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Meeting TA at GDC -- pro or con?

02-09-2011, 11:43 PM
#1
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 77
Meeting TA at GDC -- pro or con?

OK. So I'm forming an indie dev company with my partner to sell an iPhone game. We've been working on the game (part-time, as we both have day jobs) for a few months.

We're based in San Francisco, but we didn't bother tracking down Touch Arcade at MacWorld because we didn't even have a functional prototype yet.

At GDC, we will have a functional prototype. However, that prototype won't be able to show off the unique and interesting features of our game yet (we're still working on some core engine/core assets stuff).

We are more than a little paranoid about showing our game to anyone, given several recent cases of people cloning someone else's game for profit on the app store. We are literally just two guys, and presumably a larger studio could produce a similar game in a shorter time than we can finish ours.

So, my question to Touch Arcade readers: If you were us, what would you do? Would you go to GDC to introduce yourself to the Touch Arcade people, show the prototype of the game and describe the unique, never-seen-before ideas, or would you leave well enough alone until you were just about to submit a finished product to the app store?

Ordinary, I'd lean towards towards more openness, but there really are scoundrels out there... Of course, the flip side is if we wait until we think we're totally polished then there's a whole lot of playtesting that never happened, and that will certainly result in a not-so-great final product.

We'd really appreciate any advice, we keep going around in circles amongst ourselves.
02-10-2011, 02:29 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Hollywood, CA
Posts: 1,869
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzyprofessorhead View Post
OK. So I'm forming an indie dev company with my partner to sell an iPhone game. We've been working on the game (part-time, as we both have day jobs) for a few months.

We're based in San Francisco, but we didn't bother tracking down Touch Arcade at MacWorld because we didn't even have a functional prototype yet.

At GDC, we will have a functional prototype. However, that prototype won't be able to show off the unique and interesting features of our game yet (we're still working on some core engine/core assets stuff).

We are more than a little paranoid about showing our game to anyone, given several recent cases of people cloning someone else's game for profit on the app store. We are literally just two guys, and presumably a larger studio could produce a similar game in a shorter time than we can finish ours.

So, my question to Touch Arcade readers: If you were us, what would you do? Would you go to GDC to introduce yourself to the Touch Arcade people, show the prototype of the game and describe the unique, never-seen-before ideas, or would you leave well enough alone until you were just about to submit a finished product to the app store?

Ordinary, I'd lean towards towards more openness, but there really are scoundrels out there... Of course, the flip side is if we wait until we think we're totally polished then there's a whole lot of playtesting that never happened, and that will certainly result in a not-so-great final product.

We'd really appreciate any advice, we keep going around in circles amongst ourselves.
hmm. I'd say, in general it's good to go out and try to establish a dialogue in-person with people who might possibly help to promote your game. You never know, they might actually really dig your idea and when it comes time to start putting the word out, that would be a HUGE difference in actually getting some coverage!

I wouldn't expect the TA crowd (or higher-level review sites of that caliber) to go around talking about your game, if you made it clear you are still early enough in development and want to keep things mum in the meantime. Otherwise, odds are fairly good that Capcom will nick your idea

I have heard instances of devs meeting up with Eli & co. in person at such events, impressing them with WIP demos, and going on to get some awesome front page coverage for their apps. You definitely cannot expect this though - even if you go and do "hit it off," rememeber that these guys see more iPhone games than ANYone - if it doesn't have that certain je ne sais quoi (sic), then they may not even remember it in the short term, never mind the long term.

I went and met several journalists in person (TA included) when I had the opportunity, got them to demo my game, even got word that they would give us coverage, but no dice (I guess no one likes to be put on the spot). The, uh, "highlight" of the whole episode was watching an editor for a big site (not TA) DL a pirated copy of my game right in front of me :/

Anyway, short answer - meeting in person is good. Don't expect any guaranteed coverage though.