too if you want to, I don't know, eat or pay rent."
Spector goes on to mention development costs and funding partners, explaining how investors care a lot about coming in on budget, since that's a common indicator that the game has succeeded. "A lot of people will say you were a successful project."
"Most people value big numbers," he says. "Big numbers are good numbers and as a developer, anybody who says they want to reach the smallest possible audience is probably not going to succeed in life, let alone in business."
The more people who see your work, the better. Timing is also crucial. When you choose to schedule your game to launch is incredibly important, especially if you're working with a publisher.
"The discipline of sticking to a schedule-- even though I have never once done so in my entire life, is probably important because you don't want to work on your magnum opus forever."
The keynote is a larger discussion around how Spector defines success in the industry, so be sure to check out the entire video over at Wisconsin Game Alliance's YouTube channel.