Author Topic: Thinking about taking app development full time  (Read 7271 times)

Offline Wampus

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I'm wondering about going into app development full-time as an indie developer.

My logic is that, even if I'm a commercial failure, I will have learnt enough in the process to move on to employment or contract work. Currently I'm pretty much a computer technician by training & experience. However, I feel much more suited to software engineering in general and I think the quickest & best way to jump ship quickly would to be go it alone for a while. My knowledge & skills definitely need to be improved and that's not going to happen in a hurry unless I devote some serious time to this stuff.

I'm sure some of you wonder about this sort of thing or already work full-time as developers. Do you think my idea has potential? What have been your experiences?


Offline erico

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I wanna do the same thing but I´m currently work as an ilustrator/animator/etc as freelancer.
I´m trying to kick it as a side work but it´s not yet working, I´m also not thaaaat skilled but sure can put my ideas on one way or the other. I used to do game programming on amos and somethings I did I believe have potential as commercial stuff (around 12$ my guess).

My call is to start one project (the one with commercial potential) and start informal advertising+development blog at the same time.

I plan to sell my stuff digitally and by my researches FAST SPRING e-commerce seems to offer a lot of payment modes when it comes to accessibility and charge 8% IF it sells. There might be others, people around here may know.

I have been putting up a plan around this for some time and doing needed researches but my guess is that money should start flowing ok after I have a few games around, maybe 5?

My choice is to go pc/mac at start, I guess plataform like i-stuff may also help income, it looks essential to have the game multiplataform so to work a higher target.

I just wished I could wreck at least 3 months of money out of my current jobs to make it all happen... :'(

Hope all this bla bla helps you out for something.

Offline Hatonastick

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As long as you don't have a family to support or a mortgage, I say go for it.

I should be going for it myself, but I have fairly major health issues that keep getting in the way every time I step forward -- getting something up and running before my disability pension comes up for review next year would be my favourite.  Why?  Because I want to be able to say to them "I don't need this anymore", mostly because they put you through hell for very little money but also because I prefer being independent just as I was when I was able to work.  In my case I need something I can do from home and this sort of thing is all I can think about every time I try coming up with an answer to that question.

On an odd side note, I also would like to do something to help people, but what I have no idea.  What can a fairly house-bound guy with little to no money do to help people?  About 7 years ago I was forced to get an ABN (you need one to be a business in this country) for a job I had with a local school.  Fast forward to two years ago and I'm trying to get a domain registered because my family needed email addresses independent from our ISP and I wanted somewhere to put my webpage (which I still haven't done), initially they refused because you had to have the sort of ABN that would allow you to become a charity -- only it turned out I had that sort of ABN and didn't know why.  So I have the right sort of ABN, a domain name for a charity organisation (using my name unfortunately) and a web server that I don't really use except as an email server for my entire family.  I'm just not sure at this stage what to do with it all, other than maybe try to get successful as an Indie developer and sell games for charity. *shrug*

So anyway, to repeat what I said earlier -- if there is little downside to any of those around you, I say go for it.  Regret with regards to not having taken chances when you have the opportunity is something I know a lot about.  When balanced against the worst possible outcome which would be failure, regret is far harder to live with. :)
« Last Edit: 2010-Sep-30 by Hatonastick »
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Offline Kitty Hello

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I think it's hard to make a living off it when you start right off. Madgarden IIRC did and he managed to get it running. He sold enough of "Saucelifter" and "Sword of Fargoal" (both excellent games) for iPhone, and works on Android right now. But he used to have it all set up before he went full time into his hobby.

Offline Bursar

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If you've got no bills, go for it :) Otherwise you might be best served by keeping the day job and coding as much/often as you can in the evenings. Maybe sign up for programming courses if you think they'll help you along.

Get a few games up in the various app stores, or online games portals and see where you go from there.

Are there plenty of jobs available for both what you currently do (tech), and what you might want to do (dev)? If not, then if the game dev thing doesn't work out and you need to earn some money, finding another could be tough.

Offline shawnus

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Do you think its possible for just one person to develop, release, market & maintain successful PC game?

I can see how one developer could develop a hit app game & make it big, but games for the PC are just so big in scope & attention to detail that I'd suggest its physically very dificult/impossible for one person to develop a hit PC game within an acceptable timeframe.

I just remember playing Quake back in '97 and thinking at the time- there is no way I could do this, the scope is just too big. At the same time if you are spending £20 on a game this is the type of game I would expect for my money.

Cheers, Shawnus

Offline Bursar

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Do you think its possible for just one person to develop, release, market & maintain successful PC game?

I can see how one developer could develop a hit app game & make it big, but games for the PC are just so big in scope & attention to detail that I'd suggest its physically very dificult/impossible for one person to develop a hit PC game within an acceptable timeframe.

I just remember playing Quake back in '97 and thinking at the time- there is no way I could do this, the scope is just too big. At the same time if you are spending £20 on a game this is the type of game I would expect for my money.

Cheers, Shawnus

But now though, you could get a copy of FPSCreator for free and knock up a game that (graphically) blows Quake out of the water. Development tools have come a long way in a relatively short space of time. You just need the time/skill to do all of the coding/modeling/art/music/effects yourself, or some cash to farm out some of those jobs.

Offline shawnus

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Yes it looks pretty good. I actually used DarkBasic back in 2000, then bought their '3d game maker'- looks like FPS Creator is derived from this. 3D Game Maker certainly needed some improvement- looks like its got it. Now its just a case of finding the time!

Cheers, Shawnus

Offline doimus

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I think that key for success on PC is to choose a niche market and stick to it. There are lots of genres specific to PC that have "dried out" recently. But old players haven't really left, they're just lying dormant.
And guess what - the player who was 16 years ago,  probably has a job and a credit card today, but doesn't have much time for Xbox or PS3.  Find him and sell him your game. That's my goal at least.

For example, here's the latest experience I had:

I've got a friend, 30-something, played a lot of strategy games on Amiga, early PC. He just got Medieval II: Total War in hope of playing it after work for relaxation, etc.
He complained that it is just way too complex, ie. it takes you two weeks to just go through the tutorials.
Where's the fun in that?

So there's the potential market: game that elicits the same emotional response as Total War series, but in a much simpler and faster way. Make it and release it. Rake in millions. Or not.

Offline Wampus

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PC game market seems tough, practically impossible for a lone developer to crack it (although I have noticed exceptions). Tapping a niche market would be vital but also easy to mis-judge.

Recently discovered a game called Amnesia - the Dark Descent made by a small team of Swedish developers without a publisher. It received very positive reviews and created a lot of online buzz due to its capacity to frighten players - like, much worse than horror films usually manage to. Nevertheless I read on the developer's blog that sales have been disappointing so far. That must be crushing after the enormous amount of work that went into it.

Mobile device games seem the quicker and less risky route.

Re: jobs and bills, my circumstances are good, relatively speaking. I can afford to take risks and am comfortable with very frugal standards of living when necessary. My partner is the same. Even with the global economy so unstable Canada's IT industry has remained robust thus far. There is room for someone like me to maneuver.

Re: programming classes, who has the time & money for that nowadays? :) Relying on dev books, online lectures and practical experimentation should be enough, surely?

Hatonastick, when it comes to working from home this does seem a way to do it. IT related stuff in general can lend itself to that kind of arrangement. I used to run a small Web Design business from home as a sole-trader and found it satisfying. It was much harder work than being employed by someone else but was also less stressful (in some ways).

Offline Ian Price

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Re: Thinking about taking app development full time
« Reply #10 on: 2010-Sep-30 »
Quote
Recently discovered a game called Amnesia - the Dark Descent made by a small team of Swedish developers without a publisher. It received very positive reviews and created a lot of online buzz due to its capacity to frighten players - like, much worse than horror films usually manage to. Nevertheless I read on the developer's blog that sales have been disappointing so far.

Have you played it? It's crap. It looks awful. Sounds awful and plays even worse. It's poor in every possible sense.

I absolutely love horror - books, movies, games etc. and the atmosphere in this game was non-existant. Tedious.
« Last Edit: 2010-Sep-30 by Ian Price »
I came. I saw. I played.

Offline Wampus

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Re: Thinking about taking app development full time
« Reply #11 on: 2010-Sep-30 »
Ah, no. I haven't actually played it. Oh well. There's a verdict from a horror fan. Doctor Who is about the limit of what I can take without having to sleep with the lights on afterwards so its not really my area. :) My brother loves anything 'horror' though.

I was basing much of my feelings about the game on seeing this 'reactions' video, which made me laugh hard (warning, probably spoilers of sorts): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaK8XnZuZ4k

Offline Ian Price

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Re: Thinking about taking app development full time
« Reply #12 on: 2010-Sep-30 »
Someone should have got the Amnesia devs to play the Fatal Frame/Project Zero games. Better in every way. They have some genuine jump out of your skin moments - the atmosphere is so much better.
I came. I saw. I played.

Offline Hatonastick

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Re: Thinking about taking app development full time
« Reply #13 on: 2010-Oct-01 »
Hatonastick, when it comes to working from home this does seem a way to do it. IT related stuff in general can lend itself to that kind of arrangement. I used to run a small Web Design business from home as a sole-trader and found it satisfying. It was much harder work than being employed by someone else but was also less stressful (in some ways).
Yeah that's what I figure too.  Plus all my training and experience is IT related -- pretty much the whole spectrum.  So can't think of anything else I can do.
« Last Edit: 2010-Oct-01 by Hatonastick »
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Offline garyk1968

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Re: Thinking about taking app development full time
« Reply #14 on: 2010-Oct-01 »
Can you not do it in your spare time?

Less risky financially?

I had some spare time at the start of the year so jumped into iphone development and have done 4 apps now mainly in spare time whilst doing a day job *and* with a family.

Good luck, just go for it!


Gary