Continuing our Start-up Special, Eyesodic Games’ creative director Dan Kenny explains why new developers should not let initial failures deter them from pushing harder to make their games a success.
Step 1: Make something fun
This is probably the most obvious step but the key to a good game is making it fun for the player. Test your ideas early. If it’s not fun for you to play, then it’s not going to be fun for others. Keep testing ideas until you find what works and what makes it fun.
Step 2: Talk about the game
You would be amazed how many devs keep quiet about a project longer than they should. Sure it’s probably a good idea to keep quite in the early stages of design until you’re sure about what you want to make but once you’re into the development stages you should tell people.
Posting about the game and showing work in progress is great for drumming up interest for the game and getting feedback as you work. Join various different game development-related sites, post about work in progress and talk about the game. Get conversations going and interact with fans.
The more you talk about the game during it’s development, the more people that are likely to play it once you release it.
Step 3: Rejection
When you’re new expect to get rejected a lot by press and publishers because let’s face it, it’s tough being the new kid around. When you send out press kits and show your game to publishers expect to be ignored or told "we feel it’s not quite a right fit now".
But do you give up after your first try? Hell no!
Work on your game some more, try again but this time, tell the press what’s new. Also, set your sights a bit wider. It’s a big world with a lot of press sites out there. Send your press kits to as many as you can because you never know which ones might take a shine to your game and want to show it on their site.
Step 4: You are your own worst critic
When you work on something that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, you’re going to be very critical of it. Creative people are always critical of their own work. If you think what you made is perfect – well, I’m pretty sure something’s wrong there.
It’s good to be critical of your own work, because it helps you make a better game. The important thing is to know when you’re being overly critical.
Step 5: Friends. Romans. Gamers. Lend me your ears
Listen to the fans of the game. These are the people that are playing your game and giving you feedback on it. Take part in conversations with them. This not only gets you feedback on the game and how to improve it but also shows you are human and you’ll be respected for taking the time to talk to players and to listen to what they think of the game. Make them feel part of the development process and that you value what they think.
Step 6: Never give up!
It can take quite a while for and hype to build over your studio or game and you’re going to get a lot of rejection in the early days. But if you stick to it, keep working on what you love and be ambitious, then eventually things will start to turn in the right direction.
There’s no set advice or roadmap for how to set up a game studio or make a good game. We each learn from our own paths into the industry and if noting else I hope that my experience game be of some help to others.
All this month, Develop is publishing its Start Your Own Studio guide online. You can find all of our start-up articles at www.develop-online.net/startupspecial, plus a full schedule of the guides still to come by clicking here.