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How to make a profitable game under $3k

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How to make a profitable game under $3k

  1. 1. How to make a profitable game under $3000
  2. 2. Commercial dev by day / indie dev by night
  3. 3. Star Tactics is a turn-based tactics game about starship fleets battles
  4. 4. Star Tactics Top-down, stylized graphics Turn-based combat No story Two campaigns Random battles Unity3d Steam (Win/Linux/Mac) Android - to be released iOS - to be released >6k owners $3000 budget Already paid off 2 people core team 2 outsource artists Free sounds Music from an older project DIY trailer (thanks to my GF)
  5. 5. Budget under $3k You can do it too!
  6. 6. Become a producer! Who is a producer? It’s a person who gives money to other people and they make him a game. Become a producer. Order a game. Your money, your rules Choose with whom to collaborate Your responsibility
  7. 7. Why become a producer? I tried several approaches to indie-development: collaboration with other people - mostly fails due to human factor one-man team - too much work; I don’t code hiring a pro-dev, monthly basis - too expensive, weak motivation working with publishers - terrible terms, you know
  8. 8. Let’s start! Define what’s need to be done Define what can be done by you Find and hire missing roles Prepare planning Ready to rock!
  9. 9. Principles Team is crucial Simple game Proven concept Realistic goals Cheapest team possible - hire students, do it it yourself, use colleagues’ help Use engines Indie marketing Maximize quality, make a small but good game Do cheap features that add value (skirmish mode) Don’t start from skratch: Find a game you really enjoy playing -> Check if it’s successful -> Think about what you want to improve -> Change setting to your favorite -> This is your concept Get a job in game industry! Get some experience Discuss your ideas and don’t be afraid - idea without implementation costs nothing You NEED experience. This is your most valuable asset
  10. 10. Team Hire students! Choose who are eager to do your game! Pay fixed per project cost - this is crucial! Be a visioner… and fill every other role you can 1 developer is all you need Star Tactics team: 1 dev + me (GD, manager) + 1 2D part time + 1 3D part time
  11. 11. A good candidate Young Passionate Eager to implement your game Might even make you a draft prototype You like him as a personality
  12. 12. Budget sources Salary! Your main source Students are cheap Per project cost - no other ways. Absolutely. Don’t count price of your work! In other case your budget will be 3-10x higher Your friends may help. By doing some work or giving some money
  13. 13. Simplify Production Simple visuals, style matters. Simple features Don’t overdesign Use engines (again) Marketplace assets Your colleagues can do part of work Task tracking! Deadlines! Prepare in advance (store pages, art etc.) You don’t need perfect code! You need a finished game! Most likely you won’t do Game Evolution for this game
  14. 14. Target audience Star Tactics fills a niche of hardcore games in which thinking is a main skill. Player who values words ‘pay once, play forever’ will appreciate this game because it provides a lot for its price. It’s a game with simple and clear rules but challenging thoughtful gameplay and significant playtime. Star Tactics has a strong community waiting for its mobile release. Star Tactics will fit to a player who is a fan of: sci-fi hardcore strategies turn-based games spaceships tactical combat buying a game once and playing it for a long time Our player is also: a male 18-45 years old North American, Western European or Asian ( we didn’t expect Asia but Steam sale stats prove it)
  15. 15. Marketing Twitter, Insta, FB - all this shit doesn’t work without tons of money FB/Twitter ads doesn’t work at your budget’s scale Twitter has the best audience Use autolikers (archie.co) and other SMM tools (Hootsuite) Your sales will be miserable But your game will be profitable Because it’s fucking cheap Start to do marketing as early as possible Everything is a marketing asset
  16. 16. Mistakes Don’t port Develop for target device I did it just to make a game. Set money goals. Just paying off is ok Develop for target audience Don’t become too addicted Don’t expect a lot of money Don’t delay paperwork Pricing - find somebody who knows how it works. Check your target audience
  17. 17. Press Before release 1.5k sent emails 72 opens 12 link clicks 4 replies 0 results News even on PocketGamer doesn’t help After release 100+ received emails 30+ coverages
  18. 18. Release Release preparations take about 1 month Do the paperwork in // (It eats time. Really) Go Greenlight as early as possible, don’t delay it Local communities (i.e. Likers Tribe) can help with different stuff Playtest with friends Playtest with colleagues Find some GDs to playtest your game too!
  19. 19. Revenue First night might and most likely will show TERRIBLE sales Bundles (Indie Gala) Bundles give some money but their value is in huge (for indie) visibility Steam farmers - few hundred bucks never killed nobody Steam revenue is very low comparing to what you can imagine Steam sales are cool! Use it! Other stores doesn’t make money High expectations is your enemy!
  20. 20. Community management Nice to have, but not crucial Your GF/BF is the best option
  21. 21. Thanks for your attention! See your game on the stores!

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