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Yesterday's post kicked off quite a debate surrounding indie marketing, so today I address some of those points as well as giving out some free stuff..

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Mode 7's Frozen Synapse Video Selection

Here's the inimitable Squidlord with "How to Defend a Tiny Area"!

More on Indie Game Marketing
I was pretty intrigued by the response to my comments about large-scale uncontrolled marketing spend for promoting games.

Really the key question for me is, "What should indie developers copy from the mainstream industry?" People seemed to suggest that this was, "Less targeted marketing spending", and to be honest, that might actually be a good thing.

I think a lot of developers undersell their games severely: the market for them is actually much, much larger than they assume. That's part of why pretty much all indies will see some kind of sales spike when they achieve digital distribution on a well-known service: they're simply reaching more people.

Of course, you have the brand loyalty and convenience that comes with those services, but beyond that there is effectively no reason why all of those new customers couldn't have bought that game direct from the developer: it's simply a reach issue.

Accurately knowing how many people will buy your game and how many people might buy it is almost impossible, but there is data out there. Obviously it's harder with a niche game, but that's no reason to sell yourself short. If there is a market out there, then it's a case of getting hold of the cash and expertise to reach it. This is a scary proposition for a lot of indies, but it's not wise to let fear and inexperience stand in the way of potential success.

So I have a question for you - do you think more indies should be seeking investment to reach their audience? Or do you prefer the grass-roots approach? This is always a big question in my mind; I had always assumed that fans of indie games prefer the "support the little guy" approach, but maybe that's a fallacy? Just interested to know the public opinion on that one.

Gearing up for the release of the full game when it's complete will be a very interesting experience - we know now that people are excited about it so there's really no excuse not to make a big deal of it. I have a lot of plans which I hope will come to fruition around that time!

What is Happening
Over the last few days, we've seen a very dramatic fall in pre-orders, which is due to a large amount of gaming news coming out at the same time and basically wiping out our residual PR from articles that were still hanging around on frontpages etc. This is all part and parcel of life as an indie: when this happens you need to respond and get yourself back on there.

With that in mind, we'll be announcing some things as soon as the dust settles from E3, but I wanted to start doing things more regularly to encourage word-of-mouth as well...

A Quick Freebie
To say thanks to our community for their support so far (and also in lieu of doing something when we hit 500 Facebook fans), I've put together a quick musical treat. It's a mix comprised of four tracks from a free EP I released a couple of years ago - the remit was basically to use lo-fi equipment to make some dance music, similar to the approach taken by Yuzo Koshiro when he wrote his dance influenced score for Streets of Rage on the Megadrive.

Isometric Dancefloor - 16-bit DJ Mix

I have released tracks from this before, but this is the first time I've done a mix of it in this form.

It uses a combination of original hardware in the form of the Yamaha DX100 synth (which shares its sound architecture with the Megadrive), emulation (gWem's fantastic Atari sound-chip emulator YMVST was used throughout), and more modern synths to create something really geeky, grungey and dancey at the same time.

I hope you enjoy it - please share it as much as you like but mention Frozen Synapse to anyone who hears it!

Pushing Onwards
We won't just be doing community freebies though (although I will keep trying to fit those in) - I'm planning a big campaign, almost a reboot of the pre-order launch very soon. That should give us the momentum we need.

With all this marketing talk, you might be concerned that we're not focussing enough on development. Well I certainly would like to get back to my dev roles at some point soon, but rest assured that Ian and Matt are working hard on squashing bugs for you and work is continuing! We're going to be tough on ourselves and really push to get the new update out for you as soon as we can.

You can help!
I do notice whenever we get a sale through word-of-mouth so please keep posting about the game, tweeting about it and showing it to your friends - it really is the best way of helping us out. If you haven't seen Frozen Synapse yet then please check it out.


Crap, you guys have cited me, now I have to actually do a little more promotion for Frozen Synapse. Not that I really mind; I get the opportunity to talk about games on live shows fairly frequently of late.

My own feeling about independent game promotion and development is that there is no way that you're going to be able to penetrate the advertising "mind share" as deeply as Microsoft or Sony or one of the other major players. That's simply a fact; they can afford airtime on TV, product placement in very public fora, shows like E3, etc. Competing directly is just not something that you're going to do -- the big three have trouble competing against each other. In light of that fact, the only reasonable move is not to play. Literally. As importantly, you can't get bent out of shape were concerned or emotionally involved when the ebb and flow of the advertising cycle takes you out. You can't compete with E3 -- don't even try. It would be foolish to try. It would be foolish to get upset about the fact that you can't try.

Setting up a major push for next week or even a week after is a way better investment of your time and effort. Let the momentum from E3 die down a bit and then when the news cycle is beginning to fade abandoned the major blog sites are looking for something new to put up on the front page -- BAM! Have something ready to roll, something that's interesting to look at, something compelling, and I think that you'll see pre-orders shoot back up. Maybe not to the pre-E3 levels, but certainly to something respectable because you're back in front of people's eyes. That's all you have to do, get in front of people's eyes. The game itself takes care of the rest.

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The radical transparency that you guys are engaged in in terms of keeping the fan base involved via Facebook and here on ModDB is -- and will continue to be -- one of the strongest, most compelling reasons that people stay tied in and talking about your product. As long as people are talking, people are buying. And that's where you want to be.

Thanks guys, keep rocking the Frozen Synapse and I can only look forward to hearing more and seeing more from you guys as we get closer to release.

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Mode7Games Author

Thanks mate - we really appreciate it.

I do get frustrated when I think we aren't getting the message out to people, but that's a healthy thing for me as it motivates me, strongly, to change the situation.

We will keep talking about the game and keep finding new ways to make people notice it - you guys have responded really well to us trying to be open about development (which can be hard at times). One issue we do have is that a lot of what we're doing (bug fixing and such) is fundamentally unexciting - we can't trumpet our new features as much. Having said that, I'm sure we can find some more stuff to talk about soon.

We're not going anywhere!

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Great work on your game guys, really hope one day something I make will hit it off like this!

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