'Twas a great day today. Last year really felt like we were nobodies and had everything to prove. This year, after running into people from both Overgrowth and Zeno Clash, I can honestly feel good about what we've accomplished over the last year and how much of an impact we made. Still, there's always more to be done. I've taken quite a few notes on the sessions I was present at today. These notes may materialize into articles eventually, but not today – I'm about ready to pass out. Nevertheless, here's a short summary of today's highlights.
2D Boy: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going Indie But Were Afraid to Ask
Ron Carmel and his partner Kyle Gabler seem to be making all the right moves with their wildly successful indie game, World of Goo. In this session, Ron's breaks down the sales figures of WoG for 2008 and lets us know which outlets mattered the most. In a surprise to many, WiiWare would have all but dominated everything else were it not for the almighty Steam sale.
Indie Games: From Buzz to Business
Game lawyer Tom Buscaglia peppers Zach Aikman (Fishbeat), Micheal Wilford (Twisted Pixel) and Dylan Fitterer (Audiosurf, LLC) with questions on how to nurse the buzz earned from IGF and PAX10 awards/nominations through to genuine business possibilities. The 3 took different routes but all agreed that press exposure was something you should give your full attention for as long as you have it. While it may siphon time away from actual development, its a necessary tactic to help ensure a successful game launch.
Dylan Fitterer takes the stage again to emphasize constraints as necessary development tools for independents. While many independent (and mod) teams may push the bar in order to make themselves more comparable to full-on commercial studio titles, Dylan embraced his constraints to help himself author one of the bestselling indie games ever. Just as artists have done more with less, indie game developers should consider enforcing constraints to stimulate proactive development and unleash true creative freedom.
Stardock on The PC Hardcore Scene as Indie
Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock and outspoken advocate against DRM, reveals how his company has been able to achieve the heights of success developing and publishing games like Sins of the Solar Empire and Galactic Civilizations II. While not multi-million dollar blockbusters, Stardock is still thriving on what many wrongly consider to be a niche audience. After all, compared to games like Civilization 4, many FPS games just don't stack up in sales numbers.