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stranger in a strange land of mobile dev. what have I missed

05-15-2013, 02:25 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
stranger in a strange land of mobile dev. what have I missed

greetings my fellow TA-obsessed mobile developers, well-wishers, and web spiders. Here is my story in brief..

A pair of refugees from the bigger game development industry, my partner and I teamed up early 2009 and released our 1st 2-man project onto the App Store. It was tiny and quite limited, made almost no money, but we had a blast exploring the world of independent development in Apple's brave new world.

Some months into 2010 we released a substantially more complex project, which was still pretty tame by any consideration (it was a puzzle game) but we were extremely proud of the gameplay, the aesthetics, and the very positive press. Also learned a TON about self-promo and marketing in those days.

Since then a lot has happened, though you couldn't tell it by my release history. Both games got ported to Android, other projects got started, a whole bunch of behind the scenes ups and downs occurred. Tons of work was done (and stalled), eventually I concentrated on doing this stuff part-time as I had burned all my savings and need to make ends meet. You all know the routine.

I used to religiously watch TA and post here all the time. I had a pretty keen eye on the scene and participated fairly substantially in the community. It's a long ways from where I am now, I probably have looked on this site maybe 3 times since the new year, I rarely download apps anymore. Work and life is just too busy and I have long since moved on from that capacity.


the battle rages on and my partner and I have been hip-deep in development of a new title since last fall. It's one of those little games that grew into something great (although don't get me wrong, it is still "a little game"). It looks great, it's really fun to play, it ISN'T a puzzle game (well, that's maybe not completely true...) and best of all it is something pretty fresh which we haven't just nicked off of someone else's idea.

So we are probably a good 6 weeks (at least) from wrap-up on this beast and I must once again start churning the engine, stoking the coals. But I feel like I've woken up from a years-long slumber, and certainly the landscape into which this new game will be unleashed is decidedly different than the way things were when I last released a game (2 yrs ago)

What do you say? Are the days of indie all over? Can my little 2D "character action" game make a dent in the scene any more? Yes it's fun, yes it's fresh, yes it looks wonderful (for a 2D game anyway, as opposed to a 3D unreal-engine powered trendy beast) and yes it is coming out from a no-name developer who precious few might remember. And I am pretty dead-set to release it F2P to top it off.

I'm very interested to hear what sort of conversation this might spark. Surely there's a few contemporaries who've gone through a similar situation with different circumstances. Might there still be room for games like mine in this market, or is it up against too many ridiculous odds these days?
05-15-2013, 11:53 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 199
There's space for anything. Hitting the sweet spot in gameplay no matter how limited resources are has worked for many even now ( f.ex. Super Hexagon, Hill Climb Racing, Badlands ). Still the final key is to get noticed, reviewed and featured, for without that even a decent game is dead in the water...
05-15-2013, 05:44 PM
App Store is still hits driven, and still hungry for new content. Yeah, there are thousands (millions?) of apps now, but people only care about the newest 1%. That's your competition.

A great indie success story recently is 10000000. Broke into the Top 25 apps, developer now works on games full time (I think), etc... Now it's cross platform and doing great on Android.

If your formula is right and you have a little luck on your side, you can still do great.